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

Tristan Gooley

Tristan Gooley is an author and natural navigator.

Tristan set up his natural navigation school in 2008 and is the author of award-winning and internationally bestselling books, including The Natural Navigator (2010) The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs (US) / The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs (UK 2014), How to Read Water (2016), The Secret World of Weather (2021) and How to Read a Tree (2023), some of the world’s only books covering natural navigation. His books have been translated into 19 languages.

He has spent decades hunting for clues and signs in nature, across the globe, and has been nicknamed:

“The Sherlock Holmes of Nature”


He has written for the Sunday Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC and many magazines.

Tristan has led expeditions in five continents, climbed mountains in Europe, Africa and Asia, sailed small boats across oceans and piloted small aircraft to Africa and the Arctic. He has walked with and studied the methods of the Tuareg, Bedouin and Dayak in some of the remotest regions on Earth.

He has tested Viking navigation methods in a small boat in the north Atlantic, leading to the academic paper, Nature’s Radar.

He is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

“Every outdoor-lover should have at least one Tristan Gooley book in their library.”

Jim Perrin, The Great Outdoors Magazine

In 2020 he was awarded the Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of Navigation. It is the Institute’s highest award, given in recognition of an outstanding contribution to navigation.

He has recorded the podcast, ‘The Pursuit of Outdoor Clues,’ and named a type of path – the ‘smile path‘.

Tristan has given talks across the world and appeared on TV and radio programmes in the UK and internationally, including The Today Programme, Night Waves, Countryfile, BBC Stargazing Live, Country Tracks, Ramblings, Open Country, Shipwrecks, The One Show, Winter on the Farm and All Roads Lead Home.

He is Vice Chairman of the independent travel company, Trailfinders.

“Tristan Gooley is the Holmes of the Hedgerows”

Idler Magazine

“Tristan has established himself as Britain’s pre-eminent professor of practical geography.”

Country Walking Magazine

“For those inclined to solve the mysteries written into the landscape, this author’s lead is one they’ll want to follow. “

The Wall Street Journal

Credits: This photo: Graham Trott. Top of page: Jim Holden.

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For a complete guide to Natural Navigation read Tristan's books.

How to Read a Tree

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs

The Natural Navigator Pocket Guide

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