Remembering Wilf Nelson – Nature’s Hero

A true champion of nature conservation – Wilf Nelson – will be fondly remembered by the Trust’s long standing members, on the 30th anniversary of his untimely death on a Scottish island where he was part of a project to reintroduce the white tailed eagle to its ancestral home in the UK.

Wilf who left South Wales in 1986 for a nature conservancy post on the Isle of Rhum, was assistant warden in Kenfig national nature reserve and warden at Eglwys Nunydd reserve and also chairman of the Trust’s mid area committee.

Wilf and his wife Rosmary played an important part in spreading the knowledge of nature to the wider public.

The family’s move to Rhum was the pinnacle of Wilf’s career. His tragic death occurred while on survey work on the island, where he tragically fell from a cliff. Rosmary and their two children Tessa, 3 and Jennifer, 3 months left the island later for a new home. But tragically Rosmary died too after the birth of the third child.

My abiding memory of Wilf was Carn Bon Moor in the Cairn Grom mountains in 1986 in search of golden eagles, dotterel and ptarmigan. I also remember him for his deep passion for dragonflies at Kenfig, in a letter from Rhum shortly after his arrival Wilf wrote to me “the snow lay on the hills and the sea was like a mill pond during the 3 and half hour crossing from Marreg. Absolutely superb scenery, not to mention the red deer and golden eagles.” Wilf’s dedication to wildlife will leave an indelible mark – and the legacy is his early work on Rhum to help return the sea eagle back to Britain. It is good to know that Wilf’s early involvement on Rhum is paying dividends, white tailed eagles numbers are increasing on the western sea board of Scotland. In Argyle in 2017, 33 occupied territories of eagles produced 22 large fledged chicks from 17 successful nests.

We are ever so grateful for the invaluable work of volunteers such as Wilf. We will remember him on the 30th anniversary of his untimely death. If you would like to leave your mark on nature just like Wilf, then why not volunteer at one of our local nature reserves?

Author: Richard Marks