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The Salt Path

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  19,787 ratings  ·  2,117 reviews
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry
...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 22nd 2018 by Michael Joseph
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Popular Answered Questions
Patricia O'Brien No. It shows how desperate you can be when you have nothing!
What struck me more was not this at all, but how willing they were to share from what lit…more
No. It shows how desperate you can be when you have nothing!
What struck me more was not this at all, but how willing they were to share from what little they had with others they encountered who were just as unfortunate.(less)
Jo I went to a literature festival last week to hear Raynor Winn. Moth was sat in the front row! He looked well; walked in with a bit of difficulty but n…moreI went to a literature festival last week to hear Raynor Winn. Moth was sat in the front row! He looked well; walked in with a bit of difficulty but no assistance. They are planning an overseas walk.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,787 ratings  ·  2,117 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019, 5000-2019
A very different spin on those we think of as homeless, because these two people did everything right, and lost everything. Added to this they find out Moth, Raynors husband has a degenerative disease. How much can two people handle? With very little money, with no where to go except sleeping on friends couches for the foreseeable future, they decide to walk. Taking only the necessities, they decide to walk the South West coastal path, 630 miles.

So this then is their story of this trip, and the
...more
*TUDOR^QUEEN*
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Penguin Books who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.

This is an inspiring memoir written by Raynor Winn, wife of Moth Winn and mother of their adult children Rowan and Thomas. This utterly devoted married couple find themselves homeless at the age of fifty. They've spent their married lives restoring a farmhouse in the English countryside stone by stone, which they also parlayed into a family business. They have farm animals, a vegetable garden, and the ability to share
...more
Bookread2day
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite non fiction book because it's about a mid age couple who tell a true story. It made me cry for them loosing everything that they had worked for all their lives. It also made me cry of how little money they had to buy something to eat on their journey walking to Cornwall. Raynor and Moth had lost their home and their business. The bailiffs came in and took everything that they owned. They have almost no money for food or shelter. With little money they did have they buy a ten ...more
Dolors
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Sometimes we need to be reminded how fortunate we are. How precious our lives are, with all the mundanity and the daily routine that lacks the excitement of the great adventures we imagined in our mind years ago, when youth blossomed and expectations raised above the horizon.
Instead, we have “this life”. Am I right? Sigh.
This is the kind of book, the kind of testimony that is perfect to appreciate what we have; our jobs, our roofs, the people we love and trust next to us day after day, the secur
...more
El
Oct 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: borrowed, 2018
I really wanted to like this book. The story has the potential to be a life-affirming, heart-warming work and I love walking but I just couldn't get on with the style which, for me, was flat and monotonous and the tale itself was repetitive and overlong in many areas. I felt it needed harsher editing to pare what is a fascinating story down to its core but there was so much repetition that I lost interest. It did pick up a little towards the end but by then I was just waiting for the book to end ...more
Ingrid
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
After a few pages into the book I googled the author. I had missed before that this is a non-fiction book, a kind of memoir. I thought it was a novel at first because Raynor Winn writes very well.
The decisions she and her husband made after having lost nearly everything in their lives are so far beyond how I would react that it makes interesting reading on the one hand and annoying on the other. They run away from one set of problems to encounter another. The struggle is painful and I admire the
...more
Elyse  Walters
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At times there was only the walk...
Just the walk...
The path was 630 miles....

There are true stories stories....
There are adventure stories...
There are inspiring stories...
There are stories about nature....
There are stories about homelessness...
There are stories about walking...
There are stories about camping and camping equipment...
There are stories about that backpacking...
There are stories about devastating challenges...
There are stories about terminal illnesses...
There are stories about coupl
...more
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Absolutely fantastic. This one is well worth the hype.
Caroline
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is about an eccentric, amusing and incredibly stoic couple called Raynor and Moth, who are made homeless in their 50s. At the same time the husband (Moth) is diagnosed with a terminal brain disease. Amazingly, they respond to these crises by deciding to walk the south west coastal path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.....and do so with an impossibly small amount of money to live on.

The book is written by Raynor, the wife, and she is an marvellous writer. It brings ali
...more
Jane
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When this book first caught my eye I picked it up and but it down again, because I thought that the story it had to tell might pull me down at a time when I needed to be lifted up; but a warm recommendation and the news that the author would be appearing at my local literary festival sent me back to the bookshop to buy a copy.

