Derek Gow is sometimes described as a force of nature, and this book demonstrates that he most certainly is a force for nature.
It’s a good read – very entertaining, very informative and the views of someone who knows what’s what.
It is an entertaining book – there are lots of stories about who did what when, and there is a lot of humour wrapped up in them. The author tells stories against himself too, which is endearing. But it is very informative and many readers, including this one, will learn much about a British species that has been so long absent from our rivers we tend to think of it as a stranger whereas the whole point of the book is that we should feel at home with Beavers. Having said that, they aren’t perfect neighbours in all respects and those aspects are not avoided.
Derek Gow comes across as a real character who is driven by the need to rewild parts of our countryside and with the Beaver as a main component of that rewilding. He is charmingly outspoken about what needs to be done and who needs to do it. Scottish landowners, whom Derek likens to ignorant frontier settlers, may not find his words quite as amusing as I did. And when the former Secretary of State for the Environment in England, Owen Paterson, reads that Derek felt that he was no friend of nature, he may not be amused. Derek can get away with this type of thing because he is a force of nature, because he knows what he is on about and because he is a farmer – he’s difficult to pigeonhole as a normal conservationist.
If you oppose the reintroduction of the Beaver then you should read this book – if nothing else I suspect you will grow to like the author. If you feel a bit ambivalent about the idea then read this book mostly for reassurance to dispel your concerns. If you are up for it already, you’ll love the book but you will be reminded of a few slightly uncomfortable truths.
This is a book that needed to be written and it now needs to be read widely, and its author was just the right person to provide this entertaining but important book.
And the Foreword by Isabella Tree is good too.
Bringing Back the Beaver: the story of one man’s quest to rewild Britain’s waterways by Derek Gow is published by Chelsea Green.[registration_form]