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Refocus on flowers! May 23, 2023 - Throughout my life nature has been my inspiration and guide, and has constantly delighted and filled me with child-like wonder and curiosity about the natural world.  Ever-changing, the turning wheel of nature’s calendar always helps to draw my attention to … Continued
Nature’s grand designs February 26, 2023 - A bird’s nest is a marvel to behold. If you’ve been lucky, you might have found an old nest on the ground that’s been blown out of a tree after winter storms. I find it fascinating that this once hidden … Continued
Yuletide Greetings December 15, 2022 - The festive countdown is not complete until I’ve decorated and hung an evergreen wreath from the front door. I love the winter ritual of cutting and gathering fir branches and sprays of holly and ivy, and the pungent citrus smell … Continued
Mushroom Hunters October 8, 2022 - I love the comforting seasonal rhythms of the New Forest. The annual pony drifts are in full gallop and pannage pigs are busy snuffling out this year’s crop of fallen acorns amongst an autumn carpet of tumbling leaves. But it … Continued
The twilight ‘in between’ world July 22, 2022 - A warm and still summer’s evening during the last hours of daylight is my favourite time to take a stroll. I’m lucky and can step straight out onto the New Forest’s heathlands to enjoy the day’s warmth radiating from the … Continued
Amongst the furze April 4, 2022 - The unmistakable display of bright yellow flowers cloaking gorse bushes in swathes of warm ochre and bright lemon yellow is truly stunning and one of my springtime favourite sights.  April and May are the best times to see the New … Continued
A new year, a new perspective January 21, 2022 - With a new year stretching ahead of us, we naturally begin to think about and reflect upon past experiences and the future – new intentions, fresh to-do lists, a blank journal. An innate need for renewal and new beginnings. So … Continued
Autumn Nature Detectives October 14, 2021 - Autumn is an important and busy feeding time for many animals to build up their body reserves in readiness for the approaching winter; to prepare for hibernation or for gathering and burying food caches for leaner times ahead. Although many … Continued
Sundews and damselflies July 22, 2021 - During July and August, I’m always keen for any opportunity to explore my favourite part of the New Forest – its valley mires and streams.  The sound of gently gurgling brooks, the pungent aroma of bog myrtle and the flashing … Continued
What we can learn from wood ants April 30, 2021 - Ants are fascinating. As individuals they are small and easily overlooked, however they are highly sociable insects that live in large, complex communities working together to build and protect a home, gather food and help care for the next generation. … Continued
Drummers of the woods February 18, 2021 - Although the month ahead can still be wintery, there are signs to listen out for that will help awaken you from winters deep slumber. Most noticeably our garden songbirds are more active and vocal – singing to signpost their territories … Continued
Marvellous mud art February 1, 2021 - Welcome back nature explorers – I hope you enjoyed meeting a few wiggly worms and learnt how important and amazing they are. It’s time to pull on your welly boots, jump outdoors and get muddy again! Mud, mud, glorious mud … Continued
How to be a winter colour explorer January 10, 2021 - Welcome back nature explorers! January is a quiet month after the Christmas and New Year festivities and gardens and parks can seem empty of wildlife and colour. However, there are things to see and do outdoors – if you know … Continued
A Strange and Merry Christmas from Wild Heritage December 14, 2020 - Now that winter is upon us and the broadleaved trees have dropped their last leaves, you may wonder ‘what are those strange balls of greenery, high up on the branches of the bare trees?’ Read on to find the answer … Continued
Ingenious seeds, inquisitive minds October 2, 2020 - As the summer ends, many plants are preparing for the next generation and launching their offspring into the world. October is a great month to explore and investigate your school grounds and local wild space for different seed dispersal strategies. … Continued
Fabulous feathers August 19, 2020 - Feathers are unique to birds. Strong, yet light and flexible, a single feather is an object of great beauty. Late summer, through August and September is a good time to look for feathers when adult birds are moulting: a process … Continued
Drawing from nature – an invitation July 4, 2020 - Drawing from nature teaches us to be still, to be observant and is deeply calming. The personal benefits we can draw from nature are huge. We often look but don’t see – we forget how to listen to nature and … Continued
