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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A walk in a different wood
I think this book could prove to be a bit of a challenge to some people. Not because of its generally clear cut style and matter of fact approach. Not because of its simple chronological style, or its occasional lapses into purple prose. All of these things are central to a book written by a knowledgeable man who clearly has a deep and abiding fascination with the...
Published on 27 Mar 2010 by Stewart M

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite nice, but too expensive
Given that it comprises a series of very short and largely unconnected journal entries, it helps that this is quite a short book. The narrative, such as it is, is created by grouping the anecdotes into months and probably wouldn't sustain a longer version, but perhaps there are other reasons for its brevity. Elford doesn't seem to have very much to say and his anecdotes...
Published on 23 Dec 2011 by Mark Hurst


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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A walk in a different wood, 27 Mar 2010
By 
Stewart M (Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I think this book could prove to be a bit of a challenge to some people. Not because of its generally clear cut style and matter of fact approach. Not because of its simple chronological style, or its occasional lapses into purple prose. All of these things are central to a book written by a knowledgeable man who clearly has a deep and abiding fascination with the British countryside.

The key problem that some people may find is that the author kills things - kills them with regularity and kills them effectively. He also takes a pride in what he does, but also acknowledges regret. Deer, squirrels and rabbits are killed in the name of woodland management. The author, Colin Elford, is a woodland ranger and he is charged with the protection of his trees. As his trees thrive, so do many other plants and animal. But those animals which pose a threat are controlled. Elford sees himself has helping in the restoration of balance, in a land stripped of its large predators.

People who think of conservation as nothing more than benign neglect, or object to the killing of animals, may struggle with the way the author "drops" deer at regular intervals, and actively intervenes in the woodlands in his care. Those who see the need for management of habitats may not be troubled by this. Many people will sit somewhere between.

This book is a wonderful exploration of the countryside on the Dorset / Wiltshire boarder and without ever doing so explicitly highlights some of the various ways in which people can view the British countryside.

I dare say that the author has sense of connection with the people and practices that created a landscape. A landscape that many people hold dear and that has been under growing and intense pressure since the end of WWII. His book is a wonderful account of the current expression of part of that traditional.

I know that some people will object to the content of this book, but it comes highly recommended as a window into one aspect of the British countryside and its wildlife.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nature at its best, 9 April 2010
Colin Elfords book really is a treat to read,its absorbing,fascinating,dramatic and you can really lose yoursef in it and feel that you have spent hours in the woods.The descriptions and sentences are so profound they demand a second reading. He shares delicate,vivid details about birds,animals and even the weather. A year in the woods is in the form of a diary and follows Colins working life from January to December.I loved the fact you could read a bit and then come back to it later. The book has wonderful watercolour pictures dotted throughout the book. You can feel in the book Colin really enjoys his job and is very much in tune with the moods of the forests and has great RESPECT in everything he does.This is nature for real and a true honest account of a wildlife ranger.The only problem I had was that the book had to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A year in the Woods, 15 Feb 2012
This review is from: A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger (Paperback)
What a great book, one of those that you have to carry with you everywhere and read at any moment you get, getting out of bed in the morning, going down stairs, making the breakfast, you get the idea. It just moves quietly through the seasons at their pace and it is just the right pace. You pick up so much of how life in the woods is. Both its compassion, and its brutality. Wonderfully written by a man who is passionate about his life. Thank you Colin Elford.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite nice, but too expensive, 23 Dec 2011
By 
Mark Hurst (Bedfordshire) - See all my reviews
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Given that it comprises a series of very short and largely unconnected journal entries, it helps that this is quite a short book. The narrative, such as it is, is created by grouping the anecdotes into months and probably wouldn't sustain a longer version, but perhaps there are other reasons for its brevity. Elford doesn't seem to have very much to say and his anecdotes are mostly about stalking and shooting deer. The other tasks of a forest ranger appear marginal in his account, although perhaps this just means that deer-culling is mostly what forest rangers do. Elford writes well enough and his descriptions evoke something of the solitude of his work and of the delight he takes in living close to nature without becoming sentimental.

Looking at this as a rounded package, I have to comment on the fairly steep price for what my Kindle reports as a 167-page book, not the 204 pages promised by its listing on Amazon. It also suffers the 'large font' glitch that seems to afflict about 20% of the Kindle books I have bought, which means the minor inconvenience of having to change the font size up and down when switching between this and other books. Aside from this, only the 'dessicated needles on bare ground' (p108) and Elford's wish to 'transverse an area [he] hardly frequent[s]' (p112) speak of the woeful standard of proofing I have come to expect of Kindle books. At the time of writing the Kindle version is, by the way, almost a pound more expensive than the paperback.

In summary, a fairly engaging read that would be reasonable value at half the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply satisfying read for country lovers, 6 Aug 2011
By 
Mrs. J. L. Alley (Oxfordshire UK) - See all my reviews
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I read this book whilst on holiday in Iceland where there are no woods. The beautiful descriptions of wildlife in the woods reminded me how absorbing woodland walks can be if you keep your ears and eyes open and wait a while in silence. Reading this book is like sitting beside Colin in a high seat seeing wildlife events through his knowledgeable and experienced eyes, such is the feeling behind the writing. Colin clearly loves the countryside and this book is a wonderful opportunity to share his passion from your armchair.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A day in the office, 12 May 2010
By 
G. W. Browne (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
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What a wonderful book, it's just a shame that it only lasted for the 12 months of one year.
I tried to eek-out this enjoyable insight into a countryman's work by only reading "one month's recordings" each day - but this proved too difficult and I finished it within the week.
A splended read, which i know I will return to time again
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Year In the woods, 31 Mar 2010
An interesting and honest account of what "A year in the Woods" would be like. We bought this book as a gift for my Brother In Law, as he is a keen Deer Stalker, and spends a great deal of time outdoors.
We ended up reading it ourselves prior to his Birthday, and couldn't put it down.A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic., 27 Oct 2013
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This review is from: A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger (Paperback)
An absolute classic - completely free of the eco-pretentious, insipid, "I'm a nature person and you're not" writing that's out there. One for the Desert Island.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book, a great read for all wildlife lovers., 1 Feb 2013
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A great and easy read, felt as if I too was in the forest alongside the ranger. Fantastic for wildlife lovers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to re-read soon, 27 April 2010
By 
J. Watson (UK) - See all my reviews
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It's strange to find myself raving about a book in which a deer is shot on nearly every page... but I have enjoyed 'A Year in the Woods' much more than work by some very celebrated 'nature writers'. Colin Elford achieves a directness of language which, springing from deep understanding, can convey the richness of his environment and experience without purple prose. Reading it was a refreshment - not quite as good as an actual walk in the woods, but not bad. As for the deer cull - he has brought off a difficult balance in this book which reflects his ever thoughtful, honest, approach to the apparent conflicts in his profession.
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A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger
A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger by Colin Elford (Paperback - 4 Aug 2011)
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