This issue of Body & Society was assembled to extend the interest in the embodied nature of people's experiences in, and of, the physical world. It thus seeks to develop further the emergent sociology of the body that has provided extensive insight into the embodied character of human experience. Such a sociology has, though, dealt less systematically with the various social practices that are involved in being in, or passing through, nature, the countryside, the outdoors, landscape or wilderness. These practices reflect the apparently enhanced `culture of nature' in many contemporary societies. In particular, we are concerned with various embodied performances. The various articles consider: how is the body implicated in, and reproduced through, the diverse social practices happening within `nature'? Why is the body, and its physical capital, developed by practices thought to be beneficial because of the `natural' setting for such practices? In what form do these practices `in nature' come to be part of the reflexivity about the body, as the self and identity are increasingly matters of deliberation, negotiation and self-monitoring?