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Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,015 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Here, published for the first time in the United States, is the last book by Roger Deakin, famed British nature writer and icon of the environmentalist movement. In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the "fifth element" -- as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls -- the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Austr ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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This was a lovely piece of nature writing. It wasn’t as poetic as say, Annie Dillard, but the writing didn’t come across as overly technical either. It was a book that made me want to camp out under the boughs of a British forest – to rebuild the ruins of a 400 year old timber frame house – to watch a craftsman at his lathe, turning wood into art.

Much of this book relates the author’s own experiences in the woods. In 1969, he moved to Suffolk and bought the ruins of a Tudor-era oak-framed farmh
Jun 20, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really beautiful book. Even the din on a packed rush-hour bus in downtown Chicago couldn't banish the magic that Deakin conjures up. I felt transported to a forest at dusk, and could hear the wind in the trees. I think the word "enchanting" is overused in book reviews, but in this case I think it's the perfect adjective, this book is literally enchanting.
João Carlos

Roger Deakin fotografado junto a uma nogueira na sua propriedade "Walnut Tree Farm"

“Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees” do escritor, documentarista e ambientalista Roger Deakin (1943 – 2006) é o “meu” livro.
Um tumor cerebral matou Roger Deakin seis meses após ter concluído o manuscrito de “Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees”.
Um livro, uma viagem literária e poética através das árvores, da floresta, da madeira, o “quinto elemento”, uma obra-prima da natureza.
Roger Deakin era um homem que amava a f
Jul 31, 2008 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fellow tree-huggers
Recommended to Meaghan by: caught my eye at the book store, read the reviews on the back
I am often apprehensive about reading nature writing because I am afraid that it won't hold my attention. I think in many cases something is lost in translation from the organic to the intellectual. Our inside and outside selves are kept separate entities these days. I have struggled recently with finding a way to bridge these two parts of my self (the nature-loving, spontaneous part with the studious, hard-working, methodical part). Deakin offered hope that it was possible to do this. Throughou ...more
Jul 15, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, this book was a total inspiration. I now so want to go and find a little cabin somewhere in the midst of a wood so as to experience something of this man's wonder. Fantastic
Oct 16, 2011 Alison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in trees.
Recommended to Alison by: Margaret Smart
I love this book so much! I haven't finished reading it yet, because I want to savour it gently and slowly. I'm a country woman, born on the egde of a wood, brought up on the edge of another - and I felt as if Roger Deakin was telling me things I'd always known but never articulated properly. I have enjoyed exploring some of his themes - the woodcraft of David Nash, the painting of Mary Newcombe - I feel educated by the onw book. This is a book which has made me grow! I borrowed it from the libr ...more
Apr 09, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book, very detailed. The author takes you a very detailed journey with him through the woods, desert or wherever he is. It was like an escape, I read it in winter and I felt like like I was right there with him looking at nature. Would highly recommend for any nature lover of trees and fauna. I hope to read another book he has also written.
Mar 21, 2011 Ashy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, there is something in it for everyone really, as the chapters are very diverse in subject matter, while still being liked by the overall theme of wood/trees. It reminded me of knowledge I already have and taught me interesting new things, and was a nice relaxed book to read gradually. There was the odd part that I skimmed over, but largely there was something about each chapter that caught my interest and kept me reading. The main reason for skimming was that I have a p ...more
Jan 14, 2010 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on the recommendation of Geoff Manaugh, the founder of (which is fantastic, by the way,a blog devoted to ‘architectural conjecture, urban speculation and landscape futures’) I am very glad that I found it. Not only is it fantastically well written, but it is such a simple and honest book about the pleasures of the woodlands, and of the experience of being in and around trees. For a seemingly limited topic, he covers a remarkable amount of ground, literally in some c ...more
Shriram Sivaramakrishnan
How shall I begin reviewing..err..add my reviews to the universe of this book.

Once in a while (generally our lifetime), we come across a book that would literally change the world that we inhabit. It makes us question the very assumptions upon which we've based our life.

Wildwood, to me, is one such!

