In Memory of Margaret Perring 1933 – 2020

Parc Slip Nature Reserve

Parc Slip Nature Reserve

Margaret was an active member of both Bridgend and Cardiff Local Groups

Margaret Perring

Margaret Perring

Margaret Perring (nee Barrow), who was a loyal member of the Wildlife Trust, sadly died at the beginning of April.

Margaret was born in Maesteg on 14th May 1933 and was head girl at Maesteg Grammar School before going on to read Biology at Leeds University.  Here she developed an interest in botany and after several years working as a school teacher in the UK she moved to Melbourne, and eventually ended up working as a botanist in Western Australia.  When she returned to the UK she worked for the Nature Conservancy Council and in 1972 married another eminent botanist, Franklyn Perring.

Frank was the author, with Max Walters, of the Atlas of the British Flora (1962) and pioneered the now familiar distribution dot maps of 10 kilometre squares.  He subsequently became the first Director of The Biological Records Centre at Monks Woods, a post that he held from 1964 to 1978.  Frank was also interested conservation and from 1979 to 1987 was head of the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, which was the umbrella body that set up the Wildlife Trusts in their current form.  Margaret assisted in all these endeavours as well as establishing a publishing company that handled publications for the Botanical Society of the British Isles.

After he retired Frank set up a company called Wildlife Travel, which offered expert-led wildlife holidays and donated its profits to the Wildlife Trusts.  He and Margaret led several of the botanical trips including ones to Australia.  Frank died in 2003, and in 2007 Margaret decided to return from Northamptonshire to her original home in South Wales.  She moved into a flat in Cardiff Bay, and immediately got involved with The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.  Margaret was an active member of both the Cardiff and Bridgend groups, and served on the Committee of the Cardiff Group for several years.  She was amazingly well informed and had a formidable intellect.  She always kept us on our toes, and wasn't afraid to make it clear when she didn't agree with something, but always with a charming smile and twinkle in her eye, which was very disarming.

As well as her interest in Natural History, Margaret was keen on music and the arts and supported the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, the Welsh National Opera and various orchestral concerts.  Margaret is survived by her daughter Emma, who lives in Shetland with her family, and Margaret used to enjoy regular trips to visit them.  In 2017 Margaret suffered a stroke, but characteristically she soon bounced back, although she regretted the loss of her car, which meant she was much less mobile.  Despite this, she still managed to get to many of our meetings.

Unfortunately, her health deteriorated in 2019 and she died on 5th April this year at Bryncelyn Care home in Maesteg.  The Wildlife Trust movement has lost a great friend and supporter, as has the more general botanical community as Margaret did much throughout her life to encourage the study of botany.  We send our condolences to Emma and family, and I'm sure many of us will treasure fond memories of Margaret.

Margaret's family is inviting people to make donations to the Wildlife Trust in her memory.  Donations can be made here or on the donation page on the Wildlife Trust webpage  

To specify that this is a ‘Donation in Memoriam’ send an email to:, put in Subject line 'Donation in Memory of Margaret Perring', and in the body of email give your name, amount and date of donation.

Richard Cowie

Cardiff Group of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales