A CUMBRIAN author has received praise for his work at the James Cropper Wainwright awards.

Lee Schofield wrote Wild Fell: Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Hill Farm, which is his account of a decade working for the RSPB, in partnership with landowner United Utilities at Haweswater in the Lake District and the personal and professional challenges involved in working at the coal-face of nature conservation in the uplands. 

Lee claimed his award alongside the winners of the three nature writing prizes including David Attenborough cameraman James Aldred, BBC R4 presenter Dan Saladino and writer and illustrator brothers Rob and Tom Sears.  

Now in its nineth year, the Prize is named after much-loved nature writer and Kendal local Alfred Wainwright and is awarded annually to the books which most successfully inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world.  

The winners were announced just weeks after the news that Alfred Wainwright’s coast-to-coast walk, which begins in the Lake District, is to be made a National Trail. The announcement comes with a commitment of £5.6m to upgrade the route and make it more accessible. 

Lee Schofield, Author, and Senior Site Manager for the RSPB at Haweswater said: “I’m delighted to have earned highly commended from the James Cropper Wainwright Prize judges for Wild Fell.

“In the nature and climate crisis, raising awareness of how our environment is affected has never been more important, and I’m proud to have been among an incredible line-up of authors, showcasing the reality of the fight for our planet and how we can all play a part in saving it.  

“Wild Fell is a really personal account of my experiences of nature conservation in the uplands, the highs, and the lows.

“I hope it shows how taking action for nature, whether its planting trees or connecting more people with the outdoors, can deliver rich and prosperous landscapes for people and nature. 

“Congratulations to the winners and thank you for all the support from the judges, sponsors, authors, colleagues and the public.” 

Mark Cropper, Chairman of the Prize’s headline sponsors, James Cropper, said: “We’re always over the moon to see local writers do well, and Lee Schofield is no exception.

“Being located amongst the Lake District fells, stewardship of the natural environment is integral to our business, and it is that mutual respect and celebration of nature and conservation that sit at the heart of our sponsorship of the James Cropper Wainwright Prize.   

“This year we formed a book club and challenged our team to read as a many of the shortlisted books as possible.

“The book club created a real buzz around the Prize at the mill and Lee’s book was a firm favourite with many of those who participated.”

“Telling stories through paper is something our business has done for nearly two centuries, and it is a joy to see all the winning and highly commended authors of the Prize doing that very thing in such a meaningful way, encouraging us all to embrace and protect what our environment has to offer.” 

James Cropper has been making fine papers for publishing and premium packaging since 1845 in the very town where Alfred Wainwright lived and worked. 

In fact, in 2005 the company produced a custom-made paper, matching the paper from the first editions, for the 50th Anniversary Wainwright pictorial guides that were once again printed in Kendal.