Trees – Book Club

Book Club Choices – April / May 2018

Our love for trees has inspired our current Book Club choices. We think you’ll love both of these for different reasons. They are A Wood of One’s Own by Ruth Pavey and Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland.

A Wood of One’s Own
by Ruth Pavey

After years spent living amid the thrum of London, Ruth Pavey yearned to reconnect with the British countryside and she endeavoured to realise her long-held dream of planting a wood.

Touring to the West Country in the late 1990s, Pavey found herself in the Somerset Levels. On seeing this expanse of reclaimed land under its wide, soft skies she was struck by its beauty and set-out to plant a wood, tree by tree. She bought four acres, and over the years transformed them into a haven where woodland plants and creatures could flourish an emblem of enduring life in a changeable world.

A Wood of One’s Own is the story of how she grew to understand and then shape this derelict land into an enduring legacy a verdant landscape rich with wildlife. Interwoven with Pavey’s candid descriptions of the practical challenges she faced are forays into the Levels’ local history, as well as thoughtful portraits of its inhabitants both past and present.

Accompanied throughout by the author’s evocative hand-drawn illustrations, A Wood of One’s Own is a lyrical, beguiling and inspiring story; a potent reminder of nature’s delicate balance, and its comforting and abiding presence.

Gossip from the Forest – The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales
by Sara Maitland

Fairytales are one of our earliest and most vital cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient and primal landscapes. Both evoke a similar sensation in us – we find them beautiful and magical, but also spooky, sometimes horrifying.

In this fascinating book, Maitland argues that the two forms are intimately connected: the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils of the forests were both the background and the source of fairytales. Yet both forests and fairy stories are at risk and their loss deprives us of our cultural lifeblood. Maitland visits forests through the seasons, from the exquisite green of a beechwood in spring, to the muffled stillness of a snowy pine wood in winter. She camps with her son Adam, whose beautiful photographs are included in the book; she takes a barefoot walk through Epping Forest with Robert Macfarlane; she walks with a mushroom expert through an oak wood, and with a miner through the Forest of Dean. Maitland ends each chapter with a unique, imaginitive re-telling of a fairystory.

Written with Sara’s wonderful clarity and conversational grace, Gossip from the Forest is a magical and unique blend of nature writing, history and imaginative fiction.

PS… We loved the beautiful cover on the paperback version of this book!

Where to purchase these books…

We’ve posted links to Amazon but, where possible, please do support your local book shop and library.

While Reading…

As we stroll into spring in our part of the world, we encourage you to spend time in the woods to enjoy the beautiful unfolding greenery. Find a quiet spot. Read. Breathe.

A Chance to Win…

Everyone who has registered for Carol’s newsletter is entered into a prize draw. You might win a book or a collection of gorgeous greetings cards. The next prize draw is May 31st. Remember to sign up!

Footpath in the Dolomites

Guest Post by Sue Allonby

This is one of my favourite footpaths in the Dolomites.

Dolomites by Sue Allonby

The grandeur of nature and scenery speaks for itself, but the narrow little path always reminds me that anything can be attainable with a little effort.

Share your favourite view…

Email details and a photograph of your favourite view in the natural world for the opportunity to be featured.

The View at Coniston

Guest Post by Tony Molloy

My favourite view has to be one that I first saw some 48 years ago during a trip to the lake District at age 17 to stay for an adventure break at the then Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance hostel at Waterhead, Coniston.

On the first evening we walked along the road from the hostel onto the lake shore at the top of the lake and the view down the lake as sunset approached was so beautiful that it has stayed with me ever since. I have seen this view many times and during all the stages of the cycle of the year.

Whenever I get the chance to get back to Coniston for a visit I go back to the same spot to see it anew.

And when returning along the road to the village you will also see the other lovely view of the Old Man.

Share your favourite view…

Email details and a photograph of your favourite view in the natural world for the opportunity to be featured.

Little Owls

One of the highlights of our days is seeing our local little owl sunbathing. This patient one is full of character and seems happy to pose for photographs.

Photo: Carol Anne Strange

Some Little Owl facts:

# There are currently around 5,700 breeding pairs in the UK.

# The little owl has excellent eyesight, for day and night vision. Being partly diurnal, they are often seen perching boldly during the day. (We’ve seen our little owl around 10 am.)

# Insects, earthworms, and small vertebrates such as reptiles and mammals are amongst its prey.

# They have a life expectancy of about sixteen years although challenging winters mean that some are lucky to live more than three.

# Adult little owls are extremely vocal and can make over 20 different sounds.

Interested in little owls?

Find out more info at the Little Owl Project.

We recently returned to the Little Owl’s home after sunset and found the wise one sitting next to a friend.

