WAXING LYRICAL ABOUT NATURAL NORFOLK
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