304 pages, illustrations
John Craven has been presenting Countryfile since its launch in 1989 and, for the first time, he has distilled all his knowledge and wisdom into "The Countryfile Handbook". This book is an invaluable resource for those who live in the countryside or want to know more about it. Divided into the different types of land (villages and market towns; fields and farming; upland; lowland; woodland; waterways; and coastline) it offers practical information: How to tell the difference between the swallow, martin and swift; How to learn the various sheepdog calls; The do's and don't's of foraging; How lichen can help tell us how clean the air is; informative essays on rural issues: Why hedgerows are important; Saving British meadows; Reintroducing beavers; plus useful (and entertaining) facts and figures such as: Did you know an acre is the space needed to park 200 cars; 10 things to do with a stinging nettle; and what to do if you see a sheep on its back. Together with stories and anecdotes from the programme, this book really will become your Countryfile companion.
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John Craven was born in Leeds and started his journalistic career as a junior reporter on the Harrogate Advertiser. After spells with the Yorkshire Post as well as national press, he joined the BBC in Newcastle working on regional radio and television programmes before launching from London in 1972 the world's first television news bulletin for children, John Craven's Newsround. Millions of adults watched as well and he became one of the best-known faces on British television. After more than 3,000 editions, John left in 1989 to present the hugely successful Countryfile where he has remained ever since, championing the countryside and investigating rural issues. He also writes a regular column for BBC Countryfile magazine. In the Millennium Honours, John was awarded an OBE for services to rural and children's broadcasting and the Royal Television Society has inducted him into its Hall of Fame. He is vice-president of the Waterways Trust, patron of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad.