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First published in 1879, Wild Life in a Southern County traces the course of a spring which rises on an Iron Age hillfort and gradually broadens into a brook, flows through a nearby village and hamlet, skirts a solitary farmhouse and its orchard, before draining into water meadows and a lake where the wildfowl nest.
Immersed in the detail of this ancient landscape, its people and the habitats of its wildlife, what emerges from Jefferies' dazzling prose is his sense of perpetual wonder and the deep affection he felt for his homeland, from the clatter of a milkmaid's boots to a pike lying in ambush.