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Hidden Histories – a spotter’s guide to the British Landscape by Mary-Ann Ochota. Published by Frances Lincoln in 2016. Hardback

Posted: Wednesday 25th January 2017 by Book-Reviews

This is a fascinating book even though it is not about wildlife at all (apart from a short chapter on ancient woods). Instead the author takes us through the various manifestations of human activity over the ages as they can be read in the landscape.

Bumpy fields translate into medieval farming systems or long barrows, rocks reveal ring and cup marks and ancient trackways appear when you know what to look for.
The scope of the book is very wide, from Stonehenge to ‘reading’ cottage walls and from deserted plague villages to clapper bridges.

Rather surprisingly there’s nothing about green men but since there are so many books on that subject, perhaps the author decided to leave well alone.
As an introduction to landscape reading across the British Isles, this is a book to get you thinking where you want to go on your next holiday or long weekend. There’s so much to see and learn and it’s such fun doing so.

Do you know where Long Meg and her Daughters are? I’ve been to this stone circle in Cumbria and was very impressed by it and its history. For once, the complete lack of any interpretation made the experience all the more mysterious, wild and natural feeling. And the setting sun helped considerably!

Nick Brown

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