Majestic marsh harriers, booming bitterns,playful otters and bearded tits draw more than 100,000 visitors to the RSPB's Leighton Moss nature reserve every year. And BBC Two's Autumnwatch programme has beamed its rare wetland habitat into the homes of millions of British nature lovers. Now with photos, anecdotes and expert testimony, Andy Denwood goes behind the reed-beds to chart the history of the modern reserve. Delving back more than 6,000 years, he shows how the Moss has fed hungry families and provided sport for wealthy ones; how it yielded wood and peat for homes and industry. And how it was drained in the nineteenth century to become one of the most fertile and productive cereal-growing areas in Lancashire. Only an accident of history at the end of the First World War restored its wetland status. This lively landscape history de-codes the past of a unique and important slice of England and underlines the minor miracle of its survival.