Get to know the lonely bee April 22, 2020 - There are over 250 species of bee in Britain, of which surprisingly over 90% are ‘lonely’ otherwise known as solitary bees. Unlike the sociable honeybees or fuzzy bumblebees we often first think of, these live alone, do not make honey, … Continued
Are you a garden minibeast detective? March 25, 2020 - Invertebrates or ‘minibeasts’ are fascinating to look for and watch. Whether they crawl, creep or buzz you can find many different species in any sized garden; under flowerpots, stones, fallen leaves, log piles or maybe hiding in the corner of … Continued
Winter Colours Wander January 29, 2020 - There’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing. So put on something waterproof, some sturdy footwear and a favourite woolly hat – now you’re ready for an outdoor adventure! Although its quieter in winter and the woodlands seem … Continued
Fungi through a lens October 27, 2019 - There are many wonderful subjects to photograph in the New Forest National Park but my favourite is without doubt mushrooms. A walk anywhere during the autumn amongst its woodlands, open heaths and grassy lawns will reveal a world of weird … Continued
Friend or Foe? – Identifying berries August 25, 2019 - Now towards late summer, our hedgerows are full of colourful fruits and berries, so I thought it would be a good time to focus on some of the common edible and non-edible berries you might find. This blog post is … Continued
Meet the ancients June 21, 2019 - The New Forest is not new as its name suggests and is home to many ancient trees. Remarkably old and full of character, ancient oak and beech trees are a living timeline to the Forest’s past and provide valuable homes … Continued
Nest Weavers March 21, 2019 - Birds build a nest to lay their eggs in and to safely hold their growing brood until they fledge. There a many ingenious nest designs which range from delicate cups of woven moss, lichen and spider webs to nests made … Continued
Our future naturalists – bird watching with children January 17, 2019 - It surprised me that there doesn’t seem to be that much on the web about birdwatching activities with children. So I decided to put down a few of the ideas that I have used to nurture childrens’ natural curiosity and … Continued
Autumn well-being September 13, 2018 - As daylight hours shorten it is fascinating to pay attention to the changes in the natural world around us and how our own bodies feel as we adjust to the rhythms of a new season. Walking in nature helps us … Continued
It’s easy-beezy to learn about and help bees! July 4, 2018 - Bees are very special insects. They are fascinating to learn about and it is simple to do a few things to help bees in your local area. Did you know there are over 250 species of bee in the British … Continued
Nature’s Great Producers May 3, 2018 - Just a few weeks ago our woodlands and hedgerows appeared barren but now there is an explosion of new life and colour. How does this happen? Dormant buds, which will become this year’s leaves and flowers, were grown last summer … Continued
Wanderings in nature January 24, 2018 - With a new year stretching ahead of us, we naturally begin to think about and reflect upon past experiences and future hopes. A great way to do this is on the move in nature. Being ‘mindful’ in, and connecting to, … Continued
Stranger Things November 29, 2017 - What are those strange lumps and bumps on the underside of some leaves and those odd-shaped growths on acorns that look like woody asteroids? These bizarre plant growths become more noticeable in the autumn amongst the piles of fallen leaves, … Continued
Wild Foods of the Forest – the good forager September 9, 2017 -   Autumn is my favourite season of the year; I enjoy the changing colours of the woodlands, dewy spider webs and especially the ‘wild food’ treasures hung brightly within hedgerows. ‘Blackberrying’ is often one of our first experiences of nature. … Continued
Fledgling birds April 28, 2017 - Whilst many baby birds are only now eagerly poking their heads out of nests, some parent birds are already encouraging reluctant youngsters to leave the safety of the nest. Most of our common woodland and garden birds such as robins, … Continued
Welcome signs of spring March 1, 2017 -   At this time of year the weather is often unpredictable with frost and flurries of snow, heavy rain and flooding mixed with warm, sunny days that reminds us that spring is almost here. Wildlife also reflect this ‘in-between-the-seasons’ character … Continued
