Award-winning scientist Richard Fortey, upon his retirement, purchased four acres of ancient woodland in the Chiltern Hills of Oxfordshire, England. The Wood for the Trees is the joyful, lyrical portrait of what he found there. Fortey leads us through the seasons over the course of a year, as he fells trees in winter, admires bluebells in spring, and hunts moths in June and mushrooms in September. Along the way he reconstructs the geology and history of the area, tracing the rich variety of plants, animals, and people who have shaped it, from Neolithic hunters to Tudor gentry to present-day Russian oligarchs. The result is evocative and illuminating: an exuberant biography of a small patch of land and the miraculous web of life that it sustains.
About the Author
RICHARD FORTEY was a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. He was Collier Professor in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol in 2002. In 2003, he won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing About Science from Rockefeller University, and in 2017 he won the Richard Jefferies Prize for outstanding nature writing. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1997 and was elected a Fellow in the Royal Society of Literature in 2009.