Thursday 9 June 2016

A proud heritage

If there's one thing I hope to achieve with this blog it's to emphasise to people the variety of bookshops there are.

After almost three years my travels would have become very boring if all there was to say was "I visited a bookshop, it had shelves and books". Yes, they are important ingredients in the bookshop experience, but those basics are only a small part of what makes each destination special and unique.

This was particularly emphasised on my Northern Bookshop Adventure, which involved seven bookshops, all of them very different. Stop three on the tour was Castle Hill Bookshop in Richmond. Found almost next door to a castle, this bookshop stands out for being particularly proud of its Yorkshire heritage.

All bookshops are good at celebrating the place where they live, but Castle Hill do this particularly well with Yorkshire elements scattered across every section. As a visitor to the area, for me this started at the local interest shelves but progressed through every corner of the shop – including finding a particularly impressive number of local authors in the fiction section. This filled me with even more enthusiasm for the area and saw me engrossed in many of the books about farming, the moors and all things northern.

After dawdling over those farming books it was the natural history side of the displays that finally caught my attention, with a selection of titles focussed on our countryside meaning I chose Meadowland: The private life of an English field by John Lewis-Stempel as my purchase. Telling the story month-by-month, I plan to read it in instalments as next year progresses.

Having enjoyed the variety of books (which excellently cover all the usual suspects and genres too) it was time to introduce myself to the bookseller, who introduced me to some more booksellers who'd heard I was planning to visit.

If the books hadn't done enough to remind me I was in Yorkshire, the warm welcome I received certainly did. Friendly chatter, enthusiasm and a love of books, bookshops and the town itself had me feeling right at home: I've always believed northerners are among the most open people you could meet and the liveliness of our conversation confirmed this.

Whether you're local to the area and love it; visiting and want to know more about the locality or simply want to make the most of a local welcome, Castle Hill Bookshop is the place to go.

Castle Hill Bookshop
1 Castle Hill, Richmond,
North Yorkshire, DL10 4QP
Tel: 01748 824243

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