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Why not LEAF through some of my books and writings and 'LEAVE' your thoughts in the contact section? I'm keen to interest other publishers in new ideas for books and I'm bubbling with concepts to pursue some screenwriting - so please make contact.







Writings for ECOS

New book ideas

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LEAF: About



An ABC of pomology and all things cyderish. An attempt to stimulate a tradition in a county without one.

'I have always been wary of ships in bottles, but apples is another thing, knowing how they got there offers a slightly wobbly foundation for perfecting the very fine art of getting the apples out again. Squeezing a community orchard into the local landscape requires as much intricate craft; and as the next trick to be performed by the New Road Cyderists, with much neighbourly help, will not only create a source of fruit for land-locked scrumpy, but bring winter wood, spring blossom, summer shade, and offer a place to learn about how to wear a pruning apron, about compatibility and cambial contact, about Berkshire's birds and bees, it will bring recipe revival meetings, headache cures, and multitudinous excuses to linger quietly or socially beneath generous trees. The mutuality which we have to rebuild with nature in any small place in the world, requires a real knowledge of the genii and the bottle.'

Sue Clifford MBE

Although the World's Most Famous Apple - the Cox's Orange Pippin (discuss) has its home in Berkshire it only does so through a quirk of local government boundary realignments. The county of Berkshire has since been abolished but the cider-making 'tradition' is growing in strength.

The idea created the twinkle for a submission to the Henry Ford European Conservation Award for Heritage and won the first prize in 1995-96. Spurred by this success and the continuing brilliance of the ideas factory that was Common Ground with the launch of APPLE DAY an ABC book on the subject of POMOLOGY began to bubble up. When it was fully fermented it was published by Two Rivers Press as 'Apples, Berkshire, Cider'. The late, great Pete Hay did the superb artwork and Pip Hall laboriously but beautifully hand lettered the entire book    


(see her Stanza Stones with Poet Laureate Simon Armitage)

APPLES, BERKSHIRE, CIDER is sadly out of print but copies do turn up on Amazon or other pre-loved book sites.

TWO RIVERS PRESS can be contacted here:

COMMON GROUND (founded by Sue Clifford and Angela King) is archived but can be visited here

LEAF: Text


An aerial journey along England's most famous river from source to sea.

'Through time's quirky flow the Thames has run for perhaps a million years. Thousands of deeds (fair and foul), hundreds of kings and queens (ditto) and the waxing and waning of fortune have made the river truly worthy of John Burns' poetic description of it as 'liquid history'. 

Whether by foot, boat, punt, bicycle, train, plane or balloon, this book intends to tempt you to sample the many charms of the Thames. Once a highway, a border, barrier, water supply, laundry, power tool, factory, fishery and lavatory, the river also links history, culture and national, tribal fortunes together in a swirling mix as strong as any weir pool eddy.

It is for you to travel your own path, but if this book plants a few seeds along the way then it will have nourished a greater understanding of a remarkable river valley which is a truly special place worthy of special care'

This book illustrates from oblique, side-by-side and peeping over garden wall photographic angles the full majesty of the landscape character of a river. Not just any river but one that has framed history and literature for centuries. This book, however, has a mission to take you to the backwaters, nooks and crannies to show you how a landscape evolves and to share its secrets.

The Secret Thames (published by EBURY PRESS) is out of print but copies sometimes emerge on Amazon (even in USA). It is a beautifully large book.

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LEAF: Text


What's good to eat in the wild throughout the year. A month by month guide for all those who wish to nibble with nature.


'Duncan's book, as sharp as crab-apple jelly has place and occasion and inventive fun in abundance' 

Richard Mabey

'A charming, rousing and practical guide to eating better...'

Carl Honoré

'What a lovely piece of writing! I am enchanted by it all'

Alastair Sawday

LEAF: Text


An A-Z of some of the weirdest things that have ever happened in a small place: from Boris Johnson playing the Eton Wall Game to the mysteries of the Ankerwyke Yew tree and Henry the Eight 'wooing' Anne Boleyn.

'This delightful book is based in the rich seam of doubt and possibility which lies between real events and 'history' as revealed by eye witnesses or recorded by historians' 

Sir Michael Parkinson

'This is classic place-storytelling in the tradition of Herodotus, who knew that the truth of a place  cannot be reduced to empirical historical facts, but is also born of myths, fancy and supposedly tall stories - which may eventually prove to be not so tall after all'

Professor Ken Olwig

LEAF: Text


Enjoy reading about Reading!

The story of the place of the people of the red one; the town called Reading, Berkshire. Did you know that Reading's name is probably derived from 'the place of the people of the Red One', an Anglo-Saxon settlement for which no physical trace remains?

'Place is always moving, like a sleeping cat' , observed the Japanese artist Toshiya Tsunoda beautifully in 2011. But the 'movements' of place are mostly hard for the human eye to perceive, for they occur over timescales (aeons, epochs, eras, centuries) that exceed the usual units of our apprehension (minutes, days, months, years). Here, Duncan Mackay makes vividly visible the movements of the sleeping cat of Reading, the Red One. His deep-time journey tours us from the coccolith snow-storms of the Cretaceous to the town's hopeful possible futures, by way of Bronze Age smelters, the English Civil War and the opening in 1968 of the Didcot Power Station, the 'Cathedral of the Vale', the exhaust gases of which 'formed new cloudscapes visible for fifty miles in all directions'. His knowledge is remarkable, and his voice distinctive in its wit and passion. What emerges is a layered sense of how a landscape's deep structures bear shapingly upon its surface textures - and how vital a sense of place is to our dreams, our visions, and the quiet practices of everyday life.'

Robert Macfarlane

LEAF: Text


The remarkable story of the Hill family and their legacy today including Green Belts and the foundation of the National Trust

'There is every reason to regard Octavia Hill as one of history's most inspirational figures. Housing and green spaces campaigner, a founder of the National Trust and a pioneering woman at a time when women's voices were too rarely heard; she has long been a heroine of mine'

Dame Fiona Reynolds

'Whispers of Better Things' is a fascinating story of the interwoven lives and dreams of a family that transformed Britain. Mackay's illuminating chronicle is an inspiring read that shows how love and hope helped the Hill family to pioneer a legacy that still resonates today. Starting with Octavia Hill's grandparents, Mackay brilliantly reveals both the personal and social injustices, pains, relationships, opportunities and achievements that led to some of Britain's greatest legacies including the creation of the National Trust, social housing, Green Belts, access to land and new commons. This book is more than just an insight into the Hills family's past - it is an inspiration for our collective future' 

Dan Raven Ellison

'A splendid exploration of the champions of the Victorian open spaces movement and the impact on slum-dwelling children of their achievements. It has lots to teach us about the continued need for children to have green spaces to play in close to where they live, perhaps through the creation of new commons.'

Dr Victoria Edwards

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LEAF: Text


ECOS is one of the most understated yet influential of all Nature publications in the UK. For several years I wrote articles on subjects that interested me and some will soon be collected here I hope with the kind permission of the editor Rick Minter.

Take a peek at ECOS here and check out the British Association of Nature Conservationists:

LEAF: Text


I always keep about six book ideas in my brain. Some have been gestating for a long time like little baby elephants but much slower to see the light of day. I hope they will eventually 'come out'. Some currently published books are way out of print and awaiting renewed vigour as resprayed phoenix. Some yet to be books have been partly written, others sketched, most scoped. My new interest in a triptych of film screenplays stretching from light comedy to dark drama but all with the same ending are coming along nicely.

LEAF: Text
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