Wilder Wirksworth talks

Chris Lamb The Wonders of Bird Migration


Bird migration is one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. It is happening all around us, making it one of the easiest to witness. It’s also something which we are finding out more about all the time, with advances in modern technology enabling the tracking of birds on their migration routes, but there is still so much we do not yet know. The talk will cover many aspects of migration, including why birds migrate at all, how they find their way and what routes they follow, as well as looking at different types of migration, as some birds don’t just follow a conventional north/south migration path. The talk will include something of a local flavour to it, so highlighting some of the migrating birds which can be seen in our locality.

Sally smith there are no garden pests

The talk is aimed at reprogramming our thinking on the creatures that inhabit our gardens. Many are often referred to as pests, especially many insects and molluscs, some being wrongly branded as such and others unwittingly cultivated by the gardener themselves. Through knowledge rather than myth and misinformation we can learn to appreciate the role of these creatures in the food chain and also how to gain some balance and thus control for the benefit of the gardener and for wildlife too. A garden need not be a battlefield!

Glennie KIndred native plants

Local author and wildflower champion, Glennie Kindred, gave a fascinating talk on collecting seed from wildflowers and growing them on.  She also explained the difference between native wildflowers and those that are naturalised.

Natives colonised Britain after the last Ice Age, around ten thousand years ago. Those which are naturalised however, were introduced by the great plant hunters from between 500 years ago and much more recent times.  These have escaped from gardens and now grow wild in our countryside. Though not native, many of these introductions now grow well here and provide valuable nectar for our pollinators.The talk raised a lot of interest, with many members eager to learn from Glennie’s experience and grow natives for our project.

Martin Redman rewilding

Martin described his programme of rewilding during his 17 year tenure of Sycamore Farm, planting trees and wild flowers and digging ponds, and the changes he has witnessed during that time. There has been a big increase in biodiversity, including a greater variety of birds and mammals and pondlife now present, with some species coming back after many years absence.
In trying to define what rewilding is, and what is “wild”, Martin looked back at a succession of landscapes over many thousands of years from bare rock to areas covered with shade-tolerant trees. His talk included a number of observations on rewilding:

  • Grazing animals are seen as key to naturally control the growth of plants and trees
  • We are not rewilding to a point in the past, we are wilding for the future
  • Study what’s there, before taking action. Think about what you want to do
  • Importance of observation – for example, remove grazing animals such as sheep and see what happens
  • Natural processes are allowed to take over, but they may need a helping hand
  • Land abandonment is a good thing, but many people have to be persuaded that it is