Sunday, April 07, 2024

The Meaning of Butterflies: science, aesthetics, spirituality, poetics, relationship with place

 Matthew Oates will be talking about ‘The Meaning of Butterflies: science, aesthetics, spirituality, poetics, relationship with place.’


Saturday 27 April 2024, 2pm

Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate, Swindon SN3 6AA

Zoom link -- please apply to

Matthew describes himself as ‘an English naturalist and nature writer, in love with the natural world, particularly with butterflies―especially the mighty Purple Emperor.’ Book titles include His Imperial Majesty, a natural history of the Purple Emperor (2020), In Pursuit of Butterflies (2015) and Beyond Spring (2017). He worked in nature conservation for some 40 years with the National Trust, the Nature Conservancy Council and Hampshire County Council, and retired in April 2018.

The talk is free to attend in person and by Zoom link. The meeting room has very limited capacity. Please book if you would like to attend or if you want to Zoom in. 


Friday, January 26, 2024

Shortlist for Richard Jefferies Award for best nature writing published 2023

 The Richard Jefferies Award [1] is given annually to the author of the publication considered by the judging panel to be the most outstanding nature writing published in a given calendar year. The winning work must reflect the heritage and spirit of Richard Jefferies’ countryside books.

 The final shortlist for 2023 publications was announced today (in n0 particular order):

 ·         The Orchid Outlaw: On a Mission to Save Britain’s Rarest Flowers by Ben Jacob (John Murrays)

·         One Midsummer’s Day: Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth by Mark Cocker (Jonathan Cape)

·         Footprints in the Woods: The Secret Life of Forest and Riverbank by John Lister-Kaye (Canongate Books)

·         Across a Waking Land: A 1000-mile Walk through a British Spring by Roger Morgan Grenville ( Icon Books)

·         Late Light by Michael Malay (Manilla Press)

·         Windswept: Life, Nature and Deep Time in the Scottish Highlands by Annie Worsley (Harper Collins)


The award was first introduced in 2015 by the Richard Jefferies Society and then sponsored by the White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough. It has attracted an unprecedented number of nominations that grow each year reflecting the increasing quality of books dedicated to the natural world.

 Previous award winners are: Gods of the Morning by John Lister-Kaye (2015), The Wood for the Trees by Richard Fortey (2016) The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson (2017), Wilding by Isabella Tree (2018); Rebirding by Benedict Macdonald (2019), Orchard by Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates (2020), On Gallows Down by Nicola Chester (2021) and Wild Fell by Lee Schofield (2022).

 The judging panel will meet in the early summer to agree and announce the overall winner of the £1000 prize.


 [1] For more information about the Award and previous winners: