The Salt Path: A Memoir (Paperback)
Ray and Moth's world is crumbling around them. A court case cost them their life savings and their beloved home as Moth faces a health crisis with a poor prognosis. With only their backpacks and a small stipend, they set out to walk the Southwest Coastal Path in England, 630 miles of rugged coastal terrain. Their journey takes them through beautiful remote country, small towns, and villages, and introduces them to a cast of characters along the way. A testament to love, resilience and finding the courage to begin again. —Sandi
— From Staff Favorites List
"[Winn's] language makes their arduous trek luminous with the mingled menace and providence of a Turner painting."—New York Times Book Review
"In polished, poignant prose, Winn reveals how their journey heals Moth slowly but surely, and brings them closer together — landing as an inspiring story of true love."—Entertainment Weekly
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BOOK AWARD
The true story of a couple who lost everything and embarked on a transformative journey walking the South West Coast Path in England
Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. 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, through Devon and Cornwall.
Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea, and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable and life-affirming journey. Powerfully written and unflinchingly honest, The Salt Path is ultimately a portrayal of home—how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
About the Author
Raynor Winn lives in Cornwall. Since traveling the South West Coastal Path, she has become a regular long-distance walker and writes about nature, homelessness, and camping. This is her first book.
“The Salt Path is an unputdownable tale and a temple to equanimity… It will change you.”—Wall Street Journal
"Winn’s prose is powerful. She excels at description, and her apt metaphors are rooted in nature… an inspiring read, reminding us that there is salvation in nature, movement and the out-of-doors."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Raynor Winn is a master of writing about nature and grief. The coast is the backbone of her memoir … a gripping story about a search for home, resilience and emotion, all the while in conversation with the sea.”—Guardian
“Winn writes with great humor, reflection and generosity.”—Salon
“This is a damn good book. Plain and simple.”—Medium
"Winn's chronicle is filled with beauty, humor and surprises. Glorious landscape a given, the loveliest scenery is the pair themselves, their affection and easy camaraderie treasures to behold. Facing grief, harsh elements, starvation and judgment about being homeless, they relish growing feelings of achievement and purpose. When, miraculously, Moth starts to feel better, their future grows more unclear. The Salt Path is a great travelogue of surroundings, passersby and local merchants, but its heart is in Winn and Moth finding meaning in the chaos."—Shelf Awareness
"Readers are immersed in a grueling and transformative adventure. Like the Winns, one feels 'salted' by the experience, however vicariously, drawn to the edge in defiance of fate and in search of a new life. They found it as well as a measure of acceptance, and their story is indelibly told."—Kirkus
"An astonishing narrative of two people dragging themselves from the depths of despair along some of the most dramatic landscapes in the country, looking for a solution to their problems and ultimately finding themselves."—Independent (UK)
"The Salt Path is a life-affirming tale of enduring love that smells of the sea and tastes of a rich life. With beautiful, immersive writing, it is a story heart-achingly and beautifully told."—Jackie Morris, illustrator of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
"In some ways The Salt Path reads like the ultimate drop-out odyssey, except that this journey isn't a life choice . . . What the book chiefly conveys is the human capacity for endurance and the regenerative power of nature . . . The Salt Path has reminded me to scrape last year's mud from my walking boots and get rambling again. I hope it has the same impact on millions of others."—The Times (UK)
"A remarkable and redemptive journey."—Financial Times