A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries by John Wright

4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

If you have ever been out for a walk in the countryside and wonder what those lumps and bumps in the field are, or curious as to what that pile of sticks is in a tree, then A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries is a good a place as any on your journey of discovery.

Split into three sections, the Field, The Wood and the Seashore, Wright leads us on a journey of discovery through the natural and man-made worlds. If you want to know the difference between a tussock, a piddock and a pollard, or what animal actually makes cuckoo spit or where and when you would find hair ice or if cramp balls are as painful as it sounds…

The book is packed full of information about the features that Wright has chosen to include in the book, along with pictures of typical examples to help you find them when you are out and about. I have come across some of the features that he mentions, such as holloways, pollards and water meadows. There were lots of subjects that I hadn’t come across, tussocks, pillow mounds, spalted wood and the honeycomb worm.

I really liked this book. Wright takes what you would think is a complex subject matter and makes it simple to understand and more importantly easy to spot the things that he talks about in this book. He has a way with words, making this an easy and entertaining read with the occasional part that made me chuckle. If you want to find out more about the lumps and bumps in the countryside around you when you are walking then this is a good place to start.


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  1. Liz Dexter

    Oh this sounds excellent. I’m forever spotting holloways and medieval field systems (there is a fab set of the latter really near here, I was sure that’s what it was and had it confirmed, hoooray!) so definitely one for me.

    • Paul

      I think that it would be right up your street, or more appropriately, holloway…

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