A Walk on the North Downs Way, by Frances Jones

A couple of weeks ago, I walked part of the North Downs Way with a friend. Not a particularly unusual event, normally, but many of us have had rapidly to adjust our expectations of normal over the past months. I had wandered through the fields around my home almost every day since lockdown, charting Spring…

Investigating the Prudhoe Spetchells

For a long time, I have read with envy the blog posts of others who have visited the Prudhoe Spetchells yet, shamefully, have never found the time to visit myself; though this all changed a fortnight past. The Spetchells are an interesting site in a great many regards. Created as a by-product of factory work…

Into the Wild Woods at Allen Banks

Spurred on by the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions in England, this weekend past saw us venture forty-five minutes inland to the wild reaches of Allen Banks. An ancient woodland site situated on the banks of the River Allen and maintained by the National Trust. Now, I visit Allen Banks at least once every year…

On the hunt for urban bees

For me, one of the few positive aspects of our current lockdown has been the opportunity to look closer at the wildlife that persists close to home. Doing so has been eyeopening, to say the least, and while of course, I would rather have been venturing into the wider countryside, the diversity of life here…

More tales from the urban jungle

In line with the government guidance, this week, time in nature has been squeezed and condensed. A  few short forays to my local park and innumerable laps of our eerily quiet street the best I could muster while sticking to the law. Outside, the seasons advance regardless of the turmoil unfolding in human society and…

Could you contribute to the North East Bee Hunt?

The Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) has launched a new citizen science scheme aiming to map the distribution of five distinctive yet under-recorded bee species across North East England. The five species at the heart of the North East Bee Hunt are common and widespread in other parts of Britain, yet there are noticeable…

Croaky! – Thousands of toads make perilous mass migration to breed

Each night a sleepy corner of the country witnesses an amphibian march as hundreds of toads and newts make a perilous journey across a busy road to breed. This mass migration to the Woodland Trust owned Haddon Wood, near Castle Carey, Somerset, is being charted for the first time by a team of hardy volunteers….

Signs of Spring, by Frances Jones

My walk through the woods has become significantly more important for me since the announcement came that the country was going into lockdown. The song of the blackbird, the sight of a butterfly; these and many more moments have become more precious as the freedom to move whenever and wherever is reduced. After a number…

Tales from the Urban Jungle: Starting Out

It must be said, I miss living in the countryside. I miss the sight of natural greenery, fields, woodlands, bustling wetlands and bountiful hedgerows. Likewise, the omnipresent wildlife: the constant possibility of an encounter with a Roe Deer or Badger, the sound of migrating geese, the bubbling calls of curlew and the wealth of birdlife…