charles rangeley-wilson – writing about fishing, travel, rivers, conservation

About Charles


I was born in Africa, moved back to England when I was small, went to a Catholic boarding school in Sussex and did my degree at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University.

I used to teach Art but nowadays I work as a writer, conservationist and river restorationist.

My most recent book Silver Shoals is about the natural and unnatural histories of five species of fish that have shaped British history. Before that Silt Road was a story of the English landscape told through the history of a lost suburban river. The two before that, Somewhere Else and The Accidental Angler were anthologies of fishing and travel stories, as much about place and people as fish and fishing.

My work has been published in various magazines and newspapers including Country Life, Countryfile, The Sunday Telegraph, The Field, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Trout and Salmon Magazine, The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and The Independent.

I’ve done some work for TV and including writing and presenting the critically-acclaimed BBC4 film ‘Fish! – A Japanese Obsession’ about the cultural relationship between the Japanese, fish and fishing.

I am passionate about river conservation with a particular interest in the history, restoration and preservation of chalk-streams. I’m honoured to be a vice-president of the Wild Trout Trust and an Ambassador for the Angling Trust, and the brilliant Wye and Usk Foundation. 

I’m currently running a catchment-scale restoration programme on the River Nar in Norfolk which you can read about HERE.

You can email me by using my full surname without the hyphen followed by the at symbol, followed by me followed by dot com

15 Responses to “About Charles”

  1. M Gordon

    Hi Charles

    I just finished watching your program where you were trying to catch a trout in London. The program was quite sad, pollution and waste destroying the waterways.

    Did any other people cleaning up the Womble think about stocking the river with brown trout to give the population a boost?

    I would have thought the numbers of chub would make the trouts recovery much more difficult so sticking with some larger trout may have helped.

    I enjoyed the show and share your view on how we need to start helping nature more often.

  2. rangeley

    Hi, thanks for the note. The Wandle has been stocked with trout fry via the Trout in the Classroom scheme. I don’t think any adult trout have been put in lately. The trout are now spawning and I believe that there is evidence that the spawning is successful. The Wandle Trust organise litter clear-outs: if ever you’re interested in helping I’m sure they’d like the support. Best wishes.

  3. Edward

    Dear Charles,

    The Wye is in the news again – sadly.

    Wycombe Council plan to build 350 houses next to it at Slate Meadow, one of the last open spaces along its banks. This is juts above where it meets the Thames at Woburn Green.

    There is a protest group; one for Slate Meadow and one for Bourne End. In total the Council wants to put another site of 350 houses on green feild near Bourne End too.
    There is url which is and there are Group Facebook pages for Slate Meadow
    and DDBE.

    I live in Cookham and will write to Wycombe Council by the 8h August deadline

    Is there any way you can also add your weight to the protest if you feel this is appropriate ?

    I am sure all concerned would welcome it. In addition if there was anyone else with a strong media presence whom you could suggest we approach that would be a great help too.

    Thank you in advance for considering this approach.
    Edward Donald

  4. rangeley

    Dear Edward, I’m very sorry to have seen this a bit late in the day. I know Slate Meadow well. I was there only a few weeks ago. I have written a blog post in the hope of rousing a it of support to your cause. If the planners do go ahead, please try to insist they make room for the river and build in a generous parcel of riverside water-meadow, properly incorporated into the river itself. I’d be very happy to lend ideas if it came to that. Let’s hope they listen in the first place. Charles.

  5. Neil Marshall

    Hi Charles,

    I’m head over heels for the “Fish – A Japanese Obsession” documentary, but it’s maddeningly difficult to find a way to watch it. Is there a way to get myself a copy from somewhere that I can keep?

  6. rangeley

    Not easily Mark, but drop me an email. I may be able to get a copy from the production company.

  7. Tim Weston

    Hi Charles, I am very much looking forward to your talk at CountryFile Live. I very much doubt you will remember me but I am mentioned in your accidental angler book, the red headed keeper at Holbury trout lakes.

    I will be demonstrating wild meat butchery and cooking on the Gamekeeping Zone stand D66 if you fancy popping by please do. Will also be in the audience in the theatre.


  8. rangeley

    Really sorry not to reply sooner, Tim. I was away until just before the show. But I hope you made it along. Paul Whitehouse was very good value. You’ve got me on Holbury trout lakes though. Have I ever been there? You’re not thinking of Testwood are you and a feature I wrote in The Field?

  9. Caspar Sewell

    Hi Charles, just wanted to say Silt Road is one of the best books I’ve ever read…. And I’ve read a lot…. Though I’m probably partisan, my mum lives in an old cottage along the Wye, near the George IV pub.. And I spend many hours fishing not trout, but shopping trolleys out of our particular unfurling segment of the invisible artery that is our Reason Wye.. I can’t help feeling your talents as a writer/ poet/ mystic are generally undervalued, so I thought I’d throw my penny in and say.. What a fucking fantastic book… keep writing.. and forward to the next whatever,-it-is!!

  10. rangeley

    Dear Caspar, thank you so much for your supportive note! Silt Road was a difficult book to write and maybe a difficult one to read. I’ve had some lovely feedback over the years, but yours must come close to the top of the pile! I really appreciate your kind words and that you got what I was trying to do. It really does make a difference; it makes the long slog of writing a book more than worthwhile. I know exactly where your Mum lives and what you mean by invisible artery. I hope the council are persisting with their plans to exhume the river through the town. I go back at least once a year to see how it all looks and I’m very, very fond of that river. With best wishes, Charles.

  11. James Bennett

    Dear Charles,

    Last time we were in contact you were responding to my request for advice on where to fish on a summer holiday to scotland. Thank you, I caught a few.

    I hope that you are well and life after Canford has been rewarding. I went to vet school. I fish in Devon, after trout on the Upper Teign and Bray, sea trout (without success) and salmon (without success!) on the Taw. The fishing trip to the Lyn you ran in 1995 gave me my first taste of Devon trout and I have never looked back.

    I saw your post on Facebook. What dates are still available, if any?

    Sorry for the brief message. I have your books and have really enjoyed them. I am between ops and saw the post and have just dashed this off.

    With best wishes,


    Monteacute 1998.

  12. rangeley

    Hi James, I’m delighted to hear that you’re still fishing. You need to drop me an email about fishing the Frome. Go via the contact me page. Hope the ops were not serious. Of course you may mean ops on animals! best ever, Charles.

  13. Charles Meynell

    Dear Charles

    I have just read your book ‘Silver Shoals’ and rarely have I come across a fishing writer so elegantly informative, witty and poignant at the same time. And like Caspar’s tribute, it’s one of the best I’ve ever read of ALL books! I’m going to have to buy the rest now….

    I fish mainly in Derbyshire (trout/ grayling/pike) but also in Cornwall (sea bass on the fly), Yorkshire’s R. Ure (red fish!), the Herefordshire Wye (more red fish) and the Tyne system (yes, more salmon). I am frequently up in Norfolk as I play cricket there and have many friends on the North coast around Wells-next-the-Sea, pitifully few fishermen though.

    I would love to meet you one day and hopefully will grab a moment at the Game Fair or some such!

    I will be giving Silver Shoals as a present henceforth and wholeheartedly recommending it to all my fishing buddies. Keep up the fantastic writing!

    Yours ever
    Charles Meynell

  14. rangeley

    Thanks Charles. I always appreciate feedback, especially such nice feedback! There’s some good fishing in Norfolk if you know where to look so let me know (via the email on the contact page) when you’re next up playing cricket. Best wishes, Charles.

  15. Tony Hammer

    God bless ya! Misspent my childhood and youth on the Stour and well remember the grayling at Corfe Mullen. No otters or cormorants then, they’ve taken care of the big fat chub who would take a dry zulu if we were lucky. Caught a 2.5 lb perch and a smaller tench in the weir pool when at Canford. I owe a lot to that place. Live in Canada now. Addicted to rooster fish on light tackle.

    All the best,


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