Oak and Ash and Thorn: The Ancient Woods and New Forests of Britain

Oak and Ash and Thorn: The Ancient Woods and New Forests of Britain

by Peter Fiennes

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A Guardian Best Nature Book of the Year 2017

The magic and mystery of the woods are embedded in British culture, from ancient folklore to modern literature. They offer us refuge: a place to play, a place to think. They are the generous providers of fuel, timber, energy and life. They let us dream of other ways of living. Yet we now face a future where taking a walk in the woods is consigned to the tales we tell our children. Threatened by development, neglect and climate chaos, they are emptier – of flora and fauna, but also of people – than they have ever been.

Immersing himself in the beauty of Britain’s woodlands and the art and writing they have inspired, Peter Fiennes explores our long relationship with the woods and the sad and violent story of how so many have been lost. Just as we need them, our woods need us too. But who, if anyone, is looking out for them?

Fiennes journeys to Croft Castle & Parkland (Herefordshire), Clapham Common, Northfield Wood, The Weald, Knockwood & Secret Wood (Tenterden), Windsor Great Park, Runnymede (Surrey), Sherwood Forest, Cranborne Chase (Dorset), Kingley Vale (W. Sussex), Kipling’s house (South Downs), Wistman’s Wood (Dartmoor), Wayland Wood (Norfolk), Queen’s Wood (Highgate), Hardcastle Crags (W. Yorkshire), Glover’s Wood (Sussex), Smithy Wood (Sheffield).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786073211
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 737,981
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Peter Fiennes is the author of To War with God, a moving account of his grandfather’s service in WWI. He lives in Wandsworth, south-west London.

What People are Saying About This

author of A Natural History of the Hedgerow —John Wright

" Oak and Ash and Thorn is a lament. A lament for the trees and forests we have lost since the first axe glistened and the first torch flared. The destruction frequently came from plain necessity, but also, to our shame, from greed, stupidity and, as Fiennes suggests, fear. Despite the inventory of tragedy in his book, Fiennes is the best of guides, gently, eloquently and with a fierce humour telling a sad story – relating chapters of fascinating detail to brighten his tale and quoting the poets as he goes. Despite the calamity that our relationship with trees has become, this is not a depressing book. Oak and Ash and Thorn may be a lament, but Fiennes invigorates and arms us with the knowledge to ensure that it will not become a requiem."

author of A Natural History of the Hedgerow John Wright

" Oak and Ash and Thorn is a lament. A lament for the trees and forests we have lost since the first axe glistened and the first torch flared. The destruction frequently came from plain necessity, but also, to our shame, from greed, stupidity and, as Fiennes suggests, fear. Despite the inventory of tragedy in his book, Fiennes is the best of guides, gently, eloquently and with a fierce humour telling a sad story – relating chapters of fascinating detail to brighten his tale and quoting the poets as he goes. Despite the calamity that our relationship with trees has become, this is not a depressing book. Oak and Ash and Thorn may be a lament, but Fiennes invigorates and arms us with the knowledge to ensure that it will not become a requiem."

From the Publisher

"Oak and Ash and Thorn is a lament. A lament for the trees and forests we have lost since the first axe glistened and the first torch flared. The destruction frequently came from plain necessity, but also, to our shame, from greed, stupidity and, as Fiennes suggests, fear. Despite the inventory of tragedy in his book, Fiennes is the best of guides, gently, eloquently and with a fierce humour telling a sad story – relating chapters of fascinating detail to brighten his tale and quoting the poets as he goes. Despite the calamity that our relationship with trees has become, this is not a depressing book. Oak and Ash and Thorn may be a lament, but Fiennes invigorates and arms us with the knowledge to ensure that it will not become a requiem."
—John Wright, author of A Natural History of the Hedgerow

"A wonderful wander into woods that explores our deep-rooted connections – cultural, historical and personal – with the trees."
—Rob Cowen, author of Common Ground

"Passionate and thoughtful in exactly the way the best nature writing should be. With Peter Fiennes, the woodlands of Britain have found their perfect advocate."
—Hugh Thomson, author of The Green Road into the Trees

"Taking to the woods to tell stories about the value of trees and woods is not new – there is a lot of tree-woods-forest writing about – but it’s fresh and raw and urgent to Fiennes, and that’s entirely the point. His sensibilities are inescapably metropolitan, and yet harbour the poetic soul of Edward Thomas and the greenwood outlaws. Oak and Ash and Thorn is a tender hymn to the trees, a manifesto for a woodland society, a contemporary gazette of ideas and attitudes radiating into the future like annual rings from the original pith: that inexplicable enchantment with trees. In this lyrical, informative, unashamedly arboreal propaganda, one man’s walk in the woods can inspire a generation."
—Paul Evans, author of Field Notes from the Edge

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