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Countryside

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Rooted in History

There’s something wonderful about walking through a wood in the company of trees. Whether enjoying the soft, green light filtering through the fresh, unfurling leaves of spring, the crowded canopy of summer, alive with the sound of a thousand things, the glowing cathedral of stained-glass autumn leaves with the wistful whisperings ...

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Diversity, Inclusivity and Respect in Rural Areas

Today I’m talking about diversity here at The Hills, and specifically LGBTQ+ representation and support in rural areas and industries. Why? Well, let me present you with some facts. In 2017, the Office for National Statistics mapped out the UK’s gay, lesbian and bisexual population for the first time, and the results ...

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How To Reduce Your Household Waste - Without The ‘Zero Waste’ Pressure

Recycling is having something of a renaissance. ‘Zero waste’ as a concept is everywhere, from the headlines to the high street. Costa, Starbucks and Pret now offer free water refills to anyone who asks after Keep Britain Tidy revealed that 70% of customers would feel uncomfortable asking for a refill without ...

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Cymru - Cider Country!

Well, here we are in autumn, with its velvet-soft mornings sharpened by cool, still air - a reminder that winter is on its way. This is the celebrated ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’; the time for harvesting summer’s bounty from our trees and hedgerows and I feel that arguably one ...

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A Winter Nature Walk: What to look out for as we move from Autumn to Winter

The evenings are drawing in, the woodburner is lit more often than not and the aga is coming in to its own. Yes, it’s true: Winter is definitely on its way.

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Supporting Women in Rural Enterprise

I don’t need to tell you that the history of women in business is a proud one. In less enlightened times, women tirelessly supported rural businesses invariably headed up by their male relatives, without pay or recognition. Indeed, ‘support’ is misleading; frequently, they were equal partners in terms of work with ...

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Get Your Dose of Adventure in the Countryside this Autumn

During the summer, it's so easy for us to pick up our day-to-day activities and move outdoors. From evening strolls, to picnic lunches; weekend exploring or even just the local beer garden. However, as we all settle into the cozy comforts of autumn, with the daylight hours creeping ever-shorter, it’s easy ...

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A Prayer to Nature

I have had an uncharacteristic day, a very un-Julie day, something I haven’t had since my summer by the sea in France. I have had tea in a bookshop with my son. I have gathered windfall apples and stewed them, they are waiting to be turned into cinnamon pies. I have cut ...

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Book Review - Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain

Laura McDonagh | Oct 4th, 18 | Countryside

Often, when we pick up a book about the countryside, it’s because we want to read reverent descriptions of beautiful landscapes; to revel in the glory of the land we love. We want to read about things that stir something deep within us; “finches’ wings;/Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, ...

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Tales of Inspiration - Motivating the Creative Movement with your story

Recently, when the nights have been drawing in and after I have spent the day researching and talking to our brilliant Club members, I have been taking some time out to listen to the wonderful Holly Tucker’s podcast - Conversations of Inspiration. As a small business owner, I am drawn to ...

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Keep Britain Buzzing

Bees are at risk in the UK. Here’s why we should be fighting to keep our stripey friends safe. I’ve always been a big fan of bees. These industrious little insects are my spirit creatures - always busy, always productive and always making things beautiful (they just happen to use pollen, ...

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Is September the New January?

Are you enjoying the darker mornings and cooler air we are feeling recently? I have taken the hint and packed away my flipflops, dusted off my Barbour and dug my fine knits out of my wardrobe! Cosiness is akin to happiness in my book, which is why I am delighted to ...

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Book Review - The Poetry of Ted Hughes

I’ve got a confession to make. I love poetry. I’m not a stuffy academic or a lovelorn teenager. I’m not strange, or pretentious - well, at least, I dont think I am. I’ve just always loved verse; how it distils vast landscapes of feelings down to a tiny number of carefully-chosen words. ...

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The Hills Meets - Puffin Prints

I’m delighted to bring you another edition of our ‘The Hills Meets’ series and today we are chatting to the lovely - and wonderfully talented - Rachel Bennett of Puffin Prints. As you know, here at The Hills we have long felt that having a connection with the natural world is ...

