Over twenty years ago, Ruth Pavey bought four acres of scrub woodland above the Somerset Levels and set out to improve the lush haven for birds, insects and all manner of wildlife. Beneath the shade of the trees she spent two decades planting, she now reflects on the fate of her wood.
As steward, she has witnessed nature's forces shifting and the abundance of species dwindling rapidly. When the rabbits suddenly vanished, she knew it was time to take a closer look at the undergrowth and what she could do to preserve the legacy of the wood for generations to come.
Deeper Into the Wood recounts a year in the life of an amateur naturalist working with wildlife experts to interpret the language of the land. Ruth's hand-drawn illustrations accompany her lyrical prose, which demonstrates an appreciation for the local people and their history. This is one woman's story of inspiration, conservation, and a love of place.
Ruth Pavey is the Gardening Correspondent for the Ham & High (Hampstead and Highgate Express). She attended the Rusking School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, and a selection of her illustrated works are included in A Wood of One's Own, her debut memoir that was a Sunday Times Best Book of the Year and longlisted for the Wainwright prize. 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 programme Kaleidoscope.
"A wonderfully personal evocation of the joys, hard work and meaning of creating a wood for wildlife, written with sensitivity and care. A delightful read."
– Stephen Moss, author of The Robin: A Biography
"A rare treat of a book that warms as it informs and leads us deep into the character of one small pocket of England. Ruth Pavey writes with wit, passion and precious little sentimentality."
– Tristan Gooley, author of The Secret World of Weather
"Wonderful [...] how love for a small woodland and respect for its local history can enhance wildlife and enrich the human spirit."
– Nick Davies, author of Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature
"Ruth Pavey spins a delicate web between the many branches of her little Somerset wood. Her closely observed changes of wildlife and the changing seasons, echo a growing awareness and concern for life on Earth itself. The author's growth and metamorphosis into an amateur naturalist who has learnt to read the language of trees is profoundly inspirational."
– Gabriel Hemery, author of The New Sylva
"Inquisitive and generous. Pavey shares the love of her wood, past and present, through a fascinating weave of its natural and cultural histories. This book is as companionable as it is interesting."
– Patrick Baker, author of The Unremembered Places