An intriguing and elegant chronicle of a wild and woolly patch of England ... Bunting is on finest form dealing with recent history, particularly when she exposes the modern "cultural myth of the rural idyll" and the very English idiocy of preserving this view while the environment dies. Her scholarship ultimately produces a persuasive argument for a more potent sense of place in rootless, mobile Britain
Bunting's exploration of the relationships between place and people is wide-ranging, researched with great intelligence and richly supported by detail
A startling, willed, one-off book ... What she sets out to do is to look at the acre of land "in the middle of nowhere", with scholarly zest, until it becomes no longer a nowhere but a somewhere, known and minutely understood. She is an exemplary guide ... Her greatest achievement is to work a single acre to produce a more general portrait of England ... Above all, she questions what belonging is and discovers that it is about "commitment rather than possession"