The evolution of Owen Williams’ relationship with wildlife will be familiar to many who shoot, but his efforts to help the species that have starred along the way extend far beyond the norm.

The Owen Williams x Schöffel Country collection comprises three styles of shirts in eight sizes and a classic fit, three scarves and a handkerchief set in a Lapwing, Woodcock and Curlew print.

Inspiration from the field

The best collaborations tend to bring together like minds, and that certainly rings true here. Sustainability is central to Schöffel’s vision and Owen’s philosophy when it comes to shooting and countryside management.

SHOP THE LAPWING PRINT

Meet Owen Williams

Some people become interested in nature through carrying a pair of binoculars. Owen’s intrigue bloomed while carrying a gun. Captivated by the evocative descriptions of wildfowling and punt-gunning in Peter Scott’s autobiography, as a youngster Owen yearned to experience what he describes as “the heightened excitement of being outdoors in all weathers, hunting”. Growing up in West Wales, adventures in pursuit of pigeons and corvids soon evolved into forays after wild ducks and snipe. And so began a fascination with the natural world that would shape his life.

Owen was 14 when he first wet the bristles of a watercolour brush to record a memorable shooting experience. “I was beating myself up about a missed chance while duck flighting one winter’s evening,” he recalls. “A pair of teal had pitched onto the water beside my hand-painted polystyrene decoy. I was mesmerised and forgot to push the safety catch forward. As I fumbled with the gun, the birds sprung to safety - but the picture was just so vivid that I had to paint it when I got home.”

Decades later and his art still retains a sense of atmosphere and nostalgia that confirms the passion is yet to fade. He captures moods and moments in the natural world through beautiful use of light in landscapes. And his affinity for the species that also feature - think red stags in heather-clad gullies, diving otters in lucid pools, and peregrines wheeling over rocky clifftops - leaps from the paper.

But it is the wading birds - and, more specifically, woodcock - with which Owen is most associated. So, it came as no surprise that the recently unveiled collection of ladies’ shirts, scarves and handkerchiefs, produced by Schöffel Country with Owen’s input, features three of our most iconic waders.

The UK’s breeding curlew population has halved in the past 25 years. Lapwing numbers are in sharp decline – falling by a third in just ten years. Research by the GWCT and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) shows a decline in the population size and breeding range of our resident woodcock since 1970.

Find out more about waders, current research projects and how you can help these species, on the GWCT website.

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