News and events 18-24 April

Iron Age forts, navigation by the stars and cuddly Easter lambs: Sian Lewis rounds up what's been going on in the great outdoors




£100 million cash boost for English waterways

The Independent reports good news for otters and trout: Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has confirmed a £100 million cash boost for English waterways. The money will go towards removing invasive weeds and animals, tackling pollution and nursing rivers back to health, and will be shared between the Environment Agency, Natural England and groups such as the Association of River Trusts.

South Cambridgeshire named the UK’s best rural retreat

The countryside around Cambridge is the best place to live in rural Britain, The Guardian reports. In a survey conducted by Halifax, South Cambridgeshire emerged at the top of the table due to its mix of high incomes, good health, educational standards and temperate weather.

Europe’s wildlife havens threatened by air pollution

The BBC have warned that air pollution is damaging 60% of Europe’s prime wildlife sites in meadows, forests and heaths. A team of EU scientists said nitrogen emissions from cars, factories, farming and other human activities were threatening biodiversity, especially affecting more delicate species like lichens, mosses and harebells.

Mega farms could drive family smallholdings out of business

Farmer’s Weekly has said that large-scale agriculture threatens to drive hundreds of British farmers out of business. A new report published by the Soil Association warns that small family farms are likely to lose their livelihoods if the go-ahead is granted for industrial “mega-farms” housing thousands of livestock, as a market flooded with cheap meat and milk would pile the pressure on struggling farmers.

Iron Age Mass burial discovery suggests massacre

A mass burial site at an Iron Age hill fort has been unearthed at Fin Cop, Derbyshire, the BBC has reported. The site contains nine skeletons of women and children – the first segregated burial of this kind to be found. The archaeological team believe the skeletons were massacred after the fort, which dates from around 400BC, was attacked, and that “hundreds more skeletons” could be buried there.


Flora, Fauna and Fossils
Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve, Moffat, Scotland, 23 April 1-4pm

Join the park ranger on a two-mile ramble in the Moffat Water Valley to see the rich flora and fauna of the area, including a visit to Dob’s Linn, a renowned fossil site. The free walk is part of the Dumfries and Galloway Wildlife Festival. The route is fairly level, but involves a few burn crossings, so children must be aged eight and over.
For further information call 0844 4932249 or email greymarestail@nts.or.guk

Red Earth Chalk Walk: Natural navigation
Harting Down, West Sussex, 23 April 2pm

Find out how to navigate your way across a landscape without the use of any gadgets with expert natural navigator Tristan Gooley. Walks cost £9, and take place on the South Downs, where Tristan teaches participants to guide themselves without map or compass, using the sun, the stars and even plants and animals to find the way.
Visit Booking is essential – call 01243 814554.

Feed the Easter Lambs
Malham Tarn and Moor, North Yorkshire 24-25 April 11am – 3pm

It doesn’t get much more festive at Easter than feeding new-born lambs. They are part of the weekend elebrations at Malham Tarn and Moor, which will also include an egg trail around beautiful Malham Cove and lots of craft activities. Entry is free, and trails cost £1.50 (with a chocolate prize for participants).
For more information call 01729 830416.

Easter Egg Trail and Victorian fairground
Scotney Castle, Kent 22-25 April 11am – 4pm

Easter at Scotney Castle promises everything from Victorian fairground rides and craft activities to face painting and a Cadbury Easter egg trail through the picturesque gardens. The fairground and face painting will take place on Sunday 24 & Monday 25 April only. Normal admission charges apply, plus £2 per trail and a small charge for the fairground rides. For more information call 01892 893820.


View Events 18-24 April in a larger map