Country mouse on fires in the countryside

I was lucky enough to visit Highgrove last week for the latest launch of the remarkable Public Catalogue Foundation series, which continues to log all the publicly owned oil paintings in Britain. The chance to revisit the constantly evolving garden was too good to miss.

The star was the wildflower meadow saturated with dancing yellow buttercups. They are the humblest of plants, but, as with the wonderful dandelions of a few weeks ago, they deserve more of our attention.

The dry weather has made it feel like summer and, elsewhere in the country, has resulted in huge wildfires. These fires are relatively rare in Britain as our weather is normally too wet, but in Australia, they are commonplace. There, the worst fires occur where the bush has been left unmanaged, and after each serious fire, there is much soul searching as to why better management wasn’t in place.

The fires in Britain have also mainly occurred where the scrub has been less well managed. As we try to cope with more global warming, we can expect more fires in Britain, whether started by arsonists or not. We will, therefore, need to manage our heaths, woodlands and scrub more efficiently. A plan needs to be made now.