WITH the delights of the Yorkshire Dales still unavailable to many, a new book could well fill the void.

In “John Phillips –Yorkshire’s Traveller Through Time” author Colin Speakman recounts many aspects of the life and travels the county’s forgotten genius.

Arriving penniless at Northallerton in 1819 with his uncle William Smith, who had just been released from a debtor’s prison, he could have had no idea of how Yorkshire’s landscapes would dominate his life for the next 30 years.

This brilliant cartographer and early geologist rose to become Secretary of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and the first Keeper of the Yorkshire Museum. He made major contributions to astronomy and metrology; subsequently becoming an eminent Professor of Geology at Oxford.

The book captures much of his early work making detailed studies of our coastal areas and the Yorkshire Dales and despite the passage of nearly two centuries the majority of the natural and man-made features described in the book can still be seen much as he described them.

Phillips was also a pioneer walker writer with the likes of Wainwright and the author himself following in his literary footsteps. He wrote two of Yorkshire’s best early guidebooks and one of the world’s first-ever railway guidebooks.

Using words and rare photographs, in his absorbing book Speakman shares Phillip’s passion for the Yorkshire landscape across the Dales, Moors and Coast. He ably suggests how as an inspirational force behind Britain’s outdoor movement his legacy has influenced later generations of outdoor lovers.

Colin Speakman is an environmentalist and award-winning author who writes mainly on walking and the countryside. His lavishly-illustrated book is published by Gritstone Publishing Co-operative and can be ordered online at www. Gritstonecoop.co.uk for £15 post free.