On Gallows Down – Place, Protest and Belonging
- Chelsea Green Publishing
- 2021 ISBN 9781645021162
- 256 pages
- 23.5 × 16 × 2.3 cm
From the girl catching the eye of the ‘peace women’ of Greenham Common to the young woman protesting the loss of ancient and beloved trees, and as a mother raising a family in tied and tenanted farm cottages on grand, country estates, this is the story of how Nicola came to write – as a means of protest. Of how she discovered the rich seam of resistance that runs through Newbury’s people from the English Civil War to the Swing Riots and the battle against the Newbury Bypass, the hope she finds in the rewilding of Greenham Common after the military left, and the stories told by the landscapes of Watership Down, the gibbet perched high on Gallows Down and Highclere Castle.
Nature is indelibly linked to belonging for Nicola. She charts her story through the walks she takes with her children across the chalk hills of the North Wessex Downs, through the song of the nightingale and the red kites, fieldfares, skylarks and lapwings that accompany her; the badger cubs she watches at night; the velvety mole she discovers in her garden and the cuckoo, whose return she awaits.
On Gallows Down is about how Nicola came to realise that it is she who can decide where she belongs, for home is a place in nature and imagination, which must be protected through words and actions.