Caroline Crampton was born on the Thames Estuary to parents who had sailed there from South Africa in the early 1980s. Having grown up with seafaring legs and a desire to explore, Caroline is both a knowledgeable guide to the most hidden-away parts of this overlooked and unfashionable part of the country, and a persuasive advocate for its significance, both historically and culturally. As one of the key entrances and exits to England, the estuary has been pivotal to London’s economic fortunes and in defining its place in the world.

It has also been the entry point for immigrants for generations, yet it has an ambivalent relationship with newcomers, and … More

We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How do we make our way through the ruins that we have made? This anthology tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Hugh Brody to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.

Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of … More

Out now. The highly anticipated new book from the internationally bestselling, prize-winning author of Landmarks, The Lost Words and The Old Ways. Discover the hidden worlds beneath our feet… In Underland, Robert Macfarlane takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland’s glaciers, to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet’s past and future.

Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, Underland is a work of huge range … More

Commencing with an extremely useful section of 11 pages introducing the reader to the ancient heritage of early Sussex building stones, there follows useful supplementary information, packed with delightful figures in colour. With applicable illustrations, it advises on topics such as ‘The Building Stone Landscape’, ‘Stone Quarrying in Sussex’, ‘Historic Use of Building Stones’, & even to the past coastal & river navigation of about 1000AD that assisted in the distribution of the stone types at that time. There follows a comprehensive, well laid out, easy to use, double-page spread, describing each rock type in stratigraphical order. Occasionally, two double-page spreads are used where the importance of certain rocks, such as the Hastings Sandstone, are involved.

These descriptions are accompanied by excellent colour photographs of the particular building stone, both in its natural geological environment and … More

Not so long ago, our roads, buildings, gravestones & monuments were built from local rock, our cities were powered by coal from Welsh mines, & our lamps were lit with paraffin from Scottish shale. At the height of the empire, British stone travelled across the world to India and China, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Singapore & South Africa. There were thousands of mines, quarries, slag heaps & brick pits across the British Isles. We live among the remnants of those times – our older cities are built from Bath limestone, or Aberdeen granite – but for the most part our mines are gone, our buildings are no longer local, & the flow of stone travels east to west.

Spurred on by the erasure of history and industry, Ted Nield journeyed across this buried landscape: from the small Welsh … More

Will Hunt is an urban adventurer who has explored caves & catacombs, subway systems, & long abandoned, ghostly mines: all varieties of holes in the ground. He’s tracked down people who, for one reason or another, have shared his underground fixation: each an incarnation of Hermes, who could see & touch the underworld in ways others could not. Underground is a place of overlapping, often contradictory associations: it is a space that evokes death & burial even as it is a place of origins; it fills us with primordial dread, even as we seek refuge there in times of strife; we dig in search of riches & we bury our most toxic waste.

It is a spawning ground for political insurgence and where governments hide their most sensitive secrets. We excavate in search … More

Back in stock, our Gareth’s, ‘Marshland’. Marshland is a deep map of the east London marshes, a blend of local history, folklore and weird fiction, where nothing is quite as it seems. Cocker spaniel by his side, Rees wanders the marshes of Hackney, Leyton and Walthamstow, avoiding his family and the pressures of life. He discovers a lost world of Victorian filter plants, ancient grazing lands, dead toy factories and tidal rivers on the edgelands of a rapidly changing city.

Ghosts are his friends. As strange tales of bears, crocodiles, magic narrowboats and apocalyptic tribes begin to manifest themselves, Rees … More