Nature Writing

By Richard Carter | Nature · Place · Writers · https://www.facebook.com/naturewriting

Skellig Michael – The Edge of the World

Today is St Patrick’s Day and March 17 is the supposed date of the 5th-century missionary’s death. Patrick was the forerunner of many early …

Lives on the limestone: catkins and bugs in boles

Stoke Wood, Northamptonshire Hazel, as boles, can provide a rich hunting ground and my first unusual find is a pill millipede<p>The rolling limestone landscape exhibits the first signs of spring. Hawthorn buds burst with fresh green leaves and huge queen bumblebees career between blossoming sallow …

Nature

Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides

Exclusive: Draft regulations seen by the Guardian reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’<p>The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by …

Bees

Stunning 'new' cloud formations captured in updated atlas – in pictures

Roll clouds and wave-like asperitas are among the additions to the new digital International Cloud Atlas, that dates back to the 19th century. It features hundreds of images captured by meteorologists and cloud lovers from around the world<p>Your best pictures of newly recognised cloud formations

World Meteorological Organization

Prickly nettles made pliant for the pot

Sandy, Bedfordshire Tiny spears pierce my trousers and the skin of my knee, releasing toxins that tingle with fiery heat<p>Under a hawthorn hedge and all along the bank grows one of Britain’s most feared and reviled plants. I kneel down before it and feel its power. Its hairs, just a few millimetres …

Gardening

‘Tis The Season To Be Nesting

With high winds, heavy rain and plummeting temperatures I have been unable to tread the green open fields of the edgeland for a couple of weeks. I …

Nature

Witch Stones and Demon Dogs: 6 Chilling East Anglian Landscape Legends

The road from Bardwell to Ixworth Thorpe in Suffolk. Photo: Author.<p>Since I joined the project in late 2016, a regular extracurricular activity has …

Folklore

Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever

We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?<p>In 2003 the Australian philosopher Glenn …

Anthropocene

Water spins into a million bubbles filled with light

The Long Mynd, Shropshire The sound of Light Spout waterfall seems, at first, to be all roar and splash<p>To stand in the stream under the Light Spout is to be drenched in sound and mesmerised by light. Through a narrow cleft, water gathered from bogs on the plateau of the Long Mynd plunges 20ft over …

Nature

Forever Not England

The photographer Marc Atkins and I are working on a project called Fields of England. We go into fields we have known for a long time, and others we …

Archaeology

Let the lapwing's joyful call not fade into silence

Claxton, Norfolk Lapwing song was the omnipresent soundtrack of all my childhood springs. Now it has gone from behind our family home<p>Part of the charm of lapwings is that they look silly, a friend says, and I can surmise what she means. It’s the ridiculous crest, the unnecessary breadth of wing, …

Nature

Smithsonian Researchers Are Bringing the Oryx Back to the Wild

Reintroducing the species back to north-central Africa shows early signs of success

Nature

Green and unpleasant land: UK countryside takes sinister twist in new exhibition

Warwickshire gallery explores how artistic, social and political forces have shaped Britain’s relationship with rural landscape<p>Images of a green and pleasant land with a sinister undertone – where lambs gambol but a corpse might lie under a nearby hedge – feature in an exhibition examining …

Countryside

Inside story of a thatched roof

Hope Cove, Devon I need to go into the attic to check the timbers – an awkward job, but a chance to get out of the wind<p>An experienced thatcher told me early on in my apprenticeship: “You’ll learn to hate the wind more than anything.” And after five years of working on Devon roofs I’m inclined to …

Devon

Lambs make the most of their first hour on open land: Country diary 100 years ago

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 24 March 1917<p><b>SURREY</b>Sheep, some fifty of them, big black-faced ewes, with about the same number of late lambs just dropped, came this morning out of a great pen at the end of the rickyard which had been put up behind the shelter of two still …

Border Collie

It's blooming spring! 22 great UK walks

Shake off the winter blues and enjoy longer, warmer days on one of these great country walks – all with pub stops – chosen by top British nature writers<p>20 more UK walks with pub pit stops<p>Eggardon Hill, Dorset<p><b>Length: 5 miles<br>Time: 2 hours<br>Start/finish: Nettlecombe (OS Explorer 117)<br>Grade:</b> …

England

A window into the life of the wood

New Forest To some, fallen timber makes for an untidy forest. There was a time when the woodsmen would have cleared much of it away. Not now<p>We’re standing deep into the trees, looking through an oval porthole constructed from the boughs of a toppled oak. The sun is filtering through the still bare …

Forests

Into the woods: how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 years

At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people. This is his story<p>Christopher Knight was only 20 years old when he walked away from society, not to …

Maine

Stoned: Castlerigg, Cumbria

Flowers that "waste their sweetness"

I have always been puzzled by flowers that go to some lengths in terms of colour or scent to appear attractive but, in my experience, are visited by …

Nature Notes

<b>The Dewpond on the Height.</b><p><i>“Our blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs,</i> <i><br>Bare slopes where chasing shadows skim …</i> <i><br>We have no waters to delight</i> <i><br>Our broad</i> …

A sudden threat scatters the downland birds

Wepham Down, West Sussex The hen harrier raises its wings as air brakes, using the wind to lift, stall and loop backwards<p>A skylark rises up in loud, breathless song, claiming its breeding territory. The bird hovers with vibrating wings, unmoved by the strong gusts of wind. It climbs into the air in …

Nature

Bluethroat, Willow Tree Fen

Ray Banks and I finally succumbed to the lure of the Lincolnshire bluethroat today. If I'm honest, I have to say that personally I've pu...

Behaviour of Eudasyphora cyanella, the green cluster fly

<i>Eudasyphora cyanella</i>, a muscid sometimes known as the green cluster fly, emerges from hibernation at this time of year. I noticed twenty or thirty of …

Dabchick antics enliven a futile vole quest

Cromford, Derbyshire The towpath is popular with Derbyshire folk making their version of the passeggiata, often with dogs, and the water vole is easily spooked<p>William Jessop was a generous man, always ready to give a fellow engineer a leg up. Building the Cromford canal, in the Derbyshire Dales, he …

Nature

On the shore, casualties of a winter storm

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire Dead man’s fingers and a lumpsucker are marooned in seaweed along the strandline<p>At the bottom of the cliff, a two-minute walk from the high tide line, there is a small stone-built mortuary, constructed in 1881 and formerly the temporary resting place for the …

Nature

Large Sections of Australia’s Great Reef Are Now Dead, Scientists Find

SYDNEY, Australia — The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has long been one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, so enormous it can be seen from space, so beautiful it can move visitors to tears.<p>But the reef, and the profusion of sea creatures living near it, are in profound trouble.<p>Huge …

Oceans

Moth Diaries ep.2

With the weather warming up gently over the last few days there has been a marked improvement on the number of moths being drawn to the actinic trap, …

Nature

Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith review – the octopus as intelligent alien

A scuba-diving philosopher of science explores the wonder of cephalopods, smart and playful creatures who live outside the brain-body divide<p>‘Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs / Upon the slimy sea.” Coleridge’s lines evoke those Precambrian depths where sensate life first stirred, and which …

Octopuses