News from around the Countryside – January 19


Jan 13: Birdlife Inspires Sculptor’s Art Event Aimed At Children

A West country sculptor has taking the unusual step of using scrap material to help nurture children’s interest in birdlife. (Western Morning News)


Jan 12: Mine Plan Brings Fears For Birds Site

Precious wetlands could be at risk from a proposal to mine near one of the country’s most important nature reserves, claim conservationists. Harry Bowell, regional reserves manager for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said he had yet to see the proposals submitted by The Banks Group to opencast around one million tonnes of coal from a site close to Fairburn Ings in Castleford, but he would have “grave concerns” if anything was proposed that could affect water levels. He said Fairburn Ings was a nationally-important wildlife site. It protects a complex of wetland habitats created by subsidence in a former coal mining area. (Yorkshire Post)

Jan 13: Cattle Grid Is No Barrier To Footsure Goats

A herd of wild goats which frequently invaded a village was on the rampage again yesterday after learning to negotiate a £40,000 cattle grid on tiptoe. (Western Morning News)

Jan 15: EU bans all wild bird imports

The EU has stepped up its defences against avian influenza (AI) this week by permanently banning any imports of wild birds. (Farmers Guardian)

Jan 16: Farmers’ reward for helping birds

FARMERS could win £1,000 by helping one of Britain’s favourite birds.

Operation Lapwing 2007 is run by the RSPB, and offers rewards to farmers who increase the number of the birds on their land. The competition is open to any farmer who has had at least one pair of breeding lapwings – also known as peewits and green plovers – on their land. (Northern Echo)

Jan 16: Tilly The Top Recycling Dog

One of Britain’s top recycling dogs, Tilly the collie, is to receive a special award for her work in keeping a Westcountry city green. The bright-eyed five-year-old has been specially trained to fetch and return plastic bottles and discarded cans, by her owner and passionate recycler, Rachel Bratt, of Exeter. (Western Morning News)

Jan 16: Creepy-Crawlies Come Out To Play

They are not normally seen in the Westcountry in January – but separate sightings of a stick insect and frogspawn, both photographed in Devon this month, are yet more signs of an increasingly changing climate. (Western Morning News)

Jan 17: Record Basking Sharks Seen In Seas

The seas around the South West are teeming with more basking sharks than ever before, according to figures just released. (Western Morning News)

Jan 18: Airport ‘threat to rare species’

Bats, badgers, dormice, slow worms and great crested newts could suffer if Bristol International Airport is allowed to expand, a nature charity has claimed. (Western Daily Press)


Jan 13: Planned Wind Farm Moves Step Closer

Plans for a 600 megawatt wind farm in Shetland costing £500 million took a step forward yesterday when the islands council decided to enter into a partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy. There will now be a three-month consultation with local people. (Scotsman)

Jan 16: City ‘to beat climate change flooding’

Experts are to focus on Lincoln after the city was chosen for a major study which will shape Britain’s flood defence planning. (Lincolnshire Echo)

Jan 17: ‘Eco-plan’ in store

Marks and Spencer has unveiled a £200m ‘eco-plan’ to cut the amount of pollution it produces. (Lincolnshire Echo)

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Jan 15: A village to host ‘lowland games’… In Herefordshire

It is a very English market town hundreds of miles from Hadrian’s Wall, in a county more famous for cider than Scotch whisky. But Bromyard has refused to let geography or history stand in the way of creating its own official tartan. William Wallace might turn in his grave if he knew the Herefordshire town has not only invented its very own version of the famous check, but is preparing to host its own version of the Highland Games. Bromyard Tartan has been registered as a brand name and three local women are working flat out to make sure locals can cover their bodies and homes in the colourful tartan. Now the town’s menfolk are gearing up to show their physical prowess at the “Lowland Games”, which will be held this summer. (Western Daily Press)


Jan 12: Resistant farm E.coli a possible human threat

The emergence of an antibiotic-resistant form of E.coli on 10 UK cattle farms in England and Wales is being linked to a human health scare. (Farmers Guardian)

Jan 12: ‘Knockout’ GM cows are resistant to BSE

Scientists have used genetic engineering to produce cattle that are resistant to BSE. (Farmers Guardian)

Jan 12: First cloned cow calf in UK was sold in Carlisle

The first calf born in Britain from a cloned cow was auctioned in Carlisle just weeks before sparking a national controversy, it has emerged. (Cumberland News)

Jan 12: Wind of change on ‘flatulence tax’?

DEFRA has played down the prospects of a ‘flatulence tax’ on livestock, after David Miliband suggested last week that farmers could face penalties in future if they failed to control methane emissions. (Farmers Guardian)

Jan 15: old And New Celebrated At Service To Start Farming Year

A plough was brought into a Devon church yesterday for a service which traditionally marks the beginning of the farming year. (Western Morning News)

Jan 17: Herd in graveyard rampage

Holme Lacy: A herd of cows knocked over headstones and trampled flowers after going on the rampage in a West graveyard. (Western Daily Press)

Jan 17: Slurry Leaks Into River

Nearly 90,000 gallons of slurry has leaked from a store at a North Devon farm and polluted a nearby river. (Western Morning News)

Jan 18: Planned increase in UK biofuels a boost for farmers

THE burgeoning energy crops market was given another boost this week as the EU set minimum targets for biofuels use. (Farmers Guardian)


Jan 12: Miliband Plays Down The Importance Of Organic Food

DEFRA secretary David Miliband has waded into the organic food debate by describing it as a ‘lifestyle choice’ and admitting its health benefits were inconclusive. (Farmers Guardian)

Jan 12: New Cheese Plant A Step Closer

THE due diligence process to examine plans for a new commodity cheese plant in West Cumbria is to go ahead. (Farmers Guardian)


