British Nature Study Resources
This blog post does not contain affiliate links because we think you should borrow books from your library if you can, or get them second hand or from where ever you personally want to buy books. Not just amazon because it might make us some money. You can read more about our affiliate policy here.
As we shift from winter and into spring, here are some great resources to help you learn more about British nature.
Wonderland by Brett Westwood & Stephen Moss
Each day of the year has a piece about a page long, detailing an aspect of British nature, be in plant, insect, mammal, bird or fish. Though not written for children, it is very readable and fits really well into a morning time. I see this book as a long term prospect, rather than something to blast through in a year.
(Note – I tried the audiobook, but that is chaptered by month, which didn’t work for our day by day morning time, so I picked up the paperback instead. Ymmv.)
Springwatch has been a staple of the BBC’s calendar since 2005, and now highlights three seasons a year, alongside Winter and Autumnwatch. It is a great mixture of short pre-recorded pieces highlighting various aspects of British nature during that season, alongside interviews and live cameras wherever the series is based that year.
Currently there is the 2020 series of Winterwatch on the BBC iplayer, however a quick search of youtube brings up episodes of a number of past series to add some quality British camera work to your learning.
Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon
Exploring Nature with Children by Lynn Seddon regularly comes up in the podcast as something British home educators use, and for good reason – it’s a fantastic, open and go, year-round nature study resource that can be used again and again, and can be adapted for many ages. Lynn’s account on instagram and blog gives additional information for each week as it comes up, should you want it.
Field Studies Council Resources
The field Studies council produces great, splashproof fold out, educational guides on all aspects of British nature. We have a collection that we have been adding to for the last few years, on everything from a guide to keeping tadpoles, garden birds, the constellations found at different times of year, fossils, and spiders.
What to look for in Spring – Ladybird books
The ‘what to look for’ ladybird books are small, classic picture books first published in 1961. However I think they are well worth hunting out, (ebay has some cheap copies at the moment, while amazon’s selection is currently more expensive.) Each two page spread has a detailed painting highlighting things of note for the season, and the accompanying text tells the viewer what they are seeing in detail. As with the other books in this post, this is a book I like us to savour, and so we only look at a page or two at a time, as we go through the season. While aspects of farming life sometimes depicted in these books are more a history lessons than nature study, they are still full of relevant information nearly fifty years since they were published and the paintings are really lovely.
I am the Seed that Grew A Tree
This book contains a nature poem for every day of the year, against a backdrop of beautiful illustrations. The poems are seasonal and follow broad themes. I really love this book.
The works of Arabella B Buckley
Arabella B Buckley was a late-victorian science writer who wrote books on science and nature for children. Her writings are clever and very readable, and cover all sorts of British nature. They are available very cheaply on kindle and are well worth checking out. You can read more about her life here.
Usborne Big Picture Book Outdoors
Usborne have lots of great nature books for all ages, but this book is one of my favourites. Full of coloured pencil illustrations it covers a variety of British environments, and the nature found within them.
Charity shops are great places to find cheap British spotters guides, as well as older books on British wildlife. We have a number of charity shop gems that I haven’t added here because I can’t guarantee a place where you can get hold of them. If you have charity shops near you then regular perusing is likely to bring up some great, unique finds at low prices.