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The East Country
The author might be a Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex but this book is no dry academic text. In rich evocative prose Jules Pretty explores the landscape of Essex and Suffolk through the seasons. Mixing history, autobiographical sketches and personal reflections into his description of the natural history of our ever-changing landscape.
He describes the thrill of nightingales at dawn at Fingringhoe Wick and the glory of bluebells in springtime at Hillhead Wood but writes also of lay-bys along the A12 and what they show both of nature and mans impact upon the land. He ponders on why we tend to value the rarity over the commonplace – the single orchid for example, over cow parsley, without which spring would be so much poorer
Through 74 short sections the message emerges that spending time with nature is an important antidote to the stressful disconnect of twenty first century life and we are encouraged to ‘slow down, take time, live local, keep your mind deep.’
Imbued with a timelessness and a recognition that human civilisations come and go whilst the countryside remains, this is a personal study of our local landscape that resonates with deep attachment and understanding.
Cornell University Press, paperback £13.99