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Dartmoor (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 111) [Hardcover]

Ian Mercer
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 50.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Sep 2009 Collins New Naturalist Library (Book 111)

New Naturalist Dartmoor explores the complex and fascinating history of one of southern England's greatest National Parks, an area of enormous interest to naturalists and tourists alike.

Dartmoor is said to be the loneliest wilderness in England. This has been said more often of Dartmoor than any other part of our country. Traditionally in the world of fiction as well as that of fact, Dartmoor has been renowned as a vast and empty moorland area, the property of nature rather than of man. It has always been the public's idea of a lonely place.

Not many generations ago it was regarded with a certain amount of awe and nowadays it is one of our most important centres of recreation, an island in upland England of abundant interest to the naturalist. In 1951 it became a National Park, one of the first of several places that have been so designated in Great Britain, helping to conserve and promote both its beauty and cultural heritage.

Spanning miles of open moorland, whilst also hiding small secluded river valleys, rare plants and endangered birds, Dartmoor is a place of variety, and has evolved in the public's mind from a forbidding place to that of romance and mystery.

In the latest addition to the long-running New Naturalist series, Ian Mercer sets out to explore every aspect of this important area of southern Devon. Focusing not only on its extensive history and physical landscape, but also its cultural place within Great Britain, this is both a comprehensive and engaging look at the wild and rugged landscape that has inspired so many poets, painters and musicians over countless centuries.

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Dartmoor (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 111) + Books and Naturalists (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 112) + Badger (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 114)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; First Edition edition (17 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007184999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007184996
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘A superb example of what can be achieved by focusing on one particular location – a scholarly survey of one of our favourite wild places.’

‘This book is a much needed appreciation of Dartmoor as it stands in the first decade of the twenty-first century. It will quickly become a classic work.’
Dartmoor Matters magazine

Praise for the New Naturalist series:

'The series is an amazing achievement.'
The Times Literary Supplement

'The books are glorious to own.'

About the Author

By Ian Mercer

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An instant classic 11 Nov 2009
Ian Mercer has impeccable credentials for writing the new classic book on Dartmoor. By background an ecologist and teacher he was Chief National Park Officer for Dartmoor for 17 years up to 1990, when he became Chief Executive for the Countryside Council for Wales. He has long lived on Dartmoor and is currently Chairman of the Dartmoor Commoners Council which regulates and represents the farmers whose cattle, sheep and ponies graze the extensive common land. The book is liberally illustrated with photos and diagrams, and covers every aspect of Dartmoor's long history. It is also bang up to date, and does not shy away from pointing the finger at some of the less well advised interventions of recent statutory agencies. Above all the book is beautifully written, avoiding all jargon and never using a long word when a short one will do. You feel in the presence of a real human voice, and Mercer's deep knowledge of and love for Dartmoor and its inhabitants, including the human ones, always shines through. Perhaps not a book to be read straight through at one go, but one which anyone interested in Dartmoor will want to have on the shelf, and refer to again and again.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dartmoor - A Statement of its Time 12 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Dartmoor Bibliography of Peter Hamilton-Leggett lists some 7,000 entries, demonstrating the vast literature of Dartmoor. Among these entries there are some titles that stand head and shoulders above the rest and command a space on the bookshelf of every lover of Dartmoor. It probably started with Samuel Rowe's Perambulation of Dartmoor and was later followed by Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor and other titles, Worth's Dartmoor, and Hemery's High Dartmoor. The Dartmoor Essays from the Devonshire Association, and Dartmoor - A New Study edited by Crispin Gill are also notable volumes on the same shelf as also is the Dartmoor volume in the New Naturalist series by Harvey and St Leger Gordon.

A treat therefore lies in store with the publication of Ian Mercer's Dartmoor in the New Naturalist Library series. The book is a reworking of the 1953 title by Harvey and St Leger Gordon - where Ian Mercer is acknowledged for providing assistance, but is entirely new material. The depth and breadth of knowledge that Ian Mercer brings to this title comes from his long association with Dartmoor of over 50 years. The first National Park Officer, and now chairman of the Dartmoor Commoners' Council, there can be few who can match his experience.

Although Ian's business card describes him as "Itinerant Chairman", it is in his role as a geographer that he gives us his appreciation of Dartmoor. And unlike the earlier volume in the New Naturalist series, it is an understanding of the area that sees an insoluble link between the human and the natural aspects of the landscape. So as well as the descriptions of vegetation and fauna we also see the people who have worked the landscape through the ages and the vital role that farming has contributed to the creation of the moorland.

This book is a much needed appreciation of Dartmoor as it stands in the first decade of the twenty first century. It will very quickly become a classic work.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great content - sloppy editorial quality 23 Sep 2010
I was excited about receiving this book, but am struggling to enjoy the content because of the sloppy standard of the editorial work. Within the first few pages we have typos and rogue full stops, and even a factual inaccuracy that refers to something as 'Sennett's Cross', when it is in fact 'Bennett's Cross'. I am greatly disappointed that the standards of the publishing house and editorial quality of this prestigious series has fallen so drastically. It has really marred my enjoyment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible editing, turgid prose 7 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought the paperback version. The worst-edited mainstream book I've ever had. Sentences crash into confused grammar and syntax. Factual errors also. As another Amazon reviewer notes, mistakes weren't corrected for the paperback. Amazingly poor stuff and an embarrassment to the New Naturalist imprint.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dartmoor - A Statement of Its Time 25 Sep 2009
This is one of the outstanding Dartmoor books to have been published for many years. It will stand among the greats of Dartmoor literature as a comprehensive study of Dartmoor that brings it screaming into the 21st century. Well written, lavishly illustrated with photographs, maps and diagrams. This book is a must for anybody with an interest in Dartmoor and an absolute must for any Dartmoor devotee.
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