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
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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor