4 out of 5 stars
As I sit writing this review, in front of my computer screen is a collection of pebbles and other stones that have been collected from a number of local beaches and some from holidays. I have a couple of pikes of the pink Jersey granite and some Sicilian marble as well as fossils from Seatown Beach on the other side of Dorset.
Seatown Beach is at the very far end of the tombolo beach that is Chesil. It is this beach that Christopher Stocks begins the book with and it is a beach that he knows well as he has a house alongside it. The section of the beach that he is lives near is the eastern end where the pebbles are at their largest and he can hear them being made as they are churned around in the waves.
The book will take us from this wonderful beach the beach that Derek Jarman on the bleak Dungeness headland, the old Iron age hill fort of maiden Castle and even to the Natural History Museum and a rogue hand grenade.
Stocks’ prose is conversational and relaxed. He has picked his subjects well and has found lots of interesting anecdotes and has managed to get the balance of providing enough information about the geology of the pebbles that you are likely to find on the beach without making it read like an academic tome. However, what makes this short book so special is Angie Lewin’s beautiful artwork throughout the book. I had got this from the library, but as I like it so much I think I am going to get a copy of my own. You can find her artwork here.