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From the editor

Mark Whitley

For hundreds and even thousands of years, humans have been inspired by the natural world to record their experiences of Nature and the sense of wonder it engenders; in this issue we take an in-depth look at the illustrious history of Nature writing.

Also in this issue, we take a walk in the woods with bestselling author John Lewis-Stempel; we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the New Forest Association; we visit the landmark in the heart of Cornish mining country that was a favourite of John Wesley; we investigate the myriad mysteries surrounding the crop circles that appear in the countryside in summer; and we visit one of the country’s earliest nature reserves, Chippenham Fen in Suffolk.

And I look at what is being done to preserve heritage craft skills; and explore the River Coquet in Northumberland from source to sea.

Celebrate the best of the British countryside with us in this month’s issue.

This month

In the July issue of The Countryman...

Some walks in the wood: Exclusive excerpts from John Lewis-Stempel’s forthcoming book, The Wood: The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood

Buckinghamshire bacon badger: Another tasty recipe from Mrs Simkins; happily, no badgers are involved

A celebration of Nature writing: Miriam Darlington looks at some favourite Nature books through the ages

Wildlife in focus: Common Darter Covered in Morning Dew, Leeds; photographed by Oliver Wright

Secret coves and unwalked ridges: Kenneth Steven and Kristina Hayward are inspired by Scotland’s wild places

A gentleman farmer hanged: Martin Baggoley recalls harsh punishments for sheep stealing

Historic coaching inns: Pete Brown recalls the traveller’s rests of yesteryear

Midsummer marvels in the wildlife garden: Jenny Steel explains how to incorporate wildlife-friendly ideas into any type of garden

The farm sale: Down on the Farm with Will Evans and his cattle, crops and chickens

Goodbye old friend: Geoff Hopwood pays tribute to a Chilterns woodsman

Friends of the Forest: Clive Brooks marks 150 years of the New Forest Association

A hen-terprising old character: More West Country tales from Sarah Brown

The Dr Dolittle of the Cotswolds: John Wright studies the natural dramas around us, in his Letter from the West Country

Knitted swimming cozzies: Paul Jackson remembers a  special item of holiday wear

From source to sea: Coquetdale in Northumberland is explored by Mark Whitley

In my view: Crispin Truman celebrates the work of the Churches Conservation Trust

Fields of dreams? Nick Parkins investigates the mysteries of crop circles

Wesley’s Amphitheatre: Tony Langford discovers Gwennap Pit in Cornwall

Wild about the Fen: Vincent Price visits one of the UK’s earliest nature reserves

Taste of summer foraging: Brian Macdonald’s regular wildlife diary

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