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Britain's villages are world famous for their loveliness and idiosyncratic charm. Each village is different; travel across the country and you will unearth a joyous variety, from straggly Leintwardine in Herefordshire to BBC-film-perfect Askrigg in Yorkshire to higgledy-piggledy tourist hub Polperro in Cornwall to Miserden in Gloucestershire, with its staggeringly beautiful gardens, to Pittenweemin Fife, still eking a living from fishing, to the warring villages of Donhead St. Mary and Donhead St. Andrew in Wiltshire. History and architecture account for some differences-the memorials in churches, the details of door frames and chimney stacks-but there are also differences of spirit, and in how life is lived there today. What are the thriving local businesses? What are they selling in the shops-or are there shops at all? What are the traditions, old or invented? Who are the people who make these communities work? In this captivating volume, Clive Aslet draws on thirty years of travel in the countryside working for Britain's Country Life magazine to give us a living, personal, and opinionated history of five hundred of Britain's most beautiful and vibrant villages. Meticulously researched and drawing from conversations with local residents, publicans, and vicars, this book is both an indispensable gazetteer for anyone planning to tour the countryside and a portrait of rural Britain in a time of change.