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Author James Aldred pens New Forest Goshawk lockdown diary

AN award-winning film-maker has written a book telling the real-life story of how a goshawk family fared as the New Forest emptied of people during lockdown.

James Aldred hails from Ringwood and has worked with Sir David Attenborough on projects such as Life of Mammals and Our Planet.

He has penned Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other, based on his unique experiences of following the family of raptors last year.

Award-winning film-maker James Aldred
Award-winning film-maker James Aldred

His credentials landed him a commission of making a documentary about the goshawks and he had built his own treetop hideout tom film close to their nest.

When the first national lockdown hit James was given special permission to keep filming at a time when the woods were almost deserted.

Goshawk Summer was based on James's unique experiences of following the family of raptors
Goshawk Summer was based on James's unique experiences of following the family of raptors

“There was no one in the goshawk woods – except me,” he explained. “Goshawk Summer is a nature diary and record of that unique opportunity and describes the New Forest empty of people but filled with birdsong and new life.

“I grew up here, made friends, climbed trees, slept rough on the heath and camped in the woods, but I’ve never known it like this.

“There wasn’t another soul around and while Covid-19 gripped the outside world, the New Forest blossomed in a spring like no other.”

The New Forest Goshawk family
The New Forest Goshawk family

James, who previously authored The Man who Climbs Trees, added: “There are many terrible things to remember about the spring and summer of 2020, but I was one of the lucky ones.

“This is a tale of reawakened passions for a familiar childhood landscape now struggling to cope with the pressures of the modern world – a portrait in time, as seen through the eyes of the wild creatures relying on it for their survival.

“Above all, it’s the story of how one family of goshawks living in a timeless corner of England shone like fire through one of our darkest times and how, for me, they became a symbol of hope for the future.”

Published by Elliott & Thompson for £14.99 in hardback, the book is available in bookshops and online.

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