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Notes From Walnut Tree Farm

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  502 ratings  ·  50 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 4.29  · 
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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
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
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
"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 deta/>"The
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.
Hilary Hicklin
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
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: naturalist, rosy
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lovely read. Well worth the time.
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
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 reader
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
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 'str
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, tbr17
This collection of day-to-day nature notes organized by month might work best for someone who already knows the author’s work, since it takes awhile to get a sense of the author from these short notes on pollarding trees, swimming in an abandoned moat, observations on birds and animals, ecology of the village common, life in the English countryside, and writing/reading. Gradually, a picture builds of a bright, kind observer, with wide-ranging interests and a knack for exploring, who is enjoyable ...more
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
Eldan Goldenberg
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
A delightful, but slow and sometimes aimless book. It's an odd form - entries from 6 years' worth of journals, compiled by the late author's partner into one composite year. That made for somewhat disjointed reading, in that every time I put the book down it took me a while to get back into its rhythm. On the other hand, that format combined with Deakin's lovely evocations of place and mood builds up a gorgeous and very alive portrait of where he lived and the passage of the seasons.
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
Catherine Davison
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful! Such exquisite quiet observations of the land upon which he lived so gently. I learnt so much, I was constantly going to Google to look up the plants, weeds, animals, fish, birds, tree and wood types he was describing. I loved his Waterlog and I loved these notes which were compiled into this compendium after his death. Beautiful!
Lisa Taylor
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love books like this that are gentle and elegant and tell a story of a person's life in little diary snippets, especially when that life is in the country surrounded by wildlife and a lovely natural environment.
Roger Deakin writes beautifully about his love of nature, his cats, his friends, books, and other wonderful thoughts.
Judy Fowler
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thank my dear friend for giving me this rather wonderful book.It was a warm and inspirational read. I have not read anything else by the author (I will now),so I can't really judge whether his occasionally, rather lofty attitude towards (some) others was his own or his friend/editor's view, but I am so glad that I read it.
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gentle, kind-hearted, curious, playful, eccentric and occasionally curmudgeonly about the mess people are making of things. It was delightful to read these musings of this joyful, wry, generous, learned, and humane man. He was so very creative, adventurous, and full of life, and he inspired deep affection in so many—not least myself and other readers of his fine work.
Robert Newell
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the book, Roger's observations on the countryside especially around Mellis are well written and interesting, so much so I actually took a trip to Mellis to have a wander round the common and village. I did spend a lot if time looking up the different names of the trees & plants he observed, meaning book in one hand and iphone in the other looking them up!
Diane Warrington
An observant man in tune with his surrounding natural world. However, got a little tired of the endless rants on modern life. Some of those things are very important for people who, unlike Deakin, don't have the luxury of a disposable income or tied down to a soul destroying job.
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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,
“All of us , I believe , carry about in our heads places and landscapes we shall never forget because we have experienced such intensity of life there :places where, like the child that 'feels its life in every limb' in Wordsworth's poem'We are seven' ,our eyes have opened wider, and all our senses have somehow heightened.By way of returning the compliment , we accord these places that have given us such joy a special place in our memories and imaginations. They live on in us, wherever we may be, however far from them.” 19 likes
“I need someone to fold the sheet, someone to take the other end of the sheet and walk towards me and fold once , then step back , fold and walk towards me again .We all need someone to fold the sheet.Someone to hitch on the coat at the neck .Someone to put on the kettle. Someone to dry up while I wash.” 7 likes
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