In 1987 the Great Storm that ravaged southern England felled millions of trees, and prompted a reappraisal of the arboreal in our lives. In Beechcomings Richard Mabey set out to uncover our relationship with trees, and specifcally the beech, their signifcance in nature and meaning in folklore. First published in 2007, this book was widely praised and described by Kathleen Jamie in the Guardian as ‘Refreshing, droll, politically alert, occasionally self-mocking, he has the enviable ability both to write historical overview and also to slip into the woods like a dryad, bringing us back to the trees themselves.'
Among Richard Mabey's acclaimed publications are Food for Free (his first book and never out of print), Gilbert White (Whitbread Biography of the Year) and the ground-breaking bestseller Flora Britannica, which won the British Book Awards' Illustrated Book of the Year and the Botanical Society of the British Isles' President's Award and was runner-up for the BP Natural World Book Prize. He collaborated on Birds Britannica (which was his idea) and his most personal book, Nature Cure, described as 'A brilliant, candid and heartfelt memoir', had such wide appeal that it was shortlisted for no fewer than four prestigious prizes: the Whitbread Biography, the J.R. Ackerley for autobiography, Mind (for its investigation into depression) and the Ondaatje for the evocation of the spirit of place. Richard Mabey was born and brought up among the beech woods of the Chilterns, and now lives in Norfolk.
"A remarkable achievement [...] a fresh kind of tree-writing, which will both change our ways and confirm our woodland understanding"
– Ronald Blythe, TLS January 11, 2008.