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Vertebrate Publishing

Ethel by Helen Mort

Ethel by Helen Mort

The biography of countryside pioneer Ethel Haythornthwaite.

Pioneer, activist, environmentalist, poet. Ethel Haythornthwaite is virtually unknown, even in her home town of Sheffield – the UK’s outdoor city – yet her tireless campaigning led to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and the creation of the Peak District National Park, protecting a wild and varied landscape so many have fallen in love with. Founder of a local society to protect rural scenery in 1924, she went on to join the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) and become its wartime director. Saviour of the beautiful Longshaw estate, her achievements also include establishing the first green belt in the UK.

In Ethel, award-winning author Helen Mort explores the life of this countryside revolutionary who has been overlooked by history. Born into wealth yet frugal, ever restless but infinitely patient, widowed at twenty-two, independent and thoroughly ahead of her time, Ethel Haythornthwaite helped save the British countryside at a time when simply to be a woman was challenge enough.

Having been given unrestricted access to Ethel’s archive, including hundreds of meticulously written letters, in Ethel, Helen Mort has written letters to Ethel’s memory and a paean to her legacy. The beauty and accessibility of the British countryside is the result of passionate campaigning during the inter- and post-war years by groundbreaking figures such as Ethel Haythornthwaite.

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