New book takes readers on a journey along the River Avon - The Leamington Observer

New book takes readers on a journey along the River Avon

A NEW book written by a Warwick wildlife expert takes readers on a journey along the River Avon.

‘A River Avon Year’, by journalist and wildlife author Rick Thompson, follows the 88-mile long ‘Shakespeare Avon Way’ in short sections month by month, from the source of the river in Northamptonshire to the River Severn in Gloucestershire.

It describes the changing wildlife as the seasons unfurl, and relates some of the significant moments in England’s history that have played out on the riverbanks, involving mighty abbeys and castles, key battles that have made the waters run red, and some curious stories worthy of The Bard of Avon himself. There is also plenty of folklore and legend associated with the flora and fauna.

Rick said: “I was curious to know more about this lovely river that flows through my home town of Warwick in the centre of the Avon valley. It is a relatively young English river. It carved its present course at the end of the last ice age a mere 12,000 years ago.

“The settlements that grew up at crossing points, from the source at Naseby where Charles I was defeated, Rugby known worldwide for its cement, Leamington the Victorian boom-town, Warwick with its huge castle, Stratford the tourist magnet, Evesham with its famed fruit and veg, Salty Pershore and Tewkesbury where the Wars of the Roses had their final bloody chapter – all have their stories. And there is surprising wildlife to be found along the length of the river.

“But how clean is it? Is it becoming more polluted? Is there evidence of the growing biodiversity crisis and the local impacts of climate change? I found it instructive to discover what is being done to restore the river’s rich wildlife, and to prevent damaging floods in the Avon valley.”

David Kelham, the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, added: “This book is full of fascinating stories and descriptions of the wildlife to be found along the river that runs like an artery through the heart of England.”

Rick will be talking about the book and signing copies at the Warwick Visitor Information Centre in Jury Street between 12noon and 2pm on Saturday March 18.

‘A River Avon Year’ – the Wildlife and History of Shakespeare’s Avon – is available to buy on Amazon, The Book Depository, and all leading online booksellers, priced £10.


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