In the beginning was the earth...
From the Paleozoic volcanoes that stained its soil, to the Saxons who occupied it, to the Tudors who traded its wool, to the Land Girls of wartime, John Lewis-Stempel charts a sweeping, lyrical history of Woodston: the quintessential English farm.
With his combined skills of farmer and historian, Lewis-Stempel digs deep into written records, the memories of relatives, and the landscape itself to celebrate the farmland his family have been bound to for millennia. Through Woodston's life, we feel the joyful arrival of oxen ploughing; we see pigs rootling in the medieval apple orchard; and take in the sharp, drowsy fragrance of hops on Edwardian air. He draws upon his wealth of historical knowledge and his innate sense of place to create a passionate, fascinating biography of farming in England.
Woodston not only reminds us of the rural riches buried beneath our feet but of our shared roots that tie us to the land.
The author of The Private Life of an English Field looks for ‘restorative reads’ after long, chilly days working his land. From a period Parisian thriller to nature-led poetry, here’s what's been on his bedside table in 2019.
Woodston hop farm is where nature writer John Lewis-Stempel's grandfather was farm manager, and his mother and her sisters grew up. It's a typical English farm, and now John is writing its biography, from the beginning of time. Read on for an exclusive excerpt from the manuscript.
The Running Hare follows 'farm boy turned writer' John Lewis-Stempel's efforts to transform a chemically-coshed field into a haven for England’s vanishing wildlife. Here, John explains what inspired him to undertake this endeavour…