David Bellamy

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For the singer, see The Bellamy Brothers.
David Bellamy OBE
David Bellamy 4 Allan Warren.jpg
David Bellamy in 1981
Born (1933-01-18) 18 January 1933 (age 84)
London, England, UK
Education Sutton County Grammar School; Chelsea College of Science and Technology (now part of King's College London); Bedford College (now part of Royal Holloway, University of London)
Employer Durham University
Known for botanist, author, broadcast presenter, environmental campaigner
Spouse(s) Rosemary Froy (m. 1959)
Children 5

David James Bellamy OBE (born 18 January 1933) is an English author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist. He has lived in County Durham since 1960.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bellamy went to school in London, attending Chatsworth Road Primary School Cheam, Cheam Road Junior School and Sutton County Grammar School, where he initially showed an aptitude for English Literature and History; he then found his vocation because of an inspirational science teacher, studying Zoology, Botany, Physics and Chemistry in the sixth form.[2] After he left school he worked as a laboratory assistant at Ewell Technical College[3] before studying for an Honours degree in Botany at Chelsea College of Science and Technology. In 1960 he became a lecturer in the Botany department of Durham University.[4]


He first came to public prominence as an environmental consultant at the time of the 1967 Torrey Canyon oil spill;[5] he wrote Effects of Pollution from the Torrey Canyon on Littoral and Sublittoral Ecosystems, which was published in Nature [2]. He has written and presented some 400 television programmes on botany, ecology, and environmental issues. Bellamy is the originator, along with David Shreeve and the Conservation Foundation (which he also founded), of the Ford European Conservation Awards and has published scientific papers (between 1966 and 1986) and many books.


During the early 1980s he was a popular presenter of television programmes, including Bellamy's Backyard Safari.[6] He was parodied by Lenny Henry on Tiswas with a "grapple me grapenuts" catchphrase. He once lent his distinctive voice to an advert for the blackcurrant drink Ribena, which claimed that 95% of British blackcurrants were used in Ribena. (This has now been changed to "Nearly all British blackcurrants are used in Ribena".)[citation needed]

During the 1980s he replaced Big Chief I-Spy as the figurehead of the I-Spy range of children's books, to whom completed books were sent to get a reward. In 1980 he released a single written by Mike Croft with musical arrangement by Dave Grosse to coincide with the release of the I-Spy title I Spy Dinosaurs, a title exploring the subject of dinosaur fossils, entitled "Brontosaurus Will You Wait For Me?" (backed with "Oh Stegasaurus"). He performed it on Blue Peter wearing an orange jump suit. It reached number 88 in the charts.[7]


In 1983 he was imprisoned for blockading the Australian Franklin River in a protest against a proposed dam. On 18 August 1984, he leapt from the pier at St Abbs Harbour into the North Sea. In the process he officially opened Britain's first Voluntary Marine Reserve, the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve. In the late 1980s he fronted a campaign in Jersey, Channel Islands, to save Queens Valley, the site of Bergerac's cottage, from being turned into a reservoir because of the presence of a rare type of snail, but was unable to stop it. In 1997 he stood unsuccessfully at Huntingdon against the incumbent Prime Minister John Major for the Referendum Party. Bellamy credits this campaign with the decline in his career as a popular celebrity and television personality, stating in 2002:[8]

"In some ways it was probably the most stupid thing I ever did because I'm sure that if I have been banned from television, that's why. I used to be on Blue Peter and all those things, regularly, and it all, pffffft, stopped."

He is a prominent campaigner against the construction of wind farms in undeveloped areas. This is despite appearing very enthusiastic about wind power in the educational video Power from the Wind[9] produced by Britain's Central Electricity Generating Board.

David Bellamy is the President of the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) and is a strong supporter of the BICSc plan to educate young people to care for and protect the environment. The David Bellamy Awards Programme is a competition designed to encourage schools to be aware of, and act positively towards, environmental cleanliness. Bellamy also is a patron of the British Homeopathic Association, and the UK plastic recycling charity Recoup since 1998.

Views on global warming[edit]

In his foreword to the 1989 book The Greenhouse Effect,[10] Bellamy wrote:

"The profligate demands of humankind are causing far reaching changes to the atmosphere of planet Earth, of this there is no doubt. Earth's temperature is showing an upward swing, the so-called greenhouse effect, now a subject of international concern. The greenhouse effect may melt the glaciers and ice caps of the world causing the sea to rise and flood many of our great cities and much of our best farmland."

Bellamy's later statements on global warming indicate that he subsequently changed his views completely. In 2004, he wrote an article in the Daily Mail in which he described the theory of man-made global warming as "poppycock".[11] A letter he published on 16 April 2005 in New Scientist asserted that a large percentage (555 of 625) of the glaciers being observed by the World Glacier Monitoring Service were advancing, not retreating.[12] George Monbiot of The Guardian tracked down Bellamy's original source for this information and found that it was Fred Singer's website. Singer claimed to have obtained these figures from a 1989 article in the journal Science, but no such article exists.[13]

Bellamy has since accepted that his figures on glaciers were wrong, and announced in a letter to The Sunday Times in 2005 that he had "decided to draw back from the debate on global warming",[14] although Bellamy jointly authored a paper with Dr. Jack Barrett in the refereed Civil Engineering journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers, entitled Climate stability: an inconvenient proof in May 2007.[15]

His opinions have changed the way in which some organisations view Bellamy. The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts stated in 2005 "We are not happy with his line on climate change",[16] and Bellamy was succeeded as president of the Wildlife Trusts by Aubrey Manning in November 2005.[citation needed] Bellamy has complained that his views on global warming has resulted in the rejection of programme ideas by the BBC.[17]


Bellamy also holds or has held these positions:

President of:

Vice president of:

Trustee, patron or honorary member of:

Honours and awards[edit]

Bellamy has been awarded an Honorary Dr. of Science, degree from Bournemouth University. He is the recipient of a number of other awards:


Bellamy has written at least 45 books:

  • Bellamy on Botany (1972) ISBN 0-563-10666-2
  • Peatlands (1973)
  • Bellamy's Britain (1974)
  • Life Giving Sea (1975)
  • Green Worlds (1975)
  • The World of Plants (1975)
  • It's Life (1976)
  • Bellamy's Europe (1976)
  • Botanic Action (1978)
  • Botanic Man (1978)
  • Half of Paradise (1978)
  • Forces of Life (1979)
  • Bellamy's Backyard Safari (1981)
  • The Great Seasons (with Sheila Mackie, illustrator; Hodder & Stoughton, 1981)
  • Il Libro Verde (1981)
  • The Mouse Book (1983)
  • Bellamy's New World (1983)
  • The Queen's Hidden Garden (1984)
  • I Spy (1985)
  • Bellamy's Bugle (1986)
  • Bellamy's Ireland (1986)
  • Turning The Tide (1986)
  • Bellamy's Changing Countryside (1987)
  • England's Last Wilderness (1989)
  • England's Lost Wilderness (1990)
  • Wilderness Britain? (1990, Oxford Illustrated Press, ISBN 1-85509-225-5)
  • Moa's Ark (with Brian Springett and Peter Hayden, 1990)
  • How Green Are You? (1991)
  • Tomorrow's Earth (1991)
  • World Medicine: Plants, Patients and People (1992)
  • Blooming Bellamy (1993)
  • Trees of the World (1993)
  • The Bellamy Herbal(2003)
  • Fabric Live: Bellamy Sessions (2004)
  • Jolly Green Giant (autobiography, 2002, Century, ISBN 0-7126-8359-3)
  • A Natural Life (autobiography, 2002, Arrow, ISBN 0-09-941496-1)
  • Conflicts in the Countryside: The New Battle for Britain (2005), Shaw & Sons, ISBN 0-7219-1670-8

Discovering the Countryside with David Bellamy[edit]

