Bodies in the woods

In this article, we examine the intimate significance of trees and woods through research on how people engage with and perform their bodies in different kinds of wooded environments in contemporary Britain. We argue that there are significant, contested and ambivalent affordances provided by woods and forests in contemporary Britain - as providing `live' contact with nature, as a source of tranquillity, and as providing a distinct `social' space in sharp contrast to the pressures of modern living. Second, there is considerable variation in the bodily experiences that people gain from woods and forests, influenced by personal and family life-stage, socio-economic circumstance and geographical location. The values people appear to attach to woods and forests arise from the specific `affordances' that the latter could offer for bodily desires. There are, we might say, different `contested' natures of the forest
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