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Adventures in Nature
Wild Encounters#4: Arvicola amphibius
18th August 2017

Water Vole by Peter Trimming. Image from Flickr licensed under Creative Common

I walked barefoot along the board walk early one summer morning, trying to creep up one of Britain’s rarest mammals.  At this time of day, I had Malham Tarn to myself, so my ears were straining above the hum of insects and songs of birds, to hear a watery splash.  That was what had alerted me to its presence when I visited the nature reserve last summer, but today the slow moving streams were almost silent.  I peered into the clear water which runs into England’s highest freshwater lake, but only the underwater reeds were stirring. (more…)

Wild Encounters#3: Meles Meles
28th May 2017

We regularly meet badgers in children’s stories, usually as the wise old elder, (e.g. Wind in the Willows, Fanastic Mr Fox), or occasionally as a savage and cunning baddie (e.g. The Tale of Mr Tod, Watership Down), but either way, if there is an anthropomorphic tale set in a woodland, Mr Brock Badger will be there. Adopted as the symbol of the Wildlife Trusts and blamed for the spread of bovine TB, they seem equally loved and loathed and stand in the middle of the battleground of our attitudes towards nature. (more…)

Wild encounters#2: Lepidus timidus
6th March 2017

Growing up hares seemed much more common a sight, hiding in the long grass or boxing in the fields.  These days I rarely see them, but when I do they delight and transfix me, like the one last summer that appeared when I was lost down a country lane and lolloped along in front for several minutes, as if to guide me in the right direction.

For my Wild Encounters blog I researched where I might see some brown hares, and discovered that the Peak district has its own colony of mountain hares, whose coats turn Artic white in winter.  Unlike brown hares, which arrived with the Romans, mountain hares are native to the UK, but only naturally in Scotland.  They arrived in England probably thanks to introduction by landowners interested in increasing the variety of game to hunt.  As with much wildlife, mountain hares are at risk due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting, but in the Peak District, the RSPB  conservation work is helping the population of mountain hares to recover. (more…)

Wild encounters#1: Canis Lupus
22nd February 2017

For my 2017 blog I want to seek out encounters with with some of the UK’s native animals and birds.  Despite working outside in some beautiful Yorkshire woodlands, we rarely see much wildlife beyond birds, grey squirrels and the occasional startled deer.  The time of day and the noise of children enjoying forest school has a lot to do with that.  But significantly our chances of coming face to face with the wild are dwindling as many man-made factors such as development, pollution and climate change are causing nature to disappear at a disturbing rate. (more…)

Connecting with Nature #9: Sticks for Christmas
22nd December 2016

The humble bare stick, plentiful and coming in all shapes and sizes, is the building block of many winter making activities.  We’ve spent this month at forest school collecting, carving and crafting them into simple decorations to celebrate the season. While many beautiful Christmas craft projects are so intricate they are only possible in the comfort and warmth of your own home, all the ideas below are tried and tested simple ideas to make outdoors. (more…)



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