Dr John Feltwell


STOP PRESS My latest book is on SWEET CHESTNUTS. It is a bi-lingual book:

A Celebration of Sweet Chestnut –  a history and natural history
Sa majesté le Châtaignier  – histoire naturelle et sociale

Illustrated in full colour with over 200 photographs.

Latest cover proof (Nov 2020)

  Some images from the book:

Enjoying the best of Sweet Chestnuts with flour, honey, biscuits and bisques – even marron glaces!
Life cycle from seedlings to growing old gracefully



Covering the origins and spread of the species from the Mediterranean through Europe, this chestnut book explores, though stunning photographs the life of the tree from seedling to old age. It highlights its peculiar characteristics, its twisted bark, its unique profiles and its abundant flowers that sustain biodiversity. The importance of the edible chestnut originally as pannage for pigs, and for making flour is described as the staple for millions around the Mediterranean. Chestnuts are coming back as a distinguished food item, and are now used in haute cuisine restaurants. The dark, aromatic honeys are popular and reflect the terroir of chestnut countryside. Special rooms or cledes, were used to shed the skins of freshly-picked chestnuts and to dry them to make flour and soups. The fact that the tree lends itself to recycling as coppicing, and its young timbers ideal for posts and fences, was not lost on the Romans, and is reflected in the ancient woodlands of SE England where it vies with hornbeam. In many part of southern Europe chestnut is used for timber-framed buildings instead of oak. This is a colourful book reflecting the importance of sweet chestnut in the social history of Western Europe. Naturalist John Feltwell guides you through this historical journey of discovery. 

To register an interest to buy a copy send a message to john@wildlifematters.com


I have a fascination with trees. Wherever I go I like to be photographed besides trees. Their diversity attracts me whether it is in a tropical rainforest or European forest. Here are some of my research subjects which are mostly tropical except for Finland. As a photographer I am always on the look out for fine trees with perfect profiles. However, look out for my new book on Sweet Chestnut, Castanea sativa,  le chataignier.

With Fagus slyvestris, planted 40 years ago
With Tilia x cordifolia planted 40 years ago
New Zealand (South Island)