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The Wood

The Life & Times of Cockshutt Wood
Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (211 ratings)

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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel, read by Leighton Pugh. 

From 'one of the best nature-writers of his generation' (Country Life) and 2017 winner of the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing, this BBC Radio 4 'Book of the Week' is the story of a wood - both its natural daily life and its historical times. Cockshutt is a particular wood - three and half acres of mixed woodland in southwest Herefordshire - but it stands as exemplar for all the small woods of England. 

For four years John Lewis-Stempel managed the wood. He coppiced the trees and raised cows and pigs who roamed free there. This is the diary of the last year, by which time he had come to know it from the bottom of its beech roots to the tip of its oaks and to know all the animals that lived there - the fox, the pheasants, the wood mice, the tawny owl - and where the best bluebells grew. For many fauna and flora, woods like Cockshutt are the last refuge. It proves a sanctuary for John, too. 

To listen to The Wood is to be amongst its trees as the seasons change, following an easy path until suddenly the view is broken by a screen of leaves, or your foot catches on a root, or a bird startles overhead. Lyrical, informative, steeped in poetry and folklore, it is both very real and very magical. 

©2018 John Lewis-Stempel (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"John Lewis-Stempel is the hottest nature writer around." (Spectator)

"It sounds magical and you just know it will be gloriously written." (Bookseller)

What listeners say about The Wood

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book,

The wood is a modern classic, John Lewis -Stempel’s love letter to his wood. Woods need to be managed, nurtured and cared for if they are not to become choked with brambles and therefore all life. I have no issue at all with the authors accounts of shooting the pigeons and Pheasant for his cooking pot. The wood is a month by month diary account of life within the wood, of the wildlife, trees, wildlife, flowers, the author and his livestock. It was prude escapism and thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend.

15 people found this helpful

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Re-creates the life and harmony of being in the woods

Open up the inner world of timeless woodland with this diary-based evocation of a year of a small, Hereford wood, lovingly managed by the author using traditional methods, with livestock able to wander in the woods. The soul-music of the wood, with a weaving-in of poems and recipes, is beautifully delivered through an intelligent and sensitive reading.

17 people found this helpful

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outstanding detail..a must listen to.

superbly described and narrated.brilliant tale of life in a wood and all that happens monthly.

4 people found this helpful

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Fascinating.

I loved every day of the year, never has a book about a been so enlightening and captivating.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

Who wouldn't want a year long walk in the woods? A beautifully written story that, as usual for JLS, captures so perfectly my own link and love with nature. It's very well narrated. My only grievance is that I wish they could have included some realy bird song and wind through tree sounds in some places as its such a meditative listen I really feel this would have heightened it.

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A Lovely Rustic Walk Through a Small Wood

This year long diary of Cockshutt wood is jam-packed full of diary entries on all the nature happenings going on in the wood, poems, recipes, and the language is just beautiful. I love books like this as I cannot get out into nature very much so these nature writing books are the next best thing to experience it second-hand.

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Erudite storytelling

The poetry of a wood! A poetic story! 😁 One catches herself on thinking there is a lot to enjoy and learn about a wood!

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  • mr
  • 07-12-19

Great. Ideal for woodland dog walking!

Just right. Informative but not dull, well researched but not academic, I loved it. I think its probably our there enough that you might not want this "genre" one after another but a great interruption to my normal listening

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beautiful

jam recipes, whimsical wanderings, land management and wildlife observations. an utter delight. I love John's work.

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A joy.

Bought on a whim (Daily deal) but this was an absolute joy to listen to. And now I have Lewis-Stempel’s huge back catalogue to delve into. A truly fascinating man.