Down the Combe and Into the Meadow – Influences and Waymarks

The endnotes section for Down the Combe and Into the Meadow entitled Influences and Waymarks, includes a large number of links to resources for further reading. Since retyping these links from a physical book may be tiresome I present the section here for ease of use.

Although every effort has been made to ensure the validity of links at the time of publication, the passage of time inevitably leads to some links becoming broken. While we cannot update the book we will attempt to updates links herein. If you find any broken links please let me know.

Chapter 1

Laurie Lee. (1974). Cider with Rosie. Harmondsworth (UK): Penguin. (p.105).

This exquisite phrase comes from: Peter Marren. (2015). Rainbow Dust: Three Centuries of Delight in British Butterflies. London: Square Peg. (p.191).

Robert Macfarlane. (2015). Landmarks. London: Hamish Hamilton. (p.23). Robert Macfarlane has significantly influenced my thinking. These borrowings come from his chapter ‘A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook’. He continues (p.24): ‘It is not, on the whole, that natural phenomena are disappearing: rather that there are fewer people able to name them, and that once they go unnamed they go to some degree unseen. Language deficit leads to attention deficit. As we further deplete our ability to name, describe and figure particular aspects of our places, our competence for understanding and imagining possible relationships with non-human nature is correspondingly depleted.’

For a vivid account of the undercliff farmers of Weston and Branscombe, I recommend: Cliff and Beach at Branscombe by Barbara Farquharson and Sue Dymond (2014). Branscombe: The Branscombe Project. See also my chapter 8 (pp. 172–97).

John Matthews. (1998). The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. London: Thorsons. (pp.43-4). This magical book offers a cornucopia of ideas for celebrating the standing-still of the sun in the winter sky. For more on rituals see my chapter 12 (pp. 273–94).

Peter Wohlleben. (2017). The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World. London: William Collins. (p.140). This book will ensure that you never look at trees in quite the same way again.

Rob Cowen. (2015). Common Ground. London: Hutchinson. (p.205).

Radical Honey. (2015). In Praise of Goosegrass. Accessed at:

Whispering Earth. (2010) My Herbal Treasures in March – Cleavers. Accessed at:

D.C.D. Pocock. (1981). ‘Sight and Knowledge’. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 6. (pp.385–93).

‘Yaffle’ is the name given to the laughter-like cackle of the green woodpecker, hence some of its vernacular names: ‘yaffle’, ‘yaffle bird’, ‘yaffingale’, ‘yappingale’ and ‘laughing Betsy’. The green woodpecker spends much of its time foraging for ants, its primary food source.

This discussion of the sixth sense is particularly inspired by: Marna Hauk et al. (2015). ‘Senses of Wonder in Sustainability Education, for Hope and Sustainability Agency’. Journal of Sustainability Education, 10, November, no pagination. ‘Through our intuition we experience all of our other senses and find wonder in the mundane.’

William Braud, (2002). ‘The Ley and the Labyrinth: Universalistic and Particularistic Approaches to Knowing’. Transpersonal Psychology Review. 6 (2). Braud’s work is referenced in psychotherapist Peter Darch’s unpublished 2003 paper, Being Alive to Nature, which devotes its first part to the particular in nature. Peter kindly shared his paper with me. Together with our two interviews of 29 November 2019 and 25 January 2018, Peter’s ideas have been of constant inspiration.

Rainer Maria Rilke. (2014). Letters To a Young Poet. Floyd VA: Sublime Books. Letter IV. (p.23).

David Kidner. (2001). Nature and Psyche: Radical Environmentalism and the Politics of Subjectivity. New York: State University of New York Press. (pp.293–304). ‘A place, in nature,’ writes Kathleen Raine, ‘is after all, only a larger and more complex organism, a symbiosis of many lives … Within the larger unity each centre of life unfolds in its own unity of form in perfect and minute precision. The whole is not made up of parts but wholes. Nature is a whole made up of wholes.’ See: Kathleen Raine. (1991). Autobiographies. London: Skoob Books. (p.4).

Robert Macfarlane. (2015). Landmarks. London: Hamish Hamilton. (p.62).

Patrick Kavanagh. (1967). ‘The Parish and the Universe’. In Collected Pruse (sic.). London: MacGibbon & Kee. (pp281–3).

John Tomaney. (2013). ‘Parochialism – a defence’. Progress in Human Geography, 37(5), (pp.658–672).

Conor McDonough. (2017). ‘Shining a light on ordinary parish life. The Irish Catholic. February 23. Accessed at:

For a history of the raven, its extirpation from and subsequent return to many parts of the country see Joe Shute. (2018). A Shadow Above: The Fall and Rise of the Raven. London: Bloomsbury.

For the discussion of connecting to the whole through mindfulness of the particular, I am greatly indebted to Sheri R. Klein, US artist and educational researcher. Sheri introduced me to the process of beholding, immersion and reflection. See, especially, her article ‘Coming to our Senses: Everyday Landscapes, Aesthetics and Transformative Learning,’ Journal of Transformative Learning, 16(1), 3-16. The quotation in my text is from p.12.

Peter Darch interview, 29 November 2017.

  1. George Thomas. (Ed.). (2004). Edward Thomas: The Collected Poems and War Diary. London: Faber and Faber. (pp.27–8). This is a much-thumbed and profoundly inspiring collection of nature poems to which I return frequently and devotedly.

David Pinder. (2018). ‘The National Trust and coastal conservation in Devon’, Transactions of the Devon Association for the Advancement of Science. June. (pp.365–400). Accessed at:

Sandy Macfadyen interview, 28 November 2017.

Sandy Macfadyen interview, 28 November 2017.

Peter Darch interview, 29 November 2017. We devoted much of our time together to his reflections on Carl Jung’s view that since the Enlightenment, there had been a rising dominance of conceptual thinking, a narrow adherence to conscious rationality and that this was leading to the exclusion of bodily, heart and soulful engagement with nature. Following Jung, Peter calls for symbolic engagement with nature (‘call it poetic, call it mystic, call it shamanistic’) enabling our awareness to be shaped by image and not by thought in the form of concepts and ideas. ‘We would be talking about a life of images. We would be experiencing nature as body and soul rather than as mind.’

Matthew Shaw. (2016). ‘Listening to the spirit of place’, Resurgence & Ecologist, 298 (September/October), (pp.28–9).

Passage inspired by my conversation with Peter Darch, 25 January 2018.

Thomas Hutchinson. (Ed.). (1969). Wordsworth Poetical Works. London: Oxford University Press. (pp.163–5).

In his excellent book, His Imperial Majesty: A Natural History of the Purple Emperor (Bloomsbury Wildlife, 2020), Matthew Oates lists the remarkable range of designated National Nature Reserves and Local Nature Reserves, other sizeable nature reserves and Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation in Greater London. See p.329. Other conurbations, cities and towns are similarly wildlife rich, as David Goode shows in his outstanding 2014 treatise on natural history in UK urban environments, Nature in Towns and Cities. London: Harper Collins.

A European-wide initiative of so-called ‘rebel botanists’ are mounting a ‘More than Weeds’ campaign in urban areas to foster naming and recognition of wildflowers by chalking the names of plants found growing out of pavement cracks. The aim is to raise awareness of the ‘forgotten flora at our feet’. The original French name for the initiative is ‘sauvages de ma rue’ (‘wild things of my street’). Chalk trails leading from one species to the next have been set up in Hackney, London. See Alex Morss. 2020.  ‘Not just weeds: How Rebel Botanists are Using graffiti to Name Forgotten Flora’. The Guardian. 1 May.

