By David Philips
This pandemic has taught us much about the healing power of nature : its ability to soothe, inspire, excite and rejuvenate. Evening visits to a local woodland have provided a "good to be alive" feeling with a wealth of sights and sounds from the natural world. The shrill notes of Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Treecreeper, just feet away, spiralling up in search of insects, butterflies sleeping, and the boisterous antics of Badgers emerging for a group scratch before setting off in search of Earthworms. Absolutely magical.
I have always devoured wildlife books and Rachel Carson's Silent Spring influenced me greatly. I recall thinking at the time that one of my favourite birds, the Peregrine, might in future be all but impossible to see in the UK. I subsequently volunteered for various RSPB species protection schemes and, years later, my walks this week have been blessed with sunshine views of Red Kites floating effortlessly over the South Downs and Peregrines cruising our chalk cliffs. Real evidence that we can all help nature's recovery, whether directly by volunteering or otherwise by our day-to-day decisions and lifestyle choices.
On another positive note I was pleased last Sunday to see roundabouts alongside the busy M27 ablaze with Poppies, Cornflowers and Oxeye Daisies. Whether brought about through budgetary constraints or ecological enlightenment - the benefits to nature of this approach were evident. These more natural spaces were quite literally buzzing! Gardeners take note please.