Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Posts in category Wildlife

Silent Summer

Silent Summer

Suddenly it’s quiet in the woods. It happens sometime in July, and it happens almost overnight. Because for large parts of the year the wood is my office, I’m lucky enough to enjoy the seasonal tide of bird song as the sound track of my working day, so when these dramatic changes happen, even I, […]

A wilder future for a bit of Gravenhu...

A wilder future for a bit of Gravenhurst

I first came across the term ‘succession’ in a biological context during my ‘A’ levels, many years ago. Unlike most of the stuff included in those exam courses, it really caught my attention. It wasn’t until well into the first year of the biology degree course I later scraped on to, that I noticed it […]

Wilding, a book review

Wilding, a book review

Wilding, the return of nature to a British farm, Isabella Tree. 2018, pub. Picador If I was writing a review for the back of this book I think “thought provoking” would do nicely. Given freedom to add another word, I’d go for “extremely thought provoking”. Having read the book in the spring after my wife […]

Natural winners and losers

Natural winners and losers

I was chatting to Colin Carpenter recently. It was late in the day and the weather was mild. We were in a chatting mood. Colin runs the Community Tree Trust from a nursery in Maulden and it seems we share a fascination for the natural world as well as a lifelong obsession with trees. We […]

A tale of two ashes

A tale of two ashes

    About eighteen months ago I cut two small ash trees down as part of an effort to make some space for our embryonic charcoal business. These had both been planted in our small wood, Bottoms’ Corner, in February 1999, and had reached a diameter of about fifteen centimetres or so. Their absence meant […]

A madness of cow parsley

A madness of cow parsley

There’s a lot of it about this year; cow parsley that is. I’ve noticed more of it than usual along roadsides and hedge banks all over the country. Quite often, in spring, it’s easy to be overcome by the profusion of everything after a long winter of grey and brown. It’s usually the very greenness of […]

An absence of swifts?

An absence of swifts?

I am very fond of swifts. Apus apus, that torpedo like aerial master that appears here in the UK during early May and is gone by mid-August. Alongside their cousins the swallows (RAF chaps of 1940s vintage with huge moustaches) and martins (pleasure fliers – talented yet amateur), swifts are NASA pilots, destined for special and […]

Trees and wood – they’re ...

Trees and wood – they’re pretty good

I was struck by the completely amazing nature of trees and wood in a kind of revelatory way this morning, brought about by some odd but trendy box hornbeams in central Milton Keynes. These are a rather extreme example of  trees’ generosity – especially if you like your trees cubic. If a material scientist or […]

Hawthorn heaven

Hawthorn heaven

It’s just starting. Along hedgerows, in gardens, on wasteland and in huge amounts, on bits of scrubby land; May snow is starting to fall. The hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) blossom has been a little later than usual this year, probably due to a couple of weeks of cold weather in April and it may have been […]

Hurrah for swifts

Hurrah for swifts

When the first swallows arrived in Gravenhurst a few weeks ago I sent a text to Jane saying “swallows!”. At least that’s how I remember the gist of that particular communication. I was quite excited. Jane claimed later to think this was a good thing – the text. Oh and the swallows having arrived. A […]