42 books like Landscape and Englishness

By David Matless,

Here are 42 books that Landscape and Englishness fans have personally recommended if you like Landscape and Englishness. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The History of the Countryside

Jeremy Burchardt Author Of Lifescapes: The Experience of Landscape in Britain, 1870-1960

From my list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the countryside ever since I was a child. Every year we used to stay for a week or two on a beautiful farm hidden away in a hollow of the Leicestershire wolds. I was fascinated by the wildlife and history – the old cottages and churches, local traditions and place names. It’s no accident I became a rural historian! I’m captivated by the strange power of landscape to affect us, subtly weaving itself into our sense of being, and have devoted much of my adult life to trying to understand this. I hope you find the books on the list as rewarding as I have!

Jeremy's book list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

Oliver Rackham is to historical landscape ecology what W.G. Hoskins is to landscape history.

More than anyone else, Rackham had the vision to understand that the pattern of woods, fields, hedges, moors, and marshes that defines the English countryside, although seemingly natural, was in fact created by a delicate and constantly shifting balance between human intervention and geological, climatological and ecological influences. 

The Chiltern beechwoods I’ve enjoyed walking in since childhood, for example, exist partly because the timber was valuable for the chair-making industry that once flourished there, while the species-rich hay meadows of Swaledale that entranced me on a recent cycle tour were part and parcel of the local dairy-farming tradition, and have been put at risk by its decline.

By Oliver Rackham,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The History of the Countryside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From its earliest origins to the present day, this award-winning, beautifully written book describes the endlessly changing character of Britain's countryside.

'A classic' Richard Mabey

Exploring the natural and man-made features of the land - fields, highways, hedgerows, fens, marshes, rivers, heaths, coasts, woods and wood pastures - he shows conclusively and unforgettably how they have developed over the centuries. In doing so, he covers a wealth of related subjects to provide a fascinating account of the sometimes subtle and sometimes radical ways in which people, fauna, flora, climate, soils and other physical conditions have played their part in the…


Book cover of The Making of the English Landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Author Of Lifescapes: The Experience of Landscape in Britain, 1870-1960

From my list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the countryside ever since I was a child. Every year we used to stay for a week or two on a beautiful farm hidden away in a hollow of the Leicestershire wolds. I was fascinated by the wildlife and history – the old cottages and churches, local traditions and place names. It’s no accident I became a rural historian! I’m captivated by the strange power of landscape to affect us, subtly weaving itself into our sense of being, and have devoted much of my adult life to trying to understand this. I hope you find the books on the list as rewarding as I have!

Jeremy's book list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

This has to be the most original and influential book ever written on landscape history – indeed it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that Hoskins invented landscape history. 

He shows us that beneath the lineaments of ordinary, everyday landscapes, a fascinating past can be discerned. A few bumps and hollows in a grassy field can indicate the site of a vanished medieval village; a double line of hedgerows might signify the boundary of an Anglo-Saxon estate. With this book in hand, we can all become landscape historians! 

Most of all, I love Hoskins’s distinctive voice, eloquent and passionate in defence of the landscapes he cherishes, deploring the violence inflicted on them and those who lived in them by the ruthless forces of industrialization and modernity.

By W. G. Hoskins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of the English Landscape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deals with the historical evolution of the English landscape as we know it. It dispels the popular belief that the pattern of the land is a result of 18th-century enclosures and attributes it instead to a much longer evolution. This book traces the chronological development of the English landscape from pre-Roman days to the eve of the Black Death, onwards to the Industrial Revolution and up to the present day. With the help of photographs and charts, Professor Hopkins discusses the origins of Devonshire hedge-banks and lanes, the ruined churches in Norfolk and lost villages in Lincolnshire, Somerset's marshland ditches,…


Book cover of Landscape and Memory

Jeremy Burchardt Author Of Lifescapes: The Experience of Landscape in Britain, 1870-1960

From my list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the countryside ever since I was a child. Every year we used to stay for a week or two on a beautiful farm hidden away in a hollow of the Leicestershire wolds. I was fascinated by the wildlife and history – the old cottages and churches, local traditions and place names. It’s no accident I became a rural historian! I’m captivated by the strange power of landscape to affect us, subtly weaving itself into our sense of being, and have devoted much of my adult life to trying to understand this. I hope you find the books on the list as rewarding as I have!

Jeremy's book list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

No one writes quite like Simon Schama. This is a sprawling epic of a book, global in its sweep. 

