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Collins New Naturalist (92) Lakeland: The wildlife of Cumbria Hardcover – 7 Oct 2002

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; 1st edition (7 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000711303X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007113033
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 15.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,085,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘This wise book should make us all aware of the precious inheritance we can so easily destroy’
Cumberland News

‘a compulsive, thought-provoking and enjoyable text laced with his own natural enthusiasm’
Highland News

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Cumbria, or the old faunal area of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands, is the Lakeland area treated by author Derek Ratcliffe in this latest volume in the New Naturalist series.

'New Naturalist Lakeland' aims to tell the story of the whole region from the perspective of its natural history, and from the personal viewpoint of the author. Derek Ratcliffe describes the Lakeland climate and geology, points to key naturalist figures and societies, and explains the nature of the estuaries, coastline and lowlands, the limestone foothills, and the Lake dales and fells, Pennines and Borders. He considers the conservation problems and measures taken, and includes information on organisations such as the National Park Authority, National Trust and Non-Governmental Organisations, before assessing the future environmental prospects for the region.

Derek Ratcliffe grew up in Carlisle. While a schoolboy, he roamed the fells of Lakeland, the Pennines and Borders after ravens, buzzards, peregrines, golden plover and other upland birds. After university, where he turned to botany, he made his career in Nature Conservancy, becoming Chief Scientist in 1973 until his retirement in1989.

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Format: Paperback
I bought this book as the previous volume in the New Naturalist series that dealt with the Lake District, by Pearsall and Pennington, had a tremendous influence on me when I read it as an A level student. It certainly influenced my choice of degree course and my choice of university, and gave me a first insight into what made the region the way it was. But time has moved on since it was published and I was interested to read this book to see how new understanding and new issues would add to the previous publication.

Perhaps then I didn't approach it with a sufficiently open mind, as I found myself comparing it to its predecessor and coming off worse. This isn't to say that it's not a worthwhile read - it is, albeit with caveats, and someone interested in the area who hasn't read the first publication will unquestionably get a lot from it. It also extends the area covered, including more on the northern part of the area and stretching east to the Pennines too.

My caveats are two: that this publication refers to its predecessor within the text too often as a point of further reference - the information should be in this book for the reader; and the writing style, full of references to published works, is academic - this makes it a good deal less accessible to the general reader.

As a supplement and companion volume to the first, it works. But even though it's been a long time since the first volume covering the Lake District was published in the New Naturalist series, I think it remains a better first port of call for the interested reader. An amalgam of that book with this, written in the accessible style of the first, would provide the definitive modern volume.
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