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M AY 2 0 1 7
Fill your garden with colour How to make delicious hiking food

ISLANDSWhy the glittering shores of the Outer Hebrides
are the most beautiful in Britain

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Day party

Ulttimate wildlife walks from top photographers

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Take me here now. Luskentyre

Sands on South Harris in HOW TO
the Outer Hebrides
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Its my favourite month and Im going to
ght tooth and nail to make the most of it.
Theres something about the utter Follow us on Twitter:
freshness of May the birdsong is at its height,
wildowers are bursting along verges and insects countrylemag
swarm in the growing warmth. The days are long, the
excitement renewed each dawn and its hard to drag Like us on Facebook:
myself to the oce.
I would give a small digit of my least useful hand to teleport to the wilds of countrylemagazine
the Outer Hebrides. Mark Rowe is the authority on these unspoilt islands with
their silver sands and turquoise seas and on page 18 he reveals that once-in- Find us online for lots
a-lifetime encounters with eagles and otters are daily occurences there. Just of bonus content:
imagine waking up in an ancient cottage by a wild loch and listening to calls of
curlews and hen harriers. Mark shows that its all completely achieveable.
Britains top wildlife photographers agree that May is their most
productive time. So we asked them where they hunt down those award- Buy BBC Countryle Magazine for your
winning shots. They kindly reveal their favourite wildlife havens on page 75. PC or Android device at
Some of the most rewarding wildlife encounters occur surprisingly close to or, for iPad and iPhone, search Countryle
home but you have to be a little bit adventurous. Rob Cowen reveals how on the App Store.
repeat visits to the wild fringes of his town have enabled him to get close to a
host of surprising natural wonders. He shows you how on page 54.
So make the most of May and please tell us how you got on.

Fergus Collins,


Mark Rowe Rob Cowen Sarah Medway
Visitors are entitled to feel short- Edge-lands are a gateway to the wild Find babbling brooks and bluebells
Photos: Hi ary C othier, Getty

changed if they dont see red deer, and oer a daily dose of the sublime. on the site of a Saxon manor in
otters, golden and white-tailed eagles, Rob reveals the natural spring deepest Kent, says wildlife
says Mark of the Outer Hebrides, p18 wonders on our doorsteps, p54 photographer Sarah p88 03

Identify wildlife of road verges Mag h May Day

How to create vibrant spring colour in your garden
Find glittering treasures on the shores of the Outer Hebrides

Make prints from owers. Is there anywhere as beautiful cover FOR YOUR GARDEN cover
Identify wildlife of roadside verges. and wildlife-rich as the Outer Hebrides Bring early colour to your garden,
Win tickets to Countryle Live. in spring? Find glittering beaches, inspired by the Oxfordshire masterpiece
turquoise seas and enchanting lochs created by Gina and John Price. Plus,
10 FLOWER OF THE MONTH haunted by otters. 10 more gardens at their best in spring.
Its bluebell time.
Remembering Maytime farming The town of Helston hosts tens Rob Cowen explores the edges between
traditions. of thousands during a day of dancing town and country and reveals the
and revelry to welcome in the new wildlife surprises to be found there.
The sun rises over the 40 THE LOST POET OF On the Create healthy, delicious food to cover
beach at Seilebost on THE SOUTH COUNTRY take on your next walk.
the Isle of Harris: Celebrating the life and wonderful
Discover the Outer words of naturalist, walker and poet 66 OUR AWARDS WINNERS On the
Hebrides on page 18 Edward Thomas, who was killed in Amazing places and awesome cover
action 100 years ago this spring. people our class of 2017.

for unbeatable
oers, page 30

Discover natural wonders close to home

Make the perfect packed lunch The rural side of Caroline Quentin


Many of our rural traditions are Your great days out in pictures. 76 Otter spotting
reinventions of older activities. Why do Hampshire, plus six other great otter-watching sites
we crave these connections? 99 BOOKS, RADIO AND TV 81 Capture the coast
What to watch and read this spring, Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire
30 SUBSCRIBE NOW! from a lm set on a Somerset farm to a
Great savings for May. book on walking Ireands border. 82 Wetland wonders
Cley and Salthouse marshes, Norfolk
51 COUNTRYFILE ISSUES 103 YOUR LETTERS 85 Tree-top dwellers
Photos: iStock, Philip Hartley, Jason Ingram, Dave Willis, Alamy, Mike Searle

WITH JOHN CRAVEN Slurry spreading, wild boar have your Formby, Lancashire
Great crested newts are the test species say on countryside matters.
under new rules for developers. 86 Seabird city
108 SPRING WALKING KIT St Abbs Head, Berwickshire
52 BEHIND THE HEADLINES Ideal gear for all weathers.
88 The Wealden Way
How useful are tidal barrages in Marlpit Hill, Kent
providing renewable energy? 110 COUNTRY PUZZLES
Test your rural knowledge. 90 Cli top owers
122 MY COUNTRYSIDE Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall
Caroline Quentin on her rural passions 121 NEXT MONTH 92 Wildlife photography courses
and why kids need to be outside. Whats in store in the June issue? 05
Photo: David Hansford
must see
Orchids and other wildowers scatter through the grasses of this
unspoilt tract of downland at Whitesheet Hill in west Wiltshire. You
can almost hear the skylarks overhead and picture blue butteries
and skippers dancing through the foliage. Poet Edward Thomas
loved to escape into such landscapes to nd perspective in the
sweeping views and curving escarpments, as well as inspiration
from the mysterious barrows and other ancient earthworks that still
haunt these landscapes. Read more about Thomas on page 40.
Fancy catching a spot of polo? On 19-21 May this year, the
Aspall Polo on the Beach festival will be held at Watergate Bay in
North Cornwall, promising a spectacular family event with live
music, great food and, of course, an array of polo matches and
activities to introduce newcomers to the sport. As well as watching
the serious matches in a stunning beach setting, visitors can enjoy
Segway polo matches (motorised scooters) and even have a go
themselves. The centrepiece is the Saturday night Beach Party.


This May sees the ocial opening of Britains only nature reserve
managed primarily for dragonies. Foxearth Meadows is an 11-acre
site on the Essex-Suolk border that is home to 21 species of
dragonies and damselies, including the magnicent emperor
dragony, which with a body length of almost 8cm is among
Britains largest insects. The site is owned and managed by
Christian conservation charity A Rocha and the opening event, on
13 May, will include pond dipping, walks and a wild art workshop.

Send us your best countryside photos

Share your best photos for the chance to feature as our
Photo of the Day on social media. Simply tweet your pic, share on
Facebook or post on Instagram using the hashtag #Photooftheday.
Alternatively, you can email: but please
include the subject line Photo of the Day.

A stark two-piece reclining gure by Henry Moore at
the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakeeld. The
natural beauty of the area has been harnessed to
complement dozens of contemporary structures and
provides a refreshing approach to appreciating
modern art and ancient landscapes. Fans of Moore
(1898-1986) can enjoy a major exhibition of his works
at the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire,
which opens 14 April.
Photos: Kirstin Prisk,, Alamy
Flower of the month
by Kevin Parr
A solitary bluebell appears delicate and
demure, hanging its head like a coy child. Yet
as part of a troop it delivers one of our most
powerful oral displays. Through early spring,
as the daaodils and snowdrops take centre
stage, the bulbs of the bluebell are content to
bide their time. They wait until the trees begin to
green before sending forth leaves of their own.
By now, the days are long and warm, and the
bluebells must respond swiftly before the
forests canopy blocks out the precious
sunlight. The owers unfurl as one, carpeting
the woodland in a shimmering sea of violet that
oats ethereally above a sharp gloss of green.
The stem curls beneath the weight of a dozen
bell-shaped owers, each one formed from six
lobes that curl back to expose the anthers.
The ower is smooth and unmarked, a quality
that led to its Latin etymology.
When Carl Linnaeus was classifying the ower
in the 18th century, he referred to Romano-
Greek legend for inspiration. After the hero
Hyacinthus fell, Apollo took his blood and with
it created a ower. The god wept, and his tears
marked the newly formed petals, resulting in the
naming of the genus Hyacinthus.
The perfume of the bluebell can be
intoxicating, though it is a smell under threat.
Some insects, such as bees, bite a hole in the The non-native and almost odourless Spanish
base of the bluebell head, plundering its bluebell has spilled from gardens and parks,
nectar without pollinating the plant hybridising with our native bluebell and
neutralising Mays traditional woodland waft.

how to...


Photos: GAP Photos, BBC GoodFood Magazine / Myles Newy, Shutterstock / Rex, Jessica Graham
Make the most of Maytimes oral abundance with these deceptively simple watercolour style prints. By Hannah Tribe
You will need: fresh owers, watercolour paper, a hammer and some acrylic spray

1. Choose a ower with 2. Place one of the 3. Tap the paper above 4. Once you are happy 5. Repeat the process
thin, bright petals, such as owers on to the the ower with a hammer you have covered the until you have built up
Illustrat on: Alan Batey

geraniums, poppies and watercolour paper and this will help to hold it in whole ower, unfold the your design. To x the
pansies. Prepare the then fold the page, place. With the petals paper and gently peel o print, cover the page
owers by removing the sandwiching the petals now stuck to the page, the remains, revealing with an even spread of
stem and calyx. between the two layers. hammer a little harder. the print. acrylic spray.



29 Apr - 1 May
Brixham Pirate Festival
Avast me hearties! Tis that time of year when
scallywags, peglegs and parrots gather in the south
Devon shing village of Brixham for a weekend of
swashbuckling entertainment. Whether ye be a salty
old seadog or a little landlubber, youre invited to get
your pirate rags on and come on down to the seafront
for shanty singing, jigging and a bit of rum swigging.
This year, the festival be hosting a replica of
Ferdinand Magellans tall ship the Nao Victoriaa which,
in 1522, became the rst ever vessel to
In Season circumnavigate the world. Blistering barnacles!
Throw seasonal sh, roots and greens into one delicious spring dish Did you know...

You will need Method

500g Maris Piper 1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes until tender.
potato cubed Meanwhile, pour the spinach into a large colander. Drain the
100g bag baby potatoes over the spinach so the cooking water wilts it, then spoon
spinach the potatoes back into the pan. Mash, stirring in the lemon zest
zest and juice 1 lemon and juice and some seasoning, then fold in the trout akes,
140g smoked trout squeezed-out spinach, capers and dill.
llet, aked
1 tbsp capers 2. Pour the potato mix on to another plate and shape into a large
1 tbsp chopped dill
140g breadcrumbs
disc. Press half the breadcrumbs into the potato, and then ip the
cake on top of the remaining crumbs on a separate plate. Pinch Bum Day...
1 tbsp sunower oil on May 29, although you
lemon wedges and 3. Heat the grill and pour the oil into a large frying pan. Slide the may know it better as Oak
tartare sauce, potato cake into the pan, then cook for 5 minutes until the bottom Apple Day, Shick Shack Day,
to serve is golden. Grill for 4-5 minutes until the crumbs on the top are Bumping Day, Nettle Day or
golden. Serve hot with lemon, tartar sauce and a green salad. Royal Oak Day. For hundreds
Thanks to BBC Good Foodd for this recipe. For more seasonal dishes, visit of years, this was a public
holiday and people wore a
on the side... sprig of oak leaves to
Crispy fried stinging nettles commemorate the restoration
In spring, nettles are at their sweetest, so now is the time to to the throne of King Charles II,
eat them. Careful not to sting yourself, cut the young tops who famously hid in the boughs
from the plant and throw them into a frying pan with a knob of an oak tree to avoid capture
of butter. Cook for ve minutes on a medium heat, stirring by the Roundheads.
until crispy, then turn the leaves on to a paper towel to cool. 11
ID guide


Roadside verges oer an extraordinary range of microclimates and habitats and they spring into life this month.
Here are some of the key species that thrive there.


A familiar sight to motorists, Lovers of nuts, seeds, berries Red spots on jet black wings THE ower of country lanes in
hovering alongside busy roads and insects, bank voles are one give this moth nery to May it leaps out in front of the
looking to pinpoint small of Europes most common challenge any buttery. Seen car, demanding attention. Tall,
rodents before dropping, mammals, and thrive in grassy itting among the thistles and with great umbels of white
talons rst, to snatch a meal. roadside verges. scabious of meadows. owers, it is a key nectar plant.


Motorway embankments Crickets bring soporic These abundant rose-pink ORCHID
swarm with ox-eye daisies in musical chirps to the verge. owers light up the foot of the It can seem a surprise to see
the summer months one of The male lives in a burrow hedge. Its roots were once ower royalty in the humble
the great overlooked wildlife and sings at the entrance to boiled to make soap and its verge but many orchid species
spectacles in Britain. attract a mate. seeds used to treat snakebite. thrive in these microclimates.

On this day... 25 May 1917

The rst Battle of Britain
The rst bomb to fall on Britain from an aeroplane tore
through a Folkestone greengrocers shop one sunny spring
evening 100 years ago. Killing 63 people and injuring more
than 100, it marked a turning point in the First World War.
Until then, German bombing raids had been by Zeppelin
airships that frequently crashed because of mechanical
failures or bad weather. Then on 25 May 1917, Germany sent a
squadron of 22 Gotha bombers to attack London. Bad
weather forced the pilots of the xed-wing aircrafts to abort,
but not before shedding their loads on the Kent coast.

The Cotswold escarpment at
Coopers Hill oers some of the best
cheese-rolling habitat in the UK

Win tickets to BBC
Countryle Live 2017

Packed with wholesome countryside fun, BBC

Countryle Live (3-6 August) returns to the
beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace for four days
of live arena shows, hands on activities, animal
displays, debates, food, drink and shopping.
Meet the TV stars and enjoy a host of exciting new
attractions for 2017 everything you cherish about
our countryside, from wildlife and farming, to
outdoor pursuits and food. For more details,
head to or call 0207 886
There are 30 pairs of tickets to be won each pair
of tickets is worth 60. To enter, simply answer the
following question:

Blenheim Palace is in which English

A) Oxfordshire
B) Somerset
C) Buckinghamshire
Send your answers to: Countryle/124 May/PO Box
501, Leicester, LE94 0AA


Monday 29 May

Why risk life and limb by chasing a giannt truckle of cheese down
an almost vertical grassy hill? Phone number:
Why not, reply the good folk of Brock kworth and some
Photos: Getty / iStock, Alamy, Imperial War Museum, Oliver Edwards

4,000 spectators who ock to Coope ers Hill in Email aaddress:

Gloucestershire every year to watch competitive
cheese rolling. In fact, the traditionall and hotly
contested event appears to have been cancelled just Alternaatively, you can enter the competition online
three times in the past 100 years, con ntinuing through at: ww
the Second World War and food ratio oning.
Immediate Media Company Limited (Publishers of Countryle Magazinee)
In a series of races, daredevil participants hurtle down would lovee to keep you informed by post, telephone or email of special oers
and promotions from the Immediate Media Company Group. If youd prefer
the hill after an 8lb Double Glouceste er cheese for no not to receeive these, please check this box
other prize than the cheese itself and d the glory of COMPETITION RULES: 1. Promoter: BBC Countryle Magazine 2. BBC
Competition Code: 3. Entrants must be
winning one of Britains wackiest con ntests. UK residents aged 18 years or older, excluding the Promoters employees. 4. Closingg date for entries is noon on 12 May 2017. Find the full terms and
conditionss on our website
Adam Henson


The worlds favourite season is Market town Mop Fair

in south England, 1935
the spring. All things seem
possible in May Edwin Way Teale
ay is the time for ower shows, horse

M trials and the rst outdoor music

festivals of the year. Its also the month
when the whole of the UK enjoys two
Bank Holidays within the space of a few
weeks. But the longer days and warmer weather also
bring some very old annual traditions with their
roots in farming and the rural way of life.


The rst day of the month, May Day, is known around the
world as the International Workers Day. But in England, new sta In many places, May Day was the traditional
the occasion goes back centuries and started as an spring date for this and anyone who was available for
agricultural celebration to mark the fertility of the land hire would wear an emblem on their lapel or hat to
and the livestock. Before modern science and represent their preferred job. Shepherds wore a tuft of
technology improved arable growing and animal wool, herdsmen displayed a hay stalk and milkmaids
husbandry, farmers had to put their faith in legend and would have a bunch of cow hair. Girls wanting to be
superstition. Spring was when crops were sown and housemaids carried the strands from a mop, and its
most livestock were bred. In the pre-industrial world, thanks to them that these events became known as Mop
good harvests and plenty of healthy animals to eat and Fairs. If the employer was impressed with the man or
to sell really was a matter of life or death. woman he met, then they would begin bargaining over
So a whole array of fertility rites and customs grew up wages, working conditions and lodgings. The last hirings
around ensuring virility and productivity. Even the like this took place around a century ago when proper
Romans held a festival at this time of year in honour of employment laws came in, but Mop Fairs live on today as
Flora, their goddess associated with owers. The ancient funfairs in many country towns.
Celts called it Beltane and lit res on high ground in the
hope of bringing fruitfulness to the trees, crops and TRADITIONS TODAY
livestock. In some places, cattle were herded between The demands of modern agriculture mean that most
res its thought that the smoke or ashes would protect farmers dont have much time to follow or take part in old
against disease. In the English tradition, people May traditions. In fact, many of us dont even have the
gathered to sing, dance and display garlands while the chance to take a day o on the May Bank Holiday. But as
character of The Green Man, dressed in leaves, was an farming becomes an increasingly global industry, the
obvious symbol of rebirth and new growth. culture and heritage embedded in our upbringing takes
on a special meaning, with traditions such as morris
MAY MOP FAIRS dancing and maypoles still welcomed by Britains farmers.
In May, hiring fairs were held in market towns all over the
Photo: Sean May on, Getty

country, providing labourers and servants with the Ask Adam: What topic would you like to know more
chance to come face to face with landowners in need of about? Email your suggestions to



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Stand up for trees

The Woodland Trust urgently needs your help and it will
only cost you the price ofa cup of coffee each month

e all need trees. They give

us shade, shelter, clean air SUPPORT THE
and beautiful places to WOODLAND TRUST
visit, spend time in and
have fun. But without your help, the UKs
trees and woodlands will begin to disappear. From just 3 a month, you can become
Since the 1930s, more than half the amember of the Woodland Trust,
ancient woodland we had has been theUKs largest woodland conservation
destroyed and only 13% of the UK is now charity. As a thank you for your
covered with trees. Compare that to the support,youll receive:
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Regular email updates throughout
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The Woodland Trust is a registered charity no. 294344 and no.SC038885


Sara Maitland
Most modern May traditions are far removed from earlier, earthier spring fertility rites
Illustration: Lynn Hatzius

We seem to be mobility have created spectators

experiencing a in place of participants.
resurgence of In this sense, one of the few
traditional remaining genuine folk
rural celebrations, and May traditions is the Scottish
Day is at the centre of this Hogmanay singing of Auld
trend, with maypoles and Lang Syne; everyone sings
Morris dancing and May and dances, rather than
Queens, and in the more watching others perform,
Celtic regions Beltane and since Burns poem was
res and other rituals. only written in 1788 (though
The popularity of these the tune is older) it has little
events has become so claim on pre-historic fertility
great that Kingsbury cults or solstice festivals.
Episcopi, a small village in Kingsbury Episcopi in
the Somerset Levels, has had Somerset has fewer than 1,500
to cancel its May Festival for inhabitants, so who are these
2017, which in the past has 5,000 visitors turning up for the
attracted crowds of 5,000, May Festival? They are certainly
because the number of visitors not a community gathering to
has created safety issues. encourage the crops, reassert
I have used the word traditional ribbons seems to have been their ancient roots and conrm
in inverted commas because a introduced in the late 19th their historic common identity.
great many most of these century through the merrie Perhaps too many of us are
events, although billing England movement. mawkishly sentimental about a
themselves as very ancient, are slightly bogus idea of rural
revivals or even reinventions. NEW TRADITIONS tradition; perhaps as religious
We know, of course, that these Revivals and renewals are faith declines, people need this
spring celebrations did happen. perhaps inevitable, because the sort of event as a substitute.
There are references to Morris loss of these traditions for Sara Maitland is Perhaps they are all just looking
dancing as early as 1448, various reasons is also inevitable. a writer who lives for a good day out and there is
although always in relation to the From 1649 to 1660 all such in Dumfries and nothing wrong with that at all
Court or the Lord Mayor of festivities were forbidden by the Galloway. Her except that the modern versions
London. It does not seem to have puritan Commonwealth and works include get entangled in health and
been danced in rural parishes were only revived when Charles 11 A Book of Silence safety rules, unecological car
before the 17th century. was restored to the throne. and Gossip from miles and lets face it are
Dancing round trees, or poles The massive urbanisation of the Forest. distinctly prissy.
representing them, has a better 19th-century Britain destroyed so In the town of Kuldiga, Latvia,
claim to great antiquity. In Joan much rural culture and, despite people mark May Day by running
of Arcs trial in 1431, the judges attempts at some sort of revival naked through the
raised the tradition, implying it at the end of that century, the streets at 3am.
was superstitious and possibly decline continued well into the Now how about
pagan; but they abandoned that second half of the 20th century. reviving that?
line of attack when they realised Now the rural traditions
that all the village children did it. business is booming. But the Have your say What do you
It seems to have been a pan- traditions need their inverted think about the issues raised here?
European tradition. However the commas. For one thing, peoples Write to the address on page 3 or email
elaborate weaving or plaiting of increasing prosperity and 17

Theres nowhere quite like the Outer Hebrides the crystal-clear beauty of the
waters, the wide stretches of white sand, the rare isolation. Among all this is
wildlife galore a riot of eagles, otters, gannets, red deer, butteries and more.
If you seek pure nature, there is no better place to go, writes Mark Rowe

View of Harris on the Sound of Taransay,

Photo: Getty

Western Isles, Scotland. The Outer Hebrides

comprise a chain of 119 islands o the west
coast of Scotland, of which 14 are inhabited

18 19
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT The machair habitat on
Harris brims with wildowers in May, including
buttercups, red clover, daisies and orchids; the
islands are swimming in shy otters; hen harriers
swoop low over the islands scouting for prey,
especially on Benbecula

late May and a half-light now prevails that

will all but fend o the darkness before dawn
creeps back at around 3.30am. I spot golden
plovers, pass a picked-clean sheeps skull.
Isolated homesteads appear to have been
dropped like pieces of Lego from the skies.


