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BBC Countryfile Magazine December 2020

Countryfile Magazine inspires you to explore forgotten corners of the great British countryside and provides knowledge of the people and wildlife that inhabit it. We want to tempt you into trying new things, seek out new places and make the most of Britain’s beautiful landscapes.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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$69.37(Incl. tax)
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
christmas spirit unbroken

“This could well be the strangest Christmas many of us will ever experience. And writing about it in October (when we send this issue to press) makes it even more difficult to predict just how much we will be able to see of our beloved family and friends and enjoy the traditional midwinter festivities. The one constant is the astonishing solace we can all find in the green spaces around us. I don’t need to tell you again about the healing power of nature but the hard fact is that coronavirus struggles to spread outdoors, so we must make our festive sanctuaries in the garden with blankets, woodfires and hearty warming food and drink (see page 32). Two important effects of the Covid crisis are that many more people have, first,…

1 min
this month’s contributors

Nicola Chester, page 18 “The swell, swoop and linen folds of chalk downland make for big open country where you can walk up with tumbling ravens and not see another soul for miles.” Adele Brand, page 38 “Juniper is the tree that shelters us: wizened yet robust, fragrant but fierce with glass-thin needles and peeling bark, a living book.” Charlie Ryrie, page 50 “I have learned to love the early winter softness of these damp days as the last leaves fall from mature oaks, limes and beeches.”…

3 min
december in the country

FROSTY MEADOWS The rising sun brings fiery colour to the frost-carpeted landscape of Thundry Meadows. Set on the north bank of the River Wey, this 16-hectare nature reserve in Elstead, Surrey has a patchwork habitat of water meadows, alder carr, veteran birches and grassland, and offers a winter refuge for hibernating grass snakes and common lizards. WINTER GAMES Families and friends seize the snowy day to sledge and slide as the Angel of the North guards over the hill on the south of Low Fell in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Standing 20 metres tall in the former coal-mining landscape, Antony Gormley’s steel statue was completed in 1998 and symbolises an industrial past and future hope. FRUITFUL FLIGHT In a flurry of pink and pale grey with flashes of black, yellow and red, the lovely colours…

1 min
winter illuminations

1 LAND OF LIGHT, LONGLEAT, WILTSHIRE, 7 Nov–10 Jan Explore seven unique zones – including an icy winter maze and immersive 360° light experience – at Longleat’s brand new festive event. longleat.co.uk 2 CHRISTMAS AT KEW, LONDON, 18 Nov–3 Jan Kew’s magical winter trail (pictured) is returning for its eighth year and includes a twinkling tunnel of bells, a dazzling treetop waterfall, huge glowing seed-heads and an illuminated rose garden. kew.org 3 CHRISTMAS AT THE BOTANICS, EDINBURGH, 26 Nov–3 Jan As the after-dark trail lights up, wander beneath colourful tree canopies, visit the laser garden and discover giant luminescent sculptures. rbge.org.uk 4 IGNITE AT GIBSIDE, COUNTY DURHAM, 11–30 Dec Follow a lantern-lit trail through Gibside’s 18th-century Georgian gardens, where stars twinkle, flames flicker and fairies dance among majestic trees. nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside Photos: Picfair, Jeff Eden, BBC Illustration: Enya Todd…

1 min
holly christmas cards

You will need: acrylic or powder paint, green and red • gold card/paper • holly leaves (oak leaves are a good alternative if you can’t find holly) • paint brushes • scrap paper 1 Collect a handful of holly leaves from your garden, local park or reserve – the flatter the better. If you can’t find holly, try oak leaves. 2 Place the leaves between two pieces of scrap paper and press inside a heavy book for one or two days to flatten out any kinks. 3 Once flat, place two leaves on a piece of scrap paper. Paint the shiny side of each leaf with an even layer of green paint. 4 Lie the leaves paint-side-down on a piece of card. Overlay them with paper, apply pressure, then carefully remove the paper and leaves. 5…

2 min
id guide: conifer cones

SCOTS PINE 3–7.5cm long The female cone matures from red to green and then woody grey-brown with a circular bump at the end of each scale. DOUGLAS FIR 10cm long A North American native brought to the UK in the 19th century. This pendulous cone has large scales ending in a three-pointed bract. SITKA SPRUCE 10cm long Another species introduced from North America in the 19th century. Pale-brown pendulous cones have thin, flexible scales. Young cones are green. NORWAY SPRUCE Up to 20cm long A native of northern and central Europe, this species has the largest cones, which are red brown with diamond-shaped scales. LODGEPOLE PINE 3–7cm long Cones vary from cylindrical to egg-shaped with prickly scales. This native tree of North America is popular in modern forestry. CORSICAN PINE 7–8cm long A Mediterranean variety of black pine, this species has grey-brown cones when mature. They are…