A Patch Made In Heaven

Sunday 4th March 2012

A Patch Made in Heaven is Dominic Couzens’ diary of a wildlife-watching year in a single square kilometre of southern England.

Written in wryly humorous style, A Patch Made In Heaven details the birds, the animals and the human visitors that turn up and use this tiny parcel of land.  It chronicles the delights, disappointments and frustrations that go with dedicated ‘patch-watching’, and also uncovers all sorts of unusual and unexpected details about what we might think are familiar creatures.

Although the book is set on one particular patch, most of its wildlife, and most of its events, can be witnessed anywhere by anyone, making A Patch Made in Heaven a great celebration of the countryside and its wildlife.

The popular view of birdwatchers, or ‘twitchers’, is of people who rush madly from one end of the country to another to tick birds off their lists.  But behind the headlines are an army of enthusiasts who do quite the reverse – they stay devotedly within a small local area - their patch - and enthuse and obsess about the birds within it.  They are every bit as committed and eccentric as their far-travelling counterparts.

Although the book is set on one particular patch, most of its wildlife, and most of its events, can be witnessed anywhere by anyone, making A Patch Made in Heaven a great celebration of the countryside and its wildlife.

Local patches are places we become familiar with - when to visit in the Spring to catch a display of orchids – and where we can escape to and immerse ourselves in nature for a while.  The Wildlife Trusts want people to be inspired about the future of their own local patch so they value it, understand their relationship with it and act to protect it. 

The protection of places for wildlife is a founding principle of The Wildlife Trusts.  It was Charles Rothschild, founder of the organisation that we know today as The Wildlife Trusts, who scoured the UK countryside 100 years ago, supported by some of the country’s finest naturalists, looking for places worthy of protection. 

To help people value, understand and act to protect local patches, Wildlife Trusts all over the UK work within their local communities to effect real change.  We work with business, schools community groups and other environmental organisations to manage land for wildlife.  With shrinking natural habitats in many towns and cities, gardens and gardeners have an ever increasing role to play in helping wildlife. 

A Patch Made in Heaven is illustrated with line drawings by bird artist Dave Nurney.  The book is published by Robert Hale Ltd and available from 29 February 2012 at £12.99. 

The Author
Dominic Couzens is one of Britain’s best known writers on birds and wildlife.  He has produced numerous books, including The Secret Lives of Garden Birds, Extreme Birds, The Secret Lives of Garden Wildlife and the travel memoir My Family and 50 Other Animals.  Dominic regularly writes for BBC Countryfile and BBC Wildlife magazines as well as The Daily Telegraph.  He is a regular contributor to BBC television, both on and off screen, appearing on Autumnwatch and The One Show as well as being a consultant on programmes such as The Animals Guide to Britain, with Chris Packham. Dominic lives in Dorset with his wife, two children and over 300 species of moth.

To find out how you can get involved in helping to protect your local patch go to www.wildlifetrusts.org/yourlocaltrust and follow the links to your local Wildlife Trust’s website.