At the foot of a chalk hill a stream rises in a silent copse, and is soon lost under the car parks and streets of the town its waters once gave life to. Captivated by the fate of this forgotten stream Charles Rangeley-Wilson sets out one winter's day to uncover its story.
Distilled into the timeless passage of the river's flow, buried under the pavements that cover meadow, marsh and hill he finds dreamers and visionaries, a chronicle of paradises lost or never found, men who shaped the land and its history: the Jacobean maverick with an Arcadian irrigation dream, the sanitary inspector planning social emancipation, the libertine aristocrat who drew naked women in ornate lakes and flower beds. In Silt Road miller's riot, chairmakers die of fever, men dream of fish.
In this moving elegy to a disappearing natural world Charles Rangeley-Wilson brings the history of the English landscape vividly to life.