Some stills from the forthcoming short film, Beyond the Fell Wall, made over the last year in the Furness hills of Cumbria.
Once a place becomes part of one’s inner landscape, the imagination – knowing no bounds or decorum – stitches it into its own patchwork of memory, dreams and reveries. It is subsumed into a greater fiction, and roads or trackways to other places, real or imagined, appear. Nimrod is an accretion of these imaginal processes – an auditory, textual and visual entanglement of the real and unreal, a blending of document and invention.
The excerpted texts that make up the accompanying book come from a range of sources, united by a hyper-sensitivity to nature itself; a desire to understand and come to terms with its ‘hidden state’. They are figures in the landscape, some of whom construct elaborate systems of classification and natural philosophy, others who seem wounded by their very affinities, and others still who seem lost, or are institutionalised. The tone of the work as a whole – which finds its analogue in the music – is aptly evoked in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poignant phrase:
‘nature in all her parcels and faculties gaped and fell apart’.
There is a sense of things on the verge of collapse, of despair and regret.The combination of music, text and image in Nimrod offer such a glimpse, that it can paint the picture of a wood through which slanting light dimly traces other forms.
I began writing this collection in 2009, about a small wood that I used to visit almost daily in south-west Cumbria. I continued writing it on the west coast of Ireland, in 2010, influenced by the many dense thickets of hazel scrub, hawthorn, birch and willow in the Burren. On returning to Cumbria in 2011, I discovered a narrow remnant of ancient oak woodland not far from our hillside cottage. In a sense, although much of the writing deals with specific – and highly individual – locations, each place also elides in the memory, is connected, becoming part of a larger internal woodland.
A Richardson & R Skelton
A further installment in a series of works which began with Wolf Notes (2011), concerning the upland environment around Devoke Water in south-west Cumbria, UK.
In the 1960s, samples from Devoke Water were taken and the embedded pollen grains were analysed, uncovering a fascinating narrative of plant succession over several millennia. Eleven tree genera were identified in a paper published by Winifred Pennington.
The material presented in Relics is a form of salvage; a dredging of the linguistic record for traces of these
lost genera. Each of the eleven trees is visually represented by a trunk cross-section: the innermost ring comprising its earliest linguistic form and the outermost its modern-day equivalent.
Edition of 500
Relics is available to buy individually, or with the Succession Special Edition, which includes the pamphlets Wolfhou and A List of Probable Flora, as well as the Succession music CD.
To pre-order please visit: