Alfred Lord Tennyson lives on not only in his poetry but in the Tennyson Trail, a 15-mile footpath on the Isle of Wight that stretches from Carisbrooke to Freshwater Bay, across lovely scenery. The last few miles run past Tennyson's monument on the downs and close to Farringford, his island home, where he wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade. Details from Isle of Wight Tourism (01983 813818 ).
The Brontë sisters have given their name to the whole area around the village of Haworth in West Yorkshire where they lived and wrote. You can visit their former home, now a museum, and then follow one of the many trails that leads from the village up to the Pennines and the moors that form the backdrop to Wuthering Heights. The tourist information centre in Haworth has maps and walk leaflets (01535 642329 ).
Samuel Taylor Coleridge spent two creative years at Nether Stowey in Somerset, often walking on the surrounding hills. The Coleridge Trail runs west from here to Porlock, crossing the Quantock Hills and parts of Exmoor; details from Taunton tourist information (01823 336344 ).
Coleridge's fellow Romantic, William Wordsworth, is most closely associated with Cumbria. A footpath through classic Lakeland scenery links two of his homes: Dove Cottage, in Grasmere, and Rydal Mount, near Ambleside. Details on www.wordsworthlakes.co.uk.
"I walked on to the cliff path again, the town behind and below waking up now so very slowly," wrote Dylan Thomas in Quite Early One Morning. New Quay on the Welsh coast lays claim to being this "cliff-perched town at the far end of Wales", and you can follow Thomas's route by climbing up to the coastal path above the town, from where there are sweeping sea views and sometimes glimpses of dolphins below. Information on www.newquay-westwales.co.uk.ctors lead the way on Edinburgh's Literary Pub Tours, guiding you through the backstreets, courtyards and taverns of the city and giving a lively account of their influence on its writers - from Sir Walter Scott to Irvine Welsh. Book on 0800 169 7410, www.edinburghliterarypubtour.co.uk.
The county of Hampshire has impeccable literary connections. Jane Austen ived in the village of Chawton and liked to walk across country to Farringdon, where she had friends. For details of her route, and of other literary walks in the area (including an Edward Thomas walk through Steep ), see www.easthants.gov.uk or contact Petersfield tourist information: 01730 268829.
Austen spent the last months of her life in Winchester, and is buried in the cathedral. After visiting her tomb you can walk down to the water meadows where John Keats drew inspiration for Ode to Autumn. Details from Winchester tourist information (01962 840500 ).
The 10th Daphne du Maurier Festival will be held in Fowey, Cornwall, from May 11 to May 20. Planned events include guided walks to places associated with the writer. See www.dumaurier.org from early March for details.
A Briefer History of the Universe
I was quite surprised by how many times God or a great creator was referenced in this book. Walked away from this agreeing with Einstein, to paraphrase - Politics are for the present but science is forever.