40 things: #21/40 Notebooks of nature writer Roger Deakin

Roger Deakin’s notebooks. Copyright University of East Anglia

A series of 45 notebooks from 1999-2005. These notebooks informed Deakin in his writing of Wildwood (published posthumously) and in the editing of Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Alison Hastie and Terence Blacker.

Deakin describes a moment in his Shepherd’s Hut, just a short walk from the main house at Walnut Tree Farm. Here he would come to write and sleep and be closer to nature.

Reproduced with permission from the Roger Deakin Estate

Sat 10th August [2002]. “I’m lying in the shepherd’s hut on a wooden bed under a wooden boarded roof like a pine tent, and horizontal pine panelled walls. Each time a nail has pierced the wood it has bled a nasty stain, creeping along the grain, blurred, as though the wood on the wagon itself were travelling at speed. A woodpecker shrieks across the field. A wasp worries the window-pane, then zig-zags above the bed.

Reproduced with permission from the Roger Deakin Estate

The open door frames a wall of green: the hawthorne hedge, ash, nettles, graceful flowers of grass. All sway on the hot breeze. Dust-mites flicker and drift in the window-light. In the far corner of the hut, a stainless-steel stove-pipe and a tiny tortoise stove. In the other corner, a pine corner-cupboard, built by me as part of the hut, filled with whiskey for the cold winter nights. Cows lowing in the distance across the common”.

Roger Deakin Archive

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