This book sets out to describe what happened to our countryside during the last Ice Age and where the trees, plants and animals – including people – survived before spreading back to Britain and West Berkshire when the ice melted. It describes how the woods were used over the millennia, their importance to the communities around them and what traces of this use can still be seen today. It concludes with suggested ways of studying a wood using the archaeological remains and the evidence of the trees and plants growing in it.
The author has lived in and studied the Pang Valley since 1969. Much of the research contained in this book was done to provide information for the many talks he has given and the guided walks he has led on behalf of the Pang, Kennet and Lambourn Valleys Project and its successor the West Berkshire Countryside Society. He was awarded an MBE in 2002 and is Honorary President of the West Berkshire Countryside Society.
"Dick Greenaway’s new book, What's in a West Berkshire Wood?, is an erudite yet immensely readable account of the history, ecology and archaeology of ancient woods. It provides not only an excellent description of how woods originated, and how they were managed in the past, but also a comprehensive ﬁeld guide to what can be found in them today, carefully explaining the signiﬁcance of particular plant species, archaeological features, and varieties of tree. This is an excellent book, beautifully illustrated, which is based on the very latest research. While it will have a particular appeal to people living in West Berkshire, anybody with an interest in, or a role in managing, the rural landscape will ﬁnd it an invaluable addition to their bookshelves. Highly recommended."
– Tom Williamson, Professor of Landscape History, University of East Anglia