Bellamy was "consultant editor and contributor" for this series, published by Hamlyn in conjunction with the Royal Society for Nature Conservation:


Bellamy has contributed forewords or introductions to:

  • It's Funny About the Trees a collection of light verse by Paul Wigmore Autolycus Press Publishers, ISBN 0 903413 96 5 (1998)
  • Chris Packham's Back Garden Nature Reserve New Holland Publishers, Chris Packham, (2001) ISBN 1-85974-520-2
  • The Cosmic Fairy Arthur Atkinson [pseudonym for Arthur Moppett] [Colin Smythe Limited Publishers], 1996, ISBN 0-86140-403-3
  • British Naturalists Association Guide to Woodlands J L Cloudsley-Thompson
  • While the Earth Endures Creation, Cosmology and Climate Change Philip Foster [St Matthew Publishing Ltd]. (2008)
  • Marine Fish and Invertebrates of Northern Europe Frank Emil Moen & Erling Svensen [KOM Publishing]. ISBN 0-9544060-2-8 (2004)
  • "The Lost Australia of François Péron" Colin Wallace [Nottingham Court Press], ISBN 0-906691-96-6 (1984)

A Celebration of Flora and Fauna of the Bible

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, Elspeth (3 May 2006). "Counties of Britain: Durham by David Bellamy". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  2. ^ Daily Mail, 14 April 2012, Weekend Magazine p.12.
  3. ^ Salter, Jessica (19 November 2009). "Eco hero: David Bellamy, botanist and campaigner". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Bellamy, David (2001). A Natural Life. Century. 
  5. ^ "David Bellamy: I was shunned. They didn't want to hear". The Independent on Sunday. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Bellamy's Backyard Safari at Wild Film History. Retrieved 1 July 2014
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (2002-09-30), The Green Man, London: The Guardian, retrieved 2008-11-07 
  9. ^ Jenkins, N. (September 1990), "European Wind Energy", The Environmentalist, 10 (3): 230–231, doi:10.1007/BF02240360. 
  10. ^ Boyle, Stewart; Ardill, John (1989), The Greenhouse Effect, London?: New English Library, ISBN 0-450-50638-X 
  11. ^ Global Warming? What a load of poppycock! by David Bellamy, Daily Mail 9 July 2004.
  12. ^ http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18624950.100-glaciers-are-cool.html
  13. ^ Monbiot, George (2005-05-10), Junk Science, London: Guardian.co.uk, retrieved 2008-11-07 
  14. ^ Bellamy, David (2005-05-29), In an Adverse Climate, London: Times Online, retrieved 2008-11-07 
  15. ^ Bellamy, David; Barrett, David (2007-05-01), "Climate stability: an inconvenient proof", Civil Engineering, Thomas Telford Journals, 160 (2): 66, doi:10.1680/cien.2007.160.2.66, archived from the original on 2012-09-15 
  16. ^ Leake, Jonathan (2005-05-15), Wildlife Groups Axe Bellamy as Global Warming 'Heretic', London: Times Online, retrieved 2008-11-07 
  17. ^ David Bellamy, The price of dissent on global warming, The Australian 25 November 2008
  18. ^ http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/
  19. ^ "All aboard for a heritage trip down memory lane". Sunderland Echo newspaper. 27 April 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Hhasoc.org
  21. ^ Campingandcaravanninglucb.co.uk
  22. ^ YPTE: Presidents
  23. ^ "Governance". The Conservation Volunteers. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Nature in Art – Trust". Nature in Art Trsut. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  25. ^ http://www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk/about-national-gamekeepers-organisation/ngo-moorland-branch
  26. ^ "Patrons". Butterfly World Project. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  27. ^ ProjectAware.org|Project AWARE Foundation
  28. ^ TreeAppeal.co.uk
  29. ^ "Colin Mcleod Award". British Sub Aqua Club. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
New position
President of Plantlife
Succeeded by
Adrian Darby
Preceded by
President of the Wildlife Trusts
Succeeded by
Aubrey Manning

External links[edit]