Section: West Country Weekend

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Pilgrim’s shame – the price of cheap meat

Tom Scott

While argument rages over whether Cornwall should have been assigned to Tier 1 of the government’s social distancing regime, little attention has been paid to the US company operating the meat-packing plant in Cornwall which has been at the centre of a major outbreak of Covid-19. Tom Scott lifts the lid on its grim record […]

Walter Raleigh and Sherborne’s castles

Valery Collins

Sir Walter Raleigh was loved and hated by Queen Elizabeth I and despised by King James His own great passion, however, was for the Dorset town of Sherborne. He has left his mark on three of the town’s attractions: he lived in the two castles and he intervened in a dispute at the medieval St […]

Hooray! We are taking back control…of GM

Simon Chater

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. There are precious few upsides to Brexit, but here’s one. We’re coming out of the EU’s dysfunctional system for regulating genetically modified (GM) crops! What do we know? It’s a quarter of a century since the first GM crop, a tomato modified to prolong its […]

Somerset suspends democracy to save money?

Sadie Parker

After an afternoon of unedifying verbal wrangling, the conservative-controlled County Council of Somerset voted to request a postponement of county elections until such time as a unitary authority was constituted. This could save £1m, it was claimed, and taxpayers always like to save money. Hang on. What price democracy? Surely that cost is budgeted? It’s […]

Dartmoor’s wounded land, part two: cause and effect

Tony Whitehead

In the second of three articles, environmental campaigner Tony Whitehead considers how Dartmoor’s nature came to be in such a poor state. In part one, I paid attention to two of Dartmoor’s key wildlife habitats: the blanket bogs and upland heaths. Over the past 150 years, Dartmoor’s blanket bogs were cut for peat, drained for […]

Weird and wonderful words – week 1

Sadie Parker

Hello lockdown, my old friend; I’ve come to walk with you again. How are we all feeling? You may have awoken early in a state of uhtceare (pronounced uht-kay-ara; the ‘h’ is as in ‘loch’), an Anglo-Saxon expression for the ‘sorrow before dawn’ when you lie awake in the darkness and worry about the day […]

Cranborne and wanderlust

Valery Collins

I have been travelling the world for the past 20 years. During that time, I have travelled alone, worked as a tour manager and for the past 12 years I have been writing about my experiences. Lockdown brought a sudden end to my roving life. I was gazing at a long, empty period of nothing […]

Nature and environment boxed set

Anthea Simmons

We are lucky enough to have some excellent writers covering environmental issues. We thought you might appreciate having this selection to dip into, in case you missed any of the articles first time round. Maybe you would like to add a piece of your own? Do you work in conservation? Are you a wildlife fan? […]

Art Matters : Ashburton Arts

Anthea Simmons

Whatever Rishi Sunak did or didn’t say or did or didn’t mean  in his interview with ITV, the debate over the value of the arts and of artists in our society and economy has been front and centre recently. And rightly so. The UK’s creative industries are estimated to contribute around £13 million to the […]

Extreme political stances

Mike Temple

The once autocratic King Lear, now stripped of power and exposed to the storm, ushers the poor Fool into the hovel, then kneels and prays:                                                                 Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,                                       That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,                                       How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,                                       Your looped and windowed […]

The power of art in times of crisis

Vicky Rosier

World Mental Health Day is on 10 October. This year, as we all try to navigate the emotional uncertainties of Covid-19, learning to manage our mental health is an essential skill. I hope this personal story helps to highlight the importance of finding and embracing some individual means of dealing with symptoms of poor mental […]

Poetry, nature and covid-19

Miles King

This year, of all years, people have become much more aware of their local surroundings; in particular, places they can visit to experience nature in their everyday lives – or at least those who were physically able to get out of their houses and weren’t stuck inside shielding. The Covid lockdown threw into sharp contrast […]

Tears of a ghost

Chris Baker

The dead hedgehog was clearly the previous night’s roadkill. The body was fresh, judging from the staining on the asphalt. It had been hit ten or so feet away from where it had died, its last short, slow journey made, I imagine, in agony. The place where it died is now marked by a ghost. […]

EuroDog meets the butchers’ dogs

EuroDog

With Johnson likening his fitness to that of a butcher’s dog for the second time this year, the Association of Butchers’ Dogs (London Branch) calls an emergency meeting to discuss his defamatory statement.

