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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 thirty 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.

© Lee Schofield 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Critics Review

  • 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

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