Wednesday, 3 November 2010


I read an article recently in which the author lamented the loss of insect populations in England.  He said that 30 years ago, if you took a Sunday drive in the countryside, you’d arrive home with your windscreen smeared and spattered from all the insects you’d hit while out driving.  Today, that would rarely be the case.

I pondered the truth of this assertion on a half-term trip with Genevieve to the lovely Fritton Lake, part of the Somerleyton estate near Lowestoft; when we arrived, sure enough, the windscreen was pretty much as clean as it was when we set out.

According to one of the noticeboards at Fritton, 60-70% of a typical native ancient woodland is dead, and this dead matter is essential for the survival of our native insect species.  Along with a steady supply of food in the form of nectar from wildflowers, dead wood provides the other key ingredient for survival – shelter .

The picture above is of a formidable log pile at Fritton; one of several dotted about the estate.  Rotting wood is left to provide homes for all manner of insects – wood lice, centipedes & millipedes, earwigs – as well as a host of fungi.

The insects and fungi attract birds and small mammals which in turn increase the biodiversity of the area and its overall health.

It was a gorgeous day and we were thrilled to discover these beautiful natural wonders that would otherwise go unnoticed.  And while nowhere near as spectacular, in my front garden, I have my own little pile of logs, slowly rotting down, and, hopefully, providing homes and shelter for Norwich’s insect population as autumn marches into winter.

(pics: Fritton Lake, by JC & Genevieve)


  1. Dear Jon,
    In response to both yesterday's post and today's you might like to take a look at
    This "greenest government ever" is planning to sell off 50% of our native forests to private firms, including the ancient woodland in Sherwood Forest and the Forest of Dean. It's being questioned by 3 MPs with DEFRA tomorrow.
    Smashing posts this week and it was great to see you at the bloggers meeting last night.
    Best wishes,

  2. Yep, I have a small wood pile at the back of my garden. Orginally cut up from bits we didn't need but now looking pretty and making homes for creatures :)

  3. Good link Charlotte - I've signed up and signed the petition. What a fabulous resource - lots of great work going on at 38 degrees.

    Thanks for letting me know.