UPLAND – One Man’s Call for his Nearby Wild

curlew in flight

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.

‘UPLAND – Shropshire’s Long Mynd and the Stiperstones’ by Andrew Fusek Peters – published June 2017Though I have lived here all my adult life, the commission to photograph the flora and fauna gave me an excuse to delve deep, building relationships with farming families, locals and conservation groups. Read more

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

Goldcrest display

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

The Hill Above My House

Brown hare in bluebell wood

Guest post by Andrew Fusek Peters

Four years ago, when I was still working as a children’s author, if you had told me that I would hug nearby hedgelines, crawl through muddy fields, and stand in sad imitation of a tree in order to photograph hares, stoats and short eared owls, I would have laughed.

The hill above my village was for long walks, dreams, poetry, stops to chat to locals and enjoy the view over the Shropshire valleys I have lived in all my adult life. A breakdown and recovery from severe clinical depression in my mid forties changed everything. Read more

How to Save the Water Vole: A Neighbourly Guide

Water vole

Thanks to my daughter, I was recently made aware of a water vole in a village pond one morning. Being passionate about water voles, I made my way there the same evening in great excitement. It would be my first pond vole, ever! On arrival, I immediately saw the tell-tale signs of a hidden water vole: vegetation periodically twitching as stems of Fool’s watercress were nipped by this invisible gardener. A few moments later, I glimpsed a small juvenile with its rich chestnut coat.

Eventually, a charming adult water vole with its round, chubby face appeared in full view. Read more

My Early Nature Connection; Home, Play and Special Mentors

Aunty Betty and me

Guest post by Ginny Battson.

Most of my life has involved nature as my adventure. I ask myself why. My connection with non-human lives has been a constant ember within me, aside only during a period of traumatic bereavement, another story. I acknowledge this bond was securely founded in early childhood.

I think it came in two main parts.

Firstly, I was fortunate to live, play and imagine among nature with effortless ease, growing up in a particularly biodiverse corner of North Herefordshire. It was a hamlet of a few houses dotted around a hill, but mostly of woods, streams, tracks and open common land. Read more

Jo’s Mini Meadow 3 – How Does Nature Come to be Regarded as Kith and Kin?

Male Orange-tip butterfly

On seeing soft pink apple blossoms in my mini orchard meadow open in warm spring sunshine, I am dreamily taken back to memories of my childhood.

Jo Cartmell
© 2015 Jo Cartmell

It was an idyllic, nature connected childhood which started as soon as I was able to walk, as you can see by the muddy fingerprints on my beautiful white dress which had doubtless been spotless when my mother had put it on me that morning. I was constantly playing with the mud, or sitting in the garden playing with woodlice, or watching butterflies and other wildlife that I found there. You can see that I was outdoors a great deal by my very tanned face! When I was about 5 years old, my father showed me a butterfly chrysalis in the garden shed and I was fascinated. Read more