You are in:  Home - History - Natural History - Great Wood, The
The Great Wood

History, Natural History
Publication Date
01 September 2011
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
16pp colour plates

The Great Wood

The Ancient Forest of Caledon


'Crumley gives unique insight into the rich history of this land' – Scottish Field

'An engaging read' – BBC Wildlife Magazine

The Great Wood of Caledon – the historic native forest of Highland Scotland – has a reputation as potent and misleading as the wolves that ruled it. The popular image is of an impassable, sun-snuffing shroud, a Highlands-wide jungle infested by wolf, lynx, bear, beaver, wild white cattle, wild boar, and wilder painted men.

Jim Crumley shines a light into the darker corners of the Great Wood, to re-evaluate some of the questionable elements of its reputation, and to assess the possibilities of its partial resurrection into something like a national forest. The book threads a path among relict strongholds of native woodland, beginning with a soliloquy by the Fortingall Yew, the one tree in Scotland that can say of the hey-day of the Great Wood 5,000 years ago: ‘I was there.’ The journey is enriched by vivid wildlife encounters, a passionate and poetic account that binds the slow dereliction of the past to an optimistic future.

Jim Crumley is a Scottish nature writer whose contribution to the literature of the land – now amounting to more than thirty books – has attracted many accolades throughout the British media and in North America. He is a passionate advocate of species reintroductions, especially of wolf and beaver, the widespread restoration and expansion of native habitats, and a radical reappraisal of the relationship between the people of Scotland and the land. He is also a columnist in the Scots Magazine and The Courier, both based in his home town of Dundee. He now lives in Stirling.


3 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Ashley Peel
Jul 18, 2013
A visionary book obviously written by someone who has a love & a passion for trees & woodlands. I bought the book whilst on holiday in Perthshire & I can't wait to return next year to step into the landscape with a deeper vision.
Jul 1, 2013
I bought this book whilst on holiday in Scotland but have only started reading it since arriving home in N.I. I SHALL RE-READ! And when I do I will have a map in front of me so that I can trace his footsteps. Next year I hope to return to Scotland & would like to walk in Jim's footsteps. This book has had a profound impact on me.
Jun 30, 2013
I had just finished re-reading G M di Sospiro's book The Story of Yew when I picked up The Great Wood by Jim Crumley whilst on holiday in Scotland. It was only when our holiday was over that I realised his first chapter referred to an ancient yew tree which was growing only a few miles from where we were staying in Scotland & which I will now have to visit on another holiday! The Great Wood is a wonderful book which although I haven't finished yet I already want to re-re-read!

Related books