With the year drawing to a close I thought I would highlight some blogs and podcasts that I highly recommend you check out in 2019. Whilst certainly growing, it is clear that nature, conservation, farming and countryside blogs are still one of the smaller niches within the wider blogosphere but there is some brilliant content out there if you know where to look.
So, in no particular order…
- Rock and Roll Farming – hosted by everyone’s favourite Welshman Will Evans, a farmer from north Wales, Rock and Roll farming hosts a different farmer each week, introducing listeners to the wonderful world of farming in the UK. A particular highlight are the ‘quick questions’ at the end of each episode. Listen to find out more.
- Common by Nature – James Common’s blog probably needs little introduction or explanation. For the uninitiated however it is a glorious mix of opinion pieces and wildlife encounters all based around conservation and the natural world. James is not afraid to write his mind and is surely a future leader within the conservation world. I particularly enjoyed these recent posts – here and here.
- Farmerama – This innovative podcast shares the voices of smaller scale farmers from the UK and abroad. Episodes are released monthly and content is always enjoyably broad. Interesting if you want to hear stories that you wouldn’t normally come across in conventional media circles.
- Young Fermanagh Naturalist – Written by Northern Irish young writer and naturalist Dara MacAnulty this blog helps to give me a new lease of life and renews my faith in the world. Dara is a breath of fresh air in the world of conservation and his enthusiasm and determination to succeed helps the rest of us to continue.
- A New Nature Blog – Miles King, who runs this popular and fiercely independent nature blog, has been working in nature conservation in various roles for over 30 years. He is particularly interested in topics such as the public goods element of the environment, placing value on land, the Common Agricultural Policy and rewilding. He often invokes strong opinions on social media and is well worth following on twitter. This blog should be compulsory reading for anybody with the faintest interest in the natural world in the UK.
- Rob Yorke – A passionately independent rural commentator Rob Yorke is well known as an advocate of seeking consensus in the countryside and challenging all sides to see other points of view, something that I share with him here on Thinking Country. It was Rob who partly inspired me to start this blog in the first place. Rob has a wonderful grasp of the English language and his blog posts always challenge your perspective and make you think again on a topic, no matter how many times you think you may have made up your mind.
- Indie Farmer – the brainchild of Sussex farmer Nigel Akehurst, Indie Farmer showcases a wide circle of stories from and about independent farmers, food producers and manufacturers across the UK. It’s all about showing the public the truth of where our food comes from. As a regular reader you will soon learn to recognise the names of certain farmers. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with farmers on an individual basis.
- Farmers Wife and Mummy – Emma Lander does a brilliant job on this blog and I particularly like her ‘women in farming’ section which clearly proves very popular. Her honest, relaxed, easily readable style makes you feel comfortable but also you trust her words. It also brings a smile on many an occasion! Have a read.
- James Borrell – James Borrell is a conservation biologist based at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. He believes in conservation optimism, is a talented writer and it is a joy to read his blog articles.
- Official Blog of New Nature Magazine – Founded by James Common (mentioned above) New Nature Magazine is, in my opinion, one of the best new ventures to have been kick started in the UK conservation world in recent years. All articles are written by young people and the editorial team are similarly all below the age of 30. The blog is worth having a delve through, as is the magazine itself.
- The Wild Voices Project Podcast – A truly brilliant podcast providing necessary listening for anybody with an interest in the outdoors or the natural world. Hosted by the multi-talented Matt Williams, WVP tells the stories of the people saving nature. Some of the episodes are quite lengthy but this allows guests to really develop and explore their ideas and gives listeners an opportunity to hear more than they might from the conventional media circuit.
- Official Blog of A Focus on Nature – The official blog of the UK’s youth conservation network. Worth keeping up to date with and supporting. I need say no more.
- Nature Nattering – ”The wind moved across the Cambridgeshire land and touched the tips of my ears with its frosty existence. Yet it wasn’t bitter, the cold, it was just present. The flat fens forever extended into the distance, a place of history that holds the secrets of Romans who desired to drain the land yet never succeeded, to those more determined in the 17th century, who drained away a part of the place’s character.” These are the first few lines of a recent post on this beautifully constructed blog run by Alice Johnson. Well worth a read.
- Wader Tales – Written by Graham Appleton this blog is worth reading for anybody interested in birds. Graham aims to make wader science more accessible to more people and I think he is highly successful at doing this.
- Pete Cooper Wildlife – another ‘one to watch’ in the future of conservation Pete’s blogs are always informative and entertaining. I love the way that Pete explains his experiences and his particular interest in rewilding makes this blog a must-include on your list for 2019 if you don’t already read it.
- Wildlife Phelps – Written by Simon Phelps this blog, whilst not posting regularly, should be of great interest. Simon is not afraid to challenge, as was clear when he went up against George Monbiot following a particular tweet made by the environmental journalist.
- Hannah Rudd – Hannah is a passionate oceans advocate, and her blog brings to the fore a whole host of marine issues as well as being a proponent for women in science.