Enjoy favourite books about nature and the countryside in a new way – or discover fresh voices, landscapes and perspectives – through audiobooks. While it is always lovely to curl up with a good book, a fantastic audiobook can be enjoyed on the go, transporting you somewhere magical while doing the chores or stuck on a long journey. Some are read by the authors themselves – often giving a fresh emphasis and insight to their words.
The best nature-themed audiobooks to enjoy in 2021
There are hundreds of great nature-themed audiobooks to enjoy but this is BBC Countryfile Magazine’s top 7 audiobooks to listen to if you love the British countryside.
The Old Ways: a journey on foot by Robert Macfarlane
Read by Roy Macmillan
A beautifully written exploration of ancient tracks, holloways, drovers’ roads and more in the UK and around the world – including Palestine and Tibet. Macfarlane reveals how we shape the landscapes through the routes we take – and, in return, how those landscapes exert power over our actions, emotions and imaginations as we move through them. A series of evocative and sensory journeys that offer a vicarious walking adventure and a deep connection to history. Unabridged and narrated by actor and radio director Roy Macmillan.
The Running Hare by John Lewis Stempel
Read by Bernard Hill
A celebration of the richness and diversity of traditional farmland and its wildlife – a habitat that has largely been transformed or destroyed by many modern intensive farming practices. Enchantingly written by Herefordshire countryman and farmer John Lewis Stempel, it is a chronicle of the efforts to restore the fertility and productiveness of a group of fields – and in the process encourage the return of hares and other familiar farmland creatures. Narrated by actor Bernard Hill (King Theoden of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings films!)
Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann
Read by Paul Whitehouse and Esther Coles
A wonderful and under-appreciated children’s classic that can be equally enjoyed by adults. Led by Fox and Badger, the animals put aside their differences to escape the destruction of Farthing Wood and, through many trials and dangers, find a new haven to settle in. Narrated by comedian Paul Whitehouse and actor Esther Coles.
Wilding by Isabella Tree
Read by Isabella Tree
The story of Knepp – the failing dairy farm-turned-Sussex savannah – by its owner Isabella Tree (who narrates the story herself). With husband Charlie Burrell, Tree transforms a loss-making business into a paradise for nightingales, turtle doves and purple emperor butterflies through using herds of native cattle, pigs and other herbivores to rewild the landscape. A magnificent and hopeful story.
The Way Home: Tales from a Life without Technology by Mark Boyle
Read by Mark Boyle
An honest, elemental and ultimately inspiring account of how Mark Boyle gave up not just technology but money and many of the material accoutrements of modern living to build a cabin on a plot of land in Ireland – and live a simpler, more meaningful existence. Read by the author, Boyle’s experiences offer tantalising glimpses of answers to many modern angsts.
English Pastoral by James Reebanks
Read by Bryan Dick
A powerful indictment of modern farming systems and the flawed economic model of our food supply through the eyes of a farmer in the process of breaking from the recent past and returning to more sustainable ways of managing land, nurturing wildlife and creating a productive yet safe haven for livestock and his own family. Narrated by actor Bryan Dick.
The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn
Read by Raynor Winn
After the success of Winn’s previous book, the Salt Path, charting her and her husband’s escape from calamity to find sanctuary walking the South West Coast Path, this work reveals the couple settling down to a new life on a farm. Blessed by a generous benefactor who was inspired by their plight, Winn and partner Moth readjust to life after homelessness. Read by Winn herself, this is an inspiring, life-enriching experience.