Country Life’s best 10 articles of 2021

The Country Life website team takes its pick of some of our favourite articles of the year — some of which were big hits, some of which went under the radar, but all of which we think were fascinating slices of life.

These are presented in no particular order. And if we had to pick just one? It’d probably be the brilliant interview with photographer Charlie Waite.

Charlie Mackesy on The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse: ‘It’s humbling… The reaction was beyond anything I ever imagined’

You’ve read the book — you’ve quite possibly been given multiple copies — so this interview with the man himself was wonderful and eye-opening.

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Curious Questions: How did cats come to be man’s second-best friend? (Or best, depending on who you ask)

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It’s a curious quirk of statistics that cats outnumber dogs in the UK, despite there being more dog owners. The reason? Cat owners seldom stop at one.

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Seahenge, Norfolk: The ancient Bronze Age circle that lay hidden for 4,000 years

Our ‘Secret Britain’ at the start of the year was full of fascinating gems, but this was probably the pick of the bunch: an intriguing look at a little-known site which we can’t help but thing ought to be more famous.

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How to win favour with a difficult dog, and other conundrums — solved by Mrs Hudson

Country Life’s agony aunt is pithy and hilarious. If you’ve not worked your way through her collected columns, this is the time to start.

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Curious Questions: Where do wedding anniversary traditions come from?

From paper and steel to lavender and gold, Martin Fone unwraps the history and meaning behind anniversary gifts.

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Rosie and Jim: ‘They realise there’s no Uber, the postcode takes you into the middle of a muddy field and the local Waitrose is 600 miles away. Then they come straight back again.’

Country Life staffers Rosie Paterson and James Fisher originally started writing regular columns in lockdown, but they picked it up again later in 2021 — and produced a series of gems.

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Jeremy Clarkson: ‘The countryside should be given to rockstars… they want it to look nice and they are prepared to invest in it’

‘I’m flabbergasted,’ declared Jeremy Clarkson when we asked him about the success of ‘Clarkson’s Farm’. ‘I honestly thought it would serve up gentle disappointment to fans of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, who have watched me for years, but it’s gone berserk.’

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The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021: Renaissance Man, Family Man and tireless pillar for Queen and country

Royal biographer Hugo Vickers looks at the life of the Duke of Edinburgh whose life ‘was nothing if not an unusual one.’

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Curious Questions: Why are four-leaf clovers lucky?

Ian Morton investigates the myths and legends linked to Ireland’s favourite plant.

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Charlie Waite: One of the world’s best landscape photographers on how to take pictures, the unknowable beauty of Britain and why an iPhone can be good enough

Annunciata Elwes spoke to Charlie Waite about his striking landscape images and how amateurs might follow suit — and good news: ‘it’s not about the equipment.’

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The ultimate way to see The Lake District? By air, from the cockpit of an autogyro

In this article, Charles Harris experiences views that no man had from the dawn of time until the 20th century–and few do now, as he explores the Lake District in a 3ft wide and 15ft long autogyro.

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A Great British holiday on wheels?

We’d been at the campsite for all of three minutes before we got stuck in the mud…. The kids were crying — one with laughter, one in fear — and I could feel my other half’s blood pressure climbing even beyond the closed door. The things I do for Country Life.’

Read the full article.