Between 1821 and 1826 Cobbett travelled the southern English countryside and 'Rural Rides' is his remarkable account of what he saw.
A prolific writer and journalist of genius, Cobbett matured into a radical politician. He was also a farmer who ensured his own labourers had access to the three Bs: bacon, bread and beer. Recording ways of life which were swiftly changing, Cobbett juxtaposes lyrical evocations of the English countryside with outbursts at the poverty of workers consigned to hovel dwellings and a diet of potatoes.
Cobbett's shifting politics have led to accusations of self-contradiction and paradox but, as Ian Dyck shows in his introduction his political evolution reflects both his own experiences and the train of contemporary events. Throughout his life, Cobbett continued to champion traditional rural culture and the "ploughboy that continues to warm my veins" flowed in Cobbett always.