|Born||20 February 1941|
|Alma mater||St Catherine's College, University of Oxford|
|Occupation||Writer and broadcaster|
Richard Mabey (born 20 February 1941) is a writer and broadcaster, chiefly on the relations between nature and culture.
Among his acclaimed publications are Food for Free, The Unofficial Countryside, The Common Ground, The Frampton Flora, and a personal meditation on the nightingale, Whistling in the Dark. His life of Gilbert White won the 1986 Whitbread Biography of the Year. Richard Mabey devised, researched and wrote the ground-breaking bestseller Flora Britannica, which won the British Book Awards’ Illustrated Book of the Year and the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ President’s Award and was runner-up for the BP Natural World Book Prize.
Between 2000 and 2002 Mabey suffered with depression and his book Nature Cure, which describes his experiences and recovery in the context of man’s relationship with landscape and nature, was short-listed for three major literary awards, the Whitbread Biography of the Year, the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize for evoking the spirit of place and the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography.
This was followed in 2007 by Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees (which will appear in a new revised and retitled edition – The Ash and the Beech: The Drama of Woodland Change – in summer, 2013), Weeds: The Story of Outlaw Plants (2010), and The Barley Bird: Notes on the Suffolk Nightingale (2010).
He has edited and introduced editions of Richard Jefferies, Gilbert White, Flora Thompson and Peter Matthiessen.
Richard Mabey contributes frequently to BBC radio. ‘The Scientist and the Romantic', a series of five essays in which he discussed his lifelong relationship with science and the natural environment, were broadcast in 'The Essay' on Radio 3 in 2009, and ‘Changing Climates’, on our everyday experience of living with the weather, in the same slot in 2013. The texts of both series have been published by Profile Books, titled respectively The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn, and Turned Out Nice Again.
In the 1970s and 80s he wrote and presented several television documentaries, including the 'Unofficial Countryside' and 'The Flowering of Britain' based on his books of the same names. 'White Rock, Black Water' was a specially-written film about the limestone Country of the Yorkshire Dales, and a Channel 4 8-part series - 'Back to the Roots' – explored the role of plants in Britain’s contemporary culture . In the 1990s he appeared regularly on BBC’s Country File.
Between 1982 and 1986 he sat on the UK government’s advisory body, the Nature Conservancy Council. He has been awarded two Leverhulme Fellowships, and honorary doctorates by St Andrews, Essex and East Anglia for his contributions to nature writing. He was awarded a Civil List Pension in 2008 for services to literature. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2011. He is a Trustee of the arts and conservation charity Common Ground, Vice-President of the Open Spaces Society, Patron of the John Clare Society and President of the Waveney and Blythe Arts.
Mabey also writes regularly for The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Times and Granta. He has written a personal column in BBC Wildlife magazine since 1984, and selection of these columns has been published as A Brush with Nature (2010).
Mabey was educated at three independent schools, all in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. The first was at Rothesay School, followed by Berkhamsted Preparatory School and then Berkhamsted School. He then went to St Catherine's College at the University of Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
After Oxford, Richard Mabey worked as a lecturer in Social Studies in Further Education at Dacorum College, Hemel Hempstead, then as a Senior Editor at Penguin Books. He became a full-time writer in 1974. He spent most of his life among the beechwoods of the Chilterns. He now lives in the Waveney Valley in Norfolk, with his partner Polly Lavendar, and retreats to a boat on the Norfolk Broads.
Portraits of Mabey 
The National Portrait Gallery has a 1984 bromide print of Richard Mabey by Mark Gerson. Mabey sat for sculptor Jon Edgar in Norfolk during 2007, as part of The Environment Triptych (2008) along with heads of Mary Midgley and James Lovelock.
- Countryfile. 2012-10-14. BBC.
- "IN DEEPEST BRITAIN (1975)". BFI. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- authors, various (2008). Responses - Carvings and Claywork - Jon Edgar Sculpture 2003-2008. UK: Hesworth Press. ISBN 978-0-9558675-0-7.