We’ve all looked at a beautiful scene, be it on top of a mountain, on a beach watching the waves crash ashore, or the waving of grasses in meadows, and felt serenity wrap us in its warm cloak. But why? These are the questions Philip Marsden asks and attempts to answer in Rising Ground: A search for the spirit of place.
It’s a fascinating subject, and not one which can ever be definitively answered, but Marsden dives in and puts some clever points forward. He uncovers the life and work of other ‘topophiles’ before him – medieval chroniclers and Tudor topographers, eighteenth-century antiquarians, post-industrial poets and abstract painters. And all the time he is moving through the landscape of his beloved Cornwall, bringing it to life and questioning why it makes others feel so alive at the same time – from the Neolithic ritual landscape of Bodmin Moor to the Arthurian traditions of Tintagel, from the mysterious china-clay country to the granite tors and tombs of the far south-west.
As he consistently ponders why people react so strongly to certain places, and layers of mythology build up around particular features in the landscape, the reader is drawn to philosophise too. It made me think about the landscape in a different way, about the link between physical and spiritual. This is a thought-provoking and very different book about nature and landscape.
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Love the sound of this book? You could win it and others in a giveaway running on www.gobewild.co.uk
The books were all shortlisted for the Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015, an annual award that showcases the best books in UK nature and travel writing. Celebrating the legacy of renowned British nature writer Alfred Wainwright, the prize reflects his core values of inspiring people to explore the outdoors, whilst engendering a love of landscape and respect for nature.
TO ENTER THE PRIZE DRAW VISIT WWW.GOBEWILD.CO.UK FOR DETAILS