A thought-provoking and fascinating non-fiction book that’s quite possibly my favourite read of 2021 (and this is really saying something, as I’ve read a sizeable number of truly excellent books to get me through an epically challenging time).
Neil Ansell catalogues his visits throughout the year to the New Forest, with its flourishing plant and birdlife; a forest that’s almost unchanged from its original, planted at the time of William the Conqueror who particularly liked to hunt game.
There are hints of sadness to the book as the author reflects upon the drastic diminishment of birdlife in England during the last few decades, plus the loss of habitat in general for wildlife. He also talks of how the Gypsies dwelt in the New Forest for centuries, living in harmony with the environment, but were then expelled to cities by those who thought they knew better.
Ansell manages to travel quite seamlessly backwards and forwards in time, weaving history, childhood memoir, the present, and the long-term ecological impact of failing to care for the environment.
About the author: Neil Ansell has been an award-winning television journalist with the BBC and a long-standing writer in newpaper journalism.
You can find out where to buy a copy of The Circling Sky by visiting the publisher’s website https://www.tinderpress.co.uk/titles/neil-ansell/the-circling-sky/9781472272362/
Other books by the same author:
- Deep Country
- Deer Island
- The Last Wilderness (shortlisted in 2018 for Wainwright Golden Beer Prize and the Highland Book Prize)