Have you taken a look at our top picks in the world of nature writing, including our latest Wild Read, Nature Cure? Delve deeper into nature with these suggested titles:
Today many of us live indoor lives, disconnected from the natural world as never before. And yet nature remains deeply ingrained in our language, culture and consciousness. For centuries, we have acted on an intuitive sense that we need communion with the wild to feel well. Now, in the moment of our great migration away from the rest of nature, more and more scientific evidence is emerging to confirm its place at the heart of our psychological wellbeing. So what happens, asks acclaimed journalist Lucy Jones, as we lose our bond with the natural world - might we also be losing part of ourselves? Delicately observed and rigorously researched, this book is an enthralling journey through this new research, exploring how and why connecting with the living world can so drastically affect our health.
Wintering, the dormant periods in our lives, the dark moments we endure - which can be brought about through myriad of ways; from the death of a loved one to a sudden change in circumstances or mental health issues - can be lonely, damaging and catch us off guard. Katherine May recounts her own year-long journey through winter, and how she found strength and inspiration when life felt frozen. Part memoir, part exploration of a human condition, 'Wintering' explores the healing nature of the great outdoors to help us overcome and embrace our own wintering experiences, and how, much like nature, we can learn to appreciate these low periods, and what they have to teach us, before the ushering in of a new season.
Neil Ansell first visited the Rough Bounds, in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland, decades ago when he was just twenty; it was the wildest landscape he's ever seen, and was the beginning of years of travel, seeking out the world's dramatic places. In this book, he journeys to the area again, five times over the course of a year, exploring the nature of solitary travel and what effects the seasons can have on a specific place and on a person.
When Amy returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey. Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father's mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now 30, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.
Nature holds the answers for Raynor and her husband Moth. After walking 630 miles homeless along the Salt Path, the windswept and wild English coastline now feels like their home. And despite Moth's terminal diagnosis, against all medical odds, he seems revitalised in nature - outside, they discover that anything is possible. Now, life beyond the Salt Path awaits. As they return to four walls, the sense of home is illusive and returning to normality is proving difficult - until an incredible gesture by someone who reads their story changes everything: a chance to breathe life back into a beautiful but neglected farmhouse in the Cornish hills - rewilding the land and returning nature to its hedgerows becomes their new path. Along the way, Raynor and Moth learn more about the land that envelopes them, find friends both new and old, and embark on another windswept adventure when the opportunity arises.
Under the ravishing light of an Alaskan sky, objects are spilling from the thawing tundra linking a Yup'ik village to its hunter-gatherer past. In the shifting sand dunes of a Scottish shoreline, impressively preserved hearths and homes of Neolithic farmers are uncovered. In a grandmother's disordered mind, memories surface of a long-ago mining accident and a 'mither who was kind'. In this luminous new essay collection, acclaimed author Kathleen Jamie visits archeological sites and mines her own memories - of her grandparents, of youthful travels - to explore what surfaces and what reconnects us to our past. As always she looks to the natural world for her markers and guides. Most movingly, she considers, as her father dies and her children leave home, the surfacing of an older, less tethered sense of herself.
'The Living Mountain' is a lyrical testament in praise of the Cairngorms. It is a work deeply rooted in Nan Shepherd's knowledge of the natural world, and a poetic and philosophical meditation on our longing for high and holy places.
As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T.H. White's tortured masterpiece, 'The Goshawk', which describes White's struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest. When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. This book is a record of a spiritual journey - an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald's struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk's taming and her own untaming.
'The Stubborn Light of Things' is a nature diary that will transform the way you see the world. A Londoner for over twenty years, moving from flat to Tube to air-conditioned office, Melissa Harrison knew what it was to be insulated from the seasons. Adopting a dog and going on daily walks helped reconnect her with the cycle of the year and the quiet richness of nature all around her: swifts nesting in a nearby church; ivy-leaved toadflax growing out of brick walls; the first blackbird's song; an exhilarating glimpse of a hobby over Tooting Common. Moving from scrappy city verges to ancient, rural Suffolk, where Harrison eventually relocates, this diary - compiled from her beloved 'Nature Notebook' column in 'The Times' - maps her joyful engagement with the natural world and demonstrates how we must first learn to see, and then act to preserve, the beauty we have on our doorsteps.
The story of a personal housing crisis that led to a discovery of the true value of home. Aged 31, Catrina Davies was renting a box-room in a house in Bristol, which she shared with four other adults and a child. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart. Homesick for the landscape of her childhood, in the far west of Cornwall, Catrina decides to give up the box-room and face her demons. As a child, she saw her family and their security torn apart; now, she resolves to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own. With the freedom to write, surf and make music, Catrina rebuilds the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovers the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world.
This list is part of our WildReads project with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.