Author(s): Rob Cowen
'One of the UK's most exciting nature writers' Guardian
Immersive and exquisite; evocative and powerful, Common Ground is a unique evocation of how, over the course of one year, Rob Cowen came to discover a forgotten realm and its inhabitants. This was not some distant jungle or craggy peak, but half a square mile of wood, meadow, hedge and river on the edge of a northern town, to which he'd moved to after seven years of living in London. An old map given as a Christmas present revealed this little patch of green to be just out of his door and beyond the last housing estate.
This was the beginning of a total absorption in this seam of land and the animals within it. Through daily and often nightly pilgrimages, voices began to rise from the fields, woods and old railway line. And over the course of that year, the stories and histories of this place and its occupants began to mirror and illuminate events happening in Rob's own life: birth, death, fatherhood.
Common Ground offers nothing less than a new way of writing and reading about nature and our experiences within it. Here, the perspectives of this edge-land's inhabitants are set before us in kaleidoscopic detail: a fox; tawny owl; hare; badger; butterfly; swift; mayfly; roe deer; nettles; people across the ages. Through the lives of all of these - and the passage of Cowen's year - we are offered a layered, intimate and startling portrait of a single piece of common ground. For it is a microcosm of our world at large: beautiful, connected, terrifying, growing closer to the edge every day.