The natural history of an ordinary English country parish was one of the first subjects that suggested themselves when the New Naturalist series was planned. Being chiefly farmland and therefore practically all man-made, most country parishes are extremely complex from the naturalist’s point of view and also inevitably contain a vast amount of human history. Any attempt to describe their plants and animals has to be closely related with the ways of man himself, who must be regarded as the chief element in the community – a fact which has been obvious enough to naturalists ever since the days of Gilbert White. For this book we are fortunate to have found an author who combines a thorough all-round knowledge of natural history with a sound insight into human customs, history, pastimes and farming methods. Arnold Boyd has lived in Cheshire all his life – since 1902 in the parish of Antrobus, part of the old parish of Great Budworth, the character of which is typical of much of the Cheshire Plain. In keeping with the best tradition of English amateur naturalists, he excels as a collector of facts, as has been apparent from his previous books, his writing in the Manchester Guardian and other journals, and in his assistant editorship of British Birds. By weaving together his collection of facts he presents us with a book of remarkable unity and which shows a wide grasp of every aspect of the living communities. This charming yet erudite portrait will protect his beloved parish forever from the ravages of human forgetfulness.
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