In this remarkable, landmark publication, countryman Sir Johnny Scott evokes all that is romantic about the British countryside, its people, customs and traditions. Over its 600 gloriously illustrated pages, Johnny draws on his wisdom and knowledge to reveal a forgotten culture, and encourages us all to rediscover a beautiful Britain.
“I always think of nightingales when spring arrives in the south of England and winter is still reluctant to release its grip north of the Border. I heard my first as a very small child while staying with my grandparents on the Ashdown Forest. My sister woke me one night with an excited whisper, 'A nightingale! You must listen to the nightingale sing!' Together we sat on the window seat, gazing across moonlit lawns towards the forest. At that moment, as if nature had not already done enough to impress, the most wonderful sound I had ever heard filled the silence, as the nightingale started to sing. A rapid succession of varied, unconstructed notes, some harsh, some liquid, sung with great exuberance and vigour, changed to a long, slow, pleading song that rose in volume to a sudden piteous crescendo, before reverting to a tune of jollity and mirth. In my mind's eye I saw it erect and glowing, somewhere in the darkness among the oak trees, but no amount of searching that morning produced a single golden feather.”
Throughout the pages of A Book of Britain, Johnny Scott celebrates the landscape and people and reveals why, through centuries of careful management, conservation and cultivation, Britain looks as it does. We discover Royal forests and protected oaks; learn animal behaviour and how best to observe wildlife whether on the moors or in your garden; we learn about traditional country sports from familiar hobbies such as fishing and shooting to lesser-known activities such as “swan upping”. Johnny teaches us to look to animals and nature to predict the weather, and reveals many customs and traditions that are in danger of being lost.
This book is a gift in every sense – not only in its sheer scope and presence, but in the rich legacy it will leave behind for future generations.