The sea has set me free

Heidi Westbrook

For Heidi Westbrook, sea-swimming has brought joy, friendship and vital solace through the lockdown. For 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to have lived on a clifftop high above Newquay’s famous Towan beach. Over the years, the number of people enjoying the water has steadily grown. Once these were mainly year-round surfers and families in […]

Gardening for wildlife: ideas for the autumn

Anna Andrews

Wildlife in the UK is struggling with more than half of our native species in decline and one in seven facing extinction. Faced with these depressing forecasts, it is sometimes easy to forget that many of us can actually do something to help slow the decline, by making our outside space more nature-friendly. Anna Andrews […]

Community project focus: Nature Connects

Alice Wall

Editor: We asked charities and community interest companies who share our values to tell us about their work. We do not edit their words. Nature Connects is a Community Interest Company (CIC) offering Nature connection and adult forest school for health and well-being in Cornwall. Alice Wall and Sarah Witts, its founders, made the decision […]

New photo competition (and an apology for last time!)

Anthea Simmons

Doh. It was a good idea, but we set an an impossible subject. You were all too kind (ironically, given the subject was ‘kindness’!) to point this out, but zero entries said it all. Sorry. Let’s try again. The theme this time is ‘sky’. After all, we need something to look up to right now, […]

A walk with Coleridge in Ottery St Mary

Mike Temple

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772 in Ottery St Mary: the churchyard and river area were his playground and the source and inspiration of much of his poetry. He returned to Ottery as a young man aged 21, and later wrote a sonnet To the River Otter, addressing it as a friend. He recalls […]

Boxing clever

Anna Andrews

Well, here we are again, heading for the end of the transition period without any real sign that the UK will have a proper trading arrangement with the EU, and amidst  increasingly dire warnings about possible shortages of food and other essentials. The Covid-19 pandemic has also served to expose the weaknesses in the “just-in-time” […]

The new terra incognita

Matt Borne

GPS navigation has led Matt Borne to a library abandoned to moths and mice. So he’s decided to finally switch off his satnav. I was driving to the Eden Project last week for a work thing. I’d been asked to go to the service gate, an entrance I’d used many times over the years, but […]

The Lizard’s vagabond girl

Jenny Steele Scolding

I lie in bed and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. I pull back the covers, cross the bedroom and settle into my rocking chair in front of the window that overlooks the sea. Down in the cove, the fishermen have pulled the boats up high; a storm is brewing. I always start […]

Risotto di pollo e zucchine

Kathryn Fox

Chicken and Courgette Risotto Serves 3-4 This recipe can be adapted by adding more courgettes or other vegetables if you prefer it to be vegetarian or vegan Ingredients 1 small onion, finely chopped 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped 1 medium courgette, diced 2 chicken breasts, diced 250g risotto (Arborio) rice 1 litre hot vegetable […]

Gaslit nation

Anthea Simmons

I finally watched George Cukor’s classic film noir, ‘Gaslight’. It’s a masterly piece of cinema and, in any other circumstances, I would have watched it with the simple pleasure that comes from immersion in a well-written, well-acted film. It was chilling, as it was intended to be, but I found my sense of unease growing, […]

A walk on the edge – along the Mendip scarp by Westbury Beacon

Mick Fletcher

There are many good walks in the Mendips, but popular sites on top of the plateau can get a little crowded at peak times. I prefer a walk that starts from one of the spring line villages that surround the upland – more challenging, but a more varied terrain, and a walk where the landscape […]

Kids’ puzzles

Alex Pilkington

The first West Country Weekend kids’ puzzles to keep little ones occupied. Suitable for ages 3 to 7. Just click on the file below to download and print out on A4 paper.

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