A MYSTERY pyramid in the churchyard in Astley is among almost 200 pyramids across Britain and Ireland that are featured in the first book on the subject.

Up to a Point – In Search of Pyramids in Britain and Ireland, by David Winpenny, identifies pyramids of all sizes and ages throughout the British Isles.

It has taken him six years of research and writing, as well as travelling from the north of Scotland to the Isles of Scilly and from Norfolk to County Mayo.

The pyramid at Astley is of red sandstone and is in a prominent position by the church door but is so worn that it is impossible to tell who it commemorates.

It probably dates from the mid-18th century, although a drawing of the church dating from the 1780s does not show it.

Mr Winpenny tells as much of the story behind the Astley pyramid as it is possible to gather and sets it alongside all the other British and Irish pyramids in their historical, artistic and literary context.

There are brick, cast-iron and Formica pyramids, as well as the more-traditional stone ones.

Mr Winpenny said: “It’s been fascinating to do the research and the journeys – and to go to places that might not otherwise have been on my radar.

“I’ve met so many interesting people on the way, too, who have been very keen on the quest, and I hope that everyone who reads the book will be as fascinated by the stories as I have been. It’s certainly the first time that there’s been a book on the subject.”

Mr Winpenny, who lives in North Yorkshire, has written newspaper and magazine articles, guidebooks and books of walks.

He lectures on subjects including architecture, follies and landscape gardening and was a BBC Mastermind finalist in 1999.

Up to a Point, which has photographs of all the pyramids on its 400 pages, is published by Sessions of York and is available from the website, www.uptoapoint.co.uk.