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Contents<br />

<strong>May</strong> 2022<br />

100<br />

60<br />

12<br />

In the garden<br />

In the kitchen<br />

Craft<br />

12 Tranquil waters of a lush haven<br />

22 The garden in <strong>May</strong><br />

26 Dainty bells with a sweet perfume<br />

36 Plant food from the leaves of comfrey<br />

48 Dishes filled with fresh spring flavour<br />

56 Layers of lightness in a tempting cake<br />

60 Golden buns to bake and share<br />

66 Regional & Seasonal:<br />

Taw River Dairy, Devon<br />

40 Old world charm in petticoat petals<br />

80 Fragmented beauty of a mosaicist’s art<br />

94 Light pull with a macramé twist<br />

96 Hand-dyed ribbons to enhance gifts<br />

100 Easy-to-knit cheerful chicken doorstop<br />

122 Readers share their creative talents<br />


68<br />

40<br />

Countryside<br />

116<br />

History and heritage<br />

80<br />

Regulars<br />

112 The countryside in <strong>May</strong><br />

116 Familiar sight of a cheerful,<br />

feathered neighbour<br />

68 Relics of the past among<br />

sweeping dales swathed in gold<br />

104 Azure carpets on an island of birds<br />

6 Readers’ letters<br />

8 Our LandScape<br />

33 In the garden<br />

46 Subscription offer<br />

58 In the kitchen<br />

90 In the home<br />




Full of subtle colour and old world charm, ranunculus is a sumptuous flower<br />

retaining a delicate beauty in spring arrangements



Light, fresh and flavourful, seasonal greens and herbs are<br />

both versatile and packed with goodness<br />


SPRING GREENS OR vegetables are the new<br />

growth or young leaves of a number of edible<br />

plants, including asparagus, peas, spinach,<br />

artichokes, radishes, salad greens and spring<br />

onions. Many leafy vegetables can become bitter as they<br />

age, whereas these will be at their best now. The first<br />

cabbages of the year are also referred to as spring greens<br />

and have fresh, loose heads without a tough heart.<br />

Delicate herbs, such as dill, chives and parsley, are<br />

early arrivals, together with sprouts, such as pea, mustard<br />

and radish. The latter are tiny greens harvested when a<br />

plant is still germinating, which means they are both<br />

tender and full of flavour.<br />

Asparagus, which has a very short season to be<br />

enjoyed, is a good source of fibre, vitamin C and beta<br />

carotene. Both spinach and peas are high in protein,<br />

with spinach also being a good source of iron and<br />

potassium. Eating peas straight from the pod is a<br />

seasonal delight. Colourful salad greens are also<br />

nutritious and high in vitamins A, B and C.<br />

Creamy potato & parsley soup<br />

Serves 4<br />

1 tbsp olive oil<br />

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped<br />

700g Maris Piper potatoes,<br />

peeled and chopped<br />

800ml cold water<br />

15g fresh curly parsley, chopped,<br />

plus extra to garnish<br />

200ml double cream<br />

4 eggs<br />

sea salt and black pepper<br />

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté<br />

the onion for 5-6 mins until softened. Add<br />

the potatoes and water, then bring to the<br />

boil and season with salt and pepper.<br />

Simmer, covered, for 15 mins, then mix in<br />

the parsley.<br />

Transfer the mixture to a food processor<br />

and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture<br />

back into the saucepan, then add the<br />

double cream. Simmer for 2 mins.<br />

In the meantime, poach the eggs in a<br />

separate large saucepan of boiling water for<br />

3-5 mins until cooked as desired.<br />

Divide the soup between 4 soup bowls<br />

and add a poached egg to each. Garnish<br />

with parsley and serve immediately.<br />




Using patterned pieces of broken crockery, Colin Davis gives them<br />

a new life in his visually stunning mosaic creations



From age-old barns to abandoned smelting mills, Upper Swaledale in<br />

North Yorkshire is a land defined by man but ruled by nature



Just off the Pembrokeshire coast, wild Skomer Island is alive with the sound<br />

