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Oliver Rackham

Biography

Oliver Rackham, OBE (1939–2015) was a leading historian and ecologist of British woodlands and the landscape. He wrote various books on trees and woodland, including the bestselling The History of the Countryside (1986) and The Ash Tree (2014). Oliver’s discoveries about past practices informed present-day woodland management, and he was heavily involved in conservation efforts. In 1964, he was elected a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and appointed a University Demonstrator in the Department of Botany. He remained a fellow of Corpus for the rest of his life, and in 2006 became an honorary professor. He is considered to have been the first scholar to explore woods from a variety of different perspectives – ecology, archaeology, timbers, place names, manuscript records – in order to recreate a wood’s history, and was widely admired for his unique and accessible writing style, all of which has been beautifully captured in his last great work, Woodlands, first published in 2006.

Works by Oliver Rackham

  • woodlands
  • woodlands-collins-new-naturalist-library-book-100