This is a rabbit's eye view of Efrafa.
A rabbit's eye view
of Efrafa.
The Real Watership Down Header

"The Real Watership Down" presents photographs taken in the early 1980's of the area covered by the book, film and TV series of:

Richard Adams's 'Watership Down'


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Bigwig (Thlayli) Richard Adams set his book 'Watership Down' in the region he grew up in. This is a real place south of Newbury, Berkshire, England.

So, the rabbits of the Sandleford Warren originally lived in Berkshire. They moved across the border into Hampshire one dark night to live on the most famous and recognizable down of them all - Watership Down. Many people think they know what Watership Down looks like because they've seen the 1978 film, or the TV series. But is that the "Real" Watership Down? Here you can Watership Down really looks like.

This is Watership Down from the north.
Watership Down from the north.
High-res

This website includes photographs I took many years ago, in the early 1980's. The years have been kind to some, but less so to others. Some were in bad shape right from the start! Most are available in high-resolution for printing or as windows wallpaper etc. Look for the High-res button.

I've added quotes from the book and/or the film and, in most cases, a few notes. Who am I? My name is Chris Boyce, I'm an engineer from the UK and this, the Real Watership Down, is my website.

The now long-gone official website for the TV series which was released in the UK and Canada in 2000 used photos and other images from an earlier version of this website as does the region 4 DVD of the film released by Big Sky Video in December 2003.


Hampshire map
Location map for Watership Down in Hampshire.
So, if its a real place, where is Watership Down?

Its in the south of England. Most of the area covered by the book Watership Down lies in Hampshire, though the rabbits started off in Berkshire. The small river Enbourne marks the boundary between Berkshire to the North and Hampshire to the South. The nearest town is Newbury to the north. The city of Winchester is less than ten miles south or Watership Down. Watership itself is one of the North Hampshire Downs.

I drew the main map using OCAD 6 from the Marilyn Hemmett map as printed in the first and some later editions of Watership Down. The map to the left shows the Watership Down area in relation to the south of England, it is derived from a larger map that used to be at the Hampshire County website.

Get Firefox! I recommend using Firefox to view the Real Watership Down. Just don't mention it to Bigwig.


Blackberry's Fascinating Facts

“Coltsfoot are for Owsla – don’t you know
that?” Barked Toadflax to Hazel and Fiver.
Yes, well we do indeed like coltsfoot, but don’t feed us toadflax, bluebell, holly, nor lettuce.
None are flayrah, all are bad for rabbits
and should not be fed to us.

Why El-ahrairah went to all that trouble to
steal lettuces is beyond me.

Blackberry knows all sorts of interesting facts about Watership Down.

Blackberry here will tell you all sorts of interesting and little-known facts about Watership Down. He really is clever you know... for a rabbit that is! Look out for him!


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'The Real Watership Down'

Photographs 1997, Chris Boyce.
Essays 2004, Chris Boyce.
Website 2009, Chris Boyce.