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Notes From Walnut Tree Farm

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  604 ratings  ·  64 reviews
When Roger Deakin died in August 2006, his death was considered by many to be a great loss to literature. "Notes From Walnut Tree Farm" collects together the jottings, musings and observations with which he filled a series of notebooks for the last six years of his life. In this beautiful illustrated collection, descriptions of walks on Mellis Common and thoughts on the im ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 30th 2008 by Penguin
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Jason
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something exciting about reading somebodies diary or thoughts for a day, I don't know if Roger was considering publishing them or not but I'm glad they did. From the opening paragraph you can see why he is considered one of the great nature writers:

"1st January
I am lying full length on my belly on frozen snow and frosty tussocks in the railway wood blowing like a dragon into the wigwam of a fire at the core of a tangled blackthorn bonfire. I am clearing the blackthorn suckers that march
...more
Kate
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
This book was a hard nut to crack for me. At first it seemed disjointed and the random jottings of some guy who lived in England.

Actually, that's exactly what the book was: the random jottings of some guy who lived in England. Except that it wasn't just any guy. It was Roger Deakin. Roger Stuart Deakin was an English writer, documentary-maker and environmentalist. In 1968 he bought Walnut Tree Farm, a semi-ruined Elizabethan moated farmhouse on the edge of Mellis Common, near Diss in Suffolk, wh
...more
Leah
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had not really heard of Roger Deakin, the writer and radio broadcaster, until I saw his other book, Wildwood, on the shelves at Waterstones. Having recently enjoyed other Rural Living books like The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill I was keen to read some more and Roger Deakin's books stood out. He was clearly much loved and admired by many. I ended up buying this one instead, being taken by the format of notes sorted into months with the intention of reading it in real time throughout 2012. Mos ...more
Bert
"I am well on the way to becoming a tree myself. I put down roots. I sigh when the wind blows. My sap rises in the spring, and I turn towards the sun. My skin even begins to look more like bark every day. Which tree would I be? Definitely a walnut; an English walnut, Juglans regia, the tree with the greatest canopy." (p.69)

"The foundation of a first-class talent is eyesight - perception. The first-class writer always has first-class eyes. Those who observe quickly and vividly hold us with the de
...more
Sherrie
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Second time of reading Roger Deakins book, and published after his sudden death, the book is taken from his many notebooks and written in diary form covering a year in his life. I love the random jottings, some go off on a tangent, his almost simplistic view of life and his detailed observations of nature. I'll probably read this again at some point.
Cath Van
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The company of this book is greatly recommended. Read it as I did, over the course of a year, taking your time with the thoughts, impressions, feelings and observations Roger Deakin made over the last six years of his life in notebooks he kept at Walnut Tree Farm. It was very rewarding to go slowly with it.
Sarah
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rosy, naturalist
A perfect book to keep by the bed and read last thing at night, little by little as the seasons go by. It is a mix of Roger Deakin's diaries from several years and has been brilliantly edited. Evocative of the seasons and his deep love of the natural world, his cutting intelligence shines through allowing you to enjoy but keep the questions going.
Sarah Swarbrick
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been reading this book slowly over this year, reading along with Roger Deakin and his seasons, observations and musings. A wonderful collection of thoughts and notes.
Hilary
Jul 15, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A book group choice, this was just not my cup of tea. I have a problem with this type of author: middle-class with no financial concerns able to pontificate on how everyone else is getting it wrong. The beauties of nature I get, but the overworked sentimental descriptions are almost nauseating. I would rather see these things for myself.

His elite circle of friends tells you all you need to know about the highbrow tone of this work, published posthumously in the form of a year in his life. Deaki
...more
Melinda
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lovely read. Well worth the time.
Philippa
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Roger Deakin's writing – and his thinking. Like Annie Dillard, he's so aware and observant of the smallest things in the natural world, and describes them so engagingly, vividly and poetically. He'll spend time watching an insect to understand its world. Yet he also has a long-term, holistic overview, thinking of how many hundreds of years an oak might have stood there, and observing the changes where he lives (Suffolk): modern human life ever encroaching on the rest of nature, taming it, ...more
Sam
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fittingly, this book is as organic a piece literature as you will ever read. Billed as a collection of Roger Deakin's own diary entries, it highlights both the author's natural writing ability and the type of lifestyle that any lover of the English countryside should aspire to. Deakin describes vividly the small nuances that make the life of a naturalist so fulfilling, and in turn the reader gets to share in these. After reading this I felt compelled to simply get outside more and to improve my ...more
Bruce Hatton
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
This is possibly the best book on Suffolk and contemporary country living I've read. It was collated posthumously by the author's partner Alison Hastie and is set in diary form, although entries can be from different years.
Roger Deakin bought the semi-ruined Walnut Tree Farm on the edge of Mellis Common in Suffolk, near Diss in 1968. He rebuilt and developed the farmhouse over many years and lived there until his death in 2006. He dredged the moat, where he swam daily, planted woodland and bough
...more
Jennifer
This book was put together from Roger Deakin's notes by a friend and his partner although not, on the evidence of these notes, partner in the sense of nightly bedsharing, or even particularly frequent shared activity, especially not compared with the mentions of other human contacts.