Chapter 2

A recitation of Aidan Crowley’s Our Sense of Wonder, together with an accompanying film of nature and people images is available at:

The Observer Books were a series of small, pocket-sized books published by Frederick Warne & Co between 1937 and 2003. The series began (1937-1942) with a number of natural history topics, all titles of which I purchased for nature identification and understanding purposes. They were cheap enough for a boy with a limited pocket money allowance to purchase. The series then branched out to cover other than natural history topics such as geology, architecture, churches and railway locomotives. A thread of natural history-related titles nevertheless continued to run through the whole series, for example, Sea and Seashore (1962), Lichens (1963), and Caterpillars (1979).

Indicative of my abiding interest in wildflowers, the most thumbed book amongst my collection of vintage nature books is David McClintock and R.S.R. Fitter’s Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers (Collins, 1956). Belying my urging of the reader to see the ‘extraordinary in the ordinary’, I was sucked in by the book’s star system indicating how common or rare a plant was. A commonly and widely distributed plant receives no stars, a plant less frequently seen but locally common receives one star. Two stars are for scarce plants only growing in limited areas. Three stars are for plants that are ‘real rarities’. According to the authors, the aim of the star system is to ‘add to the pleasure of finding something uncommon’ (p.ix).

Uncomplimentary as it may seem, ‘deceit’ is the collective noun given to lapwings probably because they perform a broken wing display to feign injury and so distract anyone approaching too closely to their nest, a scrape on bare ground.

An account of the controversy appears in Alison Flood’s 2015 Guardian article, ‘Oxford Junior Dictionary’s replacement of ‘natural’ words with 21st century terms sparks outcry’. Accessed at:

Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris. (2017). The Lost Words. London: Hamish Hamilton. For more on the book, its impact, its pick-up in schools, and the campaigns it has generated, go to:

Eva John has written an Explorer’s Guide to the Lost Words to support the facilitation of learning around the lost words in classroom, outdoor and indoor settings. The resource is available through the John Muir Trust at:

The picture recognition survey was commissioned by Hoop, a now defunct app that helped families find active things to do with their children. The survey report is well covered in the following: ‘Half of British Kids Can’t Tell You What Plant This Is’, Sky News, 14 August 2019, and Katharine Rooney, ‘Fewer Children than Ever Know Names for Plants and Animals’, 10 September 2019,

Some key findings of the National Trust 2008 survey, Wildlife Alien to Indoor Children are summarized in the following: and

For overviews of the two 2017 surveys go to: Robert Macfarlane’s ‘Badger or Bulbasaur – have children lost touch with nature? The Guardian, 30 September 2017. and

For the surveys of German and UK student teachers, go to: Petra Lindemann-Matthies, Marti Remmele and Eija Yli-Panula, ‘Professional competence of student teachers to implement species identification in schools – A case study from Germany, Centre for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 2017, 7/1, (pp.29–48), and, Anne Bebbington, ‘The ability of A-level students to name plants’, Journal of Biological Education, 2005, 39/2, (pp.63–7).

For ‘plant blindness’, see Christine Ro, ‘Why ‘plant blindness’ matters – and what you can do about it’, BBC Future, 29 April 2019, and Benjamin Balas and Jennifer Momsen, ‘Attention “blinks” differently for plants and animals’, CBE-Life Sciences Education, 2017, 13/3. Available at:

Rachel Carson’s The Sense of Wonder originally appeared in 1956. A version with stunning nature photographs by Nick Kelsh was published by Harper Collins in 1998. The quotations used are from p.55 of this edition.

For helpful accounts of the slump in house sparrow, starling and cuckoo numbers, see: ‘Why are London’s Iconic Sparrows Disappearing?’, Grrl Scientist, 2019,; ‘The decline of British starlings’, BirdGuides, 2019,; ‘Understanding the Decline of the Common Cuckoo’, British Ornithologists Union, 2018,

For an outstanding account of the sixth extinction, go to: Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, 2014, New York: Picador. Each of the previous five ‘great mass extinctions’ on our planet has been marked by a ‘profound loss of biodiversity’ (pp.6, 16-17).

Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, 2005, London: Grove Atlantic, is now accompanied by a wonderful book of activities for children designed to counter nature deficit disorder: Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life, 2016, London: Atlantic Books.

Natural Childhood by Stephen Moss, 2012, commissioned by the National Trust is accessible at:

Details of the 2013 RSPB report are as follows: Connecting with Nature: Finding Out How Connected to Nature the UK’s Children Are. The report is accessible at:

RSPB’s overview of this and succeeding surveys up to 2019, Connection to Nature, is to be found at:

For the programmes, mission and philosophy of Otterhead Forest School, go to:

For the health, educational and psychosocial benefits of nature immersion, see: Stephen Moss, Natural Childhood, National Trust, 2012; Patrick Barkham, Wild Child: Coming Home to Nature, London, Granta, 2020; Isabel Hardman, The Natural Health Service: What the Great Outdoors Can Do for Your Mind, London, Atlantic Books, 2020; Sue Stuart-Smith, The Well Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World, London, William Collins, 2020; Rachel Bragg, Carly Wood, Jo Barton and Jules Pretty, Measuring Connection to Nature in Children Aged 8-12, RSPB, 2013, (pp.9–19).

Miles Richardson, David Sheffield, Caroline Harvey and Dominic Petronzi, The Impact of Children’s Connection to Nature, 2015, RSPB.’s_Connection_to_Nature_A_Report_for_the_Royal_Society_for_the_Protection_of_Birds_RSPB.

Guy Shrubsole argues that what I am describing is in fact a vestige of the temperate rainforest that once covered up to one fifth of these isles. See his brilliant 2022 account of their loss and of moves to recover and restore them, The Lost Rainforests of Britain, London: William Collins.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines wonder as ‘a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar’. A very helpful overview of the notion of wonder, on which I draw, is Ruth Wilson’s ‘Wonder: A Many Splendored Thing’, Community Playthings, 2018:

For the biophilia hypothesis, refer to: Edward O. Wilson, Biophilia, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 1984.

The material from Rachel Carson’s The Sense of Wonder used here is taken from the 1998 Harper Collins edition, pages 56, 66 and 67.

Rachel Carson, 1998, The Sense of Wonder, New York: Harper Collins, (p.94). The quotation taken from Paul Evans’ Field Notes from the Edge: Journeys Through Britain’s Secret Wilderness, London, Rider, 2017, appears on p.86. The words of Robert Macfarlane are taken from ‘Badger or Bulbasaur – have children lost touch with nature? The Guardian, 30 September 2017.

According to local Exmoor legend, Benedictine monks from nearby Dunster planted snowdrops in Snowdrop Valley in the thirteenth century to mark Candlemas. Snowdrops are often to be found in the grounds of old monasteries across these islands. Pre-monastic introduction is also mooted, i.e. that the Romans brought snowdrops to the British Isles from southern Europe or Turkey. Origins are lost in the mists of time. Just as fascinating as speculation on provenance is how what is most likely a non-native plant has been taken to heart and become ‘naturalised’ in both soil and psyche. As touched upon here and there throughout the text, the borderline between native and non-native is exceedingly fuzzy and, especially with climate change, becoming fuzzier (see Chapter 10).

This account of Higher Weston farm educational activities is drawn from the Higher Weston Farm Study Pack, and an interview with Sandy Macfadyen, 28 November 2017. The sound mapping exercise described is taken from Joseph Cornell’s Journey to the Heart of Nature, Nevada City CA, Dawn Publications, 1994.

Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks, London: Hamish Hamilton, 2015, (p.10); Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle, Berkeley CA: Counterpoint Press, (p.41); George Monbiot, ‘If children lose contact with nature they won’t fight for it’, The Guardian, 20 November 2012.

These descriptions of nocturnal nature experience are to be found in the 1998 Harper Collins edition of Rachel Carson’s Sense of Wonder on, inter alia, pages 15, 17, 67, 68, 91, 92, 93.

On the joys of deeply experiencing nature in darkness, read John Lewis-Stemple’s 2022 short book, Nightwalking: Four Journeys into Britain After Dark. London: Doubleday.

