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Life of a Chalkstream [Kindle Edition]

Simon Cooper
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This delightful book records a year in the life of an essentially English waterscape, one that is home to a vast array of wildlife and natural habitat of the keen angler – the chalkstream.

Simon Cooper grew up in Hampshire, where he first fell in love with fly fishing. Only after moving away did he realise how little people knew about the secret world of the chalkstreams.

Chalkstreams are nearly exclusive to England, ranging from Dorset to Yorkshire and including the famous River Test in Hampshire. Every river is special in its own right. Life of a Chalkstream is a lyrical and revealing voyage through the yearly cycle of this unique waterway.

From the remarkable spectacle of salmon, sea trout and brown trout spawning in winter, to the emergence of water voles in spring and the explosion of mayflies in the early days of summer, the author evocatively describes the natural wonders of the chalkstream. He introduces us to the fascinating diversity of life that inhabits its waters and environs – the fish, the angling community, the plant life and the wildlife. We learn how neglect threatens these inhabitants and why the fight to save the chalkstreams is so vital, not only for fishermen, but for anybody who values the beauty of rural England.

Product Description


‘[Simon Cooper] is a renowned fly-fisher himself and, in this book, he writes as well as he casts […] delightful […] Mr Cooper is in love with chalkstreams and anyone who reads this splendid book will soon hold the same view.’ Country Life

‘I loved the gentle flow of this book and the insight into both a pastime and a wonderful corner of the land.’ BBC Countryfile

‘We are taken on a delightful journey overflowing with passages that capture our imagination […] It is both uplifting and therapeutic, and I cannot think of an angler who would not benefit from reading this book.’ Classic Angling

About the Author

Simon Cooper is one of the UK’s leading chalkstream conservationists. He runs a company called Fishing Breaks, hosting courses and tours from April to October at Nether Wallop Mill, in the heart of Hampshire. A beautiful thatched cabin overlooking a gin-clear trout lake beckons to budding fishermen and nature enthusiasts.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1883 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (8 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #187,359 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER on life in a trout stream 11 Jun. 2014
This is exactly the book I have desperately been waiting for for so many years.

Where is that gifted person, and is there actually one out there, able to combine his love for all those creatures of a pristine chalk stream with an outstanding knowledge of nature's secrets and an exceptional understanding of the interactions in that fascinating life of a brown trout river? Would he - as a flyfisherman - be able to widen the flyfishermen's horizon and answer all those questions they ever had or even weren't aware of having them? And would this person be able to tell all this in a captivating and true language?

I can't stop reading, being so emotionally touched by the amount of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, truthfulness and love. By describing his personal experience with the restoration of a neglected chalk stream the author enthralls and fascinates me and makes me look at a trout river in an absolutely new way. In a way of understanding, seeing, caring.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive chalkstream book 14 May 2014
This is a very personal, well written book about all elements of the chalkstream: water quality, biodiversity, fish and fauna, mayflies and man. Pastoral and modern, it will interest naturalists, anglers and daydreamers. Mr Cooper brings a comfortable tone and clear voice to the reader. Belongs on the bookshelf next to Neil Patterson's Chalkstream Chronicle; it's a terrific first book, and I hope we see more from Mr. Cooper.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming insight to a gentle World 29 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been privileged to fish most of the chalk streams of Southern England over the past 15 years, and my fascination with these pristine, vibrant ecological gems is total. Simon Cooper's love of these rivers comes across strongly in this book, and his gentle narrative of a year in the life of one of them as a privileged custodian is a fascinating insight for those of us doomed to be no more than occasional visitors to these tranquil Worlds.

If you fish for trout and grayling, or if you love the English countryside, then you'll also love this book which, for me, ended too soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sticklebacks, Eels (and lots of Trout) 25 Oct. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must admit, at the start, that I am no fisherman and probably never will be (sorry, Simon!). I think the only fish I have ever caught was a miller's thumb (which, thanks to Simon, I now know is properly called a bullhead) in my parents' garden stream in Somerset (not exactly Chalkstream territory!) when I was about 7. I used the somewhat unorthodox method of placing a jam jar in front of the fish, which I then tapped on the tail with a tea spoon. Well, it worked! Such amateur tactics would be eschewed by an expert such as Simon. This expertise is communicated effortlessly (or so it seems) and the book is a joy to read. It seems invidious to pick out any particular aspects of Life of a Chalkstream when the book, as a whole, is so enjoyably instructive but the passages on Life in the Stickleback Family and the Lifespan of an Eel were utterly fascinating. I can't wait for Simon's next book!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading 6 Jun. 2014
Simon Cooper's 'Life of a Chalkstream' is an enchanting book which should not be mistaken for just a fishing manual, just a river keeper's diary or another set of nature notes. It's all this and a lot more. Anyone who raises a fly rod on a or plans to do so will enjoy the minute observations, Simon's encyclopaedic technical knowledge and the history, geography and ecology of this complex ecosystem and its inhabitants. Simon's is perspective is modestly and charmingly delivered, covering a vast set of subjects in concise and lively prose. The fascinating story of bringing a river back to its best, interwoven with reflections and unassuming fishing, botany and zoology tutorials makes for a delightful and informative work of which Izaak Walton would have been proud and which is guaranteed to help pass those winter evenings whilst waiting for the season to open. A wonderful gift for those inviting you for a day's fishing and a reminder, for those of us who need it, of what it means to spend a life well. Thank you, Simon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book - I know nothing of fishing but certainly learned a lot more about both the intricacies of this pastime and also life in and around a chalk-stream. Such a pleasant and enlightening read written with great care and attention to detail. I could form pictures in my mind very easily from the wonderful descriptions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 16 Sept. 2014
By Mark G.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
could not wait to finish so I could read again and absorb completely great read from start to finish thank you.
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