This is a follow-up to the same author’s Book of Trespass from 2020 – see review here – and just as I loved the first book I love this one too. Perhaps even more so.
It’s a book with attitude, and I like that. I also agree with a great deal of it, although even if I hadn’t agreed with it I would still have enjoyed the read. You shouldn’t really read a book from the back, but it is worth checking out the last chapter, A Detailed Investigation into the Moral Justification for the Exclusive Ownership of Land, almost as an introduction to the rest of the book – it’s very revealing.
This book provides a stiffener of the sinews and a summoning up of the blood for those of us who are a bit conservative and fearful of upsetting people. It’s a manifesto for upsetting quite a lot of people, and tips for how to do it really well. It is, as you will have guessed, about whether it is fair for so many people to be excluded from so much land that is owned by others. The author thinks not, and the case is brilliantly, sometimes bluntly, often wittily, and always passionately made here.
I enjoyed many of the stories, some told by others than the author. I liked hearing of a botanist who was emboldened to wander from the path for the first time ever in an area local to him and found a rare flower of which he, and I gather everyone else, was completely unaware. Not only was this interesting (well, it interested me!) but this short tale was told perfectly – just perfectly – to make several points at once.
Read this book and your pulse rate will rise but you’ll also be better informed about the law and how to be a canny trespasser – what to do and what definitely not to do. The book covers all habitats and I hadn’t really thought about aquatic trespass, but now I have. How to talk to the police, whether to light a fire, how to make a Freedom of Information request and stick-making all find a place in this book.
I was interested and pleased to see that Weekley Hall Wood (see here) was a case study.
The cover? I like the cover, and I am very keen on the illustrations right through this book, which are also by the author. However, does it tell us anything about the book or its contents except that they are likely to be stylish? Not really. I think there are a couple of illustrations within the book which would have made better covers but I do like it – I’ll give it 7/10 just because I do like it. And it is a crow and the CROW Act is relevant to some of the UK – I get that.
The Trespasser’s Companion: a field guide to reclaiming what is already ours by Nick Hayes is published by Bloomsbury.