of seabirds and flooded with bluebells to delight the spring visitor<br />

The Spit<br />

Pig Stone<br />

STANDING AT THE tip of the Marloes<br />

Peninsula on Pembrokeshire’s west coast, a blue<br />

hue is visible on an island more than half a mile<br />

out to sea. The rich colour comes from the thick<br />

carpets of bluebells that sprawl across the open land<br />

during <strong>May</strong> and June, providing visitors to the island<br />

with the extraordinary experience of walking through<br />

bluebell fields that appear to go on forever.<br />

Even before landing on Skomer Island, its<br />

abundant wildlife makes itself seen and heard. As the<br />

boat approaches North Haven, which is Skomer’s most<br />

sheltered bay, black-and-white specks bob in the water<br />

ahead. These soon reveal themselves to be seabirds:<br />

puffins, razorbills and guillemots, almost within<br />

touching distance of the vessel. Gulls fly overhead,<br />

creating a cacophony of screeches and squawks, while<br />

Grey seals sunbathe on the shingle beach.<br />

Exposed to the elements<br />

The island is rugged and windswept. As there is no<br />

land mass south-west of Skomer until South America,<br />

some 4,000 miles away, it is exposed to storms and<br />

Pains Rock<br />

Skomer Head<br />

104<br />

Pigstone<br />

Bay<br />

The Wick<br />

Garland Stone<br />

SKOMER<br />

ISLAND<br />

Harold Stone<br />

Warden’s<br />

House<br />

Waybench<br />

South<br />

Haven<br />

Mew Stone<br />

North<br />

Haven<br />

High Cliff<br />

The<br />

Neck<br />

Shag Rock<br />

Midland<br />

Isle<br />

rough seas. Cliffs predominate along the coastline,<br />

where seabirds nest precariously on narrow ledges.<br />

Beaches are few and far between, and are normally<br />

strewn with rocks, shingle and seals.<br />

Most people visit for the wildlife: <strong>combined</strong> with<br />

neighbouring Skokholm Island, Skomer has the<br />

greatest concentration of Manx shearwaters in the<br />

world. It also has 6,000 pairs of breeding puffins; a<br />

population that is actually increasing, while numbers<br />

plummet elsewhere in Britain.<br />

Approximately 20,000 people visit Skomer each<br />

year. Numbers are restricted to 250 per day, to protect<br />

the large numbers of birds living on what is a small<br />

island of just 721 acres, and little more than a mile<br />

from north to south.<br />

Between April and September, the Dale Princess<br />

takes visitors on the 15-minute journey between<br />

Martin’s Haven, on the mainland, and North Haven.<br />

It passes Jack Sound; the treacherous nature of which<br />

helps to protect Skomer from the land predators that<br />

would otherwise decimate the ground-nesting birds.<br />

“Over the thousands of years of human occupation<br />

here, it’s a miracle that rats didn’t get on the island,”<br />

says Mike Alexander, chair of the Wildlife Trust of<br />

South & West Wales, which manages the island. “But<br />

they didn’t, and that’s the single most important<br />

reason for the abundance of wildlife on Skomer.”<br />

Once the boat has landed, the walk begins with a<br />

climb up 87 steps, passing razorbills and guillemots<br />

nesting next to the path. The colours of these auks, as<br />

with many seabirds, camouflage them from both prey<br />

and predators, when swimming on the surface of the ❯<br />

Clockwise from right: A perfect spot to take in South<br />

Haven, Skomer, against a backdrop of bluebells; a puffin<br />

wades through the daisy-like flowers of sea mayweed;<br />

arriving at the island on tourist boat, the Dale Princess;<br />

razorbills chat, chest deep in sea thrift.

“There is a silent eloquence<br />

In every wild bluebell<br />

That fills my softened heart with bliss”<br />

Anne Brontë, ‘The Bluebell’

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