March 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

March on the Weald clay can seem a long month – the soil remains wet and cold and correspondingly some of the spring growth (especially in the vegetable garden!) is a little behind our neighbours on the higher, drier and warmer Greensand.

Nonetheless, nature marches on, driven by the increased length of daylight and the birds are well into forming breeding pairs. This means establishing territories predominantly by singing and they are at their audio peak – so do get in touch if you fancy learning or fine tuning your birdsong identification skills. I’ll be leading such walks up until around the end of June.               

Only this morning I picked some Bittercress and some 3 Cornered leek to pop into my sandwiches. There is a green bloom starting to flush the woodland and hedgerow floor and so many of these emerging plants are edible! Foraging is a great gentle addition to a lifestyle: seasonal by definition and obliging the participant to hone skills in botany, ecology and geography not to mention nutrition and culinary skills! Again, if you’d like an introduction to what is (and isn’t!) edible then do get in touch.

A while back I had the good fortune to become a Mental Health First Aider. This really impacted on me the need to “spread the word” about being observant with mental health issues and acting on them. It built on my learning from various courses over the years and doubled my enthusiasm for sharing how the great outdoors can help maintain a robust mindset and even help overcome depression and anxiety. The deeper I look into this subject the more I appreciate that whilst a “therapy walk” can be a fabulous introduction, a greater understanding will come from immersing ourselves more deeply into nature. A tangled mindset requires time, patience and a relaxed vibe to sort through! I’m working through how I might deliver this – probably over an al fresco weekend would be good, but let me know if you have any ideas.

Back in the day, I used to give quite a few talks to various clubs, societies, institutions and schools. This died off with the pandemic, but it was lovely to give a talk to a local gardening club recently on the topic of “Birdsong and Saint Valentine”. I need to up my techie side I think, but the talk was well received and a pleasure to deliver!

In a similar vein, the podcast Father Nature HQ continues to go from strength to strength. Jasper, Rob and myself get some lovely feedback from each episode so it would be lovely if this too could grow – do have a listen and see what you think! A subscribe and a share is also doubly welcome and appreciated!

With Best Wishes,


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