The Wood - John Lewis-Stempel
The Wood - John Lewis-Stempel
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The Wood - John Lewis-Stempel

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Cockshutt is a particular wood - three and half acres of mixed woodland in south west Herefordshire - but it stands as exemplar for all the small woods of England.

For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed the wood. He coppiced the trees and raised cows and pigs who roamed free there.

This is the diary of the last year, by which time he had come to know it from the bottom of its beech roots to the tip of its oaks, and to know all the animals that lived there - the fox, the pheasants, the wood mice, the tawny owl - and where the best bluebells grew.

For many fauna and flora, woods like Cockshutt are the last refuge. It proves a sanctuary for John too.

To read The Wood is to be amongst its trees as the seasons change, following an easy path until, suddenly the view is broken by a screen of leaves, or your foot catches on a root, or a bird startles overhead.

Lyrical, informative, steeped in poetry and folklore, it is both very real and very magical.

Described by Country Life as 'one of the best nature-writers of his generation' John Lewis-Stempel's ability to understand and translate what is lyrical, human and unknowable about our landscape makes his nature writing second to none. A BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week', The Woodcombines historical knowledge with minute and detailed observation to create a narrative which is both a deeply personal story of a particular woodland and a recognition of the importance of such places in many lives, as areas of sanctuary, safety and contemplation.