ONE OF BRITAIN'S FAVOURITE NATURE BOOKS AS FEATURED ON BBC's WINTERWATCH
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2016
'Bold and beautiful.' Robert Macfarlane
'Sensitive, thoughtful and poetic ... leading us into a whole new way of looking at the world' Michael Palin
'Touched by genius' John Lewis-Stempel
'Absolutely mesmerizing, utterly beautiful and engrossing' Joanne Harris
After moving from London to a new home in Yorkshire, and about to become a father for the first time, Rob Cowen finds himself in unfamiliar territory. Disoriented, hemmed in by winter and yearning for open space, he ventures out to a nearby edge-land: a pylon-slung tangle of wood, hedge, field, meadow and river that lies unclaimed and overlooked on the outskirts of town.
Digging deeper into this lost landscape, he begins to uncover its many layers and lives – beast, bird, insect, plant and people – in kaleidoscopic detail. As the seasons change and the birth of his child draws closer, his transformative journey into the blurry space where human and nature meet becomes increasingly profound. In bringing this edge-land to life, Cowen offers both a both a unique portrait of people and place through time and an unforgettable exploration of the common ground we share with the natural world, the past and each other.
One of the most original books of 2015.
Bold and beautiful.
Cracking… Vividly and movingly described… Cowen writes very well.
Absolutely mesmerising, utterly beautiful, utterly engrossing – it takes a lot for a book to give me goosebumps but this one did.
[A] multi-faceted, touched-by-genius exploration of a stretch of Harrogate wasteland.
Marks out Cowen as a new writer who is both entertaining and significant… Cowen’s descriptive writing is visceral and gripping… and his attention to colour is particularly striking.
Magical... Deeply original... a detailed nature study [and] a moving memoir... I became both intrigued and enchanted by this hybrid approach.
Highly poetic... like an archaeologist, Cowen unearths histories, natural life and decayed infrastructure in a small area bordering the River Nidd... Above all, Common Ground is about the transformative power of this unnoticed piece of land, if one can only stand and stare for long enough'
Sensitive, thoughtful and poetic. Rob Cowen rakes over a scrap of land with forensic care, leading us into a whole new way of looking at the world.
Rob Cowen’s Common Ground was recently featured on BBC's Winterwatch when it was chosen as one of the nation's favourite nature books, just behind Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham and Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson. Walk alongside Rob on a chilly February evening in this stunning excerpt.