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
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Vietnam
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South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
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Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

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Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

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Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
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Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

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Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

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Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect