In Roger Deakin’s introduction to Wildwood (Penguin), he describes his book as “a quest for the residual magic of trees and wood.” The quest begins in Deakin’s own home in Suffolk: a four-hundred-year-old oak-framed farmhouse that was in ruins when he found it, and the repair of which put him “on terms of greatest intimacy with all the beams, posts and pegged joints in the place” (by his count “some 300 trees were felled to build [the] house: a small wood”). Deakin, a writer, broadcaster and filmmaker, describes himself as part of an “extended family of . . . quasi-hippies [who built a rural culture] during the 1970s and early 1980s, based firmly on the values of the Whole Earth Catalog, Friends of the Earth, Cobbett’s Cottage Economy and John Seymour’s The Fat of the Land.” Wildwood is, in effect, a tour through what remains of that rural culture. Deakin goes “to talk willow with Brian White on his withy beds at Kingsbury Episcopi”; he stops at an oak cabin “in an old oak wood in the valley of the Teign near Drewsteignton, [where] until about eighty years ago the whole oakwood had always been coppiced for the charcoal the tin smelters needed on Dartmoor.” Later, Deakin visits the chestnut forests of the Pyrenees, then heads to Australia, a continent where (in words that seem an ominous foreshadowing of the brushfires of 2009) the Aboriginal people had always “manipulated and changed their environment on a massive scale through the use of fire.” In the book’s penultimate section, Deakin explores “the wild fruit forests” of Kazakhstan, ancestral home of the domestic apple, and the vast walnut forests of Kyrgyzstan, where “the walnut trees dwarfed any I had seen before.” At such moments, and in such settings, it is almost possible to believe that Eden still exists on earth.