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Guidebooks

There are many battlefields which are not covered by the web site at present. Even for the featured battlefields you may wish to prepare before the visit by getting a different perspective from one of the published battlefield guidebooks, or to take one with you into the field.

There are many that have been published over the past fifty years and each have strengths as well as weaknesses. A handful of the guides which we have found of value in the research for this website are listed here. Some well known books calling themselves guides will be found in reading lists elsewhere on this website but have been excluded here because, though useful for their descriptions of the battles, do not provide significant visitor information, battlefield trails or other key information needed on a visit. The one exception is Burne's Battlefields of England, which we have included despite such limitations and even though it is more than 50 years old, simply because it is invaluable for its insights into terrain and action.

  • Burne, Alfred H. The battlefields of England. London: Greenhill Books, 1996 First published in two volumes in 1950 & 1952 and reprinted several times, this book has never been bettered. On a few battlefields new evidence has been forthcoming and so his interpretations may be outdated. But whether you agree with his interpretations or not, it is almost always worth reading his views. His approach to battlefield analysis has its critics, but he had an excellent eye for terrain and principles which underlay his work were generally sound.
  • Clark, David. Battlefield Walks : North. Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1995
    . Battlefield Walks : The South. Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1996
    . Battlefield Walks in Yorkshire: Sigma Leisure, 2002
    . Battlefield Walks: Midlands. Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1993
    . Battlefield Walks: Scotland: Sutton Publishing, 1997
    Without doubt these are the best battlefield guidebooks, in the strict sense of the word. They are full of detailed trail information. Although some of the walks may be a little too long, taking one well away from the action, they are always worth checking. It is a great shame about the quality of the maps.
  • Kinross, John. Walking and Exploring The Battlefields of Britain. Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1988 This is another useful volume containing suggested trails and other visitor information. It is well illustrated with a wide range of photographs, including places and re-enactment. The plans of the battlefields are however very variable, the walks do not always exploit the full potential of a visit and inevitably some of the information is long out of date.
  • Fairbairn, Neil, and Michael Cyprien. A Traveller's Guide to the Battlefields of Britain. London: Evans Brothers Ltd, 1983. Very evocative black and white photography. Worth a look because it does provide some good visitor information and maps. However some things have changed in the intervening years on some battlefields so treat the detail with care.
  • Getmapping. British Battles: Amazing Views. London: HarperCollins, 2002 An essential companion on any battlefield visit, because an aerial perspective so often adds to one's understanding of the terrain. It is a shame about the superimposed deployments though, as they obscure a good deal of the information one wants to see on the photo!
  • English Heritage. Battlefield Hikes volume 1. London: English Heritage, 2003 Another really useful, recent and novel addition to the literature.

 

   
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