Ben Law



"This book will leave you with a sense of awe and admiration but also a yearning to follow in Ben's footsteps." Rozie Apps - Permaculture magazine.

"Ben is an extraodinary man." Kevin McCloud.


Living in a Wood in the 21st Century

Ben Law

Ben Law has lived as a woodsman in Prickly Nut Wood for over 20 years. His authentic, incredible sense of the land and the wildlife, and his respect for age old traditions and how to sustain them offers a wonderful, inviting insight into the life and character of Prickly Nut Wood.

Having travelled to Papua New Guinea and the Amazon, observing age-old techniques for living in, working in and preserving forests and woodland, Ben Law felt compelled to return home and apply his learnings to a 400 year old plot of woodland near where he grew up Ė Prickly Nut Wood.

This is the story of how he came to know and love his woodland, how he lived off the land, how he coppiced and hedged and created charcoal, how he puddled and built shelter, and finally how he carved out his famous, characterful woodland home that Kevin McCloud has cited as his favourite ever Grand Design.

And itís the story of the wood itself Ė how it lives and breathes and affects all those who encounter it, and how itís developed over the twenty incredible years Ben has shared in its lifespan.

Itís an incredibly transporting tale that will make you long to hear the dawn chorus, and appreciate the beauty of Britainís pockets of woodland. 160pp

Available to purchase online from Green Shopping - click book cover

Other Formats


The Woodsman is also available for Kindle edition and as an Audio Book.


Roundwood Timber Framing

Roundwood Timber Framing

Building Naturally Using Local Resources

Ben Law

Foreword by Lloyd Kahn

Filled with detailed colour photographs and drawings, this unique and practical ‘how to’ book will unquestionably be a benchmark for sustainable building. It will encourage communication between woodsmen, planners, architects and builders and help close the loop between environmental conservation, use of renewable local resources and the regeneration and evolution of traditional skills to create durable, ecological and beautiful buildings. 160pp


“A new vernacular, one that he’s passing on to future builders”
Lloyd Kahn

“This is Ben Law at his best ...essential reading”
Mike Abbot

“Ben’s beautiful book shows that intelligently sourced wood is ultimately the best building material we have”
Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall

“The intelligence of Nature’s forests speak through Ben Law ... a beautiful manual”
Rachel Shiamh

“The sheer visual, sensual, even animal, pleasure in wood, from seedling to final giant ridge pole, comes through in every page”
Tony Wrench

Available to purchase online from Green Shopping - click book cover

Roundwood timber framing is a unique form of construction using poles (often coppiced) in the round, rather than in the square, to create structurally stronger, lower cost and aesthetically beautiful buildings.

It takes its origins from the early traditional green wood frame designs of England, and the scribing techniques of the log builders of Scandinavia, U.S.A. and Canada, as well as creating jointing techniques unique to its own construction form.

It uses smaller diameter poles than traditional framing and a much smaller number of them compared to log building. It is suitable for framing in different climates and has the advantage of using construction methods that are suited to the use of local materials and semi skilled labour. In England, it has a growing demand and is becoming the new vernacular of sustainable building in the 21st century.

Roundwood Timber Framing DVD

In this film, Ben Law takes you through the design techniques and build of the roundwood timber framed Woodland Classroom. Other examples of Ben’s builds are also explored: the Lodsworth Larder, his own workshop and his home – the Woodland House. This DVD also includes guidance for the creation of cordwood walls and rammed earth floors. A perfect, practical, must-have companion to Ben’s book of the same name.
1 DVD. 60 mins. PAL. Region: 0

Available to purchase online click cover

The Woodland Year

Ben Law

Foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The Woodland Year

Ben Law

Packed with stunning colour photographs, The Woodland Year is an intimate month-by-month journey through Ben Law’s yearly cycle of work, his naturally attuned lifestyle and his deep understanding of his woods. Each month also includes guest contributions from woodlanders in other parts of England and Wales.

The Woodland Year provides a fascinating insight into every aspect of sustainable woodland management; the cycles of nature, seasonal tasks, wild food gathering, wine making, mouthwatering and useful recipes, coppice crafts, round pole timber frame eco-building (pioneered by Ben in the UK), nature conservation, species diversity, tree profiles and the use of horses for woodland work.

This is a profound book that is both practical and poetic. It describes a way of life that is economically and ecologically viable and sets a new standard for managing our woods in a low impact, sustainable way. As such, it holds some of the fundamental keys to how we can achieve a lower carbon society.

Available to purchase online from Green Shopping - click book cover


"You couldn't find a house that has a more intimate relationship with people and place." Kevin McCloud.

"Superb photos of the building process and the finished house." Building For A Future.

"It proves that it is possible to build green and build affordably." Ethical Consumer.

"Very readable, with beautiful pictures." Agroforestry Research.

"A fascinating chronical of a dream." Good Woodworking.

"Full of stunning colour photographs" Permaculture Works.

"A truly beautiful and inspiring book." Crann.

