Read our Q&A with author Stephen Moss
In The Accidental Countryside, author and naturalist Stephen Moss makes a journey of discovery through Britain, in search of the hidden corners where wildlife survives against the odds. From Shetland's Iron Age stone structures to London's most modern skyscrapers, and from lowly railway cuttings to ornate stately gardens, Moss reveals the unlikely oases where wildlife thrives in areas originally created for human purposes. The result is a surprising and uplifting story of how we have influenced the landscape and wildlife of these crowded islands; and how wildlife has taken advantage of us – even when we least expected it.
Stephen Moss is a naturalist, broadcaster, television producer and author. In a distinguished career at the BBC Natural History Unit his credits included Springwatch, Birds Britannia and The Nature of Britain. His books include The Robin: A Biography, A Bird in the Bush, The Bumper Book of Nature, Wild Hares and Hummingbirds and Wild Kingdom. He is also Senior Lecturer in Nature and Travel Writing at Bath Spa University. Originally from London, he lives with his family on the Somerset Levels, and is President of the Somerset Wildlife Trust.
"A superb naturalist and writer.
– Chris Packham
"From stone-age remains to modern day skyscrapers, Stephen Moss takes us on an exhilarating journey through place and time, providing a fascinating insight into nature's relationship with environments created by man."
– Mya-Rose Craig, Birdgirl
"An absorbing account [...] very heartening."
– Anna Pavord, Sunday Times
"Energetic and uplifting."
– Jonathan Drummond, Times Literary Supplement
"The Accidental Countryside is in part a homage to Richard Mabey's 1973 classes The Unofficial Countryside, which explored the untidy, neglected spaces where non-human life was finding a way to hang on and even thrive in defiance of all that 1970s Britain could throw at. It is a worthy successor. Moss's general outlook is that the glass is one hundredth full rather than 99 hundredths empty, and this hopeful stance is supported by delightful observations from Mousa Broch in Shetland to Somerset's Avalon Marshes."
– Caspar Henderson, Spectator
"An intriguing natural history story."
– BBC Wildlife
"Moss seeks out Britain's hidden corners where wildlife survives against the odds."
– National Geographic Traveller
"Moss's bible of hidden places to spy wildlife is a welcome addition to our shelves. From London's city jungle to UK rail corridors, he shows us that rare finds can just be a happy accident in our own back garden."
"Moss explores some very unlikely oases for hard-pressed wildlife in the UK."
– New Scientist
"A wildlife rich tour of the in-between habitats of the British Isles."
– Simple Things