Never have I come across such a book on nature writing. In essence, it is about Wood, rather the imagination called Wood, in our lives. Here is a person who had lived where wood lived, not where the d
Nov 13, 2012 julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i would have given this 5 stars, but it had some slow moments. however, overall, i loved it and uncharacteristically for me, i read it slowly, to savor it. it made me feel quiet and peaceful and it made me want to go sleep out in the yard (which i probably would have done if it wasn't november and pissing down rain all the time where i live). I learned new (for me) words like coppiced and winter-bournes. and i learned about the Green Man, that pagan throw-back found in churches and cemeteries, t ...more
Chuck Erion
Apr 06, 2013 Chuck Erion rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
The emerald ash borer is having a devastating impact on the ash trees across southwestern Ontario.

As a wood lover, I’m familiar with the ash’s white clear grain, but would be hard-pressed to identify the tree in the wild or along a city street. This is ironic given the numbers: there are apparently 6,500 ash trees in Kitchener and more than 12,000 in Waterloo.

Which brings me to Wildwood — A Journey Through Trees (Penguin, 390 pages, $20) by the late Roger Deakin, a British nature writer and film
Dec 31, 2014 Sonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably my favourite read this year. It was akin, to me, of curling up in your dad's lap as a child, while he drones on about things that he adores that to you are simultaneously fascinating and mind-numbingly boring. And, like a dad, he is given to repeating parts of stories you've already heard. I really took my time reading this, because I haven't wanted it to end, and I think the book demands it. Deakin describes woodland scenes--which I think I for one take for granted--with a pai ...more
Tamsin Barlow
A book written by one of England's great eccentrics -- he swam across England through streams, canals and lakes just to get closer to nature and observe the character of water. So who wouldn't want to read about his experiences and observations about trees? I love trees and feel a great interest in them so reading this rambling book has been very satisfying -- I'm not the only tree-hugger out there. Beautifully written, deeply insightful and dotted with captivating anecdotes -- and it starts wit ...more
Sue Swisher
Mar 06, 2013 Sue Swisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, a leisurely read that perfectly captures the rural landscapes, woodlands, customs, and people of the various forests that Deakin visits and appreciates. I feel I have personally seen and experienced the same woods that the author did. His first love is the Suffolk countryside near his home, but he has equally vivid descriptions of Australia, Greece, Kazakhstan, and the other places where people still live close to the land. Certain scenes will stick with you for a long time, ...more
I enjoyed Waterlog so much I was really looking forward to reading this. I grew up in the countryside and thought the hedge at the bottom of the garden was a giant forest. I did enjoy this very much, but it suffered in my eyes by not having the same parameters as Waterlog did- instead of being restricted to one location (the UK) this book takes a journey all round the world. Individual accounts were fascinating- i've already bored friends with tales about walnut harvesting, but I feel that this ...more
Apr 20, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deep love for the natural world pervades this book as does the wonder of a child. When you think about it, trees are pretty amazing things. The problem is, we often don't think about it. Thanks to Deakin, I will never look at an apple tree, a wood desk, the beams in my house in exactly the same way again. It is a reminder to slow down and look around. Each of the chapters in this book brings you to a different place where the rhythms of life are unhurried. The descriptions bring the various wo ...more
May 30, 2016 Mackay rated it really liked it
It's taken me a while to read this, savoring it as I was. It's a strange amalgam of nature writing, travel writing, and personal essays about art and artists. One jacket blurb calls Deakin "a latter-day Thoreau," but I think not. Thoreau always struck me as sour and self-satisfied, and Deakin is not at all sour and his love of forests and people shines from these pages.
The theme that ties the nature/travel/art together is, of course, wood - all the artists here work with or in wood, and the tra
Mar 13, 2016 Luke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what I was expecting from this book. Maybe an insight into the mythological impact of woods and how they have shaped our culture and our way of life.

