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Complete Guide to British Wildlife (Collins Handguides) Paperback – 11 May 1981

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (11 May 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002192128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002192125
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 11.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this in 1984 and have used it on walks every year since then. It's an absolutely brilliant book, covering 1500 species in a most convenient format (288 pages, long pocket sized). I've looked at all the more recent pretenders and not one of them comes close to this. And there's the rub. Climate change means that parts of this book desperately need updating, particularly the sections on previously migratory species that have now settled here. Why Collins produced a new, much lesser, volume rather than update this one I'll never understand. At very least, they could have copied the format. Having said all that, get it - there's nothing better.
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Format: Paperback
I was given this book as a child and have used it over the last 15 years. It's dog eared, and full of flattened plant specimens now!
It's a great guide, the illustrations are preferable for me to photographs, as they seem to allow for the variation you see in individuals much better, giving a better ID.
I've bought quite a few other guides since receiving this one and I have to say for an all rounder there's no better! It's a sort of compact composite of the old illustrated Collins gem guides.
I love the size - which fits into a large camo pocket, or long rucksack pocket, and the front cover is of a durable (15 years and going), but flexible material.

The sections are:
Trees and climbers
Wild flowers
Waterweeds
Sedges, grasses and rushes
Lower plants and fungi
Mammals
Animal tracks (one of my favourite inclusions)
Birds
Other Vertebrates
Butterflies and Moths
Other invertebrates
The seashore
Farm crops and livestock
Glossary

Other reviews have mentioned how migratory species have become resident since this was printed, which is a fair point, but:

I really can't recommend this book highly enough - especially for families or children with an interest in the natural world.

If any one from Collins reads this, please update and reprint it - I haven't bought the 'new version' because it just can't touch this!
Oh and a short section on birds feathers would be nice - just for ones you often find eg mallard, pheasant, sparrowhawk, wood pidgeon etc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Later print version of our well-thumbed large pocket-sized field-guide to British wildlife which we can keep in the car for when out and about. Has helped identify a range of flowers, trees, shrubs, birds, animals and insects over many years. The children find it easy to use and the clear pictures allow them to distinguish between what look like similar species.
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Format: Paperback
If anyone from "collins" reads this review, find out who's idea it was to stop printing this book, and to bring out a pathetic attemp to replace it, go and sack them. This book is a must for anyone who enjoys the countryside and all it has to offer, It's like having Bill Oddie and Kate Humble in your pockets
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellt book considering it's age nothing as concise has been brought out.
Great illustrations and a handy addition to have as a quick reference guide. Covers everything imaginable from animal and plant species to tracking and bugs,
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I mostly agree with the other positive contributors regarding how handy and yet comprehensive this book is despite it being first published in 1981 (my copy is a 1992 reprint). At that age it is essential to forgive the discrepancies that have occurred due to the passage of time and the changes that have taken place over the last 30+ years, this being balanced enormously by the extremely well laid out presentation and excellent illustrations.
In summary, a really handy,portable field guide.
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Format: Paperback
This is a nice-to-have, fairly low cost book. Not an Encyclopaedia by a mile, but for anyone generally interested in what's out there, it's interesting to dip in to. Good for kids, say. That word "Complete" really is a misrepresentation though which would disappoint a bright kid! The coverage of the whole subject would have to be shallow in a book this small, but it's not very even, either.
Pity: with a bit of editing, and a better title, it could be a joy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Published in the mid 80s this remains one of the best single volume guides to British Wildlife. With excellent illustrations by Norman Arlott and simple but informative text by Richard and Alastair Fitter, this is the ideal guide to take on a stroll in the countryside or to keep in the car's glove compartment.
No guide of this size cannot be totally comprehensive and inevitably there will be omissions. Keen ornithologists ,entymologists and mycologists for example may need more detailed and inclusive field guides, however, this book will be more than adequate for those with a general interest in our island's flora and fauna. Time has also taken it's toll since the guide was written, for example in the 8os the copyu was still a widespread unwelcome alien - today it has been eradicated. Then,the Red Kite was confined to Mid Wales whilst today this magnificent raptor can frequengtly be seen over the Chilterns. This detracts nothing from the guide which will continue to inform and delight the casual naturalist. Nothing published since then comes close.
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