The Woods of Hazel Poetry Booklet Launched

The Woods of Hazel poetry booklets

We are delighted to announce that our first ever poetry booklet is now available for purchase from the University of Oxford online store.

This anthology of poetry by Sarah Watkinson and Romola Parish is one outcome from the newly-established Writers' Residency at Wytham Woods. This sequence of poems uses the Renga-style writing, a Japanese scholarly poetic form enabling poets with different backgrounds to explore a creative common ground.

"How deeply we humans are connected with, and often tragically distanced from, the natural world is the leitmotif of this enchanting collaboration between a plant scientist and a landscape historian, whose purpose is to celebrate and commemorate Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire, England. Their dialogue-in-poetry explores with precision of thought and image the multifarious ways in which the ecologies of people and woodland are inextricably intertwined and interdependent. This beautiful book succeeds in being truly 'a landscape for legions'." - Lesley Saunders.

Selling for £6.99, your purchase will support outdoor education for young people of all backgrounds, as for each copy sold, £5 will be donated to Hill End Charitable Trust. The price is inclusive of postage and packing costs.


We had originally planned an entirely different launch for this publication, but for obvious reasons this could not take place. Therefore we will be sharing some readings from the publication, read by Sarah Watkinson and Romola Parish, on our social media channels, so do follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In the meantime, below is one of the poems from 'The Woods of Hazel':



Wytham Woods: A Gift from the ffennell Family to the World

‘The mildest February for twenty years’ Seamus Heaney, Glanmore Sonnets


Come in. Leave the exhausting city behind

and walk down Marley Wood to the spring

where fresh moss green-lights the race to summer.


Pick open a winter bud of the old oaks with a thumbnail – already, tiny leaves

inside, are set to burst on cue, and prime a caterpillar glut with captured


Can the birds now brightening their blue crowns, pecking down catkins and


still count on those soft beakfuls, to fuel nesting and laying, foraging and


NASA’s satellite maps Wytham’s temperate greening, tuned to Earth’s annual


a sentinel for change in the planet’s vital signs. The forest’s breath is steady for


the electron dance that powers the Woods’ being, makes wood to spare.


For understanding the causes of such things

for kindly guardianship of creatures, to brighten the minds of children

these woods were given to us for learning, for the love of a child.


Poem commissioned by the Conservator of Wytham Woods for the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford


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Purchase 'The Woods of Hazel'

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