It was an interesting book and gave an insight into the process of writing - phrases were repeated, ideas jotted down for 'working up' later. His lifestyle was unusual - I particularly enjoyed his account of how he c
...more
Moses
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A multitude of words

Calming, thought provoking, poetic and honest.

This is my second reading of Notes from Walnut Tree farm. I think I preferred the first reading; this (second) reading was a closer affair and I digested more meaning. It wasn't so fleeting or as light as the first.

This second reading had me feeling that Deakin was often hypocritical - critical of other 'faceless' people stripping the land for their own personal gain to the detriment of its eco-system, whilst he himself 'strippe
...more
Sandra
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I knew nothing of Roger Deakin before I read this book. I'd seen it briefly recommended on "First Tuesday Book Club" on ABC and bought it on the offchance it would be a good read. It was brilliant. Such beautiful words, diary entries throughout different times in his life at Walnut Tree Farm. My only regret is that I didn't discover him sooner, as he passed away in 2006, and I would have loved to have written him a letter to tell him just how marvellous he is. Bless you Roger Deakin. I adore you ...more
Caroline Gerardo
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Borrowed this book, and wish I owned it. I'm a journal keeper, years of drawings, notes about my garden, a feather, a sticker from a campground, a poem, a wildflower once pressed now too fragile to open the page- all these treasures are mine packed in a wooden trunk that my father took away to war, now resting in my barn on the ranch. Enough about me, if you locate this book keep your hands on it, for I will surely sneak it into my hiking backpack and never return a happy woman
Vibeke
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger Deakin has a unique way of looking at and sharing his thoughts about nature. Presented through his extraordinary, restless curiosity, this book is a very charming, inspiring, engaging and passionate read. To be read both for pleasure and thoughtfulness.
Mark Taylor
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it
It's a love letter to the Suffolk countryside, and that's why I like it.
Nancy Nell
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed thinking about the NZ equivalents to rural UK. I would have liked to meet Roger Deakin, his writing is without artifice and fittingly natural.
Madamedupin
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gentle, fierce, detailed, loving: a joy.
Millie
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature-writing
I love Roger Deakin's nature writing. It's honest and concise, and a pleasure to read.
Katherine Simmons
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice collection of snippets, a fair few it was a shame he didn't have a chance to write up into a book.
Jacqueline McNeil
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's impossible not to love Roger Deakin and his whimsical, random thoughts.
Sophy H
To be fair, Roger Deakin could write a shopping list and I think I'd love it!!

He makes me want to plant more trees, not rake up leaves, create more habitats for wild creatures, and just be at one with nature.

Deakin is a natural writer of all things outdoor.

I read him with a sense of awe and wonder, but also with a hint of melancholy, knowing he passed away in 2006.

I could literally underline and annotate every passage in the book but two favourites are these:-

"Cats are angels. They sustain
...more
Malene
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Feel very lucky to be living in the vicinity of Mellis. This will be the beginning of many new explorations around the area under the author's fabulous guidance.
A most beautiful description of the area (and many others), nature and the year's passing with all its intricate changes. Life affirming observations aplenty on an endless list of aspects.
Had this on loan, now need own copy to keep reading it in time with the months going by.
D
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging and joyful book that is brimful of the author’s infectious curiosity for nature and the environment. To read it is to look at the world with fresh eyes.
Michiel Nicolaï
Reading 'Notes from Walnut Tree Farm' feels like you are having a conversation across the bounderies of paper and death with the late naturalist (not the famous cineast) Roger Deakin.

Roger Deakin was a kind person who never lost his inner child when it came to his wonder, anarchy and respect for nature. Which is why he was so tirelessly campaigning for the conservation via personal action or the creation of organisations such as Common Ground.

This is a book for the readers of his masterpieces: W
...more
Carol
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and the authors mainly short sharp snapshots of observations and experiences, though it did take time to get use to the jumping around of the book. However, it was a shame though that the editors combined the 6 years that the authors notes covered into one just one, rather than allowing the changes in thoughts appear as the years passed. Overall though this is a just a minor criticism of what is a good insight into the thoughts and observations of a naturalist and brought back so ...more
Lee Belbin
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a totally delightful book, or more accurately, diary. Roger Deakin's 'Waterlog' was one of my all time favourite (5-star) books, being quirky and very much me, as my friends would readily say. 'Notes' is a daily log of Deakin's thoughts, worts and all. His value and perceptions of nature are wonderful. I had not realised that he was a fan of the Australian book 'A million Wild Acres' by Eric Rolls - but not surprising at all. Ditto the Australian poet Les Murray. Makes much sense. 'Notes ...more
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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

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