"A beautifully written book."
Clean Slate.

The Woodland House

As Featured on Channel 4's Grand Designs
Second Edition With Seven Year Update
Foreword by Kevin McCloud

Ben Law

Designed as a dual purpose book, it is both a volume for the armchair enthusiast and an inspirational guide for those wishing to build a similar structure. Beautifully illustrated with over 100 colour photos, this step-by-step guide shows how Ben built his home, hewn from his own woodland, for under £28,000. It covers the basics of self-building and gives full details of the evolving design process, the identifying of materials, costings, project management and the actual building stages, from foundations and frames, through to interior features. Includes roundwood engineering calculations. Paperback. 104pp

Available to purchase online from Green Shopping - click book cover

Foreword to The Woodland House

Ben Law is an extraordinary man. Not exactly a warrior for his cause, more the quiet victor. Ben has proved that it’s possible to make a good living as an underwoodsman – coppicing, hurdle making and charcoal burning, simply by working hard and applying good commercial business sense. He’s also proved that it’s possible to design and construct an elegant, sophisticated and truly environmentally-friendly home from materials around you, providing you design with diligence and sensitivity. And he has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that great architecture need not be urban, or glamorous or loud.

I first met Ben when filming the third series of Grand Designs for Channel 4. We followed over a year the steady, measured construction of his house and watched coppiced chestnut being willed into a new form as a dwelling. It was clear then that because of Ben’s highly unusual planning circumstances and the exceptional nature of his job and skills that came with it, we were witnessing something rare; an event in building that doesn’t happen at all often. And in the three years since, we have not been able to find a project with the equivalent integrity of man, material and design. I suspect we won’t for a long time.

Sustainable is a word that in the last few years has become almost meaningless. It’s now so overworn a word, it’s become so floppy you can take it and stuff it with whatever you like: organic straw; urethane foam insulation or just hot air. Whenever I need to remind myself what the word really means, I think of Ben’s house and how we managed to make a film about sustainable construction whilst mentioning the word just once. Here is a house so ecologically sound, it breathes in time to the trees around it. Nearly every bit of wood in the place (and it is nigh all wood) grew in that forest and was coppiced. The subsequent coppice stumps or stools are now regrowing so fast and gulping in their youth so much carbon dioxide, that within a few years the environmental impact of constructing and living in this building will have been more than outweighed. Putting it into hard environmental language, this, in carbon terms, is an invisible house.

But it mustn’t remain too invisible because it’s also a beautiful house and one that answers eloquently to its setting. Ben has a shrewd eye for design, proportion and the subtleties of colour and materials. The result is a delightful building which appears as rooted as it can possibly be; one, that like all good architecture, responds intelligently to both its context and to human beings. Ben’s home has been made out of its very context, by him. You couldn’t find a house that has a more intimate relationship with people and place.

Kevin McCloud

The Woodland Way


"Ben's brilliant book points the way forward for woodland management"
Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, WWF.

"A practical book...philosopical, personal and visionary"
Country Smallholder.

"Ideal for anyone thinking of trying to live sustainably in woodland"
Reforesting Scotland.

"A vision of a sustainable woodland future"

"A wonderful book that goes straight to the heart"
Sch News

"Academic...but without any pretension" Crann

"An inspirational and enjoyable book" Building For A Future

The Woodland Way

A Permaculture Approach to Sustainable
Woodland Management

Ben Law

This is for everyone who loves trees and woodlands. Written from the heart by an innovative woodsman who is deeply committed to sustainability, this radical book presents an immensely practical alternative to conventional woodland management. Ben Law clearly demonstrates how you can create biodiverse, healthy environments, yield a great variety of value added products, provide secure livelihoods for woodland workers and farmers, and benefit the local community. He argues the case for a new approach to planning, encouraging the creation of permaculture woodlands for the benefit of people, the local environment and the global climate. Fully updated 2013 edition. 256pp

Available to purchase online from Green Shopping - click book cover

Foreword to the Woodland Way

Ben’s brilliant book points the way forward for woodland management in the British Isles and beyond. It covers every aspect of what is in reality ‘woodland stewardship’, from both a practical and philosophical standpoint. Ben writes from the heart after long years of struggle with a whole host of naysayers who tried unsuccessfully to convince him by fair means and foul to give up his vision for a renaissance in the countryside. He has done what many have dreamed of doing: gone to live in his beloved Prickly Nut Wood in Lodsworth, and made a living from working close to nature. His book is a product of the profound wisdom he has gained from this experience and serves as a route map for others to follow. It is the best kind of read, both intensely personal and visionary, while at the same time immensely useful and full of handy hints for the many who share his vision. This book is set to be a classic and will surely mark a turning point in our relationship with woods and the natural environment.

Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud
Formerly Head of the Forests for Life Programme, WWF International.
Currently Head of the Business and Industry Programme, WWF International.

Outdoor kitchen

Mushroom logs

| Books | Products | Ecobuilding | Education | Links | Home |