Country diary: what’s under the stone? A hungry beetle for starters

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Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: A fleeting, iridescent green blur is evidence of a burrowing ground beetle

Cutting through the copse with its empty pheasant pens and following the hedge, I find false oxlip flowers; they seem more vulnerable with every spring on the tidal edge of agriculture.

Washed up on a wind-dried field margin, there is a stone the size of a sleeping cat, scraped white by ploughs. Instincts kick in to lift it slowly – rapid movements clear in front of me like thoughts. A small illumination with a green-bronze metallic sheen runs into a tunnel between the grass roots and vanishes in a couple of seconds.

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