About Naturenet

What we do
What we don't do
What this logo means Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet
Naturenet FAQ
A history of Naturenet
What others have to say about us
Awards we have won
Our other design work
How we do it
How you can do it too!

What we do

Naturenet Editor Matthew Chatfield, Parks and Countryside Manager for the Isle of Wight Council writes:Matthew Chatfield
Who is responsible for this thing?

"When I first started using the Internet, I naturally looked for something about rangers and conservation. To my surprise, there was nothing relevant to this country at all. So I started Naturenet, which has been going since 1995. It is an ongoing magazine of information which I find useful myself, and for others to find out about practical conservation in this country."

Naturenet is a voluntary enterprise to provide a good online resource for practical nature conservation and countryside management. We are based in the UK, and most of the information available on Naturenet relates to the UK, particularly England.

The original list of documents has now become a very large and diverse resource, with information from a wide variety of sources. Because those who write for Naturenet usually work in the countryside management industry, the information is usually right up to date. For example, in April 1999 we changed all our pages about the defunct Countryside Commission to refer to the new Countryside Agency before they changed their own. Not that we'd want to remind them.

We also now provide some up-to-the minute comments, pictures, and entertaining writing in The Ranger's Blog.

Naturenet is intended for those interested in the countryside, its management, and nature conservation. As well as anyone who enjoys visiting the countryside this includes ecologists, rangers, wardens, volunteers, students, tree wardens, biologists, bird watchers, land agents and farmers. We keep an up to date reference section giving a huge range of information about organisations which are involved in this field, and formal designations which are given to reserves, parks and other sites. We also give advice to enquirers through our famous 'Ask The Ranger' page. As we use this feedback to decide on what next to publish, we have a pretty good idea about what people want to know. Our advice often involves us redirecting them to the right part of Naturenet!

Since our humble beginnings as a simple list many other pages of information have been added, including countryside lawPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, environmental educationPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, biodiversityPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet and countless others. These days a lot of other information about conservation is available but when we started, much of this sort of thing was not on the internet at all.

One thing we haven't really gone into is anything involving any major technical web work - you won't find any animated features, membership areas, downloadable videos, or anything like that. There's simply a whole load of top-quality information. We try to keep Naturenet very simple and easy to use - and the content should be enough to make it useful. Much of the content has now been available for many years, but it is intended to remain useful and dated information is usually removed (when we spot it).

Wherever you see this logo Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet it indicates a link to a page of information which you will only find online via Naturenet - original material we have compiled for you. This means it's jolly good! Sometimes these do come partly from offline sources and we credit these if known.

The spider logo was designed by our editor in 1985 on a ZX Spectrum, for inclusion on a knitted jumper his mother was making. The spider is based very loosely on the logo of the British Arachnological Society.

My, haven't you grown?

Some statistics to show how Naturenet has developed. We still use a traditional front page counter as it was the original system we started using back in 2002. The 'Visitors' stat is probably far from accurate, and using server stats which we started doing in 2004, a considerable underestimate, but it is all recorded using the same method, so provides a reliable comparison. Note that from late 2005, The Rangers Blog has been attracting a massive number of hits which are not recorded via this system.

Year Average visitors to front page/day Pages External links
1261 (visits to blog now recorded separately)
(not recorded)
(not recorded)
854 (now includes generated pages and subsites)
2076 (Dreamweaver count)
(not recorded)
1263 (Frontpage count)
898 (Frontpage count)
100 (est.)
400 (est.)

What we don't do

Naturenet is not intended for environmental pressure groups and issues or campaigning charities (unless these charities are conservation landowners as well). These bodies and topics are very well represented elsewhere on the Web. This also means that things like bypass campaigns, hunting debates, wind farms, animal rights, and pollution alerts are not normally part of our remit.

We do not normally include matters concerning:

• Environmental campaigning bodies.
• Rain forest conservation and other non-UK conservation issues.
• Garden centres.
• Zoos/Safari parks.
• Exotic or domestic species refuges (including rare breeds).
• Craft centres and museums.
• Holiday parks, caravan and campsites.
• International volunteering schemes (we prefer environmental work to be locally based)
• Green consumerism and products.
• Environmental sustainability, recycling, and renewable energy.
• Sustainable development and rural regeneration.

Please note that none of the above means that we do or don't approve of these things - we might well, but it is not for publication on Naturenet.

How we do it

By working at it! Lots of people send us information, and of course we get a lot in ourselves from various sources. It's simply a matter of spending time typing it in, for which task thanks go to those who have voluntarily done so, and continue to do so. If you want some typing practice, and especially if you have an HTML editor and know how to use it, we'd love your help too.

There has been great interest in Naturenet since it opened, and by now we think we just about know what we are doing. However, this costs money of course, so any ideas would be gratefully received. We salute Countryside Jobs Service who loyally sponsor and support Naturenet, and without whom the whole thing would have shut down years ago.

The index of sites is now looking a bit shaky. This part of the site, originally the main body of information, is now almost unused and pretty much unusable. We intend to convert it all to an Access database or something when we can work out how. Probably something to do with ASP we think, whatever that is. Any ideas or examples of a working system would be gratefully received. Admittedly, in the meantime, the rest of Naturenet has grown so much that the site index is now a lower priority than it once was.

We used Microsoft FrontPage until 2003 to automate much of the web housekeeping involved in this, for example, finding dead links and spotting files which are no longer in use. It might be a rather authoritarian program, but it was cheap. These days, we use Dreamweaver, as it seems to be much better than Frontpage now we have a bit more experience in these matters.

As The Ranger learns more about coding - and by golly, it's a slow process - newer bits of software get tacked onto the site. In 2005 The Rangers Blog was introduced, shortly followed by live RSS feeds onto the front page. All sorts of other stuff has changed since then. It will probably carry on like that.

If you want to, you can use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view Naturenet. It will work perfectly well. But we think that you should use Chrome, as God intended. Don't let us influence you, though. ;)

How you can help Naturenet

We welcome submissions. In fact, we rely upon them. Click here to submit something.

We have found that local knowledge is invaluable for filling in the gaps in our index of sites. Have a look at your area, and see whether there are any local sites you can add to it. A few of our references are a bit old, or incomplete, so please do give us any more information if you have any. We would be keen to hear from anyone who wants to be our 'correspondent' in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Sponsorship: if Naturenet was on paper we would have got sponsorship from companies who support this sort of thing. As it is, we have not got very far with this aspect of Naturenet. A couple of very loyal sponsors have chipped in, but the whole thing does cost money, you know, so if your business is interested in supporting us in kind or in money, or even just advice, we would love to hear from you.

We are particularly grateful to Garrison Investment Analysis for supporting us with all of the above so far, and the Countryside Jobs Service for long-standing contributions without which little of what you see would be here. Thanks, both of you.


Naturenet is a project of Pinkeye Graphics.

We have at the moment a small (very small) team of workers on this project.

Matthew Chatfield (Editor)
Cat James (Designer)

With advice and much help over the years from a few others, upon whom no blame for the manifold errors found on this site should rest:

Countryside Jobs Service who loyally sponsor and support Naturenet, and without whom the whole thing would have shut down years ago.

Software used

We also pay tribute to and strongly recommend the following open-source or otherwise available software which we use, or have used, to help us run the site:

B2evo which was for many years used to run The Ranger's Blog.
Spam Free Wordpress by Todd Lahman

Also Eukhost on which this has been hosted, very reliably, since 2007.

Many others have contributed work to Naturenet - almost all without payment, and their work is credited on the relevant page, if appropriate. Our thanks to them all.

Note: Naturenet is wholly independent from the Isle of Wight Council and indeed anyone.


Everything within the www.naturenet.net domain is © copyright the author/s. Authorship is by Naturenet unless otherwise indicated. You must ask our permission before you attempt to reproduce any of this material. We normally give consent for all non-commercial uses.

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