Art of the Wild

Art of the Wild

The Writing of Steve Deeley

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It’s the small details that matter

I fulfilled a small ambition yesterday. I have for some time tried to find and photograph the Brilliant Emerald dragonfly. It ‘s a Ronseal insect, doing exactly what it says on the tin: it is brilliantly emerald. So, since the weather has finally graced us with something other than rain, I thought I’d give it ... Read more


The long echo of the curlew

I hear it long before I see it. A high bubbling call, that loops up in pitch like a referee with one of those old-fashioned pea-whistles getting increasingly annoyed. It’s a song of desolation and loneliness, a haunting sound that I associate with moors and estuaries, with vast skies and open spaces. It’s the call ... Read more


Hot sex in a Gloucestershire woodland

The glade smells of baking ground and dried bracken, cut with the faint sweetness of end-of-year-sale bluebells. Their last few nodding heads are just visible between the unfurling green shepherd’s crooks of new ferns, and the squat purple flowers of bugle. Spindly birches cast ripples of dappled shade across the ground, but in this glade, ... Read more


The smell of a wet day

  Finally, the smell has arrived. You know the moment, when you stand on your doorstep in the morning and breathe in, then breathe in a little further because the air smells so good.  There’s something about a sunny morning after a long period of rain that makes the world seem full of promise, more ... Read more


Armchair conservation

There’s a certain smugness involved when you can say that you’ve actively contributed to the recovery of a threatened species. Most conservation measures involve plain hard work – laying hedges, trimming encroaching bushes, digging out invasive plants. Mine involved finding a chair and a good book. It’s the easiest contribution to nature conservation I’ve ever ... Read more


Restoration to excess may be no help at all

“Biodiversity gain” is the latest buzzword in Government conservation policy. The new Environment Bill has the very laudable goal of trying to ensure that habitat loss is matched by habitat gain to excess elsewhere. It’s a clever idea, one that is aimed at helping to ensure the restoration of Britain’s deeply impoverished fauna and flora. ... Read more


Time to raise Capital (s)

Whether or not rules of language matter is open to debate. Some, like lawyers, doctors and priests, will probably tell you that accuracy and stability in language is important. There’s some merit in that: you don’t want your surgeon whipping out this bit instead of that bit because someone forgot to update his textbook. But ... Read more


A tropical holiday during lockdown

It’s just after dawn on a freezing cold April morning, and at the side of the track I’m standing on,  the flailed edge of a grove of coppiced hazel has formed a deep, jumbled jackstraw layer of faded brown stems and splintered sticks. It’s a common sight in nature reserves at this time of year, ... Read more


rumble in the (kinda) jungle

I know how to make a sound: a groan, an “ooooh”. If I take a roomful of people and say one word, it always happens. Shall we try? Adders See? I spent last Saturday watching adders. These small-to-medium sized snakes are wrongly billed* as Britain’s only venomous snake, but are certainly the only one with ... Read more


And the first shall be last

Yesterday, I heard a cuckoo for the first time this Spring. Which was hardly surprising, because it was sat about fifteen feet away from me at the time. This was no captive bird, however: this was a truly wild bird, newly arrived from Africa. Colin, as he is known, is undoubtedly the UK’s most famous ... Read more


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