Barefoot at the Lake


Bruce Fogle’s evocative account of one summer, in 1954, when his eyes are opened to the complexities of girls, adults and the natural world. Now with a foreword by Ben Fogle.

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A beautiful memoir of summer people and water creatures, which illustrates the formative effects of nature on children by an author who has forged a career caring for animals. For readers of Raynor Winn’s THE SALT PATH, John Lewis-Stemple’s STILL WATER and Gerald Durrell’s MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS.

Year after year the family returns to the lake. The children, barefoot and free, explore its sun-drenched wilderness.

The summer Bruce turns ten seems, at first, like any other: swimming out to the raft, watching the gulls, frogs and herons, catching crayfish. But just when he thinks that life is perfect, everything begins to change, and over the course of two months both the harshness of the adult world and the patterns of the natural reveal themselves.

Barefoot at the Lake is not only a beautifully written boy’s-eye view of the animals, humans and landscape of his youth, it is also delightfully funny, with a moving wisdom at its heart.

‘A long, hot summer’s day of a book, full of wonderful stories, poignant memories and acute observations of the natural world’

Kate Humble


‘Enchantingly written. Gently and lovingly, Bruce Fogle’s writing highlights something we are in danger of losing forever: that we can understand ourselves most profoundly only in relation to the wilderness’

Ruth Padel

Read an extract.


The ebook is also available to buy from your favourite e-retailers.