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Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills Paperback – 2 Feb 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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£9.98 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 13 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141049324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141049328
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Extraordinary...Deep Country is so powerful --Nick Groom, Independent

His rich prose will transport you to a real life Narnian world that CS Lewis would have envied --Jules Hudson, BBC Countryfile

A life that may redefine the word solitary yet is also crowded by the thrum of the natural world --Metro

For those of us enslaved by mortgages and consumerism or dull work...this book will resonate with its many epiphanies. --Caught by the River

A beautiful, translucent portrayal of mid-Wales --Jay Griffiths, author of Wild

For those of us enslaved by mortgages and consumerism or dull work...this book will resonate with its many epiphanies --Caught by the River

A beautiful, translucent portrayal of mid-Wales --Jay Griffiths, author of The Wild

A life that may redefine the word solitary yet is also crowded by the thrum of the natural world.
--Metro --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Neil Ansell spent five years living on a remote hillside in Wales, and wrote his first book, Deep Country, about the experience. Since that time, he has become an award-winning television journalist with the BBC. He has travelled in over fifty countries and has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Big Issue.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This reminds me of observational books about nature written by Denys Watkins-Pitchford [aka 'BB'] in the 1960s. Very evocative, poetic writing about wildlife and the environment that takes you to another place. Personally, though, I'd have preferred more information about exactly what the author did during his five years in the wilds and the challenges of day-to-day life in such extraordinary circumstances. He gives very little away about himself or his background - other than the two sentences on the very first page. [A 3-minute video on YouTube reveals more]. But perhaps I'm missing the point ...
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Format: Hardcover
Neil Ansell had the opportunity to rent a dilapidated cottage deep in the hills of Mid-Wales, in countryside so remote that you could walk twenty miles in one direction without encountering another dwelling. What started as short-term let, turned out to be a five-year period of solitary living, far removed from the services we expect to find today - hot water from a tap, central heating and plumbing. The rent of £100 a year reflected the lack of services but failed to take account of the incredible beauty of the location and the land available to the tenant.

Neil has a great affinity with nature and things which would phase other people were causes of delight. I am not sure how I would feel about sharing my home with twenty of thirty bats for example. Even Neil however baulked at the spring-invasions of mice - fortunately the pretty field mouse variety rather than the disease carrying house mouse. The mice reduced Neil to hanging food in carrier bags from ham hooks embedded in the ceiling. The only way Neil could reduce the population of mice was to trap them and carry them across a river where he released them. No doubt killing them would have had no effect other than to make space for others.

Neil found that his life settled down into natural rhythms. He even developed his own rituals, such as seeing in the New Year from the summit of his hill or walking overnight into the hills at the Summer Solstice so he could watch the dawn from a mountain top. Five years of solitude was broken up by visits from friends, but Neil became accustomed to his way of life and found that he welcomed the return to quietness when they departed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a great book describing Neil Ansell's life in the Welsh Hills. It is inspiring how, by becoming immersed in the local wildlife, particularly the birds, he seems so content being in his own company (although it is reassuring that he does have friends visiting and is in no way a social outcast). Whilst it certainly made me want to go and live in a similar way, it would have been nice to learn more about his wider experiences rather than having an overwhelming focus on birdlife. Although, perhaps this was such an important part of his life that it warranted the attention and from now on I will be watching the birds in my garden more carefully!
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Format: Paperback
A friend gave me this book, because she loved it and thought I might do so too. She was right. I usually go for plot-driven novels and fly through them, but this book is different, I just had to read it slowly, savouring every paragraph, not wanting it to end.
As I live in Wales myself, I was initially frustrated by the fact that he never tells you where he is/was exactly, even though I knew he wanted to keep it private and secret. I would also have loved some drawings or photos of the wildlife, landscapes or bits of the house, but then again, his words create the pictures, so I'm not complaining.
I'm not a bird-watcher as such but did not find his accounts of encounters with various birds boring at all. In fact, I think he may have made a fledgling bird-watcher of me: I seem to be scanning the sky for hawks rather often now.
A magical, beautifully written book that slows you down and opens your eyes and mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Close the curtains, put another log on the fire, pour yourself a glass of red and sit back and enjoy. They say 'lose yourself in a book' and this is exactly what you can do with 'Deep Country'. The detailed descriptions of the weather, countryside and wildlife make you feel as though you are there. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
A great read, I was sad when it ended! It's heavy on the ornithology and if you understand early on that this is a book about nature and less about the trials of living alone in the wilds of Wales then you'll love it. That said, the passages when the author talks about his daily routine become more anticipated and enjoyed. This is a book about losing yourself in the natural environment and less about the concept of 'finding oneself' as is the modern renaissance. the last 30 pages I read in one short sitting and was tempted to start reading it again cover to cover. Instead I bought the authors other book 'Deer Island' which I await eagerly!
Buy it, read it and get somebody else to read it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is one of my 'keep for all time' books, it's so beautifully written and calming. I'm never happier than when I'm out and about walking and at one with nature so for me this book was an extension of that. I loved the 'wildness' of the book, being in a cottage miles from anywhere observing nature and living freely. I find it difficult to describe how this book got into my very soul and through this book I was able to have a taster of what it would be like to live in the heart of the countryside with only the wild life for company. A truly remarkable book and one I am glad I found.
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