At West Horsley Place nature and wellbeing are at the heart of our mission. We want to rejuvenate our 400 acre estate and use it to enrich biodiversity and peoples' health. 

We are honoured to be joined for our first Nature Day by three renowned nature writers who will talk about their work and latest books. The day will include an opportunity to meet the authors and have your books signed as well as a chance to ask them questions. 

Author talks will take place in the barn, with an opportunity to tour our medieval manor house and gardens at lunch time included in your ticket. 

Mark Cocker- One Midsummer's Day

Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth

Swifts are among the most extraordinary of all birds. Their migrations span national borders and continents alike. They may nest in our homes, but their lives pass over our heads. No British citizen is more wreathed in mystery. One Midsummer’s Day is about much more than one bird. Swifts serve as a prism through which Mark Cocker examines and celebrates the deep interconnections that span the whole biosphere. From the deep-sea thermal vents where life was born, to the 15 million degrees at the core of our Sun, he shows that life is a singular and glorious continuum to which we are party and on which we are completely dependent. One Midsummer’s Day is a vital reminder of the connections interlacing all life on Earth. It is described by Horatio Clare as a ‘beautiful, brilliant, mind-stretching and soul-flying book. Genius.’ 

Mark Cocker is an acclaimed author of creative non-fiction and naturalist who writes and broadcasts on wildlife in a variety of national media. He has contributed to the Guardian country diary for 37 years. His 14 books include biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. A Claxton Diary: Further Field Notes from a Small Planet (2019) won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award and Crow Country was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, and won the New Angle Prize (2009).

Emma Mitchell- The Wild Remedy 

Emma Mitchell's richly illustrated and evocative diary – as seen on the BBC's Springwatch – records her nature finds over the course of a year and shows how being in the wild benefits our mental and physical wellbeing.

Emma Mitchell has suffered with depression – or as she calls it, 'the grey slug' – for twenty-five years. In 2003, she moved from the city to the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens and began to take walks in the countryside around her new home, photographing, collecting and drawing as she went. Each walk lifted her mood, proving to be as medicinal as any talking therapy or pharmaceutical.

In Emma's hand-illustrated diary, she takes us with her as she follows the local paths and trails, sharing her nature finds over the course of a year. Reflecting on how these encounters impact her mood, Emma's candid account of her own struggles is a powerful testament to how reconnecting with nature may offer some answers to today's mental health epidemic.

Emma Mitchell is a popular naturalist, illustrator and designer-maker. She trained as a scientist and has a particular interest in how simple acitivities can alter brain biochemistry in order to improve mental health. She has written segments for BBC Springwatch & Autumnwatch, featured on the BBC’s Countryfile and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Emma is one of the Guardian’s Country Diarists and has written for a number of publications, including Country Living, the ipaper, and Mollie Makes. Her first book, MAKING WINTER: A Creative Guide to Surviving the Winter Months, was published to outstanding praise in 2017, and her illustrated diary THE WILD REMEDY: How Nature Mends Us, was published in 2019 and became a Sunday Times bestseller. Emma lives on the edge of the Fens in Eastern England with her husband, two daughters and Annie their lurcher

Roger Morgan-Grenville-  Across a Waking Land

In March 2022, Roger Morgan-Grenville set off from Lymington, on the south coast of Britain, on a 55 day, 1000 mile, solo walk to Cape Wrath on the north-west coast of Scotland. His aim was to judge for himself  the state of nature in the country, and specifically to see some of the extraordinary restoration projects going on up and down the land. The result is an extraordinary and life-changing story of hope and activism among the many problems, but also of the immense beauty and elegance of a country that too few of us know well enough to care about. His illustrated talk is an inspiring account of the journey. 

Roger Morgan-Grenville was a soldier in the Royal Green Jackets, and led the first expedition that retraced Shackelton's journey across South Georgia. After a career in the housewares industry, he became a full-time writer and campaigner on nature  in 2015, and was heavily involved in the set up of the charities Help for Heroes in 2008 and Curlew Action in 2020. Across a Waking Land was published by Icon Books in 2023, His most recent book is The return of the Grey Partridge (Profile 2024)


Important Information

Ticket cost: £40

Event timings: 10 am-4.30 pm

Venue: Barn

Tickets includes all four talks, plus access to explore the manor house at lunch time

Hot drinks & light bites are available to buy from our pop-up partner coffee van. Please note that there is no other catering on site. However you can order a lunch hamper when you buy your ticket or bring a picnic lunch along with you. 

Suitable for 16+ (under 18s must be accompanied)

Please support our local independent book shop: Cobham Bookshop by buying books at the event, which you can have signed by the authors.