Watership Down

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Name: Watership Down
Creator: Richard Adams
Date(s): 1972 (novel), 1978 (film), 1996 (BBC series), 2018 (Netflix series)
Medium: book; adapted for film, television
Country of Origin: UK
External Links: Wikipedia (novel),

Wikipedia (movie),
Wikipedia (BBC series),
Wikipedia (Netflix series).Watership Down FanWiki

Fanmade book cover by wreckham. Can be found here.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Watership Down is a small rarelit fandom, based on the children's novel about a group of anthropomorphised rabbits by Richard Adams, as well as its adaptations. Adams also completed a book of short stories, Tales from Watership Down (1996). It includes a dictionary of his invented language.

The story involves a group of rabbits who leave their home warren at the urgings of Fiver, a small rabbit who foretells terrible disaster. With Fiver's brother Hazel leading them, they journey across the English landscape and survive many dangers before coming to Watership Down and starting a new warren. They then realise they've neglected to include any female rabbits. With the help of a seagull, Kehaar, they find Efrafa which is ruled by the dictator General Woundwort and when diplomacy fails, they use trickery to achieve their ends and rescue a number of does. When Woundwort launches an attack on Watership in retaliation, Hazel embarks on a desperate plan to save the warren, while his friend Bigwig battles the General.


Sandleford Warren

  • Hazel
  • Bigwig
  • Fiver
  • Blackberry
  • Pipkin
  • Dandelion
  • Silver
  • Buckthorn
  • Hawkbit, Speedwell and Acorn
  • Holly
  • Bluebell

Cowslip's Warren

  • Cowslip
  • Strawberry
  • Silverweed

Nuthanger Farm

  • Clover
  • Boxwood
  • Haystack
  • Laurel
  • Lucy, the farmer's daughter
  • Tab, the Cat
  • The Dog


  • General Woundwort
  • Campion
  • Hyzenthlay
  • Thethuthinnang
  • Vilthuril
  • Vervain
  • Blackavar
  • Avens
  • Groundsel


  • Kehaar
  • El-ahrairah
  • Prince Rainbow
  • Rabscuttle
  • Black Rabbit of Inlé


Film Adaptation

An animated film of the novel was released in 1978 and was relatively faithful to the novel. Its theme song 'Bright Eyes' by Art Garfunkel was a number one hit in the UK. The film adaptation generally seems to be considered to be the best adaptation out of those that have happened so far as it follows the book's plot relatively faithfully. This includes some graphic - and very disturbing - scenes of the destruction of the Sandleford Warren, Bigwing in the snare at Cowslip's warren and Bigwing's fight with General Woundwort, to the point the movie is considered traumatising for a particular generation[1].

BBC Miniseries

A television series ran for three seasons in 1999-2001, with many changes from book canon to make it fluffier, including gender-switching Blackberry and making Pipkin a young, adventurous rabbit instead of a small, timid adult. While part of the first season followed the book, the latter half of season 1 and seasons 2 and 3 were entirely new content.

Netflix Series

The Netflix CGI animated series was released in 2018, with James McAvoy providing the voice of Hazel. While the first half of the movie followed the book, there were a number of changes from the Nuthanger Farm raid onwards, including making Clover more of a central character and having her captured by Efrafans and wooed by Woundwort. The infiltration of Efrafa becomes a mission to rescue Clover (as well as freeing the does).


Watership Down is a much loved novel & film. It has generated a small amount of fanfiction. Stories at Yuletide & its New Year Resolutions challenge tend to be bookverse and of very high quality. Stories at fanfiction.net date back to 2000, and are often based in the television series. With the release of the new Netflix series, interest in the fandom increased again.

Most stories are gen or non-explicit het. Popular themes include the story of the does, and further tales in the rabbit mythology involving the trickster El-ahrairah & the Black Rabbit of Inle, an incarnation of Death. There are also a number of stories involving inserting an OC (usually female) into the original story.

There's also a little fanart. Luzula and blackglass have recorded a couple of podfics.

Example Fanworks





Recs and Comments



What’s a book you might credit for making you the writer you are today?

I don’t remember a particular book that struck me as the kind of thing I wanted to make myself. But I was really taken with the idea of what we now call fanfiction. You know -- what about a story with these characters? or a story that takes place after these events?

I was given Watership Down when I was 10 or 11, and I was very into the mythology and the world of these rabbits. So again, with me it’s all about animals. [laughs] But I loved how deep the world was, and that adults found it interesting too. Going back to it as an adult, I could see all the political themes throughout it. I was fascinated by how the story works on multiple levels, as an allegory, but also as an adventure story. I love that idea that a book can speak to something deeper, but it doesn’t need to if that’s not what the reader needs from it.

Kelley to Kobo Blog[2]

Archives, Communities & Resources



  1. ^ "A piercing screen: How Watership Down terrified an entire generation," by Ed Power, The Independent, October 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "In conversation with K. L. Armstrong Kobo Blog". 2020-07-17. Archived from the original on 2022-03-29.