After years of living in London's urban jungle, Ruth Pavey dreamt of reconnecting with the British countryside. In pursuit of a haven from the unrest of city life, she embarked on a journey to find the perfect plot of land on which to plant a wood. But creating this would-be sanctuary proved more daunting than she expected.
In this inspiring memoir, Pavey shares her story of finding peace by sowing her legacy in the form of a wood, one tree at a time. Chronicling her struggle to clear away the brambles to make a place for herself in the world, Pavey's story is both enchanting and candid, and at times self-deprecating as she recognises her shortcomings as a landowner. By probing her own motivations and her enjoyment of the solitude and beauty of the place, she shares her insights into our relationship with nature – and our destruction of it. Her intelligent understanding and cautioning against our romanticising of rural living forces us to consider the reality of country life in Britain today.
With charming descriptions of the Somerset countryside and abundant with tales of its history and inhabitants (both past and present), Pavey's story is at once lyrical and beguiling.
Ruth Pavey currently works at Tufnell Park Primary School, London, and is the Gardening Correspondent for the Ham & High (Hampstead and Highgate Express). She attended the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford and a selection of her illustrated works are included in this, her first book. Pavey has reviewed books and written features for publications including the Observer, Guardian, New Statesman, Crafts, and the Garden and was a contributor to BBC Radio 4's former arts programme, Kaleidoscope.
"A delightful account [...] with intriguing digressions into local history and culture. [Pavey] writes with warmth and spirit, and brings this space to life in all its detail of plants, trees and wildlife"
– Penelope Lively, author of The Purple Swamp Hen and winner of the Man Booker Prize for Tiger Moon