Land Lines: finding the UK's favourite book about nature

For hundreds of years writers have been capturing the wonder of the natural world in poetry and prose, and exploring our changing relationship with nature. With a new research project Land Lines now taking a deeper look at this popular genre, we’re asking the public to help us find the UK’s favourite book about nature.

What’s your favourite book about the natural world? Is it one from your childhood, or that later inspired a life-long love of nature? Or something that you’ve read more recently that has rekindled a connection with the world of wildlife.

Simply enter your nomination, which has to be by a UK-based writer or by an author who writes about the UK's landscape and/or wildlife, below by midnight on the 30 November 2017 and you can share your nomination on social media using the hashtag #favnaturebook.

Once all of the entries have been submitted, a panel of experts will create a shortlist of 10 books of nature writing. Then, in January 2018, there’ll be an online vote to decide the UK’s favourite work on nature – one that captures our special relationship with the natural world.

The results will be announced on1 February 2018.

Virginia McKenna’s childhood favourite is The Wind in the Willows, Michael Morpurgo lived in the world of The Snow Goose, and Cerys Matthews grew up in Swansea with her Wild Food ‘bible’.

For Chris Packham, it has to be The Peregrine Falcon
‘I was half way through (the book) by the time the roast was served, and it was done before the Boxing Day bubble-and-squeak. I had been ‘doing’ textbooks since I was six or seven, they injected me with knowledge…The truth is beautiful – graphs, tables and maps are just as magical as poetry.’

Stretching from Gilbert White’s influential The Natural History of Selborne back in 1789 to Helen Macdonald’s soaring H is for Hawk in 2014, the Land Lines project will look at how nature writing in this country has changed over the last two centuries, and what it might say about the world today and our relationship with it.

Land Lines is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and is being undertaken by the Universities of Leeds, St Andrews and Sussex over the next two years.

UK’s favourite nature book

  1. Nominations are welcome from residents of the UK, CI and IoM excluding employees and the immediate families of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, their agents and anyone else professionally connected with the awards. Nominations from anyone under 18 years need to be submitted by a parent/guardian.
  2. Nominations should be made via the Arts and Humanities Research website or via email to; or in postal format, marked ‘UK’s favourite nature book’, submitted to:
    The Arts and Humanities Research Council,
    Polaris House,
    North Star Avenue,
    SN2 1FL
  3. You can only nominate one book about the natural world for each nomination. All entries must include your name, email address, name of the book nominated, details of the author, and a maximum of 100 words about why you have chosen the book. The awards open on Wednesday 25 October 2017 and the nominations need to be made before midnight on Thursday 30 November 2017. Any nominations made after this time and date will not be eligible.
  4. There is only one overall category for the nominations process and this can include poetry, fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature. Books need to have been written by a writer based in the UK or published between 1789 and 2017.
  5. After the closing date all nominations will be circulated to the appointed judging panel, which will be chaired by Professor Graham Huggan from the University of Leeds. They will meet in mid-December to discuss the books that have been nominated by the public and will select a list of ten books that will be put to a public vote. The judges will not enter into any correspondence before or after the decision has been made and their collective decision is final.
  6. There will be 10 books put forward to the public vote (between 4 January 2018 and 25 January 2018). Details of the nominations and how to vote will be available on the website and shared via social media.
  7. Nominators whose books have been shortlisted may be contacted via email to provide additional information for the promotion of the public poll via digital, social media and the media; subject to their consent.
  8. Nominators may be contacted by the Land Lines research team to discuss their nomination; subject to their consent.
  9. The winning book from the public poll will be announced on 1 February 2018. The full results will be published on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website at
  10. Entry in the awards signifies acceptance of these terms and conditions. The Arts and Humanities Research Council reserve the right at their discretion to amend the rules at any time. Should this happen a notice will be displayed on the website
  11. No responsibility is accepted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for entries lost, delayed, misdirected, incomplete or which cannot be entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of entry is not proof of receipt.
  12. The Arts and Humanities Research Council may change its advertised panel of expert judges in the event of circumstances outside of its control.
  13. The Arts and Humanities Research Council complies with the Data Protection Act. Any personal information, such as names and email addresses, 'will only be used internally by the AHRC in connection with this campaign, and, subject to consent, by the Land Lines research team, and will not be shared with third parties.

Promoters: Arts and Humanities Research Council, Polaris House, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1FL