Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wild Places” as Want to Read:
The Wild Places
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wild Places

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  1,511 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
Great book in very good condition with dustjacket, 340 pages, thick & heavy, fast dispatch, UK SELLER
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published 2007 by Granta
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Wild Places, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Wild Places

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Well this is one of those travel books with a double journey. On the surface Macfarlane travels across the, well dare I say the British Isles given the long established fact of Southern Irish independence (view spoiler) ...more
This review originally appeared on my blog, Shoulda Coulda Woulda Books.

“When I woke in the corrie above Doo Lough that night, at some point in the small hours, the cloud had passed away, and the moon was pouring its light down on to the valley. I was thirsty, so I took my metal cup and walked to the side of the corrie and held the cup beneath the spill of one of the waterfalls. The water hit the tin and set it ringing like a bell. I drank and looked down over the dark valley. The shadows of th
Carol Smith
Aug 12, 2012 Carol Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, travel
Simply lovely. A beautiful, lyrical meditation on wildness and whether or not wild places still exist in the U.K. The themes that flow through MacFarlane’s writing – friendship, life, death, the past, present and future of our species and our relationship with our surroundings – feel like a layered extension of the landscapes he observes so keenly. They ebb and flow through the chapters as much (and in much the same way) as the weather, seasons, water, and migrating birds he describes. He refere ...more
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book - I'm not normally a big fan of nature books or TV programmes - more my husband's area of interest. In fact I had bought this book for him to read, but was intrigued by it and started reading it. Then I was gripped and didn't want to put it down!

It has made me think a lot about how we live our lives - often too busy to notice the world around us - always in the car rushing from place to place with no time just to sit and look, listen and absorb what we
Andree Sanborn
I read that this is a classic, and I know why now. I was gratified to see it listed as a travel book, also, because it is. I've never wanted to travel to Britain as much as I do now. Macfarlane goes to natural places that are astounding. His writing is beautiful.

It took me longer than expected to read this, because I spent as much time in Google Earth as in the book. And that is my suggestion: a companion volume or new edition with photos and maps, with distances. I was trolling youtube, also, a
Aug 01, 2008 Lili rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kick-ass prose. Thoreausian perspective with Brit speak and a fair dose of eccentricity. Fueling my fire for roaming the wild places.
Sep 03, 2008 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a yearning in Robert Macfarlane, one that we've all experienced to one extent or another: to breathe in the air that's hanging above the most obscure corners of the world; to climb a tree and become part of the scene as it pulses and heaves with life. The wonderful thing about Macfarlane is that he doesn't travel to the farthest corners to do it: he attempts to discover the rich and wild life beating under his nose, and this book is an account of his travels around the British Isles, th ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
his person has the urge to go and experience wild in person, and goes around the wild places in the UK his friends suggest and tells us things about them and himself. Interesting that he could do all this without disappearing into the jungle or something that a lot of other writers have to do.

Just a note here too - there seems to be a nature writing triangle I am reading, Robert McFarlane is a pal of the late Roger Deakin who both know Richard Mabey. They all seem to live in the same area too
Anneliese Tirry
Jan 24, 2015 Anneliese Tirry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik vind het mooi hoe hij zich tot doel stelt de laatste wildernissen van de UK te ontdekken, ons meeneemt naar die plekken, ons wat geschiedenis meegeeft, ons laat meegenieten en ons meeneemt in zijn ervaring.
Ik heb enorm genoten van het verhaal van de monniken die naar een onherbergzaam onbewoond eiland gaan om te gaan leven als heremieten. Ik voelde mij bedrukt bij het verhaal van the great famine in Ierland en hoe de laatste van het gezin die zou sterven op voorhand de deur toedeed.
Ik hou e
Apr 27, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been a journey. I've been reading it for years. Snatches, short chapters at a time. Looking up most of the places he explored, which took a good deal of time but added tremendously to the experience of the book. His writing is pure description written in as beatiful prose as you will find anywhere. I half regretted not using those little passage markers for my favorite descriptive spots, but realized the book would have been so full of them that it would have been fairly useless. M ...more
Essentially this book is a travelogue in which the author explores various parts of the UK that he considers to be "wild". The book is split into chapters, each one depicting a different type of locale - beach, mountain summit, forest, etc.

I'm not really au fait with the travelogue genre so I didn't know what to expect with this one, but I found it to be a charming read. MacFarlane has a genuine warmth and enthusiasm for his subject matter that readily transfers to the reader so that they're cau
Jul 12, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book, recounting the author’s journeys through some of Britain’s wild places, sometimes alone, and sometimes accompanied by one or two close friends who share his love of the wild. The language of the book is spell-binding, taking the reader on a parallel journey, weaving science and literature, knowledge and wonder. .

