The need to trespass: let people in to protect nature, says guerrilla botanist | Land rights | The Guardian
Naturalist and campaigner Dave Bangs says limiting access to the countryside makes it harder to save our ancient landscapes
In a prehistoric bog where iguanodons once roamed and the early Britons first smelted ore into iron, what looks like a tiny orange candle peeps through the mire. It sends my companion into a paroxysm of joy.
“That’s good! That’s new!”
The candle belongs to a luminous fungus, Mitrula paludosa, otherwise known as bog beacon that is thinly scattered in the swampy habitat of the Sussex Weald. The exclamation – accompanied by an expletive – belongs to Dave Bangs, who, at 70, is perhaps Britain’s most enduring guerrilla botanist.
The find is one of many illicit discoveries documented by Bangs. For nearly six decades he has scoured the Sussex countryside for hidden ecological treasures, unearthing the neglected and endangered flora behind its fences. His field surveys have culminated in three books, a video and, in July, the basis of one of the largest mass trespasses in the UK in recent years.