Saturday, 4 July 2020


I’m guessing that I’m no different to many anglers by having my favourite places to fish and one of these is certainly the Wimborne and District Angling Clubs' Pinnock Lakes at Edmondsham … but why?

If peace and tranquility in beautiful countryside is what floats your boat, then this is the ideal place to while away a few hours … and when the fish are those most desirable tench and crucians, heaven is close by.

Arrive at dawn and the only sound is bird song and the clucking of moorhens, along with the muffled curses of our Hon Sec. Stuart Hitchman whose tackle has just been trashed by a fiesty tench ... but he still loves the place too.

The crystal clear water is weedy, so the ideal home for this summer bounty and I find a little rake on the end of a landing net pole is sufficient to clear a narrow channel close to the edge into which to drop a tiny float.

A smattering of fine groundbait, a few small pellets and a trickle of maggots and it’s a bite a chuck because the tench and crucians have bred profusely in the rich water and there’s lots of them. 

Most of these bars of gold are like small jewels but if you hook a proper one you are in trouble as they have taken lessons from Popeye and fight like stink.

If you like bigger fish then the club recently stocked over thirty good ‘uns which will test your tackle to the max. The crucians are growing on well too, one lucky member catching two of a pound and a half last year. I’ve found bits of worm or small banded pellets sort out the bigger ones but when fishing in such idyllic surroundings, size hardly matters.

Since it’s creation a couple of years back, the top lake called Medleys is developing very nicely and the club also have plans to carry out a complete refurbishment of the bottom lake, called Julia’s in honour of the owner. If it ends up mimicking the top lake plus more species for variety such as roach and perch, then we’re in for a real treat.

Many of my friends have enjoyed splendid fishing up there and I think their smiles suggest that they too think they’ve discovered a little bit of heaven.

The club will always be grateful to the Angling Trust through the Angling Development Fund and the Environment Agency for making the creation of this lake possible .

Sunday, 7 June 2020


‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ or so they say and as we and the world struggle to cope in these extraordinary times, many of us have turned to the wonders of nature to heal the wounds of painful loss and deprivation. Easier said than done if you were isolated in a tower block flat but Sue and I are fortunate to have a large garden in southern England, so the self-isolation is easier than it has been for many others. 

Yes, we do realise the privilege of having space and fresh air but our five year garden plan turned into a fifty year plan and with thirty nine years of digging and planting, we have created our own little corner of heaven.

Our gardening is inspired by a love of the natural world so one of our missions in life is to make our patch as wildlife friendly as possible and it was easy to do so in the glorious sunshine we have enjoyed since the start of lockdown in March.
After that winter of record rainfall, the heat and light meant everything burst into flower like never before and you wonder with the hell humans are going through whether some ‘greater power’ is trying to compensate to make our lives more bearable.
Our woodland garden has provided a succession of glorious colour and though we haven’t been out for long wildlife walks, [we're both past our 'sell by date'], we’ve had plenty to inspire us just outside our windows, so thought you might like to share a few pics of the garden, all taken since lockdown began, because judging by the surprising response to our blog that celebrated our garden a while back, it has so far attracted over 21,000 views from around the world. Ain't nature wonderful.

The beauty of nature sure does highlight the benefits of gardening for wildlife, along with the good it does for our health and mental well being, so we hope that sharing pictures of our wild garden will put a smile on your faces too.

Among our many tasks, we have to manage the streams and six ponds, tend to the woodland flowers and shrubs along with the wildflower meadow. It's healthy hard work and we love it.


We are also creating a bee and butterfly garden so there is plenty of planting and gravel spreading to do and at times it was so hot I had to garden topless, certainly not a sight to include in lockdown beauty!

Progress is slow but steady and squadrons of buzzers are appreciating our efforts, making us happy when they arrive.

While waiting for our world to return to something like normality and allow people and businesses to recover, dare I say that I can’t help thinking we’ll look back fondly at a few side effects of lockdown, like having the time to think about who and what really matters in our lives.

It was wonderful to hear the bird song so clearly in the silence while gazing into a clear blue sky free of vapour trails.
And is it just my imagination, or aren’t there far more insects than normal in the clean air, the garden floating with butterflies, comma, brimstone, speckled woods, red admiral and peacocks, along with more orange tips than we've ever seen here before ... and we even enjoyed the privilege of a bee swarm in our beech tree.
As one eminent scientist said “Surely we aren’t going back to breathing poisoned air”!
So much sadness and tragedy for those who’ve lost loved ones is hard to bear but at least many of us will have learnt more about how wonderful wildlife is and how important our natural open spaces are, making us all smile in our hour of need … and hopefully, these lessons will mean we care more for our wildlife and wild places in the future. 

But for starters, lets hope we all survive and beat the virus so that we can once again share our lives with our loved ones and invite our close friends to visit. A few hugs would be good too! Enjoy nature when you can and support your local Wildlife Trust so our children can enjoy nature too.