Country Life Today: The first Atlantic grey seal pups of the season, spotted on the Farne Islands

Today we bring you news of cancelled firework displays amid animal welfare concerns, a study exploring how much time we spend in the great outdoors, and the arrival of adorable seal pups on the Farne Islands.

Almost half of UK women feel unable to enjoy countryside

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

A recent poll found that almost half of British women do not have time to explore the countryside or even walk in their local park.

This was despite 86 percent of the 2,000 women surveyed admitting they believed spending time in nature was a good way of relieving life’s pressures and worries.

The individuals involved in the poll attributed this outdoor sacrifice to poor work-life balance and time-consuming demands from family.

Full story (Country Life)

On this day…

Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 1400). Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

On 25 October, 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer died. The Canterbury Tales author was widely seen as the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. He was buried in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Fireworks shunned amid animal welfare concerns

puppy dog eyes

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Popular firework displays have been cancelled and their sale banned at a major retailer amid animal welfare concerns.

Displays in Devon and Sheffield have been axed in order to protect local horses from becoming injured when spooked by the disturbance.

Sainsbury’s has also recently confirmed it will no longer sell fireworks across its 2,300 stores, although a spokesman declined to detail why the decision had been made, stating that it was commercially sensitive.

Last year, a petition to ban the public sale of fireworks to protect animals and those with a phobia gained more than 300,000 signatures.

Full story (BBC)

And finally… Seal pups make their first appearance

National Trust rangers will now begin a seal pup count. Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd

The first Atlantic grey seal pups of the season have been spotted on the Farne Islands, just off the Northumberland coast.  

Globally, the Atlantic grey seal is one of the rarest seal species and is a protected sea mammal and numbers are estimated to be around 300,000 with half living in British and Irish waters.  

The Farnes is home to one of the largest colonies in England and last year seal pup numbers reached a record high of 2,737 — an increase of 57 per cent over the last five years. 

The sighting of the first pup of the year triggers the start of the seal pup count by National Trust rangers on the islands, and they’ll be waiting to see if the upward trend continues.

Full story (National Trust)