August 01, 2010

This week in wildlife

The Wrekin, Shropshire: thousands of years of human activity have left this huge hill scarred with deep tracks and pitted with quarries. The slopes are clothed in bracken and heather, just coming into flower; there are Scots pines, beech, birch and holly, and ancient oak and ash coppices. The air, just now, is thick with flies, and near the pools and gullied streams the very young and the impossibly old congregate together: tiny lacquered frogs and clambering toads, and prehistoric horsetails, 300 million years old.