Roly Smith publishes book of favourite landscapes

Roly Smith must be one of, if not the, most prolific authors in Derbyshire.

He has more than 80 books to his name all based on walking and the countryside.

When he was talking about the latest to be published, This Land, he almost forgot that he has another one out at the end of April featuring the national parks of America.

At this rate it won’t be long before he arrives at the landmark total of 100 books.

He puts the speed with which he is able to write down to his 20 years as a journalist working to demanding deadlines on daily newspapers.

Roly, 72, has lived in the Peak District for 30 years and is president of the Outdoor Writers’ and Photographers’ Guild as well as being a member of the Ramblers’ Association.

He lives in Bakewell and was head of information services for the Peak District National Park Authority for 13 years until 1997 when he retired so he could concentrate on his freelance writing.

As well as writing his own books he is also is currently a commissioning editor for Frances Lincoln publishing and a media consultant.

This Land is an exploration of 50 of the most amazing landscapes in Britain and it has taken him two years to pull together in collaboration with photographer Joe Cornish.

The landscapes range from the ancient quartzite rocks of the Scottish Highlands to the gritstones and limestones of the English Pennines and the rolling chalk downs of Southern England. There are sections on Mountains, Islands, Forests and Coasts.

“This is the book I have always wanted to edit and I wanted Joe to take the pictures as I firmly believe he is the best landscape photographer in Britain.

“I emailed him and asked if he would be interested in doing it and he said ‘yes’. The result is that the pictures really are outstanding and it is a beautiful book,” said Roly proudly.

“It is a combination of our favourite places. It was quite hard to choose. I had to leave some of mine out and so did Joe. We had to compromise,” he said with a laugh.

Obviously Roly had to include the Peak District in his top 25. Although he says he did manage to wheedle it down to just three places.

He didn’t really want to choose his all time favourite but when he was forced he confessed it would have to be Lud’s Church in the White Peak.

The book is available from all good bookshops for £30.

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