4 out of 5 stars

In times gone by meadows were full of a huge variety of plants and with that came lots of invertebrates and birds. Today, most farms have pastures that are often almost sterile with the vast amounts of chemicals that they are drenched in to ‘improve’ them. In a tiny spot in Dorset though is a place called Kingcombe.

Run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, it is tucked away near Toller Porcorum. It is a beautiful place, full of ancient woodlands and stunning wildflower meadows with the River Hooke running through the middle. It is managed as a working farm, but not in the modern sense, as no chemicals are allowed. What you get is a time machine back to a landscape that is very rare these days and is continually busy with wildlife. It is very far from what Chris Packham describes as our ‘green and unpleasant land’.

And it is an utterly beautiful place to walk around.

This book by Anita Roy is a series of twelve articles that first appeared on The Clearing website hosted by Little Toller and have been pulled together into a book form. Over the course of a year, she visited the centre each month, taking the time to absorb the things around her, early daffodils, deer skulls, scarlet elf caps and watching the squirrels perform their acrobatics.

The time that she spent here is a respite from all that is going on in the real world, and proof that we need to spend more time in the natural world for our own good. I like her writing, she has an eye for details that others may miss if they were to walk the same paths as here. I can highly recommend this and a visit to Kingcombe if you are in West Dorset.

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