Open Country

Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20081206

Matt Baker finds out about a new project to revive the hydroelectric plant at Grassington in Yorkshire and others like it using a 2,000-year-old invention called Archimedes' Screw.

20020824

Helen Mark collects more stories from the British countryside.

2002092820021003
2002100520021010
2002101220021017
2002122120021226
2003010420030109

Helen Mark collects more stories from the British countryside.

2003011820030123
2003012520030130
2003020120030206

Helen Mark collects more stories from the British countryside.

2003021520030220

Richard Uridge returns to his old stamping ground - and has a close encounter with a dead squirrel.

2003022220030227

Richard Uridge visits an oasis of calm amid an urban Hertfordshire environment and learns, among other things, the art of wooden spoon making.

2003032220030327

Richard Uridge encounters Victor Hugo, green turtles and knitted stockings on a visit to Guernsey.

2003041920030424

Richard Uridge visits the North Wessex Downs where he joins conservation volunteers and learns how to butcher a pig.

2003042620030501

Helen Mark goes tree-felling in Sherwood Forest.

2003050320030508

Helen Mark goes Cuckoo in Marsden.

2003051020030515

Helen Mark visits the Gower Peninsula in South Wales and experiences a spectacular sunset and a blustery dawn chorus.

2003081620030821

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

/ From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Helen Mark explores rural life.

2003083020030904
2003090620030911

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

2003091320030918

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

/ Helen Mark discovers the secret underground life of Northamptonshire.

2003092020030925

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles.

2003101820031023
2003102520031030

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2003110120031106
2003110820031113

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2003111520031120

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life.

20031122

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles.

Repeated Thursday.

20031127

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles.

Repeat.

2003112920031204
2003120620031211
2004010320040108
2004011020040115
2004012420040129
2004020720040212

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles.

[Rpt of Sat 6.10pm].

/ Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2004021420040219
2004031320040320
2004032020040327
2004041020040417
2004041720040422

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat, 6.10am]

2004041720040424
2004041720040424

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thurs 1.30pm]

2004042420040501

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

2004050120040506

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

2004051520040520

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Isles, from Ireland to East Anglia, Helen Mark explores rural life. [Rptd Thursday 1.30pm]

2004052220040529
20040603
2004060520040610

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Helen mark explores rural life. [Rptd Thu, 1.30pm]

2004061220040617

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Helen Mark explores rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2004061920040624

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

2004062620040701

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thurs 1.00pm]

2004070320040708

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles. [Rptd Thurs 1.30pm]

2004072420040729

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20040729
2004073120040805

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20040805
2004081420040819

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2004082120040826

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat,6.10am]

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2004082820040902
20040902
2004090420040909

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20040909
2004091120040916

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. Weather follows. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2004091820040923
2004092520040930
2004100220041007

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles. [Rpt of Sat, 6.10am]

2004100920041014

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2004101620041021

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20041021
2004102320041028
20041028
2004110620041111
20041111
2004111320041118
20041118
2004112020041125

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu, 1.30pm]

20041125
2004112720041202

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20041202
2004121120041216
2004121820041223
20041230
2005010120050106

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am].

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2005010820050113

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050113

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2005011520050120
20050120
2005012220050127
20050127
2005012920050203

Richard Uridge explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British isles.

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050203
20050205
20050212

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

20050217

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2005021920050224

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

2005022620050303

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

2005030520050310

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

20050310
2005031220050317

Helen Mark explores rural life across the length and breadth of the British Isles. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050317
2005031920050324

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, open country explores Britain's rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

2005032620050331

Open Country uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, open country explores Britain's rural life.

Open Country uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050331
2005040220050407

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, open country explores Britain's rural life.

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, the programme explores Britain's rural life.

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, the programme explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050407

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, open country explores Britain's rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am] News follows.

"

2005040920050414

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, the programme explores Britain's rural life.

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, the programme explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

"

2005041620050421

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, the programme explores Britain's rural life.

From the Shetland Isles to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, the programme explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050423

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2005043020050505

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Saturday 6.10am]

More stories and characters from the British countryside.

[Rpt of Saturday 6.10am]

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

2005050720050512

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Saturday 6.10am]

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2005051420050519

More stories and characters from the British countryside.

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2005052120050526
2005052820050602

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

Followed by News. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

More stories and characters from the British countryside.

2005060420050609

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

More stories and characters from the British countryside.

2005061120050616
20050616
2005061820050623

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050623
2005062520050630

More stories and characters from the British countryside.

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050630
2005070220050707
20050707
2005070920050714
20050714
2005071620050721

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

20050721
2005072320050728

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050728
2005073020050804

The programme uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20050804
2005080620050811

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thurs 1.30pm]

20050811
2005081320050818

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

2005082020050825

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

2005082720050901
2005090320050908
20050908
2005091020050915
20050915
2005091720050922
20050922
2005092420050929
2005100120051006
20051006
20051013
20051020
2005102220051027
20051027
2005102920051103

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

2005110520051110
20051110
2005111220051117

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20051117
2005111920051124
2005112620051201
2005120320051208
2005121020051215

More stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.10pm]

2005121720051222

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.10pm]

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2005122420051229

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

2005123120060105
20060105
2006010720060112

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. We celebrate the oak, the tree that built Britain. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

We celebrate the oak - the tree that built Britain.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. We celebrate the oak - the tree that built Britain. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2006011420060119
20060119
2006012120060126
20060126
2006012820060202

Helen Mark explores the country life in Sussex. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

Helen Mark explores the country life in Sussex. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2006020420060209

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20060209
2006021120060216

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2006021820060223
20060223
2006022520060302
20060302
2006030420060309
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2006031120060316
20060316
2006031820060323
20060323
2006032520060330

Richard Uridge takes a 'from dusk 'till dawn' journey around the island of Mull with landscape photographer Colin Prior. [Rpt of Sat 6.10am]

Richard Uridge takes a 'from dusk 'till dawn' journey around the island of Mull with landscape photographer Colin Prior.

Richard Uridge takes a 'from dusk 'till dawn' journey around the island of Mull with landscape photographer Colin Prior. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2006040120060406

Richard Uridge makes a spiritual journey to the island of Iona.

2006040820060413
20060413
2006041520060420
20060420
2006042220060427

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20060427
2006042920060504
20060504
2006050620060511
20060511
2006051320060518
2006052020060525

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rpt of Sat 6.05am]

2006052720060601
20060601
2006060320060608

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

[Rpt of Sat 6.05am]

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

20060608
2006061020060615
20060615
2006061720060622
2006062420060629
2006070120060706

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

[Rpt of Sat 6.05am]

20060706
2006070820060713
20060713
2006071520060720
2006072220060727
20060727
2006072920060803
20060803
2006080520060810
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20060907
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20060914
2006091620060921
20060921
2006092320060928
20060928
2006093020061005
20061005
2006100720061012
20061012
2006101420061019

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life.

2006101920061022

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

[Rptd Sun 6.05pm]

Richard Uridge uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside. [Rptd Sun 6.05pm]

2006102120061026

A tour of the British countryside.

2006102220061026

A tour of the British countryside. [Rpt of Sun 6.07am]

2006102820061102

A tour of the British countryside.

2006102920061102

A tour of the British countryside.

2006110420061109

A tour of the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.07am]

A tour of the British countryside.

2006111120061116

A tour of the British countryside.

A tour of the British countryside. [Rptd Thu 1.30pm]

2006111820061123
2006112520061130

A tour of the British countryside. [Rpt of Sat 6.07am]

2006120220061207
20061207
2006120920061214

A tour of the British countryside.

2006121620061221
20061221
2006122320061228

A tour of the British countryside.

2006123020070104
20070104
2007010620070111
20070111
2007011320070118
20070118
2007012020070125
20070125
2007012720070201

A tour of the British countryside.

2007020320070208
20070208
2007021020070215
20070215
2007021720070222
20070222
2007022420070301
20070301
2007030320070308

Countryside magazine.

2007031020070315

Countryside magazine.

20070315
2007031720070322
20070322
2007032420070329

Countryside magazine covering rural issues and news.

Countryside magazine

2007033120070405

Countryside magazine with rural issues and news.

20070405
2007040720070412
20070412
2007041420070419
20070419
2007042120070426

Countryside magazine debating rural news and issues.

2007042820070503

Helen Mark visits Sutton Fen in north Norfolk, recently purchased by the RSPB as its 200th reserve. She learns about the fen's history and its new purpose, and hears the booming of the bitterns.

Helen Mark visits Sutton Fen in north Norfolk, recently purchased by the RSPB as its 200th reserve.

She learns about the fen's history and its new purpose, and hears the booming of the bitterns.

2007050520070510

Countryside magazine covering rural news and issues.

2007051220070517

A tour of the British countryside.

Countryside magazine covering rural news and issues.

2007051920070524

Countryside magazine.

2007052620070531

Countryside magazine.

20070531
2007060220070607
20070607
2007060920070614
20070614
2007061620070621
20070621
2007062320070628

Countryside magazine exploring rural affairs.

2007063020070705

Countryside magazine.

2007070720070712
20070712
2007071420070719
20070719
2007072120070726
20070726
2007072820070802
20070802
2007080420070809

Countryside magazine

2007081120070816
20070816
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20070823
2007082520070830
20070830
2007090120070906
20070906
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20070913
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20070920
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Countryside magazine.

20070927
2007092920071004
20071004
2007100620071011
20071011
2007101320071018
20071018
2007102020071025
2007102720071101
20071101
2007110320071108

Helen Mark visits Sidmouth in Devon to see how rare certain species of fish have become and how they might be protected.

2007111020071115

Countryside magazine.

20071115
2007111720071122

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits North Wales to meet Ian Strurrock, who has spent his life searching for long-forgotten varieties of apple tree and rescuing them from the brink of extinction.

2007112420071129

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker reports from the Yorkshire fishing town of Whitby. This popular holiday resort is home to a Goth Festival twice a year, attracting over 4,000 visitors dressed in black from head to toe.

Matt Baker reports from the Yorkshire fishing town of Whitby.

This popular holiday resort is home to a Goth Festival twice a year, attracting over 4,000 visitors dressed in black from head to toe.

2007120120071206

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker visits the last working slate mine in England at the top of the remote Honister Pass in the Lake District. The mine has a contentious recent history, and its future is uncertain.

Matt Baker visits the last working slate mine in England at the top of the remote Honister Pass in the Lake District.

The mine has a contentious recent history, and its future is uncertain.

2007120820071213

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker explores the old tin mines of Cornwall, the last of which was shut down nine years ago. As the price of tin soars, however, plans to reopen the South Crofty mine are going ahead. But does the county's economic future lie in tin or tourism?

Matt Baker explores the old tin mines of Cornwall, the last of which was shut down nine years ago.

As the price of tin soars, however, plans to reopen the South Crofty mine are going ahead.

But does the county's economic future lie in tin or tourism?

20080207
2008030120080306

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker meets Richard and Jason Clarke, who operate the last fishing boat working out of Great Yarmouth. The brothers are fourth generation fishermen, but they fear that they may be the last to follow the family tradition.

Matt Baker meets Richard and Jason Clarke, who operate the last fishing boat working out of Great Yarmouth.

The brothers are fourth generation fishermen, but they fear that they may be the last to follow the family tradition.

2008032220080327

Countryside magazine.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, near Wrexham, is the UK's only 2008 nomination for World Heritage Site status. Helen Mark reports.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, near Wrexham, is the UK's only 2008 nomination for World Heritage Site status.

Helen Mark reports.

20080531

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman visits Eymet in the Dordogne to find out why so many Brits have decided to make this part of rural France their home.

20080607

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman visits Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire, where mountain bikers, riders, walkers, and rare plant species all compete for space. How can the common's owner, the National Trust, balance all these interests?

Elinor Goodman visits Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire, where mountain bikers, riders, walkers, and rare plant species all compete for space.

How can the common's owner, the National Trust, balance all these interests?

20080612

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman visits Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire, where mountain bikers, riders, walkers, and rare plant species all compete for space.

How can the common's owner, the National Trust, balance all these interests?

20080614

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark rides the Poacher line in Lincolnshire and asks why rural railways are vital to the countryside.

20080619

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark rides the Poacher line in Lincolnshire and asks why rural railways are vital to the countryside.

20080621

The countryside magazine visits the North Kent coast to examine the battle the coast has fought with the sea over the centuries.

20080628

Countryside magazine. Elinor Goodman visits Glastonbury.

Elinor Goodman visits Glastonbury.

20080705

Countryside magazine with Matt Baker.

20080717
2008071920080724

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark asks whether animals which have become extinct should be re introduced into the wild in Scotland.

20080724

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark asks whether animals which have become extinct should be re introduced into the wild in Scotland.

2008072620080731

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark looks at the work of wildlife police in Tayside, for whom crimes against animals carry the same weight as those against people.

20080731

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark looks at the work of wildlife police in Tayside, for whom crimes against animals carry the same weight as those against people.

2008080220080807

Matt Baker discovers why bees make the Devon countryside so special.

Countryside magazine.

20080807

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker discovers why bees make the Devon countryside so special.

20080814
20080821
20080828
2008083020080904

Helen Mark follows a mobile library van in Herefordshire to find out how traditional rural services survive in the age of internet mail order and downloading.