Instead we have a sort of biography from a slightly odd old hippy who has a wooden railway carriage in his garden. The slightly make-shift nature of his house reflects the makeshift nature of the book, it flits from wood to wood and never really gets under the skin of the wood. Neither is his life very interesting. He seems to be a bit
Apr 10, 2014 Nic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Loved this. Seemed a little under-edited (lots of repetitions, etc.); however, possibly a product of circumstances of production. Brought home how much knowledge and experience is going to be lost in the coming generations, but also reasons for hope, in terms of progressive attitudes towards sustainable management in (e.g.) Central Asian nations. A great encouragement for living authentically and determining your own unique contribution to the world."
Vicki Winslow
Feb 24, 2012 Vicki Winslow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Wildwood, which takes the reader on a wonderful journey around the world--to artists who use trees as their medium, to the walnut forests of Jalal Abad, back home to the elms and ash trees growing in his own hedgerow. One thing I particularly loved about the book was that it took me on numerous side trips as Deakin mentions or quotes from fiction and nonfiction works. Because of Wildwood I am now reading Hardy's The Woodlanders.
Nov 13, 2015 Clare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really do love this book, so calm and peaceful. You can hear Roger Deakin's calm tone coming through the pages. Perhaps that's why I didn't finish it. I got over halfway but you know, there's a lot of tree in there, in every form you can think of to stuff all at once. My excuse is I'm savouring it, I'll read it as I feel poped and grey and in need of Roger Deakin's beautiful wooded land.
Jun 02, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011

A wonderful book of stories on the life, trees, ecology and utilisation of natural resources. A treasure that takes you form the origin of apples to carving oak trees to making baskets. Worth savouring.
Mark Ames
Sep 14, 2009 Mark Ames rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really enjoying this one, so far. I got this as a follow-on to MacFarlane's "Wild Places". "Wild Places" is about the UK and "Wild Places" goes farther afield.
Aug 14, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just reread this book and it's a joy. Roger Deakin lived for many years in a ramshackle house that he repaired partially and shared with birds, bats and trees that in part held the house up.

He tells of the house and animals around him. He also ambles further afield and tells of how wood is almost the 'fifth element' in human life and how we in the west have lost sight of its value and of course as a consequence have devastated our native forests.

But it's an optimistic book by a man who lived a

Like a long slow walk in the woods, this book doesn't really go anywhere but takes in a good many things along the way.
Lauren Holton
Sep 01, 2013 Lauren Holton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dense at times, but beautiful, meaningful writing for the nature-loving soul.
"Here, published for the first time in the United States, is the last book by Roger Deakin, famed British nature writer and icon of the environmentalist movement. In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the 'fifth element' -- as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls -- the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Australia in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with trees.

"Deakin lives in forest shacks, goes 'c
Jun 14, 2014 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It begins as a wonderful exploration of trees and wood in England. Deakin talks about the native biodiversity and how that has changed. He talks about specific kinds of wood and their importance and history. He talks about the beauty of nature; of mythology; and dependence. It was beautiful and informative.
But the book is somewhat disjointed. About halfway through, it starts to ramble and feels like a regular journal. Then it suddenly loses focus completely and becomes a piece of regular travel
Apr 26, 2014 Philippa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book once I got into it. The author has a fascination with trees and wood. Or should I say "had" – Roger Deakin died after finishing the manuscript for this book, which is sad as he was clearly a very talented creative non-fiction writer; one who had the power to draw people into his fascination through the power of story-telling, and imaginative and poetic descriptions.
Deakin starts out with episodes in his childhood and teenage years hanging out with a bunch of boys who ra
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Roger Stuart Deakin was an English writer, documentary-maker and environmentalist.

Educated at Haberdashers' Aske's and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he read English, he first worked in advertising as a copywriter and creative director.

In 1968 he bought an Elizabethan moated farmhouse on the edge of Mellis Common, near Diss where he lived until his death from a brain tumour, first diagnosed only fou
More about Roger Deakin...

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“To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed.” 7 likes
“There's more truth about a camp than a house. Planning laws need not worry the improvising builder because temporary structures are more beautiful anyway, and you don't need permission for them. There's more truth about a camp because that is the position we are in. The house represents what we ourselves would like to be on earth: permanent, rooted, here for eternity. But a camp represents the true reality of things: we're just passing through.” 7 likes
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