Unusual time has allowed us to re-establish our natural connections

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 June 2020

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer at Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust. Picture: Matt Austin

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer at Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust. Picture: Matt Austin

Matt Austin

For more than six weeks the glorious spring weather enabled those of us with access to the natural world to rediscover the simple pleasure of walking from our front doors.

Taking time to notice individual bird songs – the blackbird, the skylark or the cuckoo – and, in time for VE Day the patriotic display of wildflowers; ‘red’ campion, ‘white’ cow parsley and stitchwort plus bluebells, growing in the hedgerows.

The countryside is an incredible resource for recreation and well-being.

Those less familiar just need a gentle reminder that it is not just a playground for our ‘down time’ but a living, working landscape and can be enjoyed but with some respect.

During lockdown, a few people were so keen to improve their own environment that they felt the need to dump their garden and household waste on our nature reserve for someone else to deal with.

Thankfully, although fly-tipping has been a time-consuming frustration, most visitors to the Pebblebed Heaths have been extremely respectful.

Wildlife has been enjoying the peace too.

Adders sightings have increased on sunny days, and inquisitive dogs can sometimes pay the price.

These stunning but venomous snakes can be found across the heaths as well as on the coast path and other countryside areas.

Keeping dogs close to heel on paths is the best way to prevent a snake bite and will also reduce disturbance to ground nesting birds and to livestock too.

As I write, the most stringent restrictions are finally loosening.

The challenge will be to maintain these ‘natural connections’ as life slowly moved back to full speed again.

Stay safe. Stay connected

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