Archives for category: BBC Countryfile Magazine


‘Land is low-lying between the Derwent and the Humber, rising only gently to meet the Yorkshire Wolds. In winter Pocklington Canal is barely discernible from the floods that swamp meadows and fen, attracting waterfowl like whimbrel, golden plover and ruff. In summer great burnet, meadow foxtail and sneezewort flourish, lapwings, curlew and snipe breed, and enriched with alluvial silt, legumes and maize ripen. Cleaving a gentle bend from East Cottingwith to Pocklington, the canal remains elusive. Everything is green – meadows give to rush and aquatic plants. Edges dissolve. But it catches your breath when you find it. The sparkling water teems with lilies and fish.’

Read more in the September 2018 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine


‘There is a part of the river just above the falls which balloons slightly so that its edges are shallow and clear, disturbed only by wavelets even while the main channel is turbulent white-water. Here at the edge a grey wagtail works its way up the stones of a miniature waterfall, its yellow under-plumage contrasted by green moss, poised and apparently undisturbed by the river’s tumult.’

Read more in BBC Countryfile Magazine, July 2018


Appropriately, Ystwyth means supple in English, because with its shifting currents braiding silvery sands, its course changes often and it is never quite the same as when you last saw it. In spate its levels fluctuate dramatically. Plants like alpine pennycress take root and then vanish. From its boggy source in the Cambrian Mountains to Aberyswtwyth where it slips quietly into the Rheidol, Afon Ystwyth is a secretive stream.

Read more in BBC Countryfile Magazine, Special Issue, Autumn 2017

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Photos by the lovely Giles W Bennett

Soaring in linguistic isolation among other Snowdonia Mountains such as Tryfan, Glyder Fawr and Carnedd Gwenllian, is Cnicht. Its name – the Anglo Saxon word for ‘knight’ was bestowed on it not by local Welsh people, but by medieval sailors who noted its resemblance when viewed from the sea to a fourteenth century bassinet helmet. From the coast it looks so perilous and pointy among the swoops and crests that surround it like lemon-meringue, that pyramidal Cnicht is also known as ‘The Welsh Matterhorn’ though at a sixth of that Alpine great’s height, it is rather more easy to climb.

Read more in the October 2017 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine




Read my blog for the Ffestiniog Railway on their website:

The flowers are an Impressionist sizzle, and the waves pummel or caress a riot of colourful rocks. Red, blue-black or butterscotch, sculpted into blow-holes, arches and cliff-cathedrals, it is the rocks of course, be they acidic or lime-rich, that underpin the soils and plants. They account for the acid-heath dazzle of heather and gorse and the calcareous grassland gilded with scabious and squinancywort. Like a squished-up ball of plasticene, the geological map of Pembrokeshire is a glorious colourful muddle.

Read more in BBC Countryfile Magazine August 2016

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‘Dominant puffins strut slowly with their heads high. Submissive ones bend low and scurry past them. Reverberating through the air is the deep, comical, creaking growl that puffins make underground, sometimes, alarmingly, from almost beneath your feet.’

More in the May edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine