Alumni Books

A River Avon Year: The Wildlife and History of ‘Shakespeare’s Avon’

This is a book about a river; its wildlife, history and folklore, and the remarkable people who have lived in the communities that have grown up on its banks. The river is the Warwickshire Avon, known as Shakespeare’s Avon, that runs 88 miles from its source in Naseby to Tewkesbury where it joins the Severn. The river flows like an artery through the heart of England, and in days gone by its waters have often run red with blood as vicious battles for the crown have played out on its banks, key moments in British history often dramatised by the Bard of Stratford.

The author follows a waymarked path along the Avon valley – The Shakespeare Avon Way – describing a short section each month, with the landscape and nature changing with the months. Along the way there are ruined abbeys, castles, medieval bridges, nature reserves, fossil remains and a host of human stories from the towns and villages that have flourished at ancient crossing points.

The writer sets himself an ambitious target for the number of different birds he can identify during the year, and reflects on the various threats to our natural environment, not least the growing impacts of climate change. The physical and mental benefits of walking in a natural setting, particularly by a river, are now well established, and were particularly valuable during the worst period of the pandemic. Research shows that a walk in the countryside cheers you up; this book will certainly cheer the reader as it takes you on a delightful English journey, with keen observation, a wealth of information, and a host of fascinating stories.

(Rick Thompson / Grosvenor House Publishing Limited, 2023)

More Info