The Unofficial Countryside by Richard Mabey
Richard Mabey’s discovery of nature in the most unexpected and urban surroundings, reminded me so much of the time I spent in London and the nature I saw everyday from our regular albino squirrel visitor, to the Harrier Hawk seen hunting a pigeon.
During the early 1970s Richard Mabey set about mapping his unofficial countryside. He walked crumbling city docks and overgrown bomb-sites, navigated inner city canals and car parks, explored 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, and 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 scarcely a nook in our urban landscapes incapable of supporting life. It is an inspiration to find this abundance, to discover how plants, birds, mammals and insects flourish against all teh odds in the most obscure and surprising places.
With an introduction by Iain Sinclair and illustrations by Mary Newcomb, The Unofficial Countryside is a timely reminder of how nature flourishes against the odds, surviving in the most obscure and surprising places.