Monday, 9 May 2011


The vast majority of the Bristish countryside, I have discovered, is a plagioclimax. It's amazing what you pick up when helping an offspring to revise for exams!

If I have understood correctly, a plagioclimax is a type of environment which has not been allowed to develop to its natural climax. In other words, it's been managed, rather than being allowed to develop into full-blown, untamed wilderness. But, in spite of its development towards climax being interrupted, it is still a viable habitat in its own right.

(Notice that I wrote 'THE VAST MAJORITY'. That's because I'm pretty sure there's a corner of my garden which has managed to go the full way!)

Moorlands are a plagioclimax; managed mainly by drainage and burning. Each autumn, large areas of moorland are deliberately burned to get rid of the old, dead heather and encourage new growth. 

Personally, I'm delighted that we have the moors. Although I wouldn't want an uninterrupted diet of moorland, I do love it for its space and for the sense it gives of being untamed and northern!

But, of course, the moorlands aren't just managed for the well being of myself and other like-minded people. Primarily, they are managed for the benefit of these creatures...

...the black grouse (above) and his cousin the red grouse (below).

Ironic, isn't it. that the black grouse is perched atop a shooting butt. In a few more months, the game bird season will begin; beaters will scare the grouse towards these butts, behind which will be hiding human beings with shotguns, all ready to bag a bird for the pot.

Note to all grouse: Come 'The Glorious Twelfth', if you've got any sense, you'll duck!


  1. We never had long words like that when I was a lad. We had to be content with learning the capital cities of the Empire. It's all so much easier these days, not proper learning at all.

  2. Hi - glad you stopped by. You have a lovely blog. I shall be perusing to find local places that I can visit.

  3. Well, I've learned a new word and its meaning today! Poor grouse - hope they avoid the shotguns. Your moorland photos are super:)

  4. H, I love moors, their colour and space look wonderful. It is an interesting piece of information to get to know that "Each autumn, large areas of moorland are deliberately burned to get rid of the old, dead heather and encourage new growth." I have a few heathers in my garden and as they are getting older, parts of them tend to become brown and leafless. I see that I definitely should cut the dead branches...

  5. Lovely photos. I'm not going to follow your blog much longer however if you insist on using rude words. But maybe you get one more chance....

  6. This is a new word for my vocabulary also - who says you can't teach a 67 year old something new??! Thinking I must have been a geologist or even an archeologist in another life...endlessly fascinating how the land got to look the way it does - the rock formations and the way the water runs. My husband used to hunt grouse before knee replacements threw his balance off. Now he enjoys watching them and adds a signed grouse print to the house every so often.

    Lovely post of a beautiful land...thank you.