Field Notes From The Edge
by Paul Evans, published by Rider Books and inside illustrations by Maria Nunzia @Varvera
In Field Notes From The Edge, one of Britain’s foremost nature writers takes us on a journey through Britain’s hidden wilderness. Here, celebrated naturalist Paul Evans explores the gaps between one place, one state of mind, one truth and another. This beautifully written book is a work of dark wonder, capturing our changing world and treading the narrow way between our love of Nature and fear of it.
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.
Observant and beautifully written from a collection of field notes of first-hand experience, this is a life’s journey into Nature and a must-read for any nature-lover.
Best known as an author of The Guardian’s Country Diary column, Paul Evans is a naturalist, university lecturer, broadcaster of natural-history documentaries and award-winning dramas for Radio 4, and performance poet. He’s already acclaimed as one of Britain’s leading nature writers – the ‘John Clare of his generation’.
He writes for publications including BBC Wildlife, Geographical, The National Trust Magazine and Country Living and his work appears in many anthologies. In his time he has also been a grave digger, managed gardens for the National Trust, worked for Percy Thrower, been commissioned by a billionaire to collect samples of all the plants in eastern North America, fronted a Punk band and looked after botanical gardens in New York. He has had his poetry set to music by an American folk group and even been the subject of an MA at a Belgian university. He lives with his family in Much Wenlock, Shropshire where he was born.
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Where the wild things are
"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 ".
Field Notes' magic lies partly in the sheer quality of the prose, partly in Evans' ability to loop together disparate threads in a way that feels both natural and carefully patterned: images and words recur, subtle altered each time, layering meaning upon meaning so that each chapter becomes rich with significance. It makes for a profoundly satisfying read.
Melissa Harrison author of 'At Hawthorn Time'
naturalist, BBC radio producer, author of The Running Sky, The Poetry of Birds (with Simon Armitage)and Four Fields
mountaineer, biographer, travel, outdoor and nature writer and author of Travels with the Flea, West, Shipton & Tilman.
Journalist, The Guardian's Environment Editor, author of McLibel:Burger Culture on Trial.
Maggie Gee OBE FRSL
novelist, professor of creative writing, author of The White Family, The Ice People, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan.
literary ecocritic, nature writer, author of Cold Blood
novelist, poet, short-story writer, professor of fiction, author of I’ll Go to Bed at Noon, Nourishment, Vanishing.
Paul Evans is the author of Field Notes From The Edge, Journeys Through Britain's Secret Wilderness and Herbaceous:
Field Notes From The Edge a Journey into Britain's Secret Wild...through the in-between spaces of Nature – such as strandlines,mudflats, cliff tops and caves – where one wilderness is on the verge of becoming another and all things are possible.
Herbaceous is gardening with words. It is a book of audacious botany and poetic vision which asks us to look anew at our relationship with plants and celebrates their power to nourish the human spirit. - See more at: