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The Wood

The Life & Times of Cockshutt Wood
Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (160 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 members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

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 of 18 people found this review 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 of 4 people found this review 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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.

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Fascinating glimpse of woodland life

This audiobook is delivered as a month by month description of the flora and fauna of Cockshutt Wood and is fascinating. The narrator tells a variety of interesting tales, and the information is delivered in an accessible way rather than feeling like a lecture on this or that. Recommended for anyone interesting in nature - would make a good gift/ recommendation for friends who have a passion in this kind of area too :)

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An insightful look in to a "wood"

Amazing and interesting. I learned so much and was greatly moved by the respect and observance of nature.

I will listen and read again.

It is full of so much knowledge and wonder.

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Book review by Tony

A go
od book that entertains and educates in ways of country life and ways

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  • JC
  • 17-04-19

Read much like a poem

Beautifully written and the speaker was a joy to listen to. At times it read like a poem which was slightly annoying as I couldn't sink into it as a story or narrative would allow me to. loved it regardless.

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The very best of writing about our natural world

This book is the most touching evocation of a year in the life of a small wood in Herefordshire. It has a lyrical quality which lifts the reader into this timeless natural space.
For anyone who cares about our natural history and is interested in learning more about how this world touches our own this is a marvellous book.