New Book Sea Journal From Lisa Woollett Explores Devon’s Coast

Whether paddling through the shallows or crouching on a cliff in a hailstorm, Lisa takes the reader on a journey of compelling diversions, showcasing the natural history and wildlife of these locations

This beautiful and unusual book brings together a year’s wanderings along Britain’s shores, featuring the Devon coast. Author and photographer Lisa Woollett has been asked to do a talk on making the books at the Seaton Jurassic Centre to celebrate its opening on Saturday 9th April.

Lisa Woollett is from a long line of scavengers — her grandfather came from a South London family in the ‘scavenging professions’, and Lisa spent her childhood, growing up on cliffs on the Isle of Sheppey, collecting and fossicking along the shore. She would look for sharks’ teeth, mermaid’s purses, fossils, old bottles… One of her more memorable finds was a dead, washed-up squid that squirted black ink when squeezed. These childhood memories, woven through her new book, Sea Journal , are vividly brought to life by Lisa’s evocative descriptions, luminous photographs and intricate drawings.

Mermaid’s purse

Paddling through the shallows or crouching on a cliff in a hailstorm, we are taken on a journey of compelling diversions. Against a backdrop of the shifting seasons, weather and tides, we follow Lisa’s trails of washedup cuttlebones and by-the-wind sailors, and meet wind-sellers, Selkies and 19th century fossil hunters. Amongst portraits of seaweed and jellyfish, of gulls wheeling through spume, are stories of the evolution of whales and Lego dragons lost at sea. Drawings of plankton and shells fill the margins, as we see how a handful of sand or whorl of a fossil nautilus can hold hundreds of millions of years of Earth’s history.

Lisa Woollett

Throughout, there is an awareness of the stark nature of the threats our oceans face, and of our part in this. As the threads draw together there is the sense that any walk on the beach stretches both back into the deep past and ahead into the uncertain future of our oceans. The book is full of hope, however, that the best way to inspire us to take greater care of these wild, magnificent places is through wonder and a love of the natural world. Sea Journal will inspire readers to go out and explore for themselves, reminded of the pleasures of discovery, and of looking and listening more closely.