Last year, Chichester Copywriter embraced her love for nature and wildlife to inspire the creativity that keeps her professional writing fresh. Katy joined Sussex Wildlife Trust and made the most of their wonderfully insightful workshops. She visited the Brecon Beacons and got wet and wild in Wales. Come autumn, a trip to Malta revealed enough magical Mediterranean flora and fauna to get those creative copywriting cogs whirring. Visits to many treasure troves – before, in between, and after – resulted in equally nurturing nature encounters.
Field Crafts, Henfield, West Sussex
The first Sussex Wildlife Trust workshop Katy signed up for (7 April, 2019) was held in the woodland surrounding the charity’s HQ at Woods Mill, Henfield. The day offered a delectable smorgasbord of tips and titbits on how to identify animal tracks and signs when out walking and appreciate nature respectfully. Run by renowned wildlife photographer and author David Plummer, it was fascinating to discover that animals can age scent to work out how long ago you were around and in what Sussex locations key species such as adder and brown hare can be found. Katy also discovered which Calvin Klein scent attracts big cats, like snow leopards, in the wild!
Nightingale Safari, Pulborough, West Sussex
Held at RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve two weeks later, this was a treat for the ears. With a small group, Katy ventured onto the reserve to see if she could hear some of the UK’s earliest seasonal visiting nightingales. Having heard one singing its heart out while perched in a tree above the yurt where she slept in the Brecon Beacons National Park last May, our Chichester Copywriter was excited to hear the majestic birdsong. Wikipedia quite accurately describes it as, “an impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles”. With such range and varying notes that sound like a call from the wilds of the jungle, once you’ve heard a nightingale sing no other birdsong compares! To top the evening off, the group did some pond dipping by red light torchlight and spied all three types of Sussex newts.
Mindfulness in Nature, Henfield, West Sussex
On 10 May, Katy, who as a social media marketing manager for more than 12 brands needs a digital disconnect more than many, took part in a day-long mindfulness retreat. The day started around a campfire in a private Sussex woodland surrounded by birdsong. It then progressed to focussing the attention, connecting with the senses and living in the “now” – an eye-opening experience in more ways than one. By the stroke of 4.00 pm, our Chichester Copywriter felt so attuned to her natural surroundings that she could blindly traverse the uneven forest paths just using her feet to connect with the earth and guide the way. Katy also experienced what it was like to see the woodland using both central and peripheral vision – it’s like starring in your own 3D movie! After this spiritual and humbling exercise, Katy had a deeper understanding of mindfulness and how to practice it daily for increased creativity and resourcefulness.
An evening with Badgers, woodland near Horsham, West Sussex
As a child our creative copywriter was terrified of badgers but now Katy is fascinated by the weird and wonderful creatures and had, until this enchanting experience, only seen a glimpse of badger’s bottom as it ran past a bird hide. Another event run by photographer and ecologist David Plummer, at a wooden platform built in a private woodland, this Evening with Badgers was something rather special. Not able to rustle or cough for fear of spooking the black and white beasties, Katy and three other intrepid explorers sat 15 foot in the air above a natural breeding badger sett. As the day passed to dusk some snuffling occurred and, over the course of two hours, no less than eight badgers went about their business. Katy even spotted cubs tussling by one of the sett’s openings and the whole group were treated to a sow walking right in front of the platform and off into the woodland beyond. Fallow deer were also moving around on the woodland floor and it was fabulous to be at the same level as a perching blue tit with a caterpillar filled beak between nest visits. Though a little chilly and not too comfortable, it was totally worth it!
Owl Encounter, Arundel, West Sussex
Sunday 19 May was the day that Chichester Copywriter got to spend an afternoon getting to know a parliament of owls in the Arundel countryside. A fantastic owl flying encounter saw Katy and partner Pete meet falconer Kevin Lockner from Hawking About and four owl species: tawny owl, barn owl, eagle owl and little owl. It’s hard for Katy to pinpoint her favourite moment as this was an amazing couple of hours. Arundel Castle formed a stunning backdrop and skylarks and lapwings filled the countryside with hearty song. But she very much enjoyed her time with Fern – tawnies, with their diminutive form and haunting hoot, are her best birds. It was also incredible for Katy and Pete to have the lovely Nova flap her mighty wings between them at speed as they stood head-to-head. The pair are set to do a Hawk Walk with Kevin in 2020!