It ranges from the Polish-Lithuanian forests, where bison roam oblivious of centuries of human conflict and suffering, to the Orinoco, in Walter Raleigh’s doomed and bloody footsteps, to the grandeur (or hubris?) of Mount Rushmore. Much of it, however, concerns the tangled threads of myth and collective memory that haunt the English landscape. 

As someone born in Nottingham and brought up on Robin Hood, I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the medieval greenwood. Schama’s erudition and range of examples are dazzling. Throughout, he argues that Western civilization, far from being fundamentally antagonistic to nature as some have claimed, is permeated with rich, powerful and persistent myths of nature and landscape. 

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Landscape and Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Time Magazine Best Books of the Year. In Landscape and Memory, award-winning author Simon Schama ranges over continents and centuries to reveal the psychic claims that human beings have made on nature. He tells of the Nazi cult of the primeval German forest; the play of Christian and pagan myth in Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers; and the duel between a monumental sculptor and a feminist gadfly on the slopes of Mount Rushmore. The result is a triumphant work of history, naturalism, mythology, and art, as encyclopedic as The Golden Bough and as irresistibly readable as Schama's own…


Book cover of Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity

Jeremy Burchardt Author Of Lifescapes: The Experience of Landscape in Britain, 1870-1960

From my list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the countryside ever since I was a child. Every year we used to stay for a week or two on a beautiful farm hidden away in a hollow of the Leicestershire wolds. I was fascinated by the wildlife and history – the old cottages and churches, local traditions and place names. It’s no accident I became a rural historian! I’m captivated by the strange power of landscape to affect us, subtly weaving itself into our sense of being, and have devoted much of my adult life to trying to understand this. I hope you find the books on the list as rewarding as I have!

Jeremy's book list on enhance your understand and enjoyment of landscape

Jeremy Burchardt Why did Jeremy love this book?

I’ve been lucky enough to hear Paul speak on many occasions. He has a bright engaged manner and restless energy, ideas and examples pouring out almost too quickly to absorb. It’s the intellectual equivalent of standing under a waterfall.

Storied Ground reflects that energy and originality, prompting us to rethink many longstanding assumptions about the relationship between landscape and national identity. Was the English love of landscape a backwards-looking, conservative force, or a reassuring source of continuity that eased our passage into the modern age? Was it true, as Stanley Baldwin once claimed, that ‘England is the country, and the country is England’, or did the civic pride of prospering towns contribute to national identity too?

To these and many other questions, Paul gives surprising, sometimes challenging and always thought-provoking answers.

By Paul Readman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Storied Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

People have always attached meaning to the landscape that surrounds them. In Storied Ground Paul Readman uncovers why landscape matters so much to the English people, exploring its particular importance in shaping English national identity amid the transformations of modernity. The book takes us from the fells of the Lake District to the uplands of Northumberland; from the streetscapes of industrial Manchester to the heart of London. This panoramic journey reveals the significance, not only of the physical characteristics of landscapes, but also of the sense of the past, collective memories and cultural traditions that give these places their meaning.…


Book cover of The Plague Dogs

Tui Allen Author Of Ripple: A Dolphin Love Story

From my list on animal stories for love of our planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a teacher, sailor, kayaker, and environmental-vegan animal lover. I live by the sea among marine wildlife. I grew up sailing, then sailed the Pacific on the tiny wooden boat that was my first marital home. We had no engine, no modern technology. Like the sea beings, we had a wing in the wind and a fin in the sea so we lived in their world, on their terms. Alone, helming under the stars, I dreamed of dolphin culture and mentally made lists of possible dolphin vocations. This helped me create fiction from the dolphin viewpoint. Input from scientists brought authenticity to my marine environmental fantasies and messages. 

Tui's book list on animal stories for love of our planet

Tui Allen Why did Tui love this book?

Richard Adams himself signed my copy of this book when he visited New Zealand long ago. If he hadn’t looked deep into my eyes at the time and promised me it had a happy ending I might never have made it to the end, so harrowing was the story. But I finished it and he was right. The story questions the ethics of human exploitation of animals. To me, Plague Dogs was his greatest work, far more important than Watership Down, and certainly no children’s book. Adams is a true master at presenting the animal's point of view. This book hit me like a sledgehammer and like Watership Down, it beautifully evoked the natural world of its setting.

By Richard Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Plague Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, escape from a research laboratory in the Lake District where it is wrongly supposed they have been purposely infected with a deadly virus and now pose a dangerous threat to the human population. As the authorities give chase, the two friends make their way through the hills and across the moors, along the way learning to survive on their wits and finding friendship and help from a fox they encounter. They dream of finding their original owners and a safe haven - but the hunt is on.

