I was sent this book to review and was very glad to do so, as it promised to neatly solve a common class of problem. Often I'll be walking in the countryside and see a field of some unusual crop. Is it peas, or beans of some sort? Is it grown for animal feed or human plates? This slim volume promises to be your guide to all such countryside conundrums, crops being just one small part.

It covers a wide array of topics, all well presented with good photographs and brief descriptions containing interesting tidbits, which makes it lively, engaging and informative. It's quite good to just sit and read in the comfort of your home frankly.

With 96 narrow-format pages it really is quite slim, which is great for tucking into an already over-burdened bag, but I felt that its compactness is also its biggest problem. There is just one page on crops (so no help at all really for my problem above) and if you want to look up badgers, bats, kingfishers, or any owl other than the little owl, you're out of luck. It's ironic that there's a picture of a barn owl on the back cover, but nothing about them within.

I presume that the authors were forced by size-constraints to concentrate on common daytime species, but when we saw what might have been a badger's sett and I opened the book with my young daughter, we were disappointed to find nothing. Similarly as we watched a bat skimming over a canal in the afternoon, or a kingfisher dipping into the river – surely one of the most iconic and treasured birds to spot on a walk?

I think I (or perhaps it) got a bit unlucky with the things I saw on my walks, and realistically it's pretty good for identifying common plants and animals and learning more about the terrain itself. Its breadth is admirable, covering ancient monuments, waterways, boundaries, clouds, village life and more. It's already a decent book for the keen novice that wants to get out and about, but will hopefully be much improved if a second edition comes along with 50-100% more content for the areas that are weak. Maybe based on feedback they could find some relatively unpopular sections to cut entirely, to enable the rest to really shine without becoming a weighty tome.

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