Coming from a family of growers, my early life in the Cambridgeshire Fens was dominated by fruit, vegetables and flowers. My passion for wildlife was awakened by my grandmother, Olive, who used to take me as a small boy to a group of wonderful old meadows known as The Lord’s Grounds, which she had enjoyed since she was a child. Sadly, during the 1970s, modern agriculture and Dutch Elm disease took their toll so all the orchids, cowslips and the magnificent hedgerows and trees can now only be found in the family photos. As a teenager, I was introduced to “proper” nature reserves run by the local Wildlife Trust and the RSPB and realised that anyone could take an active role in conserving wildlife.
I studied Biology at Durham and then joined the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve management team, working on reserves from Spurn Point to The YorkshireDales. This led to several years as Reserves Manager at three other Wildlife Trusts. I became Director of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in 1995, having worked as Marketing and Development Manager, and also enjoyed a six-year stint (with my wife, Heather) as resident wardens at the Trust’s Knapp and Papermill reserve.