Author &
Pre-digital photographer

 As the daughter of a beekeeper and a nature-loving mother, I have always used language and imagery to celebrate the beauty of the earth, its people, especially rural people, and to oppose destruction.  

Out in the fresh air, walking or on my bike, in Britain and overseas, with like-minded others, my books, articles and pre-digital era photography tell the stories.

~ Bridget Gubbins

* NEW BOOK! 2024 *
Part of The Hay Girl Trilogy

Hit the Road, Gals

Travel back in time to the vibrant 1960s... 

Join Bridget and her friends, students at the Hereford College of Education, as they dare to defy convention and hitchhike their way through an era of change.

Armed with sixpenny Esso road maps and thumbing rides from friendly lorry drivers, they journey through Wales, Scotland and onwards to London.  

Venturing abroad, they find themselves enchanted by the romance of France, navigate landscapes fraught with both beauty and danger, fend off proposals of marriage on the back of a lorry travelling through the Atlas Mountains, and revel in the soul-stirring folk music of Ireland. 

Hit the Road, Gals, captures a time when the roads were open, the spirits were free and a group of daring young women carved their own path through a world in transition. 

Hit the Road, Gals is part of The Hay Girl Trilogy.

“‘In the 1960s, when young women are expected to settle down and marry, Bridget and her friends from Hereford College of Education dream of bigger landscapes - partly inspired by the Mappa Mundi in the city's cathedral and their sixpenny road maps. The reader hitchhikes with the trainee teachers through the UK and Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and North Africa. Her use of diary extracts and photos ensures that we share the danger, romance and onion sandwiches.’            

Barbara Fox, author of Is the Vicar in, Pet? and Bedpans and Bobby Socks"



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"The further back Bridget Ashton delves into her immature apprenticeship as a latter-day Freya Stark or Egeria, the sharper her pen; the more ironic, funny and daring her writing becomes.  With Hit the Road, Gals, she hits her stride, as if there is not a moment to be lost on life's wondrous yellow brick road."            

Max Adams, author of Unquiet Women and The Wisdom of Trees

"In 1963 Bridget steps out of her teacher training college door and straight onto the road to adventure, armed only with a cheap map, stout stick, and enormous zest for life.  It’s fascinating to come with her on the journey."

Biddy Carrdus, cultural historian

"These immature girls threw themselves cheerfully into X-rated dangers, despite the efforts of the principal of their all-female college to restrain them.  Hitchhiking along the roads of the 1960s, often so hungry that they stole scraps of bread and yet singing as they went, they confronted so many perils that you hold your breath."            

Ian Leech, editor of Inside Morpeth magazine


Cold War,
Warm Hearts

Where were you in1966? 

Most of Bridget Ashton’s friends, in their early twenties, were settling down with jobs and/or husbands… 

She, on the other hand, was wandering the highways and byways of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, behind the Iron Curtain.

Travelling in these countries with virtually no money was not only a problem but also an opportunity. It enabled a rare, and deep insight into the lives and experience of ‘ordinary’ people. 

Here’s your opportunity to walk with her. In the context of the current crisis in Eastern Europe, it offers a powerful insight into the lived experience which lies behind it.

Recounting her tales with the freshness of a young person’s vision, she has created an appealing tale of these beautiful and troubled countries, where most of the time, she was welcomed with open arms..

“Bridget Ashton's travel writing is utterly authentic and restlessly curious.  She is an intrepid, 'unquiet' woman adventurer, exploring in the grand tradition of Celia Fiennes and Freya Stark.  Her memoir of life in post-war Soviet Europe is a vivid reminder of how much Europe has changed; and how much it has not."

Max Adams, author of Unquiet Women, In the Land of Giants and The Wisdom of Trees

Bridget Ashton has written a vivid memoir of her time crossing the Iron Curtain in the1960s. Based on her diaries and letters, and enlivened by her fresh, contemporary photographs, it shows how this fundamental barrier was never completely closed. The people Ashton encounters in the East freely show her their humanity, even as they are sometimes forced to contend with inhumane regimes. A life-affirming book. 

Timothy Phillips, author of The Curtain and the Wall, 2022



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 Cold War, Warm Hearts transports us back half a century, to an era when a trilingual peasant woman wondered whether England also had a moon, and a young man could recall his childhood friend being carried away on a Nazi cattle truck. Through innocent student eyes, Bridget Ashton evokes the world she discovered as she hitch-hiked across the Iron Curtain, determinedly criss-crossing Eastern Europe and the Balkans on an extraordinary journey that uncovers boundless hospitality but also tensions that are no less relevant today. 

Fiona Hall, author and Member of the European Parliament 2004 - 2014


Hay before the bookshops
the Beeman's family

Much as we all love Hay-on-Wye’s bookshops, what was life like in Hay before they arrived?

Bridget Ashton, a well-respected local history author, lived here as a child. In this compelling account, she sets out to recall, from the perspective of her girlhood self, what Hay was like in the 1940s and 50s: with trains, a half-ruined castle, and a cinema - (we all know what happened to that!)

‘The Beeman’s family’ lived in Market Street, off Castle Square.

How did they come to be here?
What was family life like in those frugal times?

This is the framework for a profound evocation of rural childhood in the post-war years.

“I loved this vivid description of life in post war Britain of the 1940s and 50s.
We see it through the eyes of the author from her earliest memories until she finishes Primary school and from the pages of her mother’s diaries.
Family life, play and friendships, school and church, and the people and events of a small Welsh border town are all brought back to life for us.
It’s a gem.”

Alison Hutchinson


Austin Macauley


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or Abe Books
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morpeth history books
  2011 ~ 2018

An epic 7 book series on the history of Morpeth

Over 2011 to 2018, with GMDT (Greater Morpeth Development Trust) and some of the books funded by the Heritage Lottery fund, Bridget has written seven books covering different aspects of Morpeth's illustrious if at times somewhat murky past.

Morpeth has had its full share of medieval history - a Royal market charter, the kings' wars, child birth at the castle, a hated king, the illegal hunting and killing of deer in the king's forest, a wicked sheriff and a child is all there.

Together her books will stand the test of time as enduring social records of life in the town perhaps not widely known or written about in the way Bridget has done.    


druridge bay books   
1991 ~ 1997

The fight against a nuclear power station at Druridge Bay, Northumberland

From 1978 to 1989, people in Northumberland and from across the North East battled against the government’s plans to put up to three nuclear power stations at Druridge Bay. The full story was summarised in the Druridge Bay Campaign’s first publication, Generating Pressure

From 1989 onwards, campaigners took on Ready Mixed Concrete and Nuclear Electric.  RMC was removing sand from the beach by the lorry load.  King Canute and shareholder pressure was used against them.  At the same time, petitions, actions, and government lobbying continued for the land prepared for nuclear power stations to be returned to  local ownership.  Power at Bay tells how both aims succeeded in 1996. 

Tide Lines
is an inspiring collection of poetry and art by local and nationally renowned writers and artists, that celebrates Druridge Bay.


Contact bridget today!

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