At this time of year, the island wildlife is at
its richest: undisturbed by mass tourism,
thriving amid favourable habitats and on a
mission to breed. The spectacle is nothing
less than sensational; the islands really are
as good as anywhere to see and hear
wildlife in the UK; visitors are entitled to
feel rather short-changed should they fail
to see red deer, golden and white-tailed
eagles and otters.
I often watch UK nature documentaries
that spin yarns of the hours and days of
eort required to secure wildlife footage.
For heavens sake, I want to shout at the
screen, just go to the Outer Hebrides,
youll get everything you need there.
erhaps its all the peaty soil that Take red deer: you may spot them while

P deadens natures background

chatter but the silence on South
Uist can be resounding. A mute
swan skims down on to Loch
Druidibeg and sails away, unrued,
its neck long and sti, its body still, as
if dragged along by an unseen
walking the hills but you are just as likely
to see them by the roadside, or from a
cosy cafe. The triangular otters crossing
trac signs are not just there for holiday
snaps: you have every chance of seeing
otters by the causeways that link the
southern islands.
underwater pulley. A black-throated For half an hour I make my way across the
diver ies low towards its nest, allowing
its ight feathers to leave momentary
SHAMROCK moors that surround Loch Druidibeg
towards the sea. Mountains behind me,
rings on the water.
The inky waters are backlit by a setting AND I enter a land of undulating atness, as
though unseen but gentle eddies are rolling
sun that throws a sensational collage of
colour and diamond-sharp shadows over MALACHITE along underneath the surface, causing
elds to rise up like the crest of waves,
the anks of Beinn Mhr, the highest
mountain on the island. GREEN hiding the Atlantic Ocean until Im almost
upon it. The landscape slowly shifts from
South Uist is one of 119 islands a dulled golden monochrome to a mixture
Photos James Smith, Mark Hamblin, iStock / Getty

(14 inhabited) that comprise the Outer of shamrock and malachite green: the
Hebrides, an archipelago that runs moors are giving way to the long strips of
130 miles from north to south. They lie to sea meadows and coastal grasslands
the west of the Minch and the Sea of the known as the machair.
Hebrides, which separate them from the
mainland and islands such as Mull, Rum LIVING CARPET
and Skye. They sit on the periphery of the Largely comprising tiny shell fragments
British Isles and its heartening to discover topped with marram grass, the machair
that they look the part. Its late evening in bursts with wildowers as spring gives way

Heather and blaeberry carpet the
boulder-strewn banks of Loch Druidibeg
on South Uist. Ben Mhoir casts its shadow
over the calm reective waters
to summer. A single square metre can
contain up to 45 species: scaled up, you are GANNETS rigorous climate. The common blue has
a Hebridean version thought to be the
confronted with millions of bright red and
white clover, buttercups, harebells, vetches, SCYTHE largest of all of this species.

gentians and orchids. ANCIENT PRESENCE

The birdlife also diers
on the machair:
dunlin and ringed plover thrive here,
THEIR WAY A bewitching sense of remoteness always
accompanies me through these islands:
oystercatchers peep-peep their way
overhead and lapwings tumble earthwards
THROUGH the beaches are unsurpassed by any other
in the UK and deliver many Robinson
in a thrilling spiral intended to deter
predators. Raptors bide their time in the
OFFSHORE Crusoe moments where my footprints are
the only ones on the sand. Yet there is even
moors and mountains, then suddenly
scorch down on to the machair in a
WATERS more to the Outer Hebrides than their
natural wonders. The ancient heritage feels
dramatic interaction of prey and avian tangible, from Iron Age brochs to Celtic
predators. chapels and beehive houses of age-old
In all, more than 320 species of bird havee provenance. Many croft houses stand
been recorded on the Outer Hebrides decaying, gently being dismantled by the
and at least 100 species breed here. Away elements more than 150 years after they
from Stornoway, y Ive rarely been out of were abandoned during the Clearances.
earshot of cuckoos, while gannets scythe The rocks of Lewisian gneiss, at nearly
their way through oshore
waters and three billion years old, are among the most
Photos Alamy, Getty, / iStock

sea lochs the length and breadth of the ancient our planet has to oer.
islands. Extreme butteries are something g Food, too, is a revelation and a food trail
of a feature and the low use of insecticides embraces community cafs run by
is a major factor in the wellbeing of species volunteers and chefs who take their fare
such as the green-veined white in this extremely seriously. You really have not

Sand dunes and marram grass fringe
the beautiful beaches on Harris,
which stretch open and empty for miles

character and charm and all have secrets

waiting to be discovered.

In the south-west of Lewis youll nd the
region of Uig, a land of vast moors, high hills
and violently rugged coastal scenery. Deep
in the hinterland of Uig, and accessible
along boggy tracks, lies a hidden collection
of shielings, beehive-shaped dwellings
whose origins reach back into prehistory.
They are hauntingly located by a burn a
mile south of Loch Morsgail and only
visible when you are almost upon them.
(Grid ref: NB132200)

tasted salmon until you have eaten it here. ABOVE Gearrannan Blackhouse The beaches of South Harris are the
The islanders exude independent resilience, Village in Carloway on the Isle of show-stoppers of the Outer Hebrides. A
warmth and hospitality, while Gaelic Lewis oers self-catering mesmerising array of beaches radiates from
language and culture is celebrated by young accommodation in traditional the Sound of Luskentyre with shell-sand
19th-century crofting
and old. If you fall in tune with the Outer bays, shallow lagoons formed by tidal waters
blackhouses, complete with
Hebrides in May, the world has few places and ever-changing dunes. By contrast the
thatched roof and stone walls
more enchanting to oer you. lesser-visited east coast, known as The Bays
The inhabited islands of the Outer (Na Bigh), is a magnicent moonscape
Hebrides all have their own distinct where ice-moulded boulders burp up 23
Located on the south coast of the island,
Castlebay is the main village on the Isle of Barra

through the ground. Isolated crofts here are island, Beinn Na Faoghla, or the mountain
often home to excellent artists studios. of the fords). Easily climbed, Ruabhal
repays you with magnicent views up
NORTH UIST AND BERNERAY and down the island chain . The anks are
North Uist comprises so many freshwater nesting places for hen harriers: as the
and sea lochs that it can be hard not to chicks hatch, you may be treated to the
see it as a jumble of islets loosely knitted sight of a food pass, where the male hen
together. On the west coast lies the harrier passes prey in mid-air to its mate.
RSPB reserve of Balranald. In spring, Short-eared owls frequently y over the
the machair here is home to a sensational moors, hunting in broad daylight. Both
array of wildlife: skuas and divers out at species are so common you may well
sea and huge ocks of turnstone, purple encounter them as you carry out mundane
sandpiper, dunlin and sanderling huddle chores such as lling the car up with petrol.
on the shoreline. You will almost certainly
ABOVE The distinctive rasping call
hear the rasping call of the corncrake, a
of the rare corncrake is carried on SOUTH UIST
bird lost to so many places across the UK. the wind in Balranald on North Uist Apart from its wildlife, South Uist has
Dont overlook the perfect gem of nearby OPPOSITE, TOP Bernerays white much to oer
visitors. These include
Berneray, y where people often get hooked sand West Beach and glittering the Big Garden (An Grradh Mr), an
by the solitude and sweeping majesty of sapphire sea rivals the beauty of a eye-catching, walled, permaculture garden.
West Beach. tropical paradise If youre self-catering, order a leg of hogget
(one-year-old) lamb from them. The
Photos: Alamy, Getty / iStock

BENBECULA Kildonan Museum meanwhile is one of

Often described as more loch than rock, the worlds great small museums and
Benbeculas atlands are interrupted by amounts to a haunting eulogy for Uist life
the sizeable hump of Ruabhal, a 124m-high and culture. Check out the mattresses
hill (giving rise to the Gaelic name for the made from seaweed.

Hike around tiny Eriskays delightfully
lumpy roads and moors, photograph the
eponymous ponies and order a tight-tting The Outer Hebrides can easily enchant you communities welcome incomers,
Eriskay jersey at the excellent community and visitors have been known to make especially those keen to buy into Gaelic
shop. Whisky bottles retrieved from a impulsive life-changing decisions to culture and to respect traditional values.
shipwreck a saga told in the Ealing relocate here. There is usually work for key A three-bedroom house in Stornoway
workers teachers, doctors but for most costs around 160,000; a high-nish
Comedy Whisky Galore! can be viewed at
people, self-suciency and creativity is the detached four-bed 330,000; 250,000
the friendly island pub, the Politician. order of the day: running a croft, working in will buy you not only a house on any island
a shop, setting up a seasonal caf, or all but perhaps a caf or other business, too.
BARRA AND VATERSAY three. Well-run B&Bs universally thrive. The main caveat is weather: winter gales
Dont miss a curry from the outstanding The islands are fertile ground for arts can blow for 10 days without relenting.
Cafe Kisimul in Castlebay, ocially the and crafts types and low property prices Stay a couple of weeks in January as part
best curry house in Scotland. Right at the mean low overheads for start-ups. Local of your reconnaissance.
bottom of this island chain is Vatersay,
conjoined by a causeway to Barra. The
east-facing bay here is arguably the most
beautiful of all the sands you will encounter.
On a sunny day, the shallow waters resemble
the cover of a Caribbean travel brochure. CF

Mark Rowe spends spring wandering around

South Uist lochs. He is the author of Outer
Hebrides, The Western Isles of Scotland, from
Lewis to Barra (Bradt, 14.99). 25
Mark Rowes handpicked gems in the Outer Hebrides where to eat, sleep and ramble


6 Stornoway

1 Lickisto Blackhouse camping 9
Small but enchanting campsite in The Bays Tarbert
on South Harris. Pitches are separated by
wild grasses (glorious in summer). Freshly
baked bread available. 01859 530485; Bernary 4

2 Galson Farm North Uist
Charming 18th-century farmhouse in the 5
north-west of Lewis oers rooms with views
of coast and moors. Excellent candlelit Benbecula
dinners and a warm welcome from the hosts.
01851 850492;

3 Heron Point South Uist
Top-class B&B near the southernmost tip of

I ustrat on: (Map for illustrat on purposes on y. Please consu t appropriate road/OS maps)
South Uist run by friendly owners. Views over
the loch, local art on the walls, shing and 3
breakfasts (owner Andy is a trained chef) are
superb. Lochboisdale, South Uist. Eriskay
01878 700073;
Barra Rum

4 Sound of Harris
Book one of two stylish self-catering houses
with Harris tweed trimmings, oor to ceiling
windows and a Japanese soak tub. Sleeps
two. Sound of Harris near Leverburgh, South GETTING
The most romantic option is CalMac ferry, which
multiple route options. Two people plus car,
5 Langass Lodge from 85-190.
Langass Lodge on North Uist has mounted Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra have ights
stag heads, a cosy bar and snug rooms. from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen,
Stunning location by the loch of the same operated by either Loganair ( or
Photo: Getty

name. 01876 580285; Eastern Airways (

( ). High
season fares range from 189-300 return.

ased on the beautiful
coast of the renowned
Gower peninsular
(the rst designated area of
outstanding natural beauty).
Family owned 4 star Visit Wales
graded holiday park offering
holiday homes for sale, camping
and residential lodges. David
Bellamy Gold award for the past
3 years running (2015/16/17),
Platinum Loo of the Year award
also 3 years running (2015/16/17).
Tourism Swansea Bay best
campsite award for the last two
consecutive awards ceremonies.
Greenways of Gower is one of
Gowers nest holiday parks
and campsites. Greenways of
Gower is a family-run and family-
oriented holiday park, designed
for the comfort and convenience
of families. Whether you fancy
owning your own little piece of
paradise, or simply wish to camp
under the stars in your tent, at
Greenways of Gower you can get
away from it all!

Park Facilities: At Greenways of Gower we offer:

Childrens recreational area and large High-quality static caravan holiday homes
adventure playground. and holiday lodges for sale for holiday use
Family friendly lounge-bar. by private owners.
Disabled-friendly wet room and WC facilities. An 11 month open holiday season.
Laundrette facilities, including ironing. High quality camping facilities in our
meticulously maintained campsite.
Shops and restaurants within walking
distance of the park. Luxury residential lodges overlooking
Gowers renowned Oxwich Bay. (Last two
Our secure boat storage facility makes sailing residential pitches available shortly).
and shing on Oxwich Bay that much easier.
Barrier access and CCTV security systems. All facilities are compliant with health and
Oxwich, Swansea SA3 1LY safety requirements.


7 Digby Chick
Guinea fowl lollipops and pigeon breast with
Stornoway black pudding are among eye-
catching oerings
at this charming restaurant
EXPERIENCES in Stornoway. The best choice for a high-class
meal. 01851 700026;
From coasteering to kite-surng, the Outer Hebrides Anglers (
( ) can pick from
are one vast, open if rather wild playground. 2,000 shable lochs while Clearwater Paddling on 8 40 North
Cyclists (
( , then search Barra (01871 810443; Fine-dining takeaway food from this superb
for Hebridean Way Cycling Route) and walkers oers enchanting kayaking trips to uninhabited croft kitchen on Lewis. Tempura prawns vie
( ) have their own islands. A good local guide such as Chris Ryan of with smoked beef and pork. 01851 710424;
long-distance routes to follow from Lewis to Out and About Tours (01851 612288; tourguide-
Barra. Other superb walks are located in the can take you hill walking or reveal Look out for a similar, unrelated, venture, Croft
North Harris Hills and the coast of Lewis while archaeological sites. Boat tours visit oshore 36 on South Harris.
cyclists eulogise about the quiet lanes of the islands such as the Monachs and the Shiants or
South Lochs on Lewis. venture to St Kilda.


6 Abhainn Dearg Distillery Tir AMhurain
Take a tour of the Abhainn Dearg (Red River) The denitive
distillery, atmospherically tucked away in a photographic record is 9 Hebscape
valley in remote Uig on Lewis. This smattering Tir AMhurainn (Land of Wonderful gallery, walls decorated with
of unprettied barn buildings looks exactly how an the Bent Grass), Paul stunning landscape photography by Darren
illegal whisky distillery of years gone by might Strands elegiac collection of images of 1960s Cole whose partner Chris Griths a master
have done. Charismatic owner Marko Tayburn life in South Uist. A more contemporary account baker serves white chocolate cookies to
proudly declares that all ingredients from the is Adam Nicolsons Sea Room: An Island Life, munch while overlooking Loch Tarbert.
plough to the bottle are sourced on the island. a deeply personal account of his inheritance 01859 502363;
01851 672429; of the Shiant Islands.


Bring binoculars and patience. High winds can

cancel ferries and ights while wi- and mobile
signals are elusive. Life is slower here. People
rarely turn up late its just that we dont always
PhotO Alamy,

turn up on time, is how one shopkeeper put it.

20% OFF

The presenters at BBC Countryfile Live 2016

An amazing event with An extraordinary cultural
something for everyone phenomenon
Visitor The Daily Mail




Call charges apply. Consult your telephone provider for details. *20% discount of ticket price only.
Save when you subscribe
To the digital edition

Available from
BBC Countryle Magazine takes you on dozens of thrilling journeys
into the countryside every issue, through thought-provoking features
and guided walks into enchanting landscapes. With stunning
photography and the nest line-up of rural writers in the land, its your
monthly escape to rural bliss.



Theres nowhere quite like the Outer Hebrides the crystal-clear beauty of the
waters, the wide stretches of white sand, the rare isolation. Among all this is
wildlife galore a riot of eagles, otters, gannets, red deer, butteries and more.
If you seek pure nature, there is no better place to go, writes Mark Rowe

View of Harris on the Sound of Taransay,

Photo: Getty

Western Isles, Scotland. The Outer Hebrides

comprise a chain of 119 islands o the west
coast of Scotland, of which 14 are inhabited

18 19

Enjoy our magazine on...

Helston Town Band leads the procession to The
Faddy, the tune for all four Flora Day dances, which
legend has it has never been written down.

