Can the contrast between Britain and Germany be more stark than when it comes to public nudity? I come across it on my cycling tour of Germany’s largest island, Rügen, almost as soon as I pedal across the bridge that connects it to the mainland and the elegant Baltic port of Stralsund. I’ve done just a few miles through shady woodlands and sleepy villages of quaint thatched cottages. There are cycle paths almost all the way and I’m enjoying myself. The sun comes out. In a lovely patch of forest, I swing off down an unmarked track. Who cares about directions? You can’t go wrong here, and I want to see the sea. I emerge by the water and take a coastal path that soon degenerates into a boulder field. I carry the bike to a beach that is a metre wide, and on it, basking magnificently, is a middle-aged man with a pot belly that is almost a metre deep and sun-ripened to walnut brown. Not a stitch on him. I pause, then edge past. There is no one else around. He is … [Read more...] about Nature trail: exploring Germany’s largest island
Which is britains largest national park
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman didn’t get a warm welcome in Golden Bay in December 1642 when, 375 years ago this week, he became the first European to make landfall in New Zealand. The craft he sent to shore to collect water was rammed by Maori waka, and four Dutchmen were killed. The islands remained unvisited by Europeans until Captain Cook’s expedition 130 years later; a half-century further on, the settlement of Nelson, 50km south of the bay, was up and running, becoming New Zealand’s second city after Christchurch by royal charter in 1858. Now a compact city of approximately 50,000 known for the good life (it has three neighbouring national parks), it’s also – as marked up on Botanical Hill – the country’s geographical dead centre. First encounter Borrowed by the nearby national park, as well as the administrative district in which it lies, the Tasman name is now receding into a historical hinterland, too. With a mere NZ$25,000 budgeted for … [Read more...] about Nelson in the spotlight: is a storm brewing in New Zealand’s boho bay?
A scheme by one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs to reforest the heart of England planted its millionth tree. Poet and publisher Felix Dennis said he was proud to have planted the first 10% of his ambitious vision. "I'm hoping that long after I'm dead that the charity I founded will one day be the proud possessor of 25,000 acres of woodland planted with 10 million native broadleafed trees, completely open to the public," he said. Dennis, founder of the eponymous publishing company who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year, planted an oak sapling at a ceremony attended by hundreds of local residents, council members, forestry officials and employees on Friday, and read aloud from one of his poems which contains the line: "Whosoever plants a tree/ Winks at immortality." The project, founded in 2011, is a partnership between Dennis and the Heart of England Forest charity, which aims to plant and preserve a large native broadleaf forest in South Warwickshire, stretching from … [Read more...] about Felix Dennis plants his millionth tree