Here's a bumper-sized sneak peek at what's inside our exciting March issue, which hits shops today.
Have a good look at what's inside our exciting March issue, which hits shops today. It includes March in the country, spring in the New Forest, one man’s grand plan to bring wolves back to the Scottish Highlands, cosy country cottages to stay in, Matt Baker on his life with sheepdogs and a masterclass in growing your own perfect veg! And, of course, your regular favourite sections: news, reviews, your letters and photos and Great Days Out.
If you had to choose between fracking or wind turbines to produce energy in your area, which would you go for?
Fracking hit the headlines this week with Prime Minister David Cameron confirming his strong support for the process of extracting shale gas from deep underground. Fracking – hydraulic fracturing – uses high pressure water to fracture rocks to reach the gas within or beneath.
Supporters claim that the gas would meet many of our future energy needs while keeping our bills down. It would also reduce our dependence on supplies from other – sometimes turbulent – countries.
Opponents say that the drilling sites would blight the countryside – a charge levelled also at wind turbines. They also claim that fracking could pollute the natural environment including water supplies. Meanwhile, shale gas is a fossil fuel and its extraction and then burning would do nothing to prevent climate change – and may even make the situation worse.
So we wanted to gauge what our readers thought about fracking when compared with that other controversial source of future energy: wind turbines.
Advocates of wind turbines claim they produce renewable energy without emitting greenhouse gases while opponents argue that the turbines spoil the look of the countryside and say that they are inefficient.
If you had to make a choice, which would you go for?
The Dell by Bill Robinson has been voted as the winner of the 2013 Countryfile photographic competition.
The results are in and after a record number of votes, you have chosen The Dell by Bill Robinson as the overall winner of our annual photographic competition. This stunning image of bluebells in Coombe Wood will appear on the cover of the 2014 Countryfile Calendar. Bill is “overwhelmed and quite humbled” that his photo has been chosen as the winner from more than 55,000 entries. Bill also wins £1,000 worth of photographic equipment.
The Countryfile Photographic Competition has now been launched and this year’s theme is Our Living Landscape
**PLEASE NOTE** This competition is now closed. Many thanks for all of your entries and enquiries. The over all winner and judges' choice winner will be announced on Countryfile on 6 October.
The best 12 entered photographs will make up the 2014 annual calendar, which will be sold in aid of the BBC’s Children In Need appeal.
This essential new guide takes you on a mouthwatering journey around England, Scotland and Wales.
Join us as we sample the most delicious British food and drink, from golden Cornish pasties to sparkling fresh oysters from the North Sea. Traditional, homely dishes such as the Bedfordshire clanger and Welsh bara brith will sharpen your appetite. Alongside these delicious dishes are mellow West Country ciders, award-winning wines from the sunny south and rich Speyside malt whiskies to finish.
Along the way, meet some of the finest food producers in the land – and learn about where real food comes from.
Have you got an idea for a walk you'd like to share in the Great Day Out section?
Have you got an idea for a walk you’d like to share in the Great Days Out section? We’d like to hear from you.
Send us a summary of no more than 100 words explaining where and how long your walk is, and what makes it so special.
We’ll then select 20 of the best, and get in touch to ask you for the full version.
If your walk is chosen, you’ll win a great prize.
Much of our countryside only survives through the efforts of volunteers. Now, with the National Trust, we are launching the second Octavia Hill Awards to celebrate the people who make a difference.
It was for being, er, well, an ‘inspirational hero’ I think they said,” says Matt Smith, somewhat bashfully. He’s grinning with embarrassment, but the 22-year-old biology student has just won one of the National Trust’s prestigious Octavia Hill Awards, which celebrate unsung green heroes around the UK.
Here's all the information you need to buy the Countryfile Calendar 2013.
Octavia Hill was a social reformer whose belief in the benefits of fresh air led to the creation of the National Trust. Now awards have been launched in her name to recognise people who keep her legacy alive
The name Octavia Hill may be unfamiliar to some, yet the work of this tireless campaigner for everything from social reform to green spaces has touched the lives of millions.
As one of the founders of the National Trust, her life and legacy can be seen all around us, from large-scale nature reserves to tiny pockets of green in our busiest inner cities.
To mark the centenary of her death in 1912, our new awards will celebrate individuals and groups that are keeping alive Octavia Hill’s legacy.
Location: Central Lake District
Lake District Holidays offer self catering cottages and apartments in Bowness-on-Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere (photo taken from Helm Crag lounge window). All are within a short walk of a lake, pubs and restaurants. Free use of health club, and dogs are welcome in most of the properties. Nature lovers will enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful area, home to red squirrels, deer, and badgers. Short breaks available.