Silt Road: The Story of a Lost River
Charles Rangeley-Wilson's book is a remarkable story and a remarkable read, says Mark Williams
The publishers say:
Mark Williams writes:
FM members will see Charles Rangeley-Wilson as a familiar face through The Accidental Angler on TV but it is as an author that he really shines.
Silt Road is emphatically not a book about fishing, but it is a book about fish, and in particular the River Wye. Not the Wye which runs the Welsh border country, but the Wye which gave High Wycombe its name. And if you’ve not heard of it, that’s because almost the entire river runs beneath the town, buried by town planners.
It may be small but the Wye is remarkable in one, particular, way; it is a chalkstream, and an extreme example of the appallingly crass way in which we still treat this extraordinarily rare, almost uniquely English habitat. Silt Road is, in many senses, a premature epitaph for chalkstreams everywhere.
Deftly, Rangeley-Wilson has elevated the story of the Wye above the extreme depression it should provoke in every angler. Through a slightly eclectic mix of historic record and rueful reflection, he has crafted a book which instantly joins the elite of angling books; it holds its own among great books, not just angling books.
Don’t buy this book if you want to know about fishing. Buy it because you like to read good books, and to remind yourself that, if we do nothing, one day all that will remain of chalkstreams will be our memories of them.
I spent much of my childhood living a short walk from the Wye and it was from there I caught my first ever trout, my first 'big' chub on floating crust and where I learned how to trot and how to catch minnows and bullheads in bottle traps, and indeed white-clawed crayfish by hand (no alien signals around in those days...).
It was a delightful little river back then - at least those bits you could access were - and it helped to shape my young angling world and taught me much about nature and the environment.
I couldn't wait... I've just this minute downloaded the book to my Kindle and can't wait to read it, it sounds like a real gem.