Country Life Today: How everyone in Britain — yes, including farmers — wins when we eat less meat and more vegetables

This morning's news looks at how farmers are digging moats to stop criminals, sees Norwich cathedral's new attraction and finds out the truth behind tales of a puma stalking Ireland.

‘It’s a win for British farmers, it’s a win for health, and it’s a win for the planet’

The IPCC’s latest report on climate change focused on land use — and specifically how we can change it to mitigate climate change. All sorts of topics are covered — desertification, afforestation, food security for the vulnerable in the face of extreme weather — but the one that has grabbed the headlines is to do with eating less meat.

By turning land used for cattle into land used for arable farming, we can make a massive dent in carbon dioxide emissions. ‘There is real potential here,’ says one of the report’s authors. ‘There are things we are already doing. We are using technologies and good practices, but they do need to be scaled up and used in other suitable places that they are not being used in now.’

Cattle farming on natural grassland can carry on as normal — cutting down forest to cultivate more beef is a different matter.

Cattle farming on natural grassland can carry on as normal — cutting down forest to cultivate more beef is a different matter.

It’s not just us who thought it struck a positive note. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, doctor and Oxford University academic Adam Briggs said that the less-meat, more-veg plan implied by the IPCC report is, ‘a win for British farmers, it’s a win for health, and it’s a win for the planet.’

‘The impacts of climate change don’t respect national borders and this is an area where the UK can genuinely take the lead – and gain a competitive first mover advantage,’ he explains, detailing how a move from quantity to quality will be of huge benefit to the nation’s farmers.

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‘The UK agricultural system has the opportunity to get ahead of this curve.’

Read more on the IPCC report (Country Life) 

Norwich Cathedral’s helter skelter opens to the public

A couple of weeks ago we reported on how Rochester Cathedral had installed a crazy golf course in the Nave.

Those efforts to delight children and appal traditionalists have been well and truly trumped by Norwich Cathedral, whose helter skelter is now open.

So is this sacrilege or a bit of fun, and a way to get a whole new perspective on one of Britain’s most wonderful buildings? The latter is what the cathedral is shooting for, as they make clear in the description of the video above:

‘A 50ft helter skelter is set to spring up in the Nave as part of the #SeeingItDifferently project which aims to give people the chance to experience Norwich Cathedral in an entirely new way and open up conversations about faith. Visitors climbing up to have a go on the ride will be treated to unique views of the Cathedral and its famous medieval roof bosses before enjoying a helter skelter ride like no other!’

Full story (Eastern Daily Press)

Farmers ‘digging moats’ to protect themselves from criminal gangs’

The beleaguered farmers of Sussex are hitting back at increasing crime rates with a mixture of methods medieval and modern, according to a report in the Brighton Evening Argus.

The NFU Mutual insurance company reported an increase in crime on farms last week — mostly driven by theft of tractors and quad bikes — and it seems that farmers are hitting back in any way they can.

You'd have guessed it anyway, but now it's been proven: Britain's green and pleasant land is the best place to source your green and pleasant food.

‘Farms are isolated… we’re easy targets for criminals.’

Caroline Harriet, chairwoman of the West Sussex NFU who runs Broomhurst Farm in Arundel, complained of everything from fuel theft to livestock worrying.

‘Farmers have installed electric gates, CCTV, trenches and even motion-sensitive lasers,’ she said. ‘We’ve basically had to turn our farms into fortresses. Many of us are so besieged we feel like we can’t leave our land…

‘Farms are isolated, and there’s rarely a visible police presence. Your land is accessible over a large area and you can’t be everywhere. We’re easy targets for criminals.’

Full story (The Argus)

On This Day… Britain’s first nudist beach opens for business

Brighton's naturist beach opened on August 9, 1979.

Brighton’s naturist beach opened on August 9, 1979.

40 years ago today, and after a lengthy campaign by local councillor Eileen Jakes, Brighton Council sectioned off a secluded area of its famously pebbly shoreline as the first nudist beach in Britain.

Brighton’s deputy Mayor Alfred Feld told the BBC at the time: ‘It is a bold move … but we feel we are just moving with the times.

‘It is a fairly secluded stretch of beach and I don’t think it will be offensive to anyone.’

Walking in the countryside voted the happiest thing to do in Yorkshire

The sun sets over Roseberry Topping

Sunset at Roseberry Topping, North Yorkshire.

Taking a walk in the countryside has been voted the ‘happiest place to be’ in a poll of Yorkshire folk carried out by the Skipton Building Society. Sitting in the garden came second and listening to music third — but ‘having afternoon tea with family or friends’ came way down the list in 10th place.

Full story (StrayFM)

And finally… the ‘puma’ that stalked the Irish countryside and was tracked by helicopter which turned out to be a domestic cat

For International Cat Day, the Irish Post looked at all the sightings of puma over the years in Ireland. ‘2003 brought terror to County Monaghan when locals were convinced there was a panther prowling around a housing estate. These sightings, and several unexplained attacks on pets in the area, provoked a massive Garda search using helicopters to locate the beast.

‘This time they did find something. A video captured by a farmer revealed… a regular domestic black cat.’

Full story (Irish Post)