Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Light

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Light

Guest post by Andrew Fusek Peters

Gripe

I am lying on a small slope, a heathland in miniature carved from the litter of old mine workings. High summer, with the heather in bloom and the grasses revealing small, roosting secrets. By day, the walkers and tourists wander, peeking in and out of roofless engine houses chasing lives and their echo long gone. Darters and damselflies buzz round with clockwork precision and graylings almost merge into the rocky substrata that suits them so well. But now, in this evening soft-light, the cars have departed and this patch of nearby wild almost belongs to me. Read more

Nature Needs Living Soil

Nature Needs Living Soil

Guest post by Sarah Watkinson

Why farmland nature needs help

Caroline Lucas, speaking at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2019 this week, criticised the Agriculture Bill at present going through parliament as lacking in firm provisions relating to farmland nature: little on environmental regulation post-Brexit, and nothing on public health. But evidence is accumulating that a robust and accessible natural environment is essential for human mental and physical health. The deterioration of the environment affects the most vulnerable people; children are growing up in ignorance of the joys of wild nature. We forget we are part of creation; humans are just one branch on the tree of life. For us, nature is not a luxury, not just a week-end destination, but a necessity for health and happiness; to be cut off from nature is sensory deprivation.

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The Nearby Wild I Fell in Love With as a Child

The Nearby Wild I Fell in Love With as a Child

 Guest post by Rachel Everett

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love nature. Or, more than that, didn’t feel immersed in, absorbed by, nature. Face down, lying on the smooth concrete surrounding my parents’ 1950s tank of a pond, nose almost to the water; so, so, close to the smooth newts as they tail flicked and nudged, peering into the green water for the telltale wrapping of a single egg in a curly Canadian pondweed leaf. When I was older, boyfriends and makeup held no competition for days wandering the local woods with heavy, too-big-for-me, binoculars slung around my neck, scouting for birds or badger prints. Or down by the weirs, dipping for snails and beetles, the rush of the river in my ears.

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Plant an Apple Tree Today

Plant an Apple Tree Today

Guest post by Dave Goulson

[Adapted from The Garden Jungle, to be published by Jonathan Cape in July 2019]

It was because of my love for cider that I discovered the joy of growing apples, and now apples have become something of an obsession for me. You might wonder what there is to get so excited about. The apple is perhaps the most commonplace and familiar of garden trees; many people have one and don’t even bother to pick the fruit, just allowing them to rot on the lawn (which is not such a bad thing – blackbirds and a host of insects will enjoy munching them right through autumn into early winter). To my eternal mystification, those same people may buy apples in plastic bags from their local supermarket, even while ripe fruit hangs on the tree in their garden.

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Magic in the Meadow – Field Notes During the Making of a Wildlife Documentary

Magic in the Meadow – Field Notes During the Making of a Wildlife Documentary

Filming wildlife is both rewarding and challenging. To skilfully capture wildlife behaviour on camera in their habitat requires technical expertise and a great deal of patient observation. Occasionally the help of a field assistant is required who may have expertise of particular wildlife, or may be needed as an extra pair of eyes in the field. The first time I worked for Stephen de Vere in this role was for his second wildlife documentary: Return to the River: Diary of a Wildlife Cameraman

“An uncut meadow in June is perhaps one of
the most unsung wonders of the British countryside.
It is like a forest in miniature”

Stephen de Vere

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For the Love of Butterflies – A Poet Goes Wild Nearby

For the Love of Butterflies – A Poet Goes Wild Nearby

Guest post by Jonathan Bradley

Even though our beautiful butterflies are endangered by damage to our natural environment you can still enjoy their company, perhaps more than you think. They can give us lots of pleasure, and in my own case butterflies have caused me to write and publish a collection of poems inspired by them. It is called Papiliones, and the title means “butterflies” in Latin. You don’t need to be a scientist or environmental activist to feel passionate about butterflies. I am not an expert about the natural sciences, but I just love seeing them and writing about them. Read more

UPLAND – One Man’s Call for his Nearby Wild

UPLAND – One Man’s Call for his Nearby Wild

Guest post by Andrew Fusek Peters

Only a few minutes away from my house, the Shropshire Hills raise themselves up the sky where they encompass the two fragile and beautiful nature reserves of the Stiperstones and Long Mynd. My three years of work for Natural England and the National Trust have resulted in Upland, which I hope contains all the love I feel for these wild places. Read more

The Importance of Curlews: Dream Big

The Importance of Curlews: Dream Big

Guest post by Mary Colwell

I like the title of this blog – Nearby Wild, it succinctly describes what we all want – to have wildness in abundance on our doorstep, nosing in through the garden gate, fluttering around our shrubs, buzzing about the flowers, singing in the trees. I wish I were describing the reality of wild Britain, but this richness is mostly an aspiration as we have lost so much of our wildlife over the last 50 years.

But it is good to have dreams to work towards. Read more

How to Rescue a Goldcrest or Any Bird That Hits a Window

How to Rescue a Goldcrest or Any Bird That Hits a Window

Whilst working on the computer, I heard a thud on the window which sounded as though it may have been a bird. Much to my surprise a beautiful goldcrest was lying on the mini meadow on its front just beneath the sitting-room window with its small, olive-green wings spread out, dazed and motionless.

It was raining lightly and freezing cold which would not help it survive the shock of the impact. Read more

Why an Encounter With an Otter and Cubs in my Local Patch was Extra Special!

Why an Encounter With an Otter and Cubs in my Local Patch was Extra Special!

I had a gut feeling that I would see otters before setting out that morning into the otherworldly mist before dawn. But my head often questions whether my heart is right, so I wasn’t sure. About fifteen minutes after arriving at the lake, I saw an otter’s head emerge from its waters in a nearby bay. It was clearly a female by the size of the head. Read more