A Wood of One's Own

A Wood of One's Own
Ruth Pavey
Price: £
  • Hardback
21 Sep 2017
  • Biography & Memoir
Available from:

After years of working behind a desk, living in London’s urban jungle, Ruth Pavey could no longer ignore her unfulfilled dream to reconnect with the British countryside. In pursuit of a haven from the unrest of city life, she would embark on a journey to find the perfect plot of land and plant a wood there. But discovering this would-be sanctuary would prove more daunting than she expected. It was only when she reflected on the places of her youth and her father’s enduring love of her birthplace that she would return to Somerset.

In this wholly original memoir, Pavey shares her story of finding peace by sowing her legacy in the form of a wood, one tree at a time. Chronicling her struggle to clear away the bramble to make a place for herself in the world, Pavey’s stories are both beautiful and candid, and at times self-deprecating as she recognises her shortcomings as a land owner. By probing her own motivations and attitudes towards the wood and her enjoyment in the solitude and beauty of the place, she shares her insights into humanity’s nurturing relationship with nature - and our destruction of it. Her intelligent understanding and cautioning against our tendency to romanticise rural living forces us to consider the reality of agricultural life in Britain today.

Charmingly whimsical in her description of the Somerset countryside and abundant with stories of its history and inhabitants (both past and present), Pavey’s journey comes alive with unparalleled depth.


‘A delightful account… with intriguing digressions into local history and culture. [Pavey] writes with warmth and spirit, and brings this space to life in all its detail of plants, trees and wildlife’ Penelope Lively, author of The Purple Swamp Hen and winner of the Man Booker Prize for Tiger Moon

‘A lovely story – a super book’ Steve Yabsley

‘Draws together childhood memories, local history… and literary penumbra’ Telegraph

'Captivating... If this book was not as much a pleasure to write as it is to read, I’ll eat my hat and gardening glove... it is a treat not because an idyll is being described, more because it shows that beauty can embrace (even be enhanced by) imperfection... a wonderful reminder of how often the best things in life – the beautiful moments in the wood – are unplanned’Observer

‘A lyrical story of desire and determination, soft and gentle, warm and wise in a wicked world’ Camden New Journal

‘Practical and full of helpful advice which has been artfully baked-in throughout. If someone asks you what you'd like for Christmas or a birthday don't hesitate to reply, "A Wood of one's own"’

‘Describes the labour of love to clear and replant the overgrown cider orchard... preserving a habitat for wildlife [and a] semi-ancient uncultivated woodland’ Ham and High

A good Christmas present for the dedicated gardener in your life’ BookishBeck

‘Fascinating… [Pavey] bring us into a world of escape from the hurly-burly of towns… will be enjoyed by many readers’ Nudge

'Pavey's writing is beautiful and very immersive...  I feel like to some extent I am sitting in the wood with her, hearing what she hears and seeing what she sees...  a wonderfully written, quiet, contemplative sort of book’ Ninja Book Box