Charles Waterton – Creator of the First Nature Reserve

The Threlfalls

Born in 1782, Charles Waterton was the eldest child of Thomas and Anne Waterton, of Walton Hall in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Based on extensive research, Barbara Phipps's fascinating, fictionalised biography show us an intelligent, and fearless man, one gifted with humour and strongly held opinions. His early love of nature, especially of birds, meant he was often in trouble as a tree-climbing, bird-nesting boy. He travelled extensively, seeking to show others all he had observed by publishing his notes and preserving specimens. His method of taxidermy has never been bettered. He survived yellow fever and malaria, earthquakes and shipwreck, and many accidents both at home and abroad.

By building a wall around his parkland, and banning the gun, he created a sanctuary for all creatures with the exception of the fox and the rat, having a particular dislike of the latter. His book, ‘Wanderings in South America, the North-West of the United States and the Antilles,’ has never been out of print.


"Waterton can justifiably be given credit for creating the first nature reserve.
It is a concept that has spread, not just around Britain, but also right across the world."
Bill Oddie