Gigspanner Big Band and Raynor Winn

The Salt Path is Raynor Winn’s Sunday Times best-selling memoir of walking the South West Coast Path in its entirety. Her walk was an impulsive response to unexpected circumstances which left her and her husband, Moth, homeless.

The Salt Path and its sequel The Wild Silence have sold over a million copies worldwide. They have won global praise for their 'against all odds' uplifting message, and their frank exploration of the reality of homelessness. 

It is the way of written words, be they songs or stories, to get handed down from person to person. In our story, a copy of The Salt Path was given by FolkEast Director, Rebecca Marshall-Potter to Deborah Knight, agent and manager of a collective of some of the most high-profile names on the folk-roots scene, The Gigspanner Big Band.

Whilst walking a stretch of the South West Coast Path, thinking of Raynor and Moth’s story, it occurred to Deborah that such a well-trodden path must hold many more stories of loss, love and the natural world. Perhaps these stories could be found in the form of traditional songs and tunes that have been left behind and saved for us due to the diligence of song collectors such as Cecil Sharp (1859 to 1924) co-founder of the English Folk Dance & Song Society.

Her hunch was correct, and research has thrown up a multitude of songs from this beautiful geographical location. It has proved to be a rich seam of songs to be mined.

This seed of an idea has developed into an exciting collaboration between Raynor Winn and The Gigspanner Big Band, and work is underway to develop a show based on those traditional songs, and Raynor's words…words which, in her role as Ambassador of the path, she is writing especially for this project. Together, Raynor and the Gigspanner Big Band will celebrate this “630 uninterrupted miles of coastline, crossing wild headlands with the calls of oystercatchers, and the smell of salt laden air ever present” (Raynor Winn)

Saltlines is having its debut tour in venues around the South West Path in July of 2022. Following the route almost in its entirety, the tour of the South West Coast Path will start in Taunton, and finish in Poole.

The Gigspanner Big Band are a unique force in British folk music...

Their high-energy, virtuosic performances appeal equally to traditionalists and to those looking for something more experimental, and they have garnered praise from publications as varied as fRoots, The Telegraph and The Wire, where they were described as ‘melodically folk-rooted yet open and innovative beyond the constraints of genre’

Beginning life as a trio - with legendary Steeleye Span fiddle player Peter Knight being joined by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack - the line-up has been expanded to form the Gigspanner Big Band, with acclaimed multi-instrumental duo Edgelarks (Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin - BBC Folk Awards 'Best Duo') and Bellowhead co-founder and melodeon player extraordinaire, John Spiers, joining the fray.

As collaborations go, it doesn't get much more mouth-watering than this.

While Peter Knight, as part of Steeleye Span’s classic 1970s line-up, helped invent a brand of folk rock that is still influential today, John Spiers has had an equally profound impact on the landscape of traditional music over the last two decades.

Characterised by riotous inventiveness, technically gifted individual playing and subtle collaborative interaction, this coming together of several of the biggest names on the folk-roots scene, combines a deep knowledge of roots traditions with a ceaselessly boundary pushing approach. 

Taking self-penned material along with music rooted in the British Isles and beyond, with the flick of a bow, a finely chosen chord or slip of a beat, they produce richly atmospheric arrangements layered within a wealth of subliminal musical influences “with notes seemingly plucked from the stars and rhythms from the equator” Spiral Earth.

Unsurprisingly, the superlatives have come thick and fast...

"With the Gigspanner Big Band, Peter Knight has assembled a group of musicians intent on making some of the most important and exhilarating art ever to sit under the banner of folk music"


"True creativity speaks to the heart and entertains the mind with fresh ideas and images, and what brilliant entertainment this is. Knight has a knack for identifying the essence of a tune or song, pulling it apart and presenting it back to you in a way that surprises and refreshes. Hannah Martin and Phillip Henry simply make sublime music that has an otherworld of undercurrents and motifs woven through it. Put them all together and some alchemical magic occurs”

Spiral Earth

"What a fabulous team they make, together producing a startlingly new musical form with few, if any, antecedents, even within the hallowed world of prog and folk-rock. The flights of musical fancy are staggering in their natural invention"

Fatea Magazine

Raynor Winn

Raynor Winn

Raynor Winn is a long-distance walker and writer; her first book The Salt Path was a Sunday Times bestseller in 2018.

Winn and her husband Moth, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness called corticobasal degeneration, became homeless after a bad investment, and decided to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path.

The Salt Path was shortlisted for the 2018 Wainwright Prize, and the 2018 Costa Book Awards in the biography category. The judges described it as "An absolutely brilliant story that needs to be told about the human capacity to endure and keep putting one foot in front of another."

In May 2019 The Salt Path won the inaugural RSL Christopher Bland Prize. In September 2019 it was the number one bestselling book in UK independent bookstores.

Winn also writes about nature, homelessness and wild camping. Her second book Wild Silence was published by Michael Joseph in September 2020, and also became a Sunday Times bestseller.

The Tour Dates

October 2022

October 19th Truro, Hall for Cornwall

October 20th Plymouth, Quad Theatre

October 21st Winchester, Theatre Royal

October 23rd Tunbridge Wells, Trinity Theatre

October 25th Hastings, St Mary in the Castle

October 26th Maidenhead, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts

October 27th Yeovil, The Octagon Theatre

October 28th Farnham, Farnham Maltings

October 29th Teddington, The Landmark Theatre

October 30th Aldeburgh, Jubilee Hall

October 31st Milton Keynes, The Stables Theatre

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