Common Ground or Private Park: Whose Nature (writing) is it anyway?

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. I still maintain as I said in the original version: “Let’s not have a Nature Writing of Roundheads and Cavaliers. I’d rather have a mix of scientists who feel and poets and artists who protest, and use evidence and le mot juste. There will always, always be room on my shelves for books by scientists and poets, rationalists and dreamers – as often as possible butted right up against each other.”

Unlocking Crystal Palace’s Magical Sprite Village

Guest post by Abi Gilbert

When I were a lass – growing up alongside the North Yorkshire moors – my daily life was infused with the magical stories which my Dad told me about sprites and fairies.

No trip into Ilkley, tramp up Hebers Ghyll, or mere visit to the shops was left uninhabited by these mythical beings. I was reliably told, and believed absolutely, that they were hiding behind walls and trees and under bridges. I built homes for these friendly folk, and they sometimes visited in the night to collect the food that I left for them, but I never, ever saw them.

Lost in t’Nidderdale League: The Secret Cricketer with Michael Vaughan

Although I’m from Bristol and therefore, in Cricketing terms, ought to support Gloucestershire, to me Yorkshire has always seemed to be the spiritual home of English cricket.

In numbers terms alone it makes sense. In the Vale of York, just one local league amongst many the Nidderdale League features 54 teams, including the likes of Alne and Beckwithshaw, Kirkby Malzeard, Masham, Newton-Le-Willows, Raskelf, Spofforth and Whixley.

But only one team in this league has ever lost so badly that their local shame became national news.

Whitby

And coming down from high moors
I caught a whiff of Whitby,
Through bitching rain, a coastal squall,
Came a smalltown smell so subtle almost dreamt