“From the bottom of the hill, I could hear the noise of the trees with the wind; a marine roar that grew in volume as I approached. Looking up at the swaying wood, I re
♥ Ibrahim ♥

The words sing and lyrically flow from such an eloquent writer that I am reading based on the recommendation of the Guardian newspaper. You read his prose and you take it all in and you are bound to get a lot from his descriptive, beautifully flowing writing. He has the capacity to capture with the camera of his own pen what no other camera in the world can easily capture or portray. I feel like I have been on a journey to the English wild and savored every minute with him. I plan to read every
Dead John Williams
May 31, 2015 Dead John Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favs, reviewed
The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane Ostensibly about his endeavour to find the wild places that still exist in the UK staring from Scotland and kind of working his way down to end up in Essex where I think the BBC made a TV program about him wandering through Essex discovering wonders of wildlife hidden in plain sight throughout the industrial wastelands.

Anyway, he is in Essex on the trail of J.A. Baker who wrote The Peregrine, one of my all time favourite non-fiction books. It is interesting t
Paul Stevenson
Feb 21, 2014 Paul Stevenson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent and inspirational book by Robert Macfarlane. Wading out to a tiny island to spend the night - what a great idea. This is just one of the author's many interesting adventures (one of the tamer ones) as he journeys - 'in an arc much like the hare' - around the UK exploring what the term wild place really means. I really like the way Macfarlane weaves a narrative, packed with facts and personal accounts, never superfluous. Beautiful.
Dec 16, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"These were the markers, I realised of a process that was continuously at work throughout these island, and presumably throughout the world: the drawing of happiness from landscapes both large and small. Happiness, and the emotions that go by the collective nouns of 'happiness': hope, joy, wonder, grace, tranquillity, and others. Every day millions of people found themselves deepened and and dignified by their encounters with particular places" (236).

Full of set the book down and think moments l
Dan Coxon
Sep 01, 2016 Dan Coxon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this. Lyrical and wise, and not just on the obvious 'wild' places - he's great on the smaller wildernesses closer to home too. Essential reading.
Jeff Van Campen
Mar 27, 2015 Jeff Van Campen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecology
I originally purchased The Wild Places a year and a half ago as a Kindle Daily Deal. I started reading it during my commute on a whim after I'd finished another book and was looking for something else to read. It quickly became clear that this was a book I'd need to read as a physical book.

Robert Macfarlane is an extraordinary writer. He manages to write very lyrical prose without going over the top. He writes take-your-breath-away sentences that enhance, rather than detract from, his more stra
Juliet Wilson
Mar 02, 2015 Juliet Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
In this book Robert MacFarlane takes us on a tour of the British Isles looking for our remaining wild places. He starts by seeking out wildnerness, remote areas of wild weather and (relatively) untouched nature, camping on ice and mountain peaks.

He soon comes to realise though that wild places aren't just wilderness, but those areas where nature reclaims the land from humans:

That margins should be a redoubt of wildness, I knew, was proof of the devastation of the land: the extent to which natur
Sep 21, 2014 Kenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book. MacFarlane's exploration of the wild in Britain - from the truly wild - Scotland, Wales and islands, to what at first he admits feels like the more mundane in Englandshire, but how it itself demonstrates the wild. Eloquent, with some beautifully graceful pieces of writing, the chapters rolled by. Fair play to him too for sleeping out in what seems sometimes terrible weather - without any self aggrandisment, rather a factual note in his belief in this being an integral part of his e ...more
Claire Smith
May 23, 2014 Claire Smith rated it really liked it
I love Macfarlane's prose. It combines rich detail and vague, ephemeral thoughts and ideas into an intense journey that makes a very enjoyable read. While I wasn't as deeply moved by it as I think at first expected to be, because I have my own conceptions and personal preferences when it comes to the concept of 'wildness', I like how Macfarlane connected his journeys with overall themes and ideas.

That said, I did find it disjointed in places - and yes, that is how a book about a series of disco
Jul 06, 2009 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, science, nature
I wish all nature writing were this good. He brings in historical detail effortlessly and recreates the various UK environments to the point that you feel you have visited them. There is a larger journey of understanding about the true essence of wildness that keeps him and the pace of the book going. What could easily have become a ramblimg series of descriptions, this book keeps your interest until the end and leaves you with hope for the future of the wild places.
Dec 05, 2015 Stefanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature-writing
Robert Macfarlane has become one of my favourite nature writers. His prose transports the reader into the landscape, enabling a connection that lingers and burrows under the skin and into the spirit. The connections are not solely with place; they are also with people, now and over time. Macfarlane weaves history, folk tales and his love of nature in a way that makes you feel like you are not only walking in the damp, dark moor or diving in the freezing sea, but that you are also witnessing laye ...more
May 29, 2016 Europa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Some really great lines...

