Season’s greetings to all & random ramblings ….

As I travelled about earlier today the winds building up were quite noticeable.  The winter plover flocks were buffeted by them, the finch flocks foraging in the few fields still offering stubble were carried further by them whilst the thrushes struggled to find hedgerows amidst the local prairescape.  Later on the news reported in excess of 100 flood warnings and around 160 flood alerts across the country, power failures are also reported so it looks like it could be a cold and wet festive season for many.

Here in the Humberhead Levels, of which much is flood plain, we seem to escape the worst of the ravages that places like York experience.  If we head a little further north into the Lower Derwent Valley, where the rivers flood regularly it really can be a picture to behold.  The farming practice however is well used to these occurences and manage the cropping regime accordingly.


A spectacular aerial view across Wheldrake Ings in the Spring of 2012.

The turmoil suffered by many is tragic, but the fact that Government insist that local authorities build 20% of new housing in flood plains fails to make any sense to me, clearly a difficult policy to understand?

Government and its statutory agencies and authorities have often conducted business which appears to contradict their published aims and objectives.  Science seems to have been abandoned when our natural environment is under threat, instead developers are ‘advised’ or encouraged to mitigate for loss.  I suppose the resultant column inches from such gardening projects makes for nice political PR?  Guardians no longer seem able or willing to risk political displeasure by ensuring strict adherence to relevant legislation.

Thankfully though I’m not a lone voice, other well read bloggers such as Mark Avery whose excellent Standing up for Nature blog seeks to encourage, to motivate and to provoke,  Miles King’s a new nature blog is another thought provoking example.   These and others have and sadly continue to report horrendous shortfalls in action to halt decline of species and habitats.  ‘Twitcher in the swamp’ and ‘Naturally opinionated’ are both regular pieces in British Wildlife and they too are well worth the read.  I recall the 1997 masterpiece: “A muzzled watchdog” I sense there is an opportunity for a revised edition given the many and varied reports published by collaborations of NGOs, which read like obituaries rather than government marketing spin.  The conference at which the bold State of Nature report was launched brought the prospect of hope?  Nature Check 2013 and others followed, as Iolo said words …. I’m an agnostic, so await their update but fear that it will be variation.  Activism is what’s needed, so who will call conservation to arms?  Will Andrew Sells herald a new beginning for nature’s guardians, Owen Paterson introduces the Government’s preferred candidate …. but it seems George Monbiot is not too sure, nor is Miles King.  Ever our agnostic approach, we will observe evolution in action.

A plea that if you’ve not already done so, to consider signing the petition STOP & RETHINK   & just to re-iterate (again) that we’re NOT oppossed to the principle of open access, simply that we seek open and transparent process which adheres to legislation.

Spare a thought tomorrow when you ‘pull the wishbone’ with family and friends, what do we all really need?  Fundamental to human well being is surely a healthy planet, a functioning ecosytem (not a fractured one, fixed with financial ‘fiddling’) in which we play a part, albeit a major part.

So, here’s wishing all our readers a happy and healthy Christmas and on the morrow a determination to promote, to encourage, to persuade, to advocate, whatever it takes to repair decades of damage to sensitive and fragile habitats.

So, a big thank you to all the Forum’s volunteers and to our extensive network for the help and support provided throughout 2013, particularly to the many ecologists who have made significant contributions to our understanding of the biodiversity of Thorne and Hatfield Moors SSSI.  Here’s to 2014 and to ‘moor’ firsts for the UK!


Moody and evocative, therapeutic and energising – all these emotions are out there so please join us in seeking to champion the cause for nature conservation wherever you live!

Thanks to Ted Sabin for sharing this autumnal image of Crowle Moors. 

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