There are plenty of books which walk you past (and into!) the pubs along the way but here's a new approach to a walking tour. The new book by Guy Vowles,called The Palladian Way, sets out to take you near "... the greatest estates of 'middle' England."
Because the book is packed full of historical detail it makes an interesting read, even if only one or two segments of the route are tackled (the whole route is 123 miles). The mapping is clear, colourful and attractive. My only complaint would be on the standard of the photographs for I thought many of them could be improved by covering the ground on a better, brighter day.