Welcome to The Hazel Tree, my online magazine

The Hazel Tree took root in 2011, when I decided to write about everything that interests me.  I’m interested in quite a lot of things, so it was a bit of a mad idea – but it has turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done.

My name is Jo Woolf, and I live in West Lothian, Scotland.  I’m a freelance writer and editor, and my husband, Colin, is a wildlife artist.   In our free time we head out to the wilder places:  mountains, islands, rocky coastline, sandy beaches…  Scotland is an amazing, breathtaking country, and I have visited some places that are as close to heaven as I’ll ever get in this lifetime.

I love sharing these experiences, and I’m lucky enough to have some pretty wonderful readers – well, a lot of them feel more like friends!   If you have only just discovered The Hazel Tree, you are warmly welcome.

Purdey playing in the snow (March 2013)I publish fresh features on a regular basis, and you can see the latest ones in ‘What’s New‘.   To browse the archives, just click on any category in  the drop-down menu in the side bar.  You can also use the search box if you’re looking for something specific.

History,  wildlife, book reviews… and Catkins?   Ah, yes.   Let me introduce Purdey, our little tabby cat.   Purdey is an energetic blend of wilfulness, curiosity and cute furriness, and ‘Catkins’ is her own special section of The Hazel Tree.   Her annual PAWS awards are the subject of much media speculation (well, they may be one day!)

I really love hearing from you, and I welcome your comments and suggestions.  It’s wonderful to meet people who share the same interests as me.  I want The Hazel Tree to be the kind of magazine that I would like to read myself, so I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

Other things I do…

I’m honoured to be Writer in Residence at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, and I visit their headquarters in Perth on a regular basis in search of fascinating stories of exploration which are held in the Society’s archives.   I contribute to their quarterly newsletter, ‘The Geographer’, and to their monthly email newsletter (both available to members);  and I’ve written a book called ‘The Great Horizon‘ which tells the stories of 50 amazing explorers over the Society’s 130-year history.   It’s published by Sandstone Press and available in most bookshops.  I’m currently (2017-18) on a lecture tour for the RSGS, speaking about the people who inspired the book.

I write a column about Scottish explorers at History Scotland, and I’ve started contributing to a new online magazine called Prime Women.