A landmark anthology celebrating British wildlife and landscapes was published yesterday by Elliott & Thompson and The Wildlife Trusts.
Nature Tales contains some of the world’s greatest nature-writers spanning more than 300 years. Included are voices from the past: Gilbert White, author of the classic The Natural History of Selborne, the celebrated Northamptonshire poet and writer John Clare and Charles Darwin. As well as writers familiar to fans of modern British nature writing such as Stephen Moss, Robert Macfarlane and Ruth Padel.
Sir David Attenborough, vice-president of The Wildlife Trusts contributed the foreword for the book. He said: "I have been fortunate enough to travel widely, but I continue to be inspired by wildlife at home. Reading through this volume I have been reminded that I am not alone. This wonderful collection of some of the greatest nature writers in Britain’s history is a pleasure to read from start to finish and a valuable addition to any naturalist’s library."
There is something for everyone: from Nick Baker diving with basking sharks off the Cornish coast to Bill Oddie’s recollections of being bitten by a range of British wildlife. Also included is the son of a Lincolnshire landowner, Sir Joseph Banks, born in 1743. Famed as a botanist and explorer, as a boy Banks enjoyed exploring the Lincolnshire countryside and discovering its wildlife.
Naturalist and television presenter, Steve Backshall, said: "As a kid I was inspired more than anything by writers who managed to make natural history, and the wild, exotic world come to life. Authors like Jack London, Willard Price and Wilbur Smith, who created impossible missions and wondrous characters that made me yearn to be experiencing their adventures for myself.
"Later in life it was the real life tales of Gerald Durrell, Charles Darwin, Sir David Attenborough and Alfred Russell Wallace that caught my imagination, and cemented the certainty that such achievements and experiences need not be merely fiction. To be thought worthy of inclusion in a work that contains such giants, is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me!"
Nature Tales is available from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust shops: The Wildlife Gift Shop, Castle Square, Lincoln; Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre; Far Ings Visitor Centre; and from The Trust Headquarters at Banovallum House in Horncastle.