The Consolation of Nature

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What to expect

Nature took on a new importance for thousands of people when the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Britain, providing solace in a time of great anxiety – not least because the crisis struck at the beginning of spring, the season of hope and renewal; and furthermore, in an extraordinary conjunction, the spring of 2020 turned out to be the loveliest spring ever recorded in Britain.

Three nature writers, living like everyone else under lockdown, but walking out each day to exercise, resolved to record their experiences of the coronavirus spring, in widely contrasting parts of the country. They did so to share with others their sense of the wonder, inspiration and delight the natural world can offer, and The Consolation of Nature is the enthralling account of what they discovered by literally walking out from their front doors.

(P) 2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critics Review

  • A literary window into the wonderful wild world during lockdown…a charming book

    Daily Mail
  • A significant and beautifully written historical record of a unique English spring

    The Harrier
  • As our lives constrict again, the long spring lockdown already seems a lifetime ago. But that beautiful and frightening time has been perfectly captured in The Consolation of Nature by the naturalists Michael McCarthy, Jeremy Mynott and Peter Marren. Each reports from their home patches – Richmond, West Suffolk and North Wessex, respectively – to describe the progress of a record-breakingly sunny spring as human activity slowed and stilled. As a set of nature diaries it’s lovely: full of fascinating detail and anecdote. But the undertow of the virus moving in real time beneath its sunlit surface gives it a unique emotional heft. When we emerge from this crisis our relationship with the natural world must change. This book surely is a record of the beginnings of that shift.

    The Times
  • A powerful and moving reflection on the solace brought by nature and its power as a balm for stressed-out lives

    Caroline Lucas MP
  • What joy – three of our greatest nature writers in one book! What they felt under lockdown is surely what we all felt, that primal need to be out in nature – balm for body and soul. There’s acute and beautiful observation on every page, thrown into exquisite relief by the poignancy of the circumstances. Against the backdrop of anxiety and doubt, their experiences bear witness to the inspiring and ever-hopeful lesson that nature can heal itself – and us – if we let it.

    Isabella Tree
  • The Consolation of Nature is as scintillating, perceptive and every bit as readable as Gibert White’s Selborne

    Professor Tim Birkhead, FRS

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