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

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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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 (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,959 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 --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Hardcover.

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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: 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: 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 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a beautiful book ! Exquisitely written, this account of one man's solitary time in the breathtaking surroundings of the Welsh hills through all seasons is unputdownable. The descriptive passages are second to none and I was lost in the silence, the peace the author captures and so obviously loved. By the end, which came too soon for me, I knew his tiny dwelling, his long treks and, as well as we humans can, his wildlife neighbours. I felt the warm sun, the pouring rain, the bone chilling cold. I saw the trees, the hills, the streams and heard the curlews. Thank you for all of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Deep Country is the story of how Neil Ansell undertook a personal adventure to live alone in a remote cottage in the Welsh hills for five years. It is a fascinating tale of how he coped without gas, electricity or plumbing and how he became accustomed to the seasons and how his awareness became heightened to the changes around him. His observations of wildlife; the rituals of the woodland and the rhythms of the fields are wonderful descriptions of how beautiful the British countryside really is! Neil becomes engrossed by the daily activities of the birds he sees, such as the curlews, red kites, sparrowhawks and ravens; he becomes attached to the wanderings of the animals that live nearby, like the badgers and the hares, and even to the colony of bats in his roof space!
This magical and evocative book is a remarkable journey of a man who gradually becomes more and more at home with the woodland creatures and hardships of living alone with nature. Definitely essential reading!
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