The tale of the tortoise and the dictator

Hermann's tortoise

The survival of a species can sometimes involve a great deal of luck, as I found out on a recent holiday to the island of Menorca. Menorca (Minorca) is an island of around 30 miles by 10, lying off the east coast of Spain. It is a beautiful place, with clear seas, sandy beaches, and a lot of sunshine. It is also far quieter and less developed than its neighbouring island, the famous party island of Mallorca (Majorca). It turns

Continue Reading

Short term and short sighted – Liz Truss’ changes to planning laws

Ah, the irony. In tomorrow’s mini-budget, new chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will reportedly hold good on Liz Truss’s leadership bid promise and rip up the planning rules that block building on green belt land. We can’t say we weren’t warned. Liz Truss was clear about her plans to remove what she sees as pesky rules covering wildlife like bats and newts, and the preservation of green spaces, in the name of greater industrial growth and house building. Not for her the

Continue Reading

Peat extraction – far too little and far too late

The white-faced darter dragonfly

Ahhh, 2010! That was a classic year. Do you remember it? David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed the coalition Government. The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull blew and grounded flight across Europe with clouds of ash. Spoonbills bred in Britain for the first time in three centuries. And in December that year, the coalition Government finally introduced a scheme to end the use of peat in domestic gardens by 2020. It was a voluntary scheme, relying on the industry to get its

Continue Reading

One simple thing you can do to help nature survive

hedgehogs need your help

As the drought extends in the south of Britain, give a thought to all of our wildlife – from bees to birds and all points in between – who cannot simply turn on a tap and get a drink when they need it. As honeydew and nectar dry up on our trees and flowers, and natural ponds bake into concrete, much of our wildlife is struggling. But there is something that you can do to help. Now is the time

Continue Reading

The kids are leaving home

House martin and chick

I am walking on a carpet of freshly-fallen brown leaves that crunch beneath my feet. Welcome to…      summer in Southwest England. As the Southwest of the UK starts to feel the bite of the drought already affecting the Southeast, the trees are responding. Unable to support the loss of moisture that comes from their single, long daily breath, they are discarding some of their leaves and retreating, reducing themselves in the hope of surviving until moisture returns. The

Continue Reading

Finally, increased penalties for hare coursers

Brown hare

Regular readers will know that I love hares. A lot of people do. They have a long, often mystical, association with our countryside, being said to conjure spirits, turn into witches, and dance at the moon. The UK has three species – the brown hare, the mountain hare, and in Northern Ireland, (and one tiny part of Scotland) the Irish hare. I’ll be writing about Britain’s hare species in a future blog. To me, hares are the archetypal wild animals,

Continue Reading

Site Footer