H )XUU\ ' QFH 
Every May, thousands of people take to streets of
Helston for a Cornish festival thats bigger than
Christmas. Ian Vince explains the strange
fascination of an ancient rite
Photos: Mike Searle

The focal point of Flora Day is the Furry Dance.
The name is said to derive from the Cornish word for
fair. Youngsters wear all white for the Childrens
Dance, with the boys also sporting their school ties
n earthy sweetness hangs

A in the early morning air

of the old Cornish town.
It is a little before seven,
and we make our way
through car parks and back lanes
to the town centre, where the
doorways and windows of every
shop and home are framed with
owers and foliage. Not just display
windows, but delivery doors,
coaching inn arches and back alley
gateways; every entrance and exit is
wearing its own spring garland. The
perfume of bluebells blends with
the coconut bouquet of gorse and
the green scent of cut stems. The ABOVE Tourists and locals alike are drawn to Helson for the annual Flora Day celebrations
transformation began as the shops
closed last night and it will all be cancel his regular participation to
gone by tomorrow. Today is special.
As the hour is struck by the town
attend his 2015 general election count.
Nationally, it raised eyebrows, but any
clock, a bass drum booms in the Helstonian would nod their head and HELSTON
distance and the faraway strains of a agree. You cant miss Flora Day. Helston lies to the north of Cornwalls Lizard
brass band bounce o granite walls, Peninsula. Its a stunning area for wildlife
echoes mixing together, wafting in and A HOP AND A SCRAPE blessed with ne beaches, beautiful villages,
out of musical focus down the streets. A column of young couples dance up such as the harbour community of Cadgwith,
All eyes are on the towns Guildhall as the street to turn at the top and dance and the Mediterranean-like turquoise waters
the days proceedings begin with the back again. Its a simple set of steps of Kynance Cove. May is a perfect time to
Early Morning Dance. that are the same for each of the days visit Cornwall. At this time of year, make
Im in Britains most southerly town, four dances; the Early Morning at 7am, sure you seek out the sub-tropical paradises
Helston, for its the Childrens on the north shore of the Helford River in
annual Flora Day, Dance, the Midday adjacent valleys, Trebah and Glendurgan.
a celebration so The Midday Furry and the Here, tender and exotic plants collected
old that nobody Evening Five from around the world thrive in the
has the faintest Furry resembles oClock Dance. sheltered micro-climate.
idea when it Featuring a little
started, although nothing so much hop and an
South of the wooded ria of the Helford
River, Goonhilly Downs is home to some of
most will oer a
vague pre- as a self-propelled offbeat scrape of
the shoe, this
the largest areas of lowland heath in the UK
and includes the exceptionally rare Cornish
Christian label
for it. The roots of
guided garden delicate and
courtly dance is
heath. At Britains most southerly point at
Lizard Point, you will nd the fascinating
Flora Day run
deep in Helston party maintained for
three miles and
Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Centre, and a
charmingly undeveloped alternative to
its a day the whole drifts in and out of touristy Lands End, where Cornish choughs,
town is involved in, an occasion almost shops and homes all along the route. peregrines, fulmars and the occasional
everyone celebrates because, as any The Early Morning dancers repeat gannet wheel around the sky and the clis
Helstonian will tell you, Flora Day is their performance in the Five oClock. are alive with wildowers.
bigger and better than Christmas. The Midday Furry is arguably the
Families get together, migrs centrepiece of the day its certainly
return, friends catch up with one when the most extravagant frocks are
another and joining them, up to worn and Helston resembles nothing
30,000 tourists descend on the town so much as a self-propelled guided
of just 11,000 souls. Although an garden party but the Seven and Five
internationally famous occasion, it is (the Early Morning and Evening
the local importance of Flora Day that dances), as one participant put it to
clears calendars in its honour with me, are where you can dance in the
unusual urgency; Andrew George, the company of friends and family
towns former MP, famously didnt Helston people. 35
slope, still managing to look rened,
but we arent the only ones watching.
A rabble regards them from the top of
the hill, peering over the wall. As soon
as the dancers pass, Helstons less
genteel tradition the Hal-an-Tow is
announced in a cacophony of whistles,
drums, horns and rowdy chants.


The Hal-an-Tow is kind of historical
pageant, spring ritual and mummers
play rolled into one and sprinkled
with Cornish nationalism and some
good-natured jibes at the English.
ABOVE Local business dress their doors and windows with celebratory garlands of owers The event has at its heart an old-
fashioned tale of good versus evil.
A highlight is the Childrens Dance, are the rst steps of a 16-mile walk and It features St George and the dragon,
which starts at 10am and is the largest of nearly 1,000 refrains of The Faddy, Robin Hood and Little John, St Michael
of the day with about 1,200 youngsters the rousing tune that accompanies the (Helston and Cornwalls patron saint)
aged between 7 and 18 taking part. dances. They play, so the legend goes, and the Devil, St Piran (Cornwalls
All are dressed in white, the boys music that has never been written unocial patron saint) on his millstone
wearing their school ties, the girls in down, to keep it unique. and, for good measure, marauding
headdresses adorned with owers in Spaniards from the Armada. It proved
their school colours. It is so large, it CELEBRATING NEW LIFE a little too rowdy for the delicate
takes two bands to provide the music, Part of the enduring appeal of Flora Victorians and was banned until 1930.
and 20 minutes to pass. Day is that you end up in the same The day starts early for the Hal-an-
places as last year and see some of the Tow revellers. They harvest sycamore
ORDERLY QUEUE same people. Im not Cornish but I branches from the woods and on their
Back at the Early Morning, the ladies used to live here, in a at above a fudge return, join the cast of characters of
dance by in oral summer dresses, shop with ne views of the days events. the pageant to tour the town with
their gloved ngertips held gently by Much of the day was spent on the rattles, drums, whistles and horns,
their partners, streets, browsing garlanded with bits of tree and owers
dressed in white at the market or in and carrying Green Man banners.
shirt, striped tie The Blue Anchor the Blue Anchor. They arrive at their rst performance
and dark annel. for 8.30am and continue to tour the
And the dress has been serving An amazing
brewery and pub, town, singing and acting at ve venues.
code is nothing
compared to the
breakfast with the Blue Anchor
has been open
The Hal-an-Tow is a raucous
counterpoint to all the formality of the
social order that
dictates exactly
beer since 7am if since the 15th
century, but also
ocial dance, but the whole day has
the same pagan roots and is as much
where and when
you dance.
you can handle it since 7am this
morning, serving
fun and just as utterly confusing as the
words of the Hal-an-Tow refrain.
For dancers in breakfast with
the Midday traditionally the province beer if you can handle it. Many try, Hal-an-Tow, Jolly rumble O
of the towns gentry the men are and this inevitably takes its toll by the For we are up as soon as any day, O
elevated to morning suits and top hats, late afternoon, which underlines the And for to fetch the Summer home
while the ladies wear exquisite, oor- original purpose of Flora Day a The Summer and the May, O,
length oral ballgowns and Ascot- celebration of new life that sprang For Summer is a come, O,
grade millinery. To dance in the from an era where lives were often And Winter is a gone, O. CF
Midday, you must be ocially invited; brutish and short and any excuse for
and to be in the leading four of any of merriment was taken to wild extremes. Helstons Flora Day 2017 takes place on 6 May.
the dances, you must be Helston-born. Over an hour later and the dancers
For an internationally renowned event, are still going, half-way round the town Ian Vinces writings on landscape,
it remains a very local aair.
at the foot of a steep slope in an area ancient customs and strange days are
Spontaneous applause ripples down known as St Johns. A narrow road inspired by the stories of Cornwall, his
the street as dancers pass in the wake clings to the contours behind a granite home for 20 years. However, he has
of the town band. For the band, these wall and I watch as they bob down the proven too English to dance the Furry!
Turn the page to explore more May festivals with ancient roots
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Ascot is transported to Helston for
the Midday Furry; St George sees o the dragon at Hal-an-
Tow; the arrival of the Jack in the Green (centre) is heralded
by a bearer of Saint Pirans banner, the Cornish standard.



1 THE HUNTING OF THE EARL OF RONE, Oss dance through the town, attempting to 4 CASTLETON GARLAND, PEAK DISTRICT
COMBE MARTIN, DEVON. catch young maidens. The two osses meet at the Elements of beating the bounds, Oak Apple Day (a
Possibly one of the strangest things to happen in maypole, then return to their respective stables commemoration of the restoration of Charles II in
Britain, this event is based on a ctional chapter at The Golden Lion and the Padstow Institute. 1660) and traditional spring festival all appear to
of history, this year held from 26-29 May. collide in this colourful ceremony, usually held on
A fool and a hobby horse, accompanied by 3 JACK IN THE GREEN, ROCHESTER 29 May. A beehive shaped head-dress, covered
grenadiers, search the village for the Earl of SWEEPS FESTIVAL, KENT with wildowers and greenery, is worn over the
Tyrone. He is nally captured, mounted on a In the 17th century the making of garlands for May head and shoulders of the Garland King, who is
donkey and paraded through the village, Day inspired so much competition that the dressed in Stuart costume. There is a parade and
repeatedly shot and revived, shot one last time, greenery eventually covered the entire person dancing, accompanied by girls from the village
taken to the beach and thrown in the sea. who became a 9-foot tall Jack in the Green. school. The Garland, now separated from its
Recently revived after the Victorians tried to kill it wearer, is hoisted up the church tower and
Photos Alamy, Getty


a number of Jack in the Green events are impaled on the pinnacle. Maypole dancing rounds
On 1 May two groups of dancers - each lead by a re-emerging in the 21st century. The Rochester o the big day. The tune used for the procession
stylised Oss the Old Oss and the Blue Ribbon Sweeps festival runs from 29 April until 1 May. is similar to that of Helstons The Faddyy. 38
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Natures poet
A century ago, war took the life of Edward Thomas, one of Britains greatest nature writers.
But his luminous poetry and prose attracts admirers to this day. Anna Stenning tells his story
dward Thomas is often relates us all to Eternity. We go to it source of a new lyric style that

E remembered as a war poet,

and for the sadness that
aicted him for much of his
life. Yet his writing is often
concerned with the happiness he
found in nature and rural places.
His countryside books and poetry
to escape ourselves.
He had a talent for humour, displayed
in an occasional penchant for bawdy
folk songs. Far from being a reclusive,
misanthropic nature writer, he was a
popular member of many artistic
circles, including the Dymock poets in
inuenced many subsequent poets.
Poet Laureate Ted Hughes described
him as the father of us all.
In 1915, aged 37, Edward Thomas
enlisted in the Artists Ries. He felt no
hatred for the Central Powers, but was
obliged by his sense of duty and the
display an almost religious devotion Gloucestershire, and was a friend and need to support his family. His earlier
to the life of the elds and hedgerows. mentor to the tramp poet WH Davies. explorations allowed him to teach
Born to Welsh parents, Thomas had From 1905, Thomas lived on a farm in map-reading with the regiment.
a happy-go-lucky childhood in a house Sevenoaks, Kent, with his wife and He wrote poetry right up to his
full of boys and animals, folk song and children. He and his family later moved departure for the front lines, which
Arthurian legends. His home often conveyed the impact of
was in Victorian Wandsworth, mass mobilisation on the
southwest London, yet at a countryside. At the front, he
young age he became enthralled served as a forward observer for
by the writings of Richard the Royal Garrison Artillery. His
a squires son from war diary notes that blackbirds
Wiltshire, who wrote about began their alarm calls once
hunting, shing, wildlife and shelling stopped, and that
country people. yarrow had started to colonise
On the edges of London, the his dug out.
young Thomas began to explore He was killed on Easter
nature, and visited family in the Monday, 9 April 1917, during the
countryside around Swindon, Battle of Arras. His wife Helen
Glamorgan and west Wales. ABOVE Though raised in London, Edward Thomas was inspired was told that he was killed by a
These experiences were the by the countryside, and loved the Hampshire Downs blast wave from a shell, with no
origin of Thomass rst collection mark on his body, but a recently
of countryside essays, The unearthed letter from his
Woodland Life, published in 1897, when to Steep, near Peterseld, attracted by commanding ocer Franklin
Thomas was 19 years old. the progressive Bedales community Lushington reveals he was shot clean
Inspired by this early writing success, there, and he grew to love the easterly through the chest.
Thomas rejected a career alongside his downs of Hampshire. To the end, Thomas sought to
father in the civil service. By the time understand mans place in nature. CF
he was 20, he was married and writing POETIC ENCOUNTERS
books and literary reviews to order. In his 30s, Thomas met two people who NOW READ THOMAS
From 1897 to 1917 he published more rescued him from severe depression by The South Country, by Edward Thomas, introduced
than two dozen books, including travel, convincing him to take up poetry: the by Robert Macfarlane, Little Toller, 2009.
nature writing, biography and ction. young writer Eleanor Farjeon, and the Edward Thomas: The Annotated Collected Poems,
His disposition and demanding work American poet Robert Frost. There introduced by Edna Longley, Bloodaxe Books, 2008.
led to his rst depressive episodes. followed just over two years of fruitful
Regularly walking 25 miles in a day work that sealed his legacy. Between Dr Anna Stenning is a writer, academic
seems to have soothed his mind. December 1914 and January 1917, and editor of Edward Thomas: A
Calming us with its space and Thomas completed 139 poems. This Miscellany (published by Galileo on
patience, he wrote, the country was enough to be regarded as the 25 May) living in Herefordshire.


The Cherry Trees by Edward Thomas

The cherry trees bend over and are shedding,
On the old road where all that passed are dead,
Their petals, strewing the grass as for a wedding
Photo: Alamy

This early May morn when there is none to wed. 41

Celebrate the new season by
bringing a carnival of natural
colour to your green spaces,
with spectacular planting ideas
from Gina Prices gorgeous
Oxfordshire garden
By James Alexander-Sinclair Photos: Clive Nichols

pring is denitely in the air you

S can sense it everywhere. In our

gardens, the new season is like an
inating balloon that we know will
soon burst and we will be
spattered with sunshine and owers.
If you want to truly appreciate this
phenomenon, then there are few places
better to go than Pettifers in Oxfordshire.
The house, owned by Gina and John Price, is
mellow stone and the garden is sublime.
The couple came here about a quarter of a
century ago they were not gardeners but
were full of enthusiasm and excitement. The
house fronts onto a village road but the back
garden rolls elegantly away into open
countryside. Gina remembers walking
through this place and thinking I can make
something of this, in spite of the fact that I
knew nothing at all.
That initial naivety has been replaced not
only by a wonderful sense of design and
plantsmanship, but also an eye for the
unusual. Like many of the best instinctive
gardeners she picked it up as she went
along, helped by friends who gave advice, in
particular Diany Binney (then chatelaine of
Kiftsgate Court in Gloucestershire), who
The spring sunshine gives a visited twice a year in the early days.
glorious glow to beds bejewelled Diany did not hold back with her
with lime-green Euphorbia opinions. She stood by one border and
palustris and bronze-orange pronounced: What a damn dull border:
Euphorbia grithii Fern Cottage. just a lot of aquilegias, and not even
special ones! It was quite upsetting, but 43
1 The statuesque, bottle-shaped
yews in the parterre tower over
naturalised massing of dierent
narcissi, nudging into a jewelled
scattering of snakes head fritillaries
(Fritillaria meleagris) in the grass.
As the bulbs fade, the surrounding
borders spring into life for the rest
of the summer.

2 When late spring is on the verge

of early summer, the tennis-ball
sized spherical magenta owers
of Allium Purple Sensation rise
through the foliage of later plants
and echo the deep purple blooms
of tulip Curly Sue. This sort of
colour-repetition is aways eective
in borders, as it carries the eye
into the furthest corners.

1 3 Two sorts of euphorbia glint in

the sunrise: at the back, the livid
green marsh spurge, Euphorbia
palustris, and in front, the striking
orange Euphorbia grithii Fern
Cottage. Both are fabulous
spring-foliage plants guaranteed to
give zip and pep to any border.

4 This is an amazing sight to greet

a early riser: a glowing tapestry of
spring plants from epimediums and
dicentras to the foliage and owers
of hellebores. Lots of contrast
culminates in that lovely tiered
2 3 wedding cake tree, Cornus
controversa Variegata.

BELOW Gina Price took on the she was usually right. appalling, explains Gina. Things have
task of transforming Pettifers As well as enduring the scathing honesty changed since then, as years of regular
despite little technical of her friends, Gina visited a lot of other mulching has transformed the soil and the
knowledge. Support from gardens looking for inspiration and ideas. borders are now generously proportioned
gardening mentors and a She is happy to point out little homages, and stued with well-chosen plants.
willingness to experiment has led such as the diamond-shaped path, which As you move down the slope, more
to todays spectacular result
mirrors that at York Gate (near Leeds, now wonders are revealed. One lawn is studded
owned by gardening charity Perennial) and with so many crocuses that it is tricky to nd
the small walkways through the borders somewhere to tread without crushing
that were inspired by Margery Fish, whose something. These will be succeeded by
garden at East Lambrook Manor in narcissi and snakes head fritillaries.
Somerset is still open to the public. Next are the four yews that have become
this gardens trademark they are clipped
NORTHERN EXPOSURE into a unique, informal formality (if you
The garden at Pettifers faces north, which know what I mean): part bottle, part blast-
many would consider a disadvantage, but in furnace, part elephants trunk. We started
the eyes of a glass half-full kind of this part of the garden about 15 years ago:
gardener, it can be seen as an opportunity the yews were left over from a hedge so are a
to grow a whole new range of plants. sort of serendipitous afterthought.
When we arrived, this garden was mostly Any garden, no matter how clever the
one big lawn with three big yews, a couple of design, will revert to a muddle of weeds and
narrow borders and soil that was truly overgrown shrubs in a very short time if it



5 A drift of daodils bloom

beneath a wedding cake tree. In
spring the plants are still slightly
separated its too early for the
full-blown entanglement of summer.
The emerging leaves of trees and
later perennials add a lettuce-
coloured freshness to the garden.

6 Diamonds of granite setts are a

distinctive feature of the garden at
York Gate near Leeds. They work
just as well here as you walk from
the house through deep red Black
Parrot tulips, which go beautifully
6 with the drystone walls.

7 Later in the season, this bed is

is not looked after. There is no danger of this full of the peonies which Gina has
happening: it is constantly cosseted not only collected, but even now it does not
by Gina but also by the brilliant Polly disappoint, with a magnicent
Stevens, Pettifers full-time gardener. display of hellebores. These happily
Together they lavish the garden with a hybridise with each other, so one is
sort of tough love plants are coaxed and never quite sure what colour ower
encouraged but if something does not work a seedling will produce.
properly, then there is no place for
sentimentality. Gina has the courage to rip James Alexander-
out imperfections and start again. The Sinclair is a garden
result of this determination and conviction designer based in
is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon Oxfordshire. He writes
no matter what the season. CF for Gardens Illustrated
and BBC Gardeners World Magazine,
VISIT PETTIFERS Gina Prices garden is open to visitors 7 and is also a member of the Royal
by appointment. For information, go to Horticultural Society Council.



A startling orange to A dapper ower that A handsome variety GRAVETYE Best in a slightly A slightly shaggy-
get the season goes well with all the good for the smallish GIANT heavy soil, the snakes owered tulip with a
started. Will ower for fresh greens of spring. garden. Magnolias are The snowake is a head fritillary stylish contrasting
weeks given a bit of In a container you pretty trouble-free later and taller version naturalises well in green stripe. In
sunshine. Dead head could team them unless we have a late of the snowdrop water meadows. Plant borders or containers,
regularly to ensure with wallowers frost, so keep them (although unrelated). as bulbs in the tulips are best planted
longer owering. and Iris reticulata. sheltered. Good in a woodland. autumn time. in about November.

