Knowing Your Place

Knowing Your Place

Wildlife in Shingle Street

ISBN: 978-0-9935933-0-7
44 pages A5, including a map and 59 colour images


Shingle Street is a tiny hamlet on the Suffolk coast perched precariously between land and sea. There are only some sixty adults and children living here – but that’s just the population of Homo sapiens. We are surrounded by a much greater number of other life forms – over 1,300 of them – which also give the place its identity and make it special. This booklet is both an introduction to and a celebration of that larger local community.

Britain’s wildlife is currently threatened as never before. It has been estimated that in the last fifty years we have lost over half of it – a staggering and shocking statistic. In this situation it is increasingly important for local communities to become aware of the natural wealth in their area, lest it disappears before they even understand its extent and value.

The booklet describes briefly all the main habitats in Shingle Street and the kinds of wildlife that have been recorded here – all 379 species of moths, 314 flowering plants, 222 birds, 59 spiders… everything down to 1 false scorpion.

REVIEWS: Knowing your Place: Wildlife in Shingle Street

“Let’s hope Knowing your Place is the start of a trend, because Shingle Street proves that once you do look at your place, in real detail – wherever it is – it’s likely to contain more life than you ever imagined.”
Michael McCarthy, The Independent
Full review at:

“This booklet, written by the highly literate former head of Cambridge University Press, is a model of its kind. Modestly described as a ‘local inventory’, it gives equal weight to all the forms of life found here, as well as evoking the atmosphere of the place, the sound of the shifting pebbles, the call of the marsh birds and the smell of gorse and drying seaweed. It also reminds us that places like this can no longer be taken for granted, and that such surveys are not only fascinating in what they often reveal but are ‘tiny cries of protest’ in a rapidly changing world.”
Peter Marren, British Wildlife