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  • Wild Fell

  • Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Hill Farm
  • By: Lee Schofield
  • Narrated by: Lee Schofield
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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Wild Fell cover art

Wild Fell

By: Lee Schofield
Narrated by: Lee Schofield
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

In 2015, England's last and loneliest golden eagle died in an unmarked spot among the remote eastern fells of the Lake District. It was a tragic day for the nation's wildlife, 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 30 square kilometres of sprawling upland habitat. The farms sit at the edge of the region's largest reservoir, beneath which lie the remains of a submerged village. The area's history has been a turbulent one for both its people and its wildlife, leaving its habitats in tatters.

In the search for inspiration, Lee sought out England's rarest mountain flower and travelled from the wild fells of Norway to the pristine meadows of the Alps. Informed, too, by the local land, its history and the people who have shaped it, Lee and his team have remeandered a straightened river and 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 nature 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.

Wild Fell is a call to recognise that the solutions for a richer world lie at our feet; by focusing on flowers, we can rebuild landscapes fit for eagles again. A landscape of flowers is a landscape of hope.

©2022 Lee Schofield (P)2022 Penguin Audio

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What listeners say about Wild Fell

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just wonderful

A truly delightful personal account of the many adventures, characters, challenges, lessons and successes that now shape Wild Haweswater. A book that fills me with hope for a future that includes water, wildlife, carbon and beauty :) with descriptions of flowers and birds that bring the hills to life and are just enchanting. A great listen, highly recommended

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JC
  • 27-10-22

Fantastic Insight

Thoroughly enjoyable insight to the realities of restoring nature. Up against the lobby of hill farmers stuck in their ridiculous ways. Lee makes fantastic work of just talking sense in a situation where many many people would not have his calm and diplomatic manor. Great insight not into just into farming or rewilding, but just enjoying nature.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring

A fascinating and informative book. Everyone needs to read this book to learn of a future, not just for the Lake District, but elsewhere too, that could be so much more diverse, nature rich and exciting. We live amongst an obstinate majority of officials and landowners, who are fearful of change and have a complete lack of understanding of how and why we should push for a better, nature rich environment. If this change does not come soon, we all face a very difficult future on this earth. I only hope that this example and the others out there prove there is a better way and a good compromise for all.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Nature Writing

To sum up the complexities of current day farming and wildlife conservation in one book (while still being a highly enjoyable read) is no mean feat! I'm not a fan of waffley prose and much more interested in solid stories and real people, yet this book still immerses you in beautiful upland habitats and the wildlife which inhabits them. A very nice balance.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nature friendly Lakeland farming

A narrative exploring how nature friendly farming could transform the present landscape in the Lakes.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

inspiring on many levels

Schofield grew as a person in order to halt devastation to wildlife in one corner of the Lake District

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  • R
  • 13-06-23

Unexpectedly excellent!

As a landscape architect I started reading this book almost out of duty and with no expectations, I soon found myself completely drawn in by the surprisingly good prose (considering this is effectively a work diary by an ecologist). I am now listening all over again and relishing the book even more second time around. I’ve just been to walk the fells he describes including Naddle Farm, which brought the whole thing to life. I really hope the book gets a wide audience, the subject matter is so important. Congratulations to everyone connected to this project. Also, it’s beautifully read and a great listen.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book

A great overview of an attempt to bring conservation and farming into harmony. Zoomed in details bring Hawswater to life. Overviews of other projects in the Uk and abroad act as inspiration for author and reader. The author reports a well balanced example of the tensions between modern farming and conservation. Insightful for those of us with no foot in either camp.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Full of hope

I’ve visited the lakes since I was a boy. This inspiring story helped me see the landscape differently. It’s up there with Wilding and Rebanks as a tale of natures restoration

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Really enjoyable: full of ecological insights whilst being honest and personal

I listened while out walking and had to keep stopping to make notes! I’ve visited the Lakes from when I was a toddler, my grandparents met there and were walking guides. I’m beginning to see the landscape differently and see the possibility of a far richer and more thriving place. As well as learning about the ecology, the interesting comparisons to Norway and the specific restoration projects such as the re-wiggling of the river etc, I appreciated how honest Lee is in sharing the personal experiences of criticism and rejection. I am inspired by how respectfully he managed these relationships. All this is so relevant to all the changes we are having to negotiate as a society. I hope to visit one day soon!

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