Books > Nature > Ghost Trees Paperback

Ghost Trees Paperback

Nature and People in a London Parish

  • RRP: £10.99 (print)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Extent: 350 pages
  • Dimensions (mm): 198×129
  • ISBN: 9781912235575
  • Genres: History, Nature, Urban
  • Book tags: Community, london, trees
  • Publication date: March 10, 2020


Where to buy

Even in the brick and concrete heart of our cities, nature finds a way. Birds and mammals, insects, plants and trees – they all manage to thrive in the urban jungle, and Bob Gilbert is their champion and their chronicler.

He explores the hidden wildlife of the inner city and its edgelands, finding unexpected beauty in the cracks and crannies, and uncovering the deep and essential relationship that exists between people and nature when they are bound together in such close proximity. Beginning from Poplar, the East End area in which he lives, Bob explores, in particular, our relationship with the trees that have helped shape London; from the original wildwood through to the street trees of today. He draws from history and natural history, poetry and painting, myth and magic, and a great deal of walking, observing and listening.

Beautifully written, passionate and defiant, Ghost Trees tells the secrets and stories of the urban wildscape, of glorious nature resilient and resurgent on our very doorsteps.


Prizes and awards

Wainwright Prize, 2019 Longlist; Rathbones Folio Prize, 2019 Longlist

REVIEWS OF Ghost Trees Paperback

“Ghost Trees will awaken any Londoner to the plants that cling on in the city’s cracks.” Guardian: Books of the Year

“Warm, rich and fascinating… [Gilbert] is a generous guide, with a deep knowledge of plant life and a fine turn of phrase.” Jon Day, Guardian

“One of the best non-fiction books about London. Bob Gilbert’s gifted style of writing [and] simple, clear but hilarious storytelling helps to make this secret life of trees an unlikely page-turner.” The Londonist

“Lyrical and beautifully evocative … in a language as rich and lilting as the contours of the estuarine land … A delight.” Richard Jones, BBC Countryfile magazine

“Informative, enjoyable, enchanting. A book that, in the best sense, educates. It is well written with the occasional alliterative poetic cast. It is a book full of delights which makes one look again, achieving the mystic’s gift of seeing the ordinary as anything but.” Kevin Scully, Church Times

'Fascinating.' Joe Shute, Sunday Telegraph

Trade information

Ghost Trees Paperback

About the author

Bob Gilbert

Bob Gilbert is an author, broadcaster and environmentalist. A long-standing campaigner for inner city conservation and chair of ‘The Garden Classroom’, a charity that promotes environmental education in London, his first book was The Green London Way (Lawrence & Wishart, 2012). He has also  been a columnist for Ham & High, writing on urban wildlife, for the last twenty years. He has written, presented and contributed to television and radio programmes including BBC Two’s Natural World and BBC Radio 4’s The Susurrations of Trees and The Food Programme.

Wainwright Prize, 2019: LONGLISTED

Rathbones Folio Prize, 2019: LONGLISTED

Praise for Bob Gilbert’s The Green London Way:

‘More than ever now, as edgeland becomes a value to be fought over, we need the sanity and the calm informative voice of walkers like Bob Gilbert. This is more than an elegy, it’s an inspiration: open your eyes, see what is there and not what you are told is there.’ Iain Sinclair