Understanding nature

Increasing awareness of global issues such as climate change has heightened interest in wildlife and our relationship with the natural world. The past informs our present and future; natural history collections help communicate environmental changes over time, as well as charting the human history of collecting in order to understand this world we live in.

The Wild Wood

Woodlands are some of the most iconic landscapes in the UK: from representations in fiction such as The Animals of Farthing Wood, Watership Down, and Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood to legends rooted in history such as Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest. The fact that our woodlands, and the many plants and animals they support, are in decline only adds to the magical atmosphere of dense, earthy woods. But how much do we understand about the woodland ecosystem when we enjoy walking through the trees?


What is a habitat?               A habitat is a place where plants and animals live. All living things need food, water…

Food chains

All living things need nutrients and energy which they get from food. Some living things – plants – can use energy they…

Woodland creatures

Badgers are a wood’s ruling clan, often occupying the same sett for generations and laying a network of well-trodden paths…

Your natural world

Going to woods and learning how to identify a tree, listen for a bird, or locate an animal habitat can be rewarding. Since early 2020 the UK has experienced a number of restrictions and lockdowns, with limits on travelling and leaving your immediate locality. As a result, there has been an increase of people exploring nature in their gardens and local area. Many have found that connecting to their natural environment has been enjoyable, and often therapeutic; a boost for mental and physical wellbeing in stressful circumstances and our increasingly digital lives.

A number of studies and reports have looked into this connection between nature and wellbeing, from broadcasters to mental health and nature charities. The benefit goes both ways: the better our understanding of the natural world, the more we can protect and preserve it. Exploring our local wildlife, we will begin to recognise habitats and realise any threats to these plants and creatures.  


Even when we are in urban environments, we are surrounded by wildlife. Many woodland animals, such as hedgehogs and foxes, have adapted to…