Not a blade of grass goes to waste in Transylvania. I meet the stare from nine men each with a razor sharp scythe standing on the hill above me. After asking if I have whisky, one of them lets me swing the simple yet perfectly balanced grass cutting implement a couple of times; stopping to sharpen … Continue reading Intensive bucolic
I want a thriving uplands. Can you see my head? Just. An ‘iconic’ upland bird found only in heathery spots in the UK. Humans strive to manage habitat and control predators so that I produce good numbers to be flushed wild to the gun. Contrary to what you may hear, work is in progress on … Continue reading Fair Game
Extraordinary experiences with raptors make for deep thoughts. Too bright for fishing on a warm summer afternoon high in the Cambrian Mountains, I lie in a rowing boat drifting across the lake listening to the ‘plop’ of brown trout rising. Gazing up to distant clouds, my eyes start to focus on two dark spots getting larger … Continue reading Raptor brutal
The local authority voice was apologetic, ‘I’m sorry but once in the planning system, we have to insist on further ecology surveys – even if the application is to enlarge a pond for wildlife.’ My client, as passionate a naturalist as about doing the right paperwork, let out an exasperated sigh. He had already paid for … Continue reading A precautionary pond
For three hundred and sixty five days a year we jostle, stamp, cajole consume and survive alongside nature. Which itself is of course trying to do exactly the same. Except that we humans are somewhat more dominant in the age of Anthropocene. In 2010, I published a journalistic debate paper (‘New demands; old countryside‘) which changed … Continue reading Dead Poets
Even hardened environmental campaigners could do with more critical friends to help find common ground. Two landowners at opposite end of the country contacted me: one wanted to see hen harriers re-introduced on his farm and another to ‘rewild’ his upland grazed farmland. Problems is that both have been put off, disillusioned even, by dismissive polemic rhetoric … Continue reading Who needs critical friends?