Country Life today: A coastal warning, sheep at Hamptead Heath and proof we’re all dog people

Today’s news round-up features research into seaside towns, a flock at Hamstead Heath for the first time in 60 years, and a study into our responsiveness to dogs and cats.

Calls to abandon seaside towns due to climate change

Researchers have said coastal towns should be abandoned as sea levels rise because of climate change.

Scientists have advised governments around the world to prepare for ‘managed retreat’ from seaside towns and cities, in a paper published in Science.

They said the move should not be ‘seen largely as a last resort, a failure to adapt, or a one-time emergency action’ , but as an opportunity to build better communities away from the encroaching waters.

Full story (The Times)

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Rewilding project to boost stork population

A group of 24 young white storks have been released at the Knepp Estate in West Sussex  as part of a project to increase numbers of the species in Southern England.

The White Stork Project is a joint initiative between landowners and conservation charities to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs by 2030.

Full story (Country Life)

Fight to save postbox that protected community during WWII

Villagers in South Wales are desperately appealing against the removal of a ‘cherished’ and ‘iconic’ landmark from their community.

BT is considering decommissioning Bryn-y-Gwenin’s telephone box, but local residents say it helped protect the village during World War II. Conservative MP David Davies said the box was used to warn of air raids and has remained a useful lifeline to this day.

Full story (Country Life)

On this day…

On 23 August, 1873, Albert Bridge in Chelsea, London, was opened. Designed and built by Rowland Mason Ordish, the cable-stayed bridge was adapted between 1884 and 1887 to incorporate design elements of a suspension bridge. In 1973 the Greater London Council added two concrete piers. The bridge is a Grade II listed building.

Warning over health of rivers

Banks of the River Thames near Maidenhead in Berkshire.

Environmental charity the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has said government’s targets to clean-up British rivers are unrealistic.

The Environment Agency predicts 75% of rivers in England and along the Scottish and Welsh borders will meet EU expectations by 2027, compared with just 14% now, but the WWF believes these targets are ‘very unlikely’ to be met.

Full story (Country Life)

We are, it appears, all dog people

The idea that some of us are more inclined to felines and others passionate about dogs may have to be revised.

A group of scientists tested human responses to the whining of distressed dogs and the miaows of aggravated cats and across the board, people found the dog whines the most emotionally affecting sound.

Full story (The Times)

Sheep return to Hamstead Heath for first time in 60 years

On Monday (26 August) a flock of five Oxford Down and Norfolk Horn sheep will be released on Hamstead Heath, North London, for a week-long trial.

It is hoped the grazing could prove an eco-friendly way of maintaining the centuries-old heath.

Full story (BBC News)

And finally… Drama for Stephen the hedgehog

A pensioner was left devastated when his van was stolen on 17 August. The vehicle contained particularly precious piece of cargo — a blind hedgehog called Stephen.

Frank Tett, 80, and his wife, Veronica, 78, run a charity for injured hedgehogs in North Lincolnshire and had been caring for Stephen since May after he was sprayed with chemicals and blinded.

The van has not been recovered, but Mr and Mrs Tett received a call on Wednesday (21 August) to say that they had found the pet carrier and a bag with business cards for the charity in Middleton.

Mr Tett said that he drove 60 miles to pick up Stephen.

‘I just can’t believe it, he said. ‘Miracles do happen.’

Full story (Country Life)