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Track­ing wild an­i­mals in the snow

To our cave-dwelling an­ces­tors, Europe was a land of wild forests, where large an­i­mals were once both hunter and hunted. To­day, the an­cient forests of eastern Poland of­fer the most authen­tic glimpse of this primeval past, and re­main a refuge for much of the wildlife once com­mon across the con­ti­nent. Win­ter of­fers a spe­cial per­spec­tive, with the snow-cov­ered ter­rain criss-crossed by tracks. Top quarry for the track­ers is the Euro­pean bi­son, a shaggy bovine now re-es­tab­lished here af­ter near ex­tinc­tion a cen­tury ago. Elk, boar and deer may also be en­coun­tered, and the lucky few may glimpse a beaver or ot­ter. Wrap up warm and ven­ture out at night to raised view­ing hides and you may even see wolves. Mean­while, white­tailed ea­gle, hazel­hen and nut­cracker are among the treats for bird­watch­ers. Top tip Cam­era bat­ter­ies run down quickly in the cold; keep spares close to your skin. How to book Na­ture­trek (01962 733 051; na­ture­trek.co.uk) of­fers a seven­night Poland in Win­ter tour, from £1,695 per per­son (two shar­ing) in­clud­ing flights, trans­fers and meals, plus the ser­vices of a Na­ture­trek ex­pert guide and a lo­cal guide. De­part­ing Jan­uary 28 2018.

Ice­land: Or­cas and Aurora

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