The Beauty in the Beast

1 May

Hugh Warwick has a unique concept: “gateway species”, species which people form an attachment to, and then forge an attachment with nature in general.  For Hugh (and for myself) this species was the hedgehog.

In “The Beauty in the Beast” Hugh goes looking for people with a deep attachment to their “gateway species”, and in doing so meets a variety of charming and eccentric individuals, and gets up close and personal with many different English creatures.

For Hugh, the idea was to find another creature who delighted him as much as the hedgehog does, and that creature would be immortalized as a tattoo on his leg…to go with the hedgehog one he already had.

The book provides an enchanting look at various British creatures, and also the people who now dedicate their lives to them.

There are sections on otters, dragonflies, water voles, bats, badgers, and many more.

“The Beauty in the Beast” is both enchanting and depressing, because you cannot write about wild creatures without writing about their rapidly shrinking habitat and the attitudes of both governments and big business… ie…they couldn’t give a stuff, in most cases.

I came away from the book with a desire to know more about water voles, and a desire to see them in the wild, if at all possible.

And no, I won’t be getting a tattoo.

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