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The Green Road into the Trees: An Exploration of England

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  28 reviews
From the very centre of England - literally, as his village is furthest from the sea - he travels to its outermost edges. The Green Road into the Trees is a journey made rich by the characters he meets along the way. And the ways he takes are the old ways, the drover-paths and tracks, the paths and ditches half covered by bramble and tunnelled by alder, beech and oak: the ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 7th 2012 by Preface Publishing
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Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016, walking
Here is a list of my interests;

Insulting people.

Hugh Thomson in one book manages to tick each of those items. I really enjoyed this, One day I'd love to walk the Icknield Way and it would be even better if Hugh Thomson was there walking with you, he is so knowledgeable the 400miles would soon whiz by.

I have never really seen the point going abroad for a holiday when we have so much in the UK to explore and if you go walking it won't cost you much to
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful description of walking the Icknield Way across England, including history, legends, and a description of the land. It sparked my interest in many other things as well, historical events, authors and painters for example, as well as the description of the walk itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will keep it on my shelf to re-read it.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, travel
I like history books, and I like travel books, and where this book focuses on history or travel, I enjoyed it. However, the author is too easily distracted, and the narrative often devolves into extended discourses on his private life, local politics, his favorite foods, and the everyday folk he encounters.

He has an easygoing, conversational writing style, and seems like the kind of guy who would be a lot of fun to share a pint with at the local pub. Because his trip followed the Ickneild Way, o
Thomson undertakes a walk along the route of the Ichnield Way, an ancient path probably around 3000 - 5000 years old in parts.

He starts in Abbotsbury in Dorset, at the far end of the Fleet, and crosses Dorset and Wiltshire continually passing hill forts, barrows, mound, stone circles and other glimpses of prehistoric and bronze age life in this country. The journey takes him across the country to Norfolk where he end his walk at the place where Seahenge was excavated from.

I quite enjoyed it, as
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-england
Thoroughly enjoyed this book - detailing a walk the author does from Dorset to Norfolk, stopping at his home along the route.
Books about walks and journeys are 10 a penny but this one is way, way above the average. Thomson mixes fascinating history with asides about the England we live in now, his painful divorce, 3 delightful children, current girlfriend etc.
The mix really works - one minute he is telling us about an ancient hill fort, the next minute he is in Tesco eating a pie!
I really hope
Sophy H
I enjoyed this read immensely.

Hugh Thomson, like Roger Deakin and Bernd Heinrich has a natural, easygoing writing style that effortlessly combines nature writing with conversational style discussion of landmarks, practices, waymarkers, landscapes he encounters along the Icknield Way.

He leads you along on his journey, unafraid to discuss his own shortcomings, failures, and anxieties. It feels as though you are actually with Thomson on his meander, chatting idly as friends do, but all the while,
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy walking, are interested in people, and appreciate connecting with the history of the landscape which surrounds you then I highly recommend you read this engaging book. Hugh Thomson has a wanderlust and, on returning to England from Peru, decides to investigate the history on his doorstep; immediately setting off on to walk the Icknield Way, an ancient drove road running 400 miles across England, from Abbotsbridge, Dorset to Holme next the Sea in Norfolk. The Icknield Way is not one ...more
A walk taken from coast to coast along the Icknield Way (with a couple of detours), beginning in pretty Dorset and ending in the open expanses of Norfolk. Thomson makes even the industrial estates he passes through, sound interesting. Along his route he passes through Maiden Castle, Stonehenge, Avebury, Uffington (my personal favourite)etc. All throughout we are treated to his thoughts on the sites he visits and the peoples that created them, together with wonderful snippets of history and conve ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There's a growing genre of books about travelling slowly through England, and this is a lovely example. The author starts the Ickneild Way somewhere near Chesil Beach in Dorset, and meanders to the North Sea, and the coast at Hunstanton, visiting friends, pubs and archaeological sites along the way. Makes me want to get out and walk! ...more
You know how it happens. You read a book. That book mentions another title and it peaks your curiosity, so you go there. And that book leads to another and then another. It's like a line of dominoes falling, one after the other, as you go down the rabbit hole to investigate (sorry to mix up metaphors). Well, that's how I came across The Green Road into the Trees: An Exploration of England by Hugh Thomson.

I should probably say that I have this yen for epic walks so this fit the bill. And, I've ha
Chris Wares
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. Previously I'd read Thomson's books about South America and enjoyed them immensely but I hesitated about this book as compared to discovering Inca temples or driving cars across Central America walking across England sounded rather pedestrian.

I was wrong. This book highlights Thomson's superb ability as a writer. His walk along the Ickneild Way proved to be a fantastic vehicle for him to muse on a variety of things and in particular write about Britains prehistoric landscape. He
Andrew McClarnon
A good choice for these times, roving across time and place, digressing on the way as people and experiences come to mind. The author will have walked about a mile from my front door at some point, where the chalk path shows the way across the slippery downs. It's presence is a treasured aspect of this country, a survivor of centuries, threading its way through the everyday to direct your attention to wider horizons. ...more
Hilary Blake
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and interesting book about Hugh Thomson's walking of the Icknield Way, starting in Dorset and going across to Norfolk.Lots on pre Roman history, hill forts etc, interesting literary links, Arthurian legends,nature, rivers , all sorts of ideas which kept me reading. ( and the section about looking for Great Bustards on Salisbury Plain made me laugh out loud!) ...more
Lorren Eldridge
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reads exactly like you want this sort of book to read- full of facts, history, and pub recommendations. Thomson clearly did his research properly for the locations he visited. The author is opinionated, and I don't agree with all of his opinions, but I would guess from the amusing letter from a copy editor at the end of the book that he wouldn't mind that. ...more
An excellent and absorbing read which I found incredibly enjoyable. I learnt a lot from this book about the history of England that I did not know and find I now want to know more of and the landscapes and travels are described so wonderfully and in such a lively style it makes me want to walk the Way myself. Brilliant book, definitely recommended.
Shelly Dennison
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Enjoyable and interesting account of a walk along the Icknield way laced with autobiography, history, archeology, myth and legend. Lots of good stories and character sketches but it didn't always feel like there was a proper narrative thread holding it all together. ...more
Sarah  G
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, combining history and the English countryside as it does. Some of the 'facts' were less factual than I'd have liked but still an entertaining read all-in-all. ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable read. Part travel log, part internal reflections. Hugh Thomson not only reflects on the English country side and it's rich archeological history but modern life. His past and family and people he met on the way and movements that shaped our modern lives. Hugh Thomson is well read and had some fascinating comments and insights. Really good book. ...more
Andrew Cox
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Some beautiful moments & some thought provoking passages. What strange lives these travel writers lead. I'm not envious!!!!! ...more
Aug 21, 2020 rated it liked it
An enjoyable walk from Dorset to Norfolk on a route I’d never heard of.
Renita D'Silva
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Just wonderful
Paul Gallear
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have like to hear a little more about the walking and the camping side of things but I realise that is a personal preference rather than a criticism of the book. Well written, insightful and an overall good read
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always with armchair travel books it is the wonderful asides that the author includes on the journey that keep the reader interested. His descriptions of the countryside are good but it is his views and biographical stories that make him a delightful companion.
Ruth Hill
May 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
Got bogged down in this, abandoned it
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Walking the old Icknield Way from Dorset to The Wash, taking ancient tracks, through history, legend, literature and scientific fact. Conversations along the way, & some wild camping.
Lucy Moore
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
sexist, privileged - a bad joke
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thomson's walk did not disappoint. Present day places and people, and bits of poetry and interesting archeology - all served up with bangers and tea. ...more
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Nov 17, 2019
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2013
Sorami Wong
rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2019
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Hugh Thomson believes strongly that the world is not as explored as we like to suppose.

He writes about the wilder corners of the planet, from the edges of Peru to the Himalayas, looking for Inca ruins and lost cultures. Geographical commented that 'He is a writer who explores and not an explorer who writes.'

For 'The Green Road into the Trees', he returned to Britain to write about his own country

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