Category: News

Robin Hood: how to follow the legend around Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

Robin Hood is making a comeback.

The latest take on the folk tale hits cinema screens this winter (November 23).

It’s a darker, more adventure-based retelling of the traditional story, starring The Kingsman‘s Taron Egerton in the lead role and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The film comes off the back of the opening of the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, a new £5m facility in partnership with the RSPB, which opens to the public late August this year.

We had a preview, writing an article for a forthcoming issue of Family Traveller magazine. We also visited Creswell Crags, where Robin Hood is alleged to have hidden in the Ice Age caves [pictured above].

Local history expert John Charlesworth told us how the Robin Hood story has always been a favourite of cinema audiences.

The American actor Errol Flynn played the outlaw with verve in the 1938 classic The Adventures of Robin Hood, while the last film, starring Russell Crowe as the man in Lincoln green was released in 2010.

There was even a 1960’s Canadian cartoon series, Rocket Robin Hood, which finds Robin living on the Sherwood asteroid in outer space.

“For me Errol Flynn portrayed Robin Hood best, with great fencing and a superb musical score, but I do have a sneaking fondness for Robin and Marian (1976), staring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. It has a more poignant feel, portraying Robin as a man out of his time.”

Read more in the autumn issue of Family Traveller magazine.

How to a spend a perfect weekend in Nimes — my ultimate guide

My first assignment for a few months — long story.

But it was a good one: a trip to the Occitanie region of France for the opening of the new Museum of Roman Civilisation.

It was a Roman-heritage-themed trip, visiting the Pont gu Gard, the Unesco-listed aqueduct, and the city of Nimes — one of my favourite cities in the south of France.

The new museum is opposite the Roman Amphitheatre [pictured above], home to one of the largest bullfighting festivals outside of Spain.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of the stories that came out of my trip:

It brings together the city’s huge collection of Roman antiquities with its four sections tracing the development of Nimes from the Iron Age, through the halcyon days of the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages, and concludes by considering the legacy of the Roman era today.

Read more with my Ultimate Guide to Nimes in Independent Travel and look out for my Nimes feature in the August issue of France Magazine.

 

 

How to make a content job read like editorial

I would like to think I have the words for any subject.

That is, after all, the nature of life as a jobbing freelance writer.

So, when I recently found myself at Helsby High School [pictured above], talking about the surface of their sports floor, I didn’t bat an eyelid.

It was a copywriting job for a Cheshire-based company and I was there to bring more of an editorial flavour to the content for the website.

The answer? A case study-style piece based round a series of sub headings. The story needed a clear format and lots of direct speech to play up the human interest of the story.

Here’s a flavour of the final copy:

When Helsby High School, Cheshire, wanted a dual-use, versatile space for sports and community events, Sports Surfaces (UK) had the solution.

The new floor has a minimum lifespan of 15 years and is much easier, as well as cheaper, to maintain. More importantly, it has had a transformative effect on the school.

There are the health benefits to students of greater physical activity, plus increased engagement with community events, raising revenue for the school in the process.

“We have seen how both staff and students feel more confident with less likelihood of injury,” explains Helsby Facilities Manager Howard Woodfine.

“And we now have more enquiries from outside clubs, like touch rugby and cricket.”

My story for Guardian travel will make you save the bees

May half term, then.

Here’s an idea for a family day out based around my story for Guardian Travel.

The story is based around a visit to the National Beekeeping Centre Wales, near Conwy, combined with a preview of the new trail at Bodnant Gardens.

It was also a family day out for half term with Maya and Olivia [pictured above].

Here’s a preview:

This friendly visitor centre acts as a champion for Welsh honeybees, which are increasingly under threat from climate change and loss of wildflower meadows.

The visit raises awareness of environmental issues and highlights the art of apiarist over 4,000 years of honey-making history from the ancient Egyptians via the Romans.

Combine a visit with a trip to Bodnant Garden, taking the new Lost Words Trail, based on the book by Robert MacFarlane, for May half term (normal entrance fees apply).

The trail follows clues around the gardens to discover words from nature.

Read the whole story, Connect the kids with ecology – because the bees need us.