I finally set eyes on a wild British beaver this summer, after four previous failed attempts (see countryfile.com/article/ 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, firstname.lastname@example.org