Common Ground

Common Ground

One of Britain’s Favourite Nature Books as featured on BBC’s Winterwatch




'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.
    Melissa Harrison, Books of the Year, The Times

About the author

Rob Cowen

Rob Cowen is an award-winning writer and author. His 2012 debut Skimming Stones and Other Ways of Being in the Wild won the Roger Deakin Award from the Society of Authors. His second book, Common Ground (2015), has been hailed as a seminal and genre-defying work redefining writing on people and place. Common Ground was voted third in a 2018 poll to find Britain’s favourite nature book of all time, a ‘Book of the Year’ in The Times, The Express and The Independent, and ‘Top Ten Readers’ Choice’ in The Guardian. It was also shortlisted for the Wainwright, Portico and Richard Jefferies Society prizes. Previously a nature and travel columnist at The Independent, Rob has contributed to the New York Times, The Guardian and The Telegraph and written essays and radio programmes for the BBC. His poetry and prose have featured in various journals and books. He lives in North Yorkshire.
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