I went for a wander and found… a crocodile!

This morning’s sunshine tricked me into pulling on my shoes and coat and heading out for a walk. I was beginning to regret the hat and scarf as I walked through the quiet Sunday streets in bright, warm sunshine.

On my way to the park I came across a heron on a lamppost. In fact, it’s quite a common sight around here. I’ve also seen them on gate posts, railings and rooftops. They always look to me as though they’re guarding something… Continue readingI went for a wander and found… a crocodile!

Urban nature safari in Nottingham

safari_intro-630x359The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust recently held an Urban Safari – a 7.5km guided walk around some of Nottingham’s many urban nature spots, including parks, wastelands, woods and a city farm.

It was a really enjoyable day out – it was a great opportunity to see some parts of Nottingham I probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise and to discover just how much nature there is in the city, as well as meeting some lovely people.

I wrote a piece for Wildlife in the City about the Urban Safari. If you live in or near Nottingham, read it, download the map and: Go on an Urban Safari! 

Continue readingUrban nature safari in Nottingham

Nostalgia and new beginnings

Image by Lee J Haywood
Image by Lee J Haywood

Autumn might be the season for impending hibernation, but it is also about new beginnings. It is the start of a new term at the university and the campus is packed full of students, holding maps and reassuring pieces of paper. My sister also just started university, so I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for my own university days. It hardly seems believable that seven years have passed since I started at St Andrews. But then it hardly seems believable that I’ve been in Nottingham for a year. Continue readingNostalgia and new beginnings

Cycle adventures in Nottingham

Despite resolving to spend the Bank Holiday weekend writing short stories, the weather was too nice to stay indoors all day, staring at a screen.

On Saturday it was late afternoon before my boyfriend and I could motivate ourselves to leave the couch, so we weren’t up for anything too adventurous, but we still fancied doing something different. Our usual fall back is a cycle ride round Attenborough Nature Reserve, but when we’re looking for a change we get out the map.

2013-05-27 12.54.25 Continue readingCycle adventures in Nottingham

Here In The City

Manchester
Manchester

A couple of days ago I was sat on the top deck of the bus going in to Manchester city centre. It’s the same bus I’ve been catching twice a week for the last few months. Most of the time I read on the bus, but occasionally I just like to look out of the window at the city and it’s people below. On this particular morning, for some reason, I was feeling particularly observant and particularly inspired by what I saw. It was the simple variety of life that really struck me. All these people here in one place with vastly different lives. Continue readingHere In The City

Review: At the Water’s Edge by John Lister-Kaye

In At the Water’s Edge John Lister-Kaye charts the four seasons as he takes the same circular walk everyday from his home in a Scottish glen. Lister-Kaye describes the changes in his surroundings and the various plants and animals that he encounters. It is when he is describing these encounters, particularly ones with animals, that Lister-Kaye’s strength as a brilliant storyteller shines through. He had me genuinely gripped at times, for instance when he describes his attempt to stalk a stag, he really brings to life the tension of trying to find the stag without the stag sensing him first. Continue readingReview: At the Water’s Edge by John Lister-Kaye

Review: The Unofficial Countryside by Richard Mabey

The Unofficial Countryside spans the four seasons and is Richard Mabey’s account of wildlife within and around London. Published in 1973 it was ahead of its time with its focus on urban nature, something that is still relatively under-represented by the nature writing canon. In each chapter Mabey visits various liminal or marginalised spaces – such as sewage works, rubbish dumps, and gravel works – as well as the more acceptable faces of urban nature – such as parks, gardens, and golf courses – and writes about the plant, bird, and animal life that he encounters there. Continue readingReview: The Unofficial Countryside by Richard Mabey