Wild swimming reads

Emily Cooper


Wild swimming and reading go together like strawberries and cream. Whether you're preparing to take the plunge, or warming up after your swim, having a good book to get stuck into can be a fantastic feeling. That's why we've prepared a list of our favourite nature-based books for your next excursion!

Wilding by Isabella Tree

Forced to acknowledge the unsustainable nature of their current farming practices, Isabella and her husband decided to give their farm back to nature. This campaign for nature, termed the “Knepp Project”, encourages a natural process of rewilding, restoring the land to a greener, healthier state. Following the restoration of natural water courses and conservation grazing, the once intensively-farmed landscape becomes populated by an abundance of rare and common species. Wilding follows the transformation of the farm from an ecological dead-zone into a haven for wildlife, livestock and humans alike. It demonstrates the power of nature-led rewilding projects, providing an empowering, optimistic view on the future of conservation.

Stronghold by Tucker Malarkey

Stronghold tells the story of Guido Rahr’s mission to protect the last vestiges of wild salmon. A keen fisherman, Guido notices a drop in Pacific Northwestern salmon runs. This sparks a fierce determination to understand—and ultimately prevent—the loss of Pacific salmon. We follow author Tucker Malarkey and Guido on a global adventure as they chase the dream of protecting this iconic species. Stronghold emphasises the interconnectedness of the natural world; no species exists in isolation, and salmon form a vital part of this ecological web.

Whittled Away by Pádraic Fogarty

Whittled Away provides a sobering insight into Ireland’s natural environment. Previously thriving ecosystems now exist only in memory, leaving author Pádraic Fogarty to chart what he calls a "nation-wide failure to manage natural resources". Despite all this, Whittled Away provides an insight into the possibility of restoring the wilds to their former glory. Fogarty encourages rewilding of the landscape, emphasising the centrality of the natural world to the country’s interests.

Our Place by Mark Cocker

Described as “Essential reading for anybody who cares about the future”, Our Place tackles some of the greatest issues facing Britain’s countryside. Author Mark Cocker explores six special places that embody conservation. The book examines the intrinsic value of nature and wildlife, exploring areas where things have gone wrong and considering how we might improve our efforts in the future. At the centre of the book lies a question: “why do the British seem to love their countryside more than almost any other nation, yet they have come to live amid one of the most denatured landscapes on Earth?”.

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs by Tristan Gooley

In The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs, author Tristan Gooley shares 850 tips and tricks which can help to make your time outdoors even more interesting. Did you know that you can use butterflies to predict the weather, or a Big Dipper to tell the time? This book revives the childlike joy of discovering the natural world, filling the reader with intrigue and stoking your desire to learn more about the planet we live on.
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