Countryside

Hare coursing gangs are terrorising the countryside

23 November 2019 9:00 am

If you’re driving at dawn or at dusk in the countryside at this time of year, you might well see…

Ronald Blythe took us back to an age when a tenant could be turfed out of a tied house simply for being 'rude'

Can giving voice to the horrors of the past re-traumatise?

26 October 2019 9:00 am

It is 50 years since Ronald Blythe published Akenfield, his melancholy portrait of a Suffolk village on the cusp of…

The commercialisation of shooting may kill the whole sport

12 October 2019 9:00 am

A few years ago I was sitting on the sofa at Sandringham enjoying a ham sandwich with the Queen’s then-head…

A gang of sheep rustlers is stalking the county – who will be the next target?

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Though autumn is happily still some way off, we’ve already reached that stage in the shepherd’s calendar when full-grown lambs…

In defence of British landowners (and the truth about grouse moors)

18 May 2019 9:00 am

I was surprised to read the article by Ben Macdonald in last week’s Spectator urging Britain’s grouse moor owners to…

Gamekeepers burn heather to encourage new growth for red grouse to feed on (Getty)

Grouse moors have destroyed Britain’s natural heritage – so we must rewild them

11 May 2019 9:00 am

Britain’s hunting estates were once beautiful. Walking through the New Forest, we can all appreciate how the purchase of land…

The savagery and death lurking within our beautiful countryside

4 May 2019 9:00 am

This is the time of year when the English countryside reaches peak incredible: when we rural folk mentally pinch ourselves…

Natural England is overwhelmed – and farmers are paying the price

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Last week, on the first day of the government’s ban on farmers shooting pest birds, I walked across St James’s…

The Beatles perform in Liverpool prior to signing their first recording contract: George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and original drummer Pete Best. Photo: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The greatest Beatle? Pete Best

30 March 2019 9:00 am

Which of the Beatles would you most like to have been? Not either of the dead ones, presumably. Nor the…

Professional villagers won’t rest until they have eliminated mud from the countryside

23 March 2019 9:00 am

‘Don’t touch anything sharp. Don’t saw anything or drill anything or sand anything,’ said the builder boyfriend as he left…

Credit: tirc83

Surrey’s Gore-tex-collar crime wave

26 January 2019 9:00 am

The frustrating thing about rights is that when you give them to people they don’t cherish and appreciate them. They…

The horrors of Soho House’s country outpost

14 May 2016 9:00 am

It is summer and the listless metropolitan thinks of grass. It cannot afford to stay at Durslade Farmhouse, Somerset, a…

Snakes, kookaburras and bandicoots: a garden in Australia’s rainforest

23 April 2016 9:00 am

When I suggested that I might build a little tin house in the subtropical rainforest of south-east Queensland, I was…

West Heslerton and other villages with one careful owner

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Squire power The village of West Heslerton in Yorkshire was put up for sale at £20 million after its owner,…

Hate tax havens? Try imagining a world without them

9 April 2016 9:00 am

However wicked tax evasion is and however distasteful some tax avoidance may be, people should imagine a world without tax…

Too grand for the Queen Mother: my strange life at Country Life

12 March 2016 9:00 am

I’ve heard it said that the ‘countryside’ is an urban idea, a place invented by the late Victorians in order…

The noisy, filthy, scary glory of geese

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Grumpy Gertie was killed in a drive-by shooting. This resident of the village of Sandon, near Letchworth, was shot at…

How Brexit would affect British farmers

27 February 2016 9:00 am

If the Church of England was once the Tory party at prayer, then the nation’s shotgun-owning farmers were the party’s…

The joy of winter birdwatching (and how it’s changing)

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Crisis relocation. A term from the Cold War. It means being somewhere else when it happens. When the threat of…

The romanticism of fell and water

Wrestling with the romantic glory of the Lake District

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is the best thing in the Lake District. I lived near Wigton, just north of the…

First he brought limp salad, and now it’s drizzling

The pitfalls of picnics (and how to avoid them)

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Strange, isn’t it, that despite having such famously terrible weather, we Brits are so fond of a picnic. It’s something…

How very English: picnics at Glyndebourne

Country house picnics (with some ace opera attached)

20 June 2015 9:00 am

I stole a blanket last night. Rather a nice one, in fact. I feel bad about it, of course, but…

Dear Mary: Should I follow Cilla Black’s lead on disabled loos?

20 June 2015 9:00 am

Q. I was at the theatre recently and bumped into a well-known Liverpudlian crooner coming out of the disabled lavatory.…

A piece of primeval England reborn in Sussex

30 May 2015 9:00 am

It was the nightingale I liked best. Or maybe the auroch. The nightingale sang strong and marvellously sweet when all…

Welcome to Miliband country: how Labour would wreck rural life

2 May 2015 9:00 am

Imagine rural England five years into a Labour government led by Ed Miliband, and propped up by the SNP and…