Jan 15: Grant Will Be Used To Restore ‘Lost’ Garden

A lost garden in Plymouth is to be restored to its former glory thanks to a £36,000 grant. Devonport’s historic Rose Garden, in the heart of the district’s park, is to be brought back to life again. The grant came from the Devonport Regeneration Company Partnership. (Western Morning News)


Jan 12: Would-be heir to throne sought

English Heritage is seeking a would-be heir to the throne. It hopes to trace ancestors of those who might have been king, had William the Conqueror not won the Battle of Hastings. An advertisement in some newspapers in Britain and overseas appeals for people who can trace their family tree back to 1066 to get in touch. It marks the opening of a £2.3m visitor centre at 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield in Sussex next month. For information visit www. (Yorkshire Post)

Jan 13: Gathering of the clans mobilises for a new battle of Sheriffmuir

Clan chiefs have joined the fight to stop one of Scotland’s most iconic historical battlefields being desecrated by electricity pylons. The Ross, Urquhart, Agnew and MacNeill clans are calling for Sheriffmuir, near Stirling – site of the last battle of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion – to be preserved for future generations. The battle is regarded as one that changed Scottish history, by bringing to an end the rebellion, whose aim was to overthrow King George I and put the exiled James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender, on the throne. The battlefield, which also includes mass graves, is under threat after Scottish and Southern Energy, (SSE) set out plans for a £320 million, 137-mile string of pylons over 200ft high from Beauly in Inverness-shire to Denny, Stirlingshire. A public inquiry is scheduled for February next year over plans for the land, which is in foreign ownership. (Scotsman)

Jan 16: Quarry extension near ‘Stonehenge of North’ given go-ahead

Campaigners have been fighting plans for more quarrying at Ladybridge Farm, near Thornborough Henges, outside Ripon in North Yorkshire, for more than three years.

But the firm insists the monument, which has been called the “Stonehenge of the North”, will not be damaged. The campaigners say the development would destroy important elements of the 5,000-year-old Neolithic earthworks, a claim denied by Tarmac.

At a meeting in Masham today, North Yorkshire county councillors voted to approve a revised application for a quarry extension at Ladybridge, Thornborough, after the original bid was rejected in February last year. (Yorkshire Post)

Jan 17: National register of tartans mooted

The Scottish Executive is looking at establishing a register of tartans, MSPs heard yesterday. (Scotsman)


Jan 12: Miss Potter’s House Closed To Visitors For Two Months

Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top house ? which is expected to attract thousands of visitors following the release of the Miss Potter film ? is closed to tourists until March. The National Trust closes the house each winter to carry out essential conservation work. But the decision to close it at the same time as the film’s release has angered some visitors. One woman who travelled from Carlisle to visit the home of the popular children’s author after seeing Miss Potter said: “It’s a bit ridiculous that the house is closed at a time when people will be wanting to go and see it.” (Cumberland News)

Jan 15: Italian tailors go pale as countrymen fall for tweeds

Italian male fashionistas have fallen in love with lo stile inglese in the form of bespoke tweed suits, much to the chagrin of their master tailors, who argue that traditional pale linen suits are more in keeping with the country’s image and climate. The spat erupted at Pitti Uomo, Italy’s annual menswear exhibition, where for the first time in the event’s 70-year history an entire palazzo was set aside for Savile Row tailors. (Scotsman)

Jan 17: Farewell To My Beloved Chalky

Celebrity chef Rick Stein has paid heartfelt tribute to his beloved pet dog Chalky, who has died at the ripe old age of 17. The Jack Russell became one of the nation’s most beloved animals after appearing on numerous TV programmes alongside his owner, who has four restaurants in Padstow, North Cornwall. The dog’s fame was so great he even had a fan club which received thousands of letters (Western Morning News)

Jan 18: Scotland’s B&Bs throw off stuffy image to become best in Europe

They used to be known for their surly landladies, damp rooms and whispered conversations over a pre-dawn fry-up. But Scotland’s bed and breakfasts have been hailed among the best in a survey by the world’s most popular travel website. According to Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice awards, four out of ten of Europe’s best B&Bs are in Scotland, while the luxury Howard Hotel in Edinburgh is in the top 25 world city hotels. (Scotsman)


Jan 12: £1m houses becoming ten a penny in Scotland

Million-Pound homes are now commonplace throughout Scotland, according to a leading estate agency which has experienced a doubling of seven-figure properties in 12 months.

Knight Frank said it had sold 54 homes worth more than £1 million in the current financial year and expects to double the previous year’s tally of 32. (Scotsman)

Jan 12: End of the road for the lairds of the Isles as tenants take over

Once they were a dominant force, but the laird is fast becoming an endangered species in the Western Isles. From today more than half the Western Isles will be in public or community ownership and only one in four tenants will have a private landlord. The latest in a series of community takeovers will be completed this morning when the 56,000-acre Galson Estate in Lewis officially passes into local control. (Scotsman)

Jan 17: Eco-Friendly Homes At Prince’s Model Village

Eleven eco-friendly homes have gone on show at the Prince of Wales’s model village. (Western Morning News)


Jan 18: We’re facing the end of rural life in the West

A major initiative is under way to preserve country life in a rural swathe of the West amid fears that closely knit traditional village communities will completely die out. (Western Daily Press)


Jan 16: Resort to build Europe’s first artificial surf reef

A project started yesterday to create Europe’s first artificial surf reef along the South Coast. The £1.4m reef is to be built along Boscombe seafront in Dorset in a bid to attract up to 10,000 surfers each year to the seaside town. Sand-filled geotextile bags will be submerged east of Boscombe pier to create waves up to 13ft high and double the number of good surfing days to more than 150 each year. (Yorkshire Post)