It was a wonderful investment!

A story of people who had more than their fair share of trial, but who fought back by realising what was important in life and living their li
...more
Paul
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
The premise is straightforward. Raynor Winn and her husband Moth are in the early 50s. A poor finance decision has put their home in Wales at risk: it’s a small farm/smallholding and they have been there for about twenty years. They lose a court case and lose their home and it’s all pretty brutal with bailiffs and all. Two days later Moth is diagnosed with a terminal degenerative illness, Corticobasal degeneration:
“..a rare degenerative brain disease that would take the beautiful man I’d loved
...more
Diane
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a book that I had expected to LOVE, but things didn't go as planned.

I first heard about The Salt Path when I read a positive review in a magazine, with the blurb quote: "Recommended for fans of Cheryl Strayed's Wild." I loved the book Wild and have read it multiple times, so I jumped to request The Salt Path. However, I ended up feeling lukewarm about it.

Let's start with what I liked about SP, which is that it's a travelogue in England — one of my favorite genres set in one of my favorit
...more
Phrynne
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
I am not normally a fan of the memoir in general, but this one was pretty good. It had a lot of interest for me in its setting as I spent many childhood holidays in Cornwall and Devon and have family in Poole. So everywhere Ray and Moth went I could visualise the sights and sounds and the beautiful scenery.

When I read memoirs I often wonder how the other people in the book feel about having their problems and their lives exposed to the rest of the world - or to the ones who read the book anyway.
...more
Paul
The bad news came fast, Raynor Winn's husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, they had just lost a court case even though they had the evidence that they were not liable for debts and now the bailiffs were hammering on the door to take their farm and livelihood away. Their only income would be £48 per week. It is at times like these that some people would have a breakdown or consider a more permanent end to the problems, they didn't; inspired by the book 500 Mile Walkies by Mark ...more
Liina Bachmann
May 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
This will be an unpopular opinion amongst the five-star reviews - I found the book extremely tedious and at points downright irritating. It was not emotionally engaging at all for me. Although it has all the elements why it should and could be: a middle age couple loses they're home and everything they have ever worked for and on top of that, the husband is diagnosed with a terminal illness. So they decide to walk for 630 miles on a coastal path. Somehow Raynor Wind managed to describe all this ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A middle-aged couple in the UK, facing bankruptcy and a terminal illness diagnosis, decides to take off and walk the South West Coast Path in the United Kingdom, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Most identity crisis take-a-walk memoirs are from younger, healthier people who still struggle physically, emotionally, and financially, but all of those elements are worse here. They are frequently mistaken for vagrants, asked to leave, and sometimes given food for free (and they really ...more
Jason
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Never has a book filled me with as much rage as the beginning of this book did, the injustice of it all is heart-breaking. Ray starts off explaining how a friend for years invests some of their money, it goes wrong and he leaves them as the fall guys. A disinterested judge working with a failed justice system will not accept a piece of evidence clearing them as it wasn't submitted correctly...absolutely ridiculous...they lose the farm they lived on that was their life. To make things impossibly ...more
Fiona
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A couple are sued in respect of an investment debt and lose their home and their livelihood. Having been made homeless and simultaneously finding out that Moth has a terminal illness, they decide to walk the 630 mile south west coastal path, rough camping (illegal in England) along the way and living (barely) on an income of less than £50 per week.

This much lauded book was shortlisted for both the Costa and Wainwright prizes and is described everywhere as ‘uplifting’. My experience was different
...more
Emma
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book that made me think about what’s really important to me and what matters in my world. Moth and Raynor find themselves homeless, and then things get even worse when Moth is diagnosed with a terminal illness. With nothing else to do, and no where else to go they walk the South West Coastal path. The bravery and sheer determination the couple have is breathtaking. I really enjoyed it and recommend it highly. It’s made me grateful for my home and my bed, and of course my health. The ...more
Rebecca
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was the worst of times. Just after Winn learned that her husband Moth had CBD, a rare degenerative brain disease, they lost a court case pertaining to their investment in a friend’s failed business; bailiffs seized their house to pay off the debt. They’d relied on renting out their barn as a holiday cottage, so in one fell swoop their home and livelihood were gone. For two fifty-somethings, one of them terminally ill, the decision to buy minimal supplies and walk England’s South West Coast Pa ...more
Lisa Wolf
I feel like I could just make a list of relevant adjectives and leave my review at that:

Powerful.

