New book celebrates renewed hope for Sussex nature

Poppy Goes Wild, a new children’s book about a young girl rewilding her grandad’s farm written by Sussex-based TV producer Nick Powell, is being backed by celebrities including Joanna Lumley and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Nick, who lives Hove Park, said: “In recent decades much of Britain’s wildlife has disappeared, with over half of our species in decline and with 15 per cent threatened with extinction because of issues including habitat loss, agricultural changes, pollution and climate warming.

“But throughout the country, initiatives are being undertaken to restore the balance and to safeguard British wildlife for future generations.

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“In Poppy Goes Wild, the title character is on a mission to save her grandad’s farm by returning the countryside to how it was 50 years ago when wild flower meadows and native wild animals flourished. Hares hopped, skylarks soared, otters raced and peregrine falcons dive-bombed throughout the idyllic landscape.

“Poppy Goes Wild, exquisitely illustrated by Cornwall-based Becca Hall, demonstrates that you are never too young to start looking after nature.

“The book encourages children and families everywhere to do what they can to help nature work its magic.”

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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “Many populations of insects, birds and small mammals, and the marine life around our coasts, have plunged to worrying levels.

“But now there is a glimmer of hope. Trees are being planted, patches of land are being allowed to overgrow, and wild flowers are encouraged to spring up once more.

“People are beginning to understand that simply leaving spaces where nature can be allowed to perform its restorative magic can hugely enhance our gardens and our landscapes, and will entice many of these embattled creatures to return and flourish. I urge you to be part of this rewilding movement, in any way you can. Be like Poppy, in this charming and inspiring story.”

Other people offering praise for the book include actress Joanna Lumley, wildlife cameraman and TV presenter Gordon Buchanan, TV presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty and naturalist and BBC Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams.

Joanna Lumley said: “Poppy is the child we all long to be: brave, curious, headstrong, compassionate and the best fun in the world. Her love for wildlife will chime with children everywhere: an adorable book.”

Nick, who in his previous career created a number of highly successful TV brands including the global hit Supernanny, says he has written the book in the hope that it will inspire determination in children to do what they can to look after wildlife.

“The key message for me in Poppy Goes Wild is that if you embrace the wonder of wildlife at a young age you will never look back – and the rewards will be there for you and for nature, for the rest of your life,” said Nick.

The book’s nature-friendly message is being backed by the charity Rewilding Britain.

Rebecca Wrigley, chief executive of Rewilding Britain, said: “Poppy Goes Wild is a delightful book that packs a powerful message of hope. Our wildlife is in dramatic decline, leaving today’s children deprived of so much natural wonder. But as Poppy discovers, if we let nature work its magic – if we think big and act wild – rewilding can offer us all a brighter future.”

“By way of background about me, for 20 years I ran Ricochet, a Brighton-based TV production company. I was lucky enough to sell the company a few years ago, allowing me to move on and to enjoy pursuing different interests with a green agenda, which have now included writing my first children’s book.”