A Wild Walk to Tavy Cleave, Dartmoor

Upland Dartmoor has always been one of my ‘happy places’; somewhere that closets me from the outside, a seemingly ‘out of this world’ landscape steeped in history and folklore. Some refer to it as England’s last great wilderness. But whilst it can certainly be wild, calling it a wilderness often feels a little disingenuous considering the long history of human habitation and our ongoing role in shaping the moorland landscape. Nevertheless, the feel of the rugged, granite crusted land creates a feeling of separation from everyday life for me. It is a land that I grew to love, having spent much of my middle childhood, adolescent, and early adult years living on the moor. And the river Tavy itself (one of the great rivers of Dartmoor) has played a large part in my own sense of identity.

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A Wild Wander around Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenburg Bay, South Africa

This fabulous gem spot, a few kilometres south of the town of Plettenburg Bay on South Africa’s Eastern Cape, is situated on a headland jutting out into the Indian Ocean with the calm, sheltered waters of the bay on one side and a rolling oceanic swell on the other. Most visitors to ‘Plett’, as the town is affectionately referred to by South Africans, are likely to visit the reserve but the main attraction seems to be to stomp one of the three hiking trails and take selfies within its spectacular and unrivalled coastal landscape. I have a feeling that many of the reserve’s natural treasures are sometimes overlooked during the onward march to complete the trails. None of the trails require a mad rush and I would encourage anyone who visits to treat it as a wander through nature rather than a route march. Walk slowly and quietly, stop and observe, sit a while – I guarantee that you will see and experience so much more and wonder at the minutiae of the natural world.

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About the Author

A naturalist and wildlife guide intrigued by the complex interactions that social, political and historical narratives have with the natural sciences. His global travels take him to a range of habitats but he is never more centered than when bobbing around on the oceans searching for whales and seabirds.