Tartarus Press


The limited edition sewn hardback book is now out of print.


Ebook: £7.99

(Please note that the ebook will be sent manually, so there may be a short delay in receiving it.)


The paperback edition can be ordered direct from Amazon:




The ebook can be obtained from





Walter J.C. Murray


With photographs by the author

Introduction by R.B. Russell


In 1920 a young man, Walter Murray, spent a year in a derelict cottage, Copsford, working in lonely countryside among the wild animals and birds, with only a dog, Floss, for companionship. From the beginning, Murray has to fight not only the rats that infest his inhospitable house, and the elements outside, but also a loneliness that he finds soul-shatteringly oppressive.


But Murray comes to delight in his simple life, despite its deprivations. Above all, he appreciates the wildlife he experiences in meadow and woodland, the animals and insects, birds and butterflies. And he comes to a deeper understanding of plants and trees, the sun, wind, rain, frost and snow.

Copsford is an under-appreciated classic of the English countryside, delighting not only in flora and fauna, but in scent, colour, sound and movement. In beautiful and sensitive prose Murray expresses a vivid depth of feeling for nature that makes Copsford a tour de force of nature mysticism.


This new edition also contains Murray's essay, 'Voices of Trees'.



Author Biography:


Walter J.C. Murray was born in Seaford, and spent most of his life in the county of Sussex. During the First World War he served at sea as a radio officer in the Mercantile Marine and later in the R.A.F. He was a journalist in London for a short time after the War, before moving to Horam in Sussex to spend a year gathering and marketing wild herbs.


Murray became a schoolmaster, and in 1926 founded his own independent co-educational school of which he remained headmaster for forty years.


Nature’s Undiscovered Kingdom was his first book, published in 1946, followed by Copsford (1948). Throughout his life he was a keen student of natural history, and this took him to many remote corners and islands of the United Kingdom.


Murray was well-known as a nature photographer, as well as a radio and television broadcaster.


Featured in the Sussex Express and on Wormwoodiana.


"The writing is masterful, moving gracefully between farce when he's waging war on rodents and the sublime when he's painting the beauty of the South Downs" Patrick Galbraith, Country Life


Copyright Tartarus Press 2024