In 2001, author Mark Cocker moved to Claxton, a small village in Norfolk that manages to be wonderfully remote, and yet only a few miles from Norwich. In a series of writings spanning the course of a year, Cocker quietly explores nature in the village, and his relationship to the living things around him, as well as the surrounding landscape. All written with a deep knowledge and a wonderful eye for detail, Cocker truly gets to the heart of the local wildlife and the local community.
It’s no secret that I love nature books – possibly something that began when I moved from rural Lincolnshire to central London. It took me a while to adjust, and thankfully I soon noticed that even city centres are not remotely barren – none of us are ever far from wildlife at all, and yet I imagine most of us would struggle to name more than a few types of bird, or identify many insects from each other. Claxton is, thankfully, a book for all – nature fanatic or beginner, and is a gentle exploration of the wildlife and landscape that make up Cocker’s home.
I know that within a few pages I was eagerly googling the various animals that Cocker mentions – eager to see with my eyes the creatures Cocker’s stunningly lyrical phrases had drawn in my brain. Nothing goes unnoticed – a fly in a web, a toad in a dyke, a tree in a hedgerow. All are given consideration, care, thought, and affection – if you weren’t in love with nature before, I can assure you that Mark Cocker will make you fall head over heels with this beautiful land. In fact, I intend to finish typing this and head straight to the park – and maybe for once I’ll not stick my headphones in and hurry along, but look up and around, take my time, and marvel in what a wonderful world we live in.
Huge thanks to the publishers for the copy – and if like me you’re inspired to head out into nature following this lovely little book, Mark Cocker has helpfully supplied a list of all the various species that he spotted in his parish – it may well be worth seeing if you come across any of those yourself!
This review was originally posted on The Bookbag – http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Claxton:_Notes_From_a_Small_Planet_by_Mark_Cocker