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Journalist as Author: Richard Madden, The Nature Lover’s Bucket List

The Nature Lovers Bucket List

After two years of being in and out of lockdowns, the world finally seems to be moving on or at least learning to live with Covid. One of the industries that was impacted the hardest was the travel industry and while many people will be looking to jet abroad this Spring and Summer, travel journalist Richard Madden’s latest book – The Nature Lover’s Bucket List – looks at what is right on our doorstep with the British wildlife.

We chatted to him about his latest release and also discussed some of his favourite adventures over the last 25 years, how the travel journalism industry is coping and plans for a ninth book!

Richard Madden

Can you introduce your book in a couple of sentences? 

It’s an overview of the best that Britain has to offer in terms of its mammals, birds, flora and fauna, wildlife experiences, nature reserves and wilderness sites. This comes in the form of 60 entries all with beautiful photographs (not mine!) telling the reader where and when they can enjoy these miraculous sights.

Could you tell us about how you came to write The Nature Lover’s Bucket List?

I wrote a book for the National Trust a few years back called ‘The Great British Bucket List’ with exactly the same format but focusing on the top places to visit around the UK. It covers our national heritage (castles, cathedrals, monuments etc), must-do experiences, landscapes, gardens, outdoor activities, you name it. It became a best-seller, so the NT wanted another one!

You have been a travel writer for over 25 years, specialising in ‘adventure travel’, what have been some of your favourite ‘adventures’ that you have been on?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been trekking in remote areas of the Himalayas, riding horses in Afghanistan, over the Andes, and in the African bush, river rafting in Tasmania, diving on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, free-falling with the Red Devils, bungee jumping in New Zealand, and flying a Spitfire to name but a few. I’ve also done a lot of adventure sports and for a while took part in paragliding competitions. Perhaps my favourite experiences of all though were during the two years I spent in Africa writing about safaris.

The pandemic has limited how much we can travel in the last couple of years, how much of an impact has this had on the travel journalism industry?

It’s had a huge impact. International travel has been very limited during the last two years. Having said that, it’s made people think about their own countries more and the marvels we have on our own door-step. Particularly in the UK, which is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world for its size. Also, people are thinking now about taking fewer long distance flights and staying longer at their destination which is far better for the environment.

Are you working on another book, or do you have other projects under way? 

Yes! I’ve just started work on my 9th book, some solo-written, some co-written and most ghost-written. This one’s ghosted for an amazing adventurer who recently became the first person to row the Atlantic from New York to London. It follows on from one I wrote last year called Atlantic B.C. about an ex-RN Captain who had a replica of a 500 B.C. Phoenician ship built and sailed it with his crew from Tunis (ancient Carthage) to Florida to show that the Phoenicians probably reached America 2,000 years before Columbus.

What advice would you give to other journalists thinking about writing a book like The Nature Lover’s Bucket List?

You have to be passionate about your subject matter. Passion is what drives you on and it communicates itself to your reader who suddenly finds they are more interested in the subject than they thought when they idly picked it up and started skimming through it. I was bought up in a remote part of Cornwall and have always been passionate about wildlife as I was surrounded by it from a very young age. I could never write a book about cars, for example, as for me they are simply machines that get you from A to B.

What books are you reading right now, or about to pick up? 

A beautiful book called The Nightingale: Notes on a Songbird by the folksinger, Sam Lee. It’s a wonderful re-imagining of the nightingale as a symbol of resistance to the environmental destruction of modern times.

Are there any other examples of your everyday journalism/writing that you’re especially proud of or would just like to share?

My wife, Sarah, and I were lucky enough to spend a short time with the Hadzabe people of Tanzania. They are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes on the planet. We also made a short video to go with the piece:

If I’m a PR professional with a story or another opportunity for you, how should I get in touch? 

My website is and my email is

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