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Our Summer Round Up

Good morning! Can you believe it is almost the end of August and the start of autumn? In The Hills diary, the 1st of September marks a seasonal shift for us when we will begin to look at our autumn/winter content and are very excited to start documenting the change of ...

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And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...

Every morning I wake up, raise the blinds and feel enormously privileged to live where I live - and that isn’t an exaggeration. I might be biased, but I think The Hills HQ is situated in a particularly lovely corner of the British Isles, set as it is at the foot of ...

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Summer Multitasking

We’ve been blackberry picking, my youngest son and I. Yes blackberry picking at the start of August when we wouldn’t usually go until the end of August bank holiday. Which meant we had out first blackberry crumble, oven on, cream out, in the heat. Very odd. The apple tree is also dropping fruit already ...

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Book Review - Tarry Flynn, by Patrick Kavanagh

Tarry Flynn, a young man in his mid 20s in 1930s staunchly Catholic Ireland, spends his days arguing with his mother, tending his smallholding and talking about girls with his friend, Eusebius...

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The Hills Meets - Jo Smith

It’s been a jam-packed summer, and I am thrilled to be getting out and about and spending time with our newest members of The Hills Members Club. Most recently, I met up with Jo Smith to find out more about her incredible talents and her passion for small businesses and rural ...

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Single Use Plastics in The Countryside

Here at The Hills all of us (myself, my team and Directory members included) feel very passionately about caring for our environment and the planet on which we live. Did you manage to read last week’s blog post on sustainability? I’m still taking part in Plastic Free July, and very much enjoying participating in ...

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Sustainability isn’t just for July…

If your social media feed is anything like mine, you will be aware that we are now almost two weeks in to Plastic Free July! This world wide movement now has now has millions of participants across more than 150 countries, and is really bringing single use plastics, sustainability and eco-living ...

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The Hills Meets - Mark Fetherstone “Fetherstone Photography”

I’ve spoken lots about the arts and creative businesses here on The Hills recently - just last week we had the opportunity to chat with Murdering The Text playwrites on their booming murder mystery business, and we are going to continue today to delve further into the creative hive of The ...

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An Evening With Amanda Owen

Rather than a book review this month, we’re going for something a little different here at The Hills - a review of An Audience With Amanda Owen. The event - an evening at Pocklington Arts Centre in Yorkshire’s East Riding - saw Amanda, famous for her remote life in the Yorkshire ...

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Caring for your fruit trees – a seasonal guide

Janet Hill | Jun 21st, 18 | GardenCountryside

Picking fresh fruit from your own garden is the very epitome of country living but, like most glorious garden bounties, fruit trees require year-round care and attention in order to keep them at their very best. Pests and diseases can all ruin your eagerly anticipated harvest, so it’s important to stay on top of them year-round and ...

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Determination and The Unrelenting Pursuit of Your Goals

Janet Hill | May 9th, 18 | Countryside

This week the same point keeps coming up to me, whether it is in the podcasts I’m listening to, blogs and articles I’m reading or business groups I take part in. Either everyone is talking about the same topic or I am just highly tuned in to its presence - and ...

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Why You Should Be Planting Wildflowers in Your Garden This Spring

Just imagine sweeping fields full of wildflowers. The picture perfect image of the British countryside. Sadly the reality is that since the 1930’s we’ve lost over 90% of our wildflower meadows. But don’t be fooled, wildflowers aren't just pretty; they're wonderfully good for your garden and the local wildlife too!

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Mindful Consumerism - How The Countryside Does It Differently

Janet Hill | May 2nd, 18 | Countryside

The arrival of the internet in people’s homes was perhaps one of the biggest societal changes we have known. In the mid to late 90s dial-up connection may have been slow and ear-piercing, but it opened a window to a world of possibilities – looking back now however, not all of ...

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Life in The Hills: The Secret Life of Chickens

Have you ever seen a chicken surf? I have. Right past my front door and down the lane (or loke, as we call them here in Norfolk). Problem is, it was my chicken, being carried away on a breakaway wood panel by a mini-torrent of water that the Met office had explicitly promised me ...

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