Read Counting Sheep by Philip Walling Online


Sheep are the thread that runs through the history of the English countryside. Our fortunes were once founded on sheep, and this book tells a story of wool and money and history, of merchants and farmers and shepherds, of English yeomen and how they got their freedom, and above all, of the soil. Sheep have helped define our culture and topography, impacting on everything fSheep are the thread that runs through the history of the English countryside. Our fortunes were once founded on sheep, and this book tells a story of wool and money and history, of merchants and farmers and shepherds, of English yeomen and how they got their freedom, and above all, of the soil. Sheep have helped define our culture and topography, impacting on everything from accent and idiom, architecture, roads and waterways, to social progression and wealth. With his eye for the idiosyncratic, Philip meets the native breeds that thrive in this country; he tells stories about each breed, meets their shepherds and owners, learns about their past - and confronts the present realities of sheep farming. Along the way, Philip meets the people of the countryside and their many professions: the mole-catchers, the stick-makers, the tobacco-twisters and clog-wrights. He explores this artisan heritage as he re-discovers the countryside, and finds a lifestyle parallel to modern existence, struggling to remain unchanged - and at its heart, always sheep....

Title : Counting Sheep
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781846685057
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Counting Sheep Reviews

  • Snoakes
    2019-01-20 05:54

    Well I now know as much as I could ever possibly want to know (and probably more) about sheep!This is a whistlestop tour of the history of Britain from the perspective of sheep farming - highlighting particular breeds of sheep along the way. I'm afraid I shall forget the peculiarities and features that make each breed distinct fairly quickly, but it's interesting stuff, from an author who is clearly passionate about his subject.

  • Paul
    2019-02-16 04:05

    Normally when I think of sheep, the first thing that springs to mind is the hilarious series by Aardman, Shaun the Sheep. That aside, sheep have had a long history in this country from the ancient wild Jacob breeds, the domesticated breeds that the Romans brought over 2000 years ago, right up to the modern breeds and crosses that populate our hills and pastures still now. Way back in the past, sheep drove our economy and people made vast fortunes supplying, what was considered, the finest wool in the world. The ovine economy helped define our culture and landscape too, the Wooksack can be found in the Lords (now they have removed the horsehair), and the husbandry of sheep played a significant role in our social structures and infrastructure.The work has always been hard, as Walling finds out as he meets the shepherds and enthusiasts who own and care for the modern day breeds today in our countryside. They still support our rural economy today, though they have much less impact financially than they did. In his journey back to our heritage he re-discovers the landscape today and learns of the modern challenges behind sheep farming today. It is not a bad book overall, with thought provoking writing. I really think though that I really don’t need to know any more about sheep now though.

  • Joey Bach hardie
    2019-02-08 00:14

    A fantastic exploration of the past and present of sheep husbandry in Britain, and how it has shaped both the animals and the people who keep them.The last few chapters, which attempt to deal with current political issues, are rather muddled, however. Walling's passion for the subject, which in all other sections excites and illuminates, turns these discussions into little more than rants devoid of context or depth.Fortunately, these chapters are short and tucked away at the end of the book, and they do not seriously mar what is otherwise a beautiful historical narrative.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-17 03:55

    Not quite a four star due to the last bit of the last chapter. No Mr Walling I believe we are quite sure that peatlands are disappearing and they are so important we have to try to reverse that change. We may not have the answer to that but have to keep trying. And overgrazing may have played a part. Otherwise not only a delightful read but full of information. Sheep have always been so important in the history of the UK but also the course of civilization, that we should all know a lot more about it.

  • Mad
    2019-02-02 23:05

    If you like sheep (I like sheep) then this is a fascinating history. With each chapter focussing on different breeds, Walling explores the development of sheep husbandry and the role sheep have played in economic life in the UK.

  • Lincoln Green
    2019-02-06 07:01


  • Julian Walker
    2019-01-23 02:13

    A really off beat book for me, but one with so many nuggets of information it is almost like a history of trivia (and I mean that in a hugely complimentary way to the author).Written with first-hand knowledge and many years’ experience, this is a book about the very fabric of country living.A little political at the end of the book, but a good read in the main, I really felt the life of a shepherd and farmer come alive.A different take on the development of British life and an enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in the country.

  • Erin Britton
    2019-01-17 01:04

    Armed with a clear love of the countryside and a definite fondness for the peculiar, Philip Walling has trekked across Britain in an attempt to better understand the provenance and importance of many of the native breeds of sheep that thrive here. Counting Sheep is his account of the history and current state of sheep farming in this country and of the lives of those who make their living from the countryside. It is an interesting book that illuminates an important area of British life and Britishness that is often overlooked in the modern world.

  • Julie
    2019-02-17 06:04

    This was a fun book to read, giving an interesting perspective on how intertwined English history and sheep are. As odd as that sounds, it's a fascinating look, often focusing on specific breeds and their place in history/how they came about, as well as some notable figures from animal husbandry, which might not be all that interesting to some. However, this book excels at being an almost travelogue of the sheep of Britain, as well as the countrysides where they are from. The one hard thing for me, as an American, is that the author references things the I think his audience (being that it was printed in the UK) would be familiar with. At one point, I talked to a friend who has a Master's in Scottish History from the Uni of Aberdeen about what the author was talking about. It was a lengthy, but needed, explanation, and it shed a lot of light on what the author was saying. But those are things that most Brits would have been familiar with. (For some reason, they don't teach a whole lot of Scottish/British history in the US education system.)It's a book I have a feeling I'll reference, as someone who has an interest in sheep, sheep breeds, and British history.

  • Susie
    2019-02-10 01:11

    I've rated this book 4 stars based on how much it increased my interest in sheep and those who keep them. However, some of the incredible detail melded together as Walling introduced, revisited and expanded upon numerous breeds and types of sheep and ultimately I don't actually recall what details go with which breeds or types. So on that count, the book failed to really teach me anything. However, I was very engrossed in each different breed or type as I read about it and found the book awfully interesting as Walling described various landscapes and why or how different breeds or types thrived in them. So on that count, the book succeeded in teaching me something.I purchased this book at a literary festival during a trip to England after spending much of a day walking various walking paths through sheep fields and cattle fields in the Cotswolds. And, overall, I'm sad to be leaving Walling's style and the wonderful sheep that served as his subjects.

  • Ellen
    2019-02-06 02:05

    As a farmer's wife, married to a sheep farmer, what's not to like about a book that talks about the different sheep breeds, their history and their foibles. A really interesting book, just a shame I have to return it to my sister.

  • H. Bernardon
    2019-01-28 02:00

    Educational and a good read.A book about the background of numerous breeds of sheep as well as interesting stories. Nice pictures at the end of the book to go with.

  • Tina Ambury
    2019-01-21 05:07

    An absolutely terrific book. The sheer wealth of information is considerable and I feel I know loads more about countryside matters. Not just sheep; history, husbandry and folklore. Brilliant

  • Karin Lowe
    2019-02-07 05:01

    Loved this ! You don't need to own sheep to appreciate this book