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English Pastoral, by James Rebanks


A book told in three parts, by the same author of The Shepherd’s Life. By far the most interesting part is the middle, where third-generation hill farmer Rebanks gives a poignant account of the economic and social pressures which led to widespread changes in farming practice, in order to remain profitable. Here is a farmer who understands what nature conservationists have been saying for the last thirty years. He accepts that modern farming has damaged soils, reduced wildlife and increased flood risk whilst not being great for animal welfare and yet producing cheap food for us all. A great read for those looking to find a way to bridge the polarisation of the great "re-wilding" debate. Rebanks is neither privileged, nor overly romantic. Just a pragmatic, progressive farmer who has made real changes to the way he farms because he understands future generations depend upon it.

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