The Helford River, Cornwall, is one of the very few places in England where ancient woodland meets the sea. It also has a curious industrial and cultural history.
Describing the geology, history and flora of twenty-five individual woods, including Bonallack, Calamansack, Devichoys, Grambla, Gweek, Merthen, Reskymmer, Trelowarren, Tremayne and Treverry, The Ancient Woods of the Helford River explains how these special places have survived the centuries and what the future may hold for them.
After Oliver Rackham’s untimely death in February 2015, a number of manuscripts were discovered in various stages of completion, including The Ancient Woods of the Helford River. This posthumous publication explores one of Rackham's favourite places to carry out fieldwork in the British Isles and celebrate the life and work of an outstanding botanical and landscape writer.
Oliver Rackham (1939-2015) was the pre-eminent botanist of his generation, whose work focused on trees and woodlands. He was the author of many books including The History of the Countryside. His final book was The Ash Tree, in Little Toller's nature monograph series.
"The well-known woodland specialist Oliver Rackham died in 2015 but left a manuscript about the woodlands along the drowned river valley of Helford, Cornwall, which was edited and produced after he died. This lovely little book describes the ancient woods, covering 240 ha in total, along the river with some outliers such as the Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserve at Devichoys. [...] This book is recommended for all those interested in woodlands in this unique part of Cornwall."
– Adrian Spalding, Atropos 65, March 2020
"A detailed look at a specific group of woods might be thought to be of only local interest; but, as with other books by Rackham [...] this book is both interesting and useful to anyone with an interest in woodland, particularly ancient woodland, in the UK. [...] The editors and collaborators have done an excellent job of bringing a posthumous publication to life. Anyone familiar with Rackham’s other works will take pleasure in another publication by him, shedding light on our woodlands’ history; and new readers will find a clear and concise work, an ideal ntroduction to this rare, precious, and finite part of our common history and landscape."
– Rupert Baker, Quarterly Journal of Forestry