Book Review: ‘Discover your woods. Trees in the Dales’ by David Joy

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (2019)
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

If you think of the Dales are only about sheep, moorland and drystone walls then this is the book for you. Although we have very little woodland David Joy’s book should inspire us all to go out and experience it: the smells of the damp soil and the sounds of creaking branches or the susurration of the leaves. Of course there is also the wildlife with the Spring flowers being a particular delight.

About a third of the book is devoted to descriptions of the best known tree species with some superb photographs. But this volume is not just about trees and woods it is also about the people who have been inspired to plant them and care for them. The least successful section is chapter 2 ‘Dales Woodland Down the Centuries’. Unfortunately there are too many factual errors. For example, on page 46 it is claimed that the Farrer family introduced the Japanese larch to Britain in 1914: it arrived here in 1861 and had nothing to do with the Farrers. On the previous page the caption for the photograph is ambiguous but incorrect however you read it. Reginald Farrer did not plant the trees around Clapham Lake and he was not responsible for creating the lake.

This should not detract from the rest of this well produced book. So get out there and enjoy our woods. It would be even better if you thought about planting some more trees.