Country Life Today: Seals living happily in the River Thames, and how Harris Tweed’s top producer has been kept safe from rapacious corporate takeover

In today's round-up we bring you news of the unlikely home for hundreds of seals, the unearthing of Worcester artefacts and a generous manager.

Seals thriving in the Thames

The murky waters of the Thames perhaps don’t look the most inviting place to bring up a family, but for many seals the river is providing an ideal habitat.

A ZSL survey has revealed that 138 seal pups live in the estuary, thanks to photographs taken from a specially-chartered light aircraft to identify and count the animals.

‘The seals would not be able to pup here at all without a reliable food source, so this demonstrates that the Thames ecosystem is thriving and shows just how far we have come since the river was declared biologically dead in the 1950s,’  said conservation biologist Thea Cox.

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the youngsters.

Full story (The Guardian)


Battle of Worcester artefacts unearthed

Artefacts, including musket balls, horse harness fittings and belt buckles, have been unearthed for the first time at the site of the final battle of the English Civil War.

The artefacts were found buried deep at the bottom of a river valley. Historians have always known the area in Powick, Worcestershire was the site of the 1651 battle, but it is the first time physical evidence has been recovered.

Full story (BBC News)


On this day…

British tennis champion Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers was born in 1878. She won seven Wimbledon Women’s Singles titles and a gold medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics.


Ancient mosaic to be re-buried

An ancient mosaic, ‘unique in Roman Britain’, is to be re-buried, despite hundreds of hours spent revealing it to the world.

The mosaic was first discovered in Boxford, Berkshire, in 2017, and some 3,000 people turned up to the small village see it unveiled.

Archaeologists and volunteers worked tirelessly for nine days to uncover the mosaic, but sadly, it’s set to be hidden from view once more: the mosaic sits on private farmland, and will therefore be re-buried, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Full story (Country Life)


Climate change impacts on National Trust

The National Trust has said last year’s wet winter and spring followed by the early summer heatwave meant that its targets for admission fees and commercial income were less than they expected.

Admission income was £5 million below its target of £123 million and commercial revenue was £10 million lower than expected.

Full story (The Times)


And finally… A handsome gift

The owner of one of the largest Harris Tweed producers has given the business to its manager.

Retiring Yorkshire businessman Brian Haggas  said he had given ownership of the mill to local manager Alex Lockerby as a gift to prevent it from being bought by ‘financial vultures’.

The mill employs 30 people and produces about 25% of all Harris Tweed.

Full story (BBC News)