'The wide horizontal branches stretched away from me to curl up like the giant fingers of an enormous cupped hand. I slid back into the centre of its protective palm and waited for my heart to slow. After a while the small herd of Fallow deer I had been following emerged from the trees, carefully picking their way through the churned up leaf litter to pass beneath me in the wake of the ponies. They had been there all along and I was immediately struck that not one of them appeared to have seen or smelt me as I crouched in the arms of the Oak directly above.'
This is the story of a professional British tree climber, cameraman and adventurer, who has made a career out of travelling the world, filming wildlife and climbing trees. The Man Who Climbs Trees blends James's personal story, a love of nature and his fascination with the majesty of trees to create an engrossing narrative on the power of the natural world and the joy of rising – literally – above the daily grind, into the canopy of the forest.
James Aldred grew up on the edge of the New Forest and spent his teenage years exploring it. By fourteen he was building forest shelters and sleeping rough in the woods. By sixteen he was spending much of his time up in the branches. These days, he works in the tree-tops as a freelance wildlife cameraman for the BBC and National Geographic, regularly collaborating with top nature presenters and filmmakers. The Man Who Climbs Trees is his first book.
"A book of heart-stopping bravery and endurance, packed with astonishing – and sometimes gruesome – encounters with wild creatures. James Aldred is an old-school hero, and his thrilling recollections of a life of adventure driven by a love for trees will give you new reverence for the beauties and mysteries of the natural world. "
– Helen Macdonald
"The giant trees, described by James Aldred, are full of wonder and his fascinating book is a story of real adventure"
– Peter Wohlleben, author of the international bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees
"A great read – incredible adventures and a dramatic new perspective from the arms of the world's giants"
– Chris Packham
"[A] delightful, endlessly fascinating book"
– Brian Viner, Daily Mail Book of the Week
"To leave the dank darkness of the jungle floor and travel up to the sunlight forest canopy is probably the natural world's most exciting revelation. James Aldred's wonderful book is as close as you will ever get to that experience, without risking the climb for yourself."
– Alastair Fothergill, TV Producer for The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet