While I was visiting Dalby Forest, I was asked if I might like to contribute two illustrated poems to help raise funds for turtle dove conservation in North Yorkshire.
This sonnet was inspired by Kingley Vale Nature Reserve near where I live in Sussex. Legend says the Vale is haunted by Viking ghosts, slaughtered in battle one night when they tried to invade the Sussex coast. The local men defeated them and they were buried beneath the ancient yew trees that grow there, and the ghosts are now thought to wander the Vale at night.
I chose Kingley Vale because it’s one of the last places turtle doves can be found in the UK. Turtle doves migrate thousands of miles every year, breeding in the UK and spending the winter in Africa. They have suffered a 95% decline in the UK since 1995 and are currently on the brink of extinction. Their journeys are full of risk and danger, and all their habitats need protecting to give them a chance of survival.
All the artists’ pieces donated to this project will be auctioned to help support the North York Moors turtle dove project!