Norman Cornthwaite Nicholson was born, on 8 January 1914, in Millom. Then an industrial town, it lies on Cumbria's coastal margins between the Duddon estuary and Black Combe, an outlier of the Lakeland Fells. Norman died in 1987 as one of the town's more widely known and respected characters, a nationally treasured poet, topographical writer, playwright, lecturer, and broadcaster, though one not without his critics. Apart from a couple of years in a New Forest tuberculosis sanatorium, he lived all his life in a terraced house, which as a boy and young adult was his father's outfitters shop, in a corner of old Cumberland that proved the genius loci for his life and work. Norman Nicholson's Nature looks afresh at Nicholson's writing and suggests that we need to regard him as a much greater committed nature writer than previously recognised. Norman Nicholson's Nature explores the writer's relationship between people, place, nature, industry and geology and concludes that in Nicholson's writings we can find the basis for a contemporary conservation ethic.
Ian Brodie has spent a life in campaigning for access, landscape conservation and, more latterly, nature conservation. Before retirement he was on the staff of Friends of the Lake District and lectured on Lancaster University's Lake District Studies Course. He was formerly a member of the Lake District National Park Authority. His recent publications include Thirlmere and the Birth of the Landscape Conservation Movement and Why National Parks?