168 pages, 83 colour photos, 32 b/w illustrations
This beautiful and unusual book brings together a year's wanderings along Britain's shores with compelling stories of their natural history, geology and evolution – from ancient myth to current science – and the author's striking contemporary photography. Whether paddling through the shallows, sheltering in a sea cave or crouching on a cliff in a hailstorm, we are taken on a journey of fascinating diversions. Against a backdrop of the shifting seasons, weather and tides, there are mermaid's purses, hag stones and by-the-wind sailors, alongside stories of wind-sellers and nineteenth century fossil hunters, the evolution of whales and Lego dragons lost at sea. As the threads draw together there is the sense that a walk on the beach, with all its chance finds and everyday wonders, stretches both back into the deep past and ahead into the uncertain future of our oceans. Above all, we are inspired to go out and explore for ourselves, reminded of the pleasures of discovery, and of looking and listening more closely.
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Lisa Woollett is from a long line of scavengers. Her grandfather was from a South London family in the 'scavenging professions' and she grew up on cliffs on the Isle of Sheppey, spending much of her childhood collecting and fossicking along the shore. After a degree in Psychology she studied Documentary Photography and from 1993 worked as a photographer – past clients include The Independent on Sunday, The Observer and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Since 2004 she has lived with her family on the south coast of Cornwall, in a house shared with buckets and boxes of beach finds. Her first book, Sea and Shore Cornwall: common and curious findings, won a Holyer an Gof Publishers' Award 2014. Current photographic work sells through galleries and exhibitions.