> Skip to content
  • Published: 15 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9780552777162
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288

Over The Hills And Far Away

Betjeman's daughter's story of her journeys round England on horseback which, in the shadow of her breast cancer, is also a memoir of her family and her life.

From her early childhood, when her inspirational mother would take her on trips along her beloved Ridgeway in a horse-drawn cart, Candida Lycett Green has retained a love of green lanes and tracks, of moving along at horse's pace and casting an eye on the beauty of England through the back door. Her insatiable appetite for exploring unknown territory has led her to travel all over the country by horse for weeks at a time, and often these journeys have come at important turning points in her life.

Lyrical yet down-to-earth, framed by a recent 150-mile journey through Yorkshire and Northumberland with a friend, Over the Hills & Far Away dips back into past journeys by horse that also reflect her idyllic childhood in the bohemian Betjeman household, a charmed youth in the Swinging Sixties, a year-long honeymoon journey overland to India, early days at Private Eye, and the ups and downs of thirty-nine years of marriage and motherhood. Her story is made all the more poignant by her recent fight with breast cancer.

  • Published: 15 February 2011
  • ISBN: 9780552777162
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288

About the author

Candida Lycett Green

Candida Lycett Green was the author of over a dozen books including Over the Hills and Far Away, The Dangerous Edge of Things,English Cottages, Goodbye London, and The Garden at Highgrove (with the Prince of Wales). She edited and introduced her father John Betjeman's letters and prose, and wrote and presented The Front Garden and The Englishwoman and the Horse for the BBC. She died in August 2014.

Also by Candida Lycett Green

See all

Praise for Over The Hills And Far Away

A small treasure. It is sharp, finely written, sometimes very funny, and would move a black-hearted croupier to tears.

Country Life

There is an appropriate sense of fresh air blowing through the book's prose ... we are given not only new insights into both her father and her daunting mother, we also come to realise how many of their attributes she has inherited ... The book's power, finally is that it is full of life - life regained, and life reaffirmed.

John Gross, Mail on Sunday

Candida Lycett Green is good, clever and beautiful ... a writer of books about England that look almost too affectionate to be serious, but which, like her father John Betjeman's poetry, turn out to be both ... What brings her and the book its strength ... is her almost total recall of past happiness ... There is much fun in this book, and great anecdotes. Lycett Green has such joy in life - why should it end too soon?

Jane Gardam, Daily Telegraph

Eloquent, observant, bracingly idiosyncratic and filled, like a really good journey, with worthwhile detours.

Jane Shilling, Evening Standard

Joyful tales from the saddle and the country pub are offset by entries describing the discovery and treatment of Lycett Green's cancer ... bracing, but never bleak and often funny. Neither sentimental nor undignified, it is how you would hope to fight illness ... Lycett Green is always good company.

Edward Smith, Sunday Telegraph

'A lyrical blend of family reminiscence and a celebration of some of Britain's loveliest countryside.'

Daily Express

'The sheer variety of her life makes it worth recording ... "Only when faced with death does the purpose of being alive become so clear." That's what this book's about.'

Charlotte Moore, Spectator

'Lycett Green reflects on situations past and present with a delicate touch and great charm ... her childhood ... is best described as idyllic. It's an eccentric blend of Swallows and Amazons, Cold Comform Farm, and Bridehead Revisited.'

Glasgow Sunday Herald

'From her father, perhaps, comes the knack of putting what she sees into words. There are marvellous descriptions throughout, amply justifying the book's subtitle, "An English Odyssey" ... There is a lot of joy in this book, and a lot of hope.'

Yorkshire Post

'Passionate about the countryside ... This book is an enjoyable celebration of friendship and the beauty of the English landscape.'

The Times Literary Supplement

'The scope of this magical book may resemble Cobbet's Rural Rides but the pace is faster and lighter ... eyes wide for architectural or historic detail and for all that is comic, unique or beautiful.'

Patrick Leigh Fermor

'A fascinating and remarkable book.'

Prunella Scales

'In this magic book a profound love and understanding of the beauty of the British Isles and its way of life hit me hard.'

Nell Dunn

'Touching and frequently sublime.'

Craig Brown

'An elegy for so much that is lost, but a celebration too: of wild flowers, old stones, ancient tracks, uproarious memories, family, pubs, ordinary horses with extraordinary qualities, and the heart-stopping beauty of England.'

Bel Mooney

'Over the Hills and Far Away is utterly enchanting. Candida Lycett-Green writes with grace and humour about the places and people that have been at the heart of her life. Ostensibly a modern traveller's tale (she journeys by horse through the glorious uplands of Northumberland and Yorkshire) this memoir seems to belong to another - more innocent - age. She is a sharp-eyed and knowledgeable observer but her anecdotes and insights are never ungenerous or self-regarding. In these curmudgeonly and self-pitying times, the delight in life and in love which shines through these pages is both refreshing and exhilarating.' 

'I've read it already (it arrived this morning) and am enchanted. A fascinating and remarkable book - what a good writer.'

Prunella Scales

'A subtle, humorous, life-affirming book.'

Michael Holroyd

'Writes with grace and humour about the places and people that have been at the heart of her life ... the delight in life and in love which shines through these pages in both refreshing and exhilarating.'

Jonathan Dimbleby

Related titles