THE hunt is on for the nation's top young nature writer in a competition inspired by one of the town's most famous sons.

Richard Jefferies coined the term ‘wild life’ in 1879 and started his career as a reporter for the Swindon Advertiser.

He went on to write many books including Field and Hedgerow, Nature Near London, The Dewy Morn, and The Toilers of the Field.

My Wildlife launched yesterday for children as young as eight and up to 16 years old.

Winners will get to take a pile of nature books, a handcrafted pen made of wood from the mulberry tree in the gardens of Jefferies’ birthplace – now a museum in Coate Water – as their prize.

Twenty other shortlisted writers will also receive prizes.

And top children’s author Anna Wilson will be the judge.

Anna said: “Nature has been an endless source of inspiration for writers for centuries – including me.

“Whether they enjoy writing descriptive non-fiction pieces or stories set in nature, this is a chance for young people to use the great outdoors to inspire them.

"I’m really looking forward to reading the entries.”

Anna's latest books include the 2021 Nature Almanac and The Wide, Wide Sea, both published by Nosy Crow in partnership with the National Trust.

Mike Pringle is one of the organisers of the competition and is the director of the Richard Jefferies Museum at Marlborough Road.

He said: “When the Covid-19 crisis struck, many of us realised just how precious nature – the great outdoors – is and how much it can do for our wellbeing.

“Our learning officer suggested that maybe we should let young people tell us what they think of it, and the competition was born.

“Invitations are being sent out to schools and we really hope they will see this as a really good way to engage their students with the natural world they live in.”

All details on how to enter can be found at