Author – Professor Ian Mercer
Format – Paperback (400 pages)
Publishers – Collins Publishing Ltd.
Price – £21.00
It has been many years since a ‘significant’ Dartmoor book has been published and that situation has been rectified by the publication of Ian Mercer’s book ‘Dartmoor’. I have several hundred Dartmoor books in my library and the majority of them sit on a dusty bookshelf at the back of the office. However, on my desk I keep 26 books near to hand and these I would classify as the everyday ‘look ups’, if I want to know something these are the books I go to first. They include all of Crossing’s books, Hemery, Row, Worth, Butler, Brewer etc, they now have a new addition – Ian Mercer.
Here you have 400 pages that bring Dartmoor screaming into the 21st century, the book is studded with stunning photographs, maps and diagrams. For many years Professor Ian Mercer has been involved with the various aspects and committees related to Dartmoor which clearly shows in this book.
‘New Naturalist Dartmoor explores the complex and fascinating history of one of southern England’s greatest National Parks, an area of enormous interest to naturalists and tourists alike. Dartmoor is said to be the loneliest wilderness in England. This has been said more often of Dartmoor than any other part of our country. Traditionally in the world of fiction as well as that of fact, Dartmoor has been renowned as a vast and empty moorland area, the property of nature rather than of man. It has always been the public’s idea of a lonely place. Not many generations ago it was regarded with a certain amount of awe and nowadays it is one of our most important centres of recreation, an island in upland England of abundant interest to the naturalist. In 1951 it became a National Park, one of the first of several places that have been so designated in Great Britain, helping to conserve and promote both its beauty and cultural heritage. Spanning miles of open moorland, whilst also hiding small secluded river valleys, rare plants and endangered birds, Dartmoor is a place of variety, and has evolved in the public’s mind from a forbidding place to that of romance and mystery. In the latest addition to the long-running New Naturalist series, Ian Mercer sets out to explore every aspect of this important area of southern Devon. Focusing not only on its extensive history and physical landscape, but also its cultural place within Great Britain, this is both a comprehensive and engaging look at the wild and rugged landscape that has inspired so many poets, painters and musicians over countless centuries.’
At £21 the book is a bargain, that works out at 0.07p a page and will be an investment that is guaranteed to bring hours of discovery and pleasure each time its covers are opened.