Country Life 24 May 2023

Country Life 24 May 2023 looks at the joys of the West Country, heritage trains and Britain's rarest orchids.

The original Nature boy

Shakespeare’s understanding of the natural world and its wildlife shows him to be a true countryman, says John Lewis-Stempel

Let’s pull together

Indefatigable volunteers and picturesque locomotives mean Britain’s heritage railways are thriving. Melanie Bryan and Kate Green climb aboard

The kraken wakes

Spectacular properties new to the market are giving the West Country ever more allure, describes Penny Churchill

Give it a west

James Fisher presents his pick of West Country properties

Recommended videos for you

Where the wild orchids sing

Ben Jacob goes in search of our increasingly rare native orchids, from early spider to heath spotted, lizard and ghost

Christopher Jackson’s favourite painting

The poet chooses a poignant scene with a powerful message

Gather your wits

The Bard had a line for every occasion, finds Agnes Stamp

Making a modern castle

In the second of two articles, Clive Aslet unravels the travails of constructing—and restoring—Sir Edwin Lutyens’s massive, remote Castle Drogo in Devon

Native breeds

Kate Green admires the tough, locally prized Exmoor Horn

Earning their stripes

Cheerful Cornishware china is a familiar sight in kitchens across the land. Paula Lester takes her turn at the potter’s wheel

Move over Mrs Beeton

Her recipes are familiar, yet her name is forgotten. Neil Buttery salutes cook Elizabeth Raffald


Giles Kime pays tribute to US designer Billy Baldwin and Amelia Thorpe gathers modern versions of his slipper chair

Shared economy

You can enjoy a far-flung home without the mundane realities. Agnes Stamp reveals how

Pastoral care

Shaded shrubberies yield to fine views at Little Benville House, Dorset. George Plumptre visits

Kitchen garden cook

Melanie Johnson on carrots

The good stuff

Hetty Lintell takes to the water