Shared Earth is a new series from the BBC Natural History Unit which celebrates the natural world and explores what we can all do to help conserve wildlife and habitats and reduce our footprint on the planet
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Wild food is all the rage at the moment. We’re regularly exhorted to comb the hedgerows for fruits and fungi, but in ‘Shared Earth’ this week Dylan Winter meets Fergus Drennan, the man who takes it to new extremes. He’s planning to survive for a year on nothing but the wild food he can find within a cycle ride of his home in Kent. No coffee, no sugar, no alcohol. That’s going to need some imaginative recipes, top-notch preservation techniques and a very strong constitution. This summer he tried his wild diet for a month. He lost a stone in weight.
Roesel’s Bush Cricket (above) and the Long-Winged Conehead were once confined to the south coast of England. This summer Harry Green of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has been travelling the countryside with a modified bat detector to confirm that they’re making rapid progress north into the Midlands. Dylan joined Harry for a cricket hunt, listening to their high frequency song.
Waxcap mushrooms are some of the most distinctive, colourful harbingers of Autumn. Like all fungi they play a vital role in maintaining the structure and fertility of our soil but we have very little idea of the health of the UK population. The National Trust wants to fill the knowledge gap by asking visitors to its properties to report any sightings. You can contribute to the online survey at the National Trust website.
The Wild Pumlumon Project
Britain is dotted with hundreds of nature reserves but many conservationists are worried that they will become virtual prisons for wildlife, hemmed in by development and intensive farming. They are anxious to promote large scale nature reserves in which birds and beasts can roam relatively freely. The Great Fen Project in East Anglia is leading the way in the UK but there are moves afoot to extend the idea to Plynlimon, the five peaks at the heart of Wales. Dylan talked to Derek about the kind of wildlife he’d like to bring back to the area and considered the reactions of local farmers to the idea.