Country Life Today: River Frome turns neon blue, and the truth about Britain’s self-sufficiency

A shocking pollution incident — or perhaps just a summer prank — in Somerset; the NFU's president on the state of our food self-sufficiency; making a classic English country garden; and dinosaurs helping the fight against litter.

A call for greater self-sufficiency as new figures show Britain is importing more food than ever before

NFU President Minette Batters wrote an article for the Sunday Times this weekend calling on Britain to be more self-sufficient for food.

In 1984, 78% of our food was home grown — today, it’s 61% and that number looks like falling further. Batters adds that we will ‘never be completely self-sufficient’ but that we should and must eat more British produce:

‘Not only do our fantastic farmers and growers produce safe, traceable and affordable food, but they deliver so much more. When people buy British food they are buying into standards that protect and enhance our natural resources; they are buying into world-leading standards of animal welfare; and they are buying into the role farmers are playing in combating the climate change challenge that is facing us all.’

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River Frome tributary turns neon blue

An investigation is under way by environmental agencies after a tributary of the River Frome in Somerset turned blue. And not just a little bit blue: a bright, turquoise colour with milky opacity.

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Though it’s suspected to be related to pollution, there are (as yet) no reported dead or other ill effects. Let’s hope it’s a prank rather than anything more serious.

On This Day… It’s the Glorious 12th

Red grouse cock in Scottish heathland.

From how it all came about to why grouse are the F1 cars of the avian world, Charlotte Peters of Shooting UK explains everything you need to know.

Making a classic English country garden

In case you missed it at the weekend, these tips from Val Bourne — on what to plant, where to plant it and what to use around it — are truly fantastic.

Full story (Country Life)

Why we care about King Arthur and Tintagel

As the new bridge to Tintagel opened at the weekend, we revisit a superb piece for Country Life written by Richard Lea explaining the enduring appeal of these very English legends.

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And finally… Dinosaurs join drive to cut litter

‘Leave only footprints’, so the saying goes — and to hammer that anti-litter message home, something unusual has been blasted into the pavements surrounding Weymouth Station: dinosaur footprints.

‘The footprints and words have been cleaned onto the pavement using a high pressure washer to encourage visitors to take their rubbish home,’ the Dorset Echo reports. Lord knows what future palaeontologists will make of it when these footprints are discovered in the year 20,019.

Full story (Dorset Echo)