News Winging it: The shrill carder bee is thriving in Kent

Conservationists stunned by the insects’ rapid recovery

Future now: Landscape design has reached new frontiers

Here's something to relieve the tedium of the M25: see if you can spot a 26ft-high terracotta pot near junction 2(12A). The pot, together with an equally large hand fork, is a new landmark to fanfare Butterfly World near St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is currently in Phase I of its £27m development, but already open to visitors. The giant props will eventually be dwarfed by a large, glass dome that will house an incredible 10,000 butterflies and become the biggest butterfly walk-through exhibition in the world. Until then, the landscape and gardens in the 27-acre site will provide the main attraction, as they re-establish wildlife habitats that have suffered from development.

Michael McCarthy: Their majesty lies in their mystery

Nature Notebook

Bellamy backs 'butterfly world' plans

More habitat needs to be created for butterflies to stop the declines in some of the UK's most well-loved insects, conservationists urged today.

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails and online postings (26/07/2009)

In response to the debate about space travel (19 July), sooner or later the world will run out of resources. No matter how carefully you recycle or reuse materials, no matter how cleverly you seek new ways of living, we will use up energy supplies, minerals, and resources. Current green thinking will just delay the inevitable.

Michael McCarthy: Our wondrous flora has been left in the shade

Nature Notebook: We seem to have lost interest in plants per se at all levels

Travel Challenge: A summer mountain-walking holiday in Europe

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a particular holiday. Today: a summer walking holiday in the mountains of Europe. Prices are for two people, departing for seven nights on 4 July.

French fancy: Anna Pavord discovers a 19th-century garden near the Dordogne where box rules supreme

My brother has a farm in the Causse de Gramat, the high, wild, rocky country just north of the glorious Cele valley, south of the less interesting Dordogne. He's spent his working life as a vet, a horse doctor, but has always had a good eye for making gardens. He has the necessary practical skills too, which is much rarer. He can repair and build dry stone walls. He knows how to shift vast rocks with the forklift on his Massey Ferguson tractor and how to use the scrub-basher to rid his pastures of the prickly, low-growing juniper that had grown there unchecked for decades, swamping everything under its dour, prickly advance.

Last chance to see chequered gems heading for extinction

Fritillaries are wonders of nature &ndash; can we find them before they disappear forever?

Grizzled skipper

Pyrgus malvae

Gotcha! How we found one of Britain's smallest, brightest butterflies

Our Great British Butterfly Hunt heads for the South Downs

Attenborough applauds our hunt for Britain's butterflies

Quest to find endangered treasures of natural world is praised by conservationists and politicians

Michael McCarthy: The first green shoots of optimism

Nature Notebook
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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all