Rising Ground originates in the author's desire to explore the distinction between space and place, and to realize that while the lived landscape can be represented on maps,its character is not fully or adequately reflected in any map or merely Geographical account. To read a map is to see structure in the abstract, a representation of location in space; but to see the land as a place is to see it holistically as a place with meaning, which has a history that leaves its prints within it and shapes its character. So this book is about the genius loci,the spirit of the place, and the author's attempt to explore it through his experience of Cornwall.
Cornwall has many admirers for its rugged land and seascapes, for its granite cliffs and waves thundering against its rocky shores. Many enjoy its bleak, but often dangerous moorlands, such as Bodmin Moor, and its rivers full of character. Yet they also enjoy Cornwall as a place with a history, not always a peaceful one. Those with an archaeological bent relish its ancient megalithic sites; lovers of myth cherish its supposed Arthurian connections and the druids; and there are Cornish characters whose lives are worthy of the attention of biographers. Marsden has attempted to do some justice to all of these aspects of England's characterful south westernmost county.
The author has the advantage of having moved there to dwell in a remote cottage in the Roseland peninsula bordering the estuary of the River Fal, which flows steeply down from the bleak fastness of Bodmin Moor to meet the sea in a broad and navigable estuary. He tells of how he purchased a cottage at Ardevora [pronounced Ardevra] , a name that in Cornish means by the water. Here is one great point about this book, the way in which he uses his linguistic scholarship to reveal the origins of Cornish place names.Every chapter about a place explains the origins of its name in Cornish. I found this a delightful characteristic of this book.
The writer gives an account of what it is like to fall in love with an old cottage and refurbish it. He does so in a manner that brings out the difficulties faced by anyone who undertakes this arduous labour of love, but he does not overdo it. This is a delicate balancing act that the author gets right.This never becomes a book about house restoration.