In praise of nature reserves

Sixteen miles south west of Bath is Folly Farm. Managed brilliantly by Avon Wildlife Trust this nature reserve symbolises why nature reserves should be celebrated.

With such a large catchment Folly Farm is the ideal place to immerse yourself in nature. Visit in the spring and see a carpet of bluebells and come back in the summer for meadows teeming with butterflies and other insects.

These natural oases allow you to get close up with wildlife. They fire your imagination and you don’t need to be an expert to appreciate a dragonfly or buzzards circling above. That is their beauty: you can’t help but see nature in it’s natural environment.

Nature reserves need to be about people and nature. The challenge is to make them as accessible as possible and that we shout about them so that more people can enjoy these wildlife havens.

The reality of changing land use has meant that nature reserves have taken on a real significance. Once common habitats and species have seen their spaces and ranges shrink.

But they are not about preserving nature in some kind of sepia image. They are about creating a place where nature can thrive and people can take time to see the wonderful wildlife of these beautiful islands.

The language of a nature reserve can seem off putting, almost like putting up a barrier saying ‘no people’. But without people these special places become museums not places that pulsate with the beauty, chaos and serenity of nature.

So go on: find your local nature reserve. Check it out and let’s show our love for nature conservation the places that connect people and places.

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