Wild About Dorset is a new collection of nature writing from award-winning journalist and author Brian Jackman.
Drawing on a decade's worth of monthly columns in his local community magazine, Jackman paints a 'year in the life' of wildlife and wild places in West Dorset's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), where he has lived for fifty years. A rumpled, tumbling world of green-gold hills, bordered by the Jurassic Coast's crumbling cliffs and melting away inland somewhere north of Beaminster, few corners of England are so rich in wildlife or so intensely rural.
Arranged month-by-month, this book celebrates the only place in the British Isles that reminds Jackman of the lost countryside of his youth. Complementing Jackman's love letter are thirteen full-page color illustrations by celebrated nature artist Carry Akroyd, an award-winning member of the Society of Wildlife Artists.
This is a book about nature – an account of natural history observations. Start the year by joining Jackman to watch sea trout and mating foxes, and close it with mistletoe and 'Viking thrushes'. In between, watch peregrine falcons fly along Dorset's Jurassic Coast, marvel at mad March hares, glow worms and dormice, and witness the fallow deer rut amid ancient oakwoods. This is also a book about place – celebrating the vigorously local and unequivocally rural even more deeply than his book Wild About Britain (also published by Bradt). Via Jackman's pen, explore the holloways (old sunken trackways) and lynchets (medieval field systems) that characterise West Dorset landscapes. Indulge in haymaking, beekeeping and the pleasure of log fires. Visit Powerstock, a thatched village straight out of Cider with Rosie. Marvel at Kingcombe, 'the farm that time forgot', which was declared a National Nature Reserve in 2021. And enjoy views from a giant Iron Age hillfort marking the geological divide between southern England's chalklands and the true West Country.
Evocative, personal and authoritative, Wild About Dorset is a unique portrait of rural England's wildlife and landscapes, a breath of country air that will inspire reader to don walking boots and grab binoculars, then fall in love again with the great British countryside.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 January
Chapter 3 February
Chapter 4 March
Chapter 5 April
Chapter 6 May
Chapter 7 June
Chapter 8 July
Chapter 9 August
Chapter 10 September
Chapter 11 October
Chapter 12 November
Chapter 13 December
Chapter 14 Epilogue
Brian Jackman's distinguished career in journalism, a lifetime spent writing about wildlife and the world's wild places, has earned him a reputation as one of the pioneers of ecotourism. He may be best known as Britain's foremost writer on African wildlife safaris, but his first love has always been the countryside around his home in West Dorset where he has lived for the past 50 years – and this beautiful book is his tribute to its unique landscapes and rich natural history. An award-winning journalist and author, Jackman's books include The Countryside in Winter, Wild About Britain, his autobiography West with the Light: My Life in Nature, The Marsh Lions (with Jonathan Scott) and Savannah Diaries (the last four all published by Bradt). He worked for The Sunday Times for twenty years, but now writes principally about nature and travel for The Daily Telegraph.
"This is a jewel of a book, and if you dip into it, you will quickly see why the area it describes is special." - Michael McCarthy, former environment editor of the Independent