Touring the southern counties of England by foot and on horseback from the white cliffs of Dover to the heart of the countryside, William Cobbett recorded a swiftly changing way of life with energy, wit, passion and principle. Here he juxtaposes lyrical evocations of oaken wealds, cornfields, rolling downs and shaded lanes with acerbic attacks on the poverty of starving agricultural workers and the corrupt establishment of his day.
Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too.It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).
William Cobbett (1763-1835) was a prolific writer and radical journalist. Born in Surrey, the son of a tavern owner, he travelled extensively and educated himself, becoming a controversial anti-authority figure who fought against political corruption and injustice and campaigned for parliamentary reform. He was also a farmer, ensuring his workers had access to the three Bs: bacon, bread and beer.