Canoeing the River Wye, Hay-On-Wye, Breconshire
June saw our creative copywriter return to the Brecon Beacons National Park where she recorded her travels via various waterways for clients Aqua Living. Part of this trip included an afternoon canoeing from Hay-On-Wye to Whitney through the lovely people at Want to Canoe. Paddling is an activity that Katy enjoys during the warmer weather with partner Pete and this glorious sunshine-fuelled exploration of River Wye’s wildlife was no exception. Holding out hope for sightings of a kingfisher or otter to no avail, Katy was delighted to spot everything from mating dragonfly on the riverbanks and small fry in the shallows to soaring buzzards and gliding goosanders. Sheep and cows also bowed their heads to make the most of the cool fresh running water. The most special sighting though was hundreds of sand martens ducking in and out of their sandbank dwellings in between freeing the air of midges.
A Big Cats Tail Big Cat Safari, Marwell Zoo, Winchester, Hampshire
A special event for fans of tigers, leopards and such at Chichester Copywriter’s closest zoo, the Wild Cat Safari didn’t disappoint. On a beautiful August evening, when all day visitors had skedaddled, Katy and a group of around 30 other cat lovers glimpsed what some of the earth’s most magnificent animals get up to at sunset. Katy was treated to a toothy tussle between two cheeky cheetahs, the humbling sight of a stretching Amur tiger at full length, some snap-worthy snuggling snow leopards and the clambering antics of excitable Amur leopards. Cat-tastic!
Seal Safari, Chichester Harbour, West Sussex
On 18 August our writerly explorer went on a Something Fishy seal watching trip. Around 40 common (or harbour seals) live in the Solent and haul out in Chichester Harbour. There’s also a smaller bob of grey seals dwelling among them. Though the morning was dreary and the rain began to lash down as the boat left Chichester Marina, Katy’s hopes weren’t dampened. Just as the heavens closed the boat edged into a small channel and lumpy shapes could be seen sprawled along the sandbanks. Soon enough, Katy and her comrades were surrounded by curious seals who’d jumped in the water to come and investigate and more lazed in the welcome sunshine as it started to break through the clouds. There were around 15 individuals, including bold pups bobbing around a huge bull basking in the shallows. Seeing so many sensational selkies in this local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was a dream come through for our Chichester Copywriter.
BirdLife reserves, Għadira, Salina and Simar, Malta
When in the beautiful and culturally diverse country of Malta in October, Katy visited three of BirdLife Malta reserves. The first stop was Għadira Nature Reserve where revelations included chameleons, dragonflies, grey plover and … a greater flamingo! The stunning young bird had collapsed exhausted on a nearby beach and was recovering at the sanctuary until fit enough to complete his migration. Next was Salina Nature Reserve, with its historic salt pans and beautiful Mediterranean scrubland – a haven for docile domesticated ducks and interesting insects alike. Last, but not least, was Simar Nature Reserve where as well as stunningly still little egret and perpetually active little grebe, Katy saw the jewel of birds – the common kingfisher. You can read more about our creative copywriter’s discoveries at these Maltese nature reserves here.
Petworth Deer Park, Petworth, West Sussex
Deep in the mists of autumn (8 November) Katy wandered the rolling hills of Petworth Park with her trusty Aladdin travel cup of herbal tea in hand. Not only did she discover a host of humungous wild mushrooms dotted about, but she saw and heard hints of that wonderful autumn spectacle – the deer rut. Petworth Park boasts a fabulous herd of around 700 fallow deer whose ancestors go back 500 years and were at the mercy of a hunting Henry VIII in the 1500s. The smell of musty leaf litter (akin to petrichor) and the stirring territorial grunts of competing bucks are something that Katy and Pete (both autumn babies) love to experience while walking in and around the South Downs National Park.
Shepherd’s Hut, East Dean, West Sussex
On a digital detox minibreak just 0.5 miles away from Chichester Copywriter HQ also in November, Katy had one of her most magical wildlife encounters of 2019. While staying in a divinely decorated shepherd’s hut surrounded by teddy-bear-faced South Downs sheep, Katy and partner headed out to dinner down a dark country lane. There, sitting on the fence running along the road, was a beautiful bright white barn owl. After a delicious meal at The Earl of March, the couple headed back to their hut to settle in. When they got out of the car they stood beneath the stars to take in the fresh Sussex air and heard tawny owls calling from the woodland surrounding the valley. Though very cold, they stayed out and immersed in the cacophony of kee-wicks and twoos. The later it got, the more owls joined the serenade until they were surrounded by the majestic, resonating sound.
Cultivate your own creative clarity today
Here’s hoping that Katy’s nature encounters inspire your creativity, or at least encourage you to get outside and make the most of the wonderful natural world. Perhaps you’ll even feel motivated to put some creative energy into your business growth plans…
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