"H" Is For Hawk

The Sanctuary was thrust in front of the camera last month when the B.B.C. Countryfile team, complete with presenter Ellie Harrison arrived to gather some footage in support of a topical story. 

That story was of author Helen McDonald’s struggle to come to terms with the death of her father and the training of her Goshawk, Mabel, which provided a healing, cathartic outlet for her grief.

Helen spent a day at the Sanctuary with Ellie and the falconers filming some environmental context for her story, which culminated in her flying a Goshawk owned by Head Falconer, Matt Lott.

Ellie watches on as Helen takes a Goshawk on the glove

Ellie watches on as Helen takes a Goshawk on the glove

This was the first time that Helen had flown a hawk since the death of her beloved Mabel and the expression on her face suggested that it is one flight that she will not forget!

Local school children were able to share the day with Ellie and Helen and after marvelling at Willow the Harris Hawk in flight, took part in a lively question and answer session with General Manager, Andy Hulme.

Helen’s award-winning book “H for Hawk” has been acclaimed as one of the most emotive and evocative reads of recent years: watching the genuine response of the children to these awe inspiring birds proved a wonderful affirmation of the co-existence of man and nature.


In the words of Laura Beatty - one of H for Hawk’s many reviewers, “…..it deepens what we have always known; that we live side by side with each other, as we do with the creatures around us”