Time and tide

J., Stafford, Fiona


Red squirrels and red kites, drained lakes and flooded valleys, sulphurous springs and sea-filled caves. The land, sea and skyscapes of the UK are constantly shifting. Species, landmarks and ways of life slip in and out of existence, and firm ground is often just out of reach. Weaving together stories drawn from literature, local history and her own family heritage, Oxford professor Fiona Stafford leads us along coastlines and through forests and fens, revealing the forces, both natural and human, which leave places unrecognisably changed. Following in the footsteps of John Keats, Charles Dickens, and Wilkie Collins, the book takes us from the monkey puzzles planted in Cornish coastal gardens to the wave-beaten rocks of Fingal’s Cave. The book offers glimpses into the past and a sense of nature’s resilience that gives us hope for the future.

In stock

Publish Date: 15/02/2024


Really engaging … the equivalent of a series of refreshing walks outside… personal, gentle yet buzzing with surprising connections and brilliant cross-references, and shot through with tender delights and unexpected revelations‘ RICHARD HOLMES
Consistently and continuously compelling . . . an invigoration and a pleasure to read, and reread, and return to’ PROFESSOR ALAN RIACH
Wonderful… Fiona Stafford unpeels layers and layers of Britain’s landscape to reveal the stories within. A fascinating compendium of people and places and how they endlessly interact to change each other’ PHILIP MARSDEN

A village waits at the bottom of a reservoir. A monkey puzzle tree bristles in a suburban garden. A skein of wild geese fly over a rusty rail viaduct. The vast inland sea that awed John Clare has become fields.

Chapter by fascinating chapter, alive with literary, local, and her own family history, Fiona Stafford reveals the forces, both natural and human, which transform places. Swooping along coastlines, through forests and across fens, following in the footsteps of Burns and Keats, Celia Fiennes and Charles Dickens, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Noel Coward and Compton Mackenzie, join her, time-travelling deep into the stories of our Isles.

From red squirrels to brick vistas, from botanical gardens to hot springs, the landscapes of Britain are full of delights and surprises. Chance discoveries of rare species, shipwrecks and unlikely ruins, curious trees and startling towers, weird caves and disused airfields, or even just baffling placenames offer ways into unexpected histories and hidden lives. The clues to the past are all round us – Time and Tide will help you find them.

Additional information

Weight 420 g
Dimensions 222 × 140 × 34 mm










304.2 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K