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The story of an obsession: Charles Rangeley-Wilson goes on a quest to find a hidden river, uncovers our vanished wilderness and the history of an English landscape lost from view

At the foot of a chalk hill a stream rises in a silent copse, and is soon lost under the car parks and streets of the town its waters once gave life to. Captivated by the fate of this forgotten stream Charles Rangeley-Wilson sets out one winter’s day to uncover its story.

Distilled into the timeless passage of the river’s flow, buried under the pavements that cover meadow, marsh and hill he finds dreamers and visionaries, a chronicle of paradises lost or never found, men who shaped the land and its history.

Reviews

A rich dowsing-out of a lost river and its stories; a passionate pursuit of landscape ghosts.

Robert MacFarlane

A work of extraordinary power and resonance

Melissa Harrison, Financial Times

Passionate, persuasive and personal…it is an elegy to a fascinating world of which many of us have lost sight

Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

Superb book… Its story is an acute example of the criminal disregard our nation has had for these remarkable rivers

Mark Lloyd, BBC Countryfile

Silt Road is that rare ting: a book that is able to marry exacting research with imaginative fluency, told in language as pliant and revealing as water

Earthlines

Sometimes fascinating, often very beautiful, occasionally shocking and sombre… Fans of Robert Macfarlane’s Wild Places will love it (5 star review)

Phoebe Smith, Wanderlust

Rangeley-Wilson’s historical excursions are fascinating

Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph

Captures lyrically the note of melancholy in the English landscape

Peter Stanford, Tablet

Through a slightly eclectic mix of historic record and rueful reflection, [Rangeley-Wilson] has crafted a book which joins the elite of angling books; it holds its own among great books, not just angling books

Slough Express

By turns learned and lyrical, this is a great swirl of a book – luminously well written, and as intriguing as a cabinet of curiosities.

David Profumo

Charles Rangeley-Wilson has a lyrical eye for country, the heron-like patience of the experienced waterman, and the flinty cussedness of the first-rate researcher. Silt Road is a captivating elegy for a lost river, and for the lives through which it flowed.

Luke Jennings

This remarkable account of a venerated and mistreated English chalk stream is a thousand-year-old detective story of rare beauty and brilliant insight, as though John McPhee had channelled Gilbert White.

James R. Babb, Editor, Grays Sporting Journal

The author's passion, underpinned by his deftness of touch, makes the book an utter joy to read

John Aston, Trout and Salmon Magazine

You will be moved and altered by what you read in this groundbreaking book

John Andrews, Caught By The River

The language in Silt Road is gorgeous. Throughout the book there are so many fine rhythms – truly musical, poetic beats and phrasing

Henry Hughes, Professor of Literature, Oregon University

Local history raised by water power to the status of allegorical memoir... In searching for the Wye, the author is also looking for something that is 'far more deeply interfused'

John Greening, Country Life

The author has a fine eye for the telling detail, and an even finer ear; the human noise which drowns out the gentler sounds of nature has seldom been anatomised better

Alex Sarll, Western Daily Press

This is an intimate exploration of the interaction between humans and landscape down the ages

Country Walking

A compelling read

Choice

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099554660

    April 15, 2014

    Vintage

    288 pages

    RRP $24.99

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448182107

    April 4, 2013

    Vintage Digital

    288 pages

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