An academic and writer, during the Second World War John Stewart Collis was put to agricultural work. Clearing and thinning an Ash wood, he found a meditative peace and an earnest pleasure in the use of axe and bill-hook. "The Wood" contains his beautiful, thoughtful writing on the joys of nature and of a life of activity, how a love of the sun affects a man, and the progression of nature that sees each plant - hawthorn, honeysuckle, larch, elder - have its hour. Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too. It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).