John Craven’s Countryfile Handbook


Part of our Sunday evening ritual is Countryfile, a last glance of the great outdoors and some ideas for new adventures before returning to the 9-5 grind on a Monday.  John Craven is part of that routine, a bit of a Countryfile legend having joined the program in 1989 and still regularly featuring in a “John Craven investigates” feature.

In those 24 years on the program he has covered the country and all aspects of it.  Now he wants to share it and he has distilled all his knowledge and wisdom into “The Countryfile Handbook“.  This book is described as an invaluable resource for those who live in the countryside or want to know more about it.

The Handbook is neatly broken up into the different types of land with sections on Villages, Markets Towns, Fields and Farming, Upland, Lowland, Woodland, Waterways and the coastline, it covers everything!

As well as the types of land it covers useful countryside must knows including

  • How to tell the difference between the swallow, martin and swift;
  • How to learn the various sheepdog calls;
  • The do’s and don’t's of foraging;
  • How lichen can help tell us how clean the air is;

and essays on countryside priorities -

  • Why hedgerows are important;
  • Saving British meadows;
  • Reintroducing beavers;

Alongside the more serious parts to the countryside the handbook gives you a host of fun and entertaining facts which you can pull out at the perfect moment of a camping trip and impress your friends with.  Facts and stats such as: Did you know an acre is the space needed to park 200 cars; 10 things to do with a stinging nettle; and what to do if you see a sheep on its back.

Amazon reviewer rate John Craven’s Countryfile handbook at 4.2 out of 5 stars (it lost a star due to Amazons delivery service!  Not sure that’s fair!) with review snippets including -

It is a book to treasure, to leave lying around for others to read and to pick up and delve in at any page.

It does make an interesting read but could really do with being in a larger print format and colour pictures to make it a good coffee table book.

A good, interesting read for those of us interested in whats what out there.

So don’t make Countryfile just a Sunday treat enjoy the Handbook throughout the week!

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