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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home