Travel Here’s looking at yew: the Borrowdale trees

The continuous ridge of russet, stone-strewn lakeland mountain encircles a valley floor as flat as a paddy field. Lights of farms are beginning to spark and the cries of tawny owls reverberate around the bowl of darkening fells. In the distance, sunset pinks the snow-dusted peak of Glaramara. It is a suitable stage to approach the most notable trees of northern England.

The Secret History Of: The PH Artichoke

I t has not escaped Secret History's notice that there's a certain fascination with all things Danish at the moment – the jumpers, The Killing, the interior design (that's Lego for the small ones). So we bring you this week... the Artichoke Lamp.

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Sweet birdsong that's like blossom in sound

The cottage looks out over a wide sea loch and across to the mountains in the distance. When we arrived, all the hills were hidden in cloud, but towards evening the banks of grey started to lift and first Blaven appeared, a peak as bulky as a prize bull, and then, in the sunset, the Cuillin ridge itself – a great jagged sawblade lit from behind by a blast of yellow light which slanted down onto the loch and turned the flickering waters to gold.

You'll catch your breath at these West Country views

Walk Of The Month

You can almost hear the corks pop in these woods

Walk Of The Month - The Forest of Dean: The historic border area has seen off yet another invasive threat, says Mark Rowe

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The small-leaved lime, lost tree of England

Some myths are so tenacious as to be virtually unshakeable, and one such is that the national tree of England is the oak. There is no Act of Parliament proclaiming Quercus robur to be an official symbol of Englishness, but there doesn't need to be, with a belief which has such deep roots in Middle England's psyche that David Cameron's Conservative Party ditched Margaret Thatcher's red, white and blue "torch of freedom" in favour of an oak tree as the new Tory emblem (although I notice that these days they tend to fill in the tree's outline with the Union Jack, just in case anyone doesn't get the point. Didn't Dr Johnson say that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel?).

One down, eight to go as velodrome opens

Gold medallist Chris Hoy hails pace of track after first 2012 venue is completed 521 days before the Games

Philip Hensher: Deep in the enchanted forest, a very English sensibility has stirred

Forests are places of dapplement, of light and shade. At the back of everything is Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, turning the social hierarchy upside down

We got it wrong on forests, says Spelman

The Government was forced into a humiliating U-turn today as it scrapped controversial plans to privatise England's public forests.

Leading article: Can you see the wood for the trees?

The Independent today announces a competition for the best essay on "The Future of England's Forests". With the Government in spectacular disarray, as we report today, over the partial sell-off it broached last month, we are confident that our readers can do much, much better.

Forest sell-off 'threatens rare wildlife'

Concerns have been raised over the fate of threatened wildlife such as red squirrels and nightjars in woods which could be sold to private companies under Government plans.

Letters: Alternative Vote

Why we should vote down AV

Take a turn around the magic circle

Walk Of The Month: The Somerset Levels - This county, on a sunny winter's day, offers great scenery and stunning wildlife, says Mark Rowe

Paul Octavious: Thrill of the hill

A field of swaying lavender in Provence; a hammock slung between two palm trees in the Caribbean – dream destinations for some, perhaps, but not the Chicago-based photographer Paul Octavious.

Paul Vallely: Stealing the common off the goose?

The proposed sale of woodlands is making rebels of us all. Forests are part of our folk memory

Potato and cauliflower curry

Serves 4-6
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
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Spain
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us