Philip Marsden

The amazing aerial acrobatics of swifts

27 May 2023 9:00 am

Over the course of one midsummer’s day, Mark Cocker presents a startling picture of the breeding, feeding, fledging and migrating habits of these little dynamos of life

The Hope Diamond brought nothing but despair

14 January 2023 9:00 am

Hettie Judah describes how its various owners were plagued by bankruptcy, divorce, suicide, madness – and savaging by wild dogs

It’s the fisherman who’s truly hooked

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Trying to catch fish with rod and line is a pursuit that, for many, goes far beyond the pleasant passing…

The life cycle of the limpet teaches universal truths

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Adam Nicolson is one of our finest writers of non-fiction. He has range — from place and history to literature…

Surrounded by sea and sky: the irresistible draw of islands

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Holiday islands, desert islands, love islands, islands of eternal youth, siren islands, islands filled with screaming demons. Of all the…

Is it possible that Neanderthals had a spiritual life?

12 September 2020 9:00 am

When I studied anthropology back in the early 1980s, Neanderthals were still largely the bulk-browed brutes of yore, grunting in…

Tree-ring analysis has solved many historical mysteries

13 June 2020 9:00 am

History is only as good as its sources. It is limited largely to what has survived of written records, and…

Home was not where the heart was for the Enlightenment’s intellectuals

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Emily Thomas is a distinguished academic philosopher who has ‘spent a lot of time by herself getting lost around the…

Stars rotate behind the Copernicus Monument in Chicago. Credit: Getty Images

History is made from ideas — but are ideas becoming history?

29 June 2019 9:00 am

Wallace Stevens called it ‘the necessary angel’. Ted Hughes thought it ‘the most essential bit of machinery we have if…

An English oak in a misty meadow at dawn [Getty]

Why the British love the oak tree

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been planting up much of the pasture on our small Cornish farm with…

It’s not a wave’s crest, but its translucent interior that surfers dream of

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Surfing has come of age. Like rock and roll, it was once strictly for young people, edgy and alternative and…

Creature comforts

9 September 2017 9:00 am

As naturalist, educator and writer, John Lister-Kaye was for many years a voice in the wilderness. In 1976, when nature…

Herring girls had to wash their hair six times on a Saturday night to rinse out the smell

The current scarcity of herring may itself be a red herring

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Fish stories come in two varieties: the micro-version of a hundred riverside bars, blokeish boastings of rod-and-line tussles with individual…

Morning mist in the valleys of northeast Dartmoor, seen from the summit of Brent Tor

What can we do with Dartmoor?

13 June 2015 9:00 am

In his poem ‘Eden Rock’, Charles Causley conjures up a dreamy memory of a childhood picnic ‘somewhere beyond Eden Rock’.…

Signs of the times: the shrivelled leaves and lesion on the trunk of infected ash trees

First ash dieback, then the world's scariest beetle

4 October 2014 9:00 am

The ash tree may lack the solidity of oak, the magnificence of beech or the ancient mystique of yew. In…

The Edith Maersk in the Suez Canal, October 2012

What seamen fear more than Somali pirates

1 February 2014 9:00 am

If a time traveller were to arrive in our world from, say, 1514 — a neat half-millennium away — what…