‘Cliff clan’ provide inspiration for conservation chief

Mike Pratt, Chief Executive of Northumberland Wildlife Trust has continued to indulge his passion for writing, by penning his now seventh book whilst running the regional wildlife charity from his home in the Tees Valley on the Heritage Coast.
Mike Pratt new book - Jacky Seery

Mike Pratt. Image by:Jacky Seery.

The book is his immediate and spontaneous response to the Covid-19 lockdown. Aptly titled ‘Lockdown Life’ it features words and sketches of the ‘cliff clan’ of creatures including, weasels, hares and owls that inhabit the stretch of coast near his home and

Like millions of other people, Mike found nature a solace during lockdown, helping him deal with the fears and the worries of COVID sickness in the family, frustrations of homeworking, concerns for Northumberland Wildlife Trust which he has led since 2005 and trying to move house in the middle of it all.

Despite being a life-long nature fanatic Mike was still was surprised how much he felt supported, distracted and excited by what nature could offer. It is little wonder that nature is now being referred to at the Natural Health Service - free to everybody, zero waiting lists and a bed under the stars instead of a ward.

With 22 observations, both poetry and prose, on aspects of nature and northern wildlife and with wonderful titles such as Cliff Fox, Weasel from Nowhere, Ol’ Blue Eyes, Rook Society and A Recipe to Survive CoVid the book is a delightful read for nature lovers of all ages.

Talking about his book Mike says: “During lockdown writing about what I saw became a therapy of itself and helped me stay focusses and fit and I now want to share what I’d enjoyed and the health benefits it gave me with others. Nature can help people in every way and I would love it if became a central part of people’s lives - not just now but into the future.

“On a daily walk to the nearby coast and woods I was taken aback by the sheer variety and abundance of wildlife I encountered, so much so, I felt compelled, as never before, to draw and paint what I saw. I started with the breeding lapwings up the lane, then the barn owls and many song birds, migrants and rare birds before moving on to insects, flowers and mammals."

Mike concluded: “Lockdown and its slower pace made us all notice and value nature more and gave a lot of people so, let’s not destroy the Natural Health Service which helped us all in a pandemic but embrace it - whether it’s a window box, back yard, garden, urban green spaces or the countryside.”

Priced at £5 ‘Lockdown Life’ is available to buy from Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s on-line bookshop, the Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre and Northumberlandia Visitor Centre.