I was extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Richard Adams. Like Adams, I grew up in the shadow of the Berkshire Downs. I have deep admiration for him for two reasons. Firstly, being a writer myself I love the fact that he started his career as a writer by telling his daughters the story of Watership Down as he took them to school each morning. The girls then insisted that he write the stories down for publication. I have two young sons so this inspires me to begin telling them stories I have made up. I also like the fact that he didn’t get his first book published until he was in his fifties. There is still hope for me. Secondly, Watership Down strongly appeals to me because of its inherent message that our countryside needs to be protected from over development. This message is as true today as it was when he penned the book in 1972.
Watership Down tells the story of a group of rabbits who are trying to find a new home when their warren is threatened by the potential development of a new housing estate. It is a multi layered masterpiece which is timeless and appeals to both children and adults alike. On one level it is an innocent story about rabbits having an adventure. On a deeper, darker level it is about the devastation that humans are causing to the countryside.
I believe that Richard Adams’ legacy will endure forever. Watership Down is special to me as it reminds of my childhood in that area. His story will inspire me to tell and write more stories of my own to my boys. I also hope his message will live on and the beauty of our countryside will be protected.