Chapter 3

Disaster facts and figures are taken from the EM-DAT International Disaster Database of the Centre for Research on the Epidemology of Disasters – CRED. Recorded disaster events in 2020 numbered 389 involving 15,080 deaths and affecting 98.4 million people. In 2021 there were 407 recorded disaster events killing 18,335 people and affecting 103.5 million people. See:; also,

On synthetic chemical pollution, see: European Environmental Bureau (2020). Towards a Toxic-Free Environment.

On maritime plastic pollution, see: The Ocean Cleanup (no date). The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Also: The National Geographic (2021). The World’s Plastic Pollution Crisis Explained.

On the links between epidemics/pandemics and environmental abuse and wildlife degradation, see: David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa. (2020). ‘Climate Change and Coronavirus: A confluence of crises’ in Padraig Carmody, Gerard McCann, Clodagh Colleran and Ciara O’Halloran. Eds. COVID‑19 in the Global South. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

For an overview of the multiple-crisis syndrome, see: Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich. (2013). ‘Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?’ Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (p.43).

United Nations General Assembly. (2015). Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015.

UNESCO. (2014). Shaping the Future We Want: UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Paris: UNESCO.

Clive Hamilton. (2010). Requiem For a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. London: Bloomsbury. (p.33).

On the issue of sustainable development and growth, see: David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa. (2018). ‘Teetering on the Brink: Subversive and restorative learning in times of climate turmoil and disaster’, Journal of Transformative Education, 13(3), (pp.259–276).

The natural capital defense of nature is, in my view, rank foolhardiness. To surrender the notion of intrinsic value as the ground on which we make our stand in defending nature is an act of appeasement that can only end in everything living or dying according to the yardstick of economic value. Such an approach on the part of environmentalists, says George Monbiot, is ‘morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating’. George Monbiot. (2018). ‘The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it’, The Guardian, 15 May.

Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry. (1992). The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era – a Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos. New York: Harper. (p.199).

Michael McCarthy. (2015). The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. London: John Murray. (pp27, 28).

Ibid. (p.245).

Paul Kingsnorth. (2012). ‘Confessions of a recovering environmentalist, Orion Magazine, January/February.

The ideas in this paragraph are in part inspired by George Monbiot’s article, ‘Forget “the environment”: we need new words to convey life’s wonders’, The Guardian, 9 August 2017.

I borrow here from Robert Macfarlane. (2015). Landmarks, London: Hamish Hamilton, (p.25).

I am grateful to my Sustainability Frontiers colleague Fumiyo Kagawa for our discussions on wabi-sabi. She guided me to the 1994 book Japan: Profile of a Nation. Tokyo: Kodansha International.304-5. I was also helped by Tadao Ando’s text What is Wabi-Sabi?

For a review of trends and developments in environmental education on islands around the world, see David Selby & Fumiyo Kagawa. (2018) ‘Archipelagos of Learning: environmental education on islands’, Environmental Conservation, 45(2), (pp.137–146).

Rachel Carson. (1998). The Sense of Wonder. New York: Harper Collins. (p.83.

On geosmin see Jacinti Bowler, ‘Love the Smell of Rain? There’s an Ulterior Motive Behind the Lure of Petrichor’, Science Alert, 7 April 2020.

Gregory Bateson. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Chandler.

In writing this account of sustainability corrective sensory learning modalities, I have been deeply inspired by the wonderful article written by Marna Hauk and her students at Prescott College, Arizona: ‘Senses of Wonder in Sustainability Education, for Hope and Sustainability’, The Journal of Sustainability Education, December 2015.

Chapter 4

John Agard’s poem, ‘Inheritance’, is one of nine original poems commissioned by the Royal Society of Arts as part of its Seven Dimensions of Climate Change event series. It was first performed at the RSA in London on 26 May 2015 in an event commissioned by the Climate Change Collaboration.

The linking of clusters of celandine roots with a cure for piles is an example of the doctrine of signatures at work. The doctrine is believed to have originated in the Middle Ages but may well be of more ancient provenance. Drawn upon by early herbalists and folklorists, the idea is that resemblance between a plant part and a particular body part is indicative of the plant possessing curative or alleviative properties relating to the latter. Well-known examples include: walnuts, with their brain-like appearance being used to treat head-related ailments; lungwort with its spotty leaves being used to treat lung infections; eyebright, with it eye-like flowers being used to treat ocular problems. For an interesting account of the doctrine, see Sarah Baldwin, The Doctrine of Signatures: Reading the Signs of Nature available at:

For a fascinating review of Wordsworth’s celandine poems, refer to Lisa Spurgin, ‘Featured Poem: The lesser celandine by William Wordsworth’, The Reader, April 2011, available at:

A useful overview of the record-breaking spring of 2020, with graphs and statistical tables and prepared by Meteorological Office personnel is available on CarbonBrief at:

The violet-feeding fritillary butterflies resident in Devon are: the small pearl-bordered fritillary, the pearl-bordered fritillary, the high brown fritillary, the dark green fritillary, the silver-washed fritillary.

Ash dieback is a fungal disease imported into Europe from parts of China some thirty years ago. Unlike the native ashes of those parts that have existed alongside the fungus and hence developed resistance, the European ash has no natural defences. The disease entered the UK in 2012, probably on imported ash saplings. For further details, go to:

The quotation given is from Nick Clarke, ‘The Green Read: How coronavirus could help us save the planet’, Aljazeera, 15 April 2020. A valuable summary of coronavirus’ environmental effects is provided in the Anthropocene section of the Natural History Museum website: Nature: Liberated by Lockdown? 21 September 2020.

This paragraph draws upon the World Environment Day speech of the United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director, Inger Anderson, where she advocates for nature-based solutions to biodiversity loss, climate change and zoonotic pandemics, solutions that include the preservation of remaining wild spaces, an end to deforestation, reforestation, ecosystem restoration of degraded land and habitat-sensitive agriculture. See her 5 June 2020 speech, It is the time for nature: It also draws on an article by myself and colleague Fumiyo Kagawa. (2020). ‘Climate Change and Coronavirus: A confluence of two emergencies as learning and teaching challenge’ in Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, vol. 30, Spring. (pp.104–14).

See Michael Blencowe’s post, Wheatear: The arrival of the white-arsed vanguard of summer.

For the Nature’s Calendar database, visit:

Examples in this paragraph are drawn from Patrick Barkham’s 2019 article, ‘Naturalists concerned for early-emerging spring species in UK’, The Guardian, 22 February; the Matthew Oates’ quotation is from Barkham’s 2020 article, ‘UK butterfly season off to unusually early start after sunniest of springs’, The Guardian, 6 June, For the articles go to: and

For the New Year Plant Hunt 2021 and the record of 710 species in bloom, visit:

For an interesting non-formal phenology program for children offered by the Dobies Garden Centre in Kinross, go to:

[1]For Birdlife International’s Spring Alive programme, visit:

For the HEROES 2018 Annual Report with a vivid photo montage of students involved in phenology data gathering, analysis and dissemination, go to:

An account of Pakistan’s Billion Tree Tsunami, is available at: World Economic Forum. (2018). Pakistan has planted over a billion trees. July.

See BBC News. (2019) ‘Ethiopia “breaks” tree planting record to tackle climate change’.

For the Great Green Wall initiative, see: UNEP. (2021). Good news for Africa’s Great Green Wall. Also: UNEP. (2020). The world’s biggest ecosystem restoration project. For the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, visit:

On the Philippines tree-planting law, see: Mashable SE Asia. (2019). Philippines just made it compulsory for students to plant 10 trees if they want to graduate.

Woodland Trust. (2017). A New Northern Forest.

For the Woodland Trust schools programme, go to: Woodland Trust. Plant trees for your school.

Isabella Tree. (2018). ‘We need to bring back the wildwoods of Britain to fight climate change’, The Guardian. 26 November. Isabella’s outstanding book, Rewilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm, elaborates her ideas.

