West Kent

A male barn owl is hunting through to mid-morning over a rough pasture field near Bough Beech reservoir. The bird keeps up an effortless round low over the ground on elegant long wings with an occasional sudden but fruitless stoop into the sward. Then a brief stop on a branch of one of the huge…

Autumn Blues

The view above the Darenth near Shoreham is fields of autumnal brown. The small nature reserve of White Hill, slivers of chalk grassland hidden within dense yew Taxus baccata and beech Fagus sylvatica woods and ever-encroaching dogwood Cornus sanguinea and whitebeam Sorbus aria scrub, is brightly lit by the evening light. The last butterflies work the final plants to flower;…

West Kent’s Chalk Hills

High Elms Country Park near Downe is a procession of pushchairs, straining dogs and track-suited walkers meandering and marching under tall pines and Wellingtonias (Sequoiadendron giganteum). At the top of the hill, protected by grandstands of tall ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), are the Sunday golfers.  The hedgerow birds hide from men hunting their lost handicaps…