A lyrical and engrossing tale, The Plague Dogs…


Book cover of John Keats: Poetry, Life and Landscapes

Virginia Crow Author Of Beneath Black Clouds and White

From my list on inspirational stories of the romantics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with Romantic poetry when I was young. Then, after a gap of several years, I began to write historical fiction, and it was at this time that I found myself being drawn once more to the Romantic poets, this time as people as much as for their work. I discovered their place in the world, contested and controversial, and their influence became a driving light to me and my characters. In Beneath Black Clouds and White, Delphi explains: “It has a pulse, you see, like any other living thing. You must treat each poem as though it were alive.” I feel the same way!

Virginia's book list on inspirational stories of the romantics

Virginia Crow Why did Virginia love this book?

I first came across this book through Twitter, and was very excited to find it on my present pile later in the year! This is a brilliant telling of each aspect of Keats’ life, looking at the impact the young poet had on those around him, those who knew him by reputation, and those who are still impacted by his legacy – the author included! The research and deliverance of this book is clearly a labour of love, and it makes for engaging reading and a sympathetic look at this historical figure.

Why Keats? Well, Henry Fotherby in my own book has the same overall outlook as the young poet – but he manages to complete his path to becoming a surgeon!

By Suzie Grogan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked John Keats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_We read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the Author_.' (John Keats to J.H. Reynolds, Teignmouth May 1818)

John Keats is one of Britain's best-known and most-loved poets. Despite dying in Rome in 1821, at the age of just 25, his poems continue to inspire a new generation who reinterpret and reinvent the ways in which we consume his work.

Apart from his long association with Hampstead, North London, he has not previously been known as a poet of 'place' in the way we associate Wordsworth with the Lake…


Book cover of Joss Naylor's Lakes, Meres and Waters of the Lake District: Loweswater to Over Water: 105 miles in the footsteps of a legend

Stuart Fisher Author Of Canals of Britain: A Comprehensive Guide

From my list on our canals, rivers, and coast.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate enough to take up white water kayaks as a student in Scotland, eventually becoming a member of the British wild water racing team. The portable nature of these craft makes it easy to move from one stretch of water to another. I subsequently became the editor of Canoeist (by accident) and have travelled all the major British canals, the larger lochs, the entire mainland coast, and many other waters, producing guides that have been found useful for those on the water, on foot, on bikes or in armchairs.

Stuart's book list on our canals, rivers, and coast

Stuart Fisher Why did Stuart love this book?

In 1983 the 47-year-old fell runner Joss Naylor set a record of 19 hours 14 minutes for touching all 27 relevant lakes in the Lake District.

His astonishing time for this 169km run still stands. This was not on the flat, of course, but often over rough country, involving over 6km of vertical height gain.

He had to prepare his support team, find his own route and have witnesses at each lake in the days before mobile phones or satnav. The author walked the route in 2020 with a photographer and Joss in 10 days, still not hanging about for a man in his 80s.

Joss chose to donate his royalties for this inspirational book to the Brathay Trust, which helps the disadvantaged, match funded by publishers Cicerone.

By Vivienne Crow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Joss Naylor's Lakes, Meres and Waters of the Lake District as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

King of the Fells. Iron man. Lake District fell running legend. Joss Naylor is all of these things and more. His achievements are astounding, his records stand the test of time. In 1983 he completed the 105-mile Lakes, Meres and Waters (LMW) route in a staggering 19hr 14min and to this day, describes it as one of the best routes he ever ran. High praise indeed and yet, so few know of it.

Part guidebook, part inspirational regaling, this book interweaves tales of past and present as Naylor reflects on his 1983 epic on a re-walk 37 years later. In…


Book cover of The Prelude

Mark Rennella Author Of The One-Idea Rule: An Efficient Way to Improve Your Writing at School and Work

From my list on helping you find and assert your voice in writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

Mark Rennella has given students and professionals helpful advice about writing throughout his career, most recently as a writing coach for MBA candidates at Harvard Business School. Mark earned a PhD in American history from Brandeis University and has taught literature and American history at Harvard University, the University of Miami, and the University of Tours (France). Mark's books, articles, business case studies, and collaborative writing endeavors have garnered him critical praise from historians, academicians, and business leaders alike. His concept of the “one-idea rule” was included among HBR.org’s ten favorite management tips for 2022 and was featured more recently in Forbes. He currently works as an editor for Harvard Business Publishing.

