Counting Sheep and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 2.31 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Counting Sheep on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Counting Sheep: A Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain [Hardcover]

Philip Walling
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 4.50 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Saturday, 23 Aug.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 7.72  
Hardcover 10.49  
Paperback 8.38  
Trade In this Item for up to 2.31
Trade in Counting Sheep: A Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain for an Amazon Gift Card of up to 2.31, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

3 April 2014

Sheep are the thread that runs through the history of the English countryside. Our fortunes were once founded on sheep, and this book tells a story of wool and money and history, of merchants and farmers and shepherds, of English yeomen and how they got their freedom, and above all, of the soil. Sheep have helped define our culture and topography, impacting on everything from accent and idiom, architecture, roads and waterways, to social progression and wealth.

With his eye for the idiosyncratic, Philip meets the native breeds that thrive in this country; he tells stories about each breed, meets their shepherds and owners, learns about their past - and confronts the present realities of sheep farming. Along the way, Philip meets the people of the countryside and their many professions: the mole-catchers, the stick-makers, the tobacco-twisters and clog-wrights. He explores this artisan heritage as he re-discovers the countryside, and finds a lifestyle parallel to modern existence, struggling to remain unchanged - and at its heart, always sheep.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Frequently Bought Together

Counting Sheep: A Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain + The Yorkshire Shepherdess + One Girl And Her Dogs: Life, Love and Lambing in the Middle of Nowhere
Price For All Three: 25.25

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (3 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846685044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846685040
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Jacobs are yet another breed supposed to have swum ashore from a wrecked ship, this time a Spanish galleon in 1588. These were gentlemen's sheep, and commercial farmers would be disdainful of their being kept as ornaments with no concern for profit. To their gentle owners they were living lawn mowers that bred their own replacements and needed no fuel. But to a working farmer they were (and still are) little better than goats, and a damned nuisance. (From Counting Sheep)

Philip Walling has written a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable account of this shared history... after reading this book you may look at a sheep, or a roast lamb, or a tweed jacket, with the glimmerings of a new appreciation.' (Angus Clarke The Times 2014-04-05)

Delightful ... Counting Sheep deserves its place on the bookshelf of any lover of the countryside. (Horatio Clare Daily Telegraph 2014-04-12)

Book Description

Long before we were a nation of shopkeepers, Britain was a nation of sheep. Full of stories, history, trivia and humour, Counting Sheep explores Britain through its most influential animal.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3 star
2 star
1 star
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Book 13 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this as a handy reference in order to learn more about the sheep I encounter when walking in the Lake District and the Chilterns. It is indeed an excellent reference book, but is far more than that.
The author is immensely knowledgeable about his subject but wears his learning lightly and writes with self-deprecation and humour. He communicates simply and clearly and his prose is at times lyrical, at times elegiac, as when he confronts the dreadful slaughter during the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 and its lasting impact on our farming.
He places sheep farming in its historical context and covers the sweep of history, from ancient times to the present. He makes the point, and I find it convincing, that many things in the countryside which we assume are gone are still there: they have simply become invisible to us because we have forgotten how to look for them.
There's a section on each of the main breeds of sheep, putting them in both their regional and historic context, along with a delightful and informative chapter on sheepdogs and a closing chapter looking towards the future.
This is a beautifully written book by a writer with great empathy for his subject, and I recommend it highly.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Counting Sheep 4 April 2014
Armed with a clear love of the countryside and a definite fondness for the peculiar, Philip Walling has trekked across Britain in an attempt to better understand the provenance and importance of many of the native breeds of sheep that thrive here. Counting Sheep is his account of the history and current state of sheep farming in this country and of the lives of those who make their living from the countryside. It is an interesting book that illuminates an important area of British life and Britishness that is often overlooked in the modern world.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read 21 April 2014
I bought this for a sheep farming friend. He has yet to receive it...... I'm really enjoying the book. I'm not usually a reader of factual books, nor was I aware of having an interest in sheep but this is easy to read, interesting and full of ovine ephemera which will come in very handy should I be invited to a sheep farmers' convention. Buy it!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Counting Sheep 29 April 2014
By Simj
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have kept sheep for many years and have one remaining 'lady' with me now from the maximum of sixty at my prime. She is now 19 years and very special as you can imagine. I do miss the whole shepherding scene and so when this title jumped out at me, I was hooked. An excellent book, one I would have loved, when actually in the midst of all the activity. I am going to buy the book as it is one I want to actually handle.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A flavour of the countryside 8 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Essential reading for all DEFRA officials, this book combines the authors love of the countryside with a factual and readab le account of the development of the sheep rearing industry. A great deal of common sense is to be found here, coupled with more than a pinch of criticism of the governmental misdirection of the Foot and Mouth Crisis.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternative holiday reading 13 July 2014
Having stumbled across this title looking for something for holiday reading I downloaded a sample and then immediately the book which I found absolutely gripping - I don't keep sheep or have any connection with farming !
It is not necessary to have any previous knowledge or interest in the subject but it will leave you fascinated. Just as fiction can be an escape - Counting Sheep was a true escape and was a great holiday read which I am certain to re-read. I would recommend it to everyone who has never given sheep much of a thought; you will be glad you did. The images at the end of the book are a delight as is the authors style - precise but almost conversational.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An absolute gem,will keep you immersed from the first page.A country lovers ideal summers reading, Recommended, especially to anyone who finds Lambs and Sheep adorable!.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Was this review helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category