The website of a lover of our butterflies, forests, downs, coast and countryside, wilder places, gardens, spring and summer, sunshine, and the Romantic approach to Nature;
Also, ‘new nature writing’, rootedness and belonging, our relationships with places and how places use us, spirit of place, ‘re-wilding’, cricket (Somerset & England), cats (4), and the role of faith and spirituality in our relationship with Nature.
Photo National Trust
One tries to be serious but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.
I have worked in the UK nature conservation movement since the mid-1970s. Since 1991 I have worked for the National Trust, for much of that time under the glorious title of Advisor on Nature Conservation. I am dropping down to a three day working week with the Trust, to allow more time for writing, butterflying – and to re-wild myself, and play with my cats. I live in the Cotswolds but have many heartlands, far and near.
I have done a bit of broadcasting, on TV and radio, including Countryfile, The One Show and Springwatch.
Spiritually, I may be found where Christianity and pantheism coalesce. My church, which is radical and green, hasn’t been founded yet. The 19th century Christian mystic and author George MacDonald wrote: ‘You are a soul; you have a body.’ Quite.
I write books (most recently, In Pursuit of Butterflies. Bloomsbury, 2015), poetry (Brokenborough Poetry Group, Wiltshire), for The Times Nature Notebook column and a Cotswold parish magazine, book reviews and articles – I find writing therapeutic.
In Pursuit of Butterflies is continuing as a blog. New chapters will be posted here periodically. New chapters for 2014 & 2015 are already up.
I am not a blogger. Occasional diary entries from my wildlife diary will be posted on the Diary pages, and occasional thoughts on the Thoughts pages here. The Thoughts pages are particularly interactive – please join in.
The Photos here are my own unless otherwise stated. They are all compressed, but feel free to use them for non-commercial activities. Full size versions of many are available through National Trust Images at www.nationaltrustimages.org.uk
Follow me on Twitter. I tweet, regularly, as @NTMatthewOates
Postings about my lifelong interest and research into the Purple Emperor butterfly are on the Purple Empire website, primarily on the blog: http://apaturairis.blogspot.co.uk/