This book takes us on an exciting adventure, following Ben Law through his life as the woodsman of Prickly Nut Wood. Woodsman: Living in a wood in the 21st century is different from Ben's previous books that teach how to manage a woodland, make wood crafts or build a roundwood timber frame building like his home.
This is a story of how Ben came to live in the woods, his love and passion for the land and his need to protect it.
We watch as Ben moves into his new environment, learning the ways of the woods. We take each step with him as he merges with his surroundings, as he observes the wildlife of the woods and becomes in tune with the trees and the creatures that become a part of his home.
Ben takes us on a journey, from his adventures Papua New Guinea to the Amazon, where he learnt the age-old traditions of the tribes in managing and preserving woodland, right through to his future predictions of his village in the West Sussex countryside – a post-oil age, where society has moved back to working on the land. An tongue-in-cheek view, that some may think a little backward.
Learning through Ben's eyes makes the woods feel real. The descriptions of the trees, the wildlife, the weather and the landscape make you feel like you're there. It feels as if you could shut your eyes and be surrounded by the morning chorus that wakes Ben every day, or feel the cool, clear water of his natural pond.
The wonderfully sketched pictures also help visualise Ben's woodland and the work that he does.
This book will leave you with a sense of awe and admiration but also a yearning to follow in Ben's footsteps and have the same beautiful relationship with the land. It leaves you understanding the importance of our woodlands and the need to care for them. It is a book to get lost in.
This review first appeared in Permaculture magazine issue 76
Woodsman; Living in a wood in the 21st century by Ben Law is available from our Green Shopping store.