Bristol’s Major aboard Seacycler

A new vessel, designed to clean up the plastic pollution of our waterways, was recently unveiled in Bristol. The new 12-seater punt made from 99% recycled plastic was launched by environmental charity Hubbub. The boat will be permanently based in Bristol Harbour, an 83-acre area that attracts many visitors and a considerable amount of litter.

The project is funded equally by Bunzl and Danone UK & Ireland and named Seacycler. It has been donated to education consultants Sustainable Hive, who will take local people out on ‘plastic fishing’ trips. The aim is to remove plastic waste and raise awareness of…


Bridge © Phil Pickin

If the lockdowns and restrictions placed on our movements have taught us anything, it is that we don’t have to travel far to appreciate wildlife. It may seem something of an obvious point to make but, with restrictions lifting, some may be itching to head off to some far-flung wildlife tourist destination. The question is, should we?

In a recent issue of Nature’s Voice, I noticed that the RSPB are asking this very question, one that I too have asked in the past and one that many organisations have wrestled with. Over the past few years, even the organisers of…


Narrowboats on the Shropshire Union Canal in Gnosall © Phil Pickin

Homeownership in the US would seem to be almost as unattainable for young people as it is here in the UK. One of the many things both countries share are very similar homeownership rates of around 65%, but certainly, in the UK, ownership in the 35–44 age range has plunged over recent years. The reason is quite simple — cost! Most young people have all but written off any possibility of ever owning their own home — at least of the conventional variety. …


Looking down on heather moorland and the Offa’s Dyke path running through it.
Looking down on heather moorland and the Offa’s Dyke path running through it.
Offa’s Dyke Path

On the 9 July 2021, leaders from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and organisations from both sides of the Wales-England border gathered at the Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton to celebrate 50 years since the Offa’s Dyke Path was officially opened.

To celebrate, there will be a few Walking Festivals along the famous route that have been arranged by Ramblers Cymru to mark this significant milestone.

Officially opened on 10 July 1971 in Knighton by Lord Hunt, the path winds itself through the ‘Breath-taking Borderlands’ of England and Wales for 177 miles between Chepstow on the River Severn to Prestatyn on…


Ben Wyvis NNR Racomitrium stabilisation restoration work © NatureScot

It isn’t often that we read good news about the natural world so it was good to read that work to repair the damage, caused by off-road bikers and off-trail walkers.

NatureScot is urging visitors to help protect this special habitat by avoiding the areas where moss is being restored and staying on existing routes along the summit. Unfortunately, there has been recent reports of damage caused by illegal motorbikes. Hikers going off the main trail can also damage this sensitive habitat.

The NNR’s proximity to Inverness makes it a popular Munro for both locals and visitors, with stunning views…


A Cuckoo wearing a backpack whilst flying past the camera
A Cuckoo wearing a backpack whilst flying past the camera
Backpack wearing Cuckoo by Neil Calbrade

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have just finished fitting Cuckoos from different parts of the UK with high-tech backpacks to help fill gaps in what we know about how they fare over their annual cycle.

The sound of the Cuckoo for many of us is the sound of summer but it is a sound that we are hearing less and less; the UK breeding population has almost halved in the last 25 years. Whilst the species has increased substantially in Scotland recently, in England almost three quarters of Cuckoos have disappeared across this period and scientists at the BTO…


The result of no mowing © Phil Pickin

Did you take up the challenge of not mowing your lawns during May? As an advocate of leaving gardens, verges and other usually highly cultivated areas to go wild, the recent camping to leave your lawns untouched for a month was right up my street.

I come from a long line of avid mowers who seem to do their level best to keep up with those who take part in the unofficial ‘tidiest lawn’ competition. Wow-betide any blade of grass that dares to break ranks and pop its head up above the level of its buddies. …


Adult White-tailed eagle in flight. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

It would seem that nature bodies are working together to protect these native birds and to minimise any disturbance. The hope being that white-tailed eagles might stay and breed in this area of Scotland in future years.

Earlier this year a pair of white-tailed eagles, or sea eagles as they’re commonly known, were first spotted at Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve. Since early March they have been observed ‘nest prospecting’ — searching for suitable nest sites — suggesting they intend to stay.

It is believed that this is the first time sea eagles have settled at Loch Lomond since persecution…


Grey seal

Seal spotters are being sought in the UK to carry out survey work at the Tees Barrage. The Canal & River Trust is taking part in an ecology survey looking at the impact of the seals of fish stocks in the River Tees in the North East of the country.

Seals have once again become a regular sight on the River Tees, with both grey seals and harbour seals travelling up from Teesmouth. …


Regenerating woodland growing alongside Allt a’ Mharcaidh in the mountains of Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Government action is needed to make Britain’s national parks much wilder and fit for purpose to tackle the nature and climate crises, says Rewilding Britain as it launches a new campaign.

Rewilding Britain says nature is badly depleted in the parks — with protected sites often in a worse condition than elsewhere, key species missing or declining, and decades-old laws hampering National Park Authorities’ ability to protect nature.

The charity says the UK Government and devolved administrations should create core rewilding areas on public land across 10% of the national parks. …

Phil Pickin

Photographer, journalist and writer. The environment, conservation green energy, nature and waterways are my usual subject areas. https://www.philpickin.co.uk

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