29 Mar, 2018
After years spent living amid the thrum of London, journalist and author Ruth Pavey’s longing to reconnect with the British countryside finally got the better of her, and she struck out to realise her dream. Travelling to the West Country in the late 1990s, Pavey found herself travelling through the Somerset Levels. On seeing this expanse of reclaimed land under its wide, soft skies she was struck by its atmospheric beauty and decided to realise her longheld desire to plant a wood, tree by tree. She bought four acres, and set about turning them into a sanctuary where woodland plants and creatures could flourish – an emblem of enduring life in a changeable world. A Wood of One’s Own (one of The Sunday Times' Books of the Year for 2017) is charming the story of how she grew to understand and then transform this derelict land into an enduring legacy – a verdant paradise rich with fauna and flora. Interwoven with Pavey’s candid and self-deprecating descriptions of the practical challenges she faced are forays into the Levels’ local history and culture, and generous and thoughtful portraits of its inhabitants both past and present. Accompanied throughout by Ruth’s evocative hand-drawn illustrations, A Wood of One’s Own is a lyrical, beguiling and inspiring story; a potent reminder of nature’s delicate balance, and its comforting and abiding presence.
Peter Fiennes is a writer, journalist and the author of To War with God, a moving account of his grandfather’s service in the First World War. As the publisher for Time Out, he published their city guides as well as numerous books about Britain’s countryside and seaside. Peter's latest book is Oak and Ash and Thorn The Ancient Woods and New Forests of Britain. The magic and mystery of the woods are embedded in culture, from ancient folklore to modern literature. They offer us refuge: a place to play, a place to think. They are the generous providers of timber and energy. They let us dream of other ways of living. Yet we now face a future where taking a walk in the woods is consigned to the tales we tell our children. Immersing himself in the beauty of woodland Britain, Peter Fiennes explores our long relationship with the woods and the sad and violent story of how so many have been lost. Just as we need them, our woods need us too. But who, if anyone, is looking out for them?
Don't miss Ruth and Peter in conversation at The Good Life Experience.