Books compiled from magazine or newspaper columns occasionally struggle to offer the cohesion of a coffee table book written with that end in mind, but this isn’t the case with Candida Lycett Green’s Unwrecked England.
Selected from 17 years worth of her columns from The Oldie magazine, Unwrecked England is a vast, deep pool of a book that you’ll want to dip your toes into, wade up to your waist in or dive head-long into.
Candida’s passion for England’s wild places was passed down to her by her mum Penelope and dad, St John Betjeman, and in her preface to the book she writes of happy childhood memories spent exploring the countryside. Far from being a simple travel-guide, the book is a celebration the best of England’s unspoilt areas, from entire villages to a single oak-tree, so that while her entry on Ashdown is largely factual, other pieces are a glorious mishmash of impressions supplemented with quotes from diverse sources ranging from modern-day horse traders and pub landlords to historical diarists, artists and poets. Continue reading