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Summary

How the rewilding of eight acres of Norfolk marshland inspired a family and brought nature even closer to home. 

When writer Simon Barnes heard a Cetti's warbler sing out as he turned up to look at a house for sale, he knew immediately that he had found his new home. The fact that his garden backed onto an area of marshy land only increased the possibilities, but there was always the fear that it might end up in the wrong hands and be lost to development or intensive farming. His wife saw through the delicate negotiations for the purchase. Once they'd bought it, they began to manage it as a conservation area, working with the Wildlife Trust to ensure it became as appealing as possible to all species. For their son Eddie, who has Down syndrome, it became a place of calm and inspiration. 

In On The Marsh, we see how nature can always bring surprises and share in the triumphs as new animals - Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs - arrive, and watch as the number of species of bird tops 100 and keeps on growing. As the seasons go by, there are moments of triumph when not one but two marsh harrier families use the marsh as a hunting ground but also disappointments as chemical run-off from neighbouring farmland creates a nettles monoculture in newly turned earth. 

For anyone who enjoyed books such as Meadowland or the writing of Stephen Moss, Roger Deakin or Adam Nicolson, this is a vivid and beautifully told account of the wonders that can sometimes be found on our doorsteps and how nature can transform us all.

©2019 Simon Barnes (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

What listeners say about On the Marsh

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great picture

An in depth picture of the marshland that Simon and his wife bought as an extension to their Norfolk garden. Written with passion and deep knowledge, it brings the inhabitants of the marshland to life - the changing seasons, the residents, the coming and going of migratory birds and, above all the need for joined up wild areas. A delight for anyone who loves Nature.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Nature writing at it's best.

Thoroughly recommend this audio book for anyone who enjoys listening in this case to someone who can transport the listener / reader to the magical experience of the wilderness through the knowledge & enthusiasm of the writer. I have a number of Simon Barnes books in paperback. But to be able to listen to the author has felt like being in his company in and sharing his world of nature from his patch of it. Hopefully listening to this book will encourage others with an interest in nature to get out and explore their own patch of nature wherever possible and lift one's spirits.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved this

I loved this account of life “on the marsh” by an author with a true appreciation for nature. It has inspired me to do something similar myself!

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Delightful, informative and gives me hope!

An absolute pleasure to listen to. I laughed, could have wept, and learnt things about birds, wildlife general, ecosystems and people. Read and enjoy. I especially enjoyed the poems.

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Throughly enjoyable

This is a beautiful journal with many heart touching moments not least about Eddie all the marsh brings him

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lovely listen

part memoir, part ode to nature. A celebration of birds, wildlife and family life. I really enjoyed it!

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A breath of fresh air

In these troubled times it is reassuring to hear that nature carries on regardless and hopefully may do so and when mankind finally destroys itself maybe the planet will renew and repair the damage we have done. Have long admired Simon Barnes's style of writing and will continue to seek out his work.

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A beautiful book

Loved the book , It will be played more than once. ,so good I'm also buying it for a friend. Well written and well read . I loved the poems by Eddie .

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Wonders of Wild Norfolk

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the adventures of Simon, Eddy and Cindy in Norfolk. I lived there for a couple of years with a very keen birder so it felt as if I was whisked away down memory..... marsh. To enjoy carefree days watching, listening and marvelling at the beautiful wonders of the natural world in Norfolk Simon writes and reads with love, humour and passion and it has been a pleasure to listen to the audio book. Thank you

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touching and inspiring

in equal measure educational, touching, inspirational and deeply personal. what an absolutely amazing book. cannot recommend enough