The website of a lover of our butterflies, especially the mighty Purple Emperor, and of forests, downs, coast and countrysidewilder places, gardens, spring and summer, sunshine, and the poetic approach to Nature;

Also, ‘new nature writing’, rootedness, our relationships with places and how places use us, spirit of place, ‘rewilding’, cricket (Somerset & England), domesticated cats (3), and the roles 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

That all sounds Serious, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.

This spring I will be retiring – from the best job in the world (a job is what you make it): I worked for the National Trust for 27 years, as Advisor on Nature Conservation and then National Specialist on Nature  – whatever that means. I had a fantastic time.

I’m retiring to rather than from. I plan to write, dream and muse. My best hours lie ahead.

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, and I’m not going to found it either.

I write books (most recently, Beyond Spring, Fair Acre Press, 2017, and 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. I write what I want to read myself, and which no one else seems to be writing… I don’t (and couldn’t) write for a living.

In Pursuit of Butterflies is continuing as an interrupted blog.  New chapters will be posted here periodically.  New chapters for 2014 & 2015 are already up. I’m behind with this venture…

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, with hair…