Paul Evans nature writer, 

Guardian Country Diarist, playwright, poet, 

broadcaster & environmental journalist 

Paul Evans Nature writer
What's New 

THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

The leading international weekly for literary culture. 

Where the wild things are

NICK GROOM

 

"The latest crop of nature-writing books, and wildness is all. There’s a quiet ferocity running through these three very different volumes, powerful yet subtle, refreshingly practical and quotidian – and leagues away from the teen fantasies of George Monbiot with his schemes for “rewilding”. So we have John Lewis-Stempel retro-farming a field of wheat, John Wright rootling about in hedges, and Paul Evans in rapt communion with the fairy folk .....

 

....Thus the landscape does not need to be made strange by wheezes to reintroduce charismatic species; it is already magical for those who have the eyes (and imagination) to see. Evans’s book is a manifesto for fey living rather than rewilding: “I am fascinated by the idea that some places frighten us for reasons we don’t understand; places that feel weird, eerie, sinister, the eldritch places (from the Old English for a strange country, the Otherworld)”. Evans wants us to become more experienced in immaterial encounters, alive to the “eco-gothic” rather than being victims of ecophobia – the anxiety that “Nature bites back” despite human attempts to control and harness it through managing (and denuding) the environment ".

Read full article .....

Echoes of War Amid The Sound of Nightingales

by Paul Evans 

Resurgence & Ecologist 

Ecologist 

 

A nature reserve has flourished on the Hoo Peninsula, one home to the military. 

"....The military came to the Hoo Peninsula 150 years ago to defend, “the greatest town on earth” and its river of wild ambition and found an ideal place for keeping secrets. It made and tested weapons. It made and tested soldiers. Then, as feudal landlord, it pulled out and proposed to bury its secrets under a town of 5,000 new houses. This proposal was socially divisive locally and conservationists were alarmed at the potential loss of wildlife. However warlike the intentions of the MoD, however lethal its bullets, grenades, explosions and whatever else, birds and butterflies thrived inside its fence. 

Most famously, Lodge Hill had the highest population of breeding nightingales in Britain. In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem to the nightingale he found, “But never elsewhere in one place I know/ So many Nightingales;” the birds provoked each others’ song with “skirmish and capricious passaging.” Lodge Hill then was our one place, the line held by a ‘watch’ (collective noun) of nightingales....." 

Read full article .....

Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 

Autumn_Colour_Wenlock_Edge_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

No hiding place for a stranded squab Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 26 October 2016

Harlequin ladybird in micro-woodland of moss on concrete

The harlequin ladybird is a clever little devil Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 2 November 2016

Wood_pigeon_squab_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

No hiding place for a stranded squab Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 26 October 2016

Hedge_woundwort_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

Blood and bandages: a healer in the hedgerow Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 12 October 2016

Books 
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‘A new anthology that explores the many strands of what woodlands mean to us . . . Common Ground and Little Toller plan to revive public interest in woodlands with this anthology, combining essays from a variety of contributors – novelists, botanists, artists, architects, foresters – to explore why these landscapes still matter and mean so much. Contributors include: Richard Mabey, Germaine Greer, Ali Smith, Simon Armitage, George Peterken, Paul Kingsnorth, Paul Evans, Richard Skelton ....

Field Notes From The Edge

From Shropshire’s Wenlock Edge, which he knows so well, Paul Evans looks at other kinds of ‘edge’ and the wild lives that inhabit them in ruins, strandlines, caves, heaths, islands, marshes, swarms, even bodies. From ice-age caves to ancient hedgerows, this is a celebration of things lost, overlooked or hiding in plain sight.

Herbaceous

Herbaceous is a journey which follows the colour pulse of plants throughout the year, searching for new rhythms in a changing world. It begins with yellow: the pulse of early insects and the symbol of the returning sun. It is followed by spring’s vernal whites and the hedonist, spirited pinks of summer. Gradually, the strange and melancholy blues of early autumn are replaced by the ripple of seed-setting and a return to the browns of our subterranean winter dreams.

Found Stories

At Lackford Lakes with Melissa Harrison

Book reading review by Maria Nunzia 

The Curative Harp by Virginia Astley

I attended Melissa Harrison's talk at the Suffolk Festival of Ideas held at Lackford Lakes nature reserve on the 8th October this year. The event took place in a long narrow two-story wooden building; a double-decker bird hide next to a lake.  The second floor of this building doubled up as the venue for poets and writers to tell their stories and read extracts from their books. 

 

Melissa Harrison is the author of three successful books: Clay,  (2013), At Hawthorn Time, (2015) both published by Bloomsbury and  Rain (2016), published by Faber and Faber. At Hawthorn Time was nominated in 2015 for the Costa Novel Award. She is also known as the Nature Notes column writer in The Times. 

