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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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
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Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

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Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

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Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

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Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

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Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

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In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

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UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

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