4 out of 5 stars
The closest some people get to nature now days is the motorway verge seen at 70 (ish) mph. Some people don’t even have that opportunity at home, with gardens becoming an outdoor space that the wilder aspects are banished from. It is not a recent problem though as back in the 1940s, Shropshire naturalist and photographer Frances Pitt also wrote a book called How to See Nature, that was aimed at helping evacuees who were encountering the countryside for the first time. Evans, who is the Guardian nature writer, was asked by the same publisher as Pitt, to write a modern version of the book to appeal to people who are as nature deficient as those eighty years ago.
The best place to start looking for the natural world is your back garden, or if you aren’t fortunate to have a garden a local park is a good place. Evans is here to accompany you on the journey back to connect back to nature. He will take us from our local area where you can see all manner of creatures at night if you take the time to look, right up to the wild moors via our hedges, verges and woodlands in the search on our national wildlife. A glimpse of a small mammal that could have been a pine marten, the reality was it was probably a polecat, but Evans had that glimmer of hope. Pine martens were supposed to be only living in the wilds of Scotland but were actually right under peoples noses in select spots in England and Wales.
The point of the book is to get you to reset the way that you look at the world, take the time to step away from the modern distractions and get outside. I liked the list of flora and fauna that you could find in most locations in the UK. It is not an exhaustive list, but enough variety to give you a range of things to see with a small amount of effort. He has similar goals to Simon Barnes in Rewild Yourself, which would be a good companion volume to read with this. Evans has a lovely way of writing, evocative with an eye for the detail in the bigger picture. It has a stunning cover by Harding (The Salt Path Cover) and artwork inside by Maria Nunzia, so will look good on your shelf too.