The drab rags of winter are giving way to the green
shoots of spring. This is the time I like best. The soil
is stirring, leaves are unfurling, amphibians spawning. The sun’s
growing strength is full of promise, stimulating activity in woods
and fields, farms and gardens. The sweet song of a robin
advertising its territory, the bleating of a lamb, the roar of a
lawnmower and the smell of cut grass, are manifestations of the
vitality of life at this particular season. Yet underneath the
reassuring certainties of the calendar, changes are afoot. The
seasons are not quite what they used to be, as Fred Slater’s
observations of wildlife at Llysdinam reveal.
As Alastair Moralee points out, that evocative sound of spring,
the call of the curlew, may be turning from plaintive to nostalgic.
Not for want of trying on Anglesey, though, as the restoration of
our wetland heritage gathers pace.
We have other articles on restoring the best of our wildlife
habitats, too. The low-lying, wet heaths of Pembrokeshire are as
precious as they are vulnerable to change, whether from lack of
grazing, lack of water or the effects of pollution. Andrew
Tuddenham describes what is being done to bring these heathlands to
life. Drawing on history and observation, Stephen Evans proposes a
new management technique to secure the future of some of the plant
specialities of these places.
It is not only big organisations which are working with the
grain of nature and having the thrill of seeing plants and animals
benefit. With energy and time, individuals can make a difference,
and derive much pleasure for themselves and others. Ian Callan’s
uplifting account of his wildlife garden provides the evidence.
Dunlin and golden plover still breed in the uplands of Wales, as
Reg Thorpe reports. More at home on the tundra and blanket bog of
Scandinavia and Iceland, they may not welcome the changing seasons.
What is sure is that people will be looking out for them, raising
concerns and ready for action. Environmental understanding and
commitment are gaining ground all the time. In this post-industrial
age, the environment is becoming an engine for economic activity.
Let us hope that recognition of this importance continues to grow,
whatever the political landscape after the forthcoming Assembly
Despite the uncertainties wrought by climate change, the seasons
will remain. They offer the pleasures of an ever-changing world
about us. Their influence on the production of food and farming, on
which our summer edition will focus, is profound.