WAX­ING LYRI­CAL ABOUT NAT­U­RAL NOR­FOLK

EDP Norfolk - - NORFOLK BOOKS -

Two Nor­folk na­ture writ­ers shine a light on the won­ders that lie in wild places just a few steps away.

Far from trav­el­ling across con­ti­nents to find wood­land and wet­land wilder­nesses, Si­mon Barnes and Mark Cocker have writ­ten new books ex­plor­ing the nat­u­ral world just out­side their Nor­folk homes.

On the Marsh, A Year Sur­rounded by Wilder­ness and Wet, by Si­mon Barnes, tells the story of the land sur­round­ing his home in the Chet val­ley near Lod­don. With a gar­den back­ing on to marshes, Si­mon and his wife de­cided to cre­ate their own con­ser­va­tion area. And as more than 100 species of birds ar­rive, plus ot­ter, hedge­hogs and Chinese wa­ter deer, it be­comes a haven not only for them but also for Si­mon’s son, who has Down’s syn­drome.

Si­mon’s pre­vi­ous books in­clude the best­selling Bad Bird­watcher tril­ogy and Rewild Your­self.

Mark Cocker has been tak­ing the short walk down a lane from his home in nearby Clax­ton, to the river, most days for the past 17 years.

A Clax­ton Diary, Fur­ther Field Notes from a Small Planet, de­tails what he sees and hears and dis­cov­ers, here and in some of his other favourite wild Nor­folk places in­clud­ing Rock­land St Mary, Titch­well, Buck­en­ham and Thurs­ford.

It is set out, month by month, and the de­scrip­tion is so in­tense and pre­cise it con­jures ev­ery feather and chirrup of bird, ev­ery in­sect-chomped lat­tice of wood and leaf, and all the mil­lions of years of evo­lu­tion that have led to our pre­cious, pre­car­i­ous nat­u­ral world. “When one notes an old oak ap­ple sway­ing on a Jan­uary breeze, one get a glimpse not only into the mir­a­cle of life that was last sum­mer, one peers into deep time, back to an age when the Earth was peo­pled with rep­tiles the size of oak trees,” he writes.

Mark’s pre­vi­ous books in­clude the lament for our lost en­vi­ron­ment, and call to ac­tion Our Place: Can we Save Bri­tain’s Wildlife Be­fore It Is Too Late? the award-win­ning Crow Coun­try and Birds and Peo­ple.

On the Marsh, by Si­mon Barnes, is pub­lished in hard­back by Si­mon and Schus­ter for £16.99. A Clax­ton Diary, by Mark Cocker is pub­lished in hard­back by Jonathan Cape for £16.99. Hear Mark Cocker talk­ing about his new book at Jar­rold on Thurs­day July 4, 6.30-8.30pm. Tick­ets from jar­rold.co.uk

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