Non Fiction – Studies, Guides and Academic Insights
‘Hidden Nature’ by Alick Bartholomew
An insight into the discoveries of Viktor Schauberger, who studied the subtle energies in nature and living water. Addressing issues such as sick water, ailing forests, climate change and renewable energy.
‘Mysterious Wisdom – The Life and Works of Samuel Palmer’ by Rachel Campbell-Johnston
A portrait of the great British Romantic artist who lived in Shoreham, Kent, in the early 19th century, during a time of great social upheaval. His paintings capture a world in which the concerns of politics, religion and culture are inscribed onto the contours of our native landscapes.
‘Anticipatory History’, Edited by Caitlin DeSilvey, Simon Naylor & Colin Sackett
An exploration through discussion and case studies of how we can connect past, present and future environmental change to help shape our perceptions of plausible environmental futures.
‘How to Read Water’ by Tristan Gooley
Clues and patterns from puddles to the sea – an easy to read incredible insight into what water can tell us about our environment and how it interacts with the landscape and people.
‘The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs’ by Tristan Gooley
A great guide to what the land, sun, moon, stars, trees, plants, animals, sky and clouds can reveal. Also with tips for weather forecasting, tracking, city walks, coast walks, and night walks.
‘The View from Dover’ by David Herd
explores the radical creative politics of changing your viewpoints on Kent’s AONB landscapes by merely standing in a slightly different position and turning your head – choosing to see the barbed wire, the citadel, the ditches, and the immigration removal centre as much as the chalk coastlines
‘Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology’ by Astrid Neimanis
Water is the element that, more than any other, ties human beings in to the world around them – from the oceans that surround us to the water that makes up most of our bodies. Exploring the cultural and philosophical implications of this fact, Bodies of Water develops an innovative new mode of posthuman feminist phenomenology that understands our bodies as being fundamentally part of the natural world and not separate from or privileged to it. You can read her paper on Hydrofeminism here.
‘Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in L.A’ by Jenny Price
A river-based tour of the intended and unintended ‘natures’ of the modern landscape.
‘Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours’ by Patrick Syme and Abraham Gottlob Werner
First published in 1814, this taxonomic guide to the colours of the natural world, was developed by geologist Abraham Werner based on natural minerals, and then later expanded by Patrick Syme to incorporate the natural colours of plants and animals. Charles Darwin used it to identify colours in nature during his seminal voyage on the HMS Beagle. Werner’s terminology lent both precision and lyricism to Darwin’s pioneering writings, enabling his readers to envision a world they would never see.
‘Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet’ Edited by Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt
A series of essays which post critical and creative tools for survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. Studying our entangled histories and connecting social science, natural science and artwork, to look at exciting new ways of living.
‘Uncommon Ground’ by Dominick Tyler
A word-lovers guide to the British landscape. Tyler’s collection of words for unusual landscape features is varied, rich and poetic. Accompanied with striking images, this is an enchanting glossary of the British landscape.
Nature Writing, Poetry and Art
‘Otter Country’ by Miriam Darlington
A mesmerising account of the search for wild otters in remote places of Britain. Darlington journeys from Devon to the rivers of Scotland, Northumberland, Cumbria, Wales, Somerset and the Ouse. Beautifully evocative nature writing which is both magical and poetic.
‘Waterlog’ by Roger Deakin
A seminal blend of nature writing, travelogue and cultural history, Deakin’s account of his swimming odyssey through the British Isles stands as one of the great reflections on the British people’s relationship to their environment.
‘Water Library’ by Basia Irland
Irland’s artwork focuses on international water issues, especially rivers, waterbourne diseases and water scarcity. This book covers nine of her projects which interconnect and span thirty years in Africa, Canada, Europe, South America. Southeast Asia and the United States. Her work is about connecting diverse, multi-generational communities directly to their local waterways.
‘Reading the River’ by Basia Irland
A follow up to Water Library, Irland’s artwork tackles the big environmental issues of the century – clean water and climate change – combining the study of waterways to generate new forms of engagement with river ecosystems.
‘Song of the River’ by Charles Kingsley
‘Song of the River’ is a poem which travels along a chalk river from the spring to the sea learning various moral (and moralistic) lessons which are presented entirely through the medium of river clarity. You can read the poem here.
‘Water Babies’ by Charles Kingsley
A deeply moralistic and problematic fable, published in 1863, this is a famous example of English speculative fantasy about becoming amphibious. The story follows a young dirty chimneysweep boy who falls into a chalk trout-fishing river and is magically transformed/evolved by the faeries into a clean water-baby or sprite, able to breathe underwater.
‘Landmarks’ By Robert MacFarlane
A beautiful glossary of landmarks enriched with biographies and anecdotes from some of Britain’s best nature enthusiasts, scholars and writers. MacFarlane highlights the links between language and landscape in this enchanting exploration.
‘The Fish Ladder’ by Katharine Norbury
This autobiographical novel follows Katharine’s journey as she decides to track a river from source to sea. Her writing conjures beautiful natural imagery intertwined with personal discoveries which make for compelling reading .
‘Dart’ by Alice Oswold
Alice Oswold created this incredible poem from the language of the people who live and work on the River Dart, linking their voices into a sound-map of the river, a songline from the source to the sea.
‘Thames River Water Atlas’ by Mark Quinn
A giant concertinaed artist book mapping the Thames. Click here to have a look!
‘Limnology’ by Richrd Skelton
A book about rivers, lakes and waterways which assembles over 1000 ‘water-words’ from the dialect of Cumbria and its tributaries in the Germanic and Celtic languages, presenting them in a way which typographically imitate riverine processes, including a sequence of word lists, text rivers and myth poems. You can listen to the musical accompaniment to the book here.
‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’ by Rebecca Solnit
Drawing on emblematic moments and relationships in Solnit’s life, this book explores issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. Solnit is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves, or losing ourselves. Rebecca Solnit is the author of seventeen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory.
‘The Compleat Angler’ by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton
A unique celebration of the English countryside and the most famous book on angling ever published, Walton’s Compleat Angler first appeared in 1653. In 1676, at Walton’s invitation, his friend Charles Cotton contributed his pioneering exploration of fly-fishing. The book is both a manual of instruction and a vision of society in harmony with nature