Smokin’ salmon

Drawn to an oceanic feast of spectacles on Blue Planet II and other wildlife TV, closer to home, another spectacular is under way as we munch on cheap salmon sandwiches. Atlantic salmon are moving at the moment. Migratory instincts demanding the fish drive forward, bashing against rocks, jostling at the foot of waterfalls, ramming through … Continue reading Smokin’ salmon

Together for wildlife

The first national conference on farmer cluster groups with Natural England was a ‘swell’ event. The room was awash with the exchange of ideas, chests swelling with pride as farmers restored stone curlews to farmland, yellowhammers to hedgerows, brown trout to brooks, pollinators to headlands while getting together over beers in their local pubs to … Continue reading Together for wildlife

Framing food and nature – a personal view part II

Prompted by my letter in The Times, I received this from a correspondent who had previously set out his personal framing of farming and nature as a guest blog here (part I). Part II   “Farmers provide multiple outputs – including marketable food and raw materials. Most environmental outputs are not marketable but often result in costs … Continue reading Framing food and nature – a personal view part II

Shooting must make friends

My piece, in verbatim, originally published in Shooting Times magazine June 2017 – now published with reference links and updated addendum. ‘Communication around shooting is far from straightforward. Rob Yorke looks at what the industry could do to bolster shooting’s public image’ For this challenging article, I canvassed opinion from the National Trust, Countryside Alliance … Continue reading Shooting must make friends

Tribal humans

After my guest blog for the RSPB, I noticed very little engagement. Is it too complex or, due to partisan posturing over who ‘owns’ curlew’s recovery, we risk letting it slip below critical? This tribalism risks more than just a wading bird. I’ve had some frank responses in private to my concern voiced above -: … Continue reading Tribal humans

Cuckoo barley

For Andy Roberts, the sound of skylarks singing is a sure sign that spring is on its way. A farmer fresh back onto the land, he outlines his thoughts on timeliness to provide barley, potatoes and birds.  When my brother and I plan to sow spring barley and plant potatoes, we have learnt over the … Continue reading Cuckoo barley

Thorny hedges

A pair of nest-building long-tailed tits flags up the importance of hedgerows. And controversy over their management While I too often dive into gritty countryside issues, the joy I’ve had from long-tailed tits making their nest in a hedge, is not without a subtle lesson. Mine’s a lichen Long-tailed tits are unmistakable. Bustling with extraordinary … 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