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Acclaimed writer Robert Macfarlane set to help National Park find a new generation of nature poets

Heather by Jackie Morris Lost WordsHeather by Jackie Morris Lost Words

This summer acclaimed writer Robert Macfarlane will judge a competition organised by the North York Moors National Park’s Inspired by… gallery that aims to inspire a new generation of nature poetry writers.

The competition will be one of a raft of events and activities coinciding with The Lost Words exhibition which will be hosted by the gallery in Danby from 15 June – 29 July as part of a nationwide tour from Compton Verney Art Gallery. 

Compton VerneyThe gallery will be the only northern England venue to host the exhibition. It will display the ‘spells’ by Macfarlane and watercolour illustrations by artist Jackie Morris that were used to create The Lost Words, a book which has been transformative in helping adults and children re-connect with nature using the power of words and art.

Budding young poets can join one of four poetry days where they will be invited to write their own acrostic* poem inspired by nature’s sights, smells and sounds after listening to local actress Bidi Iredale read some of the book’s spells. The children’s verses will be suspended on a Poem Tree at the gallery and the writers will each receive a letter of encouragement.

Macfarlane will then judge a shortlist of 10 entries with the winner and runner-up each receiving a handwritten copy of one of his spells in addition to the gold-stamped and signed copy of The Lost Words given to all of the finalists.

Alongside the competition The Lost Words theme will run through other National Park events including a treasure hunt, art workshops and Rosedale Wildlife Week (23-29 June). There will also be a countryside expedition where visitors will be able to create their own time capsule of items relating to once-familiar nature words which they can take home and bury.

Heather by Jackie Morris Lost Words

Sally-Ann Smith, curator of the Inspired by… gallery comments: “We’ve designed the event programme to stay faithful to The Lost Words which has created such a strong grassroots movement, re-awakening people’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world.

“Therefore while youngsters can write poems, go on guided countryside walks and create nature-inspired collages, we’ve also planned events where adults can get involved such as creating a life-sized sculpture of a heron, the subject of one of the spells in The Lost Words, or joining a creative writing workshop that takes inspiration from the North York Moors.”

For further information on the exhibition and related events


Notes to editors:
*An acrostic is a type of poem where the first letter of each line will spell out a word.

The North York Moors National Park
The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres), the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 7.9 million visitors a year.  

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

To view other press releases and for further information about the North York Moors National Park, visit

For further information and images please contact Amanda Brown at A2BPR on:
T: 01423 740048
M: 07876 452580

Or Nina Beadle, Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority:
T: 01439 772700