The website of a lover of our butterflies, forests, downs, coast and countrysidewilder 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.

Pic by Mark Passmore/apexnewspix.com. 10/08/2011. GV of The National Trust's Coleridge Cottage at Nether Stowey, Bridgwater, Somerset.   Me, as Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  

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/

MRO, Straits, 1976   Me, during the long hot summer of 1976…