Turn the page for 10 spring gardens to visit ... 47


6 7

1 8 9

2 3

4 5 10

1 DODDINGTON HALL & GARDENS things to do. Amazing daodil banks and a Entry 13.60 (English Heritage members free).
Well known for its collection of daodils, plus beautiful Orangery Garden. Open daily, 10am to Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London
lots of walks. Open Sundays, Wednesdays and 5.30pm. 14.95 (garden only: 8.95). NT SE9 5QE.
bank holiday Mondays from 16 April, noon to members free.
4.30pm. Entry to house and gardens 10 Aylsham, Norfolk NR11 6NF. 01263 738030, 8 NYMANS
(gardens only: 7). At its best in springtime there are bulbs,
Lincolnshire LN6 4RU. 01522 694308, bluebells, cherry blossom, camellias and 5 GREAT DIXTER magnolias in abundance. Open daily, 10am to
If you have not yet visited here, your life remains 5pm. Entry 13.20 (NT members free).
2 BODNANT unfullled. This great garden has something for Handcross, Haywards Heath, West Sussex
Possibly the best spring garden in Wales, with everybody, no matter when you visit. Open RH17 6EB.
sheaves of daodils (as you would expect), plus Tuesday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays,
National Collections of both magnolias and 11am to 5pm. 12.10. 9 TREMENHEERE
rhododendrons. Open daily, 10am to 5pm. Northiam, East Sussex TN31 6PH. A spectacular sculpture garden with some
8.50 (RHS and NT members free). 01797 252878, staggeringly good art and a fantastic collection
Bodnant Road, Tal-Y-Cafn, Colwyn Bay of tender plants. Open daily, 10am to 4pm. 8.
LL28 5RE. 6 CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN [Note the garden is unfortunately not suitable
Tucked between the river and the bustle of the for disabled visitors.]
3 HODNET HALL Kings Road, this garden was founded in 1673. Near Gulval, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 8YL.
Lots of lakes and woodlands for walking as A haven among the trac. Open daily except 01736 448 089,
well as a Camellia garden and some wonderful Saturdays, 11am to 5pm. Entry 10.50.
plant collections. Open Sundays and bank 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS. 10 COTON MANOR
holidays, noon to 5pm. 7. A lovely, family-run garden with water gardens,
Near Market Drayton, Shropshire TF9 3NN. meadows, classic borders and an amazing
01630 685786, 7 ELTHAM PALACE bluebell wood. Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon
Although less than 100 years old, this palace to 5.30pm, plus Sundays and Mondays on bank
Photo: Alamy, Dave Peake

4 BLICKLING ESTATE feels as if has been there for ages. It is holiday weekends. Entry 7.
Sitting under blue skies, amid glorious open surrounded by 19 acres of gardens, old and new. Coton, Northamptonshire NN6 8RQ.
countryside, this is a ne estate with lots of Open daily except Saturdays, 10am to 6pm. 01604 740219,

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ts a small, striking-looking much habitat is damaged, to

I (and, for developers,

troublesome) creature with
mighty powers. For years the
mere presence of great
crested newts has been able to
delay or even stop multi-
million pound building
help the newts elsewhere.
It will radically improve our
knowledge of this species so we
can better plan the conservation
says Cameron. We can
accept losses on development
sites because the new system
projects right across the UK. will provide a really substantive
But not for much longer. gain overall.
The Governments
environmental adviser Natural WILDLIFE-FREE ZONES
England is rolling out a plan to The project, broadly welcomed
give enhanced legal protection by conservationists, would link
to the species, which is classied habitats together across the
as rare across Europe. Its a country, allowing great crested
Great crested newts are strictly protected in the UK. But new
scheme that, at rst sight, seems rules for developers could see some populations destroyed newts to move freely and giving
contradictory because it will their survival a better chance.
allow builders to potentially But the Wildlife Trusts do have
destroy all but the great crested some reservations. Steve
newts most important habitats. The mere presence of Trotter, their Director England,
tells me: This approach has
If we focus too much on
great crested newts been given the green light
nationally before the pilot
protecting individual newts, the
whole population may be lost,
has been able to delay project has been completed.
Will enough compensatory
says Rob Cameron, the
protected species reform
building projects habitat be created to make up
for building over areas that are
manager at Natural England. important for this rare species
So here comes the second and Natural England says it wants and will it be in the right place?
crucially important part of the to create more habitat for newts We dont want new housing
plan developers will have to while simplifying the licensing estates to be wildlife-free zones.
foot the bill for improving great system for developers. It will What are the thresholds for
crested newt habitats in a much carry out a three-year survey of deciding a colony is so important
wider area beyond the one they 150 districts where great crested it should be left in place? And are
are concreting over. newts are most prevalent, there enough people with the
Until now, individual licences mapping out all their signicant right expertise to manage and
have been issued on a site-by-site populations across the UK, monitor the new approach?
basis for tracking down, assessing the impact of While we do have these
removing and then excluding the development and proposing concerns, we will still be working
newts before any work can begin conservation strategies. with Natural England to do our
an expensive, inecient From this, developers will get a best to ensure the roll-out of this
process. There have even been better picture of newt hot spots. new approach is a success.
allegations of great crested Should they get the go-ahead to
newts being deliberately build, local authorities will Watch John on
Photo: Getty

imported onto controversial impose charges on them on a Countrylee on Sunday

sites to impede construction. sliding scale, dependent on how evenings on BBC One. 51


tidal lagoon project in

A Swansea Bay for clean,

renewable energy has
been backed by the
Hendry review. Environmental
An artist's impression of the
'rubble mound' breakwater,
forming the edge of the lagoon

groups have cautiously but

not unanimously endorsed
the project. Costing 1.3billion,
if it goes ahead it could lead to
the roll out of full-scale
schemes in UK waters. So how
do tidal lagoons work and how
important might they be in
helping us meet targets to cut
carbon emissions?

The tidal lagoon scheme How does it work?

A 9km U-shaped breakwater would be optimal point. Once opened the water
built across Swansea Bay, creating a would rush though the gates, turning a At high tide water is released into the lagoon,
lagoon. At lower states of the tide, the tidal bank of 16 six-metre tall hydro turbines in turning the hydro turbines to generate energy.
Tidal lagoons are more ecient than barrages,
lagoon looks like a typical rubble mound the breakwater to generate 350mw of which only generate power using 'outow' water.
breakwater, of the type usually seen electricity enough for 150,000 homes.
around marinas or harbours. At high tide it The turbines would generate electricity
is more or less submerged. both when the tide ebbs and ows. The BREAKWATER
As tides rise and fall the lagoon would ll Bristol Channel is favoured because of its Estuary
high tide
tid Tidal
and empty. Gates would hold back the unusually high tidal range, which at 15m is Turbine lagoon
water from entering or leaving until the among the highest on the planet.


At low tide the captured high tide water in

the lagoon is released, and the rushing
outow water passes over the turbines, turning
them again and generating further energy.
Photo Image courtesy of Andritz Hydro

BAY low tide

9km Tidal
Breakwater Turbine lagoon

Bank of turbines


15m tidal range Would generate Provide enough

among highest 350 megawatts electricity for
on the planet of power 150,000 homes

Benets Disadvantages TIDAL LAGOONS

LOW CARBON SUBSIDIES If Swansea were to go ahead, ve
The Hendry review says tidal lagoons can The Government subsidises renewable other full-scale projects have been
be an important low-carbon source of energy through a guaranteed price for the outlined at Cardi, Newport, Colwyn
electricity generation for the UK. producer, although fossil fuel producers Bay in North Wales, the Cumbrian
Projections suggest that 10 lagoons could also receive subsidies. Tidal Lagoon coast and Bridgwater Bay in
provide 10% of UK electricity generation Power is asking for a guarantee of 168 Somerset. The 3,000mw-generating
Cardi lagoon would cost 9bn and
and cut carbon emissions by 36%. per megawatt hour for the Swansea Bay
contain 65 square km of water.
lagoon, compared to about 80 set for
GUARANTEED SUPPLY onshore wind and 92 for Hinkley C.
Tidal power generation is predictable and Tidal Lagoon Power says subsidy for OCEAN AND WAVE
less subject to the vagaries of weather Swansea would cost households about PROJECTS IN THE UK
than wind or solar energy and so has 30p on their energy bills annually over the A tidal stream power scheme in the
fewer concerns around intermittency. rst 30 years. If all proposed tidal lagoons Pentland Firth uses technology akin
The Swansea lagoon would produce were built, it would add 8 to 9 to the to underwater wind turbines.
Marine Current Turbines has installed
power for about 14 hours a day. "It's average annual household energy bill.
a tidal energy system at the mouth of
proven technology, there are many such
Stangford Lough. And Carnegie Wave
projects around the world," said Andy ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS Energy has approval to build the rst
Field, spokesman for Tidal Lagoon Power. The vast inter-tidal area of the Severn
commercial wave energy project
estuary provides food for over 50,000
connected to the national grid in
LOCAL IMPACT waterfowl on major migration routes.
England, o Hayle in Cornwall.
Supporters claim the lagoon would create The Wildlife Trusts in Wales says the The potential for similar projects has
2,000 jobs and improve the local scheme will lead to substantial loss of been studied elsewhere in the UK but
environment cycle paths would be built mudats and have called for continual some planned schemes have been
on the walls and a sailing and canoeing high-level monitoring. The RSPB says the cancelled after the companies
centre would be set up inside the lagoon. lagoon could aect the ecosystem of the involved went into administration.
Severn estuary and the ecologically highly
BETTER THAN SOME valuable inter-tidal areas. It wants to
ALTERNATIVES monitor silt movement, disruption of bird Pentland Fith
Environmentalists have said that tidal populations and impacts on sh stocks.
lagoons could be signicantly less "The Swansea lagoon may be a useful
environmentally damaging and more cost test-case for this technology," said RSPB
eective and powerful than tidal barrages senior policy oce Mark Robins. "But any
(which would impound sea water), that renewable scheme must work in harmony
lagoons would not directly impound with nature. The Severn estuary is a vital
inter-tidal areas of the estuary, and that part of a European-wide network of
West Cumbria
they may even oer potentially signicant wildlife sites; a crucial staging post for
wildlife habitat. migratory birds and sh."

Colwyn Bay

...What happens next? Swansea


The Government will decide later this year whether to go ahead with the scheme. The project at
Swansea Bay is viewed as a small trial lagoon from which lessons and problems could be Hayle Bridgwater Bay
identied, before full-scale projects were rolled out around the UK.
The Hendry review proposes that, after completion of the Swansea lagoon, a two-year
moratorium be imposed on similar projects while its environmental impacts are assessed. Proposed tidal lagoons Ocean power sites
But the Wildlife Trusts in Wales want an eight-year pause to cover two sh-spawning cycles. 53
Spring delights
Out the back door, across the ring road, past the sewage works and beyond the
industrial estate, Rob Cowen discovers a daily dose of the sublime in the edge-land of
his hometown, where the dawn chorus is in full song and hares dart among the pylons

pring has long been my high point of Past the housing estate at the bottom of the

S the year. Everywhere you look there

is an assertion of life. A promise
made good. New, green blood runs
riot through old branches; the
warming earth erupts with shoots and the
landscape is bedecked with full, rich, lime-
green leaves and bee-busied owers. All of it
road, I paused for a moment at the disused
railway, now a cycle path, which acts as a high
water mark for the sprawl. This is the towns
limit. Beyond, patterns of the urban landscape
dissolve into something other: a kind of
wildness. Between this point and where the
ground rises again into countryside proper,
tells us to borrow from Ted Hughes the there exists an overlooked borderland of
globes still working. But to enjoy this bramble and hawthorn, of old common and
season and engage with its wealth of wildlife, tatty eld, holloway, pylon, wood, river and
you dont need to travel to far-ung pasture gone to seed. To the left is a mesh of
destinations or nature reserves. There are allotments and a sewage works; to the right,
adventures to be found rough meadow and an
right on our doorsteps.
Only the other day I rose
Edge-lands are industrial estate.
As morning ared in the
early to watch hares. probably not what east, I felt the same shiver
Dressing with the lights of excitement I always do
o, trying not to wake my most of us picture when I cross over into it.
wife and kids, I hopped The rst time I saw a
down our stairs, pulled on when we think of hare in this unlikely
boots and struck out for setting, I naively presumed
the edge-land about a mile the countryside it had to be a rabbit. I
away from my home. couldnt quite believe that
The world was still cloaked in calm, pre-dawn this wily lover of wide-ranging corneld and
dark; no car stirred. The air, thick with blossom cropland would tolerate being so close to a
nectar as yet untouched, smelled as fresh as town. Then I watched its sandy brown shape
new linen. rise onto those gangly legs, extend its long,
Indian ink-dipped ears, and shoot across the
INTO THE BORDERLAND scrubby eld I was standing in.
Over the ring road, cutting down through Part of my disbelief was down to
backstreets, I started to feel the familiar pull of appearances. Edge-lands are probably not
this marginal space, wedged between town and what most of us picture when we think of the
country. There were glimpses of it through the great British countryside. Inglorious, often
car-cluttered cul-de-sacs a deeper density to riddled with relics of infrastructure, these
the darkness beyond the streetlights. spaces where human and nature intermesh


are constantly in a process of collision, Its one of the amazing things about even
collusion and negotiation. In many ways they seemingly insalubrious settings in Britain
are the antithesis of the kind of breathtaking every square of soil inch holds its histories.
scenery that might grace the cover of this
magazine, but chances are youll know and A BRUSH WITH HARES
perhaps love one of your own. Maybe its where When the rst hare appeared it seems to send a
you played as a kid or just a spot you dash to ripple through the soft, spiky tips of the young
with the dog after work, but with 80% of the UK wheat. I lifted my binoculars, quietly. Then
living in the urban environment, edge-lands are another materialised some distance away.
almost certainly your closest green space. Heads popped up intermittently between
And they can be gateways that provide a daily feeding, meaning I got a great look at those
dose of the sublime, if were only alive to it. dog-like faces, those ranging, twitching ears
and bulging, goat eyes staring my way. I stayed
SPRING FROM NOWHERE as still as possible, for hares are notoriously shy
But edge-lands also provide important pockets creatures, normally solitary but congregating
of biodiversity for the non-human world. In this in the spring to mate. For 20 minutes or so, I
patch of ground, 15 minutes walk from my watched both breakfasting and high-kicking
home, Ive recorded not just hares but roe deer, around each other in circles. At one point, as
tawny owls, sparrowhawks, buzzards, swifts, they drew closer, one stood full height for a
kestrels, woodpeckers, rare moths, butteries, good three minutes, looking glorious, framed in
badgers, foxes and the the sun as the whizzes and
rst hedgehog Ive seen in whistles of birdsong rang
more than a decade. Hares are all around. It was only after
Once, on a dull Tuesday, it had ducked back down
I watched an otter nosing notoriously shy, and vanished in that mad,
for trout along the river.
These places are common
solitary creatures, dashing, blurry burst of
speed hares casually slip
in every sense of that word,
but still seem all the richer
congregating in into, that I realised there
was a huge grin on my face;
for it. Because of their
proximity, we can get to
spring to mate one that reappeared the
rest of that day whenever I
know them in amazing thought of them.
detail throughout the changing seasons and Watch hares live like this and you can
the dierent times of day. Sitting, touching, understand why they have remained the
sensing, smelling a place, revisiting and embodiment of the most vivacious of seasons in
returning as the year turns is an act that roots our myth and culture for millennia. Practically
us, restoring a vital relationship with the bigger, invisible in autumn and winter, hares seem to
living world that lies outside our day-to-day, spring from nowhere at the point the dead
self-obsessed lives. Its something worth earth comes to life again with greenery,
getting up early for. dashing and mating freely amid burgeoning
By the time the sun had fully risen over the crops. Its hard to overstate how signicant this
hare eld, I was ensconced in a wildower- would have seemed to societies entirely
braided eld border, half-hidden by a dependent on arable farming, but an Egyptian
blackthorn, in the shadow of a pylon. The birds hieroglyph points the way. The symbol of the
were in full voice: threads of song wove hare denotes, simply, existence itself.
together, lifting and lilting, refrains and solos A glimpse of such sheer existence can be just
the wrens trilled and there was the rusty as powerful today. Brief, yes, but enough to get
wheel squeak of great tits. I could make out a me through a long day at a desk. I recommend
warbler somewhere and, intermittently, the everyone tries their own daily dose, right now,
thick ute-notes of blackbirds. You tend to as the earth comes alive. CF
focus dierently in such a place. Once, sitting in
this same spot, I noticed the eld had turned up Rob Cowen is an award-winning writer and author.
a piece of clay pipe, like a thin hollow bone. His book Common Ground was shortlisted for the
I stared at it for a while, thinking about whose Portico Literary Prize, Richard Jeeries Society Prize
jaw it was once clamped in, wondering about and Wainwright Prize 2016 and selected as a Book
the layers that lay in the mud beneath my boots. of the Year in the Sunday Express and Times.

Turn the page to explore Robs seven favourite signs of spring 57
FLOWERS start to shake o the cabin fever of months
From sweet-scented blossoms and the underground by making their rst playful
rst snowdrops and violets to that forays in April and May. Look for signs of a
egg-yolk yellow of erupting daodils, sett in daylight, then return pre-dawn, sit
spring is one long ower frenzy. Keep an quiet and stay downwind.
eye out for primroses, the porcelain-
looking leaves of garden magnolias and, BIRDS
later, that aqueous wash of light-streaked As anyone without double-glazing will tell
bluebells in full bloom. you, the brightening skies of early spring
herald a mighty crescendo of a dawn
BEES chorus. Step outside and youll likely hear
Attracted by the owers, spring also sees birdsong at this time of year, and its a
our most loveable pollinators emerging. sound that brightens any commute.
Bumblebees on the hunt for nectar Theres much nest-building too; expect to
lumber between bursts of colour; likewise see many species zipping about with
honey bees and solitary bees thrum beaks full of building materials.
through our meadows and anywhere
where the foods plentiful. Its a pleasure BABY WILDLIFE
to hear the warming drone again. Lambs may be the cute poster boys,
tottering around on unsteady legs or
BUTTERFLIES gadding about the elds like hooligans, but
With increasing sunlight and food, early many wild species take advantage of the
spring migrants to these shores include calmer, warmer weather ahead to raise
some of our best-loved butteries, such as their young. Look out for baby fallow deers,
the painted lady. Small tortoiseshells, squirrels, coot, foxes, mallards, hedgehogs
commas, the peacock, brimstone and and, in puddles and ponds, the darting,
some red admirals all overwinter here and inky squiggles of tadpoles.
emerge from hibernation. Encountering a
buttery on a wall, beating its wings and WILD GARLIC
basking, can be a beautiful spring sight. Growing thick through woodland and up
river verges and under bridges, the
BADGERS unmistakable garlic-scented ramson or
My rst really memorable encounter with wild garlic scents many a spring stroll.
wild animals was being taken to watch Its the dream ingredient for the forager;
badgers as a boy in the scrappy ground wild garlic is delicious when cooked in
behind my childhood home. Spring is butter and turned with pasta, or blitzed
perfect for such sorties as badger cubs into pesto with Wensleydale and walnuts.
Photos: Alamy, Getty,
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f you love walking in the countryside

I as much as I do, there is little better

than packing up a rucksack and
heading out for a day in the hills.
A full days hike is hugely improved
with a decent picnic, and you need
food that both fuels you and delivers
on the avour front.
The key to a good walking picnic is
to take fare that tastes as good, if not
better, eaten at room temperature
rather than hot or chilled. It also
needs to travel well, rather than get
squished or become soggy. I like to
take a lunchbox with compartments
for separating savoury from sweet,
and also a couple of nutritious snacks
that I can keep in bags in my coat
pocket to combat hunger pangs.
Turn the page for ve recipes that
would make up my perfect lunchbox.

As a general rule, the longer your walk
the more thought you should put into
your walking fuel. After all, the energy
to power us forwards (and upwards)
derives only from the food we put into
our mouths. With that in mind, here are
a few tips when thinking about what to
put in your lunchbox.

Perfect lunchbox You are after food that fuels, so

high-energy carbohydrate foods are
best for long hikes. Try to ensure you
consume plenty of slow-release
Delicious, nutritious fuel for walkers to keep carbohydrates in the form of whole
your energy levels high on the trail grains, pulses or natural sugars.
Combining a lean protein, such as
Photographs: Jason Ingram Words: Genevieve Taylor chicken, with a slow-release
carbohydrate such as wholegrain
pasta means the energy is released
even more steadily, so you dont get
highs and lows in your energy levels.
Dont binge eat. Snacking as you go
helps keep energy levels on an even
keel, so its great to have one or two
healthy high-energy treats tucked into
your pockets for easy access.
Hydration is vital, so take plenty of
uids. Plain and simple water quenches
thirst much more eectively than zzy
drinks that are loaded with sugar.
Finally, make sure your food is
genuinely tasty. Season it properly,
just as you would if you were at home.
That way you are much more likely to
actually nish it.

