• Image of Issue 1215: December 25-31

2017. Is it a good buy, or goodbye? Big Issue North contributors and some of people we’ve interviewed – from Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to Barnsley poet Ian McMillan - look back over the year. And there’s a month by month rundown of the biggest stories we covered, as well as the offbeat and heartwarming ones.

Roger Ratcliffe’s four winter walks are a great way to work off the excesses of Xmas. There’s everything from exhilarating near-mountainous Lakeland routes to ones where the height gain is none but the wildlife count high.

Our music critic Richard Smirke picks his albums of the year in arts and entertainment, where you’ll also find reviews of books, TV and more.

On the news pages, Liverpool Council is seeking to tackle its housing crisis with a new body that will do what few local authorities do – build social housing.

Columnist Ali Schofield remembers looking right into the eyes of a seal and has some advice for what to do when several thousand starlings fly over you at only 30 ft.

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