Male Common Darter, by Darren Holliday
Female Common Darter, by Darren Holliday

High Batts was the subject of the Guardian’s Country Diary earlier this month.

Mark Cocker, who was guest speaker at the Reserve’s 50th anniversary picnic, wrote about High Batts in an article published on 4th July 2023.

He praised High Batts for its exceptional biodiversity, with 300 plant species, 600 types of moth, and 19 different dragonflies.

The diary piece included positive comments about volunteers at High Batts:

‘On the day we gathered to celebrate this anniversary it looked as if High Batts had never been in better shape. It also struck me that not only are volunteers the very lifeblood of almost all environmental achievement, they are at the heart of our relationship with nature.

As I walked down the rides through its wet woodland, there were deep stands of comfrey, hogweed and bramble. These, in turn, held thousands of white-tailed, common carder and buff-tailed bumblebee workers, as well as more vestal cuckoo bees than I had ever seen.

The first three species were engaged in supplying reproductive services for the plants in exchange for payments of pollen and nectar to nourish their own siblings. This reciprocity benefits not only the vegetation and insects, but it also makes our species possible.’

extract from guardian country diary

Cocker laments the toxic chemicals which are used on our landscape, and adds:

‘Our chemical warfare with so-called pests has been ongoing for 80 years. If and when we finally relent, it will be refugia sites like High Batts that will resupply our wider countryside with those wonderful volunteers on which all life ultimately depends.’

final paragraph of the guardian country diary
High Batts in the Guardian Country Diary

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