The Green Road into the Trees

The green road into the trees: a walk through England

Nature lovers might like Hugh Thomson’s The Green Road into the Trees It’s the winner of the THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 – a new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain.

From the very centre of England – literally, as his village is furthest from the sea – he travels to its outermost edges. The Green Road into the Trees is a journey made rich by the characters he meets along the way. And the ways he takes are the old ways, the drover-paths and tracks, the paths and ditches half covered by bramble and tunnelled by alder, beech and oak: the trails that can still be traced by those who know where to look.

Just as in his acclaimed book about Peru, The White Rock , Hugh shows how older, half-forgotten cultures lie much closer to the surface than we may think. In recent years, archaeologists have uncovered remarkable findings about the Celts, Saxons and Vikings that have often yet to reach the wider public. Travelling along the Icknield Way, Hugh passes the great prehistoric monuments of Maiden Castle, Stonehenge and Avebury, before ending at the Wash near Seahenge. By taking a 400 mile journey from coast to coast, through both the sacred and profane landscapes of ancient England, Hugh casts unexpected light – and humour – on the way we live now.

‘The author has written books on South America and this is an interesting  read on his journey in less exotic and wild surroundings following the ancient paths across England known as the Icknield Way from Dorset to Norfolk. It’s a journey that covers thousands of years of history, a journey in the footsteps of some memorable writers and a journey that also is a view of life in England today. Man has marked nearly every inch of the way through farming, building and worship and what surprises – and perhaps shouldn’t – is how much wild country there is on his journey, how many empty vistas and beautiful landscapes in a journey that skirts some of the most built-up and over-developed parts of England.’