Where I live in the heart of Wales, the local landowners are generous with their wish to help this scattered, remote community, and its special environment, supporting the wildlife trusts and letting the nature groups use their estates from time to time. A walk was organised this weekend, to a 16th century manor which is frozen in time: the home farm is as it was 300 years ago, still in use but a little derelict here and there, and for that reason a perfect home for rare bats, birds and mammals; while the extensive Victorian kitchen gardens lie overgrown and dormant, a secret heaven for wildlife.
The formal gardens around the Big House, however, are well-maintained and beautiful, surrounded by majestic old trees planted carefully, hundreds of years ago, to encourage the views of the Wye Valley and the estate lands beyond. There was much richness to see, even in the minutiae, and our group leader, a local wildlife expert, enthused in particular over the abundance and varieties of bees and butterflies that we saw there: he said, too, joyfully, that, perhaps because of our late cold spring, numbers were more plentiful than he could remember, and that species that were unseen last year because of the rain and cold were back in abundance.
Today a report from the Woodland Trust says that autumn will be late, but that it will bring a flourishing crop of fruits and berries such as bramble, rowan and blackthorn, benefiting fruit-eating birds and mammals hugely. It is a wonderful year for wildlife, despite a cold start, and this joy of nature, visible and audible all around us, proves once again its resilience and adaptability. The combination of weather and man does not make life easy for our planetary companions and it is right to have concern for their well-being, but in the end, nature achieves its balance very well – better, probably, than we.