This delightful book Life of a Chalkstream records a year in the life of an essentially English waterscape, one that is home to a vast array of wildlife and natural habitat of the keen angler – the chalkstream. Brought up in Hampshire, Simon Cooper was lucky enough to have great fly fishing on his doorstep; it was only after he moved away that he realised what a closed world chalkstreams were.
Chalkstreams are nearly exclusive to England, ranging from Dorset to Yorkshire and including the famous River Test in Hampshire. Every river is special in its own right. Life of a Chalkstream is a lyrical and revealing voyage through the yearly cycle of this unique waterway. From the remarkable spectacle of salmon, sea trout and brown trout spawning in winter, to the emergence of water voles in spring and the explosion of mayflies in the early days of summer, the author evocatively describes the natural wonders of the chalkstream.
He introduces us to the fascinating diversity of life that inhabits its waters and environs – the fish, the angling community, the plant life and the wildlife. We learn how neglect threatens these inhabitants and why the fight to save the chalkstreams is so vital, not only for fishermen, but for anybody who values the beauty of rural England.
Simon Cooper is one of the UK's leading chalkstream conservationists. He runs a company called Fishing Breaks, hosting courses and tours from April to October at Nether Wallop Mill, in the heart of Hampshire. A beautiful thatched cabin overlooking a gin-clear trout lake beckons to budding fishermen and nature enthusiasts.
"[Simon Cooper] is a renowned fly-fisher himself and, in this book, he writes as well as he casts [...] delightful [...] Mr Cooper is in love with chalkstreams and anyone who reads this splendid book will soon hold the same view."
– Country Life
"I loved the gentle flow of this book and the insight into both a pastime and a wonderful corner of the land."
– BBC Countryfile
"Cooper's enthusiasm is so infectious"
– Daily Mail
"We are taken on a delightful journey overflowing with passages that capture our imagination [...] It is both uplifting and therapeutic, and I cannot think of an angler who would not benefit from reading this book."
– Classic Angling