Spring-Autumn 2021 - new training courses and guided walks

I am running a number of wildlife identification courses and guided walks throughout this year  Courses include Botany for Beginners, Grassland plant ID, Woodland plant ID, Fern ID, Tree ID and Hedgerow foraging.   See Events  pages for further details.

November 2020

My mother, Margaret Talbot, passed away in August.  Mum was the

initial inspiration for my career in nature conservation and taught 

me to fully respect and care for the environment.  She  continually

encouraged me in my career as an ecologist and in my environmental


There are countless things I miss about Mum, and many of these

involved sharing wonderful experiences of the natural world,

including enjoying the fantastic flora and fauna of the Sussex Downs and the Ashdown Forest.  She introduced me to many of the wonders of the natural world, such as the slow worms in our garden compost heap, which sparked my passion for reptiles. 

Mum was a talented amateur naturalist and artist and regularly led classes on art and crafts and nature walks with Uckfield U3A and Natural History Society.  Here are some of Mum’s beautiful paintings.  Also there are a few extracts from her Nature diary (2000 to 2016), which provides an excellent record of wildlife in my Mum and Dad’s garden and some special places in Sussex.

















July 2020 - Grassland plant identification course 

This month I led my first wildlife identification training session since February.  The course was for Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and took place at the beautiful Manor Farm in Wiltshire.  The grasslands there have a wonderful variety of meadow plants, including betony, black knapweed, lady's bedstraw, field scabious and  quaking-grass.  The fields were absolutely buzzing with bees, hoverflies, butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets and other invertebrates too numerous to mention. 







Some of the arable field margins have some rare plant species, including shepherd's needle, night flowering catchfly, and round-leaved fluellen (pictured below).


had excellent feedback from all of the trainees on the course (see testimonials page).


April 2020Spring is here 

Despite everything that is going on in the world at the moment, spring has undoubtedly sprung and there is abundant wildlife to enjoy while you are out on your daily exercise ration.  I  went to Leigh Woods in Bristol the other day and as well as foraging some wild garlic (aka Ramsons), I did a bit of plant identification. 

In addition to the usual beautiful flowers of woodlands, such as bluebells and wood anemones , I spotted some other interesting plants.  

Firstly, small-leaved-lime aka Linden Tilia cordata  - this is an indicator of ancient woodlands.  It is unusual as its seed leaves are very different to the leaves on trees, you can see from the pictures below the that leaves are heart-shaped with a pointed tip whereas the seed leaves are very jagged.  Lime flowers mature in the summer and make excellent tea!







Young Beech Fagus sylvatica leaves are emerging now - these leaves are lime green with silky hairs. As they mature they become darker green and lose their hairs.  Unlike most of our native broadleaved trees beech leaves often persist through winter until the following spring.







I also saw a Cuckoo-pint aka Lords and Ladies Arum maculatum leaf growing  through a fallen beech leaf.  The common names refer to the plant's likeness to male and female genitalia, the picture on the right shows the spadix (a dark brown-purple spike of florets) so look out for this when it flowers this month or next month. 







February 2020

Winter tree identification courses at Westonbirt arboretum 

The courses that I led for the Cotswolds AONB on 

winter trees were a great success, with 20 people

attending over two days and the sun even shone on us!

I had excellent feedback, from the participants - see

testimonials page for more information.



September 2019

Avon Needs Trees (ANT) is a newly registered charity that aims to buy land throughout the Bristol-Avon catchment area and reforest it.  They are supported by The Environment Agency, Woodland Trust, Bristol-Avon Rivers Trust, the local Wildlife Trust and local Friends of the Earth groups.

Avellana Ecology recently carried out a survey of the land and the results were really exciting. There are a number of endangered species that ANT hope to attract back to the land, including nightingales, rare barbastelle and horseshoe bats, and some near-extinct woodland butterflies. The aim is to create a habitat mosaic of scrubland, high forest and wetland.

September 2019

National Forest Wildlife Award 

Brook House, at Swannington in Leicestershire recently won

the National Forest Wildlife Award. Avellana Ecology has

worked closely with the landowners over a number of

years, surveying the site and providing management

advice.  The owners asked Avellana Ecology to prepare an

application for the award and we got the following feedback

from the National Forest Company (NFC) “It was a great 

application, particularly the extensive records and reports, the use of rare breeds for conservation grazing and the creation and management of a mosaic of habitats (woodland, water and species rich grassland).”