It’s not the best image, but has a moody and mysterious quality to it that appeals to our imagination.

Moths and Findings- Feb-Mar Book Choices

Book Club Recommendations for February – March 2018

We’ve chosen two beautiful books for our very first Book Club recommendations.  They are The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy and Findings by Kathleen Jamie.

It’s possible you’ve already read these books, but perhaps you feel this is an opportunity to revisit these titles and glean fresh insights.

Findings by Kathleen Jamie

‘Between the laundry and the fetching kids from school, that’s how birds enter my life. I listen. During a lull in the traffic: oyster-catchers; in the school-playground, sparrows. lt’s surprising what you can find by simply stepping out to look.’

Award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie has an eye and an ease with the nature and landscapes of Scotland as well as an incisive sense of our domestic realities. In Findings she draws together these themes to describe travels like no other contemporary writer.Whether she is following the call of a peregrine in the hills above her home in Fife, sailing into a dark winter solstice on the Orkney islands, or pacing around the carcass of a whale on a rain-swept Hebridean beach, she creates a subtle and modern narrative, peculiarly alive to her connections and surroundings.

The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy

Nature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide – feelings stemming ultimately from our own unbreakable links to nature, which mean that we cannot be fully human if we are separate from it.

In The Moth Snowstorm Michael McCarthy, one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment, proposes this joy as a defence of a natural world which is ever more threatened, and which, he argues, is inadequately served by the two defences put forward hitherto: sustainable development and the recognition of ecosystem services.

Drawing on a wealth of memorable experiences from a lifetime of watching and thinking about wildlife and natural landscapes, The Moth Snowstorm not only presents a new way of looking at the world around us, but effortlessly blends with it a remarkable and moving memoir of childhood trauma from which love of the natural world emerged. It is a powerful, timely, and wholly original book which comes at a time when nature has never needed it more.

Where to purchase these books…

We’ve posted links to Amazon, but please do support your local book shop and library.

A Chance to Win…

Everyone who has registered for Carol’s newsletter is entered into a prize draw. The winner of the Feb / March prize, chosen at random, will win a copy of Skimming Stones by Leo Critchley and Rob Cowen, which will be a future book club choice. Entries close: March 31st 2018.


The prize winner will be notified early April 2018.

Your Tree Images

Have you taken a photo of a much-loved tree or woodland? Perhaps you have painted or sketched a picture of trees? We’d love to see your tree images!

It’s not really about technical quality and presentation, but is more about pure visual appeal. We invite you to capture the magic of trees.

“Trees in particular were mysterious, and seemed to me direct embodiment’s of the incomprehensible meaning of life. For that reason, the woods were the place that I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its awe-inspiring workings.” – C.G.Jung

Prize Draw

Every Friend who shares an image will be entered into a prize draw to win some lovely treasure, which includes a set of nature-inspired greetings cards and ephemera.

You have to be in to win! 🙂 


  • Your submitted image (photo, painting, sketch, digital art) must be your own original work.
  • Please share just one image.
  • Please keep the image file size below 2 MB.
  • The closing date for entries is 31st March 2018 and we will draw a winner at random to receive the prize.

Copyright Policy:

Copyright and all other rights remain with the artist, but submission does grant Magical Kinship permission to publish the images on their website and email newsletter. Magical Kinship will not use your pictures for any other purpose without your permission. All images published shall carry the artist’s credit line.

How to Share Your Image

You can post your image in the comments below with a short description (keep the image file size below 2 MB).

Thank you, and we look forward  to seeing your images.

*** UPDATE… Entries are now closed. The winner will be notified in the first week of April. ***

Welcome to the Magical Kinship Book Club

Books Inspired by Nature…

Stories, insights, poetry ~ beautiful books all with their heart in the natural realms…

Every two months, we recommend two nature inspired books for you to read.

Embrace the wisdom of the earth, learn something new, rekindle something old, and gain insights from the authors’ inspired writing.

We will read by our firesides on long winter nights or while picnicking in flower meadows and on sandy shores.

The aim of the book club is to read more, discover new authors, revisit old favourites, and enjoy the pleasure of reading prose and poetry that has its roots in the earth.

Our recommendations may be familiar or not. Perhaps you’ve already read a few of the suggested books. If so, this is an opportunity to return and gain fresh insights.

We’ll be recommending at least 12 books through the year – fact and fiction and everything in between – and you’ll be able to participate as and when you wish.

Book Club Choices

Find out what we are reading now by going to our Book Club posts.

It’s a Win Win!

Every Friend who has signed up to Carol’s newsletter will be entered into a prize draw. There are lots of lovely nature books to win!


Books, like landscapes, leave their marks in us.
-Robert Macfarlane