John Clare Country

Living Landscapes

John Clare Country

Old Sulehay Forest - Robert Enderby

In mid-wood silence, thus, how sweet to be;
Where all the noises, that on peace intrude,
Come from the chittering cricket, bird, and bee,
Whose songs have charms to sweeten solitude.”
John Clare

The wildlife of the open, expansive landscapes beloved of Northamptonshire poet John Clare are all but vanished. This Living Landscape scheme will link and extend the fragments of meadow, woodland, wetland and old limestone workings to ensure that the flowers, butterflies and creatures recognised and loved by the poet have a place to call home, long into the future

The limestone country to the west of Peterborough, extending into Northamptonshire, was home to the poet John Clare (1793 - 1864). His lyrical descriptions, written during the turmoil of the Enclosure Acts, expressed his heartbreak at what he saw happening to his beloved open landscape. Now, the surviving fragments of Clare’s countryside are being protected, linked, managed and made accessible to local people through this partnership project.
The area runs from the fringes of Peterborough into the former Rockingham Forest area. It encompasses limestone grasslands threading through ancient woodlands, and a network of limestone quarries, full of wildflowers including pyramidal orchids and clustered bellflowers. The undulating terrain provides warm and sheltered conditions for many different reptiles and insects, including the common lizard and green tiger beetle.

The project area also includes the Wildlife Trust’s Ring Haw Field Station, where a wide range of training events take place, giving volunteers and the local community the skills to support a Living Landscape through practical habitat management, wildlife monitoring and education work.

Scheme size: 11,000 Ha