ISBN 9781844139200,Beechcombings



Richard Mabey


Random House

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Random House

Publication Year 2008

ISBN 9781844139200

ISBN-10 1844139204


Number of Pages 304 Pages
Language (English)

Natural history, country life & pets

Beech trees reached Britain about 8,000 years ago, and they were workhorses, not ornaments - fuel for Rome's glassworks; firewood for London; oars for the ships of Venice; raw material for furniture, cut and turned by 'bodgers' who lived like nomads among the trees in huts made of beechwood shavings.

Mabey covers Europe as well as Britain, and autobiography as well as history and natural history. His beeches are characterful - 'hectic, gale-sculpted, gnomic' - and he writes about the bluebells, orchids, fungi, deer and badgers associated with them, as well as the narratives we tell about trees and the images we make of them. Many other kinds of tree are featured, and the portraits and celebrations of the beech always point to the larger story. More than all this, Beechcombings is a personal investigation of the ambivalent, engimatic relationship that humans have with trees.

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