I hold this fragile sphere
and sit up on the long barrow
to see myself a minuscule speck
on the sphere at the end of the day
at the end of the world and tell
myself there could be more time
and the waters of the Severn promise
me they’ve always been to sea
and the neolithic souls promise
they’ve forever crossed between worlds
and that evening the larks crowd in
with the brome grass and molluscs,
the bee orchids and oolite undoing all
the binaries and bringing the outside
inside out and for a few hours
I feel completely held by the intimacy
of our strangeness multiplying
in tender bonds on this tiny sphere
JLM Morton is a writer and poet from Gloucestershire. Winner of the Laurie Lee and Geoffrey Dearmer prizes, her work has been published in The Poetry Review, The Rialto and elsewhere. Her first full collection, Red Handed, is forthcoming with Broken Sleep Books (2024).
This poem was first published by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Call to action
It’s possible to feel powerless in the face of the enormity of the global climate emergency. Taking action on a local level can help us tackle climate change from the ground up – by conceiving of the challenge not as a vast single issue, but the culmination of lots of local problems that need to be solved, we can begin to make progress.
Juniper Hill Field is a rare, species-rich Cotswolds grassland that’s home to a huge variety of plant and wildlife species, of which a large number are rare or endangered, including the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, Spotted Flycatcher, Song Thrush, five species of orchid, many species of pollinating insects and a breeding population of skylarks. Only 1.5% of the Cotswold wildflower meadows remain, and are a priority for conservation, as most ecosystems of this type have now been lost; they are valuable carbon stores, are scarce, and can only be maintained by carefully controlled grazing. Representatives of public bodies and wildlife organisations with knowledge of this site consider it to be an extremely valuable and environmentally sensitive area. It is, however, unprotected at the moment and Juniper Hill is now under attack from the corporate interests of Woodland Investment Management who bought the land three years ago and have begun fencing, road building and quarrying the land, parcelling it up into five acre plots to be sold. This practice prevents conservation grazing which stimulates diversity of plant communities, recycles nutrients back into the soil, provides modes of seed dispersal, eliminates the use of herbicides, and can sequestrate as much carbon as a forest system, among other ecological benefits. Friends of Juniper Hill Field is a campaign group that has been formed to protect this rare and important grassland.
Here are some things you can do.
- Sign up to the campaign newsletter and let them know of any relevant expertise you can offer – ecology, planning, media, finance. Save Juniper Hill Field | wildflower meadow conservation
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your concern and urge them to name a reasonable price and sell to Natural England.
- Email Stroud District Council to insist that it prioritises bio-diversity and tranquillity on this rare piece of Cotswold grassland and enforces the appropriate planning regulations. Rebecca.email@example.com
- Follow the campaign on Instagram @ save_juniper_hill_field and upload any images or sightings of flora and fauna of interest.