The Hills and the Vale, first released in 1909, contains a collection of published and unpublished essays and articles. Written in Jefferies' highly descriptive style, these essays describe rural life and nature in England, illustrating folk traditions and important natural events in rural communities. The sense of wonder evoked by the natural world, which permeates all of Jefferies' works, is fully exemplified in this volume.
Richard Jefferies (1848–1887) remains one of the most thoughtful and most lyrical writers on the English countryside. He had aspirations to make a living as a novelist, but it was his short, factually based articles for The Live Stock Journal and other magazines, drawn from a wealth of knowledge of the rural community into which he had been born, which when collected in book form brought him recognition (though not wealth), and which continued to be read and admired after his early death.