Guided walk by author Gabriel Hemery


Sat, 13/09/2014 – 2:00pm3:30pm

Join the author of The New Sylva on a guided walk around the Sylva Trail at Harcourt Arboretum.  Learn more about what inspired him to rewrite Evelyn’s landmark book of 1664, what trees have meant to us over the centuries, and the future of our forests.  Gabriel is a chartered forester and is Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation.

Tickets cost £15

To book your ticket, please click here

A selection of independent reviews

The New Sylva review in Sunday Telegraph 13 April 2014

We have featured extracts from a number of published reviews of The New Sylva, ranging from The Times Literary Supplement to The Lady, from the Royal Forestry Society to Gardens Illustrated. Here is a selection of reviews from independent bloggers, readers and others written over recent months.

“The clear and authoritative text is sprinkled with quotes from John Evelyn; it’s almost as if the great man is listening in on the conversation and offering gems of wisdom from the comfort of an armchair.”

‘The New Sylva is a real treasury of woodland wisdom, and I know I shall be dipping into it regularly, both for pleasure and for reference.   This is a book to cherish for generations – but I hope it will also be used as an educational resource, re-connecting our children with the lore and science of trees.”

The Hazel Tree – reviewed by Jo Woolf

“It’s a real credit to Dr Gabriel Hemery that this is actually an enjoyable book to read as well as an interesting one. Necessary information regarding biology and pests/diseases is balanced by history and folklore, the result is undoubtedly scholarly as well as being entirely accessible by the lay person; it’s a book that keeps you reading on. What really makes it though are the absolutely stunning illustrations.”

Shiny New Books – reviewed by Hayley Anderton

“An intelligent and gorgeous book. John Evelyn would have been entranced.”

“Beautifully written and illustrated.”

“A fantastic and informative book, a must for all true arboriculture fanatics and all who are interested in our nations trees. Very well written and illustrated.”

“Wow! I thought it was a steepish price but SO much work has gone into this – it’s not! It’s an amazing piece of work.”

A small selection of reader reviews on

If you know of any other reviews you think we should feature, please do let us know.


Author talk at Surrey History Centre

Author Gabriel Hemery will be talking about The New Sylva at the Surrey History Centre in Woking at 1430 on 4th October. The centre is just 14 miles from the John Evelyn’s birthplace at Wotton House.

Gabriel’s talk will be illustrated with the exquisite drawings of artist Sarah Simblet. An exhibition about John Evelyn’s work will be on show alongside Evelyn’s letters, diaries and copies of Sylva which are now in the care of Surrey History Centre.

Bloomsbury, the publisher of The New Sylva, has kindly donated a copy of the book to be given away to one lucky member of the audience at the event on 4 October. Signed copies will be available to purchase.

To read more about the talk and to book your place – see here



Review in Times Literary Supplement

“. . . an authoritative, up-to-date survey of modern forestry practice, set picturesquely . . .  among quotations and decorations from the first such book to be written in England.”


“There is a brief accountant of tree biology, then a long series of chapters on all the main British species of trees . . . These are delightful chapters: Hemery describes the trees attractively one by one, often coming up with fascinating facts about them, but concentrates always on the soundest methods of growing them . . .”


“[Evelyn's] many appearances in the text, the starred quotations from him that dot the pages, and even the layouts and occasional typography from Sylva, while they may seem bizarre in a scholarly work, nevertheless add something striking and worthwhile to the book.”


“The other important feature of the book is its illustrations. Black-and-white drawings by Sarah Simblet crowd the pages. They have an easy grace, while illustrating their subjects in the finest detail. They range from a bud on a twig to a whole tree in the landscape.”

Cherries, oaks and shifting beech – by Derwent May
Times Literary Supplement, August 8th 2014

Online access (for subscribers)

Review for the Royal Forestry Society

“In the forty years of my professional career and the ten years of my retirement I have read and reviewed many forestry books but this is by far the most outstanding in its style, content, illustrations, readability and historical value.”

“Some 350 years after Evelyn’s publication, Hemery and Simblet have produced a magnum opus of the same style and with the same intent – to encourage political and public awareness of the importance of trees to the nation and their value to individual growers and users.”

Professor Jeffery Burley
Quarterly Journal of Forestry, July 2014, Vol 108, No.3
Royal Forestry Society