Book review: ‘Rising Ground’ by Philip Marsden

A search for the spirit of place.

‘Rising Ground’ by Philip Marsden

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.

Note: I will receive a small referral fee if you buy this book via one of the above links.

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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On the Moor

Richard Carter’s fascinating exploration of his local grouse-moor in West Yorkshire digs deep into natural history, human history, prehistory, and the history of science. His writing is grounded, insightful, and frequently hilarious, and he shows how falling in love with your own local patch can be a gateway to the whole world.
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