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Nature notes are a Wharfedale Naturalists institution. First started by the late Jenny Dixon in 1999 they appeared in the Ilkley Gazette every two weeks. Jenny’s articles were a joy to read, a combination of beautiful prose and wonderful topical observations of the natural world.


What Jenny started many years ago, continues to this day. There are now five nature notes contributors, with articles appearing weekly in four local newspapers: Ilkley Gazette, Wharfedale Observer, Craven Herald, and Keighley News.

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Nature Notes

Our Nature Notes contributors

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My interest in Natural History began later in life than for many Wharfedale Naturalists. It was only after retiring from academia, some years ago, that I seriously engaged with the subject, along with the complementary discipline of wildlife photography. My primary interest lies in trying to understand the behaviours and environmental needs of local birds and mammals (not necessarily in that order). I sometimes venture as far as the wilds of the surrounding moorland, but the river Wharfe has held a particular fascination for me: Otters, Dippers, Kingfishers, Herons and much more.




I’ve always had an affection for wildlife and love being outdoors but grew up in East Anglia and lived in York 10 years….both very flat. Moving to the Dales in 1982 I started serious walking and with a garden full of birds and small mammals from 2000 and later, retirement, the opportunity to stare at things increased. Writing the nature notes has given a focus to my staring, wondering and photography. I feel the most important
message is “Just Look!”

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​I have always enjoyed teaching and enthusing people to the delights of our natural world. I have been writing nature notes since 2018. Each month is a new challenge to find a subject which will appeal to both the beginner and expert naturalist. I have often chosen a botanical theme reflecting my passion, with the occasional geological, metrological, fungal or medical article. I hope you enjoy reading them, as much as I enjoy writing them, hopefully with the right mix of popular science and interesting stories.

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As an amateur entomologist, I have spent countless nights immersed in the enchanting world of moths and I am often found light trapping in my garden, within local woodland, or upon our moors. Compared to other animals, our insect world often feels hidden and secret. I aim to inspire our readers to enjoy this intricate world and there is certainly plenty to write about – sometimes weird, sometimes gruesome, but always beautiful. As someone who grew up with a love for the outdoors, expect adventure too as I drag my family up fells and down caves in search of some of our more elusive insect species.

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I'm a birdwatcher and I especially enjoy combining that with walking my favourite routes in the Dales through the seasons. I have been trying to learn to identify flowers and butterflies too. 


I work at Leeds University as a biochemist so my articles may include some science, citizen science and thinking about ways we can better learn nature identification.

Nature Notes

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