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The Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland Hardcover – Illustrated, 18 Apr 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sandstone Press Ltd (18 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908737255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908737250
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 20.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Magical landscapes, resonating with almost primal echoes from their thousands of years of life. --Vanessa Collingridge

A remarkable and important contribution to the natural history of Scotland. --Aubrey Manning

'Detailed, useful; frankly inspired.' --Jim Crumley, Scots Magazine

'There have been a few books published in recent years about these woodlands often referred to as the Old Forest of Caledon. For me, this is the best of the books on this subject.' --Ray Collier, Highland News

'The author s passion for his subject he has recently toured all 38 pinewoods relying on public transport, walking and cycling really shines through and the book is complemented with some lovely images.' --Scottish Field

About the Author

With over 25 years of experience working on environmental issues, Clifton Bain, now Director of IUCN Peatland Programme, gives a personal and passionate account of the human interventions that have shaped the ancient pinewoods.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This beautiful book tells the story of the tree known as the Scots Pine. With us since the last ice age it was not quite so ubiquitous as people sometimes think, but it was spread all over Scotland and the North of England. Human depredation for purposes of construction, clearance for agriculture and, in more recent centuries, grazing have brought the areas of untouched forest down to 38 precious locales. These unique environments were all visited by author Clifton Bain under his own steam, or at least by low carbon means - which is to say he mostly cycled. Bain knows his forests, as well he might as Director of the Peatland Trust and long time professional in conservation. It's a good news story. Decades of careful attention, themselves the result of a careful nurturing of public awareness, have secured the future of these wonderful environments for us all. The book's sub-title is 'A Traveller's Guide' and the author shows just how possible and enjoyable visiting can be. The book's design and production values are superb with wildlife drawings by Darren Rees, maps, and many wonderful photographs.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a really lovely book, authored by one of the foremost experts on the Ancient Pinewoods of Scotland.

However, this book is not a stuffy inaccessible and scientific volume. It is a beautifully written, presented and illustrated book which opens up a completely new dimension about the Ancient Pinewoods from what has been written before.

This guide is all about getting out there and visiting theses woods, with lots of useful maps and background information on how to get to each of the pinewood remnants, what to see there, and where to stay locally. I think the level of detail is just about right, and there is also interesting information about the way people have managed each site, along with a flavour of the history.

The whole idea behind the book is of a reference book packed with helpful and practical information to guide anyone with an interest in visiting these amazing places - whether a new visitor or someone who already knows many of these incredible woods.

The book is a beautiful thing in itself. As a hard back it is the sort of coffee table book you can look over in the comfort of your own home while getting enthused when planning your journey to the Ancient Pinewoods.

I would highly recommended this book to anyone with an interest in the Scottish countryside and especially in the Ancient Pinewoods which are one of Scotland's outstanding natural features.

Five stars!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an intriguing mix of a natural history book and travel guide to Scotland's Caledonian pinewood remnants. A warm, thoughtful and useful tome for all readers and potental visitors, not just woodland enthusiasts, foresters or conservationists. It has an array of illustrations, photos and maps.

Recommended.

It would be good to have a slimmed-down paperback version to use a gazzetteer to shove into a rucksack when visiting sites. The hardback is too bulky and beautiful for such purposes!

Hopefully Clifton Bain has another natural history traveller's guide book in him - next time the Western Atlantic oakwoods perhaps?
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Format: Hardcover
Ray Mears once said his favourite environment is boreal forest - that great northern tree belt that stretches through Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada. But at one time, Scotland had boreal forest too - the great Caledonian pinewoods, covering much of the highlands.

Pockets of this forest still remain, and they are described in this remarkable book. There's an excellent history of the ancient pinewoods from the end of the ice age up to the present day. It makes grim reading at first, as the woods have been greatly reduced by climate change, clearance by neolithic and then modern man, logging, fires, and most recently by our our unsustainably high deer populations - which is, of course, another man-made problem.

Ancient pinewoods are special places, and the rich biodiversity is in complete contrast to the almost sterile commercial sitka plantation.

There's travel and accommodation advice, including how to get there by public transport and bike. This is a strength, but it does mean that one aspect is missed - the best way to see some of our pinewoods (Glen Affric, Loch Maree, and various isolate loch island refugia too small to be listed in this book) is by canoe. The canoe gives you access to islands and shores which are seldom visited, and by paddling with the silent Indian stroke you will see more wildlife than you will on foot.

The book is beautifully illustrated. There is the odd editing error (eg with some scientific names) but nothing to detract from the whole.

I hope that one day, when the efforts to restore the forest are successful, this book will be a reminder of just how close we came to losing it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted some information of Native Pinewoods of Scotland as I am planning a trip to study the flora and fauna of these pinewoods. Without this book I think it would have been very difficult to locate many of the remaining remnants of native Pine forests. However now I have all the information in a single volume. The author has apparently visited all 38 Pinewoods at least twice and some are in difficult to access areas and must therefore be congratulated on his dedication and hard work on this project. There is plenty of well presented information in the Introduction chapter. The woods are then grouped int regions and the information on each wood is presented very well with location map for each wood along with the OS map, Grid Reference and access points and there are also a good description of each wood and its history. There are plenty of very good photograph, although some show only show the wood from a distance or even in some cases only the habitat in the vicinity of the wood. There are however, some photographs that do show the habitat inside the wood and these are the most useful to me in choosing which woods to visit. The only information that I found missing for some of the woods is the nearest place to park. This is perhaps because most recent visits by the author were made using public transport and a bicycle, and if this is your mode of transport you are well catted for with this book as the 'Travel Notes' cover railway stations and bicycle routes very well. With the corresponding OS maps I think I will be able to work out the best places to park for those woods without an official car park. Overall a very splendid book and one that is invaluable for anyone wanting to explore Native Scottish Pinewoods.
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