Read full review ....

Red Squirrels Harbor Leprosy-Causing Bacteria

 

Researchers were intrigued by an increasing number of sores on red squirrels in the United Kingdom and Ireland, so they decided to run tests on the animals to find out what was causing these mysterious marks.

 

After investigating, they now say they have found the cause: Some squirrels harbor the same bacteria that caused leprosy in humans in medieval Britain. The squirrels had skin lesions along with swelling of their snouts, ears, lips, eyelids and extremities — which are some of the symptoms also seen in people with the disease.

 

Read more at ....

The Hills of Wales by Jim Perrin

published by Gomer Press 

​​

The hills of Wales have haunted Jim Perrin for six decades. And they continue to do so still, inexhaustibly, always offering new perspectives, moods and experiences. This book records forays into both famed and forgotten upland taking in Cader Idris and the Carneddau, Corndon Hill and the Berwyn, Pumlumon Fawr and the little hills of Llŷn, and so many others. They are accounts of personal explorations, journeyings and encounters, each fragment and footstep combining to form a peripatetic literary celebration. "As with the companion volume on Snowdon, what I want to show is the cultural distinctiveness of these hills, as well as their aesthetic dimension and their physical presence." Jim Perrin

Buy book .....

 

Standing stones © Maria Nunzia @Varvera
Photograph © Maria Nunzia @Varvera

Photographs by Maria Nunzia @Varvera 

Elder_berries_on_Wenlock_Edge_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera__copy

Why the elder is a gift of wonders Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 5 October 2016

Robin_in_Crabapple_Tree_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera__copy

Robin's alarm flashes red for danger across the green space Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge

Swallow_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varver_

A tide is turning for the swallows Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 14 September 20016

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Feeding sparrows on Holy Island: an ethical dilemma Guardian Country Diary Holy Island 7 September 2016

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Young rabbit considers us as a threat Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 24 August 2016

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The Clearing Little Toller's journal for new writing Rain Sideways by Paul Evans A response to the Referendum exploring what leaving the EU could mean for conservation, wildlife and our relationship with the land.

Brown_-_lipped_snail_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

Adapted for land, but snails remain creatures of water Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 10 August 2016

Spear_Thistle_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

Thistles: the darker side of summer Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 27 July 2016

Harlech ©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

This almost-island on the Welsh coast is a nowhere becoming somewhere Guardian Country Diary 13 July 2016

Windmill_Hill_©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

Orchids paint the hill a sadder shade of pink Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 6 July 2016

_Lodge_Hill ©_Maria_Nunzia__Varvera_

A summer of rain, roses and nightingales Guardian Country Diary 22 June 2016

Blackbird in Bedroom Maria Nunzia _Varvera

A bird in the house disturbs the order of things Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 8 June 2016

pink campion Maria Nunzia _Varvera

Life-affirming flash of colour in the hedgerow Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 1 June 2016

Blackbird by Maria Nunzia _Varvera

Spring happens all at once, and the woods feel giddy Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 25 May 2016

Thrushling tests the edges

Thrushling tests the edges of its hedge-world Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 11 May 2016

Floating crowfoot

Floating crowfoot toughs it out with the frogs Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 4 May 2016

It's getting steamy in the hedgerow

It's getting steamy in the hedgerow Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 27 April 2016

Towers in a landscape

Towers in a landscape Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 13 April 2016

Crow and the vernal egg

Crow and the vernal egg Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 31 March 2016

Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge

The Gothic Charm of Cormorants Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 24 February 2016

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An extract from Herbaceous   by Paul Evans, published by Little Toller Books Yellow. p.28

A Monstrous Thing

A Monstrous Thing An extract from Field Notes From The Edge by Paul Evans, published by Rider Books, 2015 Chapter 3. Strand p.38 - p.41

Snowdrop

Snowdrop An extract from Herbacoues  by Paul Evans, published by Little Toller Books White. p.33 - p.34

10 February Guardian Country Diary W

The light that made me blink

Of wild doves and snowdrops

3 February 2016 Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge The pigeon cocked a conspiratorial eye at the dog as we walked by. A wind ferocious enough to peel the bird from its perch and blow it away had little effect. The pigeon sat out the squall with saintly patience.

Snipe are inspectors of rainstorms

13 January 2016 Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge. The snipe are not skulking, they’re invisible. Six stand together in the rushes beside Venus Pool, six winged probes the colour of winter marshes,

Something hungry moves in the trees

The feeling of just being watched does not make this place eldritch. A strange, otherworldly, wood, it can feel unsettling at the best of times.... Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 6 January 2016

Nature photographs by Maria Nunzia @Varvera

Floating in the fog free of meanings. Guardian Country Diary Wenlock Edge 9 January 2016