Every spring and summer, thousands of pairs of puffins breed on Skomer Island, off the coast of Wales. One of the largest puffin colonies in southern Britain, these characterful seabirds, with their colourful beaks, can be watched ferrying fish catches to their young in nest burrows. One-hour Skomer cruises (£12/£8) leave from Martin’s Haven, but there are also day trips (£22/£12) including several hours on the island (book tickets on the day from Lockley Lodge up the hill from Martin’s Haven). … [Read more...] about The dancing cranes of West Sweden – a bucket list wildlife spectacle
Step by step 1 From the five-bar gate at the beginning of Butt Lane, walk steadily up towards Bignor Hill. Ignore the many left-hand tracks/turnings and either keep level or go upslope, and head straight or tend to the right. There will be trees or a hedge to your left, while to your right the view will frequently open out over fields. … [Read more...] about A walk with views through Slindon Estate, West Sussex
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire The second-largest crown forest in England after the New Forest (and once a royal hunting ground), the Forest of Dean has magical expanses of wild, ancient woodland. The Speech House Hotel is a 17th-century hideaway with 35 bedrooms (some with four-posters) and two restaurants. Forest walking trails start on the doorstep, it’s next to the Cyril Hart Arboretum, and the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail is close by, with art works hidden among the trees. The local tourist board has devised a Leaf Peeping drive guide, listing the hotspots for autumn foliage, while nature lovers can book wildlife “detective” Ed Drewitt for private safaris (up to six people, £100 for two hours or £200 full day).• Doubles from £57 room only, two-night Autumn Leaves Explorer package from £278 for two for half-board plus packed lunch or cream tea, thespeechhouse.co.uk … [Read more...] about Autumn leave: 20 great places to stay in the UK’s forests
It’s not every day you stumble across a gourmet Italian restaurant on the Trent and Mersey canal. Fast becoming known for its homemade pizzas (from £8.95), pastas (from £7.95) and risottos, seasonal menu, and a specially selected 100% Italian wine list, the pub uses local suppliers, and fresh fish is delivered daily. Dishes are beautifully presented by chef Mariusz Wójtowicz, often using home-grown herbs and edible flowers. The pub’s 200-year-old building used to operate as an inn and stables, and is a short walk from Lock House B&B.• thebridgeinnbranston.com … [Read more...] about Walking the National Forest Way: a stroll amid a transformed Midlands
While the debate continues over the use of advanced genetic and chemical crop-enhancers, technology is opening a whole new direction for food production, which will take farming away from the farm. Robotics and drones are reducing the need for humans to be on the land, while vertical farming, in which vegetables can be grown in sunless warehouses using LED lighting, gene editing and metagenics – the engineering of specific enzymes or proteins – are coming up with new definitions of food. According to a recent report by the thinktank RethinkX, within 15 years the rise of cell-based meat, which is made of animal cells grown in a bioreactor, will bankrupt the US’s huge beef industry, at the same time removing the need to grow soya and maize for feed. By 2035, the report predicts, an area a quarter of the size of the continental US “will be freed for other uses”. … [Read more...] about The end of farming?