ASCHB AT 50: INFLUENTIAL BOOKS
Nominated Books in alphabetical order of author:
Coming shortly ….
Book: “Hidden Histories: A Spotter’s Guide to the British Landscape”
Author: Mary-Ann Ochota
Published by Frances Lincoln Ltd, London 2016 RRP £20.00
This book was presented as a tome that would interest families, but it is far more than that. Admittedly in areas where one has expertise it can seem a bit patronising, but the sheer breadth of subjects covered makes this an invaluable book to take on trips around the British Isles and to have at home, both as a reference book and a book you can just dip into when you have a few moments of peace.
It starts off looking a ‘lumps and bumps’ which covers all forms of prehistoric earthworks from forts to burials, to hedges and ridge and furrow. It looks at ‘stones’ from standing stones to stone carvings to finding flint tools. It continues with ‘lines’ covering road and field boundary alignments to ancient woodland and trees. Its longest section is ‘in the village’ where it covers placenames, buildings and materials and all sorts of other structures and features.
Dip into a section and you may think you know about a particular area of, say, the history of roads but there are always facts you did not know about lurking in the text.
This is a highly readable book containing so much information for both families on outings and the professional involved in the building, development and transport world. I would highly recommend it as reference book for every home and office. It is an excellent accompaniment to earlier publications by Common Ground, founded in 1983 by Sue Clifford, Angela King and Roger Deakin to seek imaginative ways to engage people with their local environment. It champions the idea of local distinctiveness, and without saying as much, this book does the same in an engaging and intelligent way. A must have.
Reviewed By: Charles Wagner, President of ASCHB and Planning & Heritage Consultant