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From the editor

The passion for visiting ‘open gardens’ is blooming throughout the country, and the National Garden Scheme Gardens to Visit (popularly known as ‘The Yellow Book’) is the bible for visiting a wide array of remarkable gardens large and small. We celebrate the appeal of being in a beautiful garden on a summer’s day (hopefully with a nice cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake as well).

Also in this issue, I explore Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to discover how country houses and stately homes are thriving in the twenty-first century; we meet the Norfolk man who turned his back on life as a successful city financier to grow soft fruit on the family farm; and we recall happy memories of escaping from the urban grime into the countryside via the Green Line buses on London Transport’s rural routes.

We celebrate the natural world by experiencing the breeding season of the dippers of Lathkill Dale in Derbyshire; and we discover why May is a particularly bounteous month for wildlife watchers.

May this issue be a bounteous one for all our readers.

Mark Whitley


In the May issue of The Countryman...

Countryman magazine

The dippers of Lathkill Dale
Matthew Bingham spends a breeding season photographing these birds

Queen of the may
Rosamond Richardson celebrates the natural history, myths and folklore surrounding the hawthorn

Open gardens are blooming
Summer for Amy Fisher means exploring other people’s green spaces

Wildlife in focus: common lizard
Thursley Common, Surrey, by William Harvey

Icebergs off the Shetlands
Peter Naldrett recalls when winter arrived in summer

Behaving like teenagers
Expert beekeeper Simon Cavill explains all about drones

The great Cotswold showpiece village
Jim Watson features Broadway in his new Country Sketchbook article

Currant affairs
Sarah Juggins meets the Norfolk man who swapped finance for fruit

Here today, gone tomorrow
Nature-writer James Lowen has practical advice on what to look for in the natural world during May

Pies for humble folk
Tony Francis explains how eating small deer brought about a well-used country expression

New roles for stately homes
Mark Whitley discovers how the larger homes of Bucks & Oxon continue to survive

Abbey in the wars
Fran Halsall continues her look at memorable man­made structures with a visit to Whitby

London & Country
Peter Ashley has happy memories of escaping from the city grime into the countryside via the Green Line buses

The making of a plantsman’s paradise
Andrew Baskott discovers how one couple created a twentieth-century garden amidst a decaying Tudor farmhouse

Breeding is key to quality
Cheesemonger Andy Swinscoe explains the importance of using only the best milk for cheese

Lincolnshire’s coastal marshes
Mark Whitley heads to the east coast for this month’s Country Churches feature

Fracking the countryside
Bill Butterworth looks at the environmental impact of new drilling techniques

New face in the village pub
It’s out of Africa and into Norfolk discovers Geoffrey Dixon

Book reviews
Readers’ letters
Nature watch
Watch the birdie


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