Marion Shoard | Writer : Broadcaster : Speaker

News and Events

The Sunday Programme

Marion was a panellist on BBC Radio Kent's The Sunday Programme on October 7th and offered a 'thought for the day'. You can listen to the programme by clicking this link.

The Invention of Later Life

On August 28th Marion gave a talk about the invention of the concept of later life and myths surrounding the practical realities confronting older people to Enfield over 50s Forum in Enfield, London.

Panel discussion about Ageism

On 28 June 2018 Marion took part in a panel discussion with Lara Crisp (the editor of Gransnet), Phoebe Grudzinskas (the project director of Cocktails in Care Homes) and the writer and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter at the Royal Society for Public Health in London about the report the Royal Society published with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation earlier in June about ageism, 'That Age Old Question'. The discussion was chaired by the chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Shirley Cramer.

Myths about Ageing

On 27 June 2018 Marion gave a talk at a meeting of the Medway Pensioners Forum in Rochester in which she discussed myths about ageing and the development of the idea of later life.

Ageism debate

On June 8th, Marion debated the nature of ageism in society with Chloe Pelly on BBC 1's Victoria Derbyshire programme and also with Rachael Bland and Chris Mason on BBC Radio Five 5's 5 live Drive in the wake of the publication of an important report by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Royal Society for Public Health entitled 'That Age Old Question'.

How Churches can Help Older People

On June 8th, the Church of England Newspaper published a feature article by Marion in which she put forward ten aspects of the lives of older people of which clergy should be aware, from the limitations of retirement housing to healthcare rights set down in the NHS Constitution and the value of Guarantee Pension Credit.

Talks to Older People's Groups

Marion often gives talks to older people's organisations, in particular older people's forums and University of the Third Age groups. On March 10th 2018, for example, she addressed about 200 members of York U3A, putting forward 'My Top Ten Tips for Later Life'.

Housing Choices in Later Life

Marion gave a talk about housing choices in later life at the Love Later Life information and advice day organised by The Abbeyfield Kent Society at Northfleet, Kent on 25th October.

The British Countryside after Brexit

Marion gave a talk to civil servants at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 24th October in which she put forward a package of proposals for countryside policy post-Brexit.

Understanding the Edgelands

Marion gave a talk about the special character of edgeland landscapes and the threats faced by the edgelands around London at a Museum of London soirée hosted by the architectural historian Tom Keeley and writer Ken Worple on October 10th. She wrote an award-winning essay entitled Edgelands in 2002.

Wild Camping

Marion discussed the ban on wild camping in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park with travel writer Phoebe Smith on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours on 29th September 2017.

Launch of How to Handle Later Life

On September 27th, Marion gave a talk at the launch of her book How to Handle Later Life at Waterstones Tunbridge Wells entitled 'My top ten tips about later life... and a radical new idea'.

Call for access to woodland

Marion gave a talk about the history of the struggle over land rights in Britain and the need for greater rights of access for walkers, especially a legal right to walk in all woods, at an 800th anniversary celebration of the Charter of the Forest on September 17th, 2017. The Charter of the Forest was a key accompaniment to Magna Marta. The event was organised by New Putney Debates and took place on a barge travelling along the River Thames from Windsor to Runnymede.

New book on older people's issues

In September 2017, Marion's new book, How to Handle Later Life, was published by Amaranth Books. Its 1,160 pages provide frank, unsparing and comprehensive guidance to every aspect of ageing, from retirement housing to hospitals, equity release to dementia care.

BBC Radio Nottingham interview

Marion gave a talk about her new book, How to Handle Later Life, at the Lowdham Book Festival on June 2nd. Alan Clifford interviewed her about her talk the day before on BBC Radio Nottingham.

Make the Third Age the Best Age

Marion gave a talk to Bromley U3A on 28th March highlighting the positive - and negative - aspects of being an older person in today's Britain.

Tackling loneliness in later life

Marion chaired a conference in Edinburgh exploring isolation for older people on 22nd March, organised by Holyrood Communications.

What does the budget mean for older people?

Marion was on BBC Breakfast on 8th and 9th March analysing spending priorities for older people in the budget. The programme was filmed at the Bournville Gardens retirement village in Birmingham.

The future of the countryside post-Brexit

Marion was on BBC Breakfast on 9 September 2016 discussing the implications of the referendum result on agricultural subsidies, access, recreation and rewilding. The broadcast was from the top of Stanage Edge in the Peak District.

