Oak and Ash and Thorn

Pages: 304
Subject: Nature
Imprint: Oneworld

Oak and Ash and Thorn

The Ancient Woods and New Forests of Britain

Peter Fiennes

Dazzling, passionate nature writing - a celebration of Britain's woods and forests and a rousing call to fight for them
9781786071668 (7 Sep 2017)
RRP £16.99 / US$25.99

The Book

The magic and mystery of the woods and trees are embedded in our culture, from ancient folklore to modern literature. They offer us refuge, a place to play and a place to think. They are the generous providers of fuel, timber, energy and life. 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. Threatened by development, neglect, climate chaos and ignorance, they are emptier - of flora and fauna, but also of people - than they have ever been. 

Immersing himself in the beauty of Britain's woodlands and the art and writing they have inspired, 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?

Additional Information

Subject Nature
Pages 304
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Peter Fiennes is the author of To War with God, a moving account of his grandfather's service in the First World War. As a publisher for Time Out, he has published their city guides, as well as books about Britain's countryside and seaside. He lives in Wandsworth, south-west London.


‘Extraordinary…Written with a mixture of lyricism and quiet fury…Fiennes's book winningly combines autobiography, literary history and nature writing. It feels set to become a classic of the genre.' 

- Observer

‘Passionate and thoughtful in exactly the way the best nature writing should be…the woodlands of Britain have found their perfect advocate.'

- Hugh Thomson, author of The Green Road into the Trees

‘Fiennes is the best of guides, gently, eloquently and with a fierce humour telling a sad story - relating chapters of fascinating detail to brighten his tale and quoting the poets as he goes.'

- John Wright, author of A Natural History of the Hedgerow

‘A wonderful wander into the woods that explores our deep-rooted connections - cultural, historical and personal - with the trees.'

- Rob Cowen, author of Common Ground

‘A tender hymn to the trees, a manifesto for a woodland society, a contemporary gazette of ideas and attitudes radiating into the future like annual rings from the original pith… In this lyrical, informative, unashamedly arboreal propaganda, one man's walk in the woods can inspire a generation.'

- Paul Evans, author of Field Notes from the Edge

‘Peter Fiennes really can see the wood for the trees - he blends mythology, natural history and a sense of righteous anger to produce a paean of praise to our ancient woodlands and modern forests, and the life support system they provide.'

- Stephen Moss, author of Wild Kingdom: Bringing Back Britain’s Wildlife