My Wild Life


Early morn­ings are part of the ter­ri­tory when it comes to run­ning a dairy and I still love to hear the dawn cho­rus.

The qui­eter times of the day are also good for see­ing deer, foxes and var­i­ous other wildlife.

The space around our home in Ke­mer­ton has al­ways been a place in which I’ve been able to un­wind from the pres­sures of work: what­ever hap­pens, we have to get the milk onto peo­ple’s doorsteps the next day.

Our gar­den con­tains sev­eral trees and is quite a nat­u­ral space, with all sorts of wild flow­ers, in­clud­ing cow pars­ley and cow slips, and a lot of blue­bells, all of which are quite apt for some­body who works closely with farm­ers!

It’s not a place that could be de­scribed as ‘man­i­cured’, and it’s a haven for wildlife. One of the high­lights is that spot­ted fly­catch­ers are nest­ing in the gar­den, and we see wood­peck­ers, jays and owls. On one oc­ca­sion a young deer came trot­ting through the gate, and we of­ten hear foxes mak­ing funny noises, al­though I’m not quite so keen on the rab­bits eat­ing my veg­eta­bles or the dam­age caused by grey squir­rels.

My wife, Gill, and I have an an­nual com­pe­ti­tion as to who is first to hear the cuckoo. She’s heard it first this year when she was hang­ing out the wash­ing.

I love pot­ter­ing around the gar­den, the bot­tom of which al­most feels as though you’re in heaven.

We live near the Ke­mer­ton Lake Na­ture Re­serve, which was cre­ated by Adrian Darby OBE, a for­mer chair­man of the RSPB, Plantlife In­ter­na­tional and the UK Joint Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Com­mit­tee, and man­aged by the Ke­mer­ton Con­ser­va­tion Trust, with which I’m in­volved.

The lake at­tracts a num­ber of birds and wild­fowl and it’s a great place for or­chids and other wild flow­ers. It lies close to pub­lic foot­paths, so it’s eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, and there are bird hides from which peo­ple can look across the lake.

The trust is also ac­tive in the area sur­round­ing Bre­don Hill, which is a Spe­cial Area of Con­ser­va­tion due to its rich­ness in flora and fauna.

Away from Ke­mer­ton, Gill and I en­joy vis­it­ing We­ston­birt Ar­bore­tum and love hav­ing pic­nics near Broad­way Tower, from which it’s pos­si­ble to en­joy fan­tas­tic views. I also en­joy head­ing for Guit­ing Power and driv­ing through the fords at Kine­ton, just as Adam Hen­son does on Coun­try­file.

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