Cuckoo’s Nest Halt

Last April, after a winter that had lingered on and on, we were keen to get out as soon as the spring blossom started to appear. A friend, Philippa Coultish, was taking us around her local patch: the valley of Park Gate Dike, northeast of Skelmanthorpe. Because of the ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorms, we […]

Alderfly

If Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was asked to design an aquatic insect, this is what he might come up with. The smoke-tinted wings of the alderfly are folded like a roof and supported by a tracery of veins, in the style of a Tiffany lamp. Despite these stylish wings they don’t venture far from the water’s edge. The […]

Hornbeam

I can’t draw a tree with twisting, carunculated bark without thinking of Arthur Rackham’s lively pen and watercolour drawings. No tree twists more than the hornbeam which always seems snakelike to me. This tree by the Lower Lake at Nostell is also dotted with pale lichens, echoing the cryptic colouring of a boa constrictor. I’m going […]