The Way to the Sea

Caroline Crampton

Published: 5 March 2020
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781783784141

Other Editions


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Published: 6 June 2019
Hardback, Demy HB
138x216mm, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781783784134

Ebook Available

About the author

Image of Caroline Crampton

Caroline Crampton is a writer and editor who contributes regularly to the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday and the New Humanist. She has appeared as a broadcaster on Newsnight, Sky News and BBC Radio 4. This is her first book. More about the author


‘[A] lyrical meditation on the meaning of the won't find a more elegantly written guide’



‘[A] praise-hymn to the muddy, marshy far reaches of the river... captivatingRose George

[A] wonderful account... [Crampton] writes with the quiet confidence and terminology of someone who has spent plenty of time aboard... captivating

A beautiful book

A consistently interesting and lyrical narrative, which seamlessly weaves historical anecdote, personal memoir and gentle warnings about the frailty of the environment into an enjoyable whole’

An affectionate portrait of an often neglected landscape... rich and fascinating... Crampton writes beautifully of the area's charms. Her first-hand knowledge of navigating the river gives the book the descriptive power that brings the whole area superbly to life’

Atmospheric and movingly and haunting

Engaging . . . A rich, resonant history’

Engaging, well researched and beautifully written

Fascinating . . . Ms Crampton's account of her lifelong relationship with this storied waterway is as elegant and sinuous as the river she loves’


Short but rich... [Crampton] writes movingly, sometimes with flecks of nostalgia or melancholy, but ultimately her book is a rallying call for greater appreciation of the maligned and overlooked’

‘A fascinating, brilliant book that carries you downstream on its quick-flowing current'’ Cal Flynn

‘Caroline Crampton's The Way to the Sea is a re-enchantment of the overlooked, everyday world of the Thames Estuary. A love letter to a place too changeable to define, this seductive journey is both beautifully written and highly recommendedJohn Higgs

‘Deeply literary and well researched... A thoughtful, beautifully-written appreciation

‘In The Way to the Sea, the Thames - from its indistinct origins in a muddy Gloucestershire field, all the way east to the Nore sandbank in the estuary - runs through a lush landscape of personal memories of family sailing trips and Oxonian dunkings, of histories of cities and suburbs that rose and fell on its banks, populated by poets and painters singing the Thames' 'sweet song'. A memorial to Joseph Bazalgette, architect of the Thames' central London embankments, claimed he had 'put the river in chains', but in this tender, often startling, blend of memoir, nature-writing and social and cultural history, Caroline Crampton reveals instead how the river shapes us’ Rachel Hewitt

‘Like the Thames itself, this book carries you along on a journey full of rich detail and fascinating insight’ Madeleine Bunting

‘Lyrically written... this book was a treat

‘This is a remarkable, superbly researched book, and I was swept along by it from source to mouth. The Thames Estuary has found its chronicler, a young writer who opens a reader's eyes to its mystery, moodiness and downbeat beauty’ Christopher Somerville

‘What makes [Crampton] a remarkable guide to the story of the Thames is that she sees it in an unexpected way. Instinctively, she writes of the river not from the shore, but from the water. She knows it, and loves it, from the inside’

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