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The Story of Our Shore

Patrick Barkham author


Publisher:Granta Books

Published:8th Oct '15

Should be back in stock very soon

Coastlines cover

From one of the most engaging and widely admired of the new generation of nature writers, here is a portrait of the British coastline from the Giant's Causeway to Land's End

Told through a series of walks beside the sea, this is a story of the most beautiful 742 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: their rocks, plants and animals, their views, walks and history, and the people who have made their lives within sight of the waves. As he travels along coastal paths, visits beaches and explores coves, Barkham reflects on the long campaign to protect our shoreline from tidal erosion and human damage and weaves together fascinating tales about every aspect of the coast - from ancient conquests and smuggler's routes, to exotic migratory birds and bucket-and-spade holidays - to tell a more profound story about our island nation and the way we are shaped by our shores.

Real, proper, close-to-poetry literature... [from the] heralded nature writer. It is an ambitious thing, a hybrid of practical and ethereal. Barkham's best chapters made me want to drop everything and go there. An intriguing, cerebral guidebook -- Melanie Reid * The Times *
To successfully combine this kind of travel writing and natural history with theories about cultural history requires accessible, rhythmic prose and a genial narrative voice, and, as readers of his previous books will know, Barkham has both. His experience as a journalist tells in the tightness of his storytelling, and he has a superb eye for the effective one-liner... but for all its usefulness, accessibility and geniality, the book is most distinguished by its ambitious, Romantic evocations of the spirit of place -- Richard Benson ‘Book of the Week’ * Independent *
Striking and inventive... Unlike many contemporary nature writers, who embark on their journeys in the wake of personal crisis, Barkham is a cheery, straightforward guide. A useful one, too... [Coastlines is an] informative, enthusiastic and at times rapturous celebration of our shores -- Blake Morrison * Guardian *
A poetic account of our shoreline... "Every day," writes Barkham, "there is something surprising, joyful and new to be found beside the sea." The same might be said of many pages of his book. Delightful -- Michael Kerr * Sunday Telegraph *
The power of Patrick Barkham's third book, Coastlines, comes from [Barkham's] thoughtful voice, combined with a magpie ability to pick out a landscape's most interesting morsels. A fascinating read, underpinned with a constant quiet sense of love and wonder -- Tom Cox * Observer *
Barkham is proving himself to be one of the finest writers of his generation. He can move from humour to earnest reflection without the reader even noticing the transition and, at its best, his prose has a restrained lyrical quality that invites envy... Coastlines will teach you about saint-rich Bardsey Island, the industry-scarred landscapes of East Durham, and the stunning coastal walks of North Cornwall. It will make you appreciate the efforts of the National Trust and convince you that installing robust coastal defences is one of our highest national priorities. Above all, it should make every Briton feel happy to live in a country that is 'more edge than middle.' I was born by the sea and have never felt at ease in a landlocked place. Thanks to this superb book, I now know why -- Jon Wright * Geographical Magazine *
Engaging * Bookseller *
Barkham is one of the most eloquent writers on these isles * Suffolk and Norfolk Life *
[Barkham] engagingly interweaves his impressions with accounts of notable features and reflections on the hard battle to preserve our rich coastal heritage. A likeable as well as informative companion -- Harry Mead * Northern Echo *
Barkham has provided a tempting introduction to many little-known stretches of our coastline, with helpful instructions on how to get to them. He is the right man to salute the preservation of our coast -- Peter Lewis * Daily Mail *
Coastlines is a must-read for naturalists * Cornwall Today *
[Barkham's] sense for nature, especially human nature, permeates his book -- Theo Leanse * Financial Times *
Great * History Revealed *
A delight from cover to cover -- Trevor Heaton * Norwich Evening News *
In his previous book, Barkham has written beautifully about butterflies and badgers. Here he turns his attention to the 742 miles of coastline in the care of Enterprise Neptune, the National Trust's maritime arm. In a series of walks, he discovers the weird and the wonderful...and ponders how the surrounding sea has shaped our island life -- Eithne Farry * Sunday Express *
Barkham is voluble, wide-eyed and well read, bubbling with enthusiasm -- Gavin Francis * New Statesman *
A tale of our isles' 742-mile coastline, told with great love * National Geographic Traveller *
Barkham's charming book takes us on a riveting tour round the water's edge, celebrating the variety and extremes of our landscape -- Julia Richardson * Daily Mail *
Barkham is a cheery, straightforward guide -- Blake Morrison * Guardian *
Barkham's journey is rich in anecdote, history and observation * Mail on Sunday *
A buoyant celebration of ten evocative spots * Independent *
Great fun -- Melanie Reid * The Times *
Brilliantly evocative and moving... Barkham [creates] skilful pen portraits and is adept at capturing the genius loci of a landscape -- Lettie Kennedy, 'Paperbacks of the Week' * Observer *
An eloquent account of his travels around the British Isles that perfectly catches the wonder of the British coast -- Robin McKie * Observer *
Brought alive by the sharpness of Barkham's eye and the acuity of his ear... Barkham has the happy knack of finding exactly those aspects of the Penwith peninsula or the Farne Islands that make you want to drop everything and head off there at once, scattering fascinating nuggets about him as he does so... Most of all, he conveys a vivid sense that this borderland where two worlds meet, terrestrial and marine, is in its natural state inherently exhilarating -- Michael McCarthy * Resurgence & Ecologist *
If you enjoyed the BBC Coast series then this book is for you -- Paul Trodd * Folkestone Herals *

  • Long-listed for The Wainwright Golden Beer Prize 2016 (UK)

ISBN: 9781847088994

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 22mm

Weight: 307g

368 pages