09/11/17 - Five mind-blowing facts about what the UK looks like For the past few decades, satellites have been taking high definition pictures of the United Kingdom from space. The images are analysed and compared to detailed maps. Every small area is then given one of dozens of different classifications - from airports to vineyards, glaciers to rubbish dumps. The work is part of an EU project keeping an eye on changing land use. Is urban sprawl eating into our precious green landscape? Are forests being felled? Are grasslands and wetlands under threat? Now, using this data treasure trove, we can get a clearer picture of what every corner of the United Kingdom really looks like. And the results may come as a surprise.

01/04/17 - A natural history GCSE? It might help get our children outdoors It is now 12 years since the American author Richard Louv pointed out that something new and potentially very damaging was happening to children: they were retreating from the world of outside. Young people were no longer playing in the fields, woods and parks where their parents played, and they were losing contact with nature: for their leisure time, they were retreating back inside the house.

25/03/16 - Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates . Time spent playing in parks, woods and fields has shrunk dramatically due to lack of green spaces, digital technology and parents’ fears. A fifth of the children did not play outside at all on an average day, the poll found. Experts warn that active play is essential to the health and development of children, but that parents’ fears, lack of green spaces and the lure of digital technology is leading youngsters to lead enclosed lives.

23/03/16 - What can we do to save the ash tree in Britain? Under attack from both the fungal disease ash dieback and the emerald ash borer beetle, the tree’s future looks bleak. But some experts believe there is hope – and that measures can be taken to alleviate the devastation

12/01/15 - RADIO: The Diaries of Brett Westwood (5 x 15 mins) Brett uses his diaries to reflect on how the wildlife has changed in five different habitats of his local patch over the past 40 years: farmland, valley, sewage, woodland & canal.

20/08/14 - RADIO: Plants: From Roots to Riches - Capture & Drawdown (15 mins). Professor Kathy Willis examines the role plants play in regulating our atmospheric carbon dioxide. She talks to Yadvinder Mahli on the importance of trees in drawing down and capturing carbon and on new understandings in where the effect is most apparent on our planet. Also how improving the memory of bees that account for 30% of plant pollination could have a dramatic and significant effect in securing this vital function. Part of 25 part series

03/06/14 - There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting wildlife and habitat.  Species such as the Dartford warbler and the bee orchid are moving further north and recent storms have highlighted the vulnerability of coastal and wetland habitats. Climate change adaptation manual: evidence to support nature conservation in a changing climate helps land managers and conservationists to plan and take action. Published by Natural England and the RSPB, in partnership with the Environment Agency’s Climate Ready Support Service and the Forestry Commission.

01/04/14 - Cotswolds Conservation Board Annual Review 2013/14. Despite economically challenging times, the support and partnership working across the area has continued to bring many benefits to the Cotswolds AONB and its local communities. Notable highlights include:

  • £2.4m worth of investment in the AONB secured by the Board
  • Over 340 people trained in rural skills such as dry stone walling and hedgelaying
  • Over 45,000 hours of work carried out by Cotswold Voluntary Wardens
  • Over 920 school children and 14 schools participated in countryside learning
  • 4km of low voltage overhead wires buried underground
  • Nearly £300,000 worth of local community project supported through the Sustainable Development Fund.
  • Over 500 tonnes of carbon emissions reduced through the Climate Change Advisory Service

01/03/14 - Biodiversity and Planning In Oxfordshire This guidance should be helpful if you are:

  • a planning officer in either policy or development management;
  • writing a Neighbourhood Plan;
  • going to be submitting a planning application;
  • wanting to know more about the wildlife of Oxfordshire and its conservation.

There are 2 other documents in this series:

2012 - Community and Parish Guide to Biodiversity In this guide there are handy sections on carrying out practical conservation work, sources of funding, training and advice, and examples what other Oxfordshire communities have achieved. There is a lot going on in Oxfordshire, so before you get started, do check if wildlife groups,  environmental groups, or volunteering parties are already set up in your area – there may be like-minded people close to hand.

Guide to Biodiversity Action Plan & Oxfordshire’s Conservation Target Area approach

Take Action for Nature

Give nature a home this summer - Nature is struggling, but if we all pull together and do small actions for wildlife in our garden and outdoor spaces, we can make a real difference. After all, if there's no home for nature, there will be no nature.

Springtime - A two minute celebration of springtime in the UK. A reminder of the wildlife we are saving by stepping up for nature.


BBC2: Springwatch  The best of the UK's wildlife, live on TV and online during the last week in May and the first two weeks of June. In 2015, they are back at the RSPB Nature Reserve at Minsmere in Suffolk where they were in 2014. In 2013, they were at the RSPB Nature Reserve at Ynys-hir, near Machynlleth in mid-Wales.  Clips and live webcams.


BBC2: Autumnwatch shown the last week in October.


BBC2: Winterwatch shown the third week of January.

Tweet of the Day

Discover British birds through their songs and calls. Each Tweet of the Day begins with a call or song, followed by a story of fascinating ornithology inspired by the sound. BBC Radio 4 complete series of 266 programmes each lasting 2 minutes, all available on demand or downloaded as podcasts. First broadcast in 2013/4 but being repeated with some new ones, listen in daily at 5.58am (8.58am on Sundays).

Nesting birds

Please take care when gardening or doing work on the outside of the house that you don't disturb nesting birds. Birds are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Action 1981. Birds nest in a wide variety of locations: trees, hedges, long grass, walls, eaves, chimneys, trellises, ivy, etc and must not be disturbed - all wild birds are protected.

Nature Detectives

Keeping children entertained through the long summer holiday can be a challenge. That's why the Woodland Trust have devised 100s of FREE downloads for families to enjoy in their  BIG summer challenge. The Woodland Trust's nature detectiveswebsite is packed full of fun games, spotter sheets, informal play ideas and other great outdoor activities.

Identifying what you've seen

If you aren't sure of what you've seen take a photo and send it to iSpot - this is a fantastic resource of hundreds of experts constantly monitoring questions - you will get a response almost immediately - if you can take a photo then there's no need to stay confused.

"I found this strange cauliflower type fungus on the grass in an orchard in Hailey when I was picking apples in 2011 - I'd never seen it there before. Turns out it was a slime mould but I hadn't been able to find it from my reference books." Christine

Recording what you've found

Tell the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre what wildlife you’ve seen, they'd love you to share your wildlife sightings and photos. By increasing the knowledge of which species are where, they can help protect wildlife and improve the natural environment for the benefit of us all. Soon, they’ll have an online form for submitting records, with drop-down menus to avoid typing errors and confusion over different common names when entering records and a map which you can click on to find the correct grid reference for where you saw the animal or plant. In the meantime, you can download and fill in an Excel spreadsheet or Word document and email it to them. If you regularly record a particular species group, contact them for a bespoke spreadsheet to fill in. Please contact them if you have any questions or would like to discuss sharing your records. They can arrange data exchange agreements with recording groups and advise on the best way to collate records.

There are also specific national surveys being carried out, the National Mammal Atlas Project needs to know sightings of even our most common mammals - even grey squirrels - so that informed conservation decisions can be made for species in need.

If you find a dead badger, please report it to the Badger Trust and also WODC who will remove it.