These books about England’s lovely landscape are ideal rainy day reads, or indeed books to read under a tree, sitting in the landscape. We really have issues with losing a lot of our landscape, from the HS2 high-speed rail project to Boris Johnson’s promise to ‘build, build, build’ in a never-ending quest for economic growth. So sit back, enjoy these books and come away with a new education, and viewpoint on how to help.
- Hidden Histories explains what all the lumps and bumps are in the fields you have walked or driven past. Or have you walked between two lines of grand trees, and wondered when and why they were planted? This entertaining and education book has the answers. Mary-Ann Ochota points out details for curious spotters. Includes a glossary of what different field names mean.
- Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape takes you north to Patrick Laurie’s family farm in Scotland. This isolated part of the land is now commercial forest, since people of Galloway deserted the land and moors in the last 30 years. The people and cattle are now gone, and the new forests have seen the catastrophic decline of the curlew, a local bird. This book explores the links between cattle, people and wild birds.
- The Land of the White Horse looks at the history of The White Horse at Uffington on the North Wessex Downs. Was it a memorial to King Alfred the Great, a prehistoric banner (announcing the territory of a British tribe?) or a way to draw the sun across the sky? Discover the landscape that inspired artists, poets and writers.
- The Northumbrians is a detailed history of this part of North East England, often overlooked. This culture of hard-working, heavy drinking, social and sentimental people (born through centuries of border warfare and dangerous industry) gives rise to unique people, landscape and architecture, from those who gave us the locomotive and lightbulb. And caught between the South and Scotland.
- The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh is a beautiful scholar’s guide to the home of the world’s most beloved bear. Kathryn Aalto offers an enchanting book, where you can visit the ancient black walnut tree on the edge of the forest, that became Pooh’s house. Or visit pine trees to find Poohsticks Bridge, and climb to the top of Galleons Lap, where Pooh says goodbye to Christopher Robin.
- Underland by Robert Macfarlane takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland’s glaciers to the underground networks by which trees communicate, this book takes us further afield. From Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage.