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BBC Countryfile Magazine February 2021

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
take a chance...

“Ellie Harrison, as usual, makes an excellent point this month (page 114). With holidays and hard-earned cash so precious to most of us, she says it’s understandable that many people are risk-averse in their choice of destination. So Cornwall, the Lake District, Peak District, Snowdonia and Dorset proved once again the most searched-for breaks in the countryside on Countryfile.com as lockdown measures were eased last summer. It’s also why we often choose images of these places on our covers – they’re perennially popular. The problem was, as I found out myself in Snowdonia, these hotspots were busier than ever in 2020. And sometimes a heaving throng of walkers can take the edge off the enjoyment. So this issue we’re making a case for trying something new. Phoebe Smith leads the charge with…

1 min
this month’s contributors

Phoebe Smith “Over those two days of walking, my pony Susie taught me a great deal. She showed me that sometimes, just sometimes, it pays to take your time.” Terry Abraham “I just wanted to capture one Lake District mountain through the seasons in the best possible drama and light – the way I see it when I’m out.” Lesley Waldron “If 2020 taught us anything, it was there is real benefit to getting outside, moving more and looking after our health, for mental and physical wellbeing.”…

4 min
february in the country

CASTLE OF STORIES “There’s a secret as old As the stones to unlock: There’s a riddle, a mystery Trapped in the rock.” Thus wrote Katrina Porteous in her poem Dunstanburgh. This castle on the Northumberland coast was built in the early 1300s by Thomas of Lancaster. He led a colourful life before being tried and executed for treason by Edward II in 1322. PEAKING DUCK The gloriously exotic-looking mandarin duck seems far too ostentatious to include among the UK’s native avifauna. Introduced from China, the species has escaped from captivity in the UK; now 2,300 pairs are living in the wild, mostly in southern England. PINK PERFECTION In the Wakefield triangle in Yorkshire, under candlelight, something is stirring this February. Farmers have been nurturing rhubarb in darkened sheds to produce a special crop. The darkness…

1 min
grow tomatoes

You will need: tomato seeds • pots • peat-free, multi-purpose compost • vermiculite (a water-retaining mineral) • cling film • soft twine • stakes (such as bamboo) • tomato food SOWING Between January and March, thinly sow your tomato seeds in 7.5cm-wide pots of moist, peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Top with a thin layer of vermiculite, water and cover with cling film. Stand on a warm, bright windowsill. PLANTING OUT Move your tomatoes outside after the last frost in May. Plant them in a sunny, sheltered border (plenty of well-rotted garden compost if possible). Grow bags or large pots (30cm wide) can also be used – place these outside or in a greenhouse. FEEDING Once flowers appear, feed plants weekly with liquid tomato food. Keep plants well-watered; irregular watering causes fruit to split or develop hard black…

1 min
id guide: early spring birdsong

MISTLE THRUSH Short, wistful, almost melancholic phrases of song from December onwards. Often sings at dusk and during rain, which gives rise to the old nickname of ‘stormcrow’. WOODLARK Head to southern heathlands on a late winter’s day to hear this little-known songster. Males produce a beguiling cascade of notes, varying the rate and tone with each phrase. GREAT TIT By February, the great tit’s clean piping notes are refreshing our woodlands. The most easily recognised is the “tee-cher, tee-cher, tee-cher” two-note call. DUNNOCK High-pitched, rapid and undulating and seeming to end with a preposition, the song of the dunnock has been likened to a squeaky bicycle wheel, but it’s tuneful and easy to identify. ROBIN Having sung all winter – albeit without great urgency – the robin’s long, tuneful and wistful song grows in strength as the first…

2 min
the seasonal table: a taste of february

The smallholding is softly stirring into life again. At dusk, while we are quickly grafting a few new apple varieties on the old trees, a bat swoops through the orchard and a toad is heard croaking by the pond. There is even an enthusiastic plum tree in blossom. In the raised beds we sow wibbly rows of onion sets between the winter leeks and emerging garlic, accompanied by our mouser cat, who pounces on the tiny bulbs as we bury them. LEEK AND GOAT’S CHEESE TARTS INGREDIENTS Serves 4 25g unsalted butter1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped750g leeks, thinly sliced2 tsp apple cider vinegar375g all-butter puff pastry, ready rolled100g local goat’s cheese, sliced into four rounds2 tsp thyme leaves (fresh or dried)A pinch of chipotle chilli flakesA splash of milk METHOD 1. Melt the…