Books to inspire adventures in nature

Penned on the 22nd April 2024

Books to inspire adventures in nature

What better way to get inspired for your next magical outdoor adventure than by sinking into a good book? We love nothing more than discovering a captivating nature-themed story or guide – so we’re sharing our favourite fiction and non-fiction titles to help you do the same.

Whether you’re reading at home and daydreaming of your escape to nature, or you’re already settled by the firepit outside your hideaway after a day out exploring, any of these books are sure to spark your imagination, teach you something new or deepen your sense of connection with the wonderful natural world that surrounds us. 


The Salt Path

sennen coast path at sunset

By: Raynor Winn

Best for: Inspiring incredible walks on the South West Coast Path

The Salt Path is a multi-award-winning memoir that’s sold over a million copies – and once you’ve read it you’ll understand why! This true story is a remarkable tale of Raynor Winn and her husband Moth’s 630-mile journey on the wild cliffs of the South West Coast Path after he was diagnosed with a cruel terminal illness and they lost their home. The book is all about the healing power of the natural world and what you can achieve with bravery, perseverance and everything you need on your back. It’s an emotional read in places but it’s sure to inspire you to start planning your own unforgettable hike on the rugged coast path (even if yours is a little shorter!).

And if you can’t get enough of Winn’s writing, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a sequel too, The Wild Silence. 


Wild Swimming

wild swimming

By: Daniel Start 

Best for: Discovering hidden wild swimming spots

Wild Swimming is a comprehensive guide to dipping in Britain’s rivers, lakes and waterfalls by award-winning travel writer, photographer and environmental consultant, Daniel Start. Whether you’re after a gentle paddle or an invigorating cold water plunge, this book has plenty of stunning photography and interesting descriptions to get you inspired. The author has included lots of practical information like maps, tips for kids and families, and safety advice too. The Daily Telegraph says this book is “an essential guide for anyone planning a dreamy summer of camping, picnics and swimming” and we couldn’t agree more.  

If you’re looking for a beautiful base for your water adventures, have a look at our guide to the best hideaways for wild swimming.


A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

flowers and notebook

By: Jane McMorland Hunter

Best for: Poetry-lovers

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year is a gorgeous book to keep on your coffee table or beside your bed. It’s filled with 365 poems that celebrate nature and the seasons, with pieces from famous poets like William Wordsworth and John Keats, as well as odes from lesser-known writers. Jane McMorland Hunter has chosen each poem to chime with the differences and themes in nature as we move through the seasons – capturing the hope of spring, the long leisurely days of summer, the romance of autumn and the harder (but still beautiful) days of winter. You can read one each day or dip in and out as you wish…over a coffee in the warm light of the morning sun would be idyllic.


The Forager’s Calendar

wild garlic in the woods

By: John Wright 

Best for: Learning foraging skills!

If you’re keen to try your hand at foraging, you’ll love The Forager’s Calendar, a multi-award-winning book by John Wright. This engaging guide is jam-packed with information and advice about finding, identifying, harvesting and eating the wonderful array of edible plant species that the UK has to offer across the different seasons, from wild garlic and nettles to berries and fungi. There’s also helpful details on how to store, use and cook your wild food. Whatever your experience level, with this book tucked in your backpack you’re sure to become a keen forager in no time.

Fancy a quick read-up on foraging now? Take a look at our seasonal guides for seeking out wild edibles in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.


Wild Signs and Star Paths

sun through the trees

By: Tristan Gooley

Best for: Getting attuned with nature

Tristan Gooley is a pioneer of natural navigation and has written many amazing books on the subject – Wild Signs and Star Paths is one that we especially love. This thoughtful, beautifully-written book will guide you on how to fine-tune your awareness in the great outdoors so that you’re able to forecast weather from the sound of woodlands, gain a sense of direction from the stars or plants, predict an animal’s next actions from its body language, and more. Gooley claims this ‘sixth sense’ in nature was once common but we’ve become distanced from it in our modern world. He’s here to help you reconnect. 

Tristan Gooley’s other titles include How to Read a Tree, The Natural Navigator and The Secret World of Weather.


50 Things to Do by the Sea

starfish in a rock pool

By: Easkey Britton

Best for: Connecting with the ocean in new ways

If you’re seeking inspiration to get the most out of your time on the coast, pick up a copy of 50 Things to Do by the Sea, a gorgeous book by Irish surfer and scientist Easkey Britton. Alongside beautiful illustrations by Maria Nilsson, the book contains insightful exercises, ideas and facts, with sections on how to read the sea (rips, tides and so on), the power of the ocean to heal, what the sea offers us and more, as well as lots of different activities to try – think beachcombing, rock pooling, looking for wildlife and playing in the waves. It’s a wonderful handbook to take with you on any trip to the ocean.


Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales

pile of books

By: Beatrix Potter

Best for: Magical bedtime stories

 What lovelier way to spark your little ones’ imaginations and engage them with British wildlife than with the charming stories of Beatrix Potter? The Complete Tales is a collection of all 23 of Potter’s well-loved books and characters, including the famous Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Jeremy Fisher and more – so there’s plenty to choose from for bedtime reading. Her hand-painted watercolour illustrations and adorable tales have captivated readers of all ages for over a century, making her one the most celebrated children’s authors of all time! Nature never goes out of style, after all. 


RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds

people with binoculars

By: Marianne Taylor and Stephen Message

Best for: Birdwatching

Birdwatching is a simple, enriching nature activity you can do almost anywhere – and no birdwatcher is complete without a helpful identification guide! The RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds is perfect for all experience levels. It features descriptions and illustrations of 310 of the most common birds in the UK as well as details on where you’re likely to find them, seasonal movements and the latest population data. It’s lightweight and compact too, so you can pop it in your pocket or bag every time you’re out for a walk.

For more inspiration on getting started, take a look at our beginner’s guide to birdwatching in the UK.


The Wild Remedy Journal

journaling in nature

By: Emma Mitchell

Best for: Nature journaling 

Emma Mitchell’s journal The Wild Remedy is all about finding wellness in the natural world. The book is partly an account of the author’s personal experience with the healing power of nature with a year’s worth of findings from her own wild discoveries, and partly a journal for you to complete your own therapeutic nature journey. It’s filled with ideas and prompts that’ll inspire you to reflect on and connect with the world around you differently, and feel the powerful wellbeing benefits. The illustrations and photography on the inner pages are delightful too.

We’re big advocates of nature journaling here at Unique Hideaways – you can read all about the team workshop we did with Journal For Joy in Cornwall here


Mindfulness and Surfing: Reflections for Saltwater Souls

surfer on fistral beach

By: Sam Bleakley

Best for: A fresh perspective on surfing

Mindfulness and Surfing is a soulful book written by surfer, geographer and travel writer, Sam Bleakley. The book uncovers new ways to perceive and experience the ocean and the sport of surfing, exploring environment, culture, history, religion and more – as well as how riding the waves can be the ultimate form of meditation. Whether you’re a surfer or not, it’s lovely to get lost in Bleakley’s inspiring saltwater journeys and views of the natural world. And the mindfulness lessons within can be applied to many different aspects of your life.

If the book leaves you wanting to pick up a board and head to the ocean, start planning your trip to Cornwall, one of the UK’s most renowned surfing destinations. Find out where to start in our guide to the best places to learn to surf in Cornwall.


The Offing

blast beach county durham

By: Benjamin Myers

Best for: Evoking long summer days outdoors

The Offing by Benjamin Myers is a critically-acclaimed novel set on the Durham Coast in the wake of the Second World War. It tells a tender story of love and unlikely friendship between a teenage miner and an eccentric older woman, and is filled with poetic language that paints a beautiful picture of the northern British countryside, coast and landscapes in the midst of summertime. It’s a gorgeous, poignant read that’ll make you want to swim in the sea and soak up the sun on a blanket on the beach – with a good book, probably! 

If The Offing inspires you to book an outdoor adventure trip to County Durham, take a look at Cinnabar Nest, a luxurious rustic hideaway with an outdoor bathtub. 


Sticks, Stars, Dens and Stones

wild strawberries

By: Emil Fortune and Mel Armstrong

Best for: Outdoor adventures for kids

The charmingly named Sticks, Stars, Dens and Stones is a fun-filled outdoor adventure book put together by the Royal Horticultural Society, written by Emil Fortune and illustrated by Mel Armstrong. The pages are bursting with fun, unique ideas for kids to get immersed in the great outdoors and feel closer to nature, from growing their own daffodils, to navigating the night sky, to choosing a place to camp. There are plenty of nature facts too, to help them learn more about the variety of plants, habitats and wildlife waiting to be discovered on their doorstep.


Into the Forest: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness

forest bathing

By: Dr Qing Li

Best for: Discovering the magnificence of trees

Written by Immunologist and President of the Japanese Society of Forest Therapy, Dr Qing Li, Into the Forest is an enlightening book about the amazing benefits of nature and forests on our physical and mental health. From mindful strolls under woodland canopies to walking barefoot in the grass, Dr Qing Li offers guidance on how to overcome some of life’s most problematic health issues by spending more time around trees, like stress, low energy levels and poor immunity…what better reason to pull on your wellies for a walk in the woods? Explore our guide to forest bathing for an introduction to this beneficial art form. 


Night Sky Almanac 2024


By: Storm Dunlop and Wil Tiron

Best for: Stargazing

The Night Sky Almanac is a beautifully-presented book written and illustrated by astronomy experts Storm Dunlop and Wil Tirion and approved by the astronomers of Royal Observatory Greenwich. Beginners and seasoned stargazers alike will love delving into the month-by-month guide for lunar phases, constellations, meteor spotting, planets and more, with easy-to-understand maps, calendars and descriptions. It’s sure to inspire you to get outside with a blanket after dark and feel the wondrous awe that comes with lying back and looking up at the starry night sky. 

For the ultimate stargazing escape to nature, take a look at our gorgeous collection of hideaways with magical stargazing windows, where you can snuggle up and gaze at the night sky before you drift off to sleep. 

Feeling inspired for an adventure in the great outdoors? Explore our collection of hideaways across hidden corners of the UK, each nestled in magical pockets of nature. 



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