Wholegrain pasta is a great slow-release food processor and whizz until ground.
fuel to keep you going all afternoon. You Roughly tear the basil stems and leaves,
could, of course, use ready-made pesto in trimming the stalks only at the very ends if
this tasty salad, but if youve never made they are really thick, and add to the food
your own pesto, I urge you to give it a ago. It processor, whizzing until nely chopped.
only takes a quick whizz in the food Add the parmesan, garlic, olive oil and
processor, and the avour is so vibrant. lemon juice, and season with salt and
pepper. Scrape into a mixing bowl (large
Ingredients Serves 2 enough to toss the salad in) and set aside.
For the pesto: 2. For the salad, sprinkle the our on to a
50g pine nuts plate, season well with salt and pepper, then
50g bunch basil, leaves and stalks toss the chicken in the our to lightly coat.
25g parmesan, freshly grated 3. Set a frying pan over a medium-high heat
1 clove garlic and add the oil. When its hot, tip in the
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil chicken. Spread it out in a single layer, and HARD-BOILED EGGS
a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste fry until crisp and golden, turning a couple of WITH SESAME DUKKAH
salt and freshly ground pepper times until its cooked all the way through I think hard-boiled eggs make the perfect
about 15-18 mins. Remove the chicken and picnic food nutritious, easy to carry and
For the salad: put on a plate lined with a couple of sheets conveniently packaged in their own
1 heaped tsp plain our of kitchen paper to drain any excess oil. wrapper. They do benet, however, from
300g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut 4.While the chicken is frying, cook the pasta something to gee them up in the taste
into 3cm cubes according to the packet instructions department. A little salt and pepper is
1 tbsp olive oil about 12 mins at a hearty boil. Drain the good, but this little Egyptian nutty spice
150g wholegrain pasta pasta into a colander, then run briey under mix, called dukkah, will lift your egg to the
250g cherry tomatoes, quartered cold water to cool before draining really well. next level. You can make it in moments,
1 ball mozzarella, torn into bite sized pieces Tip into the mixing bowl, and toss through much less time than it takes to boil the
salt and freshly ground pepper the pesto until its evenly coated. eggs, and it will keep in a sealed tub for a
5. Add the cooked chicken, tomatoes and good few weeks.
Method mozzarella and toss together. Pack into your
1. To make the pesto, set a small frying pan lunchboxes, and chill until you are ready to Ingredients Makes enough for 4 eggs
over a medium-high heat and add the pine hike. And dont forget to pack a fork! 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
nuts. Toast for a few minutes until golden This salad will happily keep in the fridge 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
brown and smelling nutty, then tip into a overnight if you want make it ahead. 1/2 tsp chilli akes (optional)
2 tbsp aked almonds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Salted smoky nuts pinch of sea salt akes and freshly-ground
black pepper
These nuts are so easy and incredibly
moreish and just the thing to have in a little 1. Add the cumin, coriander and chilli (if
bag in your pocket for on-the-go nibbling. using) to a small, dry frying pan and set
Ive used a mix of nuts for variety, but feel over a medium heat. Toast for a minute or
free to use your favourites. This is a very so until they smell fragrant then tip into a
easy recipe to double up if you want to spice mill or pestle and mortar and grind.
make more. They will keep well in an airtight Tip into a small bowl.
tin for a good week or so. They also make a 2. Add the almonds and sesame seeds
rather fabulous bar snack. to the pan and toast them for a minute or
so. Tip on to a board and chop nely
Ingredients serves about 4-6 before adding to the spices along with a
50g of pecans 1 tbsp olive oil tin. Bake in the oven for 10 mins. pinch of sea salt akes and a good grind
50g of cashews 1 tsp smoked paprika 3. Remove from the oven and stir through of black pepper. Stir well to mix, then add
50g of almonds 1 tsp sea salt akes olive oil, paprika and salt, then return to the heaped teaspoons of your mixture to
50g of walnuts oven for another two mins. Remove from squares of foil and wrap them tightly,
the oven and allow to cool on the tray before allowing one teaspoon of dukkah per egg.
1. Preheat oven to 180C (fan temp)/ Gas 4. packing into an airtight container, which Pack into you lunchbox alongside your
2. Spread the nuts out over a large roasting should keep them fresh for at least a week. ready-cooked egg. 63


Homemade granola is a fantastic thing to
make for breakfast but it also travels
really well. Packed with high-bre oats,
coconut our and full of natural
sweetness from maple syrup and
cranberries, it also makes a great snack
to have in your pocket to munch as you
walk. This recipe makes a good-size

High-protein chocolate
boxful that would serve 4-5 for breakfast,
or more as a snack. Provided you keep it


in an airtight box, it will last for several
weeks at room temperature.

Ingredients Chocolate brownies are generally a big hit heat-proof bowl, along with the butter and
250g oats but these have the added bonus of being set over a pan of barely simmering water,
150g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, just a little bit more nutritious than a regular making sure the base of the bowl is not in
sunower seeds) version, thanks to a secret ingredient. Its contact with the water. Allow to melt, stirring
100g dried cranberries (or raisins) actually a tin of cannellini beans, but sshhhh, together until combined.
150ml maple syrup nobody will notice. 4. Once the chocolate and butter have
1 egg white melted, pour into the food processor and
3 tbsp coconut our Ingredients Makes 12 generous brownies (cut crack in the eggs. Whizz together to a really
3 tbsp brown sugar into 16 if you prefer) smooth puree. Then add the sugar, our,
3 tbsp vegetable oil 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and
1 tsp vanilla extract 300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped vanilla and process together until smooth.
nely-grated zest of 1 orange 75g butter, cut into cubes 5. Pour the brownie mixture into the
3 large eggs prepared tin, levelling with a table knife.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan temp)/ 150g soft brown sugar Finally scatter over the hazelnuts and the
Gas 4. Line a large roasting tray (approx 75g plain our rest of the chocolate.
40cm x 25cm) with baking paper. 2 tsp baking powder 6. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes
2. Stir all the ingredients together in a Half tsp bicarbonate of soda until the top is set and the brownie is just
mixing bowl, tip onto the baking tray and 2 tbsp vanilla extract starting to come away from the edge of the
spread out in a shallow layer without 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped tin. Allow to cool in the tin, before removing
pressing down too rmly. and cutting into squares. CF
3. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins, 1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan
until the granola is golden brown. Turn the temperature)/ Gas 4. Grease and line a
tray around halfway through cooking if 25cm square baking tin with baking paper. Genevieve Taylor is a self-confessed
your oven cooks unevenly. Allow to cool 2. Add the drained beans to the bowl of a greedy girl and lifelong outdoors lover
completely on the tray, then break up into food processor and whizz until they are who writes and presents about food.
clusters. What you dont take with you ground to a ne crumbly paste. Her many recipe books include How to
can be stored in airtight containers. 3. Add two-thirds of the chocolate to a Eat Outside, Stew! and A Good Egg. 64
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Our readers have spoken! Meet the winners of our annual awards, including
the countrys greatest national park and very best pub
Words: Maria Hodson

he votes are in, and its now time to unveil the HOLIDAY DESTINATION OF THE YEAR, NOMINATED BY ANITA RANI

T results of the BBC Countryle magazine

awards. Across the 12 categories, 56,000 votes
were cast in tightly fought contests. Wed like to
thank this years experts, our exceptional
nominees, and all who voted. Its fantastic to see such
enthusiasm and support for Britains rural treasures.

Northumberland Coast
Oh, the beauty of this coast: ne sand beaches arc along the
North Sea; spectacular castles stand guard on the shoreline;
natural glories, pretty villages and jolly pubs abound. Puns
and seals enthrall visitors on the Farne Islands, and frazzled
PRIZES Our winners receive a beautiful inscribed wooden plaque, along urbanites unwind while inhaling the calming monastic airs
with two tickets to this years Countryle Live show. Second-place of Lindisfarne. A magical mix of mystery and merriment.
winners receive two tickets to the show.
Second place: Mull, Inner Hebrides
HOW IT WORKS We appoint an expert in the relevant For those seeking remote wildlife wonders, this is the real deal.
eld to oversee each category. Our expert reviews the The second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides oers
previous 12 months and nominates ve prominent gorgeous bays, rocky peaks and verdant slopes. Its home to
achievers in that year. Our readers then cast their votes white-tailed eagles, red deer, and otters. Dolphins, minke
online and by post. The nominee with the most votes wins. whales and basking sharks can all be sighted in its waters.



Abernethy Forest
This large nature reserve of ancient Caledonian pine
overlooked by the snow-capped Cairngorm mountains has
been described as unmissable. With mountain, moorland
and forest, here one can spy siskins, crossbills, red squirrels
and the Loch Garten ospreys.
Naturalist Brett Westwood says: Who wouldnt be
seduced by the sunlight ltering through ancient pines, the
promise of capercaillies, crested tits and pine martens, all
against the majestic backdrop of the Cairngorms?

Second place: Farne Islands

These small islands o the coast of Northumberland once sheltered the
7th-century saint St Cuthbert but today are a magnet for birdspotters.
Brett Westwood said: The island oers
the closest seabird encounters
youll ever have. Go in early summer when chick-rearing is at its best.


Yorkshire Dales
The characterful Yorkshire Dales claim the top spot this
year, with readers displaying great aection
for this wild and
craggy limestone landscape. Replete with waterfalls and hay
meadows, stone villages and broadleaved woodland, the
park has recently expanded to cover 840 square miles.
Our expert John Craven has known these rolling valleys
since boyhood, and its clear that thousands of voters also
have fond memories of time spent here.

Second place: Peak District

Britains rst national park oers
stark beauty and mile upon mile of
trails. The area is ripe for exploration and its highest peak, Kinder Scout,
is both a ne geographical feature and a signicant site in rural history.
In 1932 over 400 walkers trespassed on its haunches, paving the way for
public access and the eventual creation of all our national parks.


Conwy Falls
Plummeting 15m into a cavernous pool, Conwy Falls in the
heart of Snowdonia National Park has long been a popular
site for visitors. The surrounding woodlands are imbued
with magic and wildlife, including polecats and a wide
variety of fascinating birdlife.
The Conwy itself is a salmon river and the enchanting
gorge of Fairy Glenn is just a short distance away.

Second place: Lundy

Lovely Lundy, o the coast of Devon in the Bristol channel, just beat the
Photo Getty, Alamy

Lake District in a close contest for second place. This small beautiful
island provides a haven for wildlife and has the UKs only marine reserve,
making it a very special place indeed. 67

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar
Chris Packhams evocative memoir of his
boyhood has enraptured readers. Recalling the
the summers of his youth, Packham brings to life
his unhappy, lonely childhood and touching
relationship with his kestrel.
Our editor Fergus says: Chris Packhams
moving and painfully honest account of a troubled 1970s
childhood alleviated in part by magical encounters with
wildlife has clearly connected with a wide audience and is
a deserving winner of this award.

Second place: The Outrun

Another personal memoir, Amy Liptrots account of her journey from
alcoholism in London to salvation in her Orkney homelands pays tribute
to the healing power of nature. It has already garnered several awards.


Inverewe Gardens
This sub-tropical paradise overlooking Loch Ewe in Wester
Ross captured our readers imaginations and just pipped
Trebah to the post to claim the coveted title.
The beautiful garden was created by Osgood McKenzie in
1862, and enjoys mild temperatures brought in by the Gulf
Stream. Transformed from the original scrub willows and
rock, its 49 acres bloom with amboyant plants from around
the world, making it a must-visit.

Second place: Trebah Garden

Another sub-tropical delight, coastal Trebah near Falmouth in Cornwall
has its own beach on the Helford River, a towering gunnera jungle and a
lake within a hydrangea valley. Enormous exotic plants loom over
winding paths to create a magical environment for all the family.


Crosskeys Inn, County Antrim

The oldest thatched pub in Ireland was once a coaching stop
on the old road between Belfast and Derry. A stone-built
cottage constructed in the 1650s, the Crosskeys today is a
merry place renowned for its traditional music, Guinness
and Irish whiskey and clearly has a devoted following.

Joint second place: The Stein Inn, Isle of Skye and The Earle Arms,
An extraordinary nish, with both the Stein Inn and the Earle Arms
receiving exactly the same number of votes, leaving them tied in joint
second place. Skyes oldest pub, The Stein Inn oers
breathtaking wild
Photo Alamy

waterside views. The Earle Arms in Norfolk is a foodies heaven, and a

ercely guarded secret among its loyal patrons.


Durham Cathedral
Well. What a whopper. This category saw a landslide of votes
for the magnicent cathedral, which has stood resplendent
on the banks of the River Wear for nearly 1,000 years.
At 66m tall, the central tower oers splendid views of the
surrounding landscape. The cathedral attracts millions of
admirers every year, who come to marvel at its ne Norman
features and stone vaulted ceiling. Bill Bryson says I am
delighted that Durham Cathedral has won. It is
unquestionably one of the most beautiful
and inspiring buildings anywhere.

Second place: Skara Brae

Despite its remote location on
Orkney, the pre-historic settlement
of Skara Brae has many fans. This
stone-built Neolithic settlement
was uncovered by a storm in 1850,
and comprises eight surviving
houses, complete with stone
furniture, that date back 5,000 years.
Explore the best of the UKs
footpaths and National Parks

If you are looking for days out in

Cheshire, then Abbeywood Gardens
has lots to offer, including acre upon
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350 guidebooks 2km wildlife walk, incorporating

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Young seven-acre arboretum with rare
Dartmoor, Snowdonia, Cairngorms, deciduous and evergreen tree species.
Northumberland, Lake District, Stunning views of the Utkinton Hills.
Yorkshire Dales... Relaxed diner serving home-grown
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for longer articles and advice


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Eurasian Beaver
Our readers celebrated Eurasian beavers returning from
extinction in the UK after 400 years. Reintroduced in
Scotland, the beaver has received ocial recognition as a
native species following the success of a trial on the
Knapdale Estate in Argyll, and in England, a wild breeding
population has appeared on the River Otter in Devon.

Second place: Short-haired bumblebee

These vital pollinators are struggling, and readers commended the
eorts made to return this native bee species to south-east England.


Towering Storm by Nigel Hodson

Voters were swept away by this enthralling scene of a
monster wave rising up against the harbour wall in
Porthcawl. The power of nature is made apparent
by the huddled little gures of humans in the foreground.
Its a striking image thats bursting with drama.
Photos Alamy

Second place: Owl on the Prowl by Ron Baber

A stunning shot of a short-eared owl in ight, capturing its focused
gaze and powerful wingbeat. 71

Pramo Embleton Bay

This British manufacturer of high-performance and Northumberlands coast garners another endorsement with
comfortable outdoor clothing has raced to rst place as our this win. Stretching for miles, this enormous sandy silver
reader favourite. Our expert, green travel writer Dixe Wills, beach is dominated by the epic ruins of 14th-century
says: Pramo are deserved winners in the Outdoor Brand of Dunstanburgh castle on its southern tip.
the Year category. Fringed by dunes, with ample birdwatching opportunities,
They create fantastic hard-wearing gear and do so while the bay is perfect for family outings or long walks.
caring for the environment and oering
training and
employment to some of Colombias most vulnerable women. Second place: Balephuil Bay
A beach to call ones own This remote paradise on Tiree in the Inner
Second place: Sprayway Hebrides has miles of white sand and turquoise sea, and, thanks to its
Manchester-based outdoor specialists Sprayway were highly location, a high likelihood of having it all to yourself.
commended by voters for their stylish clothing and equipment for Flanked by low dunes and machair habitat, the beautiful bay harbours
climbing, walking, hiking and general earthy adventures. corncrakes as well as free-roaming cattle and is a mecca for surfers.
Photos Alamy

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days out

May bursts with colour and life and our wildlife photographers know the best
walks to see some of the nest spring spectacles
crown copyright 2016 OS Photo: Ross Hoddinott, Laurie Campbell

Your handy guide to this
months Great Days
y Out



p76 p88

Chilbolton Cow Common
Hampshire, p76
Six more otter sites
Nationwide, p79


Marloes Peninsula
Pembrokeshire, p81

Cley/Salthouse Marshes
Norfolk, p82

Formby WALK: Chilbolton Cow Common, Hampshire
Merseyside, p85

St Abbs Head You are more likely to see an otter today in the UK than ever before, yet
Berwickshire, p86 their elusive nature still makes them a dicult spot, says Simon Cooper
y companion made hoped to be rewarded with On the plus side, and in spite
Marlpit Hill
Kent, p88 M a fairly passable
imitation of Edvard
Munchs The Scream when I
told her what time we
decent weather. Instead, it was
cold, with the added bonus of a
sideways drizzle. We had no
choice, however the two
of the cloud, the fading moon lit
our way across the common,
the yellow ag irises, thrusting
sedge grasses and buttercups
FOCUSING ON THRIFT needed to meet for some hours before dawn and the two faintly discernible alongside
Bedruthan Steps otter spotting. Im not sure hours after dusk are the best the path. Ahead of us was the
Cornwall, p90 pre-dawn was what she had times to spot otters. And it bending river a wide, shallow,
in mind, but Imogen was true was not as if the British weather silver ribbon the banks
WILDLIFE to her word and we met in was going to deter them. Lets marked with deep, muddy
PHOTOGRAPHY the early hours of a May face it, if you had a coat of ditches where the cattle come
morning, when most sensible waterproof fur that was 200 to graze and drink the name
Learn more with a course people were still in bed. times denser than the hair on a Chilbolton Cow Common
Nationwide, p92 Given our heroic eorts
to human head, youd laugh in the is as relevant today as it was
beat the arrival of dawn, we had face of a bit of rain. in medieval times.


Chilbolton Cow Common is a

great place to spot otters, but
keep an eye out for kestrels,
owls, red kites and egrets too

ABOVE The majority of an otters diet is made up of sh, but they also eat birds, small mammals and frogs
BELOW Entry and exit points to the river, know as slides, are a clear sign of otter activity

Photo tip
The hour before dusk and
dawn, as otters are on the
move, is the best time for
photography. They have poor
eyesight but acute hearing, so
choose your spot, keep still
and wait. Adjust your camera
for low light and set it with a
fast shutter speed. A
telephoto lens is a good idea.
Otters are out in all weathers,
so you should be as well.

A SENSE OF SCALE ability to take uneven ground Thankfully, following the ban of land as they do in water.
Otters breed all year round and in your stride and an these chemicals in the early Crouching down beside the
you are as likely to see one in acceptance that you will return 1990s, water quality increased riverbank, I use a torch to point
the depths of winter as you are home with muddy trousers. But and the slow-road to recovery out a muddy, semi-circular
at the height of summer. For thats the price you pay for began. Fish populations slide into the river, the wet dirt
me, that is their fascination venturing into otter territory. returned to the rivers and lakes, embedded with ve-clawed
they are constantly among us, and as a footprints where the otters
but such is their private nature
that we rarely see them. It is
AND THEN SUDDENLY, result you are
more likely to
have hauled themselves in and
out of the water. Otter
remarkable when you consider
they are the UKs largest
FROM SOMEWHERE see an otter
today than
droppings, or spraints, are
often used to mark territory.
semi-aquatic mammal. An
adult otter will easily tip the
in the past
We spot some, telling us that
that they were here recently, no
scales at 11kg, measuring well
over a metre in length from
A RASPY COUGH sixty years. longer than a day ago.
Imogen was evidently worried
nose to rudder, as otter Twenty-ve years ago, this SIGNS OF LIFE about me using a torch, but she
Photos: Philip Hartley, Simon Cooper, Getty

acionados like to call the tail. walk would have been It doesnt take long for us to neednt have been. As long as it
As we turn downriver o the pointless. The English otter come across the rst signs. is used discreetly, the bright
well-trodden Test Way, the population was on the brink of Otters are a great help to light wont spook otters; they
going gets tougher. The cattle extinction after half a century anyone who wishes to track are notoriously short-sighted.
havent made it easy for us. You of agricultural chemicals them as they are creatures of However, we both keep really
need well-tted wellingtons for leaching into the rivers and habit and follow the same quiet and talk only in whispers
the boot-engulng mires, an polluting the food chain. routes, travelling as much on otters have acute hearing. 77
Otter expert and sherman Simon half swimming, half wading
Cooper gets close to Topaz the otter through the shallow water,
at New Forest Wildlife Park in moving in that strange,
south-west Hampshire lolloping way that otters do as
their backs rise then fall with
each motion. Opposite us, he
or she, I cant tell which, pops
out of the water on to a grassy
promontory. Like a cat, the
otter busily grooms its fur and
paws. After a few minutes,
it stops, head still, nose
twitching, one half-groomed
leg poised in the air.

