Read Nature Cure by Richard Mabey Online


Richard Mabey's descent into clinical depression was so annihilating that he could neither work nor play, nor sustain relationships with family or friends. He was drinking too much — and, worst of all, had lost all pleasure in the outside world. This remarkable book charts his gradual return to joyfulness. Richard Mabey had lived his whole life in the Chilterns. As a boy,Richard Mabey's descent into clinical depression was so annihilating that he could neither work nor play, nor sustain relationships with family or friends. He was drinking too much — and, worst of all, had lost all pleasure in the outside world. This remarkable book charts his gradual return to joyfulness. Richard Mabey had lived his whole life in the Chilterns. As a boy, he had tramped over the hills, bird-watching and botanizing. As a man, he purchased a large wood, which he studied in detail over a number of years. He drew on the experience of the Chilterns in all his writings. When depression dragged him under, he felt as if all this was lost, denied, destroyed. In Nature Cure he describes how he found the courage to change his habitat — from hills and chalk to watery fens and flat open spaces. He moved to Norfolk. He fell in love. Slowly, he started once more to look about him.Drawing always on the metaphors and myths of nature — the migration of birds, the magic of the changing seasons — he shows how the British countryside increased his understanding of what really matters and restored his sense of delight....

Title : Nature Cure
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780701176013
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 244 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Nature Cure Reviews

  • Abailart
    2019-07-14 14:14

    Not immediately, but slowly, the book settled in and helped me find a gentler rhythm. From tentative strolls in the park to the remote hills and wind which blew my blues away, this book helped me too find new delight in a world turned grey for too long.

  • Juliet Wilson
    2019-07-07 12:23

    I recently started leading a series of birdwatching walks for City of Edinburgh Council's Outlook Project, which works with adults with mental health problems. I felt that Richard Mabey's Nature Cure would be a great book to read alongside these walks, dealing as it does with the author's recovery from depression and his reaquaintance with the natural world.When Mabey became depressed, he was already a well-known nature writer and the main argument in his book is that getting out into nature in itself isn't necessarily a cure for depression, but rather that it is the building (or in his case re-building) a personal relationship with nature.The book is less of a practical guide to nature therapy and more of a personal memoir about moving to a different part of the country and learning the different landscape and wildlife, alongside musings on the historical human relationships with the natural world.As Mabey recovers, his powers of observation seem to intensify, allowing him to become more and more re-engaged in the natural world around him. His mental state remains fragile though as he worries about whether the usual summer migrants will return, the uncertainties of nature, specially in today' world of so much environmental turmoil, feeding into his own uncertainties."I hadn't heard the shrill flutings of the blackcaps that should have been abundant in the fens, or for that matter that first herald of spring, a chiffchaff. Had they been diorientated too, blown off their traditional routeways by Mediterranean storms? My nightmare, that those ancient ecological links with the south might finally be broken, wouldn't go away."This is wonderfully beautiful meditation on the links between humans and nature and how, just as our connections with nature can help keep our minds whole, the damage we are, as a species, doing to those connections can cause dislocations in our mental health.

  • Dantanian
    2019-06-27 18:26

    A book which certainly helped me with my depressions, and Mr Mabey was kind enough to write back to me a couple of times, which was splendid of him!

  • Claire
    2019-07-11 14:05

    Read for Literature and Environment.Reading Mabey's NATURE CURE in parallel to Macdonald's H IS FOR HAWK provided two interesting perspectives for the ways in which people, specifically writers, in hard times turn to nature and the ways in which they associate with it. I'm not sure if I will use this as a primary text (I'm yet to read Mark Cocker's CROW'S COUNTRY) but I definitely will use it in some way in my essay.

  • Alex Klaushofer
    2019-07-13 17:07

    I love this book, and have returned to it several times since reading it a few years ago, especially because the problem that starts it is counter-intuitive - that stability and rootedness in place can engender depression.

  • Mark Newton
    2019-07-02 14:20

    Surprised, as I thought I'd like this more, given I've liked Mabey's other works. This just seemed a tad too self-indulgent at times and went off on a few too many tangents.

  • Colleen
    2019-06-29 18:26

    Can nature heal a damaged spirit? Mabey's story suggests that it can. But what a long, wordy journey it was.

  • Denzil
    2019-07-03 14:20

    Nature Cure describes well-known naturalist and author Richard Mabey’s recovery from a severe depression. We find him at the start of the book in bed, blankly gazing at the wall. But encouraged by friends and realizing the need for a change of air, he uproots himself from the family house in the Chilterns where he and his sister have lived for 110 years between them, and heads off to East Anglia to live in a room in a farmhouse. His room is “like a small forest” with “more oak inside it than out.” And here he strings up a series of low-energy lamps and makes his nest, amazingly not with a computer but two manual typewriters.Throughout, Mabey describes his breakdown and steady recovery with his characteristic laid-back style, like your favourite uncle relating exploits from a distant past. We get a glimpse of what may have caused his freefall into depression when he describes what it takes to be a full-time writer: “doggedness to be alone in a room for a very long time.”His honesty is admirable. Owning up to depression is never easy, even these days, perhaps especially for a successful writer at the pinnacle of his career (he had just completed the epic and lauded Flora Brittanica). Even more difficult was when depression robbed him of his desire to write: “it made me lose that reflex, it was like losing the instinct to put one foot in front of the other.” But obviously Mabey regained that reflex, and how he did is very touching – and through writing he began to unlock “pieces of me that had been dormant for years.”His style is warmly conversational, making the book easy and pleasurable to read, despite the subject matter. He gently leads you from subject to subject, so that you forget where the conversation started. One moment he is describing wild horses on Redgrove Fen, and his musings about their origins leads to cave paintings in France and then to local Stone Age flint mines in Norfolk, and somehow to Virginia Woolf and moats and the author Roger Deakin. Is this what he refers to later as “free-range reading?”A criticism was brewing in my mind – that Mabey was simply too nice. But then around halfway he criticizes David Attenborough! I had to re-read the paragraph to make sure I was not mistaken. I wasn’t. He even called a scene from Attenborough’s “The Life of Mammals” a freak show.Nature Cure is definitely a recommended read, for anyone interested in good writing about nature, and the cure he describes might well be of benefit to others suffering from depression too.

  • Emily Crow
    2019-07-07 16:14

    It took me a while to read this book because it's an example of the erudite, densely-written, somewhat personally reticent approach to nature writing. The author, one of Britain's foremost experts on nature, describes a period in his life when he fell into a depression and ended up having to leave his familiar home and stay with friends in the agricultural flatlands of East Anglia. There was a lot of value in this book, and I especially enjoyed the author's descriptions of looking for the remains of wetlands in his new territory, with descriptions of how the Enclosure movement of the 1700s completely transformed the landscape. As I happen to live in another region where industrialized agriculture has turned a once beautiful and infinitely complex environment into a paltry shadow of what it used to be--central Illinois, in my case--I was very interested in the comparison. Mabey is at his best when describing his own first hand forays into nature and dealing with his own depression, but all too often, he immediately branched off into a rather dry and academic discussion of the subject. Overall, a good addition to the shelves of serious naturalists, but not my first choice on the subject.

  • Ed
    2019-07-06 15:15

    Partly a diary, partly a whimsical account of the authors thoughts and feelings about the natural world. The "action" takes place in East Anglia during the year after he moved to Norfolk. A prolonged period of depression prefaced this but seems incidental to the account of the author's description of his first year in his new home. His description of this and his exploration of the local countryside fauna and flora as seasons change is the main content of the book. The style of writing feels very much like a leisurely ramble as the author writes about the scenery, flowers, plants, insects, birds, other animals and human activities he encounters through the year. He dwells a little time with each, relating something of their place in present and past culture often alluding to previous authors and poets descriptions. Throughout his love of nature and its interconnections is to the fore. A beautifully written account which I defy any nature lover not to enjoy

  • Izabelle Holmgren
    2019-07-09 16:17

    Jag vet inte ens vad jag tycker om den här boken. Under vissa avsnitt är den jättebra, speciellt då Mabey berättar mer ingående om sin depression. Det var som att läsa om mig själv. Men större delen av boken är en enda lång naturdokumentär. Och det är inte det att jag inte väntade mig det (jag menar, titeln är väldigt tydlig) men jag önskade att han kunde vara mer personlig. Det blir för min del för mycket naturfakta och för lite självbiografi. Det känns som att mina intryck av boken har varvat mellan en fyra och en tvåa genom hela tiden så den får en 3:a.

  • Alf Dimmock
    2019-06-24 10:01


  • Sue Thomas
    2019-06-29 10:01

    Wonderful and very healing.

  • Joyce Barrass
    2019-06-27 17:24

    Beautifully, honestly written book.

  • Clare
    2019-07-02 10:17

    This has been my go to book when tired or feeling low or just feel like I need a boost. Mabey's recovery from depression through nature. Beautifully written. to be read slowly & absorbed.

  • Säbelzahnfuchs
    2019-06-23 17:05

    Beautifully written account of a fight against depression through a change of surroundings and the exploration of a new landscape - and the re-thinking of the relationship that man has with nature. I could have done without the detailed description of Mabeys urologic problems, though.The cats are a big plus. I loved the cats.

  • Snicketts
    2019-07-03 12:07

    3 and a half stars really. This book charts the return to health of a man with depression. He moves from a place he has lived all his life to a village about four miles from where I live which came as something of a surprise to me. As he grows to see the beauty and diversity in the flat, wet Suffolk/ Norfolk countryside he begins to heal and open himself to new experiences. The author writes with precision, honesty and wit. His description of his symptoms and the roots of his mental health issues will ring very true to anyone with experience of this terrible illness.

  • Josephine
    2019-07-13 18:30

    Not enough flow to this read for me. I was sucked in, then grew bored, over and over. At least this ensured I finished the book, but I would have liked my attention to be more sustained.

  • Michael
    2019-07-09 16:09

    Richard Mabey is an extraordinary nature writer with an ability to interest the non specialist and the specialist alike. Haven been given this book by a friend to read, I thought it not too promising, the writers own depression of a deep and profound kind and the nature of the Norfolk Suffolk Borderlands, a pretty but unspectacular part of the world. With the prejudice of a native Norfolk Dumpling I thought Mabey a "foreigner" from the faraway Chilterns was bound to get it all wrong. How wrong I was. The constantly changing Norfolk landscape and wildlife is recorded with an acutely observant eye. Indeed it is one of the best books, if not the best book about the Norfolk Landscape that I have read. Time and again I thought. Yes he has really got this or that right.Even the depression theme is interesting.Richard Mabey observes his illness with a scientists eye. Despite the extremely painful nature of his affliction he behaves with dignity and composure. The successive stages of his recovery leave one with a feeling of sympathy and pleasure at his surmounting of one obstacle after another. The contrast between the serene Norfolk Landscape and the hell which he had to endure during his illness produces an odd but electrifying aesthetic effect in the reader, not the Romantic Sublime but a kind of Postmodern version of it, gentle landscape in contrast to a terrifying mental effect.

  • Susan
    2019-07-06 11:12

    British nature writer, Richard Mabey, moved to a new home while recovering from an immobilizing depression. As he explores East Anglia and regains his emotional equilibrium, he shares the details of his new landscape and interprets and meditates on the natural world, science, Thoreau, the English poet John Clare, other writers, and his own experiences."To wish to contain and know that wild, proliferating edge is to wish to stop nature in its tracks, to put it into a cultural reserve. But it's an unlikely end. In the nature of things life will always keep one step ahead of the measurers and managers. A ceaseless, gratuitous, inventive bodging is what keeps the world going....Lewis Thomas called DNA's habit of suddenly mutating out of the blue, "the wonderful mistake". You can see an equally wonderful refusal to stick to the point as a characteristic of all living matter. In the inexplicable intricacy of a red currant flower, in the merging and drifting clouds of orchid varieties on the fen, in the milling festivals of swifts and the dances of cranes, in the nightjar's all-enveloping song and the house martin's improvisations, there is what Annie Dillard called the world's "free, fringed tangle. Freedom is the world's water and weather, the world's nourishment freely given, its soil and sap." It is also, of course, the world's pain, the wrecking gales, the collapsing membranes, the awareness of death that maybe makes us yearn so much to leave our mark on earth."

  • Eva Whiteley
    2019-07-14 12:22

    I have to confess that the main reason for why I selected this book to read is that someone close to me is suffering from the same acute illness as the author. By reading the journey that Richard Mabey had taken through ‘Nature Cure’ I had hoped to gain a better understanding of how people feel whilst they are under the depilating spell of anxiety and depression. Maybe I would find some answers to how suffers can help themselves to get back to some sort of normality. As this was a personal journey of the Mabey’s it through up more questions than answers for what I was looking for. Although, it has left me with a ripple on considerations. The main focus of the book wasn’t the author’s illness, but Mabey’s re-engagement with nature. The writing and descriptions are creative and well thought out. For me, the subjects in places are a little dull. I can liken my read through the book to a walk along the cliff path, with lots of enjoyable downhill anecdotes mixed in with some harder to read disengaging steep up hills. Just when I want to give up and read something else the book moves on to another topic and my interest is reignited. For horse lovers like me, there is a short section on the wild horses (Koniks) on Redgrave Fen that are the descendants of Tarpans. A breed, that until I read this book I was unaware of, roaming free in the English countryside.

