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.

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

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.

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
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
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people
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Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
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football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
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Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
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Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
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The dress can be seen in different colours
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Wes Brown is sent-off
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Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?