Floating: Swimming Cowside Beck

17 August 2017 // Books

Joe Minihane’s Floating: a life regained – 3 copies of which are up for grabs on tomorrow’s newsletter – sees the author reenacting Roger Deakin’s wild swimming tour. The following extract recounts a swim at Cowside Beck in the Yorkshire Dales.

Joe Minihane in Llyn Cwm Bychan, Snowdondia

I couldn’t bring myself to come all this way and not go in search of the tufa pool on Cowside Beck one last time. I felt transformed after Hell Gill, much like Roger says he had been, and was ready to take on one final challenge for the day before falling into a post-swim snooze on the drive home.

I was also armed with some new information, handed to me by a fellow Deakin acolyte. It offered a specific place to aim for on the high road opposite Yew Cogar Scar, so I could stride directly over right-to-roam land and into the pool. (more…)

Edge Walking #10: Harwich to Manningtree

16 August 2017 // Edge Walking

The latest in a series of posts following Tom Bolton – author of London’s Lost Rivers and London’s Lost Neighbourhoods – as he travels the coastline of the British Isles.

The weekend before the General Election, politics were becoming more interesting, but few doubted the result to come. The Prime Minister seemed ill at ease and her party tactically inept. Voters were taking notice, but change was not in the air and there was little expectation of anything other than a large Conservative majority. The final leg of our Essex coast walk was a trip back inland, following the Stour estuary all the way. (more…)

Thinking of Trees

15 August 2017 // Books

In a piece originally given as a talk at Hay Festival for The Woodland Trust, artist and author Jackie Morris discusses cave paintings, tree language, and The Lost Words, her upcoming book collaboration with Robert Macfarlane.

Sometimes the things we are working on all stitch together, threads curl around the world, through time and place. There are threads that connect our ancient ancestors who painted on the walls of caves so long ago to artists working now, threads like the fungal pathways that live, invisible to our eyes, beneath trees. In my mind these anonymous artists painted a likeness onto stone that would call, summon, the very creatures they painted, so that people might hunt and live. (more…)

Boulder: a poem by Fay Musselwhite

14 August 2017 // Poetry

Only by bringing it home
could she get its measure.

How this was done
she doesn’t remember.

She must have been drunk.
Now her favourite hunk of millstone grit

pulled from the river’s bed
vested in moss and white oxalis

has swallowed the room
land-grabbed most of the carpet.

Her children inch round this cuckoo’s egg,
listen to floorboards starting to give.


Taken from the anthology The Footing, published by Longbarrow Press.

The Folklore of Plants

13 August 2017 // Folklore //Music

New from Folklore Tapes: The Folklore of Plants Volume 1. Buy a copy here. (more…)