In 1953 the schoolboy Alan Garner rediscovered a wooden shovel originally found in the Alderley copper mines in 1875. In 1991 he presented it to the Manchester Museum in the University of Manchester: this – and the discovery of a hoard of over 500 Roman coins – inspired the creation of the Alderley Edge Landscape Project, a multi-disciplinary research programme of the Museum and the National Trust, who own of most of the Edge, that aimed to study the entire history of Alderley, from geology to entomology, mining to oral history. No other village has enjoyed such a comprehensive study of its story: the list of chapter-headings reads like a roll-call of everything you ever wanted to know about this or any place. The Story of Alderley concludes with Alan Garner's retelling of the famous legend of the sleeping king, setting a familiar tale told him by his grandfather in a whole other world of prehistoric ritual and sacrifice.
1. Introduction - John Prag
2. Approach to the Edge - Alan Garner
Part II. The bedrock of the Edge
3. Introduction: the geological story of Alderley Edge - Simon Timberlake and David Thompson
4. Introductory survey: rocks, minerals and landforms - Simon Timberlake
5. The solid geology - John Nudds, John Pollard, David Thompson and Geoffrey Warrington
Appendix on Rhyncosaurides - John Pollard
6. The minerals of the Edge - David Green, Richard Braithwaite, David Thompson and Geoffrey Warrington
7. Geomorphology - The evolution of the landscape -R.H. Johnson and David Thompson
Part III. Natural history - the flora and fauna
8. The vegetation of the Edge - Sean Edwards, Simon Timberlake et al.
9. The familiar birds of Alderley Edge - John Adams and Edward Stanley
10. Amphibians and water beetles - Jill Smethurst and Jonathan Guest et al.
11. Invertebrates, insects & spiders - Dmitri Logunov et al.
12. Butterflies on Alderley Edge: resources, habitats and changes - Roger Dennis
Part IV. Human history
13. The archaeology of Alderley Edge - John Prag and Simon Timberlake
Underground - The mines
14. The evidence for mining before 1598 - Simon Timberlake
15. Mining in the Alderley district: the documented period - Geoffrey Warrington
16. The Alderley Edge Mines: working the mines - Nigel Dibben with Paul Deakin
17. The quarries of Alderley Edge with a note on the graffiti - Nigel Dibben with Carolanne King et al.
Overground - Social history
18. The history of Alderley Edge - Clare Pye
19. Living memory: the people of the Edge (the oral archive) - John Ecclestone
Appendix: the voice of Philip Jarvis - John Adams, John Prag
21. Alderley Edge: the villas and the village - Matthew Hyde
22. The Stanley Estate - Matthew Hyde
23. Nether Alderley water mill: an historical and architectural study - Mike Redfern
24. Tracks, paths, roads and rights of way on the Edge - Clare Pye, Simon Timberlake and Carolanne King
25. The stones of Alderley Edge - John Adams
26. Alderley: the names of street, house and field - John Adams
Part V. Looking back, looking forward
27. Close to the Edge: ensuring the future of the Edge for everyone - Chris Widger
28. By Seven Firs and Goldenstone: an account of the Legend of Alderley - Alan Garner
29. Envoi - John Prag
Part VI. End matter
30. Bibliography - John Prag
31. Glossary - John Prag
Index - Simon Timberlake
A. J. N. W. Prag is Honorary Professor at the Manchester Museum and Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Manchester
"John Prag, who has given so much of his life to the Alderley Edge Landscape Project, says that the driver for setting up the project in 1995 was to collect as much information as possible for the National Trust to compile a proper management plan for the site, balancing the need to protect the 'essential magic' of the Edge with sustainable access. That is why the project and its accompanying book are so comprehensive in scope, with chapters on the geology, pond life and trees, birds and invertebrates – no other village has received such an extensive and in-depth study."
– Chris Catling, Current Archaeology, June 2016