On The Marsh: A Year Surrounded by Wilderness and Wet is the unique story of how writer Simon Barnes found his new home, after hearing a warbler sing. The sound inspired him to look up at a house for sale, and soon he and his family were living in a house that backed onto Norfolk marshland. Fearing it would go into the wrong hands (be lost to development or intensive farming), his wife helped them to buy it, and manage it as a conservation area, to bring it back to nature for local species. And as an added bonus, their son (who has Down’s Syndrome) found it a place of calm and inspiration.
In his book, we learn how nature brings surprises. Share in the triumphs as new animals (Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs) arrive. And watch as the number of species tops 100, and keeps on growing. As the seasons come and go, there are moments of triumph when marsh harriers return, but also disappointments as chemical run-off from neighbouring land creates a nettles monoculture. Author Simon Barnes is is a council member of the World Land Trust (which buys lands for wildlife conservation).