Au­tumn jour­neys

Countryfile Magazine - - Editor’s Letter -

I fi­nally set eyes on a wild Bri­tish beaver this sum­mer, af­ter four pre­vi­ous failed at­tempts (see coun­try­­ti­cle/ wild-uk-beavers-sighted-last), so I smiled in recog­ni­tion of Pete Dom­mett’s two near misses dur­ing his fam­ily sa­fari in East Devon. He had the con­so­la­tion of see­ing an ot­ter, king­fisher and a dip­per in what is an un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated corner of south­ern Eng­land. His piece con­firmed that there are al­ways life-en­hanc­ing places to dis­cover, so long as you’re pre­pared to take a chance. Go ad­ven­tur­ing with Pete on page 18.

As a small boy, I once caught a sal­mon; it was seven cen­time­tres long and, un­der­whelmed, I re­turned it to its Dales river in the hope it would make it to sea. I haven’t seen a live one since, but Charles Ran­ge­ley-Wil­son’s elegiac ac­count of these mighty trav­ellers has given me new im­pe­tus to head to a sal­mon leap this au­tumn. I might get lucky, but it should be a source of na­tional shame that this once-abun­dant fish is now in se­ri­ous de­cline. Ev­ery­one should know the sal­mon’s story; see page 32.

We look at other trav­ellers fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties on page 68. Writer and de­scen­dent of Gyp­sies Damian La Bas goes in search of his fore­bears’ tra­di­tional stop­ping points. He dis­cov­ers mod­ern in­tol­er­ance as well as the en­dur­ing in­flu­ence Gyp­sies have had on ru­ral cul­ture and lan­guage. May your own au­tum­nal wan­der­ings be fruit­ful this month.

Fer­gus Collins, editor@coun­try­

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