Voices Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset. Some parts of England have suffered the wettest January since records began

Three Independent letter writers covered the issue superbly

More than 2,400 teenagers set off on the annual two-day Ten Tors Challenge across Dartmoor

Teenagers rescued girl from swollen river and forsook rain-swept Ten Tors challenge to help dozens of competitors to safety

A team of "selfless" school pupils relinquished their chances of finishing the Ten Tors challenge to rescue a girl from a swollen river and guide dozens of other competitors to safety.

Britain's migratory birds stay away as climate change moves their wintering areas further north

Migratory waterbirds have shifted their wintering areas north-eastwards due to Europe's changing climate, scientists have revealed.

Tim Key: 'We'd acquired the reindeer head from a Finnish military man called Snoopy'

I'm sat in my flat waiting for the paint to dry on the wooden hippopotamus's head I recovered from beside the road yesterday while we were driving back from a Salisbury-based taxidermist who had agreed to clean the maggots off the reindeer's head we imported from Lapland six weeks ago.

Hang on to your brolly - strong winds are forecast for much of England and Wales

Hang on to your brolly! Met Office warns of widespread winds up to 60mph

Britain has basked in glorious sunshine but is facing winds of up to 60mph and driving rain today, according to forecasters.

Mentally-ill patients were 'Tasered' more than 50 times in three years

Freedom of Information request reveals extent of stun-gun use by police in psychiatric wards

The UK is on alert for severe hay fever outbreaks with pollen levels rising due to a late Spring

Hay fever sufferers in pollen alert over bank holiday weekend

Hay fever sufferers are likely to struggle through this weekend's sunny weather, with high levels of pollen expected across England.

Worcester's Shaun Perry forced to quit by injury

Worcester's former England scrum-half Shaun Perry has been forced to retire because of a persistent knee injury.

Derbyshire’s Chesney Hughes brings Yorkshire down at Headingley

Yorkshire’s elation at beating Durham on Saturday was punctured as Derbyshire’s Chesney Hughes and Wayne Madsen put them to the sword at Headingley on Monday.

County Championship round-up: Joe Root makes the difference for Yorkshire

Ashes watch part one Just as the glass half-empty faction among Yorkshire supporters were wondering if promotion might be a step too far, the young England batsman Joe Root demonstrated his class with a supreme match-winning performance against Durham, leading Yorkshire to a four-wicket victory in the final session at Chester-le-Street with a brilliant 182 that lacked only the winning boundary. That was left to his England team-mate Tim Bresnan, who hit his first ball to the boundary after Root was bowled by Callum Thorp with one run needed. He had shared a stand of 101 with Adil Rashid, dropped twice in his 50 not out.

One of the women on this year’s list, Isabel Jones

Special report: Britain's REAL big society

Volunteering is booming. David Cameron is putting social enterprises and charity projects on the G8 agenda. Today, we honour those who selflessly give back to our communities. They - in the age of cuts - are the true heart of Britain

A dead guillemot at Wembury, Devon

Pollution may ‘wipe out’ a generation of seabirds

An entire generation of seabirds could be wiped out on a section of the British coastline after hundreds were found dead last week, wildlife authorities have warned.

Wildlife charities renew calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified after deaths of hundreds of seabirds in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset

A wildlife charity has renewed calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified by the International Maritime Organisation to prohibit discharges at sea after “a whole generation of seabirds” died.

‘It has been a frustrating season which could have been different with a bit of luck here and there, and a few more players’

Neil Warnock on Leeds United exit: Off the roller-coaster, but I'm not finished with management yet

I can see myself going into a club briefly to keep them up or get them up

The Blagger's Guide To: Agatha Christie

The queen of crime who did her best thinking in the bath
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine