Cottongrass Summer is a collection of 52 essays on nature and wildlife on subjects ranging from birdsong to beavers and our role as stewards of the land. It is a collection freighted with concern at the crisis the natural world faces and reflecting Roy's considerable experience of working in nature. For instance, Roy addresses the absence of calcium in upland habitats, the case for renaming the wildcat and the impact of apex predators on ecosystems. One of our most prominent advocates for rewilding, Roy Dennis writes with insights that stem from his close observation of the natural world – on entire ecosystems all the way to tiny details and individual species. Above all, this beautifully written collection will provide a year-round trove of inspiration and knowledge for anyone who cares about the species and landscapes around us and wants to be mindful of the many aspects of our relationship with nature.
"I can't think of a more important book that's been written about British wildlife in the past 20 years [...] Roy Dennis [is] the UK's pre-eminent conservationist of the past half century [...] he writes with such conviction, clarity, insight, depth and purpose. He understands better than anyone how times have changed [...] In just a sentence or two, he cuts to the quick [...] If you read any book about the environment this year, read this."
– James Fair, naturalist, in Countryfile's Best Nature Books of 2020
"Reminds me strongly of Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, which is a classic of the ecological literature, and I can think of no better comparison to give you an idea of its content and of this book's quality and worth [...] It is a book of ideas; ideas about how the future should be, but rooted in the present and with knowledge of the past."
– Mark Avery
"The wonderful, insightful and eclectic musings from a lifetime watching wildlife, by one of Britain's greatest conservationists."
– Mike Dilger
"Roy is not just a brilliant conservationist but a superb naturalist too [...] These beautiful essays are also positive and pragmatic about the future [...] absolutely joyous."
– Chris Packham
"This is a cracking book full of beautifully descriptive prose and thought-provoking sentiments by a man who, more than anyone else, has been there, done that and got the 'T'-shirt."
– Iolo Williams
"In an exhilarating roundelay of profoundly questioning essays, Roy Dennis has revealed a lifetime in nature conservation, while also delivering a sparkling vision for an ecologically sustainable Highlands, the country and the planet. This little book is a testament to a rare and redeeming curiosity; we must all learn from the deep wisdom of experience."
– Sir John Lister-Kaye OBE
"[...] It is not often that someone with such experience is able to write so eloquently about it. Whilst the book has no illustrations, this is no deficit when the author's prose so ably conjures mental pictures of the relevant species, habitats or people. I found this book a delight to read.[...]"
– Ro Scott, The Niche, summer 2021