Whether the otter caught wind
of our scent, or the rising sun
reminded it of the daytime
safety of its holt, I dont know,
but with one uid movement, it
Similarly, I dont worry about o
nding their regular routes gradually fades to nothing. had disappeared into the river.
the sound of our squelching and hoping your paths cross. A barn owl takes a last turn Retracing our steps in the
feet these creatures are above the common in search light of the morning, thoughts
used to the cattle creating a A BURST OF LIFE of unwary prey. And then of the early start vanished as
similar commotion. In all likelihood, youll hear an suddenly, from somewhere we revelled in the magic of
Our progress is slow, but otter before you see one, so upriver, there comes a raspy what we had just witnessed.
deliberately so because we mostly wait and listen. The cough. I signal to Imogen to
otters, whether they are a lone ancient sedge grass tussocks keep quiet, motioning towards
dog (male) or a mother with make comfortable seats as the river as the cough gives Simon Coopers The
pups, travel many miles in a we watch the sky turn from way to splashing. Otters Tale explores
night. Chasing them down is a gunmetal grey to pinkish All of a sudden, this sleek, the behaviour of otters
pointless aaair. You are better silver dawn is here. The rain dark, wet creature appears through the seasons.



1 TO THE RIVER minutes you pass two ponds,
Drive to Joys Lane in both popular with otters.
Chilbolton and leave your car
in the free car park. Follow the 4 PASSING THE TEST
Test Valley Way through the Continue north-east along the
common until you cross the path, keeping the river to your
footbridge over the River Test. left before re-joining the Test
Way at a footbridge. 5
Turn left along the bank of the 5 BOG UNDER FOOT 2
river, walking downstream for Return towards the car park
Photos: Simon Cooper, Alamy, Getty / iStock

350m to the edge of the and re-cross the footbridge,

common. This is prime otter turning right downstream to 1
territory, so be alert. explore the opposite bank of 3
the River Test. The going is
3 A PAIR OF PONDS often boggy, so wellingtons are DOWNLOAD
Turn right away from the river essential. This is a 1.5 mile walk,
along the path. After a few so be sure to take your time.



How to use the
ViewRanger app

Weve partnered up with

For the chance to see otters from the water, join a This remote ancient woodland on the banks of the online walking routes.
Norfolk Wildlife Trust boat trip and explore the River River Lune is described by the Lancashire Wildlife
Bure valley. Marsh harriers and kingshers can also Trust as a hotspot for otters. If you would like to access a
be seen. route using your smartphone or
tablet, heres what to do:

1. Download a QR code reader

from your app shop on your
device. Where you see this icon
you can use ViewRanger.


This 180-mile trail follows the journey of the Join the International Otter Survival Fund on the 2. Open the app on your device
eponymous otter from Henry Williamsons classic Isle of Skye and learn how to track and spot and hold your phone above the
book Tarka the Otterr. Passing a number of water otters in their natural habitat. There are regular printed QR code. It then does all
bodies between Exmoor and Dartmoor, keep a look trips for small groups or individuals running the work!
out for a huge variety of wildlife. between Monday and Friday.

3. The app will take you

through to this walk in the
ViewRanger app, so that you
can carry the route around with
you in your pocket.
And youre ready to go!
MARSHES, PEMBROKESHIRE Northern Ireland has one of the healthiest
This wetland reserve sits on the banks of the River populations of otters in the UK, both inland and
Tei in Wales. With a hide set in the middle of the along the coastline. Strangford Lough, an
wetlands, its a great place to see otters. extensive National Trust property, is one of the best places to see them.
wildlife-centre 79
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WALK: Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire

Drew Buckley roams the south-west shoreline of Wales with his camera
in tow, discovering clitop
wildowers, diving gannets and basking seals

Wooltack Point is home to an array of animals,

including the oystercatcher its striking red bill is
used for breaking into shellsh such as cockles

ne of the nest 4 LAND ADRIFT


stretches on the 5.5 MILES | 3.5 HOURS Further along the coast at the
Pembrokeshire Deer Park, gaze across the
coastline, the Marloes turquoise seas towards the
Peninsula takes in a long 5 island of Skomer In spring, this
sandy beach, dramatic refuge becomes home to a
rock formations and
4 large colony of nesting puns.
of wildowers.
Charismatic choughs whirl 5 FLYING FINISH
through the air, kestrels At Wooltack Point, admire the
hover and, out at sea, grey 1 acrobatic choughs, stonechats
seals and porpoises play and peregrines, then follow the
alongside diving gannets. 3 2 coast path back to the start.
Photo tip
Unlike most of the 186-mile For the best contrast in your
Pembrokeshire Coast Path, photos, keep the sun on your
this section of the trail is stony outcrops and rock- 3 SHIPWRECKED left or right. Side lighting
relatively at. Start at the pools that brim with life. Keep From your vantage point, maximises depth, captures
National Trust car park an eye on the tide times as youll be able to see a small details in highlights and
accessible by local bus then access to the beach is limited. bay, Albion Sands, named shadows and helps to keep a
head south to Marloes Sands. Heading north, your clitop
after the Albion steamboat balanced exposure throughout.
journey ourishes with insects that ran aground in nearby
2 CLIFFS IN BLOOM and wildowers look out Jack Sound in 1837. Parts of Drew Buckley
This mile-long curved stretch for thrift, scabius, heather, the ships engines still remain is an award-winning
Photos: Drew Buckley

of golden sand, backed by tall sea campion, ox eye daisies, today and can be seen poking landscape and wildlife
sandstone clis,
is dotted with gorse and many more. from the sand at low tide. photographer. 81
Photographic encounters with bearded
tits are always memorable this individual
was a real show o as he swayed to
and fro on a reed in the breeze

WALK: Cley and Salthouse Marshes, Norfolk

Reedbeds and grazing marshes are the ideal habitat for photographing bird life, says David Tipling
ay is a great month and wherever you look the harriers. Their high-pitched territorial displays, or song

M for spotting birds,

making it a window
of opportunity for wildlife
wetlands teem with life.

cries may alert you to the
male as he calls the female
from above. Dropping his prey
ights, will oer a tricky
photographic challenge. The
next stop is Babcock Hide
photographers. For me, Collect a permit from the towards the nest, she will often overlooking Watling Water.
there are few places better visitor centre next to the car catch the meal in an impressive Avocets may be breeding here,
than Cley and Salthouse park, before setting out on this show of mid-air acrobatics. but also keep an eye out for
Marshes in Norfolk. Swaying at but often muddy circular migrant waders.
grasses hum with the song walk. Just a few steps away 2 SONG FLIGHTING
of reed and sedge warblers, is Bishop Hide, my favourite Back on the path, the grazing 3 BIRDS ON THE BEACH
while noisy avocets rear spot at Cley Marshes for marsh on your left supports Leaving the hide, turn left
Photos: David Tipling

newborn chicks on the photography. Out across the breeding wading birds such towards the sea. The many
muddy ground. This is scrape (muddy depression) as lapwings. Look for little dykes here can be good for
an arrival and departure avocets will be conspicuous. egrets in the dykes and sedge photographing patrolling
lounge for migrating birds, Scan the reeds for marsh warblers in the reeds their dragonies. For a longer all-day


walk, continue towards

Salthouse where the infamous
Cookies Crab shop will be hard
to resist for lunch. On the
beach, I sometimes linger to
capture passing sandwich
terns or perhaps a migrant
whinchat or wheatear along
the fence. The sea pools on
your left often buzz with birds,
while yellow-horned poppies
provide a colourful foreground
for landscape shots.


The path soon reaches the ABOVE Cley Marshes designated as a nature reserve in 1926 is Norfolk Wildlife Trusts oldest reserve
northern end of East Bank. For BELOW A barn owl hovers above the grazing marshes using hearing as much as sight to locate its prey
a worthwhile detour, head
inland along the embankment.
Singing reed warblers can be
photographed from the path
and bearded reedlings give
away their location with noisy
ping calls. Return to the beach
and continue to West Bank,
which oers great views of
the photogenic 18th-century
Cley Mill. Turn left and follow
Beach Road inland.


The last stop is the Daukes
Hide complex a collection of
three bird shelters. The rare
garganey and migrating rus
may be on show. Reed buntings
can often be seen from the
boardwalks, while at dawn and THE ROUTE IN ASSOCIATION WITH
dusk barn owls hunt over the 4.5 MILES | 3 HOURS
grazing marsh. Back at the
visitor centre, relax with coee
and cake on the viewing deck.

Photo tip
For close bird encounters, take 4
advantage of the hides. Do not
ignore the landscape: it may be
at, but the big skies, reeds and 3
pools oer bags of photographic
potential. Be patient and wait for 5
the birds to come within range
before taking your shot.
David Tipling
is a wildlife
photographer and
author who lives on
the Norfolk coast. 83
ldlife oer so much m
Wi ore
Ar ! Expert Advice

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DAY OUT: Formby and the Sefton Coast, Merseyside

From scampering red squirrels to miles of empty beaches, the Merseyside
coast is a photographers playground, says Craig Easton

pring in Formby means dont appear to be frightened of light, youll need a long lens, high Watch for sculptor Antony

S asparagus, sun-struck
sand dunes and deep,
dark pine forests. The National
Trust-owned woods are also
human beings, and often venture
down to the ground. Dawn is the
best time to spot them, and its not
uncommon to see the rodents
ISO, quick reactions and patience.
Though many visitors come to
this area for the squirrels, I love
leaving the forest for the beach. In
Gormleys Another Place 100
cast iron gures facing out to sea.
And in May and June, sample the
areas infamous asparagus while
one of the few habitats in scapper across the path in front of spring, the contrast between the walking the Asparagus Trail.
England where the native red you. The short Squirrel Walk (1/2 shade of the trees and the bright
squirrel can still be seen. mile) takes about 30 minutes, but dunes is scintillating. There are 21 Craig Easton
Running quickly from branch to often lasts much longer as you miles of the Sefton Coastal Path is known for his
branch in the tops of the trees, observe the squirrels funny little to explore, stretching north to dramatic landscape
Photo: Craig Easton

these usually elusive creatures habits. To photograph in this low Southport and south to Liverpool. work and portraits. 85
WALK: St Abbs Head, Berwickshire
Take your camera on to the coastal clis
of southern Scotland to capture thousands of nesting
seabirds, splashes of pink thrift and maybe even otters, says Laurie Campbell
Head downhill to the old jetty at
the shoreline. At low tide, vast
kelp beds are revealed, their
fronds the perfect harbour for
marine animals. The clis
stretch on and on, full of wild
promise that inspires
exploration. But for now, head
south to Mire Loch, stopping to
smell the wild thyme and wood
sage, and keeping an eye out
for signs of otters and badgers.


Follow the path along the
eastern side of the loch.
Theres a sense of tranquillity
here, enhanced by the songs of
warblers and the scent of
This picture was taken in May, early in the breeding
gorse. A world away from the
season. After a period of courting, the pair of fulmars
settled on a sheltered ledge on the sea cli noisy clitops, its a place for
close-ups: cowslips, early
purple orchids, maybe a
aucous seabird the road, turn left and follow the sandwort. The pink splashes of stonechat or green-veined

R colonies, ancient
grassland rich in
rare plants and butteries, a
path through deciduous
woodland up to a viewpoint.

thrift are very photogenic
against a backdrop of blue sea.

white buttery resting on a
cuckoo ower. Later in the
summer, the rare northern
sheltered freshwater lake brown argus buttery feeds on
with wildfowl and dragonies Here you will gain your rst Beyond the lighthouse, the abundant rock rose. Its one of
theres so much to discover sight of the seabird city. Pause clis form an amphitheatre and the many reasons to return, as
at St Abbs Head. to take in the headland covered the noise of thousands of you follow the path uphill, then
Winter light can be great for with kittiwakes, fulmars and screeching seabirds hits you back along the road to the
photography, highlighting the guillemots. Then take the path like a physical force. The visitor centre and tea room.
contrast between the heading north, climbing kittiwakes are particularly loud.
peninsulas red rock and the gradually uphill towards The remains of volcanic Photo tip
stormy North Sea, yet it feels the lighthouse and foghorn eruptions form enormous Focus on fulmars: These
eerily empty without the of St Abbs Head. oshore rock stacks, their tops tubenose seabirds, related to
seabirds. By early summer, packed tight with guillemots. the albatross, are an ideal
however, they are back in force 3 LIGHTHOUSE HILL Look closely and youll see species for improving your ight
and the headland is throbbing Its hard to take your eyes o razorbills among them. On photography skills. They are
with life. May is an ideal time for the seascape to the right, but windy days, fulmars hang in predictable, so watch closely
photographing the spectacular the grassland at your feet is the air like kestrels. This is the and anticipate their behaviour
vistas and delicate details. ancient, unimproved and place to photograph seabirds. to help plan your photo.
exceptionally rich in plant and They arent as accessible as
1 OFF TO THE VIEWPOINT insect life. Look out for the on the Farne Islands, but the
Start and nish at the National nest-mounds of yellow grandeur of the setting shows Laurie Campbell
Trust for Scotland visitor meadow ants, owers of purple the birds in context. Stay as has dedicated over 35
centre just west of the shing milk vetch and, by late May, long as you need to catch years to photographing
village of St Abbs. Walk down the little white stars of sea every available light. the Scottish landscape.



This dumpy little bird has a
5 4 russet chest that is brighter in
males. It loves to perch on
gorse and is named for its
sharp call, which sounds like
OTTER stones knocking together.
Scotland is a stronghold for
this solitary mammal. As
many live on the coast, they 6
are often called sea otters but 3
are, in fact, the same as the
inland freshwater species.

Astragalus danicuss is a
low-growing perennial that
favours the north-eastern
coast of Britain. Its racemes of
pea-like blueish purple owers
bloom in June and July.

Widespread throughout the
British Isles, this buttery
likes damp, grassy places,
much like the cuckooower, FULMAR
one of its favourite foods. Swooping low over the waves
and nesting high up on cli
ledges, the fulmar rarely
Photos: Laurie Campbell

strays far from the coast.

To deter predators, chicks
projectile vomit a smelly oil. 87
WALK: Marlpit Hill, Kent
Sarah Medway trains her lens on secretive deer and gamboling lambs in bluebell woods and pasture
his short circular The walk briey pops out THE ROUTE

walk begins in Marlpit onto Pootings Road, east of 3.5 MILES | 2.5 HOURS
Hill on the northern the village of Pootings, before
edge of Edenbridge, Kent. returning to farmland.
Once at the heart of the As you pass alongside a 3
medieval Wealden iron stream and an enchanting
industry, the area is now woodland shaw of hazel and
tranquil farmland. Discover birch trees, look out for deer 2
babbling brooks, tributaries a great photo opportunity. DOWNLOAD
of the River Eden, ancient 5 4
bluebell woods and the site 3 THE UNLUCKY MANOR
of a Saxon manor. Head through a stile that leads 1
to a eld bordering Broxham
1 SWANNING AROUND Woods. With the trees on your
The walk starts on Swan left, follow until a footbridge
Lane, near Marlpit Hill crosses into this ancient 4 NO CHEESE PLEASE
allotments, passing through woodland, which is carpeted The walk meanders through Photo tip
the original swan-topped brick with bluebells in spring. arable farmland and scattered A wide-angle lens will make the
pillars of Swan Lane Farm. On leaving the woods, take ponds, rich with Wealden clay most of capturing bluebell
In spring, look for frolicking the footbridge and turn and blooms of cuckoo ower. landscapes. In spring, the leafy
lambs in the elds, before immediately left, following the Listen for mewing buzzards woodland canopy may restrict
the light, making your camera
crossing a tributary of the hedge line to the driveway of and the high-pitched little bit
exposures longer. Use a
River Eden at a turnstile. Broxham Mano of bread with no cheese song portable, lightweight tripod to
The restored moat on the of yellowhammers. eliminate camera shake.
2 MAGICAL WOODLAND left is all that remains of the
Turn left after the kissing gate 13th-century manorhouse that 5 KISSING GOODBYE
and follow a pleasant line of twice burned down. As the site The walk continues through Sarah Medway is an
oak trees through elds of was considered unlucky, the another bluebell wood and outdoor photojournalist
arable farmland, interwoven house was eventually rebuilt stream before coming to an who loves exploring Kent
with streams and brooks. opposite it in the 18th century. end at the kissing gate. and the south coast.

A tripod and wide-angle lens

Photo: Sarah Medway

helped capture this misty dawn

over the pasture of Marlpit Hill

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WALK: Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall With the thrift forming a beautiful
pink carpet in my foreground, I waited

FOCUSING ON for the golden light of the setting sun

to bathe the Cornish coast

Wildowers provide the perfect foreground for a
sunset over the sea, says Ross Hoddinott
ornwall is home to A SHIFT OF LIGHT

C some of the most

impressive coastline
found anywhere in Europe.
When in bloom, sea pinks
provide a colourful and
interesting foreground to
Rugged, wild and imposing, wide-angle views of the coast.
Bedruthan Steps in the A focal length in the region of
countrys north is the 16-35mm works well, allowing
jewel in the crown. you to capture the owers in
This craggy section of coast context with the landscape
is easily accessible from that surrounds them. Crouch
Newquay. Begin at the National down among the clumps of
Trust-run Carnewas car park thrift and ll your foreground
where there is a cafe and with pink. Stay safe, though,
toilets. From here, join the and avoid getting too close to
coast path and walk north. the edge of the cli.
This is a location best shot
STEP INTO THE PICTURE just before sunset, when warm
Many of the clis around light bathes the clis. Wander
Bedruthan Steps exceed 70m, along the coast path and look
gifting far-reaching and for a good vantage point you
spectacular views along the dont need to go far. Enjoy the
Cornish coast. In stormy sound of the waves lapping
weather, massive waves crash against the rocks below and
against large sea stacks that wait for the light to turn golden
rise from the beach below. as it dips towards the horizon.
While at low water, a broad
and inviting beach is revealed
during spring and summer
the sands can be accessed
by a steep staircase.
This is a great place to walk
and the perfect environment to
spot wildlife. Look for common
lizards basking on walls and Photo tip
fence posts, while stonechats If you wish to take frame-lling
nest among the gorse, and close-ups of basking lizards, or
kestrels and peregrines patrol the coastal ora, try using a
the sky. Bedruthan Steps is close-up lter/diopter, an
synonymous with spring inexpensive attachment that
owers, making May one of the improves focus on your lens.
Lizards are very sensitive, so
best times of year to visit the
move into position slowly.
area. Thrift, one of the most
dominant owers, carpets
large swathes of the cli tops. Ross Hoddinott
Nicknamed sea pinks, these is one of the UKs leading
Photos: Ross Hoddinott

densely packed plants are wildlife and landscape

hugely photogenic. photographers.




Learn the secrets of nature
photography with one of these 6

six fantastic British wildlife 5 3

workshops, says Sian Lewis

Otters Red Deer Bradgate Park,

1 Argyll and Bute, Scotland 4 Leicestershire
Ever seen stunning photos of
2 elusive wildlife sighting. Unless,
of course, you have the help of
stags rutting against a golden
dawn and wished they were
Philip Price of Loch Visions. your own? Natures Lens cant
Hell give you a rundown of their guarantee the sunshine, but
behaviour and how to track they can teach you everything
them, before teaching you the else about photographing red
art of capturing the charismatic deer join a workshop this
beasties as they frolic in October as the rut begins.
the lochs of Argyll and Bute. 325 for a weekend workshop.
199 for a weekend workshop.

2 Puns Farne Islands,

5 Skomer, Pembrokeshire
Snorkel on the waves at the
Playful puns are one of our Skomer Marine Conservation
favourite birds, and theres Zone, Pembrokeshire. Andy
nowhere better to see them Davies teaches you how to
than the rugged Farne Islands, take great photos of everything
Northumberland. Up to 70,000 from jewel-like anemones
puns nest here in the summer to inquisitive grey seals.
snap these charming birds 220 for a weekend workshop.
up close with a Photographers
on Safari workshop.
Birds of Prey
89 for a full-day workshop 6 Welshpool, Powys
Falconers with trained barn
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3 3 Avon, Warwickshire
If the beautiful minutiae of the
owls, long-eared owls and other
birds of prey are on hand to
help instructors Mark Sisson
animal world are your thing, sign and Danny Green teach the
up to Wild Arenas buttery basics of shooting captivating
workshop for an introduction to portraits of these majestic
macro photography. Capture birds in stunning settings.
some of the 250 species that it 99-140 for a full-day workshop.
about the Stratford Buttery
Farm and learn to use dierent

lenses to immortalise their Sian Lewis favourite
delicate colours. This course is moment behind the
suitable for wheelchair users. lens was meeting the
99 for a full-day workshop. Farne Islands adorable resident puns.


Photos Getty, Alamy, Andy Davies

5 6 93

Support our latest appeal at



with the code mammal10 02380010982

For evidence-based conservation

Share your best photos of the British countryside with us and you could see your image
in print or online and win a great prize. Send your images to Your Photos, BBC Countryle Magazine,
Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol BS1 3BN or email

of the


By: Ashley Hemsley By: Julia Amies
Where: Cow Gap, Sussex Where: Winsford,
While on a walk near Somerset
Beachy Head, I noticed a Up close and inside the
beautiful reection as the seed head of an old
tides slowly began to fall. dandelion. The hidden
I set up my camera on one kingdom, as I like to call it, is
of many rockpools to try a fascinating and beautiful
to capture the beauty new world that, without the
unfolding in front of me. This aid of a macro lens or
was taken mid-afternoon, magnifying glass, we would
as the sun was shining just otherwise overlook.
out of frame.

THE PRIZE This months winner receives an Aquapac 100% Waterproof Camera Case, ideal for protecting your
compact camera while at the beach and even underwater. Waterproof and sand-proof, the TPU optically clear LENZFLEX
lens window also allows you to take high quality photographs, no matter how wet the conditions. Comes with adjustable
neckcord. 95
By: Keith Powditch
Where: Ashdown House,
Berkshire Downs
Ashdown House is ever
peaceful, a National Trust
hidden gem. It looks to me
at its most imposing in
winter, with a crisp frost and
low early morning sun
backlighting the scene.

By: Tricia Brown
Where: Buachaille Etive
Mr, Glen Coe, Scotland
After a heavy overnight
snowfall, I woke to a lovely,
very frosty morning and
headed to Glen Coe where I
managed to get some lovely
photos with the new snow.


By: Andrew Fletcher By: John Dear By: Tony Preston
Where: Reeth, Swaledale Where: Trent Lock, Where: Bolderwood,
A hard frost was forecast so Derbyshire New Forest
I drove here in the dark and I took this in winter at Bolderwood is a terric
waited for rst light. This the spot where the River place for deer. I had only
spot looks towards Calver Trent, River Soar, Erewash been there 10 minutes when
Hill and the River Swale can canal and Craneet canals the gorgeous one came up
just be seen at the bottom meet, forming a border to me as if to say please
of the photo. I love the between Nottinghamshire, photograph me; I am the
shapes of the drystone walls Leicestershire and greatest. And he is.
and patchwork of elds. Derbyshire.


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David Troughton plays struggling

dairy farmer Aubrey in The Levelling

Dont miss this powerful family drama set on a Somerset farm after the recent oods
THE LEVELLING Troughton) soldiers on relentlessly, are presented without fanfare or
WRITER/DIRECTOR: HOPE DICKSON LEACH refusing to discuss the circumstances romanticisation. All the while the
MAY 12 RELEASE, NATIONWIDE surrounding Harrys death. landscape seems in mourning dreary,
As Clover struggles to piece both the sodden yet frequently spectacular.
A beautiful and brooding drama set in events of that evening and the farm back Deft direction, powerful performances
Somerset in the aftermath of the 2014 together, the demanding reality of farming and striking cinematography combine to
oods. Clover (Ellie Kendrick) returns life is depicted in detail the grinding create an atmospheric and excellent
home following the death of her brother mud, the mechanisation, the sacrices drama about farming and family in Britain
Harry to discover the family farm in required for survival. The challenges of today. Its a tremendous debut from
disarray. Her alcoholic and emotionally managing a dairy herd in a climate of writer-director Hope Dickson Leach.
unavailable father Aubrey (David depreciating milk prices and bovine TB Maria Hodson, production editor 99
fears rekindle that the softened
Book distinction between north and south will
of the reset as a hard divide. The ostensible
month mission is to compile a map of the
border and its associated features and
the book does include maps of a
suitably idiosyncratic nature. For
instance, Barry McGuigans route to
rst club shares a cartographic spread
with sketched roadblocks and
observation towers marked OB the
authors acronym for military features
related to Operation Banner.
But this book is less about
mapmaking than the dualities inherent
in a border journey. Its like reading two
A lorry is searched on the border of parallel versions of the same story, and
Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State, 1925 goes well beyond the obvious North/
South, Protestant/Catholic dualities.
Estates are paired with bungalows;
BOOK biographical life-lines will all provide landlords with tenants; soldiers with
THE RULE OF THE stories aplenty, not least because they civilians. A passage about the
LAND: WALKING are conduits of human connections; agreement that re-opened border
IRELANDS BORDER conductors of compelling themes. crossings explores the ingenious word
GARRETT CARR But borderlines exist to interrupt pairings peace process, weighted
FABER & FABER, 13.99 human narratives. They are ruled to majority, power sharing and more
divide. So a book about a border walk that helped to nd common ground
Landscapes are inscribed with many has to work on the weak links: the gaps between two sides imprisoned by
kinds of lines suitable for adoption by and irregularities where topography polarities. This is a poignant, funny,
peripatetic scribes. Watersheds and and borderers outwit political history. memorable read, layered with ideas.
rivers, A-roads, coastlines and The Rule of the Land d appears as Nicholas Crane, BBC presenter


Director Guy Ritchie presents the story

of King Arthur as an all-action,
st-pumping blockbuster, with an
A-list cast and graphic wizardry. CHILDRENS BOOK livelihood and shelter.
Forget lutes, braids and whimsical tales. IT STARTS Children can spot a plethora of
This is a rough and gritty Arthurian WITH A SEED wildlife in its leaves, on the ground, and
adventure of blood and stone, steel WRITTEN BY LAURA KNOWLES, burrowing beneath its roots through the
and violence, starring Charlie Hannam, ILLUSTRATED BY JENNIE WEBBER seasons all the usual suspects are
Jude Law and Eric Bana. PUBLISHED BY WORDS & PICTURES 12.99 here: foxes, rabbits, birds, butteries.
The use of the word arboreal in the
Its never too soon to start getting text, by far the trickiest word here,
children enthusiastic about nature. reects the books factual realism it
Through charming, gentle rhyme and doesnt patronise while explaining the
lovely illustration, this story of how a tiny trees importance within our delicate
sycamore seed becomes a magnicent ecosystem to its young readers.
tree will surely start weaving its magic in This book is a treasure for budding
young minds. Its a genuinely delightful naturalists, and one that grown-ups
book about the life cycle of a tree, and wont tire of endlessly re-reading.
of the animals that rely on it for their Rachael Stiles


7 May In this compilation programme
The Yorkshire Wolds Wayy airs on BBC Two in June. Here, presenter
focusing on tales from the riverbank, Paul Rose reveals why he loves this particular walking route
Ellie Harrison looks at various
conservation projects and classic Q: You have walked several of Hockney painting, learned how to y a
footage of elvers (baby eels), giant Britains long-distant paths what glider, caught moths using Victorian
otters, the bullrush harvest and makes the Yorkshire Wolds Way methods. I camped at Bempton Clis
a bat safari. distinct and special? with a few hundred sheep and enjoyed
A: I spend my life working in the worlds a cuppa and cake with the locals at
14 May Countrylee heads east to most remote and challenging Thixendale There was so much to do!
Suolk to catch up with the Wildlife environments. I love the truly wild places
Trusts campaign to create a vast and am willing to pay the physical and Q: Did you encounter any challenges
new nature reserve in the Broads emotional cost of those huge journeys. on the walk?
National Park, which would be the Typically when I am home in England I A: I was gripped by riding the penny
biggest land purchase in the charitys still nd myself looking for physically farthing. The seat is nose high, the
55-year history. demanding activities big walks, runs, pedals are xed to the front axle so
bike rides, canoeing and climbing. But when I pedalled I found that I was in a
21 May The team are in the Clyde when I walked the Wolds Way I instantly wrestling match with myself as I fought
Valley in Lanarkshire. It was once loved the sense of ease and peaceful the eect
of pushing the pedals into
known as the Fruit Basket of Scotland beauty. There is a beautiful surprise the steering. Sitting so high made me
with thriving orchards and large around every corner. Nobody was more feel that I would surely go over the
numbers of fruit growers. Countryle surprised than me that a walk this handlebars and there are no brakes!
examines its juicy history as well rewarding could be so easy. Im hooked!
as seeing how that heritage is being Q: What does country walking do for
kept alive. With any luck, it will all Q: What were your highlights? you personally?
be in full blossom. A: My absolute favourite moment was A: Country walking oers
so much
riding a vintage penny farthing. I loved it reward for a small amount of physical
so much that I bought one and I ride it and emotional eort
that it brings me a
every day! true state of plenitude. The movement,
GIFT BOOK Its hard to pick just a few highlights. I sense of pace, sights, sounds and
MINDFUL rowed across the Humber in a traditional smells with regular stops at those
THOUGHTS Humber gig, I re-created a David terric cafes bring my life in balance.

From epic long-distance walks to a

short stroll in your lunch break, walking
gives us chance to free the mind and
enables us to understand our place in
the world of nature, writes Buddhism
and Hinduism lecturer Adam Ford.
This beautifully illustrated pocket-sized
book encourages the walker to pause
for thought and simply be in the
moment. Ford explores how walking
can improve our mental health and
reects on how walking in natural
environments awakens our senses.
Ford also encourages walking for the
Photos: Getty, 2016 Warner Bros,

sake of walking as a way of

momentarily leaving the busyness of Explorer Paul Rose stayed closer to
daily life behind. home for his Yorkshire Wolds Way walk
Carys Matthews 101
As seen o
n Coun s
n Diarie DOG WALK

Steve Jenkinson, advisor to the Kennel Club and TV presenter, Jules Hudson
discussed the Microscopic Menaces inside dog poop. Leaving poop is very
angerous to sheep and cattle, costing farmers millions. Steve said When you
make it easy for people to do the right thing, it works! The Dicky Bag is an airtight,
lighttweight, soft, robust, neoprene portable bin, thats machine washable. The bag
attachees to you or the dog using the karabiner, belt loop or velcro strap. This month also
get a 6.550 shoulder/waist strap for free, use voucher code FREE-79 on our website.
You cant see it, you cant smell it, leaving your hands free to enjoy your Idyllic dog walk.
01637 874 849

Your countryside

Share your views and opinions by writing to us at:

Have your say, BBC Countryle Magazine, 9th Floor, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol BS1 3BN; or email,
Tweet us @CountryleMag or via Facebook
*We reserve the right to edit correspondence.
of the
What a stroke of luck. I have just
subscribed to BBC Countryle Magazine,
which coincided with our family adopting
a lovely black labrador from a rescue
home and my rst issue (March)
happened to be dog-themed.
RIVER RUIN FROM RUN OFF? Henry, our labrador, is middle-aged. He
I would like to know what Adam has a few health issues, some treatable,
Henson thinks about the large some sadly not. Although he has only
amounts of slurry that is spread on known us for a short while, he is totally
the land for dairy production. The loyal and loving. He adores his walks and
spread of liquidised slurry gets into the article by Gwen Bailey was most
all the water courses and many are useful as were the other doggie articles.
concerned about this pollution. Many years ago Barbara Woodhouse
Six miles of the river Tei have (dog trainer) famously stated there are However, I do see evidence of dog
been wiped out by an apparent no bad dogs, only bad owners. How true owners being irresponsible which angers
large discharge of slurry. Numbers that is. One of your readers, Jan me as it gives all of us a bad name.
of sea trout and salmon are 50% Bateman, mentions deer-chasing dogs John Gordon Williams, Blackpool
down on the river Towy. and bags of dog excrement in the
Our local river the Taf has been countryside. Since exercising Henry, Editor Fergus Collins replies:
hit much harder. Fishermen are I have discovered some lovely walks Im glad the March issue was so timely.
seeing salmon and sea trout crash locally and met many responsible dog Good luck with Henry. Youll nd more
in numbers. Looking in the water, owners who all pick up after their dog. dog-related articles on
we see a lack of invertebrates.
No hatches of y life any more, not
many dippers either; when in the
Marchs letter of the month wins a super-bright, rechargeable head torch worth
past they were always lots. No large
49.95. The Radiant 250 Rechargeable Headlamp from Nite Ize has a brilliant,
numbers of minnows and other sh 250-lumen beam and ve lighting modes, including a red bulb for night walks.
fry; therefore kingshers are no Charge the lithium polymer battery via USB in around two hours. For more
longer a common sight. information call 01539 721032 or go to
Natural Resources Wales might
consider nitrogen sensitive zones
but the NFU are already lobbying DOGS AND LIVESTOCK Act 1953 states Your dog must not
against this. I was disappointed that your dog worry (chase or attack) livestock
Farming is part and parcel of our walking tips article (March 2017) (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses
countryside but farmers have a failed to emphasize the law and poultry) on agricultural land,
responsibility to ensure this concerning dogs on farmland and so keep your dog on a lead around
pollution does not happen. around livestock, as the majority of livestock. As we are very close to
Keith Jones, dog walkers seem to be completely the start of lambing season and
Whitland, unaware of their legal obligation. most of the countryside is
Photos: Alamy

Carmarthenshire The Dogs (Protection Of Livestock) agricultural land and not a massive 103
Rise of the boar
I have just received my March issue and see a
picture of a wild boar piglet with a warning to
keep your distance. I have friends who walk in the
Forest of Dean and have been chased by wild
boar. This is a frightening experience and they
have considered carrying pepper spray for
protection. The boar can appear without
warning from undergrowth and become
aggressive. Their numbers have now grown and,
as there are no predators, will continue to do so.
Lets hope wolves wont be introduced by some
bright spark to control the boar.
Lesley Brewer, Newbury, Berkshire
Kevin Caster of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust replies:
Boar are massive beasts but, as with all wildlife, they wish to avoid conict
as its risky and a waste of energy. Often we may misread a situation and
perceive aggression when it is actually self-defence. There is of course a
chance someone could be hurt, in the same way cattle or even our own
Exmoor ponies could hurt someone, but its a risk we take to enjoy the
reality of a living forest. Boar numbers are managed and the population
level will settle but we will always be arguing about what that level should be.

country park, I think this is a when on walks in order to avoid road tax but are often involved in
serious omission. unpleasant confrontations with many more accidents than horse
Also, it would help to clarify that livestock and people. We have riders? Roads are not the
National Parks, such as the Lake published several articles on the issues prerogative of car drivers and we
District, Yorkshire Dales, surrounding dogs and farm animals should all be more tolerant of other
Snowdonia and so on are still and these can now be found at road users and their needs.
predominantly agricultural land. Heather Bland, via email
They are not country parks even
though they have park in the title! HORSES ON ROADS GREEN LIVING
Im a horse owner; my horses I could not believe the reply from B I was interested to read your piece
eld has a footpath running Chapman towards the Horses on about how we can be greener in the
through it. Most dog owners roads debate (February). I live in March issue, as I like to try to nd
crossing the eld dont seem to the beautiful Tyne Valley in ways of helping the environment.
understand their rights of access Northumberland, and although I would love to be completely
for themselves and their dogs not a horse rider myself, I do drive green like my sister, who runs a
begin and end on the footpath. a car and often meet horse riders smallholding in Wales with her
The rest of the eld is private while driving in the rural area. I partner and kids and even has
property, not a park for their dogs always slow down and give horse compost toilets. But, living in
to run loose and chase sticks and riders as wide a berth as possible. Surrey in a village, its not possible.
balls in because the horses were It is often the inconsiderate Saying that, it was reassuring to see
at the other end of the eld so I drivers who do not slow down who we do a lot of the things mentioned
thought it was safe. Its not safe alarm the horses and cause in the piece out of habit.
and its also illegal. accidents. B Chapman claims It was nice to see the issue being
Jo Stubbs, Nottingham horse riders should be banned highlighted and showed, with a little
from roads as they do not pay road bit of eort,
we can all do our bit.
Editor Fergus Collins replies: tax! Does he/she also extend this Keep up the good work.
Photos: Alamy

The article was about controlling dogs to bicycle riders who also dont pay Annette Palin, Surrey

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Spring walking kit
The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and its time to hit the trail!
Reviews Daniel Graham, Maria Hodson (MH), Carys Matthews (CM) and Joe Pontin (JP). Photography Steve Sayers


With many walking boots now priced at 160 or more, Daniel Graham tests three pairs that cost 130 or less


TEXAPORE MID W Keen, 119.99 Scarpa, 110
Jack Wolfskin, 130 00800 44 55 44 55, 0191 296 0212,
0800 965 37546,
Attractive and traditional-looking, these Lightweight, exible and relatively
A high-cut boot with a comprehensive mid-heightt boots are comfortable inexpensive, the Bora GTX is a great
tread, the mid-weight Altiplano Prime is from the moment they are put on, boot for newcomers to the trail. Secure
a great option for trekking in Britain particularly for a wide foot. The soft around the ankle and roomy around the
from the lowland paths of the Cotswolds ankle cu provides both support and toes, you will feel at home straight away,
and East Anglia to the rugged exibility, while the metatomical footbed especially on short walks in the
mountaintops of the Scottish Highlands. design cradles your arch and, along with countryside. A water-resistant suede
A cushioned hiking sole complements the dual compound rubber sole, reduces and Cordura upper combines with a
the highly breathable and fast-drying impact on the bottom of your foot. GoreTex lining g to allow your feet to
Circuliner lining, maximising comfort, Made from waterproof leatherr and breathe while remaining dry from
while the suede leather provides strong suede, with the addition of a downpours, and the Energy L outsole
durability. A series of metal hooks and waterproong membrane, wet weather gifts good traction and durability y for
eyelets span the length of the boot, will be kept at bay, while the hydrophobic when the way become muddy and wet.
meaning the laces can be tied rmly close mesh material that lines the inner Weighing a little over a kilogram per pair,
around your ankle, increasing support boot allows for breathability (in this mid cut boot is ideal for gentle trails,
and reducing the chances of injury. Like particularly hot weather, the padded though may also function as summer
many modern day hiking boots, the interior may induce a little sweating). footwear on slightly tougher terrains. To
Altiplano Primes can be worn straight The Wanderers are mid-range boots in keep you boots in good condition, Scarpa
from the shop, though it is advisable to many senses price, height, weight and recommend that you use their HS12
start with a few short walks before durability yet their impressive comfort proong, rubbing the cream into nicks
heading out for a long day in the hills. pushes them above other boots. and scus whenever they appear.

VERDICT Comfortable from the o this VERDICT Flexible and well padded, an VERDICT Light and unfussy, the perfect
is a hardy boot great for long days out. impressive boot for most British walks. entry level boot for undemanding trails.


