Natural World Feed

From my notepad

This Open Society Policy is worthy of our support. 

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) advocates the need to provide ‘high-quality open space’ (para 91) and to ‘plan positively for the provision and use of shared spaces’ (para 92). 

However, too often these requirements are ignored.  We want to see these rules being followed. 

It also makes provision for the dedication of land as Local Green Space (paras 99-101).

Source: Open Spaces for the Future

When I was a member of our two local Parish Councils I became a member because I supported, and still do today, their efforts to project our 'Open Spaces for the Future'.

Find out more about them on their website.

The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society.* It is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. Its founders and early members included John Stuart Mill, Lord Eversley, Sir Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill. The last two founded the National Trust in 1895 along with Canon Rawnsley.





I've recently started to re-read Richard Mabey's book, 'Beechcombing, The narratives of trees'. This extract from early in the book caught my eye and started me thinking about the continuing saga over the diseased Horse Chestnut trees in the village.

This is Richard Mabey writing about our response to the hurricane that wrote off so many of our trees.

He writes;

The physical loss of the trees, was matched by the injury to our complacency. The denting of our sense of the proper order of things. This wasn't what was supposed to happen. Trees were monuments to security emblems of continuity and peace in an unstable world, the terrible looting of our native Woods during the 1960s and 1970s had passed, and they've been superseded by a new mood of respect and affection.

We hugged trees. We planted trees. We were their friends for goodness sake.

It was as well that we didn't understand then that the storm may not have been an entirely natural event, but an early augury of climate change, and therefore, our fault; muddled feelings of grief and betrayal and confusion were quite enough to cope with at the time. The storm had upturned all kinds of deep-rooted assumptions about the ways that trees did - and should - behave. It left ramshackle rot riddled veterans intact and levelled in their millions the youthful. The fastidiously planted, the lovingly tended, and the totally healthy, many of which further subverted the conventional notion of what a tree was by coming back to life in a horizontal position.

So yesterday I wandered into Chapel Lane to see how our trees were doing, after all, they've been the subject of major conflict between residents in Formby and Sefton Council including 'Tree experts'. We know the outcome of that argument, some of the trees have gone but some remain, nurtured lovingly by our Parish Council.

This is one of them.

I don't know about you but in my view two more of these once magnificent trees are coming to the end of their lives, early deaths to be sure but as Richard Mabey writes above hastened by our continuing disregard for the natural world. These trees should be recognised as our 'Canary in a cage'.

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As it was 1st June yesterday I enrolled for #30DaysWild at the Wildlife Trust.

Theres are various activities to try in the next 30 days. For instance:

Make a journal

A good way to get started is with a nature journal. Take it a day at a time, writing about something wild you experienced that day.
• It could be factual, just listing things you saw and what they were doing;
• Descriptive, setting the scene and telling a story;
• Or emotional, sharing your thoughts and feelings about nature.
• Or a combination of all of these!
Get even more creative by adding drawings or sticking in wild finds like leaves and feathers.

I decided to record some bird song just outside my front window, despite the wind here are my efforts.

Bird song


Grow more trees

Why isn't Formby growing more trees?

Tree-3822149_640I know that as a community Formby recognises the importance of trees, witness the campaign to save the village horse chestnut trees. But there seems little or no movement in sowing and growing more. 

I constantly find myself asking, why is that? We've got the space, we know how important they are to the planet and well being on a personal level.

Chemists will tell you of the importance of  catalysts.

So where and who are our community catalysts?

In Frome it was a group of people who paved the way with a movement around the idea of 'Flatpack Democracy. As a Formby Parish Councillor I had hopes that it would become the source of inspiration for a myriad of community activists, a hub for community catalysts. Sadly that hasn't happened. 

We need to learn from Frome.

Here's a video from the Tree Conference 2018, lets watch Peter Macfadyen explain.

Frome town council is run by an independent party of local residence facilitated by Peter Macfadyen, author of Flatpack Democracy.  In this section of the 2018 Tree Conference we give Peter the stage to explain a bit about that pioneering work and what policies they have put in place.

Peter then interviews Julian Hight who has been working hard to restore Selwood Forest with an active group of passionate supporters, local landlords, representatives from national bodies like the Woodland Trust and Wildlife Trusts.

This is a good template for how communities can develop citizen-led wildlife corridors and landscape restoration.  The Selwood Forest group’s work continues to go from strength to strength.