"Pursuing our project of civilization, we have pushed thousands of species towards the brink of disappearance, and many thousands more over that edge. The loss, after it is theirs, is ours. Wild animals, like wild places, are invaluable to us precisely because they are not us. They are uncompromisingly different. The paths they follow, the impulses that guide them, are of other orders..."

Feb 18, 2016 Geraldine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, 2016, nature
Not an easy book to read but worthwhile. I read it a chapter at a time over several evenings and found it useful to have Google Maps & Earth close to hand, and frequently used the dictionary function on my Kindle.

Simple premise, Cambridge English lecturer sets out to discover the Wild Places that remain in Britain and Ireland. He writes about his experience visiting them, and each chapter has a tangent, some historical narration - more than vignette - related to the place.

I found the earlie
David Quinn
2.5 stars rounded up to 3 with a potential spoiler thrown in.

There’s much to like here but some stylistic parallels to Helen Macdonald’s “H is for Hawk” degraded the reading experience for me.

First, the strengths. Macfarlane is a talented writer with an adventurous spirit and cares greatly about the book’s subject matter. He’s made me think more about the wild places nearby. (Here comes the potential spoiler.) Chapter 12 (Storm-beach) dedicated to his departed friend Roger Deakin was beautifully
Lisa Edwards
Jul 04, 2015 Lisa Edwards rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another beautiful book of journeys from Robert Macfarlane, and if I'm not mistaken, he mentions a falconer friend called 'Helen' that must be Helen 'H is for Hawk' MacDonald. This book concerns itself with the remaining wilderness areas of the British Isles but more importantly, the ones that exist just a few steps from our doors.

As Macfarlane says: "It seemed to me that these nameless places might in fact be more important than the grander wild lands that for so many years had gripped my imagi
Rob Adey
Feb 26, 2013 Rob Adey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A transporting exploration of what remains of Britain's wilderness. The language is astonishingly evocative, but never overwrought or overly romantic - there's a lot of geology, history, biology and so forth to ground it.

It's perfect reading for the tube, instantly banishing all the other humans' stupid faces.
Dec 12, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great idea, and I identify with the author's quest.It's quite poetic but he comes across as a bit patronising, maybe because he's used to talking to students? When I'm alone in wild and remote places I just feel totally overawed by the landscape - bu maybe that would make for a very full book!
Maria Longley
Apr 11, 2015 Maria Longley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ma, 2015
Much of our modern maps are based on the routes motor vehicles take, but there are other ways to map a counrty. Robert Marfarlane gives us a map of wilderness of Britain. Well, a partial one, as is the way of these things. We get to go along with him in search of wilderness sleeping outside in crazy places and seeing wondrous things. I don't know if I was that surprised by his conclusions, not that they aren't well worth saying, but I enjoyed the journies the most as they were full of the unexpe ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Nature Literature: The Wild Places Discussion 9 23 Nov 08, 2014 08:51AM  
A New Book For My 'Precious' List 1 14 Nov 02, 2011 03:01AM  
  • Findings
  • Waterlog
  • Nature Cure
  • Crow Country
  • Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides
  • The Living Mountain
  • Wild: An Elemental Journey
  • Edgelands
  • Walking Home: A Poet's Journey
  • A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland
  • To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface
  • The Peregrine
  • Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (Stones of Aran #1)
  • Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field
  • London Orbital
  • The Natural Navigator
  • Tigers In Red Weather: A Quest for the Last Wild Tigers
  • The Snow Geese
Robert Macfarlane is a British travel writer and literary critic.

Educated at Nottingham High School, Pembroke College, Cambridge and Magdalen College, Oxford, he is currently a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and teaches in the Faculty of English at Cambridge.
More about Robert Macfarlane...

Share This Book

“There is no mystery in this association of woods and otherworlds, for as anyone who has walked the woods knows, they are places of correspondence, of call and answer. Visual affinities of color, relief and texture abound. A fallen branch echoes the deltoid form of a streambed into which it has come to rest. Chrome yellow autumn elm leaves find their color rhyme in the eye-ring of the blackbird. Different aspects of the forest link unexpectedly with each other, and so it is that within the stories, different times and worlds can be joined.” 17 likes
“Wild animals, like wild places, are invaluable to us precisely because they are not us. They are uncompromisingly different. The paths they follow, the impulses that guide them, are of other orders. The seal's holding gaze, before it flukes to push another tunnel through the sea, the hare's run, the hawk's high gyres : such things are wild. Seeing them, you are made briefly aware of a world at work around and beside our own, a world operating in patterns and purposes that you do not share. These are creatures, you realise that live by voices inaudible to you.” 5 likes
More quotes…