FOR WALKERS Product of
Trovat T-Shirt
Mammut, 35 the month
An excellent technical
T for walkers, made from a Plan to roam the countryside with
a fabric designed to feel a tent on your back this summer?
dry even when you are
perspiring in warm
weather. MH. 01625

Keb Padded Hoodie

Fjllrven, 210
This lightweight, close-tting
jacket is comfortable and XENON UL 2 TENT
functional. Made of a durable FORCE 10, 300
polyester bre. 0046 854518688 This two-person tent replaces the
Zip O Pant, Haglfs, 1100 (Sweden), outstanding Nitro Lite 200. The
Stylish trousers with a layout is identical but F10 have
close t, in excellent, made some savings on materials,
bringing the cost down by a
stretchy Climatic fabric T3 Light Hiker socks whopping 150. At this new price an
that keeps your legs at a Lorpen, 16 excellent four-season tent
comfortable temperaturee. These ligghtweight and becomes much more a aordable
Zip o the lower half in hott breathab ble socks are but is it still up to scratch?
weather. JP. 0046 226 ideal for summer hikes. Well, it may not look ash, but the
670 70 (Sweden), haglofss. The blennd of bres Xenon UL 2 scores highly on almost
com/gb/en encouraages cooling, everything. Like its predecessor, it is
keeping your feet dry designed to withstand severe
and com mfortable. DG. weather and sailed unappable
through a long weekend of strong
winds and rain during my test.
It does show a slight gain of around
270g in weight but at 1.65kg, it is
still viable for solo ventures.
Zigzag weatherproof map And if there are two of you, there is
Yellow Publications, 7.99 plenty of space. The layout allows
Weatherproof card maps lots of headroom with a
printed in a concertina generous 1m or so between the two
format that makes them poles. The inner tent is 1.3m wide at
blissfully easy to consult the shoulders, plenty for a pair of
quickly when you are on the sleeping mats. Unlike many
move. JP. 01208 76106, backpacking tents, the porch is
yellowpublications co uk k genuinely big enough for two large
rucksacks. Finally, on a welcome
practical note, there are 10
good-sized pockets four on
either side and two in the ceiling.
Surge Jacket VERDICT: Light, strong, spacious,
Montane, 300 practical and good value, this
Walking in all weather excellent tent is an outstanding
conditions is comfortable in Womens Wilderness 60+15 choice for backpackers. JP.
this hardy yet lightweight Rucksack Berghaus, 140. More backpacking tents tested
mountain jacket. Incredibly Camping on the trail? This at
waterproof with breathable reelatively aordable pack has backpacking-tents
fabric, the adjustable hood all the rooom your need, and a
and hem help to ensure a comfortable harness to Go online For more detailed reviews
good t. CM. 01670 522 30, spread the load. JP,
P 0345 of these and other outdoor gear 607 2477, products, go to 109
Country puzzles

COUNTRYSIDE QUIZ answers at bottom of opposite page

c) Pin
d) Puing

9. Who wrote Ode to a

a) William Blake
b) John Keats
c) William Wordsworth
d) Philip Larkin

10. The Greek goddess Maia

was the mother of which
messenger god, who is also
the patron of herdsmen?
a) Zeus
b) Dionysus
c) Hermes
d) Prometheus
Unshorn pedigree Dalesbred yearling
rams make an impressive sight 11. Which song features the
lyrics: Its just a spring clean
1. Whats another name for a 3. A healthy dormouse 6. Which spiky shrub with for the May Queen.
yearling sheep that has not weighs about how much the Latin name Cragaegus a) Stairway to Heaven
yet been shorn? when it wakes up from monogyna is traditionally b) Fields of Gold
a) A gummer hibernation? known as May? c) Smoke on the Water
b) A hogget a) 5g a) Hawthorn d) Mull of Kintyre
c) A roo a) 20g b) Blackthorn
d) A broomie a) 40g b) Firethorn 12. What is the term for a
a) 50g d) Giant rhubarb private party of morris
2. When not in season in the dancers who are performing
UK, asparagus is usually 4. What did people nickname 7. Which of these will not be for fun, not to an audience?
imported from Peru, which is King Charles II after he lifted allowed in the gardens at this a) A brew
roughly how far away? the Puritans ban on May months Chelsea Flower b) A tinny
a) 2,000 miles Day? Show? c) A hop
b) 4,000 miles a) The Merry Monarch a) Bird tables d) An ale
c) 6,000 miles b) The Mad Monarch b) Marigolds
d) 8,000 miles c) The Mirthful Monarch c) Gnomes 13. What is it that sshakes
d) The May Monarch d) Children under 10 Shakespeares darling
buds of M May?
5. Who became the oldest 8. Puuns return to the a) Careeless
Briton to climb Everest in Far e Islands o the cuckoos
May 2009? Nortthumberland b) Rough
a) Chris Bonington coasst in May. What winnds
b) Ranulph Fiennes is the
e term for a c) Angel
c) Doug Scott baby y pun? brreath
d) George Mallory a) Pia d) Thankless
b) Puer


by Eddie James
1 Exchange a tapering riding 5 Carrot 10 Stag 11 Sable
whip (6) 12 Meon 13 Crooks
5 Canal features ... two odd 14 Roseland 15 Purslane
tracks (8) 17 Unripe 19 Inkpen 21
9 Berkshire town on Thames Nose ring 23 Sheep pen
Path in Datchet, once (4) 26 Rootle 27 Skua 28
10 Scottish resort to prohibit sh Churr 29 Rows 30
farm, initially (5) Radish 31 Orkneys.
11 Some corn or maize is the DOWN 2 Otterburn 3
average standard (4) Bugloss 4 Casts 6 Acers
2 Sullen but keen to incubate 7 Rambler 8 Thorn 9
eggs! (6) Aberdeen Angus 16 Awn
3 Use horn wildly to throw an 17 Ups 18 Pendle Way 20
equestrian (7) Piebald 22 Root-run 24
5 Clumps of grass knelt on in Hiker 25 Packs 26 Rarer.
church? (8)
17 A Lakeland fell in MARCH
Carmarthen? Absurd! (3,3) 29 Fertilizer ingredients plant 14 Town on Solent Way is ACROSS 8 Cream
19 Falkirks rst low-weight container has moved (6) somewhat marshy, then (5) 9 Frogspawn 10 Run
series of canal locks (6) 16 Grasp its a sort of crop grown 11 Weevils 12 Cur
21 Horse possibly hunts, etc. (8) DOWN between two main crops (5) 13 Fleeces 15 Thistle
23 Village on Thames Path Trail 2 Cautley Spout, say after wall 18 Canal walkers might get high 17 Green-ngered
produces roast, say, pork joint (7) collapsed (9) on these! (9) 22 Hackles 24 Cats ear
24 Disease a aecting sheep 3 Annual April endurance hike 20 Compost-lled container for 25 Ure 26 Conival 28 Tip
farmer nally involved in study on Dartmoor or in tents (3,4) e.g. greenhouse tomatoes (7) 29 Harvester 30 Manse.
(6) 4/8 Beastly thing associated 21 Pink-red meadow ower DOWN 1 Scarify 2
25 Underground part of plant with May Day a favourite topic main cop out (7) Reindeer 3 Smew 4
that burns brightly? (4) of conversation (5,5) 22 Shape of a da aodil ower Coniston 5 Isis 6 Radcot
26 Willow twig I put in rose 5 Protective parts of footwear and maybe bugle? (7) 7 Snorted 9 Flees 14
arrangement (5) stuck out impertinently? (7) 23/26 Milk container not Creel 16 Inert 18 Fastnet
27 Select ground-breaking tool (4) 6 Environmental organisation allowed? Rapidly produce large 19 Eventing 20 Choughs
28 After end of week, nothing starts to work with farmers (3) quantities! (5,3) 21 Crupper 23 Cherry 24
changes for Powys market town 7 I enter a dierent
equine racing 244 A surcingle? Parts reversed Covert 26 Chew 27
(8) venue (7) (5) Lamb.


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Editorial assistant Daniel Graham syndication Tim Hudson
Photos: Alamy

We abide by IPSOs rules and regulations. To give feedback about our magazines, please visit, email editorialcomplaints@ Jan-Dec 2015 or write to [the magazine editor] , Immediate Media Co., 9th Floor, Tower House, Fairfax St, Bristol BS1 3BN 43,879
ANSWERS: QUIZ: 1 b, 2 c, 3 b, 4 a 5 b, 6 a, 7 c, 8 d, 9 b, 10 c , 11 a, 12 d, 13 b 111


Cairngorm Lodges offer guests Character stone cottages set in
1 the choice of staying in a luxury 2 a secluded wooded valley on a 13
lodge secluded away in the Scots acre smallholding with woodland
pine forest, or in one overlooking walks and abundant wildlife.
a beautiful loch. With forest walks All cottages have picnic and
starting right at the lodge door barbecue areas, broadband
there is absolute freedom to enjoy access, and cosy woodburners.
a Scottish Highland Estate. The Ideally situated in an idyllic and
ultimate destination to explore peaceful location with stream, play
the spectacular scenery and area and resident farm animals.
wildlife of Royal Deeside Just 5 miles from Cardigan, and
and The Cairngorms picturesque sandy beaches.
National Park.

07583 436 040 01239 811564

Rich with history and a beautiful
30-acre setting, Petwood Hotel
was once the wartime officers
Pet Friendly
mess of the 617 Dam Busters
Squadron. Located in the heart of
Lincolnshire, the Petwood is an
ideal base for exploring the county
and its aviation heritage sites.
Visit the historic city of Lincoln,
discover the Lincolnshire Wolds
and charming market towns. 3 for
2 midweek special offer available
Whether you are planning a short weekend stay
Sunday to Thursday. or a long relaxing holiday, treat yourself and your
01526 352411
pet to one of these luxurious locations


Come and stay in beautiful

3 4
9 Dartmoor in one of our ve WANDERING AENGUS HARTSOP FOLD
character stone cottages. A
quiet location where you can TREKS Cumbria Penrith, Cumbria
walk straight onto the moors.

5 6
laundrette, secure bike storage,
dog kennel and wash off, secure
Cornwall AND COTTAGES Somerset
gardens, dog walk areas, freezer

7 8
for raw food, short and long THE LITTLE HAVEN HOTEL HEART OF THE LAKES
breaks. Ideal for discovering South Shields The Lake District
Devon and Cornwall.

01822 613360


With Heart of the Lakes, bringing The hotel has a choice of double,
8 your dog on holiday to the Lake 7 twin and accessible rooms, plus
District has never been easier. Not three bespoke Penthouses.
only can we nd you the perfect Uniquely situated in South Shields
place to stay, but we can also share at the gateway of the River Tyne
our own favourite dog walking and Little Haven Beach. Enjoy our
routes with you. From the majestic wining and dining experience in
Grizedale Forest to a gentle ramble the conservatory style restaurant
at Tarn Hows, these are just two of with its panoramic views. Our
our stunning outdoor areas made three varied function rooms meet
for exploring with your four-legged all your needs from business
friend. Visit our website to see our seminars to weddings.
collection of pet friendly cottages.
0191 455 4455
01539 432321


Specialists in self-guided walking
3 holidays in The Lake District and
the long distance footpaths of
northern England. Our holidays
range from three to 10 days and
we can tailor your itinerary to suit 1
your requirements perfect for
those who want to experience the
amazing landscape of our national
parks. We bring the personal
touch to a professional operation.

0169 747 8443 8

Discover 12 self-catering
4 Scandinavian-style holiday
cottages near Brotherswater and
Patterdale in Cumbria. An ideal
base for fell walking, sailing,
mountain biking, shing, pony
trekking and bird watching. Come This map is for illustrative purposes only
and explore the wildness and and is not intended to represent
isolation of nature, but return denitive scale and detail. 9
home to a warm and cosy lodge 5
and watch the stars and abundant
wildlife from your doorstep.


Come and stay in the beautiful, Book your next stay with us!
5 sheltered Fowey Estuary in
one of our quality cottages or Wake up To The Country!y
apartments. Explore the river,
secluded sandy coves and
wooded countryside. Relax and
enjoy the atmosphere in one
of the most beguiling seaside
locations in Cornwall. Out of
season short breaks available. Rural B&B
Call or email for details. Holiday Lets Farm Stays

01726 832965 Visit Glamping or call 02476 696909 for a free guide


A small four-star family-run site,
6 set in three acres of garden on the
boundary of the Exmoor national
park. Only 1.5 miles to the shops,
pubs and restaurants with the
beach beyond. Dogs welcome.
Lovely walks from our door and
the whole of the North Devon
Coast and Exmoor to explore.
Disabled Access. Free wi.

Over 280 throughout the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park,

01643 702789 Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire 01239 639 322
PERFECT FOR... Walks Coast Pets Wildlife

Do you seek luxury accommodation with many This Three Star, self catering cottage situated in Kett Country Cottages have 200 lovely B&B accommodation that is tasteful, quiet,
walks from your doorstep? Pattard is situated Cumbrias Eden Valley sleeps 4 persons, has an self catering cottages across north Norfolk. relaxing, and conveniently situated in Keswick
in an AONB with the South West Coast Path enclosed garden perfect for pets and includes Most take pets and all offer short breaks in the Lake District. Airy breakfast room with
situated within two miles. Three Barn off road parking. Guests can enjoy the tranquility and exible start days. Book a cottage a welcoming re and serving Full English/
conversions sleeping two to eight. Central of the countryside or seek out activities around and benet from our Discount Scheme continental/veggie breakfasts. All double/twin
heating and woodburner. Pets welcome. the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and the North giving you money off in many local pubs, rooms are en suite with large, comfortable beds
Good pubs within 10 mins walk. Pennine Area of Natural Beauty. shops and attractions. and coffee and tea in every room.
01237 441311 01603 279713 01328 887 570 017687 71017

Don't forget
T to mention

10% BBC Countryle
Escape to Dumfries & Galloway! Comfortable,
warm, well equipped lodges, surrounded by
Luxury holiday cottages in breathtaking,
changing scenery. 7 miles to award winning
Windermere, Patterdale and Glenridding.
when responding
forest. Wildlife and dark skies from the comfort
of your balcony. Sandyhills beach is just 400
beaches. 4 miles to golf links. Peaceful rural
retreat between the magnicent Heritage coast
We have nine holiday cottages, from a cosy
cottage for two to a Lakeland farmhouse sleeping
to adverts
yards walk. Open all year, any day of entry, with and Cheviot hills. Trip Advisor Certicate of eight. Two of the cottages are pet friendly and
3 day minimum. Indoor heated pool, sauna, Excellence. Complimentary cream tea. all are set in beautiful countryside locations with
boules, launderette, dog friendly bar, restaurant. Pets always welcome. footpaths from the door.
01387 780663 01668 215447 | 07715 700349 015394 45756


Luxury log cabins in the heart of the

Galloway countryside. Stunning sea
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True farm house B&B on a working farm in

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Short Breaks Available and Pets Welcome.

tel: 01463 719219



If youre looking for something useful, fashionable or just beautiful this spring,
here are some great ideas for your home and garden

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4 5 6

Add a touch of luxury to your next picnic. Stylish, soft and The Kadai Firebowl by Wilstone is a versatile re bowl and Its all about the shape! Healthy Back Bags have a unique
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Guided and self-guided walking holidays

Cruise the Monmouth and Brecon Canal,
for groups and individuals. Walking in the
Cotswolds, Exmoor, Somerset and Wiltshire.
Also Austria and Cyprus in the Spring and
Winter. No Single Supplement.
Tel: 01761 233807
Wa t e r s i d e
Self-catering cottages on the West Coast of Scotland
g the Brecon Beacons National Park. E:

The Tudor Arms

18th Century family
operated Free House
with adjacent B&B.
mile from the
Slimbridge Wildfowl
01873 830001 and Wetlands Trust. Slimbridge, Gloucester GL2 7BP
01453 890 306

Heron and Otter are self catering cottages situated on the

shores of Loch Ewe, amidst the dramatic scenery of
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01445 781482

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Close to C
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for sales/enquiries or FREE brochure call - 01423 500442

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Start your exciting astronomical adventure with Stargazing Live
magazine. Join the team on location Down Under, then begin to
unravel the mysteries of the Universe with our essential beginners
guides to exploring the night sky, the equipment youll need to get
started (surprisingly little) and how to observe the most
spectacular celestial sights awaiting you this spring.
Learn the basics of astronomy and the
night sky from the planets to galaxies,
constellations and mysterious nebulae

P 9.99
LU S P &P *

Continue your stargazing journey

with our easy-to-follow guides to the
equipment youll need and how to use it

What to spot this spring: from top Moon

sights and Jupiter at its brightest, to
a comet and two meteor showers

Alternatively call 0844 844 0254 and quote STLHA17
Calls will cost 7p per minute plus your telephone companys access charge. Lines are open 8am-8pm weekdays and 9am-1pm Saturday.
*Prices including postage are: 11.49 for all other UK residents, 12.99 for Europe and 13.49 for Rest of World. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.
Nobody knows a
destination like a local.

Book direct with our local experts in

46 destinations worldwide.
Next month
Dont miss your June issue on sale 12 May


Discover the history of some of Britains nest stately homes all set
in the dramatic landscapes of our oldest national park
Photos: Alamy, Paul Colley, Jason Ingram


How volunteers in Explore the freshwater world Inspiring recipes to make the
Monmouthshire are bringing with some of Britains nest most of your crops from the
life and colour to the elds sh photography glorious garden at Great Dixter 121
my c ou n t r ysi d e

Caroline Quentin
The actress and comedian discusses the joys of gardening, her fascination with
slow worms and the critical importance of our national parks

grew up in Reigate, Surrey during the Its very hard to pick a favourite place in

I 1960s. At the time and thanks to the

green belt still to this day, huge swathes
of Surrey are rural. Certainly as a child in
the early 60s, I always had access to
elds, commons and woodland.

I now live in mid-Devon. I love to walk

Britain. Its rather like being asked to choose
ones favourite child! The Helford River in
Cornwall, Mid Devon, where I live now, the
Sussex Downs and the Surrey Hills where
I grew up The north Norfolk coast and
the Suolk
coast, where my husband and
I spent the early days of our relationship
and am a keen birdwatcher. I also adore
swimming in the sea and in freshwater lakes As I grow older I spend more time writing.
or rivers. And Im a very keen gardener. Im currently writing a novel and for the past
four years Ive also written a regular column
The most beautiful natural sight that for Prima magazine. Whenever Im stuck for
I have ever seen in Britain has to be the inspiration, I put on my walking boots and
marshes at Walberswick in Suolk,
with head out on to Exmoor National Park.
an unseen bittern booming from its nest in
the reed beds. As president of the Campaign for
National Parks, my message to the public is
To me, the outdoors mean peace and get out there and make the most of our
healing, both physically and mentally.
The marsh beautiful national parks! They are national
assets, protected for all to enjoy. We need to
The ideal home, for me, is about
proximity to nature. A perfect house has a
shimmered with show people in power that we love national
parks and will continue to do so in the future.
view of either rolling hills or rolling waves,
birdsong and nights free from light pollution.
thousands of Oh, and by supporting the Campaign for
National Parks, of course!
cobwebs draped
When it comes to happiness, it seems My favourite outdoor kitt has to be my
that humans fall into two very distinct with dew drops Meindl Bhutan walking boots.
groups. There are those who love to be in
an urban environment and those who are shimmering in the morning light. I cried at the Spring is my favourite season. Buds, baby
happiest in the countryside. Im a country sheer beauty. birds, the acid green of unfurling leaves, and
person, even though much of my working the promise of longer warmer days ahead.
life is spent in cities. In an ideal world, all children would spend
50% of their lives outdoors. Climbing, If I had a magic wand I would make sure
To get away from it all, nothing beats riding, swimming, walking, cycling, playing that our national parks are protected and
being at home in Devon, in my greenhouse. games, laying hedges, building dry stone preserved for future generations, while
I LOVE GARDENING. Nothing makes me walls, watching nature and growing food, adapting to the demands of modern life.
happier than a day in the vegetable garden. learning about the natural world in the best
possible classroom the outdoors. So much of Britain is mysterious but I do
My most treasured memory of the nd parts of Wales particularly haunting.
outdoorss is of walking near Brancaster If I were a British wild animal, I would be Particularly the Gower.
Photo:Telegraph / Russel Sach 2016

Staithe in North Norfolk with my husband a slow worm. Not really a worm or a snake
and our then three-month-old daughter, but a limbless lizard, they are beautiful As for whether cream or jam goes rst
strapped to his chest. We came across creatures, basking in the sunlight, silky on a scone I have coeliac disease, so all
some marshland draped in thousands of smooth and metallic bronze, like ancient, scones in my life have to be gluten-free.
cobwebs, each strung with dozens of dew mythological serpents. They are a protected I dont care what goes on top rst as long as
drops millions of tiny diamond necklaces, species and I think they are fascinating. there is PLENTY of it!

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