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Summary

Ben Law has lived as a woodsman in Prickly Nut Wood for over 20 years. His authentic, incredible sense of the land and the wildlife, and his respect for age-old traditions and how to sustain them offers a wonderful, inviting insight into the life and character of Prickly Nut Wood. Having travelled to Papua New Guinea and the Amazon, observing age-old techniques for living in, working in and preserving forests and woodland, Ben Law felt compelled to return home and apply his learning to a 400-year-old plot of woodland near where he grew up - Prickly Nut Wood.

This is the story of how he came to know and love his woodland, how he lived off the land, how he coppiced and hedged and created charcoal, how he puddled and built shelter, and finally how he carved out his famous, characterful woodland home that Kevin McCloud has cited as his favourite ever Grand Design. And it’s the story of the wood itself - how it lives and breathes and affects all those who encounter it, and how it’s developed over the 20 incredible years Ben has shared in its lifespan. It’s an incredibly transporting tale that will make you long to hear the dawn chorus, and appreciate the beauty of Britain’s pockets of woodland.

©2013 Ben Law (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Ben Law is an extraordinary man." (Kevin McCloud)

What listeners say about Woodsman

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How can a book be so fascinating and yet so awful at the same time?

First of all the positives if there are any to report on when I’m barely ten minutes in to a book and yet I feel already I can review it with some certainty of purpose. Well it’s short and I’m sure it will be fascinating but, and there is a but, there are two things about naration which are irritating. First of all a flat expresionless voice which sounds utterly boring. The second thing is this, the word is through not as the narator pronounces it, fru or other not uver. In other words there’s a clearly audible speech imprdiment which is very off-putting to any listener. I’ll read this book if only to learn for myself and not because I expect to enjoy it. Thank goodness it’s short.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Might not be what you expect but a great listen

I was expecting a more typical biography with lots of coverage of Ben's early life but this is more of a description of what living in a wood is like and Ben's views on the World in general.



Absolutely fascinating stuff if you have any interest at all in sustainable living and the future of mankind.

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Very enjoyable

After seeing this man on grand designs , i was interested when i heard he was bring out a book , i'm glad i bought it , go's into great about his work living in the wood and his roll in looking after the area and trying to make a living off the land , also tells the story about being involved and building his house for grand designs , a great listen for anyone interested in his story from grand designs or about work go's into managing a woodland

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Inspiring and informative

I really enjoyed this book, Ben's voice is calm and soothing and he gives lots of interesting insight and advice about woodland life and sustainable living. Everyone should read it.

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A wonderful trip into a woodsmans life

Fantastic book with a wonderful true story and a fascinating way of life.
A few people moaning about the performance.
Ben law is an author and an incredible worker with his hands, he is not a professional audio book performance artist, this is his story and if you don’t like how its performed you’re missing the point.if your having trouble stick it on 1.3x and you’ll be reet.

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  • Mr
  • 20-02-17

Absolutely Brilliant

Would you consider the audio edition of Woodsman to be better than the print version?

Have not read the printed version yet, but may well do so as it will make a great reference book

Who was your favorite character and why?

Its a monolog of his work and endurance

What does Ben Law bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Tone, tempo and its the author reading the book which is a good thing in his case

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me think about life and our impact upon our surroundings and how out of tune with nature we have become

Any additional comments?

Anyone who has the slightest leaning towards self preservation, a will to do better, to work with nature and to improve the quality of a life, that we only have one of, should read this book.

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Interesting and thought-provoking

Interesting and the look ahead to the future was very thought-provoking. I’m off to plant some trees.

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reflective :-)

a reflection of past sustainable Woodland life in today's world.
I really enjoyed the read, the last chapter is reminiscent of Anerican perepers!

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Brilliant

Love this Audio Book. I've listened to it a dozen times and still want more.

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Such a enjoyable little audiobook

Relatively short but a concise and very well put together book on the knowledgeable author/narrators experience of building a life in his small patch of woodland. A book that will make you want join him in a hardworking but fulfilling lifestyle.

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  • Josh van der vlugt
  • 08-06-16

Read this before buying

The description in the publishers summary makes this book out to sound MUCH better than it really is. If like me you are after a book regarding how a man can carve a life out of building his own home and living of the land by means of hunting and fishing and all that good stuff we think we want to do but really we just live vicariously through other people then this is not the book for you. perhaps instead look in to Norman Dietz "One man's wilderness" which was actually just that.
But if you are interested in a book regarding how one, no "a village" should live self sustainable in a possible future without oil (even during the current glut) and wish to hear how much Ben Law has an appreciation for the nature surrounding him then this is the book for you! better yet record your self saying coppices trees and play that back for 4 hrs and 10 min.

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  • Jeff Wren
  • 01-05-15

Awesome!!!

Amazing, I really enjoyed this book 10/10 all around. Highly suggest you pick this up and give it a listen.