Bringing Nature into the Music Lesson, by Frances Jones

On New Year’s Eve, in a cosy cafe over pots of tea, a friend put a question to the group: ‘So what are you going to do to save the planet this year?’ I don’t fly, and have for a long time tried to tread lightly and shop sustainably, although I can always do better….

Winter Walks in the Vineyard, by Frances Jones

The bright sunshine urged me out of doors this Sunday morning, and I pulled on boots and a raincoat in readiness for a walk. Long-standing readers of this blog may recall I previously wrote about experiencing nature in the city. Living in the midst of a built-up area, surrounded by blocks of flats and busy…

In the Company of Trees, by Frances Jones

Yesterday I joined a walk on Wimbledon Common led by Peter Fiennes, author of an absorbing and beautiful book on trees. Oak, Ash and Thorn sets out the case for Britain’s woodland and I liked the idea of discussing this subject within the woodland itself. We gathered, rather aptly, under an oak, its crown providing…

Winter walks in the city, by Frances Jones

I’ve been making a conscious effort, since January 1st, to notice nature in the grey bleakness of the city in winter. One morning last week, buttoned up against the irrepressible sleet and the bitter cold, I was walking fast through an industrial park in South London, having deposited my car at the mechanic. Following my…

How to write a nature blog, by Newton Wildsmith

So you want to start a blog. A nature blog, no less. Hats off to you for taking some steps closer to creating one. There is always room on the web for another voice for the natural world. This article is all about how to blog about nature. What format and style to choose, the…

Autumn in Suburbia, by Frances Jones

I was returning home from work along the scenic route, having been tempted by the sunshine to prolong my journey. I followed the path along the river, which was a busy, but pleasant, highway with cyclists, runners and pedestrians, some pausing and taking a slower pace than they might otherwise in cooler weather. The trees…

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales, by Frances Jones

The Yorkshire village of Malham was basking in the mid-morning sunshine when we set off for a circular walk up over the hills via Gordale Scar. It was a pleasant temperature for walking and we started at a good pace, passing several other walkers out on this sunny bank holiday Saturday. Not far down the…

Brownsea Island, a guest post by Frances Jones

Frances was brought up in Shropshire. She writes about country walks, urban gardens and the wildness that can be found on the doorstep. A music teacher by training, Frances currently volunteers part-time at Chelsea Physic Garden. I arrived at Sandbanks in the early evening. Despite it being June the light was fading and there was…

Advice from a not so Expert Birder, a guest post by Liam Thompson

I don’t know about you, but whenever I talk to a birder with decades of experience I leave the conversation with two feelings. First: admiration, for their ability to confidently identify any species by call or the slightest glimpse. This feeling is surpassed, however, by the disappointment at realising I may never reach their level…

The North-West Rare Plant Initiative, a guest blog by Joshua Styles

The concept of island biogeography was first laid out by MacArther & Wilson (1967) in a book entitled ‘The Theory of Island Biogeography’. The concept was relatively simple in its key principles; that ‘islands’ that are small are capable of supporting fewer species than larger ‘islands’, and that the further away these ‘islands’ are from…

Butterflies: Poetry in Nature – Guest post by Jonathan Bradley

There is poetry everywhere in the natural world, but for me nowhere more so than in butterflies. What is poetic about butterflies? Poetry is a heightened form of writing that plays on our emotions and imagination. Poems use imagery, beautiful or expressive words, rhythms, rhymes and sounds that encourage us to see the world a…