Get Your Free Audiobook

After 30 days, Audible is ₹199/mo. Cancel anytime.

OR

Publisher's Summary

The author of the beloved number one best seller The Shepherd's Life returns with a stirring history of family, loss and the land over three generations on a Lake District farm. 

James Rebanks was taught by his grandfather to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient agricultural landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, that landscape had profoundly changed. The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song.

English Pastoral is the story of an inheritance: one that affects us all. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse and how the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost. But this elegy from the Northern Fells is also a song of hope: of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future.

This is a book about what it means to have love and pride in a place and how, against the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral: not a utopia, but somewhere decent for us all.

©2020 Rebanks Consulting Ltd (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

“Remarkable.... A brilliant, beautiful book.... Eloquent, persuasive and electric with the urgency that comes out of love.” (Sunday Times

“One of the most important books of our time. Anyone who cares about our land - indeed, anyone who buys food - should read this book. Told with humility and grace, this story of farming over three generations - where we went wrong and how we can change our ways - is at the forefront of a revolution. It will be our land’s salvation.” (Isabella Tree) 

“A heartfelt book, and one that dares to hope.” (Alan Bennett) 

What listeners say about English Pastoral

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • hannah kenway
  • 20-09-20

One of the most important books I’ve ever read

I live and work as a vet in
the British Countryside amongst farmers who are struggling to make ends meet - in a community where the small mixed farms are the worst affected. This book voices everything I feel passionately about in a rational and yet moving tale. Brilliant and highly recommended.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Henry Barnard
  • 12-10-20

everyone should read this.

As a farmers son.....please read this! its perfect and amazing and moving and motivational. Perhaps my favourite book ever.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mandy Walters Artist
  • 17-09-20

Really beautiful

What a pleasure this book is. An interesting insight of farming through my lifetime. This book is so valuable as an accurate and heartfelt account of a farmers aspect of industrial style farming. What caused the changes and how things are changing again. I was overwhelmed by the tenderness and passion. I am thrilled to know that farming today can be turned around a little at a time and tweaked back into something more acceptable and environmentally friendly. We all have to play our small part, Reading this book is a start. Changing our habits is our commitment to our children's future. Well done James, for all you've done and all you are doing for the future. This book is something to be proud of.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 22-01-21

A cry for our land.

The abridged version of this book was serialised on BBC Radio 4. It was possibly the most moving appeal I have heard for more understanding of the role of farming and for the plight of soil. I don’t suppose anyone from government would be interested to read this but they should. For me it anthropomorphised the land, it created empathy that I thought I already had; in the end it made me cry.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elinor M
  • 03-01-21

For anyone who cares about the countryside

This book is the most affecting book I have listened to for a very long time. James Rebanks takes us back to a time when farming was gentler, with a closer connection to the land, showing us the real value of treasuring the soil so that it can provide food for us and provide a safe world for wildlife. His anger at the exploitation of the land when farmers were instructed to produce bigger crops resonated with me as the wife of a farmer who cares deeply for our farm and the countryside in general. The pressure that all farmers were put under to grow higher and higher yielding crops meant that the use of herbicide and pesticides grew greater every year and our countryside ran a very real risk of becoming a massive featureless factory floor, with no room for diversity or wildlife.
As time went on, we realised that farming in a kinder way, farming organically whilst reducing the crops we harvested meant that the wildlife on our farm has the chance to flourish and just reinforces our determination to farm in a kind conservation focussed way. It will, I hope make people think more carefully about how their food is produced, understand the enormous value traditional livestock farming has for the soil and persuade them to go back to a simpler way of eating - seasonal locally grown food, not imported overprocessed products that have a huge and devastating impact on the envirnoment where they are grown. not to mention the vast number of air miles needed to get them here.
The book is beautifully narrated, I was completely captivated - so much so I returned again anad again to re-hear parts I really enjoyed.
This should be on the school curriculum - I hope that it helps us all to change our attitudes.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Rose
  • 29-12-20

Inspiration for a farming future

Everyone who cares about food Farming and the countryside should read this book !
Where we have come from where we need to go !
We at Farmeco will do our bit to help James make it happen! Thank You!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs M E Burstow
  • 17-09-20

Awesome Book

A wonderful, inspiring listen.

It covers old farming methods, the changes brought about and the problems it brought.

But there is a message of hope. No easy solutions, but a calling for a better understanding.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jill
  • 24-09-20

Essential reading, beautifully written

When I started listening I immediately knew that this book was so full of important information that I wanted a hard copy for reference. I also knew that as soon as it was finished I would go straight back to the beginning and listen again. The book simply spoke to my heart. There’s nothing more I need to say really.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard, Devon
  • 21-09-20

Timely and needed

This is a powerful, honest story of one farmers awakening to the issues of modern farming practices and how he changed his approach. It hits your emotions hard, but it needs to. We all share a responsibility to support our farmers to make the choices that best benefit our environment and this book illustrates why this is so important. This book will move, anger and inspire in equal measure. It is timely and needed. Bryan Dick's narration is also perfect for this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • HannahJ T.
  • 10-06-21

Everyone that eats should read this book

Beautiful, moving and vitally important book. This book should be on the curriculum in every school. If you eat, read it !

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-11-20

This book will go down in history... Superb

Exquisitely written account of the most important story of our times. Wish every policy maker, consumer and big Ag executive would read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • louisecross
  • 07-10-20

beyond excellent

book of the year
if I could make people listen to one book...this is it.
if you eat and breath you should read this

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patti Wagner
  • 24-09-20

A beautiful story

A beautiful story of a farmer’s journey to rediscover what was part of his heritage. James Rebanks shares his memories n such a way that you are transported to the Fells and Becks of his Cumbrian farm.