“In many ways, I feel that trees are the very embodiment of nature. I feel I’m being offered a glimpse of a half-remembered ancestral world when I climb into them, and for some reason this makes me feel good. Helps me remember my place in the scheme of things.”

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'A book of heart-stopping bravery and endurance...will give you new reverence for the beauties of the natural world'

HELEN MACDONALD – author of 'H is for Hawk'

'The giant trees described by James are full of wonder and his fascinating book is a story of true adventure'

PETER WOHLLEBEN – author of 'The Hidden Life of Trees'

'He is that best of things, a romantic realist ... his voice makes for good company; clearly a master of his craft, he has the matter of fact tone of true adventurers'


I didn't think I'd ever be lucky enough to write a book - let alone one describing what I do for a living. But sometimes good things happen when you least expect it.

Jamie Joseph - Senior Commissioning Editor at Penguin Random House in London - happened to hear one of my radio programmes on BBC Radio 4 one day, and contacted me to explore the idea of putting pen to paper. I sent him a couple of sample chapters and was thrilled to be given a contract, but then realised I had to earn it. Which is fine if you are an experienced author, but I'm not. Thankfully however, where there's a will there's a way and six months later Jamie and I were in possession of a finished manuscript. What's more - I have to say I enjoyed every minute. It was fantastic to have a legitimate excuse to get out my old journals and drift off into the jungle for a few hours each night after the kids went to bed. The process gave me the luxury of re-visiting important experiences that I hadn't had the chance to digest properly at the time. As a creative experience, it was one of the most satisfying things I've ever been lucky enough to do.

The main focus of the book is the individual trees visited, climbed and filmed in various parts of the world over the past couple of decades. My aim was to raise awareness of just how special even the most average-looking tree truly is.

The bottom line is I am very proud of how it all turned out, but the book would not exist at all without the creative visions and hard work of both Jamie at PRH and Sarah Blunt, who produced the BBC radio programme that Jamie happened to hear that day. 

The fantastic team at Penguin have put together a great page all about the book on their website. It includes a sample chapter and plenty of photos. Click on the monochromatic flightless bird for more info...


These two clips should give you an idea of the kind of thing to expect from the book...hope you enjoy them!