Wild Fell: Fighting for nature on a Lake District hill farm (Paperback)Lee Schofield (author)
Ecologist Schofield recounts his inspiring attempts to breathe new life into two Lake District farms and the challenges he encounters from both the unforgiving landscape and the long-held traditions of the local population.
It was a tragic day for the nation's wildlife when England's last and loneliest golden eagle died in an unmarked spot among the remote eastern fells of the Lake District. But the fight to restore the landscape had already begun.
Lee Schofield, ecologist and site manager for RSPB Haweswater, is leading efforts to breathe life back into two hill farms and their thirty square kilometres of sprawling upland habitat.
Informed by the land, its turbulent history and the people who have shaped it, Lee and his team are repairing damaged wetlands, meadows and woods. Each year, the landscape is becoming richer, wilder and better able to withstand the shocks of a changing climate.
But in the contested landscape of the Lake District, change is not always welcomed, and success relies on finding a balance between rewilding and respecting cherished farming traditions. This is not only a story of an ecosystem in recovery, it is also the story of Lee's personal connection to place, and the highs and lows of working for nature amid fierce opposition.
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 251 g
Dimensions: 198 x 127 x 22 mm
A thrilling, inspiring journey into the restoration of our uplands. I found myself turning the pages with an inward leap of joy. Reasoned, intelligent, compassionate, well-informed, this is a story of hope and renewal for both nature and farming. - Isabella Tree
Authentic, honest and clear-sighted - Lee Schofield offers a practical and hopeful example of how to return nature to all our landscapes using imagination, compromise, humility and sheer hard work. This is an important book and fully deserves its place alongside James Rebanks and other contemporary Lakeland classics. - Patrick Barkham
A passionate, haunting yet optimistic account of the battle to heal a damaged landscape and restore nature to a corner of the Lake District. - Dave Goulson
In a country defined as the seventh most nature depleted on Earth, in a region plagued by flooding and climate-chaos, here comes Lee Schofield's brilliant book full of positive action and hope for the future. Wild Fell is a record of environmental achievement, of the RSPB's mission to restore the places and wild nature of Haweswater. But it's also a political tract, and throws down a gauntlet to us all to make the Lake District a national park that is genuinely worthy of the title. - Mark Cocker
As the competing needs of agriculture and conservation jostle for ascendency, land management in Britain has reached a tipping point. Candid, raw and searingly honest, Lee Schofield offers a naturalist's perspective of the challenges unfolding in the ancient yet ever-changing landscape of Haweswater and shares with us his gloriously vibrant vision for the future. - Katharine Norbury
Saving nature is a tough job. In Wild Fell we get to understand why people do it: real soul-deep passion. - Simon Barnes
Exhilarating... His writing, like the extinct, extant and envisioned landscapes he describes, is studded with moments of immense beauty - you can almost smell rock and moss and nectar, hear butterflies and grasshoppers flit and whirr, feel the shadow of a great wing passing between you and the sun. - British Wildlife
Wild Fell leaves you in no doubt that if we don't protect our wild blooms, there won't be any bugs and there won't be any birds and, ultimately, any people. - BBC Countryfile Magazine
Warm, personal, political and detailed, Wild Fell invites people into the evolving conversation about the future of our natural world. - Cumbria Life
Like the rivers it has rebent, the Haweswater project is re-wiggling farming into a more sustainable alignment with nature. And by similarly refusing to operate in siloed straight lines, Schofield's own journey towards greater collaboration may have lessons to teach both of the UK's rural tribes. - New Statesman
Schofield is a delightfully companionable guide - evoking huge vistas alongside small, exquisite, multisensory details - you can almost inhale the scent of thyme and warm rock wafting from the pages. - Amy Jane Beer, Guardian
Wild Fell documents a powerful journey through a bruised, beloved English landscape, expertly told from Lee's unique perspective. Sensitive, full of empathy and charged with a fierce, solution-based vision for a restorative, productive future alongside the natural world. I felt utterly compelled by his wise, deft prose, and am so grateful this book has been written. A remarkable debut. - Sophie Pavelle
Beautifully written, with an urgent sense of the need to protect our endangered landscape, this is a manifesto for a wilder future. - Daily Mail
Not all farming is toxic. Even rewilders should be able to admire the survival of the cultural tradition of Herdwick sheep farming in the Cumbrian uplands. Read Schofield and make up your own mind. His story of managing the land around Haweswater, in the eastern fells, is compelling... It's an idyll every bit as seductive as the ones set out by Shakespeare or English landscape painting. - Spectator
The book that needed to be written about the Lake District. - Caught by the River
A poetic journey of restoring nature in an iconic landscape. Wild Fell informs and inspires. - Jake Fiennes
A visionary, practical and lyrical book on restoring land, from one of the best in the game, on the front line of nature restoration. - Benedict Macdonald
Lee Schofield's Wild Fell is a soaring elegy to nature, a book infused with a deep love of place, and a stirring call to restore wildlife to our landscapes. Written with wit, verve and humility, Wild Fell is above all a story of hope, weaving together deep insights about botany and the history of the land with a wisdom won through years of practical experience. - Guy Shrubsole
Wild Fell is a beautiful, powerful book that subtly navigates great and complex challenges. - George Monbiot
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“The book that we and wildlife need”
There's plenty of enjoyable reads out there. And I enjoyed this. But more than that, I learnt a great deal about why our national parks are a natural disaster in the making, and what can be done to not only... More
“An important tale imbued with hope”
Wild Fell tells the story of a reserve in the Lakes that is doing its best to counter biodiversity loss in our countryside - a trend that has become all too common. Combining the history of British farming with... More
This was an amazing insight into conservation/farming in the uplands. It's really honest, letting the reader in on the personal challenges. I learned so much about the politics and natural history of the uplands.... More
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