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

Authors talk at the Chalke Valley History Festival

Hemery and Simblet at Chalke Valley History Festival

Hemery and Simblet at the Chalke Valley History Festival. Photo CVHF.

Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet enjoyed talking about the history of forestry in Britain, of John Evelyn and his Sylva, and the making of The New Sylva at the Chalke Valley History Festival.

They had a large and informed audience, with questions from the floor ranging from whether sweet chestnut bark spirals both clockwise and anticlockwise (and whether it changes in the northern or southern hemisphere), the technical details of the paper that artist Sarah Simblet uses, to wanting more information about the Sylva Foundation and its work in tackling Chalara ash dieback (see the Living Ash Project:

Afterwards they signed books with support from Waterstones (who promptly sold out). Note that signed copies are available to purchase online at the shop of the Sylva Foundation (proceeds to charity).


Review by Tony Kirkham in Forestry and Timber News


“This amazing work is a celebration of John Evelyn and is not just a pretty book, but a reference work captured and packed with useful information by Gabriel Hemery that will be used by many horticulturists and arboriculturists.”

“The text is very easy to read and makes compulsive reading, but one of the highlights which will make sure that this book is left on the coffee table and not placed on the bookshelf is the two-hundred beautiful line drawings that are meticulously and accurately drawn by Sarah Simblet, illustrating this wonderful work and capturing the essence of our truly magical woodlands and arboreta.”

Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Forestry & Timber News, June 2014

Review in Gardens Illustrated


“[a] beautifully produced book that can be enjoyed on several levels. I suspect that most readers will start with Sarah Simblet’s exquisite drawings that grace almost every spread and, with their detailed captions, capture the character of individual trees and convey botanical details with enviable skill.”

“The text is a reference source for questions ranging from seed germination to timber characteristics, but flows so well the reader will be beguiled into consuming large sections at a single sitting.”

Gardens Illustrated, June 2014