Mark's book list on helping you find and assert your voice in writing

Mark Rennella Why did Mark love this book?

This long poem depicts the “prelude” – the influences from childhood – of William Wordsworth’s life as a poet. In other words, this literary biography explores the source of this poet’s unique voice. This poem was another exciting discovery made during my years as a graduate student.

There are many written works that explore the influence of a writer’s early life on the development of their unique poetic vision. A more recent example is a favorite of mine, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Living to Tell the Tale.

But, for me, Wordsworth stands out because of the incredible sustained poetic voice, vision, and rhythm of this piece, which he worked on and revised over his lifetime. I think the Two-Part Prelude of 1799 is better than the longer version of 1850. The Prelude of 1799 is long enough to take the reader to a new world, but short enough so the magic…

By William Wordsworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prelude as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Prelude" is William Wordsworth's epic reflection on his lifetime journey as an artist and is widely considered to be one of his most significant works. First published in 1850 after the poet's death, Wordsworth began working on the blank verse poem in 1798 and continued modifying and expanding it for the rest of his life. Two earlier versions of the poem have been found and published, showing the evolution of this monumental work. A first version, called the "1799 Prelude", is the poem in its earliest and shortest stage. A second version, the "1805 Prelude", is much longer and…


Book cover of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

Donna Howard Author Of Bright-Eyes, Bushy-Tail, And The Nutty Narrows Bridge

From my list on nutty squirrel tail tales.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I fell in love with picture books and the magical, whimsical worlds they opened! I recall snuggling up and listening to these tales being read to me. Later, after a bit of a struggle, I learned to read myself. From there, there was no stopping me. My library card was my most treasured, most loved possession! I quickly moved on to chapter books, then to novels, but never outgrew my love and passion for picture books! As a former teacher and now great-grandparent, I treasure the opportunity to usher children down the rabbit hole of reading!

Donna's book list on nutty squirrel tail tales

Donna Howard Why did Donna love this book?

I am recommending this book because I fell in love with it as a child.

First, those beautiful watercolor illustrations of pure whimsy and secondly, I secretly loved the mischievous squirrel Nutkin and his riddles. As an adult, I love cuddling with my family's nutkins and sharing a laugh and a lesson on the sly.

There is just something special about sharing with your grandchildren a book you loved as a child!

By Beatrix Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin is an original classic by Beatrix Potter.

Beatrix Potter's famous tale of a naughty squirrel who loses his tail is as popular today as it was when it was first published over 100 years ago. Join Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and all his cousins as they make their way over to Owl Island to gather nuts. See what happens when Old Brown, the terrifying owl guardian of the island decides he has had enough of silly Nutkin's cheekiness! Ouch!!

Beatrix Potter is regarded as one of the world's best-loved children's authors of all time. From…


Book cover of Dark Game

Paul Gitsham Author Of Web of Lies

From my list on British Bobbies currently on the beat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing my DCI Warren Jones series for more than ten years now. In addition to trying my best to craft a compelling story, with relatable characters, I love the challenge of balancing this with authentic police procedure. All the books and authors recommended here are excellent exponents of this craft. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them, and believe that they have helped me improve as a writer. I deliberately chose the first in each series, in the hope that you will continue reading to see how the characters evolve.

Paul's book list on British Bobbies currently on the beat

Paul Gitsham Why did Paul love this book?

The first in Lynch’s long-running DI Kelly Porter series, this book introduces a strongly-written female protagonist, investigating a well-crafted mystery.

This is ideal for readers who want to be transported to a beautiful location (Cumbria and the Lake District). Over the course of the series the characters all grow and develop in interesting ways. I originally started the series three books in and was able to pick up the ongoing storylines with ease, before going back and reading from the beginning.

From a procedural perspective, the books are well-researched and the balance between detail and story-telling is spot-on.

By Rachel Lynch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

DI Kelly Porter knows some people will risk everything to get ahead. But when the truth comes out deadly prices are paid...

After a scandal forces DI Kelly Porter out of the Met, she returns to her home turf in the Lake District. Crimes in the Cumbrian constabulary tend to be of the minor sort, but Kelly begins work on a cold case that shocked the local community - the abduction and brutal murder of ten-year-old Lottie Davies.

Meanwhile, Kelly is also investigating two seemingly straightforward crimes: a case involving an illegal immigrant, and a robbery following the death of…


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