604 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations and b/w maps (210 total)
Trees are wildlife just as deer or primroses are wildlife. Each species has its own agenda and its own interactions with human activities [...] Written by one of Britain's best-known naturalists, Woodlands offers a fascinating new insight into the trees of the British landscape that have filled us with awe and inspiration throughout the centuries. Looking at such diverse evidence as the woods used in buildings and ships, and how woodland has been portrayed in pictures and photographs, Rackham traces British woodland through the ages, from the evolution of wildwood, through man's effect on the landscape, modern forestry and its legacy, and recent conservation efforts and their effects. In his lively and thoroughly engaging style, Rackham explores woodlands and their history, through names, surveys, mapping and legal documents, archaeology, photographs, and works of art, thus offering an utterly compelling insight into British woodlands and how they have come to shape a national obsession.
Originally published as Volume 100 in the New Naturalist series. This edition differs in having all the illustrations on plates in black-and-white only.
"Rackham has been a great champion for real woods and against the endless postwar conifer plantations – a campaign now largely won. Here he is writing not as a conservationist, but simply to share his prodigious knowledge of woods and trees with the reader."
- The Times
"[...] A magnificent compendium of evocations, celebrations and warnings – the harvest of a long lifetime, gathered slowly but with unflagging passion."
"The Woodland Trust welcomes Oliver Rackham's latest book celebrating the glories of our irreplaceable ancient woodland heritage. Restoration of ancient woods and creation of new woods is vital to creating a countryside which is more sympathetic to woodland wildlife, and which delivers benefits to society."
- Woodland Trust
"Magnificent, masterful [...] For those of us who worship trees, Rackham is our (slightly grumpy) High Druid. A true classic."
- The Week
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The late Oliver Rackham is a name synonymous with woodlands. He has written various books on trees and woodland, most recently a second edition of Ancient Woodland: Its History, Vegetation, and Uses in England. Dr Rackham (OBE) his been Praelector Rhetoricus at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.