At the start of Rising Ground, Philip Marden and his family relocate from the Cornish coast to an isolated, dilapidated former farmhouse near the Fal estuary. As they gradually make their new home more and more habitable, Marsden uses it as a base for a number of excursions to explore different locales within Cornwall and Somerset. In the process, he also gets to explore what those places meant to former inhabitants and visitors.
In the course of his travels, Marsden visits the prehistoric landscape of Dartmoor, the tourist hotspots of Glastonbury and Tintagel, the industrial landscape of ‘clay country’, the River Fal, Lands’ End, the Scilly Isles, and elsewhere. It’s an unusual and well-researched book that gave me a much better appreciation of a part of the UK I’ve only visited a couple of times. I particularly enjoyed the stories Marsden unearthed in mainly local archives concerning former explorers and researchers in the area.
A diverting read.
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“…wonderfully droll, witty and entertaining… At their best Carter’s moorland walks and his meandering intellectual talk are part of a single, deeply coherent enterprise: a restless inquiry into the meaning of place and the nature of self.”
—Mark Cocker, author and naturalist
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