PLACE NAMES AND FIELD NAMES OF NORTHUMBERLAND, by Stan Beckensall. Published by Fonthill Media Ltd, Oxford. £18.99. Softback.

THE text, by a local author with decades of experience writing about the county, includes the richness of humour and local detail that go into naming fields. Stan Beckensall explores what place names and field names mean, and how they can reveal an intimate part of our local history by linking us to the land they sign and socialise.

Northumberland has a rich legacy of such names, which can best be appreciated by close familiarity with the landscape. If you are intrigued by the derivation of names as colourful as Grimping Haugh, Jill’s Arse, Little Sloshes, Boggle Hole, Shovelbread and Blowbutts, you will enjoy the book.

The text explores a series of sites which demonstrate how place names are derived and change over time. This study is well supported by a wide range of illustrations including photographs, documents and maps. The detailed research undertaken by the author helps to ensure that this is a comprehensive guide to the origins of places within the county.

MORPETH IN THE GREAT WAR, by Craig Armstrong. Published by Pen and Sword Books ( £12.99. Softback.

AS a market town and the seat of government of the county authority, Morpeth was significant in the co-ordination of Northumberland’s Great War effort. The town shared a proud tradition of military service with the wider region, reflected in the huge numbers of Morpeth men and women who came forward for service in the military or in roles such as nursing.

It was a recruitment centre, with its own unit of the 1/7th (Territorial) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, and with a wide rural hinterland it played a huge part in the production and dispersal of vital food.

The town also occupied a position on the fringe of the Northumberland coalfield, and many of the men and businesses of Morpeth were engaged in the equally vital work of mining.

Featuring rare images from the local press, many of which have not been seen since the war, the book includes accounts of the struggles that many families faced in coping with wartime policies, severe shortages, rising prices, longer working hours and endless worry. Despite the hardships, Morpethians continued to provide incredible charitable support right up until the end of the war, in addition to their work efforts.

This account offers a poignant testimony to the bravery, self-sacrifice and determination of the people of Morpeth during the Great War, from its first days – when the Territorials of the Northumberland Fusiliers and the Northumberland Hussars assembled in the Market Square to be given a rousing send-off by the mayor and the people of Morpeth – to the raucous celebrations of the Armistice in November 1918.

RIVER TYNE TRAIL: SOURCE TO SEA, by Peter Donaghy and John Laidler. Published by Sigma Leisure. Available from Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care (, the Daft as a Brush Shop in Eldon Garden, Newcastle and Daft as a Brush House, Great North Road, Gosforth NE3 2DR (tel 0191-285 5999). £12.99 (plus £2.50 p&p). Softback.

THE idea for a 135-mile long-distance walk from the sources of the Tyne to the sea was the brainchild of Brian Burnie, founder of the Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care charity.

This guidebook covers the three sections of the walk, from the source of the North Tyne at Deadwater, the source of the South Tyne in the Pennine Hills and the course of the unified River Tyne from Warden to the coast.

Divided into 12 convenient stages based on ease of access, with additional entry and exit points, it enables walkers to create their own itinerary for both long-distance and day walks. On the River North Tyne, four sections totalling 48 miles follow the river from its source to Warden. On the South Tyne, four sections totalling 42 miles take the walker from its source to where it meets the North Tyne at Warden; and the walk along the River Tyne also comprises four sections travelling a total of 45 miles to the North Sea.