Home Welcome to Matthew Oates’s Website

This is the website of someone in love with the natural world, particularly with butterflies  -especially the mighty Purple Emperor, the subject of lifelong study and a commissioned book (Bloomsbury, in prep.).

I am a pilgrim of forests and downs, wilder places, the poetic approach to Nature, so-called ‘new nature writing’, our relationship(s) with wilder places, and how places influence us and even speak through us (and I think they do). That all sounds terribly serious but  fear not, cheerfulness keeps breaking through.

In spring 2018 I will retire from the best job in the world (a job is what you make it…). For the last 27 years I have worked for the National Trust, originally as Advisor on Nature Conservation but more recently as National Specialist on Nature –  whatever any of that means… Crucially, I am retiring to, rather than from… my best hours lie ahead: I am going to dream, and write what I have dreamed, and live the dream.

I write books, poetry, articles, monthly pieces for The Times Nature Notebook column and for my local parish magazine in the Cotswolds.   Above all, I write what I  want to read – and which no one else seems to be writing…

My major influences are the great British nature writers – Edward Thomas, Richard Jefferies and WH Hudson; great English children’s literature writers, notably CS Lewis & Arthur Ransome. My role model is Basil Fotherington-Thomas in the Molesworth books.


The photos on this website are my own, unless otherwise stated.  They are all compressed.  Please feel free to use them for illustrated talks and non-commercial websites, but they will not be suitable for printed publication.  Full-size versions of many are available on the National Trust Images website.

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