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Top 5 books to get lost in nature

I recently met lovely Laura Willan, one half of the couple behind Kent’s first Wealden Literary Festival. Laura’s passion for the environment and husband Andrew’s love of books led them to mastermind this festival which is a celebration of both those things – and taking place this 18 & 19 June at beautiful Boldshaves Garden, Woodchuch. There was much discussion on the countryside, landscape and our relationship with the natural world. Or as I put it: ‘Is the idea that we all just need to sometimes slow down and smell the roses?’ Er, yup, pretty much.

So if you occasionally like to lift your nose out of your iPhone and enjoy the lyrical escapism of books inspired by the real world around us, here’s our top 5, courtesy of Sevenoaks Bookshop, official book seller at the festival.

Natural History of Selborne, Gilbert White, 1789


Close description of nature in Reverend Gilbert White’s garden and surrounding countryside.

Unofficial Countryside, Richard Maybe, 1973


Finding nature in urban settings and what would previously have been deemed ‘wasteland’ rather than land worthy of nature writing.

Waterlog, Roger Deakin, 1999


Wild swimmer’s view of Britain – a mixture of close observation of nature with travel, meeting with people and a tinge of adventure.

The Wild Places, Robert MacFarlane, 2007


Seeking out wilderness in Britain – from the large scale such as Essex salt marshes to the minute scale of vegetation in limestone grykes in The Burren of Ireland.

H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald, 2014


Focusing on the restorative properties of natural life.

And one for luck…

Little Toller Books, various authors


Reprints of classic nature writing which focused in detail on the experience of nature and all things rural in specific, often very small, localities.

If you’re thinking of visiting the Festival, as well as talks from authors and travel writers there’ll be food stalls, craft stalls and workshops. And for the Mini Muddies wildlife safaris and nature trails. A beautiful venue and a different day out: *book* your ticket now. Boom, boom.

Sevenoaks Bookshop, will be selling books of all the featured authors/speakers at the event.

All tickets £5 (includes access to festival site), Day pass, £25 (includes entrance to festival site and all talks in The Garden Tent on that day). Boldshaves Garden, Woodchurch TN26 3RA,

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent