John Clarke – who has managed the successful Bredon Hill and Cotswolds Skylark Project since 2005
“By simply reducing the grazing we have produced fantastic results for breeding Skylark in two sites on Bredon Hill. We also achieved similar results on land owned by a quarry company out in the Cotswolds. Although I haven’t visited the Malvern Hills site I can think of no reason why adopting the same grazing regime would not bring the skylarks back, along with all the other wildlife such as the ‘brown’ species of butterfly and grasshoppers.”
Catherine Bower – Malvern
I have lived in Malvern since 2001, when there were no cattle, but we had skylarks on the hilltops, and the grass ‘waved in the breeze’ Is it coincidence that now there are cattle, the skylarks have gone, and the grass no longer waves. Nature managed the hills and the skylarks came, why does the Trust need to interfere?
Dominic Horne – Ledbury
I fondly remember lying in the grass on top of Worcester Beacon in summers gone by listening to the skylarks singing and imagining Elgar doing likewise many years before me.
Peter Orr – Marlborough
What we see and hear are important factors as well as what we eat. In over-grazing livestock where skylarks once thrived it would appear that we have compromised our environment. The absence of the wonderful sight and sound of skylarks is terrible loss to the Malvern Hills and the fix appears to be easy. If we simply manage the grazing more carefully, nature will do all the restorative work and we will soon benefit from a wider range of species on the hills.
Rachel Buckland – Malvern
It is nothing short of an absolute tragedy that we no longer have a single breeding pair of skylarks on the Malvern Hills. I always think of that magical line from Shelley’s ‘Ode to a Skylark’ “Hail to thee, Blithe spirit!”. These little, “blithe spirits” have been making their home on the upper slopes of the Malverns for centuries (probably millenia) and now they just need a little nudge of help from us to continue doing so in our modern environment. Let’s follow the example set by Bredon Hill and make the Malverns a breeding habitat once more before it really is too late.
Phil Hitchen – Malvern
Well done for taking on this cause. If you do nothing, you get nothing. So let’s try these measures and maybe we’ll be charmed by this well-loved bird on our hills again.
Suzanne Savage – Malvern
This is a sensible plan to create suitable habitat for an iconic species. I am distraught at the sudden drop in breeding skylarks where I live in West Malvern– this is a direct result of recent changes in land management practices. Do not delay in implementing these modifications to protect skylark breeding areas from grazing.
Penny Crowther – Malvern
I’ve not heard skylarks on the hills for a couple of years now. Well done to people like Ian who have the knowledge and foresight to draw attention to such a loss. The solution is, hopefully, relatively straight forward.
Helen Reeves – Upper Colwall
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. There should be more publicity about this!
Dr A Fletcher – Ealing
Birdlife and birdsong is such a part of our countryside it seems such a shame that simple measures can’t be taken to protect them.
Chris Fleck – Ledbury
A beautiful bird with a lovely voice. We need to look after these before it is too late!
Malcolm Victory – Malvern Wells
I used to love seeing the skylarks, but I have noticed their absence. I am set against the grazing of cattle particularly because of the damage they do to paths and slopes – and the Eye Well last year. Totally inappropriate, and better to keep the Larks.
Robin Lee – Malvern
It would be lovely to return to regular sightings and hearing of skylarks on North Hill (My own favourite site) and elsewhere.
As it used to be when I first came to Malvern nearly 20 years ago.
Suzanne Dowson – Malvern
I love the sound of skylarks singing!