Hampshire

Portsmouth: The badger capital of southern England?

Gosport is being labelled the badger capital of southern England”. There are 100 known badger setts in Gosport; some close to housing estates and industrial areas. The badgers were attracted to the town’s Ministry of Defence bases where they bred unhindered for many years. Presenter Jon Cuthill visits a housing estate in Gosport where badgers are nightly visitors. BBC video here

The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne

Gilbert White’s “The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne” has never been out of print since its publication in 1789 and established the genre of nature-writing in English. He is ‘the man who started us all birdwatching’, as James Fisher put it, writing what is probably the best known natural history book ever written in any language. He took up his interest in birds and the natural world as Stephen Moss puts it “at the very moment when a dislocation between man and the natural world was beginning to occur. “Read

Setting for Watership Down

Richard Adams’ classic novel Watership Down (1972) is set in the real Watership Down in Ecchinswell, Hampshire. Nuthanger Farm which plays a major part in the novel, also exists, albeit without talking rabbits. More here.

Chris Packham’s hometown

Chris Packham grew up in Bitterne Park, Southampton which forms a backdrop to his remarkable, painfully honest and downright weird memoir of growing up Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir (2016).

Writer Phillip Hoare lamented the decline in urban wildlife in Southampton since he grew up in this Guardian article:

Growing up in suburban Southampton in the 60s and 70s, the streets were yet to be appropriated by three-car families. You could still see the gardens. Our road was lined with an erratic avenue of often self-sown trees. The cutway that ran behind the houses was a covert highway for wildlife: foxes, hedgehogs, grass snakes. Badgers crossed the road in the twilight. Those openings in the built environment made them good places for subversive humans, too. Fertile imaginations bred in those gaps.