Lee Schofield

Lee Schofield is the author of Wild Fell: Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Hill Farm, published by Penguin/Transworld. Wild Fell is his account of a decade working for the RSPB at Haweswater in the Lake District National Park, where he oversaw pioneering conservation work across an upland mosaic of woodland, bog, mountain and meadow covering thirty square kilometres. Wild Fell details the personal and professional challenges involved in working at the coal-face of nature conservation in the uplands.

He is now employed by the Lowther Estate, working on the largest Landscape Recovery Project in England, aiming to create a 60 square mile corridor of widlife-rich land extending from Penrith to Kendal, with Haweswater at its wild heart.

Lee has written for BBC Wildlife MagazineBritish Wildlife Magazine, Trail Magazine, Cumbria Life Magazine, and has had articles published in a range of other academic and professional publications. 


Wild Fell

*Winner of the Richard Jefferies Award, 2023*

*Highly Commended in the James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Conservation, 2022*

“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” 
Guardian (full review here)

“Beautifully written, with an urgent sense of the need to protect our endangered landscape, this is a manifesto for a wilder future.”
Daily Mail (full review here)

“Wild Fell is a beautiful, powerful book that subtly navigates great and complex challenges.”
George Monbiot

“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

“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 (full article here)

“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

“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

“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

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.” 
Julian Glover, Spectator (full article here)

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

“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 Magazine

“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 Magazine

“The book that needed to be written about the Lake District”
Caught by the River (full review here)

“This very good book will certainly be in my shortlist of books of 2022 even though we are only in February – it’s that good”
Mark Avery (full review here)

“You’ll easily learn a lot from Wild Fell. And it offers that most precious commodity, hope”
Natalie Bennett (full review here)

“Whether you remain sceptical or are already a fan of this approach to conservation, this book is highly recommended
Ian Carter, British Birds (full review here)

“A book that restores faith – in good writing and good natural history”
Peter Taylor, ECOS (full review here)

Click here to buy Wild Fell from the RSPB shop.


Articles

A Future For The Lakes: What if nature had time to recover? Article with visualisations for Inkcap Journal, published Feb 2022. www.inkcapjournal.co.uk/a-future-for-the-lakes/

A Landscape of Ghosts Article for the Waterstones blog, to coincide with the publication of Wild Fell, published Feb 2022. www.waterstones.com/blog/lee-schofield-on-lake-districts-ecological-ghosts

Beautiful, broken or both? Article for Love & Soil, a slow conversation between farmers and conservationists, published March 2021. leeschofield.co.uk/beautiful-broken-or-both

National Parks, Beauty & Riches. Guest blog for Mark Avery following the launch of UK National Parks in 100 Seconds film. markavery.info/12 Feb 2022

Thrown to the wolves. Final article in Shadow Species series focuses on the wolves of the Lake District. Cumbria Life/Feb 2021. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Back from the dead. Eighth article in Shadow Species series focuses on red kites, ospreys and goshawks, species which have returned from extinction. Cumbria Life/Jan 2021. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Of tooth and claw. Seventh article in Shadow Species series focuses on wild cats. Cumbria Life/Dec 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Exmoor rewilding. Guest blog for Mark Avery about the controversy around a vision for nature recovery in Exmoor National Park. markavery.info/16 Nov 2020

Pine martens to the rescue? Sixth article in Shadow Species series focuses on pine martens. Cumbria Life/Nov 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

The return of the Lek. Fifth article in Shadow Species series focuses on black grouse. Cumbria Life/Oct 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Ratty’s return. Fourth article in Shadow Species series focuses on water voles. Cumbria Life/Sept 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

The silencing of summer. Third article in Shadow Species series focuses on corncrake. Cumbria Life/August 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Where eagles dared. Second article in Shadow Species series focuses on golden and white talked eagles. Cumbria Life/July 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Beaver fever. First article in Shadow Species series focuses on beavers, and their return to Cumbria. Cumbria Life/June 2020. Version also available as a WildHaweswater post

