Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Oi! Dumbo Get Off My Holly!

Photo: National Geographic
I promised to share lots of stuff from a truly inspirational weekend and here's the first of these posts.  My first WOW! moment arrived even before I'd set foot in the station to await my early morning London bound train on Saturday.  It struck me in the car on the way to Newton Abbot as good old Radio 4 was airing an episode of Ramblings.

I find this  programme both soothing and thought provoking.  For those who are unfamiliar the format is that Clare Balding, one of our newer natural treasures, is joined for a walk by another famous person or even someone who isn't well-known and is just interesting.  That's an amazing concept in this era when stardom is everything  During this episode she was chatting to the environmentalist George Monbiot.  He came out with an amazing fact that I'll share with you along with this rather gorgeous picture from National Geographic.

In days of old there used to be a breed of elephant known to his mates as palaeoloxodon antiquus that trolled around the British countryside and didn't ever dress up like a cissy.  Now it turns out that elephants aren't particularly light on their feet so they stomped on anything in their wake.  Holly had to evolve to survive these little accidents.  The wood and that of its counterparts can consequently survive being contorted into the hedgerow that are such an integral part of our landscape today.   So, when you're out in the sticks and admiring those field boundaries, spare a thought for the elephants who made them possible!

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