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Once Upon a Raven's Nest with Catrina Davies
Once Upon a Raven's Nest with Catrina Davies

Sat, 22 Jul


Seven Fables

Once Upon a Raven's Nest with Catrina Davies

Join writer Catrina Davies and Seven Fables for a walk and talk in the woods of Exmoor...

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Time & Location

22 Jul 2023, 14:00 – 16:30

Seven Fables, 7 The High Street Dulverton Exmoor Somerset TA22 9HB UK

About the event

Once Upon a Raven's Nest is an account of an epoch of change; of the earth and of a human life. It is the story of a working class man, one Thomas Hedley of Exmoor, and of the planet during the period of its great acceleration towards the current climate emergency. 

Born in 1955 to a rural, working class family in Somerset, Thomas refused to conform. His fierce independence, recklessness and contrariness led not only to scrapes and self-inflicted dangers but to a life enriched by the love of women. Catrina Davies came to know him in his last years and has given his life and times in his own words, creating a rich, pungent language in a knowing, poetic and poignant voice.

We learn of his accumulation of engines, tools and guns, the complexity of his connection to nature, the animals he loved and his desire to hunt them. He recounts the terrible consequences of his fatal attraction to risk and machinery which led to his being paralysed for the last years of his life, confined to a wheelchair, hopelessly dependent but still watching, noticing, recording, loving the world.

It's only when you add up all those small things that you get a sum so fraught with heartache you can't even start to reckon on how much you've lost.

In Davies's miraculous retelling of Thomas Hedley's life it is as if a world has been remembered rather than written. Once Upon A Raven's Nest is an unforgettable history of a life that is almost lost and an account of the destruction man has wrought on the earth in the time that Hedley worked the land.

'This is a rich, beautiful and deeply moving book. I read it in one sitting, then was sorry that I had not drawn it out for longer, as I enjoyed it so much.' George Monbiot

'Once Upon a Raven's Nest is a genuinely captivating tale of rural-lore - told through the thrilling narrative of one man's life; a good ol' country boy, a right character whose scraps and scrapes litter the pages. Chainsaws and tractors and torn love affairs fill the book, as Tommy's story is laid bare in a series of episodes and fractured snapshots carefully scattered within a timescale of environmental decline. There is a tough, brutal beauty here in Davies' depiction of the ways of the British countryside but love, and delight and the best of humanity, too' - James Canton

Those local to Exmoor may recognise that 'good ol' country boy as Ralphie, Hedley Ralph Collard...

Once Upon a Raven's Nest £18.99

Published April 2023 by Quercus Publishing

Number of pages - 400 22 x 138 mm

Please note a level of walking fitness is required and do dress appropriately


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