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

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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