DURING the summer, the Guardian newspaper told the world the secret of York’s tansy beetle.

You probably think that’s not a secret as the existence of this rarest of Britain’s beetles is well known in and around York, as well as the fact that it can only be found along a stretch of the River Ouse including York.

But if you don’t happen to be from York, until the Guardian devoted an entire day’s Country Diary to it, you would probably have been totally ignorant of its existence.

I can say that because when I tried to find out more about it from one of the numerous guides to Britain’s insects, there was not a mention of it in any of them, whether they were small pocket, rucksack or only-use-at-home size.

Nowhere could I find the tiny creature, either under its English or its Latin name.

This, I thought, required the instant and urgent attention of the Lord Mayor of York, so that she could write an official letter of civic outrage and indignation to all the publishers that produce nature books in Britain, demanding that they immediately bring out new editions including the tansy beetle.

York Press:

The Tansy beetle

How dare they overlook York’s claim to fame in the natural history world?

But then I began to think through the consequences and to realise that perhaps it is better that our beautiful tiny iridescent flying marvel remains more or less unknown.

Suppose it was included in the various guides.

They would have to mention how rare and unique it is, which would inevitably bring hordes of connoisseurs of the unusual and rare.

The combined feet of the hordes would, sooner or later, trample down the tansy that our beetle depends on for its food. It could not survive such an influx of visitors.

Sometimes, the beauties of nature need protecting from those who genuinely love them.

As the schools reopen following the long summer break, those who protect our countryside are preparing to find out exactly what the boots and shoes of holidaying families have done to the paths of our Dales, our Moors and our coast since spring this year.

I’m sure that most of the feet do their best to leave no trace of their passing.

But inevitably every step they take wears down the paths and gradually harms the beauty their owners have come to seek.

As tens of millions of feet depart en masse for the towns and cities, behind them decisions have to made about which sections get money to ensure that the erosion created by the human race can be halted and what can be done for all those miles for which, in these days of austerity, there is simply no money for repairs.

Decisions will also have to make on which paths can no longer be used or where they can be rerouted to give the ground a chance to rest and restore itself.

Over the coming months, the park rangers and their staffs will be repairing the paths and getting them fit to receive next summer’s umpteen million pairs of boots and shoes.

Then, next autumn, the whole process will have to start again. This is on top of the work needed to repair the damage caused by our climate, the downpours, the gales and the winter snow and ice and the tidal erosion along the coast.

We can’t stop people enjoying our hills and coasts, nor would I want to, and they have space to spread out the damage so that no area is permanently harmed.

But a tiny rare six-legged delicate creature with a conservation status of “critical” is different.

If the Lord Mayor is reading this, would she kindly ignore all I have written about the publishers and insect guides. I’m sure she has far more important things to do than write letters about a lack of general public awareness of the tansy beetle.

Here in York, it is among friends who know what it needs and are intent on giving it a better chance of long term survival.

And would The Guardian please leave our beautiful little beetle alone – until we in York say it is ready to meet the world.