Shrewsbury School

Home page: Andrew Allott's book

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Andrew Allott, Head of Biology, has had his book on the natural history of The Marches published by Harper Collins, in their New Naturalist series.  The authors of the New Naturalist series are generally renowned experts, professionals and reputed scientists, which makes the books much revered and often used as authoritative introductory textbooks.

The borderland between England and Wales has long been a region of contention. Its distinctive geography, wedged roughly between Welsh mountains and English river beds has not only isolated this rural, sparsely-populated slice of land, but created a unique identity.

Stretching along the bordering counties with England – Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire – the Welsh Marches are made up of a mixture of mountains and moorlands, farms and wooded river valleys. The natural history of the region is like most parts of the British Isles – inextricably linked to the activities of man across many thousands of years.

Andrew wanted to write the book to flag up the amazing natural history of the area, which he felt was not recognised widely enough, and to promote its conservation. It is a very special part of the world that we live in here, and he wanted more people to understand its origins and what needs to be done to protect and enhance the wildlife and the landscape. There are thirteen chapters in the book, and each explores a different theme.

Andrew suggested the subject to Harper Collins and then went over the hurdles of writing a synopsis followed by a sample chapter for them to consider. They then gave him the contract to write the rest of the book.

"It's taken five years on and off - you can imagine that I got very little done in term time, although I was given a sabbatical break of five weeks at the end of the summer term one year to do the field visits needed.  I spent a lot of time bringing together information from a huge diversity of sources, and I also consulted a lot of experts in particular aspects of the natural history."

Our Head of Science, Steve Adams, describes the book as "beautifully produced, reflecting the author's deep respect for and knowledge of the subject matter and inviting the reader to absorb him or herself in the book."

Harper Collins write: "Andrew Allott brings together a wealth of material in the latest New Naturalist volume, much of which is published here for the first time. Presenting the first large-scale survey of this unique part of the country, he offers a complete natural history of the area, covering the hills, fossils, ice ages, meres, mosses, forests, streams and rivers, whilst also focusing on man’s impact on the region, the changing wildlife, the impact of agriculture and the consequences of past and present industrial action."

Please see the Harper Collins website for more information.

Andrew Allott stands by Darwin with Marches

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