For an excellent account of scrubland in its own right and as precursor of new woodland, go to:

For Mark Cocker’s thoughts on straight-line thinking and excessive concern with tidiness as obstacles to ecological renewal, see his book, Our Place: Can We save Britain’s Wildlife Before It Is Too Late?, 2018, London: Jonathan Cape, (pp.290–295).

For an intriguing account of the reproductive and genetic features of red campion and other campions, read chapter 15, ‘Smutty Campions’, of Dave Goulson’s 2014 book, A Buzz in the Meadow. London: Vintage. (pp.171–184).

John Lane’s Timeless Simplicity, 2015, Totnes, Green Books, offers a persuasive case for living simply and within the carrying capacity of the planet. The quotation comes from page 5. Other essential reading in this regard is: Duane Elgin. (1981). Voluntary Simplicity: Towards a way of life that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. New York: William Morrow.

The quotation is from Naomi Klein’s wonderful 2021 climate change activist’s handbook, How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other. London: Penguin. (p.268).

For Extinction Rebellion in the UK go to:

See Dara McAnulty. (2020). Diary of a Young Naturalist. Ford (Dorset), Little Toller, especially pages 160–1,199, 206.

For Fridays for Future, go to: For the UK Student Climate Network, go to:

For an account of the hedge school movement in Ireland, see:

Some examples taken from the ‘Toolkit for Young Activists’ chapter of Naomi Klein’s activist handbook (see note 26), pp.257–283, while others are taken from ECEE. 2014. Ethical Consumerism in European Education. (pp.24–31).

For ideas linking T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland to the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 to 1920, I have borrowed from: Michael Austin. 2020. Why is April ‘the Cruelest Month’? Eliot’s Masterpiece of Pandemic Poetry. April.

Chapter 5

Officially, International Dawn Chorus Day occurs on the first Sunday of May each year. The day is described as ‘the worldwide celebration of nature’s greatest symphony’. For details, including details of special events go to:

For more on folkloric aspects of elder, visit: Trees for Life: Elder and Every Day Nature Trails, The Elder Tree: Mythology and Folklore

For more on folkloric aspects of hawthorn, visit: The Woodland Trust, Hawthorn.; The Hazel Tree, Hawthorn – Bride of the Hedgerow.;
and, Trees for Life, Hawthorn.

I have mainly relied on two sources for my account of the early history of rewilding in the United States: first, John Davis’ overview of the rewilding movement in his paper Rewilding Distilled. and, second, for Yellowstone, on George Monbiot’s account of the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction, see his excellent 2013 book, Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding, London: Allen Lane. (pp.84–6).

For an excellent account of the Alladale wolf project and wilderness reserve, refer to: Juliana Shallcross. 2019. This Man Wants to Bring Back Scotland’s Wild Past – Starting with Wolves. 28 March. On the threat felt by some farmers and alternative viewpoint see: Cal Flyn. 2020. ‘Landscape of fear: why we need the wolf. The Guardian. 24 November.

For details of lynx reintroduction plans, visit the website of the Lynx UK Trust: See also: ‘Lynx plans drawn up for Argyll and Inverness-shire’. BBC. and:

The Rewilding Britain website offers excellent coverage of the wild boar and other keystone species. Visit:

For the Knepp story a read of Isabella Tree’s 2018 book, Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm (London: Picador) is an absolute must. For the story of Knepp and the purple emperor butterfly, read Matthew Oates’ brilliant book, His Imperial Majesty: A Natural History of the Purple Emperor (London: Bloomsbury). On the return of the white stork, read Isabella Tree. 2019. ‘Storks are back in Britain – and they are a beacon of hope for all of us’, The Guardian. 8 July Also: Amy Hall, White stork – Their heritage in the UK and potential future. Cameron Bespolka Trust.

The large blue is very particular. The butterfly feeds and lays its eggs on wild thyme and marjoram. The caterpillars trick a particular species of red ant into carrying them into their nest, where they turn carnivore and feed on ant grubs until they emerge the next year as butterflies. The red ant requires a well-grazed terrain so as to allow the sunlight to warm their nests. To avoid too much shade, a finely tuned grazing regime is required. In the absence of such a regime life becomes too cold for the cold-blooded ants. See: Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington. 2010. The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland. Gillingham: British Wildlife Publishing. (pp.152–7).

For the Great Crane Project, visit:

A spectacular example of whole ecosystem rewilding is WildEast, the initiative of three East Anglian farmers concerned with securing community support for the return to wildlife to 250,000 acres of land. The plan involves asking land stakeholders involved to agree to rewild 20% of their own backyard. Farmers of all sizes, conservation projects, vicars, schools and teachers and industrial estate owners are becoming involved. See: See, also: Patrick Barkham. 2020. ‘Farmers hatch plan to return area the size of Dorset to wild nature’, The Guardian, 14 July

There is an interesting piece on small-scale rewilding in Stephen Moss. 2021. Skylarks with Rosie: A Somerset Spring. Salford: Saraband. (pp.124–6).

A notable example of the corridor approach is Cairngorms Connect, an alliance of landowners driven by the vision of linking contiguous habitats of native valley and montane woodland, wetlands and riverine environments together to enhance ecological balance and processes. See:

For the River Otter Beaver Trial Monitoring Plan, as revised in October 2017, go to:

For Scottish beaver introductions, see Scottish Wildlife Trust. Scottish Beavers.

River Otter Beaver Trial: Science and Evidence Report. 2020. See, also Devon Wildlife Trust Spring 2020. ‘Beavers: what now?’, Wild Devon. (pp.12–17).

Claire Marshall. 2020. Beaver families win legal ‘right to remain’. 6 August.

My colleague, Fumiyo Kagawa, visited Woodland Valley Farm on 20 June 2018, to observe the beavers and interview Chris Jones. Material in this paragraph is taken from her interview notes but also from the Woodland Valley Farm website. The farm offers accommodation and facilitates a range of learning programmes.

Rachel Corby. 2015. Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature. Stroud: Amanita Forest Press, (pp.76–7, p.206).

Mary Reynolds Thompson. 2014. Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore us to Wholeness. Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press, xx-xxii.

I acknowledge my indebtedness to Nick Baker for the Yellowstone metaphor, which can be found in his excellent 2017 book, ReWild: The Art of Returning to Nature. London: Aurum Press (see, especially, pp.268–70). For other books on inner rewilding and the relationship between nature rewilding and inner rewilding, see: Marc Bekoff. 2014. Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence. Novato, California: New World Library; Sandra Ingerman & Llyn Roberts. 2015. Speaking with Nature: Awakening to the Deep Wisdom of the Earth. Toronto: Bear & Company; Miles Olson. 2012. Unlearn, Rewild: Earth skills, ideas and inspiration for the future primitive. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers.

For a delightful account of ways to reconnect the garden with the wild, with lots of practical ideas, see: David Goulson. 2019. The Garden Jungle or Gardening to Save the Planet. London: Jonathan Cape.

Chapter 6

A word I love and borrow from the German where the noun ‘Duft’ connotes the most sublime and transporting of scents invariably from flowers.

For a brief account of the fortunes of the lady’s-slipper orchid and the protection the remaining native plant is afforded, see Reina Gattuso. 2019. This British Orchid is under Guard in a Secret Location.

For details of the wood white butterfly and its fortunes, see Fox et al. 2015. The State of the UK’s Butterflies: 2015. Wareham Dorset: Butterfly Conservation/Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. (pp. 6, 15,16,17).

