Weekend Nature Reads #1

The Big Read: is our desire for nature innate?

Grab yourself a brew, and settle down in the comfy chair for this one. It's a long piece by a neuroscientist (but don't worry — it's far more accessible than that makes it sound) who starts to explore how much scientific basis there is for biophilia.

The answer, as you might expect, is complicated. But this article is as much about the journey as about the destination.

Are We Wired to Be Outside? - Issue 92: Frontiers - Nautilus
Hiking the Franconia Ridge Loop is an intimidating proposition. The trail, in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National…

UK acts to protect rare albatross

It's pretty unusual that we get good news out of the current UK government, but this seems to me to be unqualifiedly positive:

British Overseas Territory to become world’s biggest marine conservation zone in bid to protect rare albatross
Boris Johnson said ‘we are killing our oceans’ as he unveiled the landmark policy

White Tailed Eagles over the Sussex coast

Over in the Isle of Wight, there's a translocation project underway. Young white tail eagles have been brought from Scotland and released, in the hope that enough of them will survive and bond with the area that we start seeing the species breed in England for the first time in centuries.

That's still a few years away, though. In the meantime, the young released both this year and last are satellite tagged, and this is a fascinating account of how they've been exploring, based on both sightings and the signals from their tags.

Excitingly, one of them flew just north of where I live…

Autumn Explorations - Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation
Over the spring and summer the four White-tailed Eagles that we released on the Isle of Wight in August 2019 in partnership with Forestry England have wandered widely, with the satellite tracking data providing a valuable insight into their movements and how they have learnt to live successfully in …

Bringing Nature to Book

Outdoors and nature writing were of deep consolation to me during the deepest days of lockdown. I thoroughly enjoyed this meditation on the value and role of them by the editor of Outdoor Swimmer, Jonathan Cowie.

(I am slighly shocked that it's 21 years since Waterlog was published, though…)

Inspire the adventure: my life in outdoor books

(And I just discovered that there's a new hardback edition of Waterlog coming next year. Yay!)

Interest in moving to coastal towns booming

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'm delighted or terrified by the fact that my town is mentioned deep in this piece. Apparently there's been an 96% increae in interest in properties where I live — which is less than some, but still high.

We've had the best part of nine months proving that many of us can work remotely (it's exactly nine months today since I last went to London, in fact). Lockdown and social distancing has reset many of our expectations, and that's going to shift where people want to live. Given that we've been trapped in or near our homes for months at a time, people have had to face, square on, the nature of where they've chosen to live, without the escape of work or visits to family.

Some have come to appreciate where they live more — we certainly did. But others will have realised that they need to make a change. They're the ones heading for the countryside and the coast right now.

There will be many good aspects to that — but some bad ones, too, I suspect.

Mumbles in Wales named Britain’s top seaside hotspot for house price growth
Sky News is an unrivalled, world class breaking news service with a spirit of innovation and a fresh approach to news broadcasting. As the UK’s first dedicated 24-hour news channel, Sky News has built a deserved reputation for being the first to break major news as well as offering insight and analy…

Reclaiming Nets

This is a fun, but quite shocking video, showing just how much of the sea plastic around our beaches hails from fishing. The people collecting the “ghost gear” here are Waterhaul, who make lovely sunglasses from the plastic they collect.

The White Van Plan

Some of the best outdoors content at the moment is coming from the specialist retailers like Waterhaul above. I have a severe case of lust for Millican's backpacks (I should put them on my list for Father Christmas…), and this little promotional vignette of an adventurous way of living from them is rather lovely.

Once you look past the obvious photos of the bags, there are some lovely images.

Everyday Adventure | Michael & Verity - White Van Plan | Millican
We have been living and travelling in our van for 4 months now. We built and designed our camper-van ourselves so that we have everything we need to live off grid and explore new places straight. On our most recent adventure we gathered everything we needed into our Millican Roll Packs and set off t…

Food Foraging

Fancy a wee bit of foraging? Sian has you covered with some easy and safe things to find.

What to forage for in winter in Britain | UK winter foraging
What to forage for in winter in Britain | UK winter foraging easy beginner-friendly winter wild food The Girl Outdoors

Campaigners are calling for more right to roam

I imagine this will see massive pushback — but the campaign is really only asking for what has been the case in Scotalnd for some years now, and without disasterous consequences.

I doubt this will be high on the government's priority list, but I hope pressure for this sort of shift will only grow.

Artists, writers and musicians call on the Government to extend countryside access in England
101 artists have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for more access to the English countryside on the 20th anniversary of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act

That's all for this week, folks. Feedback or suggestions gratefully received

Adam Tinworth
The South Coast