  • Colin Milligan
    2019-07-01 17:04

    Richard Mabey is an important nature writer and he is on top form here. Written as he recovered form a period of depression it chronicles the changing seasons and natural rhythms of his adopted corner of Norfolk.Much of the book concentrates on the landscape but Mabey is at his best when he writes about the animals, plants birds and insects of the broads. His writing on swifts and martens in particular is beautiful, demonstrating his almost sporitual link to his subject.Mabey draws inspiration from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dilliard, a book I enjoyed 20 years ago. I can see the similarities, an individual at one in his/her natural environment. I've actually owned this book for a few years, and only just got round to reading it. It has encouraged me to pause a while as I race through the countryside, and has therefore been a timely and worthwhile read.

  • Matthew Fox
    2019-06-30 18:08

    "Believers in steady-state ecosystems and 'the integrity of species' have begun a myth that the aliens [in this case, Spanish bluebells] will 'hybridise our English bluebells out of existence' - a familiar line of argument to anyone who lives in an inner city. Just what it might mean in the case of plants, and whether such an exotic route to extinction is even possible in the real world, is not at all clear. Our two oak species, for instance, English and sessile, have been cross-breeding freely for ten thousand years without the slightest sign of the one eliminating the other's 'pure stock'. ... Nature itself had scant regard for the purity of species, and has been experimenting with new combinations and launching mongrels on the world ever since life began." - Richard Mabey, Nature Cure

  • Ruth
    2019-06-29 10:26

    Wow, I left this book with Michael (look him up on my friends list) and have only just read his review. I am impressed - what more can I say!Personally I love the way Mabey handles his depression in this book - we could learn a heck of a lot from him - he handles it with dignity and gives it the dignity it deserves. As you know I am a fan of Thomas Moore and his book Dark Nights of the Soul which I reviewed on here says to do exactly the same thing as Mabey did with his depression. So many people go running for the prescription pad to cure their down feelings. They are feelings just the same, just as any others we have. They have their own depth and we need to give them time and attention. p.s. The nature in this is a bonus too!

  • Niki
    2019-06-26 10:29

    Although on the surface a memoir of a recovery from depression, this book is so much more: an extended meditation on man's relationship with nature, a history of a certain part of East Anglia, an examination of how landscape and humans interact and a detailed observation of a passing year. It covers history, geography, philosophy, literature, natural history and autobiography. The difficulty would be guessing where to find it in the bookshop.This sounds as if it could be too disparate to fit together as a coherent whole, but it is bound together by the most beautiful, precisely observed yet elegaic prose. A lovely read.

  • Cindy Kilpatrick
    2019-06-22 14:16

    Honest, inspiring writing. Life and nature carefully observed and eloquently presented.p. 37 "...our imaginative affinities with the natural world are a crucial ecological bond, as essential to us as our material needs for air and water and photosynthesizing plants"p. 45 "A marsh harrier lifted up fro a reed-stand and drifted to a dead tree, an effortless, oriental slide, a shifting of air not body."p. 152 "Plants are part of what makes a locality, differentiates it, makes an amorphous site into a place, a territory, an address."

  • David Sinck
    2019-07-14 16:04

    For me, the perfect book. Do I love the poetry of John Clare? Check. Have I suffered from depression? Check. Mabey's depression was alleviated using the nature that caused his illness. This book is so lyrical, poetic and honest that it proves that there is no one way out of depression. This is Mabey's way out though, and he describes is in such beautiful prose that the fact that is was not mine is not an impediment but a reason to read on. Beautiful prose and our greatest nature writer's best and most honest book.

  • Kmorgenstern
    2019-06-28 17:16

    I liked this book a lot. Richard Mabey is a fine nature writer and I love his musing, reflective, sensitive style, the way he takes note of all the little details in the landscape, in his surroundings, the way he creates meaning and significance from the seemingly haphazard signs that nature throws on his path. Thus, although most of the book takes note of all these little details 'out there' it is a highly introspective and personal account of his healing journey.

  • Lynn
    2019-06-27 11:28

    I got about a third of the way in, wandered off and never could make myself start reading again. I think I expected the author to gently and gradually lead us through his process of healing via nature, but instead it felt like, "Hey, I got really depressed and then I got better, and now let's talk about some birds."

  • David Seligman
    2019-07-07 16:30

    Naturalist Richard Mabey's personal record of his recovery from a depressive breakdown through his involvement with nature and is gradual re-aquaintance with the immense beauty of the landscape and its wild animals. a particularly poignant book for me as it is nature that has rescued me so many times from the dark pits of depression