Rings in the Shingle

Rings in the Shingle

Images and poems about wildlife at the north Norfolk coast. 

Rings in the Shingle is a sparkling mixture of poetry, prose and colour photography about wildlife you find at the north Norfolk Coast. An enchanting souvenir and gift such that all may bring a bit of Norfolk home. This is the first book in the series of Encounters with Norfolk Wildlife of Limited Editions. The second volume is now out: The Worshipful Companies which can be purchased here.



Author: Stuart Medland
Publisher: Brambleby Books
Year of Publication: 2014
Format and Pages: Hardback, 72pp
ISBN: 9781908241160
Retail Price: £18
Our Discount Price: £16.20

Sample text from Rings in the Shingle

Tube nose

Sitting soft – his

Dodo’s beak is


culinary and


Swiss Army


North Atlantic


handy personal

filtration plant.

His, a thirst for the

whole of the Sea

to fire back its

salt at the Sun.

Nothing like a gull.

Only like an

albatross – its

egg beneath our

boating lake –

the Southern

Ocean’s loss



Cormorant passes unwaterproofly by

On fingertips

that only hold on to his drips –

Determined not to

catch my eye


Looking for a handy

(groyne’s end


Place to dry.



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Reviews and readers' comments

…. Medland responds with enthusiasm again and again to what he finds inland (north Norfolk coast) and on the shorelines, and records his personal discoveries in three ways. In his notebook he jots down the scene or incident as it strikes him at the time. Poems develop his response in free verse lyrics which, though quite brief, allow him fuller, more imaginative expression than informal prose. And colour photographs catch the beauty of the moment in images that record the split-second when the bird is still or starts up alone or in a whirling flock.

The three elements are adroitly handled, generally creating two-page spreads in an oblong format that mirrors the long-lying vistas of the Norfolk coast. Variety comes from the different ways of presenting the photographs. Some have conventional white borders all round while others seem to insist on filling all the space available on the page or else attract attention when given individual treatment.

Medland’s account of his encounters with nature are knowledgeable as well as affectionate. He finds his spirit moved by what he witnesses each time he goes outdoors and sees birds and other animals in the great panorama of local landscape as it changes with the time of day and the cycle of the seasons. - EDP Norfolk Magazine 2014

This book is a collection of poems, photographs and descriptions of the North Norfolk Coast from an author who obviously knows and loves the area. The poems are light and generally cheerful and as he explains in the introduction, are based around the photos he has taken. If you love poems it is a charming Sunday afternoon read and will inspire you to take a trip to the coast. I know the area well and it truly brought back fond memories and made me want to visit again, as soon as possible! - Hazel Evans, BTO

As a poetry philistine it was with some trepidation that I approached this book. I need not have worried. The book is a little gem and much more than a series of poems. It covers 22 species the majority of which are birds but also includes common and grey seals, common blue and white-letter hairstreak butterflies. Each species is presented in three sections: A number of photographs for each  species accompanied by a poem and some text outlining the background of the species and photos. My particular favourite photograph is of snow buntings taken at ground level. The first bird is obvious, then it becomes clear there is another bird featured but the last two birds are harder to see. The prose describes how the author crawled up a shingle bank to take the shot. This is just how they are when you encounter them on the shingle beaches in Norfolk; you almost tread on them before they spring into the air and you wonder how you failed to see so many birds right in front of you. The blurry knot photos capture beautifully the seeming chaos of a flock of the birds.

Most of the birds covered are evocative, coastal Norfolk species such as ringed plover, oystercatcher, little and Sandwich terns and knot. Others are more common and widespread including skylark (a favourite of poets), linnet and sand martins. This is a great book to dip into one species at a time. The text is not heavy with facts and figures but has interesting anecdotes such as Norfolk skylarks may have inspired Vaughan Williams to revise his famous The Lark Ascending. The photographs add to the ambiance for each species and the prose give an account of the photographic encounter with each species.

Half the author’s proceeds raised from sale of the books will go to Cure and Action for Tay-Sachs, a progressive, neurological disease which I had never heard of but sounds a very worthwhile cause. - Dr. Nick Carter, Former Director of Development at BTO



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