Camilla Swift

Camilla Swift

Camilla Swift is the supplements editor of The Spectator.

Was the London horse rampage avoidable?

The sight of runaway military horses – one covered in blood – wasn’t what any Londoner expected to encounter on their commute this morning. Seven horses from the Household Cavalry bolted during their daily exercise, having been frightened by falling concrete on a building site near Buckingham Palace. At least four people were hurt and

Scotland’s deer are proving deeply divisive

On the face of it, a book about a woman stalking one red deer might not sound that exciting. Just one? It’s estimated that there are nearly a million in the Scottish hills and around 60,000 are culled every year. So why write about a single kill? But in Hindsight Jenna Watt goes far deeper

Camilla Swift

The joy of hedgerow foraging

Hedgerows are one of those things that most of us simply take for granted. Drive, walk, cycle or ride through the English countryside and you’re likely to see fields bounded by hedges, which change with the seasons. Blossoming in the spring, full of colour and berries in the autumn, and sprouting wildly thorugh the summer

Four difficult women who fought to preserve the English countryside

One thing that Covid lockdown made us appreciate was the importance of being outdoors. When we were finally allowed into them, national and local parks became chockfull and many people rediscovered that being in the open had health benefits. How timely, then, that Matthew Kelly has written an account of four redoubtable rural activists: Octavia

The joy of Britain’s country shows

Wandering through the sheep pens at the Great Yorkshire Show, it’s clear that a sheep is not ‘just’ a sheep. The sheer array of livestock on display is a lesson in itself. Sheep with fluffy legs; sheep with four enormous horns. Pink sheep, white sheep, brown, black and piebald sheep. Dreadlocked sheep; sheep with huge

The UK is finally clamping down on hare coursing gangs

Once upon a time, hare coursing was a respectable sport, practised by Royals and other members of the gentry. The Forest Laws, imposed after the Norman Conquest, were introduced to ensure that only the nobility could own greyhounds which is why lurchers – crossbreeds between a sighthound and another working dog – became both popular, and known

How to take up shooting

With summer on its way and Covid restrictions (hopefully) easing, what better time than now to take up a new hobby? Clay shooting is a hugely popular sport in the UK – and we Brits are quite good at it too, with a team of five set to head to the Tokyo Olympics, and a

In defence of the grouse shooting exemption

At the tail end of last week, news emerged that no groups of more than six people were to be allowed to gather together. Certain activities were to be excluded from the so-called ‘rule of six’ — and as soon as it was announced on Monday that various rural pastimes were exempt, the press had a

Are the Tories really on the side of Britain’s farmers?

It might seem hard to believe it was just a matter of months ago that senior Treasury advisor Tim Leunig made headlines when he suggested in leaked emails that Britain doesn’t need farmers. The ‘food sector isn’t critically important to the UK’, he wrote. Then Covid-19 descended, and the British farming industry was deemed vital again.

Hare coursing gangs are terrorising the countryside

If you’re driving at dawn or at dusk in the countryside at this time of year, you might well see shady-looking men standing around in a stubble field, their 4x4s parked close by and ‘long’ dogs — greyhound types — straining on the lead beside them. Watch and you’ll see them walk up the field,


For some, having to put together an article for the school magazine is a chore; another piece of homework to do. For others, it’s an opportunity to write about things that matter to them, and a source of real enjoyment. School magazines certainly carry their own air of nostalgia, as you flick through the pages

Canine connoisseurs

Stepping into any art gallery, the last thing you expect to be greeted by is a cacophony of barking and wet noses on your knee. This, however, was the welcome I received at the current exhibition at Southwark Park Galleries. Dog Show is, as the name suggests, about dogs. Not just about dogs, though; each


‘Thank goodness for racing,’ says Rachel Trevor-Morgan. She is a milliner — a hat maker — so it’s no surprise she’s grateful. Without weddings and race days, many milliners would be out of business. If you want to gain entry into the Royal Enclosure during Ascot week, a hat is non-negotiable. And it’s not just

Who will win this year’s Grand National?

I’m sure every ‘horsey’ person has been asked the same question: ‘Who should I put my money on in the Grand National?’ No matter whether you’re a dressage rider or a four-in-hand driver, come mid-April everyone wants to hear your views on the most-watched horse race in Britain. £300 million is expected to be bet

Location, location

In large cities, a school can weave itself into the fabric of its locality almost without anyone noticing it’s there. But in smaller towns and villages a school, particularly a large one, can play a much greater part in the day-to-day life of its inhabitants. In some towns and villages, the school is even the

Camilla Swift

Editor’s Letter | 14 March 2019

What should we do with difficult students? The ones who distract everyone else in the class, and don’t care how they are punished? Some schools exclude struggling pupils because they are worried that their exams performance might drag down the class’s grades. But children have a right to an education, says Sophia Waugh, so we