Furry overlord

He has me well-trained. I hear him walking into the room now and wake. Sometimes he’ll sound a short double miaow, like a car alarm being armed. I reach out sideways from the bed and his head bumps up into my hand. Purring. I know that this is just the …

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The Crane Valley Project

There was some good coverage of the Crane Valley Project on ITV London News recently. I worked on the Crane Valley Project with London Wildlife Trust over the winter of 2016/17 at Hayes and Northolt, re-naturalising three different sections of the Yeading Brook, a tributary of the River Crane. At …

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The Hedge Collective

How do you plant 3,000 hedging plants in a weekend? Easy. The answer is twenty-one good people, two dogs, a digger and lots of jacket potatoes. OK there’s a bit more to it than that, but it really is incredible what a group of volunteers can achieve in a weekend. …

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Getting wild in 2017

Here’s some of what I got up to last year. I started Wild Influence in 2015 as a way to bring together environmental consultancy, habitat management and education, all with a focus on the wellbeing of wildlife and people. In 2016 I worked in all of these areas in one way or …

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A Countryside Management Jargon Decipherer

Ever attended a conservation work day? Maybe volunteering outdoors? Don’t let these conservation workers blind you with their jargon.

Some useful translations follow for countryside management speak, so you can understand countryside management types when they’re giving you a load of flannel about mattocks.

"I haven't got a clue what that is. Write down 'small hairy thing' and Google it later."
“I haven’t got a clue what that is. Write down ‘small hairy thing’ and Google it later.”

Sturdy footwear required

You’re going to be up to your knees in shit. Don’t wear your best trainers.

Facilities here are basic

You’re peeing in the bushes.

The history of this place is fascinating

I Googled this place in the car half an hour before you showed up.

We could use machinery for this, but doing this manually is more sympathetic to the environment

We forgot to get petrol, the brushcutter is broken and besides we’ve got to give you something useful to do.

We’ll be clearing paths

We can’t think of anything for you to do but paths always need clearing.

This is how country folk do it

This will involve the use of accelerants, machinery and a reckless disregard for health and safety.

It’s “rustic”

We’ve made a complete pig’s ear of it.

That’ll do

That will fall apart in a week.

We coppiced this last year

We cut it down, and it grew back, so we’re saying we totally meant for that to happen.

Oliver Rackham said…

I read a bit of an Oliver Rackham book and I’m using it to make myself look clever for the rest of my life.

I did a dynamic risk assessment

I decided whether or not doing that was going to kill me or not after I started doing it.