This February the godfather of modern British nature writing, Richard Mabey, turns 80. The author of Food for Free and dozens of other books, he has been writing about nature for almost fifty years. Food for Free came out in 1972 and is still in print. His second book was The Unofficial Countryside. The Common Ground followed that, and shortly after a biography of Gilbert White, and then Flora Britannica. Just a small selection of the books he has produced over the years, and is still producing; Turning the Boat for Home: A life writing about nature, a collection of the writings of Richard Mabey came out last year in hardback and next month in paperback. The Holt Bookshop has been lucky enough in the past to have Richard come and talk at the shop. Hopefully when the world opens up again we may again.
Richard Mabey£12.99 £12.34
A complete guide to help you safely identify edible species that grow around us, together with detailed artworks, field identification notes and recipes. First published in 1972, this updated edition of Richard Mabey's cult bestseller has been revised to reflect the ever-increasing eco-awareness and popular interest in finding different, and more natural, sources of food. Each of the 240 types of fruit, nut, flower, seaweed, fungi and shellfish featured has its own identification field notes and artwork. Understand and learn about the fascinating edible species that you may come across and, with the help of the numerous recipes also included, find out the best way to pick and enjoy them. Beautifully illustrated and written, 'Food for Free' will inspire you to take more notice of the natural harvest that surrounds us, learn how to make use of it and conserve it for future generations.
Richard Mabey£9.99 £9.49
'One of our greatest nature writers' GuardianFor over fifty years, Richard Mabey has been a pioneering voice in modern nature writing. This book collects pieces across his rich career, tracing his continually evolving ideas as much as the profound changes in our environment. From the rediscovery of food foraging in the 1970s, to reflections on the musicality of birdsong, these essays show Mabey's passionate belief that our planet is a commonwealth for all species, and that our reconnection with the living world is more vital than ever. 'Richard Mabey is among the best writers at work in Britain' Tim Dee'Poised where nature meets culture, [Mabey] is knowledgeable, politically savvy and wry, and an excellent naturalist' New Statesman
Richard Mabey and Mary Newcomb£14.00 £13.30
During the early 1970s Richard Mabey set about mapping his unofficial countryside. He walked crumbling city docks and overgrown bomb sites, navigating inner city canals and car parks, exploring sewage works, gravel pits, rubbish tips. What he discovered runs deeper than a natural history of our suburbs and cities. The Unofficial Countryside prescribes another way of seeing, another way of experiencing nature in our daily lives. Wild flowers glimpsed from a commuter train. A kestrel hawking above a public park. Enchanter's nightshade growing through pavement cracks. Fox cubs playing on a motorway's scrubby fringe. There is a scarcely a nook in our urban landscape incapable of supporting life. It is an inspiration to find this abundance, to discover how plants, birds, mammals and insects flourish against the odds in the most obscure and surprising places.
Richard Mabey£75.00 £71.25
Flora Britannica covers the native and naturalised plants of England, Scotland and Wales, and, while full of fascinating history, is topical and modern. Indeed, Flora Britannica is the definitive contemporary flora, an encyclopaedia of living folklore, a register - a sort of Domesday Book. It is unique in that it is not a botanical flora but a cultural one - an account of the role of wild plants in social life, arts, custom and landscape. It is also unique in that information has been supplied by the people themselves. Five years of intensive original research have aroused popular interest and 'grassroots' involvement on an exceptional scale. People all over Britain - both rural and urban - have been encouraged to record and celebrate the cultural dimensions of their own flora, and to send their memories and anecdotes, observations and regional knowledge to Flora Britannica. The result is a nationwide record of the popular culture, domestic uses and social meanings of our wild plants. It is both useful and delightful - superbly written by one of the most outstanding English authors on natural history and illustrated with nearly 500 photographs. Including trees and ferns, it covers 1,000 species, many of them in considerable detail. A new flora for the people, Flora Britannica is a testimony to the continuing relationship between nature and human beings, and a celebration that the seasons and the landscape, local character and identity, still matter in Britain.
Richard Mabey£9.99 £9.49
When the pioneering naturalist Gilbert White (1720-93) wrote The Natural History of Selborne (1789), he created one of the greatest and most influential natural history works of all time, his detailed observations about birds and animals providing the cornerstones of modern ecology. In this award-winning biography, Richard Mabey tells the wonderful story of the clergyman - England's first ecologist - whose inspirational naturalist's handbook has become an English classic.
Richard Mabey£7.99 £7.59
In his trademark style, Richard Mabey weaves together science, art and memoirs (including his own) to show the weather's impact on our culture and national psyche. He rambles through the myths of Golden Summers and our persistent state of denial about the winter; the Impressionists' love affair with London smog, seasonal affective disorder (SAD - do we all get it?) and the mysteries of storm migraines; herrings falling like hail in Norfolk and Saharan dust reddening south-coast cars; moonbows, dog-suns, fog-mirages and Constable's clouds; the fact that English has more words for rain than Inuit has for snow; the curious eccentricity of country clothing and the mathematical behaviour of umbrella sales. We should never apologise for our obsession with the weather. It is one of the most profound influences on the way we live, and something we all experience in common. No wonder it's the natural subject for a greeting between total strangers: 'Turned out nice again.'