Balancing culture and nature in the Lake District. Co-written with Malcolm Ausden, Danny Teasdale and David Hampson. British Wildlife/April 2020

The Shining River. Article for the RSPB describing restoration of the Swindale Beck in Cumbria. RSPB Website/March 2020

CSI Lake District. Article focusing on the theft of one of England’s rarest mountain flowers. BBC Wildlife Magazine/Feb 2020

Rewilding in a managed landscape – the Swindale Beck restoration project. Co-writen with Jean Johnston, George Heritage and Oliver Southgate. In Practice (CIEEM)/March 2017


Interviews

Rewilding a Lake District hill farm with Lee Schofield. Interviewed for the Rewilding The World Podcast with Ben Goldsmith. Podcast/November 2023

Nature Room 101 with Dr Amy Jane Beer & Lee Schofield. A light-hearted chat about nature for the Into The Wild Podcast with Ryan Dalton and Nadia Shaikh. Podcast/August 2023

Tree Amble: Episode 7. Interviewed by Pete Leeson on a walk through Naddle Forest for the Tree Amble Podcast. Podcast/July 2023

Beavers, Farming & Beyond! with Lee Schofield. Interviewed by Sophie Pavelle and Eva Bishop for the Beaver Trust’s Lodge Cast. Podcast/March 2023

‘The R-word can be alienating’: How Haweswater rewilding project aims to benefit all. Interviewed by Ben Martynoga about the increase in employment at Haweswater for the Guardian. Guardian/March 2023

A thrilling nature-led recovery in the Lakes. Interviewed by John Craven for an article about Haweswater. Countryfile Magazine/August 2022

The abuse hurt but Lee didn’t give up on his Lakes dream. Interviewed for an article about the personal aspects of Wild Fell. The Daily Express/February 2022

Plant thefts are on the rise – and here’s why your garden could be at risk. Interviewed for an article on plant thefts, where I talk about the theft of pyramidal bugle from a remote crag in the Lake District. Telegraph/February 2021

The rise of rooftop wildlife – living slices of landscape carpeted with grasses, moss and wildflowers. Interviewed for an article on green roofs, thanks to the one that tops our badger hide at Haweswater. inews/February 2021

It is a very contested landscape. Interview for Inkcap Journal, talking about work at Haweswater and land management elsewhere in the Lake District. First interview in the Future Land series. Inkcap Journal/Jan 2021

Restoration in the Lake District. Interview to talk about river restoraion. BBC Radio 4 Open Country/August 2020

‘Thank you Greta’: natural solutions to UK flooding climb the agenda. Interviewed as part of wider piece on natural flood management. The Guardian/April 2020

Endangered plant species thefts on the rise, conservationists warn. Interviewed to talk about the theft of pyramidal bugle from its only location in the wild in England. The Telegraph/Feb 2020


Academic

Monger, F., Spracklen, D., Kirkby, M. & Schofield, L. (2021). The impact of semi‐natural broadleaf woodland and pasture on soil properties and flood discharge. Hydrological Processes. 36. 10.1002/hyp.14453. Accessible online

Ewing, S.R., Menéndez, R., Schofield, L. & Bradbury, R.B. (2020) Vegetation composition and structure are important predictors of oviposition site selection in an alpine butterfly, the Mountain Ringlet Erebia epiphronJ Insect Conserv 24445–457. Accessible online

Nilsen, E. B., Milner-Gulland, E. J., Schofield, L., Mysterud, A., Stenseth, N. C., & Coulson, T. (2007). Wolf reintroduction to Scotland: public attitudes and consequences for red deer management. Proceedings. Biological sciences274(1612), 995–1002. Accessible online

Schofield, L. (2005). Public Attitude Toward Mammal Reintroductions: A Highland Case Study. MSc. Imperial College, University of London. Accessible online


Films


Contact

Agent: Patrick Walsh, PEW Literary

Twitter: @leeinthelakes