The Shining Levels
by John Wyatt

“This is a remarkable book. It is already part of the rich layer of writing about the Lake District and it deserves its place.” Melvyn Bragg

John Wyatt first encountered the Lake District during a boyhood trip to Windermere. He was overwhelmed by the freedom of the landscape and the closeness to nature he felt. It was as if he belonged here, amongst the fells, the crags and the endless horizon. The call to the wild stayed with him, becoming so powerful that one day he did what many only dream of: he left a steady job and his town life to become a forestry worker in a Lakeland wood at Cartmel Fell. Like Thoreau, John Wyatt embraced the simplicity of living alone in a woodland hut, and the extraordinary companionship of Buck, a young roe deer discovered in the woods.

This book is reprinting and will be available again in August 2023.

Read Melyvn Bragg’s introduction

Paperback with flaps | 216 mm x 156 mm | 192 pages

Cover artwork by L. S. Lowry

Wood engravings by Norman Ackroyd



In stock


JOHN WYATT was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Cheshire, son of a cotton mill overseer. He left school when he was 15 and worked as a copy boy in the Manchester office of the Daily Telegraph. Three years later he became a forestry worker and campsite warden at Great Tower, Windermere. After the Second World War, in which he served as a naval telegraphist, he returned to Ashton as a sub-postmaster and took a correspondence writing course through Ruskin College, Oxford. He found his way back to the Lake District as an estate worker and regional organiser for Oxfam. In 1961 he became the first warden of the Lake District National Park, and served as the chief ranger for 25 years. He was awarded an MBE in 1986.

Additional information

Weight350 g
Dimensions14 × 156 × 216 mm

1 review for The Shining Levels
by John Wyatt

  1. Neil Ansell

    Neil Ansell, author of the acclaimed book Deep Country, has written a lovely review of The Shining Levels for Caught by the River.

    ‘This is a book that reads like life,’ writes Neil Ansell, ‘you never quite know where it is going to lead you next, and it is full of unexpected digressions on such things as moth-hunting, deer stalking or wild food.’

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