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THE ENCHANTED LAND: Myths and Legends of Britain's Landscape

By Janet and Stuart Bord, published by Heart of Albion Press at £14.95. 187 + vi pages, 112 b&w photographs and 17 drawings. ISBN: 978 1872 883 915 (Reviewed by David Taylor)

This could (and should) be the shortest book review in ever in WD. All you need to know about this book is that it is a gazetteer of ancient British sites by veteran researchers Janet & Colin Bord. Excellent high standards and detailed knowledge are therefore guaranteed.

Unlike previous books by the Bords (most notable being the classics Mysterious Britain and The Secret Country), this books deals with the folklore of natural places caves, streams, rivers, hills, wells etc. In this respect, you get a feeling that you are encountering stories from these sites in the ‘raw’, partly unaffected by the interference of human hand. The numinous experience at these places is more natural than at say a stone circle.

So here you will find stories of dragons in caves and pools, sunken villages, fairy sites, spectral creatures, sleeping Arthurian knights giants and witchcraft. All of these sections are fully illustrated with photographs of the sites concerned.

The book is nicely finished off by a gazetteer of sites you may wish to visit. Gazetteers such as this are interesting in light of current concerns about ‘eco-tourism’, but I suppose it is assumed that anyone buying this book also shares these concerns and will be accordingly careful.

I whole-heartedly recommend this book as I know it will do what the authors set out to do open up the rich vein of folklore available at our natural sites.

As Proust said, “The real magic lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. This book gives you new eyes.