Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Wild Signs and Star Paths

Tristan Gooley

52 Keys that Will Open Your Eyes, Ears and Mind to the World Around You

🇺🇸 🇨🇦 Published in North America as The Nature Instinct

‘Beautifully written… I promise you will feel more in tune with the world around after reading only one chapter of Wild Signs and Star Paths, let alone the book in its entirety’

Royal Institute of Navigation

Tristan Gooley, author of the internationally bestselling How To Read Water and The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs, shows how it is possible to achieve a level of outdoors awareness that will enable you to sense direction from stars and plants, forecast weather from woodland sounds and predict the next action of an animal from its body language – instantly.

‘It’s a thoughtful, lyrical book about the hidden connections between flora and fauna, the landscape and the weather, and most of its wise and wondrous observations are gleaned from the author’s rambles around the English countryside. . . It’s a paean to the beauty and majesty of nature, especially the nature we overlook in our back gardens and local parks. And so, amid the botany and zoology and meteorology there are snatches of pure poetry. . . And like all the best books, it makes the world around you a lot more interesting.’

The Spectator

“Great Books You Must Read”


“A captivating guide to finding one’s way in the wild.”

— The Wall Street Journal

“What’s wonderful about this book is not just that it is full of helpful instructions for decoding the numerous clues the Earth provides to its workings – from the flick of a lizard’s tail to a flutter in a bramble hedge. Through a careful choice of language – which manages to bring a romance to scientific vocabulary and practical advice – Gooley also communicates and inspires a joyful awe in the countless daily occurrences which offer observant travellers a key to the planet’s miraculous system.” 

The Big Issue

“[A] beautifully written almanac of tricks and tips that we’ve lost along the way, with the intention of helping us regain what he calls the ‘sixth sense’: our innate ability to scan the landscape and anticipate what might happen next . . . Long story short, I now trust Tristan Gooley with my life.”

The Guardian

Gooley’s approach is a refreshing alternative to the encyclopaedic-style of many nature books. Instead, he focuses on broader patterns and rules, with enthusiasm. ‘Very little in our surroundings is random,’ he writes, ‘and with a little practice we can learn to sense things that we may find astonishing.’

Geographical Magazine

“Gooley offers the reader a chance to recover the outdoorsman’s natural sense through 52 ‘keys,’ to exchange slow, analytic thinking for the fast thinking that makes connections with nature in a way that few now experience. I recommend turning those keys and seeing what happens.”

The Field Magazine

“An imperative book for outdoors enthusiasts but also contains important information for anyone who spends time outside. Gooley’s book is a comprehensive guide to gaining back what was lost; it will help its audience appreciate nature and animals with a new set of eyes.”


In Tristan’s words:

“When we practice noticing certain patterns, signs and clues outdoors, there comes a moment when our brain will take a shortcut. When this happens we sense something without consciously thinking about it.

I call the signs that allow us to redevelop this ability the ‘keys’ as they help unlock this ancient skill.

It can feel magical when we experience it for ourselves.”

You can view the Contents Page by clicking here.

Read the full INDEX here.

Or check out some images associated with book on this page.


🇬🇧 In the UK? Please order via

🇺🇸  🇨🇦 Published in the US and Canada as The Nature Instinct.

In all other countries it should be available via your local bookshop or online.

Although once common, this now rare awareness would be labelled by many as a ‘sixth sense’. We have become so distanced from this way of experiencing our environment that it may initially seem hard to believe that it is possible, but Tristan Gooley uses a collection of ‘keys’ to show how everyone can develop this ability and enjoy the outdoors in an exciting way – one that is both new and ancient.