Britannia Obscura, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize Britannia Obscura is the untold story of Britain's hidden landscapes.

The outline of the British Isles, looking a little like a wingless dragon, is instantly recognisable.

But jostling within that familiar profile are countless vying maps of the country.

Some of these maps are founded on rock, or on the natural features of the land.

But far more are built on dreams - on human activity, effort, and aspiration.

From investigations of caves and megaliths to canals and airspace, Joanne Parker reveals a country with countless competing centres and ceaselessly shifting borders - a land where one person's sleepy, unexceptional province will always be the busy heart of another's map.

Britannia Obscura opens our eyes to the infinitely layered, rich and surprising landscape of a very large small island.


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The premise of this book is an interesting one - to explore alternative layers of meaning that do not appear on conventional maps of Britain. It is split into 5 chapters - the ones on caves canals and airspace are quite interesting but the ones on megaliths and ley lines, to me, give a bit too much credence to romantic hippy ideas.