Sunday, 11 November 2007 00:00

Endangered Species

Written by Bart & The Bounder
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Endangered Species: The Bart & The Bounder's Countryside Year

The hidden voice of the countryside in all its beauty

“This lovely book chronicles the rustic ramblings of two extraordinary characters through a Britain that has all but disappeared, where there is still a real quality of life and man is altogether kinder to his fellow man”
Chris Tarrant

Sir Richard Heygate and Michael Daunt, cousins and best friends, have shared a consuming passion for the British countryside ever since they sat on adjacent potties . In a quest to find out what is really happening to the fabric of our land, and the remarkable people that make up its unique heritage, the ‘Bart’ and the ‘Bounder’, as they are affectionately known, set out on a year-long journey that has taken them the length and breadth of the British Isles, from the River Towy in Wales to the Inner Hebrides, the mighty Tweed on the Scottish borders, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Ireland, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Sussex, the Midlands and places in-between. The result is a compellingly readable book, full of colourful, quirky, funny and moving stories.

Endangered Species brings together the unique voices of over 100 unforgettable characters – poachers, gypsies, rat catchers, gillies, spud-pickers, art dealers, fishermen, dukes and earls – they met on the way. It gives voice to a wide range of views to reveal a fast-vanishing, secret world in all its glory throughout a countryside year.

There is no doubt: our countryside is under threat. But after eating hedgehog with the Romany, tickling trout, meeting the White Witch of Cornwall, rat-catching in Yorkshire, wildfowling in Norfolk, boar-hunting on Paul McCartney’s land in Sussex, joining innovative poachers in East Anglia, mackerel fishing in Lyme Regis with Deep Purple’s lead singer Mike Curle, finding out why Queen Victoria took up her knitting needles for the gypsies and celebrating an uproarious Christmas in Ireland, the Bart and the Bounder find much to celebrate in their tall tales of a largely unheard, yet still-vibrant community.

The Bart and the Bounder first came to prominence in a critically acclaimed BBC2 TV special of that name shown in spring 2006. It drew an audience of nearly 3 million. This, their new book has been equally warmly received:

"Like a pair of disreputable Victorian villains [the Bart and the Bounder] have confessed their sins in a wonderful book… What makes the tales in their book such a treat is that the pair not only ransacked their long memories and old game books for anecdotes but actually went out on the road together… travelling Britain , ferreting out old acquaintances - gamekeepers, gypsies, coal miners - and quizzing them about their secrets of the countryside.”
Daily Telegraph

“Learn from their mistakes (such as eating hedgehog) and laugh with them over a pint of real ale. Their tales provide a fascinating insight into country ways of life that are more usually hidden. You should be left feeling, as Daunt and Heygate do, that you have been privileged to discover such a rapidly fading aspect of the world.”
The Field

“ To read the hilarious tales of the Bart (Sir Richard Heygate) and the Bounder (Mike Daunt) is to meet them. That they are equally at home on bar stools or with barmaids – busty or blonde – is a double joy … They understand [the real countryside’s] camaraderie between mammals, the elements, the pub fireside and each other… The Bart and the Bounder have produced a five-star book which is a blazing beacon on a distant hillside.”
Country Life

Endangered Species [is] a book in which the duo record their colourful encounters with numerous horny-handed sons of toil – poachers, rat-catchers, gillies, game-keepers, spud-pickers, fisherman – and present readers with glimpses of a vanishing but still vibrant rural community… There are some fine descriptive passages and many amusing anecdotes.”
Daily Mail

“Their year is spent travelling month by month… to these intriguing areas of our land, meeting old friends and making new ones – poachers, gamekeepers, dukes and estate owners – winning over even the most wary… The Bart and the Bounder’s sincerity, integrity and love for the countryside and its laws are always evident… This book is huge fun, written with vivacity and peopled by characters whom politicians and political correctness would rather airbrush out of modern life. I’d recommend this as an ideal gift for the cantankerous, the inquisitive and the open-minded — teetotallers and vegetarians excepted.”
Daily Express

The Bart: Sir Richard Heygate is descended on the paternal side from the personal banker to the Grand Old Duke of York, and on the maternal, from a long line of Celtic Kings and Queens – as well as from the leading collector of Georgian pornography in Victorian England. He started his career selling used cars in a seamy East End showroom, but eventually got a ‘proper job’ joining first IBM and then management consultancy McKinsey. The death of his equally eccentric father (chiefly known for running off with Evelyn Waugh’s wife) gave him the family rundown estates in Northern Ireland , where he built a full scale fish smoking factory. When not fishing with his cousin, the Bounder, the Bart runs a software company. Richard has been married three times and has fathered three children.

The Bounder: “With a voice like damson jam” (The Guardian) Mike Daunt currently runs the Hugh Falkus School of Spey Casting, the best known casting school in Britain , teaching the rich and famous this beautiful art. Among his clientele are Jeremy Paxman, Chris Tarrant, Ronnie Corbett, Fiona Armstrong and rock legend Eric Clapton. He was educated at Rugby and – very reluctantly as he would far rather have been an actor – Sandhurst , where his commanding officer wrote: “Men will follow this officer anywhere – if only out of a sense of curiosity.” Mike too is on his third marriage and has three sons and a daughter.

Where to Buy:


For further information please contact:

Anya Noakes / Rebecca Dix

020 7483 2005

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