Philip Marsden

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…