Left To Its Own Devices

We have been away for a fortnight. While I was away, I read the book ‘Wilding’ by Isabella Tree who, together with her husband Charlie Burrell, stopped farming their farm – Knepp –  in Sussex shortly after the turn of the century and left it to its own devices to see what happened next. Actually, fantastic things happened next and continue to happen and they now have important populations of many threatened species such as Nightingales, Turtle Doves and Purple Emperor butterflies.

We may only have 6 acres to their 3,500 but in our own, much smaller and limited way we too are working towards wilding our post agricultural land and turning it into something wonderful for nature. I found the book very inspiring indeed.

While we were away and our land was being left to its own devices more than usual, here are some of the things that happened: a Grey Wagtail visited the pond. This is a new bird species for here – number 66:


Also, the Sparrowhawk has been lurking:

Trail camera

And the juvenile Green Woodpecker has been making daily visits to the ponds.



We have now returned to find the ground much greener and the ponds much fuller than when we went and there are many signs that Autumn is just round the corner:

Sloes on the Blackthorn
Haws on the Hawthorn
Blackberries ripening
Old Man’s beard going to seed.

The meadows are looking pretty brown:


However, the strip that was bare earth at the start of the year looks completely different and is still green and weedy with very little grass. A very different habitat and that must be a good thing for biodiversity:

The strip of land on the left of the photo was bare earth a few months ago.

This strip also has some intense colour pops from a few Sunflowers that have germinated from the turtle dove supplementary feed that we put down in the Spring:


There is a definite feeling that the season is changing and we are back, refreshed and refilled with enthusiasm to continue nudging these meadows towards being as rich in species as possible.



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