Travel Hannah and Chico take the long way round Wales

How one travel-writer's innovative journey round the Welsh coast led to a starring role for her four-legged companion

Album: Macy Gray, The Sellout (Concord/Island)

While The Sellout represents an improvement on Macy Gray's last couple of albums, it still suffers much of the same frustrating patchiness, that distinctively emotive voice squandered on material that simply doesn't deserve it, like the nondescript ballad "Still Hurts" and the grim duet with Bobby Brown, "Real Love".

'Worrying' slump in tree planting prompts fears of deforestation

Planting of new trees has fallen to its lowest level in more than three decades across Britain, leading conservationists said yesterday.

Deadly tree disease spreads

A deadly tree and plant disease first found in the UK in 2002 has spread to Wales, the Forestry Commission said today.

Has a cure been found for Dutch Elm Disease?

As Paul King toured the English countryside in the 1980s going about his work as a contractor cutting down trees ravaged by Dutch Elm Disease, he was always struck by two specimens close to his Essex home which in the midst of the countrywide destruction remained untouched by the killer fungus.

Polluted by profit: Johann Hari on the real Climategate

Global warming - and the worst environmental disasters - will only be tackled when green lobbyists in the US stop taking cash from Big Oil and Big Coal

DVD: Where The Wild Things Are (PG)

The once pioneering Spike Jonze helms this glum, languid take on Maurice Sendak's exquisitely illustrated, but not exactly verbose, children's tale of Max, a rowdy boy who tames and then frolics ("Let the wild rumpus begin") with a tribe of lumbering "wild things" in a faraway land. The first 15 minutes, which outline Max's relationship with his single mum (the excellent Catherine Keener), his fertile imagination and his loneliness, are very affecting. But it all descends into therapy-speak and grumpiness ("Will you keep out the sadness?") the moment we encounter the wild things. A frustrating and rather dull film for children – and adults.

Growing concern for missing Bristol man

Police are growing "increasingly concerned" for the welfare of a missing Bristol man, and have appealed for the public's help in locating him.

Disease threatens to fell Britain's historic oak trees

The english oak, the quintessential native tree which saved a monarch and defines the British landscape, is under grave threat from a little-understood new disease that forestry experts fear is spreading far more rapidly across the country than previously estimated.

Celtic Grand Tour brought back to life

Walk of the Month: The Cambrian mountains: Created during the Napoleonic wars, the vast Hafod estate fell on hard times. But Mark Rowe finds its fortunes are being revived

10 Best: Lake District attractions

1 The National’s Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola celebrates 150 years of genteel cruising on Coniston Water in June (adults £15, children £7.50; nationaltrust.org.uk/gondola).

Wise owls cash in as vole population soars

The tawny owl population in one of the UK's largest forests is booming as a result of the harsh winter, a Forestry Commission expert said today.

Now Britain's oaks face killer disease

A new disease killing native oak trees could alter the British landscape even more than Dutch elm disease, woodland groups warned today as they called for more funding to tackle the problem.

'My 24-carat day out': How one woman became a modern poster girl for the ancient art of gold-panning

Wellington-booted feet planted deep into the riverbed, the current strong, and the nasty wind whipping around her ears, Daisy Thurkettle-Roper looks up and smiles. Oddly, the smile seems genuine, because despite the cold – and it is bloody freezing today – the woman appears to be enjoying herself. "Oh, but I am," she merrily insists. "It really is one of the most exciting things you can do, you know."

Mud on the tracks: Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire has a new World Cup trail for mountain bikers

It's early morning in the forest and I'm looking along a ridge where the mist-enshrined trees fade to a white light in the distance. It's beautiful, but I'm slightly distracted by the prospect of keeping my mountain bike upright on a fiendishly tricky trail that's weaving through the undergrowth. I splash through the puddles, lean into banks and attempt to absorb the bumps. Try as I might, though, I haven't got a hope of catching my riding buddy, who races ahead with a fluidity and grace I can only envy.

Furniture firm closes after spurning £1m

HJ Berry in administration after saying TV show's offer had too many conditions
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching