This is an exploration of an overlooked but very British habitat – the temperate rainforest. It’s understandable that it is much neglected, there’s not that much of it left and it is, as the name suggests, found in the soggiest places in the north and west of the UK. Its denizens are the fungi, ferns, mosses and liverworts which, you’d have to admit, are an acquired taste that most of us don’t ever acquire. But they now have a talented storyteller and gifted campaigner voicing their cause in Guy Shrubsole. They are very lucky as he does a great job.
Much of our temperate rainforest has disappeared, being chopped down by us or gobbled up by livestock or deer. But living up wet hills and on poorish soils has meant that more of it remains than maybe might have been expected. I loved the account of the visit to Young Wood (an ancient wood!) in the Lake District, a very small remnant of woodland that is the highest altitude (485m asl) rainforest in the UK, and not well known or much appreciated. It sounded wonderful. Other visits to sites near the author’s home in Devon, in Wales and Scotland will persuade most readers that this is a habitat worth saving and cherishing.
The text is well informed, enthusiastic but also very engaging. If Guy can’t persuade you that temperate rainforests are wonderful then no-one can (and let’s face it, so far, for most of us, no-one has). I’m persuaded and I greatly enjoyed the journey of exploration.
The cover? That looks like a soggy forest but it’s a bit gloomy for my taste. I’d give it 8/10.
The Lost Rainforests of Britain by Guy Shrubsole is published by William Collins but I spent 10 minutes trying to find it on the publisher’s website with no success so here is a link to Amazon – click here.[registration_form]