A Woodland Invitation January 28, 2017 - January is a quiet month after all the New Year festivities and in terms of wildlife it feels a bit bleak, with trees stripped bare of leaves and many animals in hibernation, the woods seem to be in a deep … Continued
Discover the New Forest – ‘We’re going on a cone hunt’ December 30, 2016 - Cones make a beautiful addition to Christmas wreathes and decorations but often go unnoticed, hanging high in trees, out of reach until they fall to the ground.  Commonly called pine cones, there are in fact many kinds of cones that … Continued
Winter Trees November 27, 2016 - The New Forest’s woodlands become different places in the winter. Leaves fall from deciduous trees, in a myriad of autumn colours, to reveal bare branches and twigs with pointy buds. Suddenly leafless, this is the best time to study the … Continued
Animal tracks and signs November 5, 2016 - It’s been a wonderful season for wild food foraging. Harvesting reminds us that we are part of nature and the importance of taking only what you need. Many animals are also busy collecting and eating this bounty of autumn foods … Continued
Nature inspired autumn land art September 30, 2016 - Autumn is my favourite time of the year to be outdoors exploring the New Forest; foraging for juicy blackberries, collecting fallen crab apples and enjoying the season’s changing colours. It’s also a wonderful time to create some amazing land art … Continued
Moth Mania August 31, 2016 - Moths are fab – not drab! They are as brightly coloured and patterned as their day-flying relatives, and come in all shapes and sizes. With an amazing 2,500 different types of moths, compared to 58 different butterflies in the UK, … Continued
Focus on feathers July 28, 2016 - Feathers are unique to birds. Strong, yet light and flexible, a single feather is a thing of great beauty. From July until late summer is a good time to look for feathers when adult birds are moulting: a process of … Continued
Close encounters with dragonflies June 29, 2016 - Did you know the New Forest is one of the best places in the UK to spot a dragonfly?  Of the 36 species which exist in this county, an amazing 74% of them can be found here. June and early … Continued
A Walk in the Wild May 29, 2016 - Join in with The Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild and challenge yourself to do something wild every day this June. Here are some of my favourite ‘rewilding’ experiences to help you explore and reconnect with the wild places of the New Forest. … Continued
Hedgehog Hogitats April 30, 2016 - Hedgehogs are one of our most iconic British mammals and the worrying decline in numbers could mean that these snuffling spiny hogs might become a rare sight in the future. The plight of our hedgehogs and how people can help … Continued
Minibeasts and bughunting March 30, 2016 - Learning to observe and record wildlife is vital for understanding the natural world and conservation. Wildlife is all around us so it’s important to focus, to start with, on one group of animals or plants, and on a local patch … Continued
Marvellous mud art February 28, 2016 - Mud, mud glorious mud! Most people see mud as something to avoid, but it offers lots of creative potential for the outdoor learning practitioner: it’s free, easy to use, safe to handle and can be found pretty much anywhere. So, … Continued
Drawing from nature – nature journals January 29, 2016 - Creating a nature journal or field guide can be a richly rewarding experience. It is the perfect way to develop and record an understanding of the natural world around you by using observation, reflection, drawing and creative writing.  Traditionally, nature … Continued
Drawing from Nature December 22, 2015 - The personal benefits we can draw from nature are huge. I find nature itself an endless source of joy and inspiration for my teaching but more importantly in my life itself. Recently whilst quietly observing and sketching a robin that … Continued
Surviving the winter – as snug as a bug November 26, 2015 - With temperatures dropping and winter now upon us it’s important to think about how animals cope in the winter and how we can help provide over-wintering habitats. No matter how big or small your school grounds or back garden, you … Continued
The weird and wonderful world of fungi October 28, 2015 - Mushrooms and toadstools are fascinating. Neither plant nor animal, they belong in their own kingdom, the ‘Kingdom of Fungi’ and form a largely invisible world hidden under your feet. It’s the strange fruiting bodies of the fungi that you notice, … Continued
Brambles and blackberries September 28, 2015 - Blackberries must be one of our favourite and most commonly gathered wild food. Easy to recognise, children quickly learn how to identify blackberry fruits and eagerly help gather this annual feast. Foraging for wild foods is a wonderful activity which … Continued