A mysterious letter. A secret journal. An ancient wood, in borderland territory. Deceptive paths and strange, ghostlike figures, stirring at the edge of the trees. These were some of the elements that quickly took hold and drew me into Ryhope Wood, when I first read about it aged 15.
Recently I re-read it, rediscovered and found many new things to treasure.
As the beam touches you, it has a near instant effect, quickly drawing your thoughts out through the window and filling you with a desire to be out there, on the other side of the glass, walking in the sunlight, exploring the city streets, or escaping over the horizon, (I like to think of this particular effect as a positive variety of Corpse-light or Willow-the-wisp, but without the danger of being drawn into some terrible dark and boggy end).
At the inaugural Balham Literary Festival, a gathering of Nature Writers, Landscape Writers and Writer writers came together to discuss the state of the natural world. Here’s my report on what I saw and heard.
It’s dark. It’s raining. January is upon us and the season of reflection, projection and resolve is underway. For voracious readers, this means that the perennial question: what to read next will be nagging at their shoulders more urgently than ever.
This post originally began as a bit of a rant. Fed up with the latest salvos in yet another round of click-baiting polemic about ‘New Nature Writing’, I launched into an aggrieved fan-boy defence of certain ‘nature’ writers.
Since then I’ve occasionally added new links and info to the post, in an attempt to expand its terms of reference and offer some useful resources for anyone else engaged in the debate. Including links to articles on lack of diversity in nature writing, creeping nativism and more.
Above all it is the nature itself that matters, not the opinion – so I urge you to read this too – https://www.chrispackham.co.uk/a-peoples-manifesto-for-wildlife
I was recently nominated by a friend on Facebook to post a list of the 10 books that had made the most impact on me. It was a lot harder than I thought and I’ve had to miss out some real favourites. I could have written ten lists, let alone ten titles, featuring almost entirely…
I must admit that when I first heard about the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City, I thought it was a joke.
And yet the more I thought about it, the more interesting the concept became.