Critic's Book of the Year

Mark Cocker singled out This Land is Our Land (Gaia Books, 1997) as one of his two chosen books in the New Statesman's Critics' Books of the Year in 2014. Mark Cocker writes: "Overtaken to some extent by developments in the last twenty years, Marion Shoard's This Land is Our Land is still a patiently constructed and authoritative classic on the injustices associated with land ownership and land access in Britain. A must for everyone who cares about nature, land, politics, law and life in this country." (New Statesman, 14-20 November, 2014)

Outdoor Personality of the Year

Marion was shortlisted in the category Outdoor Personality of the Year by the magazine The Great Outdoors for its The Great Outdoors Awards 2013. The winner, announced in Kendal on 13th November 2013, was the bushcraft expert and TV personality Ray Mears. Marion would like to thank everybody who voted for her and to congratulate Ray Mears on his well-deserved award.

Access rights in Scotland

Marion was interviewed by Cameron McNeish about the history of the struggle over access to Scotland's mountains and the importance of wild country for the BBC Scotland programme The Adventure Show: The Scottish National Trail, 2: Aberfeldy to Cape Wrath, which was broadcast on 28th December, 2012 at 7 pm. You can watch it on the BBC iplayer here

The Edgelands

Marion discussed the value of edgelands and their future planning with the authors of the book Edgelands (poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts) at a symposium at the Campaign to Protect Rural England in London on 7th November, 2012. You can read about the event here

You can listen to Marion's opening speech here

The history of the struggle over access to Britain's countryside

Marion reviewed Sinclair McKay's book about the history of the battle to secure rights of access for walkers to the countryside in The Guardian in June, 2012.

Talking about death - Marion Shoard appears on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour

How can middle-aged children cope psychologically with the death of their parents for the remainder of their own lives? How can families deal with the taboo surrounding death which has replaced the taboo on sex in recent years?

Marion Shoard discussed these matters on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour on June 28th.

Click here to listen to the broadcast and for more information.

The fight for our forests isn't won

Marion urges a right of access to all woodland in an article in The Guardian's Comment is Free and a speech on the South Downs on 12 May, 2011

Read the article here.

Why the outdoors is important

The April issue of Trail magazine features the response of a range of people whose work is inspired by an attraction for the outdoors just what it is that fires them up.

Here is Marion's response.

The poetry of the edgelands

In 2002 Marion Shoard wrote an award-winning essay entitled Edgelands, which she discussed on such programmes as Newsnight, Thinking Allowed and Start The Week.Now, poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmonds Roberts have written a book called Edgelands: Journeys into England´┐Żs True Wilderness, which explores the role of the unique environment of the edgelands in our cultural imagination.

You can read Marion's essay about the Edgelands and her review for The Observer of Farley and Symmonds Roberts' book and you can listen to an interview with Marion and the poets about the edgelands broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Open Country programme on 26 March, 2011.

The impact of the right to roam legislation

What has been the impact of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act's 'right to roam' legislation in England and Wales?

Marion Shoard discusses this question with the features editor of Trail magazine, Phoebe Smith, during a trek across previously inaccessible grouse moor in Lancashire's Forest of Bowland. Marion urges Trail readers to make use of newly accessible areas such as this in the November 2010 issue of Trail.

This article and its photographs are reproduced courtesy of Trail magazine, whose website can be found at

Lifetime Achievement Award

Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild - Golden Eagle Award

Receiving the Outdoor Writers & Photographers Guild - Golden Eagle Award from Guild president, Roly Smith. Photo by Jon Sparks

On November 7th, 2009 Marion Shoard was presented with the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild’s lifetime achievement award at the Guild’s annual awards ceremony.

The award takes the form of an original landscape painting by David Bellamy of a place selected by the winner featuring a golden eagle flying overhead; she asked David to paint a scene on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

Previous winners of this particular award – the Golden Eagle award for lifetime achievement in the outdoors field – have included Sir Chris Bonington CBE , Sir David Attenborough, Doug Scott CBE and the late Chris Brasher CBE.

Marion was the first solo woman to have received the award. The winner is selected as a result of voting by the OWPG’s members..

In her speech Marion drew attention to what she saw as a new ‘Theft of the Countryside’ Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild - Golden Eagle Award.