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BBC Countryfile Magazine April 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
$8.20(Incl. tax)
$69.37(Incl. tax)
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
treasure the good times

“ I saw my first marsh harrier in 2003. I was walking in a wild expanse of wetland when I became aware of a huge bird silently tacking back and forth over reeds ahead. Its golden head and shoulders were a giveaway and I dropped into cover and savoured a few minutes with this marvel of the mires. But that was in Normandy and, at the time, the species was still confined to a few locations in the UK, having been reduced to a single breeding pair in 1971. Amazingly, I now see marsh harriers almost every time I visit a large wetland in southern Britain. What happened? Pete Dommett’s piece from the Somerset Levels reveals the phoenix-like rise of the marsh harrier (page 30). And as we continue to endure coronavirus…

1 min
this month’s contributors

Helen Moat, page 18 “In walking the park’s boundary, the rambler is able to experience the full diversity and enchantment of the Peak landscape on the quieter edges.” Pete Dommett, page 30 “I can see something small held tight in his talons. Then below him a female harrier surfaces from a rippling sea of reeds. This could get interesting.” Steph Wetherell, page 60 “The blossom petals cluster around the cusp of each branch, making the trees look like they’re clad in a thousand tiny soft clouds.”…

2 min
april in the country

BLUEBELL BEAUTY A treasured spectacle of British spring, bluebells flower from mid-April to May, bringing joy to walkers with their delicate beauty. At Rannerdale in the Lake District, a precious collection of bluebells turns the turf into a sea of bobbing blue blooms. Local folklore holds that they first sprang from the blood of slain Norman warriors. Walkers are urged to stick to the path to protect these fragile, slow-growing flowers. SNOWFLAKES IN SPRING The damp environment of the Thames Valley at Withymead Nature Reserve in Oxfordshire is an ideal habitat for the white, bell-shaped blooms of Leucojum aestivum. An ornamental plant that escaped into the wild, it’s also known as a summer snowflake – something of a misnomer as it flowers in spring. THREE SPEARS Asparagus season starts this month, but the culinary pleasure…

1 min
red-billed choughs

Cornwall’s symbolic bird, the chough, is celebrating 20 years of its return. The last Cornish chough died in 1973; after a long absence, three wild choughs settled on Lizard Point in 2001. Two birds formed a pair and produced three young – the first to breed in the wild for over 50 years. The original pair have bred every year since, as have many of their offspring, and there are now about 12 pairs breeding in Cornwall. The Cornwall Chough Project works to protect their nests and precious coastal heathland and grassland habitat. rspb.org.uk Photos: Getty, Alamy, Naturepl.com, Sandy Rae, BBC Illustration: Enya Todd…

1 min
gingerbread bunnies for easter

You will need: • 110g salted butter • 3 tbsp golden syrup • 100g dark muscovado sugar • › tsp bicarbonate of soda • 1 tsp ground ginger • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • 225g plain flour • 50g icing sugar • bunny biscuit cutter (optional) 1 Heat the butter, syrup and sugar together in a small pan on the hob, stirring until melted. Set the pan aside to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºCfan/gas 5. 2 Mix the bicarb, ginger, cinnamon and flour in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the butter-sugar mixture. Stir, using your hands to form a dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm. 3 Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 mins before laying it between two big sheets of baking parchment.…

1 min
id guide: early spring pollinators

COMMON BEE-FLY As it drinks nectar from a primrose with its long tongue, its wings beat so fast as to be invisible. It lays its eggs, bounce-bomb style, in the tunnels of solitary bees. SHIELDBUG FLY Its bizarre, broad coloured wings make it look like a shieldbug, which it parasitises. It visits cow parsley and other umbels in wet meadows, damp hedgerows and woody edges. HAIRY-FOOTED FLOWER BEE Like a small squat bumblebee. A squadron of brown and grey males (with feathery feet) will pursue a black female as she darts round red dead-nettle. BROWN HOVERFLY Slim and shiny with orange-brown hairs, it is one of several similar hoverflies. Sallow blossom, blackthorn colt’s-foot and dandelion are favourites; it also visits thistles to lay eggs. ASHY MINING BEE Distinctive white hairs on head and thorax contrast with a shiny blue-black…