Savernake Forest's ancient trees inspire author's second book

This Is Wiltshire: Barbara Townsend’s books have been inspired by Savernake Forest Barbara Townsend’s books have been inspired by Savernake Forest

Children's author Barbara Townsend was so bowled over by the success of her first book that she is releasing another.

Mrs Townsend’s first book, Big Belly Oak, was based on the 1,118-year-old mighty oak in Savernake Forest.

The 60-year-old, who lives in Burbage, will launch her second book, Oaks of Savernake and the Legendary Ghosts, at her village’s annual Christmas tree sale taking place this weekend.

She said:“My first book was such a success and I had so many people asking me if I was going to write another one that I decided to do a second book for slightly older children.

“I learnt so much about the forest from people who had read the Big Belly Oak and I took those stories and did some research and that was the basis for this book."

The book is aimed at seven to nine-year-olds and draws on the history and folklore of Savernake.

It tells the tales of the ancient oak trees in Savernake forest, including the Big Belly Oak which is named as one of the 50 Great British trees, and the ghostly legends that surround the historic woodland.

Administrative manager Mrs Townsend said: “In the book I thank two children Ebony and my granddaughter Issie, who have both read the book and really loved it.

“They made some comments which I took on board and included in the book because children really are the best people to ask.”

The grandmother-of-five will be holding a book signing at Moran’s Espresso on December 11 between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

She will be joined by the book’s illustrator Chantal Marie Bourgonje, who also drew the pictures for Big Belly Oak.

The book is £6,99 at the White Horse Book Shop, High Street, Marlborough, or from bigbellyoak.weebly.com Mrs Townsend will be at the Burbage Christmas tree sale tomorrow from 9am-2pm, selling her book for the discounted price of £5.

Her new book is available from The White Horse Book Shop and savernakeoaks andghosts.weebly.com

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