Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates have won the Richard Jefferies Society & the White Horse Bookshop Literary Prize for nature writing produced in 2020 for their book Orchard: A Year in England's Eden (William Collins).
Macdonald, a television producer, naturalist and conservation writer, becomes the first person to win the £1,000 prize for nature writing twice since the award was introduced in 2015. He succeeded with Rebirding (Pelagic) last year. Nicholas Gates is a naturalist, photographer and wildlife producer. The pair said they were "absolutely delighted" with the award.
Judges praised the way the book chronicles the rich and valuable ecosystem of a highly productive ancient Herefordshire orchard untouched by chemicals or the methods of modern large-scale fruit farming.
Professor Barry Sloan, chair of the Richard Jefferies Society and of the judges panel said: "Orchard not only celebrates the exemplary achievement of Nancy and her son David who maintain this exceptionally valuable place as a small bulwark against the irreparable losses of wildlife that have already occurred so widely. It also reminds us that comparably rich environments still exist on a much larger scale in the Carpathian mountain area of Eastern Europe, and urges consideration of practical ways to improve the fragile situation in Britain. In all these ways, Orchard is an urgently telling and timely intervention in current ecological issues which will appeal to any reader who is concerned about the future of wildlife in this country.