Footprints in the Woods

The Secret Life of Forest and Riverbank

John Lister-Kaye

Footprints in the Woods by John Lister-Kaye (Hardback ISBN 9781838858780) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook

The elusive lives of otters, badgers, weasels and more are rendered in John Lister-Kaye’s enchanting lyrical style


Footprints in the Woods
is John Lister-Kaye’s account of a year spent observing the comings and goings of otters, badgers, weasels and pine martens. This family – Mustelidae – all live in the wild at Aigas, the conservation and field study centre that has been John’s home for more than forty-five years.

With the patient and meticulous care of a true naturalist, John observes and records the lives, habits and habitats of these elusive animals. Hours of careful waiting and watching in the woods and loch, the river, fields and moorland is rewarded with insight into how these animals live when unhindered by human interference; sometimes red in tooth and claw, but often playful, familial, curious and surprising.

As a boy, badgers and weasels were John’s first encounter with wild animals. Now he has spent fifty years living side-by side with them in the Highlands and come to know much of their ways. Footprints in the Woods is the culmination of that long association with the Mustelidae family, a love letter to the otters, badgers, weasels and pine martens that also call Aigas home, and a reminder of the fragility of habitat and the beauty and variety we have to lose if we don’t choose to actively protect it.

“Sir John Lister-Kaye’s latest book reveals the real, bloody world of nature’s natural-born killers. [ … ] In the course of more than 50 years, he has become one of Britain’s most celebrated nature writers and an expert on conservation”
the Times

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“From pine martens to weasels, John Lister-Kaye’s mesmerising new book reveals the true savagery of mustelids … Lister-Kaye’s many expert, wide-eyed descriptions of their hunts – gleaned from thousands of hours of painstaking, superhumanly silent observation – bear both the unsentimentality of a lifelong naturalist and the eloquent punch of a superior thriller-writer. [He is] not only a marvellously lucid writer but also an unusually poetic one”

“Spellbinding … Footprints In The Woods is a wonderfully beguiling read, much like a rapt, highly observant and yet leisurely wander through some wild woodland, with no particular aim in mind but so forgetful of your small, limited self, so happily lost in the wide world of nature, that you hear and see everything. As an evocation of the author’s beloved Highlands it is second to none, and it does what all great nature writing should do: it makes you want to get out there yourself”
mail On Sunday

“This book conjures otters, badgers, pine martens and weasels right onto the page, in language that is deft, vivid and alive”
Jay Griffiths

“Lister-Kaye is the real thing: a peerless observer who is just as much part of the land as his beloved badgers. This, unusually, is nature writing that is actually about nature rather than the writer, and so it has the power and wisdom of the hills and forest. Marvellous”
Charles Foster, Author Of Cry Of The Wild

John Lister-Kaye

Sir John Lister-Kaye is one of Britain’s best-known naturalists and conservationists. He is the author of eleven books on wildlife and the environment, including The Dun Cow Rib, shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and Gods of the Morning, winner of the Richard Jefferies Award for Nature Writing. John has lectured on the natural environment all over the world. He has served prominently in the RSPB, the Nature Conservancy Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation and in 2016 he was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Geddes Environment Medal. He lives with his wife and family among the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, where he runs the world-famous Aigas Field Centre. |