Butterfly statistical details taken from the executive report in Fox et al. 2015. The State of the UK’s Butterflies: 2015. Wareham Dorset: Butterfly Conservation/Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. (p.2). [See web link in note 2 above.] See, also: Martin Warren. 2021. Butterflies: A natural history. London: Bloomsbury. (pp.235-242). Moth statistics are taken from the following: Macgregor et al. 2019. ‘Moth biomass has fluctuated over 50 years in Britain but lacks a clear trend’, Nature, Ecology and Evolution, 3, (pp.1645–9); The State of Britain’s Larger Moths 2021. Wareham Dorset: Butterfly Conservation, Rothamsted Research, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. For the moth snowstorm metaphor, see Michael McCarthy. 2015. The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. London: John Murray. Chapter 1.

For the 2017 and 2019 German insect loss studies, see: Casper Hallman and colleagues. 2017. More than 75% decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PLOS ONE, 12(10).; Sebastian Seibold and colleagues, 2019. ‘Anthropod decline in grasslands and forest is associated with landscape-level drivers’, Nature, 574, (pp.671–674).

Dave Goulson, 2021. ‘The insect apocalypse: “Our world will grind to a halt without them’, The Guardian. 25 July.

For data on skylark population decline, visit the British Trust for Ornithology website at:

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species has a webpage on Threats to our hedgerows at; also a page on Hedgerow Wildlife at Devon County Council advice on healthy hedge maintenance is particularly informative. See:

State of Nature 2019. For the Freshwater Habitats Trust, visit: For details of how amphibians are faring in the UK, visit the Froglife website:

For information on meadow loss and restoration visit the Magnificent Meadows partnership website: For a detailed account of meadow loss since the 1930s read George Peterken’s brilliant tome, Meadows. London: Bloomsbury, especially chapter 14, ‘Loss and Survival’.

Dan Pauly. 1995. ‘Anecdotes and the shifting baseline syndrome of fisheries’, TREE, 10 (10), October, (p.430). For helpful discussions of the shifting baseline syndrome, read: Nick Baker. 2017. Rewild: The Art of Returning to Nature. London: Aurum. (pp.32–3); also, Isabella Tree. 2018. Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm. London: Picador. (pp.147–8).

Where the Wild Things Were Project:

The meaning of ‘speedwell’ is much discussed. As in my text, it can be taken as invocation that your travels will be speedy and safe. This may lie in the plants’ propensity for inhabiting verges of paths and roadways. Speedwells, in particular germander speedwell, have also been seen as being of medicinal value drunk as an infusion. It was reckoned to heal wounds, cleanse the blood, cure gout and clear up respiratory ailments. From a health angle, the meaning may well have connotations of speedy recovery. An alternative name for germander speedwell is bird’s eye speedwell. The name arises from the flowers having the appearance of a white eye peering through blue. See: James Duncan. 2020. Species of the day: Germander Speedwell. Sussex Wildlife Trust. 16 May.

I cannot but repeat my recommendation (see note 9) of George Peterken’s comprehensive, erudite and beautifully illustrated 2013 book, Meadows, published by Bloomsbury Wildlife. The two paragraphs on defining meadows owe much to his work; see, especially, pp. 13–19.

For accounts of Goren Farm go to Great British Life. 2016. A wildflower wonderland in East Devon, 6 June. and About -Goren Farm Seeds.

For the East Devon Grey Long-Eared Bat Project, visit: See also the Back from the Brink site:

For the Plantlife website, go to: I also used data and quotations from the following: Patrick Barkham ‘Flower Power! The movement to bring back Britain’s beautiful meadows’. The Guardian. 28 January 2021.

For descriptions and images of the Nottingham catchfly, go to: For the story of the return of the catchfly to Nottingham Castle, see: ‘Historic Nottingham Catchfly to return to the Castle grounds a century after it disappeared’, Nottingham Post, 2020.

For the Englishman’s or White Man’s Foot, visit the Druid’s Well at:

For children’s versatile usage of ribwort plantain for their games, see Plant-Lore’s website:

For an account of the extreme toxicity of hemlock water dropwort, see: C. Downs et al. 2002. ‘A hemlock water dropwort curry: a case of multiple poisoning. Emergency Medicine Journal, 19(5).

I have drawn from George Peterken’s 2013 book, Meadows, for details of haymaking (see notes 9 and 13), especially chapter 5, ‘Making hay the traditional way’. It should be noted that Peterken makes much of regional variations in how haymaking was carried out, which I am not able to do in the space available.

Information on Damers First School meadow activities taken from Miles King. 2021. National Meadows Day 2021: A Tale of Two Meadows, July 3. For details of the schools eco-learning and harmony program, visit: Edd More. Eco learning at Damers First School.

For Moor Meadows go to:

For the Norfolk Wildlife Trust/Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group meadow restoration scheme, see Patrick Barkham, 2019. ‘Norfolk scheme brings ancient wildlife meadows back to life’. 23 August.

In writing this concluding paragraph, I acknowledge my debt of gratitude to Mark Cocker for his short but oh-so-inspiring 2019 Country Diary piece, ‘The exquisite joy of a meadow full of flowers’, The Guardian, 2 July.

Chapter 7

This lovely poem comes from 30 Days (Time is Now), an anthology of illustrated science and nature poetry written and compiled by Joanna Tilsley, Quantum Press, 2014.

For this and other poems by Scotland-based Vicki Feaver, go to:

For an account of the naming of butterflies and moths that is both scholarly and illuminating, see: Peter Marren. 2019. Emperors, Admirals and Chimney Sweepers: The Weird and Wonderful Names of Butterflies and Moths. Dorset: Little Toller Books.

The abundance of marbled white butterflies I discover in Cliff Meadow in July 2021 could chime with the finding of Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count 2021 that, while butterfly numbers plummeted in the case of many species, the marbled white was one of a few species to buck the trend with a 213% increase in numbers. See:

The pebblebed heathlands of East Devon comprise beds of rounded pebbles mixed with sandstone. Extending north to the Somerset border, they were deposited by a large northward-flowing desert river some 235 million years ago. Deeply buried in the Jurassic period, erosion has since returned them to the soil surface. They are rich in dinosaur fossils. Acidic in quality, they provide an important lowland heath habitat, and now are home to the heath-loving Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata) as it extends its territory.

I have taken Victorian and earlier perceptions of the Nightjar from: Sharpe’s London Magazine, no.50, 10 October 1846, (pp.373–4).

Macfarlane, R. (2011). Introduction. In: Shepherd, N. The Living Mountain. Edinburgh: Canongate, p.xxvi.

For reader-friendly accounts of butterfly and moth metamorphosis, go to: Tibi Puiu. 2018. ‘How caterpillars gruesomely transform into butterflies’, ZME Science.

The principal differences between crickets and grasshoppers concern the length of their antennae, the mechanism they employ for stridulating, i.e. the body parts they rub together to make sound, and when they are active. Crickets have long antennae; grasshoppers have short antennae. Crickets stridulate or ‘sing’ by rubbing their wings together; grasshoppers ‘sing’ by rubbing their hind legs against their wings. Grasshoppers are out during the day while crickets become active at dusk. See Grasshoppers and Crickets. Amateur Entomologists’ Society:

On butterfly symbolism, I cannot recommend highly enough Peter Marren’s 2015 book published by Square Peg, Rainbow Dust: Three Centuries of Delight in British Butterflies, especially his chapter 7 on butterflies and the imagination, pp. 154–74. Other sources: Marina Rose, The Butterfly Effect: Personal Cycles of Transformation, Rebirth and Renewal. 2017., and, on butterfly symbols in art through the ages, Matthew Wilson. 2021. Butterflies: The ultimate icon of our fragility. BBC Culture.

For a discussion of the concept of ‘transformation’ as it applies to education for sustainability and climate change education, see the 2018 article I wrote with colleague, Fumiyo Kagawa: ‘Teetering on the Brink: Subversive and restorative learning in times of climate turmoil and disaster’, Journal of Transformative Education, 16(4), (pp.302–322).

I am indebted to Imaginal Labs for their succinct explanation of the role of imaginal cells in the pupa. See: The Story of Imaginal Cells.

