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.
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Sunday 23 January 2011
Friday 21 January 2011
Sunday 02 January 2011
The streets are littered with the remnants of Christmas – browning pine trees and binbags bursting with tinsel and shredded wrapping paper.
Saturday 18 December 2010
Saturday 18 December 2010
The most startling snow is the kind that sticks to twigs and branches so that everything in the garden is etched in an unusually graphic way. Along with the rest of the country, we had that snow in the early part of the month and it made a landscape that wasn't completely monochrome, but almost, with thick white lines marking the tracery of the hazels and small scoops of snow piled like ice-cream in the upright, open seedpods of the Regale lilies.
Here's to the early years: The Pre-school Learning Alliance's playgroups are facing an uncertain future
Thursday 16 December 2010
By rights, it should have been Belle Tutaev's three-year-old daughter, Mary, who was credited with the founding of the pre-school playgroup movement. "She wanted friends," her mother, now aged 81, recalls. "We lived in central London in a flat. We only saw children going past our window and on to school." Her elder brother, Christopher, aged seven, was already at school and Mary felt left out. "I tried to find out if there was anything available but I was told that because we were not in a needy family, there would not be much support for us."
Saturday 11 December 2010
Sunday 28 November 2010
Going with the grain: A new wave of craftsmen is seeking to capture the magic of old timbers and rustic beams
Friday 26 November 2010
Adrian Swinstead's showpiece table – a toughened glass disk resting on three gnarled and gleaming black oak pillars, broad as elephant legs – exemplifies the delight he takes in making ancient history part of contemporary furniture design. A delight that began 15 years ago when a sculptor friend introduced him to the jet dark bog oak, rarely used by other furniture makers, that has, since, become a "passion" and central focus in many of his cabinets, cupboards, benches and tables .
Dylan Jones: 'One ancient hollow Baobab tree in Zimbabwe is so large that up to 40 people can shelter inside it'
Saturday 06 November 2010
Oh dear. I have fallen in love again. This time with a tree. A deciduous tree. The African Baobab (Adansonia digitata) is often called the upside-down tree, as its branches look like enormous roots. Others have called it the Tree of Life as it's capable of providing shelter, food and water for the animal and human inhabitants of the African savannah regions where it grows. But it will always be the upside-down tree to me.
Saturday 06 November 2010
One of my favourite areas of woodland is the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire, near Warminster. It is probably better known for its safari park, but that's not for me. Since January 2009, Longleat has also been home to 200 oak trees planted as a growing monument to the evolutionary thinker Charles Darwin.
Wednesday 27 October 2010
A fifth of the world's mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians are under threat of extinction, a major report warned today as governments continued to discuss efforts to tackle losses to the natural world.
Tuesday 26 October 2010
Saturday 09 October 2010
When I was young (despite Freud's credo), the thing that I most envied my brother was his Meccano set. The first kit contained most of the basic struts, screws and other components necessary for simple skeleton constructions. Subsequent sets added cogs, axles, wheels and arcs to fill in the gaps and put together more complicated creations.
Sunday 19 September 2010
Autumn is an appropriate moment for visitors to take a bite out of the new Talking Trees Trail, an apple orchard tour just launched by the National Trust at Cotehele in the Tamar Valley, Cornwall (nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele).
Someone cruising Lincoln MP Karl McCartney's Twitter favourites (as you do) this morning, discovered among tweets about positive goings-on in his constituency, an image of a woman tied to a bed wearing crotchless underwear.
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Bollywood actress Veena Malik sentenced to 26 years in jail for blasphemy after appearing in mock TV wedding scene
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football