Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a mature wild meadow right in the middle of town… ?
A place where no chemicals had been used for years, so that hundreds of wild flowers thrived: ragged robin, foxgloves, sweet cicely, buttercups, tormentil and the like. This would bring in bees, butterflies, hoverflies and a million other insects which in turn might encourage meadow pipits, willow warblers, blackcaps, chiffchaffs in summer, then linnets and goldfinches in winter.
Oh, and if there were plenty of hawthorn hedges and wild roses we might get fieldfares, redwings and waxwings feeding on the berries in winter. We might even get the odd roe deer if there was good, mature woodland around; mixed woodland with ash, oak, hazel, horse chestnut, willow of course and beautiful beech which rotted down into the leaf litter to give homes for beetles and encouraged toadstools and bracket fungus. Lots of finches might come too: chaffinches, bramblings, greenfinches and possibly the odd hawfinch with dunnocks and robins rooting around in the leaf litter.
Stone walls would be good. Lots of them with ivy and honeysuckle trailing over them. They’d give hidey-holes for wrens to hunt out spiders with shrews and voles and weasels doing whatever it is they do in there. Then kestrels might hover overhead on the lookout.
And I’ll tell you what would really nail it… good clean rivers with brown trout a plenty and kingfishers. Mosses and ferns on damp, shady cliffs… and waterfalls and deep pools where roach and perch feed, and grey wagtails, swallows and dippers catch mayflies and midges.
The cherry on the cake would be some high heather moorland on the outskirts of town. Wilder places where red grouse grumbled, short-eared owls hunted and ravens croaked their way overhead, with the odd visit from a peregrine falcon perhaps.
What a place that would be eh?