Articles tagged:

Wildlife

Magazine article

Return to Eriskay: A Hebridean community

by Nicky Gardner

Living on a small island demands a willingness to make compromises. Yet islands still have a special appeal. We make time for one of our favourite islands. Nothing much ever happens on Eriskay, and to be honest there’s not really much to see. But this outpost in the Outer Hebrides has a very special magic.

Magazine article

Hiking the Laugavegur

by hidden europe

For many young Icelanders, the four-day trek along the Laugvegur is a rite of passage that in summer affords a relatively safe encounter with ‘untouched nature’. It takes in terrain that has helped shape Icelandic culture, memory and identity.

Magazine article

Summer transients: the Fjallabak community

by Katie Featherstone

Four hours drive east of Reykjavík, the Fjallabak nature reserve is home to no one, but lies deep in the hearts of many. Here in the hills of Iceland, the seasonal transients arrive in June, helping prepare the simple accommodation to welcome summer hikers. Katie Featherstome describes a season at Hrafntinnusker, a remote mountain hut on the hiking trail known as the Laugavegur.

Magazine article

Heathland: exploring the Lüneburger Heide

by Paul Scraton

The great heath at Lüneburg in northern Germany recalls a landscape that was once very common across many parts of Europe. Paul Scraton explores how the landscapes of the heath reflect land management practices developed over many centuries. The Lüneburger Heide still gives a welcome sense of wilderness not far from great German cities.

Magazine article

Cattle country: le pays de Salers

Cantal boasts some striking volcanic landscapes and some very fetching cows. We stop off in Salers, a handsome town in the hills which has given its name to Salers cattle and Salers cheese.

Magazine article

Polar bees

by hidden europe

The news is not great for polar bumble bees, which are well adapted to the Arctic climate. Climate change may not bode well for these bees in the Russian North, but the prospects for adventurous butterflies are on the up.

Magazine article

Salers cheese

by hidden europe

Salers de Buron is no ordinary cheese. It reflects the richness of the high pastures in France’s Cantal region. The mountain grass is interlaced with Alpine fennel, gentian, arnica, anise and liquorice.

Magazine article

Wild bites: foraging in Malta

by Daiva Repeckaite

Wandering Maltese byways, we discover that each season brings its own menu of edible plants. In her first contribution to hidden europe, Daiva Repeckaite shows how foraging for wild plants reveals novel perspectives on the Maltese landscape. Amid the dry austerity, Malta has a rich variety of food there for the taking.

Magazine article

A London oasis: the Walthamstow Wetlands

by Rudolf Abraham

To have the opportunity to observe a landscape through the seasons, whether an urban swath of green and blue or something more obviously exotic, is a rare and wonderful thing. Over the past year and more Rudolf Abraham has watched the Walthamstow Wetlands transform, and here he reports for us from his home patch of London.

Blog post

New and Different Eyes

We have all changed in these past weeks. We have new and different eyes. Our view of the world, our perception of our immediate surroundings, and the value we place on space and horizons have all been reengineered within the compass of a month.

Magazine article

Radovljica: An Ode to Bees

by Rudolf Abraham
If beekeeping has a spiritual home, it's the little town of Radovljica in the Sava Valley of north-west Slovenia. Rudolf Abraham, a regular contributor to hidden europe magazine, explores beekeeping in the region where the great 18th-century apiarist Anton Janša lived and worked. Today, this area of Slovenia is especially noted for its striking painted beehives.
Blog post

The Curonian Spit

For much of its length, the Curonian Spit is about two to three kilometres wide; at points it narrows to just a few hundred metres. The sea is never far away. There is a real sense of being on the very edge of Europe. Yet, for all its remoteness, the landscape is deeply influenced by human intervention.

Magazine article

The Art of Falconry

by Rudolf Abraham
Falconry has invariably been associated with a measure of privilege and wealth. So it's no surprise that the French Revolution led to a downturn in falconry. Wider access to modern weapons (guns in particular) also helped sideline the art of falconry. But, somewhat against the odds perhaps, the ancient traditions of falconry have survived in many European countries. Rudolf Abraham explores a sport with mediaeval origins.
Magazine article

Wordcraft: A Wander through the World of Words

by Nicky Gardner
New Nature Writing may not be so new after all. But it taps a vein of nostalgia, reasserting aspects of landscape and nature from which we have become detached by modernity. Whatever its history, a new cadre of nature writers are doing much to revitalise travel writing. It is part of a wider movement to rewild the English language.
Blog post

A time for birds

We have had still days over Christmas - even halcyon days for those who know their Greek mythology. It suited the rain geese. The birds are more commonly known as the red-throated diver. Elegant in water, but ungainly on land, the rain goose is feted for her ability to anticipate a coming storm.

Blog post

Willow-herb, meadowsweet and steam

Edward Thomas' achievements as a poet and essayist were only fully recognised posthumously. For many, it is his poem about Adlestrop which sticks in the mind. But there's more to Thomas than that poem - indeed he was a very accomplished nature writer.

Blog post

Walking with friends

Summer is slipping into autumn and the leaves in forests around Berlin are already falling. We walked through mixed woodland pondering the sounds and smells of beech, oak, hazel and pine. Before long, we came to Chorin where the remarkable red-brick ruins of a 13th-century monastery are a reminder that there is more than just nature in this sparsely populated region of rural Brandenburg.

Blog post

On Pushkin and locusts

They storm in, straight out of the Book of Revelation, and lay waste to the earth. Locusts! They do not make pleasant neighbours. Europe has been largely free of locusts in recent years – but not entirely.

Magazine article

The Nessers: exploring a Kentish edgeland

by Nicky Gardner

Dungeness Foreland offers an improbable touch of wilderness in south-east England. The great shingle spreads at Dungeness on the coast of Kent create a severe and uncompromising landscape. The Nessers are the locals who call this area home. Join us on a journey through this extraordinary outpost of England.

Blog post

Selborne, naturally

For anyone with an interest in the natural world, Selborne is a place which touches the soul. Cast back 240 years, and the naturalist and writer Gilbert White was busy exploring the hollow vales and hanging woods which surrounded his home village. White observed the intimacies of the landscape, keeping detailed diaries which formed the basis for the book for which he is best remembered.

Magazine article

Revisiting the Cairngorms

by Nicky Gardner

Nan Shepherd's book The Living Mountain is often acclaimed as a prescient example of the genre now often known as New Nature Writing. We take a look at a classic text on Scottish landscapes which was first published in 1977 - more than 30 years after it was written.

Blog post

A Rhino called Ganda

We revisit the story of Ganda, the rhinoceros made famous in Dürer's woodcut, and look at it in the context of Renaissance royal menageries.

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The storm

It is one of those wild sulphurous days, and the bare heath beats to the roar of the winds. The storm sweeps in from the west. The drenched heath lies low. And it survives the fierce onslaught. The forest at Froeslev is less fortunate.

Blog post

A Frisian journey

Dutch Friesland (or more properly Fryslan) is a world apart from the densely populated parts of Holland where cities rub shoulders with one another. Dutch planners ensure that a strip of open land divides Rotterdam from Den Haag, but one dyke and a windmill do not stack up to real countryside. Fryslan is different. There are no neat cities, no tired industrial estates. Instead there are just those black and white cows, fresh air, big skies and lots of open space.

Magazine article

Between the flux: Live on the shores of Lake Sevan

by Jamie Maddison

The story of Lake Sevan reveals the tensions between economic development and environmental security in modern Armenia. Jamie Maddison travels around the shores of Lake Sevan to discover how the politics of water management play havoc with the lives of those who live and work in the region.

Magazine article

The crossing

by Nicky Gardner

The satnavs tick off the passing interchanges, the passengers in the back seats are bored and the blood pressure of the drivers rises. No-one, no-one on the busy highway will ever know that a touch of heaven is just a few feet below the angry tarmac. Join us as we follow the forest path as it passes under a motorway.

Blog post

A time for following

Sometimes it is good to be led. Paul has the map. I follow. Three of us are walking: Greg, Paul and I. Paul leads us to the shores of the lake. It is a good spot to retreat from the dark-scud clouds that crowd the October skies. There is a sweet dampness in the air, the enveloping melancholy of autumn in the forest. In the skies above, we see the patterned wing-beat of geese dancing to the obliquity of the ecliptic.

Blog post

Napoleon never made it to San Marino

hidden europe 37 is published today. More on that anon, but let's stop for a while on the edge of a Polish forest. In the very centre of the forest, we were told, is the spot where the emperors of the forest hold their court. So we went off in search of the ancient buffalo, the bison and the bear. We certainly found the bison but it is surely many a year since bear roamed the forests of Bialowieza.

Magazine article

Where the wild things are: a Polish Arcadia

by Nicky Gardner

The forest reserve at Bialowieski in Poland extends over the border into neighbouring Belarus. This great wilderness is the most important refuge for European bison. So it is no surprise that it is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It's also inscribed on the Polish heart — these border landscapes are the gateway to an imagined Arcadia which helped shape the narratives and images of Polish Romanticism.

Magazine article

Sailing to the big island: Mingulay

by Laurence Mitchell

Although the island of Mingulay in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides is long bereft of any inhabitants, it is still an evocative place. Laurence Mitchell, a regular contributor to hidden europe magazine, takes us on a tour of 'The Village' - the remnants of the once turf-roofed blackhouses that the islanders called home.

Blog post

Report from Kalmykia

The steppes on the drive east from the capital are parched and dry. Vehicles are few and far between. They are in the main old Soviet-era jeeps and trucks, the progress of each one marked by a trail of dust that hangs heavy in the afternoon air.This is the land of the saiga, an endangered antelope with a beautiful bulbous nose that lives on the feather grass steppes of Kalmykia.

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The ark in the park

Zoos evoke all manner of reactions. Some commentators see them as playing a key role in maintaining biological diversity, others dismiss them as cruel and inhumane. We take a look at European zoos in their social and historical context.

Magazine article

From Abisko to Kosterhavet: the centenary of European national parks

The great majority of Europe's citizens will probably not visit a national park in 2009. But for all of us, their very existence is a reassuring reminder that even in a crowded continent there is space to experience wilderness and peace. As Europe marks the centenary of its first national parks, we look at how the concept of a national park has evolved.

Blog post

The friendship express - black vultures in Thrace - search hidden europe

All eyes are on Turkey this afternoon as its citizens, from the Sea of Marmara to the hills of eastern Anatolia, react to the news from Luxembourg that Turkey and the EU are at least going to start discussions about the possibility of Turkey joining the Union at some distant point in the future. Whatever the outcome of the politicians' discussions, even the mere prospect of closer links with the EU has done much to improve matters for travellers.

Blog post

Lutepää (Estonia) - nocturnal Europe

In the picture perfect world of wooden houses and picket fences that is Lutepää (on Estonia's eastern border with Russia), every household has neatly stacked piles of wood ready for winter. The rich autumn whiff of burning wood has already eclipsed summer scents of newly mown grass, and the apples in the little orchards that surround every home are beginning to fall.