Orchard, a year in England’s Eden was one of the most capturing books to be published in 2020.
A collaboration between two authors: Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates. Both are naturalists, both have penned articles for top rate environmental publications including National Geographic and both have created content for BBC and ITV including David Attenborough’s Our Planet.
In parallel this book is also a collaboration of literary styles. Where fiction meets factual content. The pleasure, passionate language and winding narrative of literary fiction used to articulate the evolution of nature through the Orchard. Where to place it on the book shelf? Unsure, so were all the major booksellers. Anywhere from science and technology to gardening, wildlife to birdwatching.
A third collaboration is present, the partnership between man and nature. The Orchard is unravelled through the course of a year. We have home building and nesting through the plethora of life during the summer months. Penultimately, the endeavours of harvest, concluding with hibernation and return of the harshest of climates.
Published in August 2020 during the first summer of the pandemic. A period when many had begun to rediscover nature during our governed one hour of exercise. Staycations were the norm while much of international travel was put on hold.
A worthy winner of the Jefferies Society and White Horse’ book prize for nature writing. A book which does not simply enable engagement with nature: it emerces you deeply into the natural undergrowth of Herefords finest ancient Orchard.