Ancient woodlands are more vital than ever

If “a culture is no better than its woods”, then WH Auden would be rightly disappointed by large parts of the world if he were still with us.  There’d be Romania, one amongst many countries miserably failing to preserve its woodlands, where a violent logging mafia clear-cuts vast and spectacular beech forests irrespective of EU … Continue reading Ancient woodlands are more vital than ever

Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places

"Irreplaceable is a call to arms." ~ Rebecca Foster, Shiny New Books This summer, six years after I began writing it, Irreplaceable finally set out on a path of its own when it was published by Hamish Hamilton and Penguin Books. Celebrating those threatened places and wild species that are increasingly vanishing from our world, … Continue reading Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places

The Spiral Windings

For World Oceans Day on the weekend, Terrain.org published an essay of mine about a living fossil - the chambered nautilus. Having remained largely unchanged in evolutionary terms for some 500 million years, the nautilus conceals at the heart of its existence an extraordinary and radiant geometry that enables it to inhabit the ocean deeps. … Continue reading The Spiral Windings

Salt of Life

Where Spain shelves into the sea at the most southerly tip of continental Europe only fourteen kilometres of water separate it from North Africa. Through the late summer haze you can see the buckled beginnings of Morocco’s Rif Mountains, towering over the glittering blue span of the Strait of Gibraltar. And with that landmass in … Continue reading Salt of Life

Crossing Paths

Flying fish spun away from the bow of the boat, skimming the water on translucent, wing-like fins. They glittered beneath a pouring sun, each one gliding over the glossy waves for up to fifty metres at a time, the kind of fantastical creature you’d long to invent if it didn’t already exist. White water suddenly … Continue reading Crossing Paths