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Nature Cure

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  500 ratings  ·  59 reviews
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,
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published March 22nd 2005 by Chatto and Windus (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Ade Bailey
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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!
Gumble's Yard
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
And then, in late May, after all the false starts and unfulfilled days, summer opened as if it had simply been waiting for the right moment. And not just any old summer, but what was to become a season of burnished colour and intoxicating smells that banished elegies for days “like they used to be” and burnt itself into Eastern England’s collective memory. By a stroke of luck, I was up at dawn on the morning it started. There was a mist hanging over the back meadow, a thin milkiness that was
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Writing in The Guardian, Jonathan Bate says:

Nature Cure is several books in one: an honest memoir of the experience of mental illness, a gentle but firm manifesto for a greener way of life, a compendium of delicate observation and curious nature lore.

It is also, as he points out, a “love song” to John Clare, much admired by Richard Mabey. Mabey calls his opening chapter “The Flitting” which is the title of Clare’s poem about his disorientation on moving out of the house he had grown up in. And C
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.
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Can nature heal a damaged spirit? Mabey's story suggests that it can. But what a long, wordy journey it was.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this honest and uplifting book about the ascent out of clinical depression by the author Richard Mabey. Flora Britannica (Mabey's detailed homage to the flora of the British Isles) has a forever place on my bookshelves. It was soon after it's completion and publication that he suffered from the crushing depression that this book considers. It is less about the illness itself but more about the way that nature, and his interaction with it, began to 'cure' him. A lovely, poignant an ...more
Cliff Moyce
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
As everyone knows, it’s a lovely gentle discourse on rediscovering a love for nature while recovering from (and as part of recovering from) depression. The knowledge of the author is incredible, as is his deep love for the subject and (ironically?) for life in general. Truly inspiring. I wanted to head out into the woods and waterways the whole time I was reading it.
Mark Newton
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting journey of someone pulling themselves (with help) out of their depression by emersing themselves into the natural world. He describes well the smallest aspects of nature and the elements as well but sometimes I can almost sense that he is still somewhat depressed. I'd have liked to give it another half star or so but I did find he meandered off trail, so to speak, quite often. Still, a good read.
Amelia Marriette
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that helped me to realise that I was not imagining that I was feeling better because I suddenly exposed myself to nature - it was true and Richard Mabey helped me to find the vocabulary to express my new-found contentment.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Ruth
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
Emily Crow
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 remain ...more
Apr 19, 2015 added it
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."
Alex Klaushofer
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jonathan Gill
Muddled & meandering like a slow moving backwater stream, though not without flashes of light like a kingfisher flitting for a fish.
Not as satisying as his other books I have read.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Gerry Stansby
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was too much of a mixed bag for me. I wasn’t convinced about the way he linked together his depression recovery and nature – a little disappointing in the end, for me anyway.
2.5 stars. The author’s conclusions saved this book; almost to the point of 3 stars. I think if I reread this now, knowing the point, I would get a lot more out of it. Nature Cure didn’t seem to have any real theme until the very end. If the conclusion had been laid out in the beginning I would have better understood where all these stories were headed. As it was, I frequently got bored because there seemed to be no trajectory. In the final pages we are told that the author’s year of exploring n ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ver ...more
Jill Gurney
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, nature
(2005) Read for second time. Blurb says that author - a well known and regarded nature writer and author of Food for Free - moved to Norfolk from the Chilterns to overcome depression. His depression did improve, but the blurb fails to mention potential contributing factors, such as his new relationship in Norfolk with Poppy. However the book is excellent in parts. It describes the history of areas of Norfolk that can be seen in the landscape and calls for humans to recognise that they are a part ...more
Sophy H
The only way I can describe this book is truly beautiful.

Richard Mabey reveals the experience behind a crippling depression he suffered some years ago, and how nature, his usual passion, initially failed to reignite his tortured soul.

The writing is honest, forthright, tender yet enthralling.

His reestablished passion shines through on each and every page.

Much loved book and highly recommended.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked the first two chapters (Flitting and Lair) and the last two chapters (Fancy Work and The Wild Card). Those four chapters focused on his personal psychological experiences, intertwined with his appreciation for nature.

The two middle chapters were more absorbed in the details of his environment. Those chapters were less interesting to me but if you just want to focus on nature, those might be the chapters you prefer....
Sue Thomas
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful and very healing.
Joyce Barrass
Beautifully, honestly written book.
Hilary May
This seems a mean rating. Beautiful prose and bits really grabbed me, other bits less so. Agree with idea that nature is vital for our mental health- obviously!
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memior
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 issue
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: Cornflower Books
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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Richard Mabey is one of England's greatest nature writers. He is author of some thirty books including Nature Cure which was shortlisted for the Whitbread, Ondaatje and Ackerley Awards.

A regular commentator on the radio and in the national press, he is also a Director of the arts and conservation charity Common Ground and Vice-President of the Open Spaces Society. He lives in Norfolk.

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