Orchard
Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates, Read by Mike Grady

Book cover image

Narrated By: Mike Grady

Duration: 7 hours and 31 minutes

What to expect

By the Wainwright-Conservation-Prize-winning author of Rebirding

Spend a year in an orchard, celebrating its imperilled, overlooked abundance of life.

England's ancient orchards, collaborations between people and nature, are sources of hope for the future. Protecting them promises a far richer England for the centuries to come, for wildlife and for us.

As the seasons turn, a wealth of animals and plants are revealed: Bumble and solitary bees apartment-hunting in April; spotted flycatchers migrating in May; redstarts, hedgehogs and owls nesting in June; an explosion of life in the summer and the harvest and homespun cider-making in the autumn. And all throughout the year, the orchard’s human and animal inhabitants work together, creating one of the richest ecosystems left in Britain.

Explore this unique habitat throughout the course of a year, and marvel at the beauty and strength of nature.

Genre

Biodiversity, The countryside, country life: general interest

Listen to a sample

Praise for Orchard

‘Enchanting’ Daily Mail

Vivid [and] full of unexpected revelations … Orchard has much to offer in its observations of wildlife’ John Carey, Sunday Times

‘A wonderful new book from Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates, veterans of the BBC’s Springwatch series … moves lyrically and vividly through one calendar year in an old Herefordshire orchard … Particularly moving’ New Statesman

‘From spores to sparrowhawks, there is never a dull moment. Lyrically written, Orchard is a love-letter to its jumbled “magical chaos” and a shining example of the things that can be achieved when humans come to work in balance and in harmony with nature’ BBC Wildlife

‘From slug-hunting toads and snuffling hedgehogs to percussion-playing spiders, woodpecker architects and zombie hoverflies, this wonderful book weaves together fascinating stories of the wildlife that lives in an old organic orchard … Excellent … I would recommend Orchard wholeheartedly’ Kathy Bishop, The Seasonal Table, Countryfile magazine

‘This book looks at an ancient English orchard throughout the course of a year, focusing on the wide range of wildlife that it supports … writing with a lyrical richness that beautifully evokes this unique setting … The result is a book that can be enjoyed on a lot of different levels from professional conservationists, to the most casual of everyday birdwatchers. Passionate and moving, this is highly recommended’ Birdwatch magazine

‘A rich and textured account of a year in this neglected habitat’ Stephen Moss

‘Enjoy this precious habitat and all its glories via this coffee-table worthy book that offers food for thought’ RSPB magazine

‘This beautiful exploration of natural history is an elegy for a disappearing way of life … captivating’ The Garden magazine