Thorny hedges

The joyful sight and sound of a pair of nest building long-tailed tits bustling through a hedge flags up the importance of hedgerows. My blogs can too often dive into gritty countryside issues that distract from the joys out there by there being too much grit in the eye. This one is about the joy … Continue reading Thorny hedges

Fey living

An unpublished letter to the Times Literary Supplement in response to an opinion article on the ‘latest crop of nature-writing books’ Dear Sir While Nick Groom found ‘fey living’ on a retro-farmed wheat field preferable to a ‘teen fantasy’ of rewilding, both his oversimplification and polarised nature of the piece made it almost misleading. It didn’t start well. … Continue reading Fey living

Digging dialogue

We need better social science to work closer with farmers and land managers – many of whom are conservationists. End of year round up – click links to blogs. The pressures on farmers today are immense. Working out how farmers think is a seriously ignored matter and requires us to come closer together to work on common ground issues. … Continue reading Digging dialogue

Elite nature

Offence is not a defence. I should have had the maxim in my head when I complained about the dumbed down language in the ‘Bob for Nature’ letter I received a few years back.  I rang the head office. Could someone please explain the sentence to me “despite our efforts…..ancient woodlands destroyed, hedgerows flailed and … Continue reading Elite nature

Pollen counts

As my office in the Black Mountains is invaded by hoverflies seeking holes for hibernation, I journey to London to chair a discussion on the National Pollinator Strategy. When the Public Policy Exchange asked me to moderate ‘Promoting Community Partnerships: tackling the decline of pollinating insects in the UK’ (involving a Research Council, enviro groups, academia, farm conservation advisor … Continue reading Pollen counts

Guest blog.

Gareth Dockerty worked for Natural Resources Wales as a Conservation Officer and Reserves Manager, and has qualifications in woodland, conservation grazing and ecology. He has also worked in North York Moors National Park on small rural business development and is currently Regional Officer for BASC in North Yorkshire.  The uplands face an array of often … Continue reading Guest blog.

Trusting times

Farm tenancies for a pound, controversial views on farming subsidies, ‘pricing out’ upland farmers – the National Trust hasn’t held back from headlines this year.                                (Updated Aug 17) A quarter of a century ago, I worked for the trust as … Continue reading Trusting times

Collective sticks

We could say that the UK is suffering from agoraphobia – anxiety where sufferers perceive a space over which they have little or no control.  The word originates from early Greek when citizens would gather in the agora, a wide open gathering place, to hear news. It also served as a marketplace where merchants sold their … Continue reading Collective sticks

Bypassing fear

I’ve been coming up against a lot of fear recently. Fear of hearing about rewilding, fear of talk around predator control, fear within politics. We can outwit it. No one has said anything explicit, but I perceive there are some that dislike my providing the issue of rewilding with any airtime at all. The label, … Continue reading Bypassing fear