Illustrated talk on A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries :
With apologies to Socrates: an unexamined walk is not worth taking. There is so much more to see if a walk is taken slowly and with an observant eye. Still, one often sees things in the countryside for which no explanation comes readily to mind. Few will recognise a plant gall for what it is, few will know how a water-meadow or a marl pit works and fewer still will know the nature of the weird green/brown jelly blobs that sometimes appear on damp footpaths. A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries (Profile Books) describes, in considerable and cheerful detail, many of the strange things people encounter on their wanders. Over fifty such mysteries are described and explained, from dew ponds, strip lynchets and hollow-ways, to rust fungi, plant galls and slime moulds. You will never see the countryside in the same way again.
John Wright, a furniture maker turned natural history writer, lives in rural West Dorset. After being invited to join Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall on the River Cottage programme as a wild mushroom guru, he eventually left his work-bench to concentrate on writing, leading wild food forays and giving talks. He is best known for his books on foraging, including his last book, The Forager’s Calendar. His other published books are The River Cottage Booze Book (Bloomsbury), all about home-brewing, The Naming of the Shrew (Bloomsbury), a cheerful exposition of biological Latin names, and The Natural History of the Hedgerow (Profile Books). In October, his eighth book, A Spotter’s Guide to Countryside Mysteries (Profile Books), is due to be published. Two further books on natural history have been commissioned.