Beautiful.

Moving.

Inspiring.

Courageous.

Not enough? Okay, here goes, with a bit more commentary.

In The Salt Path, author Raynor Winn shares the painful story of how she and her husband Moth lost their family farm after a lengthy legal battle stemming from an investment with a friend. While not all that much detail is given about the case itself, it sounds as though this long-term friend was fairly shad
...more
Fondantsurprise
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book. I’d heard so many amazing things about it. But I struggled. I don’t want to leave an unkind review so I’ll say — some of the nature writing is beautiful. I just didn’t get on at all with the internal commentary.
Beth Bonini
This profoundly satisfying memoir/travelogue could be lodged under more than one category or genre on the bookshelf. It’s an adventure story: in which a middle-aged couple attempt to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path, camping ‘wild’ all the way. It’s a survival story: in which the elements, hunger, destitution and a frightening medical diagnosis all feature. It’s a story of social awareness: in which middle-class home owners can lose everything and discover that the various safety nets (le ...more
Helen
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2018-reads
This is a memoir, following a middle aged couple, Ray and Moth, as they lose their family home in a complex legal battle and Moth receives the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness. With not much left to lose, they embark upon a 630 mile backpacking adventure along the South West Coast Path, with only the barest of essentials and minimal money.
This book was absolutely stunning, deeply personal and highly emotional. I was in tears from the first couple of pages. The author's writing is sub
...more
Spurnlad
Disappointing. Too much self-pity for my liking. A great idea and a good choice for the situation, but i just couldn't identify with the people.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
After a bad business investment, the author and her husband wind up pretty much bankrupt, losing their home, business, and most of their money. Shortly after, her husband is diagnosed with a degenerative disease for which there is no treatment. So, they decide to spend the summer hiking the southwest coast pathway, over 600 miles. 🤷🏻‍♀️ The narrative highlights the issue of homelessness and how the homeless are viewed in the UK. There are great descriptions of nature and the struggles the author ...more
Nigel
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm going to be a bit of an odd one out here. I was looking for forward to this. I know parts of the South West Coast path fairly well. It's a true story about folk who are having a pretty bad time. It should be good. Parts certainly were and I definitely enjoyed some of it. However other bits left me cold or worse. I found the author quite hard to like (though her husband seemed OK but this is not from his perspective). There were times when I felt she was enjoying her bad luck to too great an ...more
Diane Barnes
Feb 26, 2020 marked it as don-t-want-to-finish
Maybe later. Not a bad book, just not right now.
Emily Fordham
Raynor and her husband, Moth, found themselves homeless the same week they found out Moth had a terminal illness. What do you do after that? Well if you are the Winn’s you decide to pack up two rucksacks and attempt to walk/wild camp the whole South West Coast Path; all 630 miles of it! Reminiscent of Wild (Cheryl Strayed) with it’s own English stamp, this is ultimately an uplifting tale of hope when all seems lost. I found it a slow read but not in a bad way... rather I felt like I was savourin ...more
Perri
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aty-2019
"Winn and her husband Moth, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness become homeless after a bad investment and decide to walk the the Cornish coastline."

It sounds horribly depressing, but it's really rather empowering as she is given the gift of time and travel to take measure of her life and what's important. There's introspection and connections with nature and people, sometimes humorously described, but always human. And since this is a journey I can't imagine ever taking, Winn allows me to
...more
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After walking the South West Coast Path, Raynor Winn became a long distance walker and now writes about nature, homelessness and wild camping. She lives in Cornwall.

Follow Raynor on Twitter @raynor_winn

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Contemporary young adult literature has often led the way in depicting the real-life issues facing teens from all backgrounds. To delve into ho...
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“If we hadn’t done this there’d always have been things we wouldn't have known, a part of ourselves we wouldn't have found, resilience we didn't know we had.” 5 likes
“Had I seen enough things? When I could no longer see them, would I remember them, and would just the memory be enough to fill me up and make me whole?... Could anyone ever have enough memories?” 5 likes
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