Chapter 8

Sarah Acton became the Jurassic Coast’s poet-in residence in 2017. Visit:

‘Teddies’ are early potatoes. The poem appears in Branscombe is Beautiful, the Poems of Nobby Clarke, 2002, Hartland Press.

Stones with naturally occurring holes, usually but not always flint, are often referred to as hag stones. They are supposed to bring luck to the finder. On hag stones, see: Clive Mitchell. 2022. The Pebble Spotter’s Guide. London; National Trust Books. (p.57).

For further information on the coastal geology of East Devon and Dorset, read Denys Brunsden. 2003. A Walk Through Time: The Official Guide to the Jurassic Coast. Wareham: Coastal Publishing. Useful for walking the area is Devon County Council, Geology in Devon, a free booklet available from Discover Devon:

For an overview of the pros and cons of the Anthropocene concept, read Joseph Stromberg. 2013. ’What is the Anthropocene and are we in it?’, Smithsonian.

Information on plat farming is taken from two sources: Barbara Farquharson & Sue Dymond. 2014. Cliff and Beach at Branscombe. Branscombe: The Brancombe Project; Chips Barber. 2004. Branscombe. Cullompton: Avocet Press

For first-rate guidance on finding the hazel dormouse, visit the dedicated People’s Trust for Endangered Species web link:
Also, visit the Woodland Trust site: For reference to the dormouse in and around Weston Combe, see: The Dormouse Monitor, December 2019, 3.; also read the Sidmouth Herald, December 2020. I am grateful to Louise Woolley, Sidmouth ecological consultant, for her illuminating exposition of the life ways of the dormouse during a 17 August 2021 bat detection expedition she led into Weston Combe.

For an interesting discussion of the naming of broomrapes, see: In Defense of Plants, 2017, Broomrape: What’s in a Name?

The Countryfile Magazine offers an excellent guide to rockpooling, namely a Guide to Rockpooling, 2020 a Rockpool Identification Guide, 2018:

The Cambridge University Department of Zoology provides an excellent abstract overviewing the latest (2020) research into the amazing adhesive mechanisms of limpets. See ‘Stick like a limpet? It’s all in the mucus’:

For Dorset Marine Conservation Zones and marine Sites of Special Scientific Interest, go to: Dorset Wildlife Trust, 2022, Marine Protected Areas. For information on Highly Protected Marine Areas, go to: JNCC, Highly Protected Marine Areas. For the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve, visit:

For more on the amazing species to be found in Devon and Dorset coastal waters, go to: Dorset’s Marine Protected Areas. and also Devon Wildlife Trust, Beneath the waves.

Community of Arran Seabed Trust. 2021. Coast Winter News (winter season newsletter).

The discussion of COAST draws upon my interview with Paul Chandler, then Executive Director of COAST, on 11 October 2018 and Sustainability Frontiers colleague Fumiyo Kagawa’s interview with Manuela de los Rios, then Communications and Administrative Officer, on 13 September 2017. It also uses data from the COAST website,, and the quarterly (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) COAST newsletter since 2019. For the Marine Society ‘Great British Beach Clean’, go to: On the Arran No Take zone, in particular, and the effectiveness of MPAs in general, see Mattha Busby, 2020. ‘How a no-take zone revived a Scottish fishery devastated by dredgers’, The Guardian. 25 February.

On the notion of being a ‘good ancestor’, the following text is recommended: Roman Krznaric. 2020. The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World. London: Penguin Random House.

In writing this section I have been much inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s contribution to the Facing the Anthropocene Series, 4 March 2021 available at:  For the seventh generation notion also go to the indigenous blog, What is the Seventh Generation Principle? 30 May 2020: For the notion of the 200-year present, see: Paul Saffo, 2010, Elise Boulding on the “200-year present”: For the learning activity ‘Inventing the Future (Backwards)’, see Graham Pike & David Selby.1999. In the Global Classroom 1. Toronto: Pippin.(pp. 233–4).

Chapter 9

The poem ‘Farming Is Not an Industry’ is to be found in the regular e-diary of Hilary Peters, Dispatches from the Counter-Revolution. Hilary Peters campaigned against intensive farming as unsustainable. See: for the poem, and to find the complete list of her dispatches fighting back against the industrial model, visit:

The name Lady-jump-out-of-bed derives from the old children’s game of squeezing the calyx and so forcing the corolla to jump out, a practice accompanied by a vernacular chant. See:

The German name, Muttergottesgläschen, ‘Little Glass of the Mother of God’ has Christian folkloric roots, its usage confirmed by figuring in fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.
See: ‘Marian’ refers to anything relating to the Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic religion.

For an account of the curlew and its decline that is at one and the same time evocative, deeply moving and inspirational, see: Mary Colwell. 2018. Curlew Moon. London: William Collins.

A most useful account of the pros and cons of hedge management for Devon is provided in Devon Hedge Management 3: Trimming available at:

For the East Devon Grey Long-Eared Bat Project visit the following website: The project is part of a bigger East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty project, Saving Special Species, that is bent upon protecting eight threatened species that have a special connection with East Devon: the brown hairstreak butterfly; the grey long-eared bat; Bechstein’s bat; the greater horseshoe bat; heath lobelia; the Devon whitebeam; the pearl bordered and small pearl bordered fritillary butterflies. For the Saving Special Species Project go to:

For nature in general on the Golden Cap Estate, see: Wildlife on the Golden Cap Estate in Dorset, National Trust.

For bats on the Estate in particular, go to: ‘Bat surveys record some of Britain’s rarest bats at Golden Cap, Dorset’, Bridport Life and Times.

This account of bat natural history together with the description of the 17 September 2020 ‘Bats about Bats’ walk at Stonebarrow is derived from transcriptions of inputs given by the walk guides, added to which are insights from Louise Woolley as she led a Sustainability Frontiers bat detection expedition down Weston Combe on the evening of 17 August 2021. Information was also drawn from the magnificent volume, Bats of Britain and Europe written by Christian Dietz and Andreas Kiefer and published in English translation by Bloomsbury Wildlife in 2018.

For Farm Wildlife’s advice on retaining winter stubble, visit:

For farmland bird population decline, see Isabella Tree (2018). Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm. London: Picador, especially, pp. 5, 120. For an excellent account of stubble and farmland birds, see: Moorcraft, D., Whittingham, M.J., Bradbury, R.B., and Wison, J.D. (2002). ‘The selection of stubble fields by wintering granivorous birds reflects vegetation cover and food abundance’ Journal of Applied Ecology, 39, (pp.535–547):

See also the FarmWildlife website on ‘Winter stubbles’:

It is believed that the new food plants became attractive to the brown argus when the sites where they grew became warmer with the onset of climate heating. On this matter, see: Jeremy Thomas. 2010. The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland, Dorset: British Wildlife Publishing. (p.127).

For details of Farm Wildlife, see:

On the change in cirl bunting fortunes, see: Kathryn Smith. 2021. ‘Saving the cirl bunting from extinction in the UK’. FarmWildlife. This document contains the Farm Wildlife ‘six key actions’. See, also: ‘Cirl Bunting continues stunning comeback. Rare Bird Alert.

For more about the special vision of the kestrel (and other birds), see:

For a summary account of sociocracy, see: Ted J. Rau. 2018. ‘Sociocracy: The Movement. Enlivening Edge Magazine. January 20.

For case studies of sociocracy in action, including its use by several environmental organizations, visit Sociocracia Practica, Case studies of sociocracy,

IMBY describes agro-ecology as follows: ‘using ecosystem principles to work with nature, rather than against it; this includes various methods – cover crops, companion planting, green manures, manures. Essentially, it involves applying ecology to agriculture, rather than using chemicals (as in) intensive industrial agriculture (i.e. biology not chemistry)’. The IMBY definition of biodynamic farming is as follows: ‘A system of farming that follows a sustainable, holistic approach which uses only organic, usually locally sourced materials for fertilizing and soil conditioning, views the farm as a closed, diversified ecosystem and often bases farming activities on lunar and other astronomical cycles’. For IMBY, regenerative farming refers to regenerating the soil by encouraging ‘the soil’s natural biological and mineral systems to flourish, leading to richer, more productive soil and an environment in which people, crops, farm animals and wildlife can all thrive’. For further information go to: the Soil Association website:; the Biodynamic Association website:; and the Regeneration International website:

This section draws upon material transcribed from a virtual interview with Laura Williams, IMBY, held on 25 September 2021.

Chapter 10

For details of the painted lady discoveries made by scientists at the University of York working in partnership with Butterfly Conservation, other organisations and citizen scientists, go to: Painted Lady migration secrets unveiled, University of York, See also British Ecological Society, 2018, Painted lady’s roundtrip migratory flight is longest recorded in butterflies, The Butterfly Conservation quotation is taken from the first source listed here and is attributed to Richard Fox, Surveys Manager.

Information on the silver Y drawn from: Ray Cannon. 2018. EU migrants: Influx of Silver Y moths.

Gilbert White. 1977: original published 1788–9. The Natural History of Selborne, ed. Richard Mabey. London: Penguin Books. See, especially, pages 32, 39, 63, 89 and 138.

On Christian orthodoxy concerning unchanging nature, see: Sonia Shah. 2021. The Next Great Migration: The Story of Movement on a Changing Planet. London: Bloomsbury. (p.82).

Flora Thompson. 1978. Lark Rise to Candleford. London: Penguin (originally published 1945).

This passage draws from my critique of mechanism, ‘Reaching into the holomovement: a Bohemian perspective on social learning for sustainability’ in Arjen Wals. ed. 2007. Social Learning Towards a Sustainable World. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic. (pp.165–180).

For a marvellously told account of the swallow in migration and its time in southern Africa, read: Stephen Moss. 2020. The Swallow: A Biography. London: Square Peg.

For the EU Birds Directive, 1979, visit:

The Birdlife International 2015 report, The Killing, can be downloaded from: while a Guardian summary is available at:

N.B. The landing pages for both the above links contain images that may be distressing to some readers. For the 2016 European Wilderness Society piece by Karin Eckhard, go to:

World Migratory Bird Day in fact covers two days, one set in the time of spring migration, one during the autumn migration period. The dates vary from year to year. For details go to:

See: ’Swallows opt out of migration’, 11 March 2022. Birdguides.; and Kieran Lawrence Clive Barlow, Keith Densusan, Charles Perez & Stephen Willis. 2021. ‘Phenological trends in the pre- and post-breeding migration of long-distance migratory birds’, Global Change Biology, 20:2, (pp.375–389).

For the Islay Sustainable Goose Management Strategy 2014-2024, go to:

Listen to Karine Polwart. 2017. A Pocket of Wind Resistance. Hudson Records, and see her accompanying booklet, Wind Resistance. 2017. London: Faber and Faber.

Ragwort is a much maligned and much persecuted plant. An important food plant supporting 133 species and reckoned to be the seventh most important nectaring source for insects, it has been the object of a persistent campaign for its extirpation based upon exaggerated and unconfirmed reports of horse poisoning deaths arising from eating the plant. The eradication campaign has had a knock-on effect on dependent wildlife. For an account offering a pro and con assessment of the facts, go to Ragwort Facts – a UK Scientific Perspective.

For details of northbound butterflies reaching Scotland, go to: Madeleine Cuff. 2020. ‘Warmer summers lure more butterflies to Scotland. 9 October. For an Islay butterfly synoptic list, consult the Islay Natural History Trust’s Checklist of the Butterflies and Dragonflies of Islay.

On birds being pushed north by global heating, see Patrick Barkham. 2022. ‘Rare birds’ arrival an “unmissable sign” climate emergency has reached Britain.’ The Guardian. 17 June. On the arrival of the European bee-eater as indication of climate change, refer to Stephen Moss. 2022. ‘Weatherwatch: arrival of bee-eater is worrying sign of climate crisis’. The Guardian. 21 July.

On the fate of the mountain ringlet, see: Stephen Moss. 2021. ‘How climate crisis made my British butterfly hunt a race against time’. 1 August.

On the fate of the dotterel, see Graham Appleton. 2020. Scotland’s Dotterel: still hanging on. 30 April.

On invasive plants read the 22 December 2021 blog Alien invaders or home-grown thugs? The impact of invasive species on our ecosystems. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

For the tens rule, see Mark Williamson and Alastair Fitter. 1996. ‘The varying success of invaders’, Ecology, 77(6) (pp.1661–1666). .

The tens rule is contested. For a critique, see: Ivan Jaric and Gorcin Cvijanovic. 2012. ‘The Tens Rule in Invasion Biology: Measure of True Impact or Our Lack of Knowledge and Understanding? Environmental Management, 50(6).

I have been much influenced in these few paragraphs by the writing of Sonia Shah. See her 2020 paper ‘Native Species or Invasive? The Distinction Blurs as the World Warms’, Yale Environment 360, April. Another recommended read is her 2020 book The Next Great Migration: The Story of Movement on a Changing Planet. London: Bloomsbury.

Chapter 11

In Europe this statement stands true but in North America and elsewhere, the wax cap or ‘waxy cap’ tends to be found in woodland or meadows transitioning into woodland.

For further information on Golden Cap, see: These paragraphs have also drawn on Waxcaps and Grassland Fungi: A guide to identification and management made available by Plantlife:

A further rich source on waxcaps is the Waxcap Website of the University of Wales at Aberystwyth:

For details of the River Witham Circular trail, North Hykeham, near Lincoln, go to:

The passage quoted from Lev Parikian is taken from his description of his visit to the natural places of his childhood that appears in his 2020 book, Into the Tangled Bank, London: Elliot and Thompson. (pp.126–8).

Glenn Albrecht uses the term, solastalgia, to catch the idea of nostalgia for place when one is in that place but when it has been subject to environmental change. See: Glenn Albrecht et al, (2007) ‘Solastalgia: The distress caused by environmental change’, Australasian Psychiatry, 15(1). S95–8.

In what follows, I have been much influenced by Sally Weintrobe’s magnificent 2021 book, Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis, London: Bloomsbury Academic, especially pages 235–244. Another source of great help and illumination has been her edited tome, Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Hove: Routledge. I thank Peter Darch for bringing my attention to Sally’s work.

For the full ‘You Call it Eco-Trauma’ poem by Mia Nelson and her success in the 2021 Climate Crisis and You challenge on the Young Poets Network, go to:

Eco-shame should be distinguished from eco-shaming, a response to destruction of nature involving shaming of the perpetrators, a strategy judiciously used in environmental activism. See Elaine Thelen. 2019. ‘Eco-shaming is on the rise, but does it work?’ in Future of the Environment. World Economic Forum. July 18.

On the rooting out of urban trees and pursuant campaign, see: ‘Sheffield tree massacre: How locals battled to protect Europe’s greenest city’, Independent.

On the outrage caused by the netting of supermarket roofs see, for example,

For the 2020 survey of adult US citizens see: Matthew Schneider-Mayerson & Leong Kit Ling. 2020. ‘Eco-reproductive concerns in the age of climate change’, Climate Change, 163, (pp.1007–1023). For the BirthStrike movement, see: Elle Hunt. 2019. ‘BirthStrikers: meet the women who refuse to have children until climate change ends’, The Guardian. 19 March.

See Caroline Hickman et al. 2021. ‘Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey’. The Lancet Planetary Health. 5(12). December. e863-e873.

For radical climate change responses see: Timon McPherson, Christopher Raymond, Natalie Gulsrud et al. 2021. ‘Radical changes are needed for transformations to a good Anthropocene’, Urban Sustainability, 5, February:

For what is called climate change denialism, see: Sally Weintrobe. 2021. Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis. London: Bloomsbury Academic, especially pages 138–143.

Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone. 2012. Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going crazy. Novato California: New World Library. The stack of books and articles also informing our conversation included: Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. 2021. The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for an Endangered Planet. London: Viking; Byron Williston. 2012. ‘Climate Change and Radical Hope’, Ethics & The Environment, 17(2).(pp.165–186); Catriona McKinnon. 2014. ‘Climate Change Against Despair’, Ethics & The Environment, 19(1). (pp.31–48); Maria Ojala. 2016. ‘Facing Anxiety in Climate Change Education: From Therapeutic Practice to Hopeful Transgressive Learning’, Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 21. (pp.41–52); Elin Kelsey. 2016. ‘Propagating Collective Hope in the Midst of Environmental Doom and Gloom’, Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 21. (pp.23–40); Maria Ojala. 2017. ‘Hope and Anticipation in Education for a Sustainable Future’, Futures, 94, (pp.76–84); Panu Pihkala. 2017. ‘Environmental Education after Sustainability: Hope in the Midst of Tragedy’, Global Discourse’. 7(1). (pp.109–127); my 2018 co-written article with colleague Fumiyo Kagawa: ‘Teetering on the Brink: Subversive and Restorative Learning in Times of Climate Turmoil and Disaster’, Journal of Transformative Education, 16(4). (pp.302–322).

On symbolic meanings attached to barn owls, see, for instance: Symbolism and Metaphor. 2020. Barn Owl Symbolism and Meaning. November. Also: Bird Watching USA. 2022. Barn Owl Symbolism & Meaning: Are they good or bad luck? See further: Jamie Sands & David Carson. 1988. Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Bear. (pp.121–2).

Martin Seligman.1992. Learned Optimism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (p.292).

This passage draws heavily on the 2018 article I wrote with Fumiyo Kagawa: ‘Teetering on the Brink: Subversive and Restorative Learning in Times of Climate Turmoil and Disaster’, Journal of Transformative Education, 16(4). (pp.302–322).

On futures learning activities, see, for instance, my 1999 handbook with Graham Pike. In the Global Classroom 1. Toronto: Pippin Publishing. (pp.217–247). See also: David Hicks. 2014. Educating for Hope in Troubled Times: Climate Change and the Transition to a Post-Carbon Future. London: Trentham Books. For the Council of All Beings in particular, see John Seed, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming & Arne Naess.1988. Thinking Like a Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings. London: Heretic Books.

Chapter 12

Sources on mistletoe and the rituals and folklore surrounding the plant are as follows: Icy Sedgwick. 2019. What strange folklore lies behind mistletoe and Christmas?; Megan Shersby. Mistletoe guide: how it survives on other plants, and folklore associated with it.; Roger Di Silvestro. 2019. 12 Things to Know about Mistletoe. National Wildlife Federation. ‘Witches’ broom’ is also popularly used to describe a tree deformity marked by an abnormal brush-like, densely branched cluster of weakened shoots affecting a number of trees.

For folklore and ritual surrounding holly, see: Trees for Life. Holly Mythology and Folklore. For folklore surrounding ivy, go to: Linda Crampton. 2022. English Ivy Symbolism, Traditions and Mythology. Owlcation. June.

For traditionally played midwinter carols with a strong nature orientation, listen to Sneak’s Noyse, Christmas Now is Drawing Near. Saydisc – Cd-SDL 371, 1988. Also: Magpie Lane. 1995. Wassail! Country Christmas. Beautiful Joe Records 541; Barry Coope et al. 2003. Fire and Sleet and Candlelight. No Masters Cooperative NMCD21.

The inspiration behind many of these observations, and indeed what I write subsequently about winter solstice rituals, is John Matthews’ wonderful 1998 book, The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. London: Thorsons. See, especially pages 76–112 (for Yule traditions, pp.98–9 and 104–5). The St Barbara’s Branch ritual has been and largely remains a German, Central and Eastern custom, but John Matthews references similar English customs revolving round midwinter flowering branches (pp.78–9). The National Trust is endeavouring to revive the wassail. For its Join in with the annual wassail guide visit:

My understanding of ritual is much influenced by Casper ter Kuile’s fine 2020 volume, The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practices. London: HarperCollins UK. See also Gavin Lamb. 2020. Reinventing Old Rituals for Modern Times to Reconnect with the Natural World.

For Basho, see Marjorie Buettner. 2009. ‘The Return Message: A Pilgrim’s Way of Longing’, Modern Haiku 40(1). For Emerson’s ‘The Undersong’, go to:

For a very useful overview of forest bathing and its benefits, visit: Harriet Sherwood. 2019. ‘Getting back to nature: how forest bathing can make us feel better’, The Observer. Forestry England offers a good guide to forest bathing. See:

I am deeply indebted to my friend and colleague Peter Darch for sharing with me his account of his sacred place experiences.

Some of the ideas in this paragraph are borrowed from Sarah Scarborough. 2020. Ritual: Five Daily Rituals from Finland for Connecting to Nature and Increasing Your Life Force! November.

For a guide to winter solstice rituals and celebratory activities, see John Matthews. 1998. The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. London: Thorsons. (pp.239–41).

There are a number of learning activity sources for celebrating the spring equinox. These include: Vivianne Crowley. 2022. How to Celebrate the Spring Equinox: According to a Wiccan High Priestess. British Vogue, 16 March.; Cathy James. 2023. Activities to celebrate the Spring Equinox with children. NurureStore. 20 March.

On Beltane activities, visit: Lucy Corkill. 2019. 5 ways to celebrate Beltane. The Green Parent. 23 April. On the Green Man refer to: John Matthews. 2002. The Green Man: Spirit of Nature. Boston MA: Red Wheel.

On summer solstice activities, go to: Christina Millikin & Glenn Carreau. 2022. How to Celebrate the Summer Solstice. wikiHow. 27 June.

For Lammas celebrations and rituals see Tiny Ritual. 2019. 6 Ways to Celebrate Lammas. July 29.

Helpful here is Barbi Gardiner. 2022. 10 Powerful Rituals for Autumn Equinox: Celebrating the End of Summer. Outdoor Apothecary. 19 September

An excellent account of Samhain with copious suggestions for activities to undertake is to be found in: Selena Fox. Undated. Celebrating Samhain. Circle Sanctuary.

In writing these paragraphs on the wheel of the year, I have drawn considerably on the following: Kenneth Meadows. 1996. Earth Medicine: Revealing Hidden Teachings of the Native American Medicine Wheel. Rockport MA: Element Books. See, especially, pages 31–42 and 252–267.

‘Moth snowstorm’ is Michael McCarthy’s description of the onetime abundance of moths in his youth, an abundance best seen in car headlights at night. See his wonderful 2015 book, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. London: John Murray.

On the winter moth and climate-induced asynchrony, see: Buse, A. et al. 2002. ‘Effects of elevated temperature on multi-species interactions: the case of Pedunculate Oak, Winter Moths and Tits’, Functional Ecology.; Netherlands Institute of Ecology. 2007. Winter Moths Prove Able to Adjust to Climate Change.  For an account of the moth, visit: Dominic Couzens. 2021. ‘Country diary: Winter moths have the best and wildest party of all. The Guardian. 31 December.

On mourning for nature, see Sofia Quaglia. 2022. ‘Glacier grief: how funerals and rituals can help us mourn the loss of nature’, The Guardian. 10 October. On Eden Portland, visit:

World Rivers Day:; Sustainability Day:; International Mountain Day:

For World Wetlands Day, go to:

For the International Day of Forests, visit:

For Earth Day, visit:

For World Biodiversity day: visit:

For World Environment Day, see:

For National Hedgerow Week, see:

For the Big Garden Birdwatch, visit:; for the Big Butterfly Count, see:

A very useful calendar of environmental awareness dates is offered by the organization, Green Dreamer. Visit: