The Big Forest Find, England Forestry England’s Big Forest Find is the country’s largest survey of forest wildlife. Volunteers can download the free iNaturalist app, then use it to take and upload photographs of animals and plants in their local forest, identifying the species they find. This can be anything from lichen and other fungi to birds, butterflies and mammals. These observations are verified by experts and added to national records on biodiversity. Accurate records help ecologists, scientists and rangers provide homes for wildlife and care for the forests. There are also expert-led activities, such as one in Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, on 5 October. The Big Forest Find is part of Forestry England’s centenary celebrations – the Forestry Commission was founded in 1919 to restore the nation’s woods and forests after the first world war, and is now focusing on preparing for the climate crisis. • Until 31 October, free, forestryengland.uk … [Read more...] about Good nature: citizen science trips and holidays in the UK
A fisherman’s hut in the Dordogne Kate Humble, TV presenter and author I’d been having cabin fantasies – I wanted to go off-grid, swim in a river, eat tomatoes and read books. I wanted to be Huckleberry Finn. We booked a rural place in the north of the Dordogne, did lots of walking and as it was cep (porcini) season, the local market was full of delicious mushrooms. Most visitors to France buy wine and some cheese to take home, but by the end of the week we’d found some land nearby for sale, with a little fisherman’s hut by a lake, surrounded by trees. This was almost 10 years ago, and the two-room cabin is now our little piece of eco-heaven. We used clay and straw to plaster the inside, and the wood for the staircase and the handcut chestnut roof shingles came from our land or our neighbour’s. It has a kitchen-living area, a bedroom under the eves, a terrace and a composting loo, but no telly or phone signal. There’s a shower with a solar pump … [Read more...] about Where environmentalists go on holiday
“Oh,” I say as we pull into a clearing off a dirt track. “It’s really small.” Which should not have come as a surprise, really – “it” being a tiny house and smallness being rather the point of it. But, as I checked my rear-view mirror to see my five-year-old unbuckled and silently trying to release her two-year-old sister from her car seat, I thought again: “That house is very small.” “This would be so nice without kids,” my partner says, quietly. The house sits dwarfed by eucalyptus trees on a rural property in Kangaroo Valley, two hours south of Sydney. Its large window, on the narrow front side, stares patiently west, waiting for the sunset over the small field of ferns which lay before more gumtrees and the escarpment on the horizon. There is nothing else and no one else within sight. It would be so nice without kids. Cheers from the back seat and the unmistakable sound of a small person trying to override a … [Read more...] about Tiny house holiday: can a family of four fit in a 15-square-metre space?
Helen France, (pictured) 46, from Rotherham claims the tenants destroyed her Alicante home A British mother has shared shocking images of the damage to her Spanish holiday home after claiming squatters have left her with £50k of debt. Helen France, 46, from Rotherham claims the tenants destroyed her Alicante home - throwing furniture out of the windows, breaking walls and flooring and racking up unpaid electricity bills of more than €250 per month. She also says after ignoring eviction notices the renters threatened to kill her and even left a knife wedged in the sofa as a warning to her. The kitchen was left destroyed with holes in the cupboards and pink graffiti sprayed up the walls and appliances. Since getting the property back, after the squatters were evicted through court, Helen's debt has continued to grow after losing over £10,000 on unpaid rent, bills and solicitor's fees. The home owner said 'the tenants from hell' made her … [Read more...] about British mother, 46, says ‘tenants from hell’ have destroyed her dream Spanish holiday home and left her £50k in debt
The Holiday Guru is always on call to answer your questions. This week a non-beach trip to Egypt and a query about visiting the Dead Sea are on the agenda... Q. I can't swim but I’ve heard you can float in the Dead Sea. How do I go there? Abi Adeboye, via email The waters of the Dead Sea, a salt lake bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, contain eight times as many minerals as seawater and are good for your skin A. It is a fabulous experience: the waters of the Dead Sea, a salt lake bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, contain eight times as many minerals as seawater and are good for your skin. A week, including flights, costs from £931pp B&B at the Movenpick Resort and Spa in Jordan (kuoni.co.uk). Q. My 60th birthday is on New Year’s Eve and I’d like to go somewhere hot and exotic with my grown-up daughters, but we’re struggling to find an adult-only, all-inclusive hotel. Our budget is £8,000-£10,000. Elaine Webster, … [Read more...] about Advice on a non-beach trip to Egypt and how to get to the Dead Sea: The Holiday Guru solves traveller queries