> Skip to content

In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd's year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost.

THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER

Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780141979366

    April 18, 2016

    Penguin Press (UK Adult)

    320 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780141979373

    April 2, 2015

    Penguin eBooks (UK Adult)

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

The fell land we are gathering today doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the National Trust. Other fells belong to other landowners, but we have an ancient legal right to graze a set number of sheep on it. Many of these mountainous areas of land were bought and given to the National Trust by wealthy benefactors like Beatrix Potter, who trusted them to protect the landscape and its unique way of life. The bequests often stressed that the fell flocks had to remain Herdwick sheep.

Of all the writers associated with the Lake District, Beatrix Potter (or Mrs Heelis, as she was known for her farming life here) is the one that I love the most. She had the utmost respect for the shepherds of the Lake District, and would have understood what took place between us in Jean’s kitchen, because she, too, negotiated with shepherds to buy flocks of sheep.

Continue Reading
Article
On Writing Life

The Herdwick Shepherd writes surrounded by the beauty of the Lake District. 

Also by James Rebanks

The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd
The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd

Recommendations

Depends What You Mean by Extremist
ISS 23 Heroes, villains and the muslim exception
I Can't Breathe
ISS 22 Indian Muslims
Beautiful Failures
The Pursuit of Happiness
Battle for the Flag
The Making of Australia
There It Is Again
Scraps of Wool
Chronicles of a Liquid Society
The Conversation Yearbook 2017
The Meaning of Rice
Whiteley on Trial
Labor of Love
La Mama
The New Puberty
The Weather Obsession
One Halal of a Story
Reboot