Image: PA

Equine squatters: the topic that united the Countryside Alliance and the RSPCA

27 May 2015 10:26

In September last year I wrote about horses being illegally grazed and abandoned, and the inability of landowners to do anything about it. Back then, the government were poised to… Continue reading

David Cameron feeds a lamb in April 2015. Image: Getty

Pandering to animal rights extremists will get MPs rejected, not elected

14 May 2015 11:47

The reasons why England and Wales voted so convincingly for a Conservative Government on Thursday will be debated forever, but one of the most obvious is the complete rejection of… Continue reading


Rural people have been let down by both Labour and the Conservatives

28 April 2015 16:33

In 1997, Labour could assert with a straight face that it was ‘the party of the countryside’, because it genuinely competed with the Tories for rural votes. Today, an electoral map of… Continue reading

A demonstrator at the Liberty and Livelihood march, in September '02. Image: Getty

If this is a debate about animal welfare, we must repeal the Hunting Act and start again

18 February 2015 12:48

Today marks ten years of a ban on hunting a wild mammal with hounds in England and Wales, except under certain exemptions. To understand what a fundamentally bad law the… Continue reading

Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming, James Bond and The Spectator

12 August 2014 10:30

It’s 50 years since the death of Ian Fleming and The Spectator has always taken James Bond seriously. The writer of the Spectator’s Notebook in 1962 went along eagerly to… Continue reading

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British farming cannot turn its back on the EU

30 July 2014 11:22

Much has been made of the political debate at the 2014 CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace. The attendance of the new Environment Secretary Liz Truss, Ukip leader Nigel Farage… Continue reading

PopulOwen Paterson. Image: Getty

No love for Liz Truss at country day out

18 July 2014 16:15

Sacked Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was the darling of the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace today. A steady trickle of well wishers queued, as if at a wake, to… Continue reading

The inimitable Clarissa Dickson Wright. Image: PA

Eight of Clarissa Dickson Wright’s finest moments

7 April 2014 15:30

The funeral of Clarissa Dickson Wright: cook, television personality, countryside campaigner and, at the time, the youngest woman ever to be called to the Bar, was held in Edinburgh this… Continue reading

Aerial Views Show The Extent Of The Flooding On The Somerset Levels

Taxpayers fund farmers to wreck their landscape and flood their homes

18 February 2014 12:04

Go to Google Maps and type in Lechlade – the Cotswold town at the start of the navigable Thames. Instead of looking at it on the map, click the ‘satellite’… Continue reading

Grey-Headed Flying Foxes To Be Relocated From Royal Botanic Gardens

When bats trump people

5 August 2013 10:30

The grey long-eared bat is threatened by extinctions, according to various news reports this morning. Scientists at the University of Bristol, who made the discovery, have called for more protection… Continue reading

A snow-dusted rural parish. (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)

Brace yourself for the real experience of going to a rural parish service on Easter Sunday

31 March 2013 7:30

‘And we extend a special welcome to all our visitors here today.’ That’s the vicar speaking; and this Sunday is one of the two days in the year when you… Continue reading

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Gordon Wilson, a hero for our times

30 December 2012 10:32

If there was any justice in the world, Yorkshire pensioner Gordon Wilson would feature in the New Year’s Honours list – but I suppose it’s too much to hope for.… Continue reading

Conservative MP Greg Barker has said that wind farms are ‘wonderful’ and ‘majestic’, and that they have become a ‘tourist attraction.’ Image: Getty

Why are Conservative MPs so intent on wrecking our countryside?

4 December 2012 12:37

Last week we had Nick Boles extolling the virtues of concreting over what green space we still have in order to tackle an alleged housing shortage. And now, in today’s… Continue reading

Walking deep into England. Image: Getty

In England’s green and pleasant land

31 August 2012 9:20

The idea came to me after I had just got back from South America after a long trip to Peru.  Perhaps because I was badly jetlagged, everything about England looked… Continue reading


There’ll be no u-turn on planning

3 September 2011 12:59

This government has developed rather a reputation for u-turning. But I would be extremely surprised if it did one over its planning reforms. When you talk to ministers and advisers… Continue reading


The government has been weak over forests

17 February 2011 19:32

A very dangerous precedent has been established today over the forest fiasco. Caroline Spelman earlier gave the most extraordinary interview on Radio 4′s PM. "We got it wrong," she said… Continue reading


How the Tories will repeal the hunting ban

9 September 2009 19:01

The Guardian has a story today about how field sports enthusiasts are donating heavily to Nick Herbert, the shadow DEFRA secretary. The paper links the donations to the fact that… Continue reading