Countryside magazine.

20080904

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark follows a mobile library van in Herefordshire to find out how traditional rural services survive in the age of internet mail order and downloading.

2008090620080911

Helen Mark visits Tory Island off the coast of Donegal, a tiny isle steeped in Celtic legend and home to some rare wintering birds.

Countryside magazine.

20080911

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits Tory Island off the coast of Donegal, a tiny isle steeped in Celtic legend and home to some rare wintering birds.

2008091320080918

Elinor Goodman visits the Chilterns to find out if this part of the UK really does offer the best rural life in Britain.

20080925
2008092720081002

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman finds that there is more to West Sussex than stately homes when she visits Markwell Woods, Horndean Parish and the surrounding areas where the next great oil rush may be about to occur.

20081002

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman finds that there is more to West Sussex than stately homes when she visits Markwell Woods, Horndean Parish and the surrounding areas where the next great oil rush may be about to occur.

20081004

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker goes hopping in Kent, exploring how this essential ingredient in a pint of bitter has influenced the landscape of the Weald and Downs.

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker goes hopping in Kent, exploring how this essential ingredient in a pint of bitter has influenced the landscape of the Weald and Downs.

20081009

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker goes hopping in Kent, exploring how this essential ingredient in a pint of bitter has influenced the landscape of the Weald and Downs.

20081011

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman explores Lambourn in Berkshire and finds out why horse trainers are having to recruit staff from as far away as India and Brazil to help prepare future champions for the race track.

20081016

Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman explores Lambourn in Berkshire and finds out why horse trainers are having to recruit staff from as far away as India and Brazil to help prepare future champions for the race track.

20081018

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker goes to Bournemouth to investigate Europe's first artificial surfing reef.

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker goes to Bournemouth to investigate Europe's first artificial surfing reef.

20081023

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker goes to Bournemouth to investigate Europe's first artificial surfing reef.

20081025

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark finds that spring is in the air on the Isles of Scilly, with the scented narcissi flowering and bird watchers making rare sightings.

Countryside magazine. Helen Mark finds that spring is in the air on the Isles of Scilly, with the scented narcissi flowering and bird watchers making rare sightings.

20081030

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark finds that spring is in the air on the Isles of Scilly, with the scented narcissi flowering and bird watchers making rare sightings.

20081101

Countryside magazine.

Food critic Charles Campion goes foraging for lunch on the Kent coast.

Countryside magazine. Food critic Charles Campion goes foraging for lunch on the Kent coast.

20081106

Countryside magazine.

Food critic Charles Campion goes foraging for lunch on the Kent coast.

20081108

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark investigates the mysterious spate of cockle deaths in Cornwall that have puzzled local cockle farmers and the Environment Agency.

Countryside magazine. Helen Mark investigates the mysterious spate of cockle deaths in Cornwall that have puzzled local cockle farmers and the Environment Agency.

20081113

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark investigates the mysterious spate of cockle deaths in Cornwall that have puzzled local cockle farmers and the Environment Agency.

20081115

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker investigates traditional freemining in the Forest of Dean.

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker investigates traditional freemining in the Forest of Dean.

20081120

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker investigates traditional freemining in the Forest of Dean.

2008120620081211

Matt Baker finds out about a new project to revive the hydroelectric plant at Grassington in Yorkshire and others like it using a 2,000-year-old invention called Archimedes' Screw.

2008122020081225

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker reports from a valley in Yorkshire.

Matt Baker reports from a valley in Yorkshire in which an unusually high number of monks and nuns have taken up residence.

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker reports from a valley in Yorkshire.

2008122720090101

Reporting from the tiny Channel island of Sark.

Reporting from the tiny Channel island of Sark, which has thrown off the last vestiges of feudal rule and has voted for the first time for its own government.

2009010320090108

Matt Baker visits Northumberland to see how the fledgling red kite population is faring.

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker visits Northumberland to find out what the new year might bring for the fledgling red kite population.

2009011020090115

Helen Mark visits the Black Mountains.

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits the Black Mountains to find out how the credit crunch is affecting people living in one of the most sparsely populated areas of the UK.

2009011720090122

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker visits the first wild beaver colony in the UK, at Lower Mill Estate nature reserve in Gloucestershire.

Beavers are set to be reintroduced elsewhere in England and in Scotland, and Matt finds out what they might bring with them.

Matt Baker visits the first wild beaver colony in the UK, in Gloucestershire.

2009012420090129

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker finds out about the role of Morris Dancing in the life of the Cotswolds.

2009021420090219

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker travels to Essex to see the vast area that the RSPB is turning into a nature reserve.

In a hungry world, can we justify the surrender of prime farmland to the birds?

Matt Baker travels to Essex to see the vast area the RSPB is turning into a nature reserve

2009022120090226

Helen Mark finds out how whisky production has shaped Speyside in Scotland, with the opening of a new 'green' distillery in Roseisle.

Helen Mark finds out how whisky production has shaped Speyside in Scotland.

2009022820090305

Helen Mark finds out how whisky production has shaped Speyside in Scotland, with the opening of a new 'green' distillery in Roseisle.

Matt Baker investigates Cumbria's industrial coastline, which is being given a makeover.

2009030720090312

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits Scotland's rivers to find that the freshwater pearl mussel, already endangered, now faces new threats from unscrupulous thieves who kill all the mussels they gather in the hope of finding a precious pearl inside.

Helen Mark visits Scotland to find that the freshwater pearl mussel faces new threats.

2009031420090319

As Snowdon emerges from a tough winter, Helen Mark meets the people and wildlife that make their home on the highest mountain in Wales.

Helen Mark meets the people and wildlife that make their home on Snowdon.

2009032120090326

Countryside magazine.

Caz Graham joins the tenth anniversary celebrations of Keswick's Theatre by the Lake, which has inspired a revival of Cumbria's literary heritage.

Caz Graham joins the tenth anniversary celebrations of Keswick's Theatre by the Lake.

2009032820090402

Matt Baker investigates how the parklands and wetlands of the Lea Valley are being transformed for the 2012 Olympics into the largest urban park created in Europe for more than 150 years.

Countryside magazine.

How the parklands and wetlands of the Lea Valley are being transformed for London 2012.

2009040420090409

Helen Mark joins archaeologists and descendants to explore the legacy of Abraham Darby, who 300 years ago kick-started the Industrial Revolution from a smelter on the banks of the River Severn.

Helen Mark joins archaeologists and descendants to explore the legacy of Abraham Darby.

2009041120090416

Helen Mark finds out if Canon Frome, an eco-community in Ledbury, could offer a solution to the challenges faced by those who wish to live sustainably outside of cities without building village suburbs.

20090502

Countryside magazine.

The extensive survival of historical records for the Worcestershire village of Rushock enabled historian Peter Edwards to complete his first research project in the early 1970s.

Helen Mark joins Peter as he revisits the village and people and charts the highs and lows of farming in the last 400 years.

In 1972, Peter found a treasure trove of historical documents outlining the farming history of the small rural parish of Rushock.

When he matched the dusty maps and land agents' reports to the fields and farms of the village, a new interest in social history was born.

He spent many months traipsing the fields of the parish looking for agricultural clues to the past and getting to know the people who worked the land.

What changes will Peter see on his return, and will he find the people who helped his research all those years ago?

Helen Mark joins historian Peter Edwards to visit the Worcestershire village of Rushock.

20090509

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker visits one of the most beautiful yet hard to build railway lines in the country, from Settle to Carlisle.

It was completed in 1876, and over the five years it took to build, hundreds of men, women and children died in the navvy camps set up along its path.

Today it stands as a monument to their work and tragic deaths but 20 years ago it could easily have closed.

A vigorous campaign was set up to save the line and today the numbers who use what is known as Britain's most scenic railway route are increasing.

Matt discovers the history of the line and why it remains so vital for the rural communities it links.

Matt Baker visits one of the railway line between Settle to Carlisle.

20090516

Helen Mark takes to the sea to find out how the perilous conditions of the north Devon coastline have affected life there from prehistory to the present day.

She tours Baggy Point with National Trust archaeologist Shirley Blaylock in search of the first coastal dwellers, attempts the perilous crossing to Lundy Island and crosses the Cornish border to hear the story of Parson Hawker, the eccentric vicar of Morwenstow and purported scourge of the wreckers.

Helen Mark explores the north Devon coastline.

2010041720100422

Matt Baker visits the Brecon Beacons in Wales and learns some survival skills with an ex military trainer who teaches him how to light a fire and set traps.

On a freezing cold day where he's battered by the elements, the bush tucker meal prepared by Adrian Bream of fried squirrel and local herbs is a welcome energy boost as he learns the basics of bushcraft in one of Britain's harshest environments.

He meets some of the residents of the villages in the National Park who are aiming to be carbon negative in five years' time by involving the whole community in several green schemes that make use of some of Wales' greatest natural resources, its rivers, waterfalls and woodlands.

The Welsh Hill pony is also viewed by conservationists as a vital natural asset to the landscape of Wales.

The semi feral ponies are put on the mountains to graze and keep paths and tracks passable, but Matt hears why they are under threat because their numbers are dwindling.

Matt also takes a taxi tour around the area to test the cabbie on his local knowledge as part of a new scheme to encourage visitors to leave their cars at home and use trains and taxis to travel around the Park as a further way of reducing carbon emissions in the area.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Matt Baker visits the Brecon Beacons.

20100703

Helen Marks visits Northamptonshire where a new centre is opening for young people to learn about horses and the countryside as a way of developing their confidence.

The work that the Seeds of Change organisation has done so far with young people has had surprising results.

Vulnerable teenagers with low self esteem and some young offenders have been learning how to interact with horses as a way of managing their own emotions and behaviour.

Some of those young people have since gone on to work in agriculture and now the centre is expanding its programme to teach rural skills such as horticulture.

Helen meets some of the new students at work with the horses.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Helen Mark discovers a new centre in Northamptonshire for vulnerable teenagers.

Helen Marks visits Northamptonshire where a new centre is opening for young people to learn about horses and the countryside as a way of developing their confidence. The work that the Seeds of Change organisation has done so far with young people has had surprising results. Vulnerable teenagers with low self esteem and some young offenders have been learning how to interact with horses as a way of managing their own emotions and behaviour. Some of those young people have since gone on to work in agriculture and now the centre is expanding its programme to teach rural skills such as horticulture. Helen meets some of the new students at work with the horses.

20100710

The plans to begin culling badgers in an area of Wales have divided the rural community.

In a special programme, Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers talks to people in Pembrokeshire about the tensions that are running high among neighbouring landowners, some of whom support the decision to cull badgers within a trial zone to try and eradicate TB in cattle.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Welsh poet and writer Owen Sheers hears about plans for a badger cull in Pembrokeshire.

The plans to begin culling badgers in an area of Wales have divided the rural community. In a special programme, Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers talks to people in Pembrokeshire about the tensions that are running high among neighbouring landowners, some of whom support the decision to cull badgers within a trial zone to try and eradicate TB in cattle.

20100828

Richard Uridge visits Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight where the Dabell family have owned and run a theme park on the clifftops for more than 150 years.

In that time much of their and their neighbours' land and property have disappeared over the cliffs due to erosion.

Richard finds that there's a defiant spirit to the people who live in fear of the sea claiming their homes as well as a love and reverence for the power of Nature.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Richard Uridge investigates the disappearing village on the Isle of Wight.

Richard Uridge visits Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight where the Dabell family have owned and run a theme park on the clifftops for more than 150 years. In that time much of their and their neighbours' land and property have disappeared over the cliffs due to erosion. Richard finds that there's a defiant spirit to the people who live in fear of the sea claiming their homes as well as a love and reverence for the power of Nature.

20101030

Helen Mark visits Pluckley, a village with the reputation as the most haunted in Britain.

While genuine ghosthunters, with an interest in all things paranormal, bring with them a welcome boost to local businesses, this reputation is not without problems.

In recent years the village has seen an increased police presence due to the sheer number of visitors, particularly around the time of Halloween.

There have been problems of anti-social behaviour which last year led to the parish council cancelling the Halloween festivities.

For this week's Open Country Helen meets some of the villagers, both believers and sceptics, about their experiences in Britain's most haunted village and the impact this has on village life.

During the course of one evening, Helen chats with several residents and finds out about the 12 ghosts that are said to haunt Pluckley before heading back to her hotel room at the haunted Elvey Farm Hotel.

What is life like in Britain's most haunted village? Helen Mark is in Pluckley to find out

Helen Mark visits Pluckley, a village with the reputation as the most haunted in Britain. While genuine ghosthunters, with an interest in all things paranormal, bring with them a welcome boost to local businesses, this reputation is not without problems. In recent years the village has seen an increased police presence due to the sheer number of visitors, particularly around the time of Halloween. There have been problems of anti-social behaviour which last year led to the parish council cancelling the Halloween festivities.

For this week's Open Country Helen meets some of the villagers, both believers and sceptics, about their experiences in Britain's most haunted village and the impact this has on village life. During the course of one evening, Helen chats with several residents and finds out about the 12 ghosts that are said to haunt Pluckley before heading back to her hotel room at the haunted Elvey Farm Hotel.

20101113

In Open Country this week, Helen Mark visits the Whitelee Plateau in Ayrshire, once a treeless bog grazed by very hardy sheep and cattle but now transformed into a vast conifer plantation of ten million trees.

The 'greening' of the Whitelee Plateau was part of a tremendous shift in land use in Scotland, nearly trebling tree cover in just forty years.

Historian Ruth Tittensor saw the importance of this change in the Ayrshire landscape and recorded the thoughts and feelings of local people affected by the coming of the forest.

She documented enormous social and environmental change, and takes Helen to meet people who remember the plateau before the coming of the trees.

Producer : Moira Hickey.

Helen Mark hears how a forest of ten million conifers changed Ayrshire's Whitelee Plateau.

In Open Country this week, Helen Mark visits the Whitelee Plateau in Ayrshire, once a treeless bog grazed by very hardy sheep and cattle but now transformed into a vast conifer plantation of ten million trees. The 'greening' of the Whitelee Plateau was part of a tremendous shift in land use in Scotland, nearly trebling tree cover in just forty years. Historian Ruth Tittensor saw the importance of this change in the Ayrshire landscape and recorded the thoughts and feelings of local people affected by the coming of the forest. She documented enormous social and environmental change, and takes Helen to meet people who remember the plateau before the coming of the trees.

20101120

In a year that has seen a record rise in the number of people seeking medical help after eating poisonous fungi, Richard Uridge visits the New Forest to hear about the variety of wild mushrooms to be found, the dangers of picking the wrong ones and the problems this can also cause to the ecosystem of the forest.

Richard joins mycologist, John Wright, to hear about his lifelong passion for wild mushrooms and joins him on a forage in the forest to find out how to know what to look for when picking fungi.

Mrs Brigitte Tee is the only person liced to pick and sell New Forest mushrooms.

She tells Richard how her love of wild mushrooms began when she first spotted them from the saddle of her Welsh mountain cob pony over 35 years ago.

Today Mrs Tee is one of the leading authorities on edible wild mushrooms, and supplies a variety of top clients including Fortnum and Masons, the Langham Hotel in London and chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

It is the popularity of TV chefs and cooking shows that Forestry Commission Keeper, Howard Taylor, thinks has increased the public's passion for fungi.

He joins Richard to explain the importance of the relationship that fungi have with other trees and plants in the forest and the dangers of over-picking the many wild mushrooms that grow there.

As well as the obvious dangers of picking poisonous fungi, Howard's remit as a Keeper is also to protect the landscape of the New Forest and the rise in numbers of wild mushroom pickers may lead to an upsetting of the delicate balance of the Forest.

Before Richard leaves the New Forest, he and Mrs Tee are joined by John Macarthur, chef and director of the New Forest Cookery School.

John runs Mushroom Masterclasses and demonstrates to Richard some of the wonderful ways of cooking with wild mushrooms.

Richard Uridge goes foraging for fungi in the New Forest.

Richard joins mycologist, John Wright, to hear about his lifelong passion for wild mushrooms and joins him on a forage in the forest to find out how to know what to look for when picking fungi. Mrs Brigitte Tee is the only person liced to pick and sell New Forest mushrooms. She tells Richard how her love of wild mushrooms began when she first spotted them from the saddle of her Welsh mountain cob pony over 35 years ago. Today Mrs Tee is one of the leading authorities on edible wild mushrooms, and supplies a variety of top clients including Fortnum and Masons, the Langham Hotel in London and chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

It is the popularity of TV chefs and cooking shows that Forestry Commission Keeper, Howard Taylor, thinks has increased the public's passion for fungi. He joins Richard to explain the importance of the relationship that fungi have with other trees and plants in the forest and the dangers of over-picking the many wild mushrooms that grow there. As well as the obvious dangers of picking poisonous fungi, Howard's remit as a Keeper is also to protect the landscape of the New Forest and the rise in numbers of wild mushroom pickers may lead to an upsetting of the delicate balance of the Forest.

Before Richard leaves the New Forest, he and Mrs Tee are joined by John Macarthur, chef and director of the New Forest Cookery School. John runs Mushroom Masterclasses and demonstrates to Richard some of the wonderful ways of cooking with wild mushrooms.

20101204

In this weeks Open Country Richard Uridge visits the Norfolk Coast.Better known as an area of coastal erosion, Happisburgh is proving that community spirit is far from eroded as teams of volunteers work tirelessly to protect the local landscape and those who come to enjoy it.

Navigation reform could've seen the Happisburugh lighthouse fall into disrepair but a team of volunteers campaigned to keep it working and 20 years on it's still beaming across the Norfolk high seas.

In view of the red and white tower, a small porter cabin is home to 'Coast Watch' and it's revolving volunteers who daily scan the cliff tops and ocean for ramblers or ships in distress.

And should the alarm be raised, the lifeboat station is on call 24 hours just as it has been for over 40 years to rescue those in need.

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

We explore how the UK's only independent run lighthouse in Happisburgh has survived.

In this weeks Open Country Richard Uridge visits the Norfolk Coast.Better known as an area of coastal erosion, Happisburgh is proving that community spirit is far from eroded as teams of volunteers work tirelessly to protect the local landscape and those who come to enjoy it. Navigation reform could've seen the Happisburugh lighthouse fall into disrepair but a team of volunteers campaigned to keep it working and 20 years on it's still beaming across the Norfolk high seas. In view of the red and white tower, a small porter cabin is home to 'Coast Watch' and it's revolving volunteers who daily scan the cliff tops and ocean for ramblers or ships in distress. And should the alarm be raised, the lifeboat station is on call 24 hours just as it has been for over 40 years to rescue those in need.

20101218

Helen Mark is in Dorset to hear how the area around Studland Bay could be affected by a proposed Marine Conservation Zone and how one fishy resident has stirred up passions locally.

As parts of the sea around Studland and Swanage are being considered as a possible Marine Conservation Zone, Helen finds out about the possible impacts on the local community; in particular to some of the residents of Studland Bay The bay is home to a colony of breeding sea horses and opinions are divided as to whether the delicate seagrass which is home to these creatures can be harmed by the anchoring of boats.

Helen hears from the Seahorse Trust, a charity which has been researching and monitoring the seahorses, and Dr Ken Collins, an expert in seagrass.

Helen also hears from some members of the local community who are concerned about the effects a possible no anchor zone could have on the economy of the area and their way of life.

Helen Mark is in Dorset to find out how marine life can impact on the local community.

Helen Mark is in Dorset to hear how the area around Studland Bay could be affected by a proposed Marine Conservation Zone and how one fishy resident has stirred up passions locally. As parts of the sea around Studland and Swanage are being considered as a possible Marine Conservation Zone, Helen finds out about the possible impacts on the local community; in particular to some of the residents of Studland Bay The bay is home to a colony of breeding sea horses and opinions are divided as to whether the delicate seagrass which is home to these creatures can be harmed by the anchoring of boats. Helen hears from the Seahorse Trust, a charity which has been researching and monitoring the seahorses, and Dr Ken Collins, an expert in seagrass. Helen also hears from some members of the local community who are concerned about the effects a possible no anchor zone could have on the economy of the area and their way of life.

2011010120110106

The River Thames was recently selected as the winner of the international Theiss River Prize, an award which celebrates outstanding achievement in river management and restoration.

Fifty years after being declared biologically dead, the Thames scooped the prize thanks to a dramatic turnaround in its environment.

Environment organisations now say that the Thames is the cleanest it has been in more than 150 years, with almost 400 new habitats being created to allow wildlife back to the river which is now teeming with fish, and home to returning salmon, otter and sea trout populations.

Helen Mark begins an exploration of the Thames at Woolwich in South East London with author, Iain Sinclair, who has described the river as a story of ruin and revival and the very lifeblood of London.

Travelling west along the river to the Millennium Bridge, Helen meets up with Fiona Haughey.

Fiona describes herself as an inter-tidal archaeologist and the river as one of the world's largest self-excavating sites and Helen joins her in a beachcombing search for some of the river's neolithic roots.

Further along the river banks at Putney Bridge, Helen finds a group of volunteers from environmental charity, Thames 21.

Led by Vic Richardson, the group are working on Project Habitat, an initiative to enhance certain areas of the River Thames by building artifical islands and river banks to encourage suitable habitats and attract wildlife.

Leaving the city behind, Helen heads out into the Berkshire countryside where she meets Alastair Driver, conservation manager with the Environment Agency.

Cycling along the river through Sonning-on-Thames, Alastair tells Helen how this particular stretch of water near his home now runs crystal clear in the summer and how sheer hard work along the whole of the Thames has resulted in this amazing clean-up story.

Finally, Helen joins volunteer river warden, Dick Mayon White from the River Thames Society, a charity which aims to protect and preserve the river.

Dick takes Helen for a stroll along a stretch of the river near Port Meadow and explains why it means so much to him and why it is so important to preserve the river for future generations.

Helen Mark discovers a dramatic transformation to the waters of the River Thames.

The River Thames was recently selected as the winner of the international Theiss River Prize, an award which celebrates outstanding achievement in river management and restoration. Fifty years after being declared biologically dead, the Thames scooped the prize thanks to a dramatic turnaround in its environment. Environment organisations now say that the Thames is the cleanest it has been in more than 150 years, with almost 400 new habitats being created to allow wildlife back to the river which is now teeming with fish, and home to returning salmon, otter and sea trout populations.

Helen Mark begins an exploration of the Thames at Woolwich in South East London with author, Iain Sinclair, who has described the river as a story of ruin and revival and the very lifeblood of London. Travelling west along the river to the Millennium Bridge, Helen meets up with Fiona Haughey. Fiona describes herself as an inter-tidal archaeologist and the river as one of the world's largest self-excavating sites and Helen joins her in a beachcombing search for some of the river's neolithic roots.

Further along the river banks at Putney Bridge, Helen finds a group of volunteers from environmental charity, Thames 21. Led by Vic Richardson, the group are working on Project Habitat, an initiative to enhance certain areas of the River Thames by building artifical islands and river banks to encourage suitable habitats and attract wildlife.

Leaving the city behind, Helen heads out into the Berkshire countryside where she meets Alastair Driver, conservation manager with the Environment Agency. Cycling along the river through Sonning-on-Thames, Alastair tells Helen how this particular stretch of water near his home now runs crystal clear in the summer and how sheer hard work along the whole of the Thames has resulted in this amazing clean-up story.

Finally, Helen joins volunteer river warden, Dick Mayon White from the River Thames Society, a charity which aims to protect and preserve the river. Dick takes Helen for a stroll along a stretch of the river near Port Meadow and explains why it means so much to him and why it is so important to preserve the river for future generations.

2011011520110120

Snow, biting winds and a tent made to the design used by nomads in Ulaanbaatar...

but Richard Uridge hasn't travelled to Mongolia for this week's Open Country, he's high up on Exmoor.

He meets Hen and Leo - who are braving winter on the moor in pursuit of their dream of a low impact, but not entirely low-tech lifestyle - their pig-farming neighbour and the man who made their yurt.

Producer Steve Peacock.

Meet those who are braving the winter to live like nomads in their yurt high up on Exmoor.

2011012220110127

Portbury Wharf lies on the land between Portishead and Royal Portbury Dock, adjacent to the Severn Estuary.

Helen Mark visits the area's newest developing nature reserve and discovers how local residents are making a unique investment to their natural habitat.

Look one way and you'll see a new housing construction, look the other and your eyes will be met with acres of grazing marsh land, hay meadows, and hedgerows rich in insect life stretching out to the Gordano Valley.

The two are not only linked by their proximity but also by what is thought to be a first of it's kind investment arrangement.

In signing up to live in the new Portbury Wharf housing development, residents are also signing up to pay an annual levy that buys them a stake in the nature reserve on their doorstep.

The residents contribution allows Avon Wildlife Trust to employ a warden and a community officer to pass on wildlife knowledge and organise activities for the Portishead community.

But not everyone wants to pay the levy and there's a fine line between encouraging public use and preserving natural habitats.

Helen Mark meets the local residents who are getting muddy down on the reserve and keeps a look out for traces of their wildlife neighbours including the water vole - Britain's most nationally threatened animal.

Helen Mark meets Bristol city dwellers developing a nature reserve on their doorstep.

Portbury Wharf lies on the land between Portishead and Royal Portbury Dock, adjacent to the Severn Estuary. Helen Mark visits the area's newest developing nature reserve and discovers how local residents are making a unique investment to their natural habitat. Look one way and you'll see a new housing construction, look the other and your eyes will be met with acres of grazing marsh land, hay meadows, and hedgerows rich in insect life stretching out to the Gordano Valley. The two are not only linked by their proximity but also by what is thought to be a first of it's kind investment arrangement. In signing up to live in the new Portbury Wharf housing development, residents are also signing up to pay an annual levy that buys them a stake in the nature reserve on their doorstep. The residents contribution allows Avon Wildlife Trust to employ a warden and a community officer to pass on wildlife knowledge and organise activities for the Portishead community. But not everyone wants to pay the levy and there's a fine line between encouraging public use and preserving natural habitats. Helen Mark meets the local residents who are getting muddy down on the reserve and keeps a look out for traces of their wildlife neighbours including the water vole - Britain's most nationally threatened animal.

2011031920110324

Ponies have roamed the moors of Dartmoor and Bodmin for years and are as much a part of the moors as the heathers that grow there.

But is the very survival of the Dartmoor pony, which is the symbol of the National Park, now under threat? Helen Mark is on Dartmoor to meet some of the people whose lives revolve around the ponies and who are fighting to preserve them and ultimately the moorland on which they roam.

Is the iconic Dartmoor pony under threat? Helen Mark is on Dartmoor to find out.

Ponies have roamed the moors of Dartmoor and Bodmin for years and are as much a part of the moors as the heathers that grow there. But is the very survival of the Dartmoor pony, which is the symbol of the National Park, now under threat? Helen Mark is on Dartmoor to meet some of the people whose lives revolve around the ponies and who are fighting to preserve them and ultimately the moorland on which they roam.

2011032620110331

Richard Uridge explores the Edgelands around Manchester with poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, who urge us to love the disregarded spaces between the city and countryside.

EDGELANDS By Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts is published by Jonathan Cape

Richard Uridge explores the Edgelands around Manchester.

2011040220110407

The shores of the Durham coastline were once as black as the coal that was tipped into the waves that crashed onto them.

But in recent years an amazing transformation has taken place.

Helen Mark finds out about the Durham Heritage Coast.

Helen Mark visits the transformed landscape of the Durham Heritage Coast.

2011041620110421

Helen Mark is in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire to find out how horses and the natural landscape of Royal Deeside are helping wounded and serving military personnel.

Set up by ex-marine Jock Hutchison and his wife Emma, Horseback UK is a charity aiming to provide a safe and secure environment for soldiers returning from active service or those that have already left, many of whom have suffered injury or acute stress as a result of active service.

The charity uses equine therapy and the value of the great outdoors and nature therapy to provide part of the rehabilitation process for serving personnel and veterans from the UK military.

Helen hears from Jock about their hope that those who have lived their lives on the edge will benefit from the opportunities available to them in the peace and tranquillity of the countryside and the quality of life this offers.

Fundamental to this is the relationship with the horses and the style of Western riding which gives these guys the experience of being a cowboy high up in the saddle and looking down on countryside that they might previously not have noticed as they passed through.

Mixing equine therapy, nature therapy and adventure training the aim is for people to learn about opportunities in the Scottish countryside, including game-keeping, horsemanship, fishing etc.

while getting to know their local community.

Helen hears from Jay Hare and Rick Anderson, two of the people who have benefited from the centre, and also from Eric Baird at the nearby Glen Tanar Estate, one of the areas that is supporting the charity by encouraging people there to become involved in conservation work.

Fundamental to the work of the centre are the horses and the way in which they are used to integrate the people they carry on their backs into the community and countryside of the Royal Deeside landscape.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark is in Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire to find out about Horseback UK.

2011042320110428

Richard Uridge is in Herefordshire at the annual film festival to hear why it's important to bring the cinema experience to rural areas.

On a farm outside the city of Hereford, he discovers a recently rehoused international film archive containing 80,000 documentaries including several old films on life in the Herefordshire countryside dating back to the 1930s that are being preserved as part of our rural heritage.

Richard Uridge visits Herefordshire's rural film festival.

Richard Uridge is in Herefordshire at the annual film festival to hear why it's important to bring the cinema experience to rural areas. On a farm outside the city of Hereford, he discovers a recently rehoused international film archive containing 80,000 documentaries including several old films on life in the Herefordshire countryside dating back to the 1930s that are being preserved as part of our rural heritage.

20110430

Barra, Vatersay and Mingulay are three of the southernmost islands of the Outer Herbrides and their shared history is one of survival by moving with the times.

In 1912 the last inhabitants of Mingulay left the island for Barra after the turbulent seas had claimed a boat full of the fishermen who the island relied upon.

Today Mingulay's waters are back in discussion as it has become a proposed area of conservation due to ancient corals which lie beneath.

The islanders of Barra fear that this conservation zone will make it harder for them to make their living from fishing these waters but Scottish Natural Heritage feel the risks to the coral are too high to let activities go on unchecked.

The debate is a heated one but as Helen Mark discovers it is part of a long history of independence from interference from the mainland, a unique past which makes the island stronger today than it perhaps ever has been.

Helen Mark visits Barra in the Outer Hebrides to hear about island life past and future.

Barra, Vatersay and Mingulay are three of the southernmost islands of the Outer Herbrides and their shared history is one of survival by moving with the times. In 1912 the last inhabitants of Mingulay left the island for Barra after the turbulent seas had claimed a boat full of the fishermen who the island relied upon. Today Mingulay's waters are back in discussion as it has become a proposed area of conservation due to ancient corals which lie beneath. The islanders of Barra fear that this conservation zone will make it harder for them to make their living from fishing these waters but Scottish Natural Heritage feel the risks to the coral are too high to let activities go on unchecked. The debate is a heated one but as Helen Mark discovers it is part of a long history of independence from interference from the mainland, a unique past which makes the island stronger today than it perhaps ever has been.

20110507

Helen Mark takes a ride on the new Welsh Highland Railway, which eaves Caernarfon and takes in the stunning Snowdonian landscape, before arriving at its destination in Porthmadog.

Along the way Helen hears about the back-breaking work undertaken by hundreds of volunteers to get the railway up and running and about the history of slate mining in the area, which used to rely so heavily on the railways.

She also stops off at the RSPB's Osprey Project at Glaslyn to catch sight of the only breeding pair of ospreys in Wales.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark takes a ride on the Welsh Highland Railway through the landscape of Snowdonia.

Helen Mark takes a ride on the new Welsh Highland Railway, which eaves Caernarfon and takes in the stunning Snowdonian landscape, before arriving at its destination in Porthmadog. Along the way Helen hears about the back-breaking work undertaken by hundreds of volunteers to get the railway up and running and about the history of slate mining in the area, which used to rely so heavily on the railways. She also stops off at the RSPB's Osprey Project at Glaslyn to catch sight of the only breeding pair of ospreys in Wales.

20110730

Dale Farm Traveller site in Essex was started in the 70's.

It's now the largest Irish Traveller site in the UK and as the site has grown so has local opposition.

Today Basildon Council have issued a notice of eviction but the Travellers say they will not leave without a fight.

Helen Mark looks beyond the headlines to ask what this means for the countryside.

Some argue that with the urgent need for housing in the South East we need to look again at our greenbelt land.

The Travellers themselves argue that they are very much a part of the countryside and that they would rather be homeless than be moved into towns.

Whilst Basildon Council argue that we cannot let rules be bent by some, especially when the precious green areas that surround our biggest urban areas are at stake.

How we use our countryside in the future and how we see the Gypsy and Traveller communities as part of this will be a debate which is hard to solve.

Helen Mark visits a Traveller site in Essex and asks who should live in the countryside.

Dale Farm Traveller site in Essex was started in the 70's. It's now the largest Irish Traveller site in the UK and as the site has grown so has local opposition. Today Basildon Council have issued a notice of eviction but the Travellers say they will not leave without a fight.

Helen Mark looks beyond the headlines to ask what this means for the countryside. Some argue that with the urgent need for housing in the South East we need to look again at our greenbelt land. The Travellers themselves argue that they are very much a part of the countryside and that they would rather be homeless than be moved into towns. Whilst Basildon Council argue that we cannot let rules be bent by some, especially when the precious green areas that surround our biggest urban areas are at stake.

20110806

Ordnance Survey, the organisation responsible for mapping every inch of land in England, Scotland and Wales, was set up in 1791 as a military mapping service based in the Tower of London.

It was used to create maps of Britain during the Napoleonic Wars to protect England from the French invasion and the art of map making subsequently played a major role in both World Wars.

Now based in Southampton, the agency has moved from the paper-based hand-drawn maps of its origins, to technologically advanced digital mapping systems in order to cope with the constant changes to the landscape of the country.

Helen Mark visits the Kent coastline to discover how war has shaped the landscape and how important these maps have been in the past and today.

Helen Mark visits Kent to discover the history of the Ordnance Survey after 220 years.

2011081320110818

The Wye historically has been England's greatest salmon river.

However stocks have declined massively as a result of drift nets at sea, estuarine putchers, and continuous removal of stocks caught on rod and line.

In the early sixties a few hundred barbel were released in the River Lugg.

These found their way into the Wye and quickly established themselves from Hay on Wye down to Brockwier.

Today The Wye holds a remarkable population of very long large finned lanky and hard fighting barbel.

The barbel year starts in June but recently some good barbel rivers have declined as a result of otter and mink predation, fish eaten by migrant populations and fish being washed out of or back to main river during flooding.

There are also those who blame the barbel for the decline in salmon.

Richard Uridge goes in search of this hardy fish, asks whether the salmon will ever return and along the way finds some of the most idyllic spots the River Wye has to offer.

Richard Uridge travels the River Wye looking for barbel fish and tranquil waters.

The Wye historically has been England's greatest salmon river. However stocks have declined massively as a result of drift nets at sea, estuarine putchers, and continuous removal of stocks caught on rod and line. In the early sixties a few hundred barbel were released in the River Lugg. These found their way into the Wye and quickly established themselves from Hay on Wye down to Brockwier. Today The Wye holds a remarkable population of very long large finned lanky and hard fighting barbel.

The barbel year starts in June but recently some good barbel rivers have declined as a result of otter and mink predation, fish eaten by migrant populations and fish being washed out of or back to main river during flooding. There are also those who blame the barbel for the decline in salmon.

2011111020111112

It's been dubbed the foot and mouth of the tree world.

Phytophthora ramorum or sudden oak death as its commonly known is ravaging forests across the UK resulting in millions of trees being cut down.

The disease has spread from the South West to Wales, the peaks and even as far north as the Isle of Mull.

But experts say they are finding fewer and fewer new outbreaks.

Today on Open Country, Helen Mark visits The South West, the region that's hardest hit, to find out what impact this disease is continuing to have on the countryside and whether there are signs that we are finally getting on top of it.

Presenter: Helen Mark.

Producer : Anna Varle.

Open Country investigates the latest on a disease which is ravaging forests across the UK.

It's been dubbed the foot and mouth of the tree world. Phytophthora ramorum or sudden oak death as its commonly known is ravaging forests across the UK resulting in millions of trees being cut down. The disease has spread from the South West to Wales, the peaks and even as far north as the Isle of Mull. But experts say they are finding fewer and fewer new outbreaks. Today on Open Country, Helen Mark visits The South West, the region that's hardest hit, to find out what impact this disease is continuing to have on the countryside and whether there are signs that we are finally getting on top of it.

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Today on Open Country, Richard Uridge visits what's known as the jewel of the Channel Islands.

Herm stretches just a mile and a half long.

The whole island is leased by one couple, who own everything on it from the hotel to the beach cafes and all the houses.

58 people live on the Island and all work for the same employer.

Richard Uridge finds out what it's like to live in such a close-knit community and to all work for the same company.

Presenter : Richard Uridge

Producer : Anna Varle.

Richard Uridge meets the 58 residents of Herm who all live and work for just one employer.

Today on Open Country, Richard Uridge visits what's known as the jewel of the Channel Islands. Herm stretches just a mile and a half long. The whole island is leased by one couple, who own everything on it from the hotel to the beach cafes and all the houses. 58 people live on the Island and all work for the same employer. Richard Uridge finds out what it's like to live in such a close-knit community and to all work for the same company.

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In the second of two programmes on the Channel Islands, Open Country visits Jersey to find out what it was like to live on the Island during the German occupation in World War 2.

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be seized and for five years, residents lived under Nazi rule.

Now a file of papers which spent decades stuffed in the back of a wardrobe has been found revealing graphic accounts of some of those who were deported to Germany after being caught in acts of resistance.

Richard Uridge investigates why these accounts are only just coming to light.

Presenter: Richard Uridge

Producer : Anna Varle.

Research sheds light on acts of resistance in occupied Jersey during the Second World War.

In the second of two programmes on the Channel Islands, Open Country visits Jersey to find out what it was like to live on the Island during the German occupation in World War 2. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be seized and for five years, residents lived under Nazi rule. Now a file of papers which spent decades stuffed in the back of a wardrobe has been found revealing graphic accounts of some of those who were deported to Germany after being caught in acts of resistance. Richard Uridge investigates why these accounts are only just coming to light.

20111201

British Waterways is responsible for over two thousand miles of canals and navigable rivers across the country.

Next year, it is just one of many bodies preparing to become a charity due to Government cuts.

As part of this new status, the organisation is launching a recruitment drive for volunteers to train as lock keepers.

Today's Open Country, is from Caen Hill locks in Devizes, one of the most impressive and iconic canals in the country.

Jules Hudson finds out how important volunteers will be in maintaining our canals and what the future holds for British Waterways.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer : Anna Varle.

A major recruitment drive is launched for volunteers to help man our waterways.

British Waterways is responsible for over two thousand miles of canals and navigable rivers across the country. Next year, it is just one of many bodies preparing to become a charity due to Government cuts. As part of this new status, the organisation is launching a recruitment drive for volunteers to train as lock keepers. Today's Open Country, is from Caen Hill locks in Devizes, one of the most impressive and iconic canals in the country. Jules Hudson finds out how important volunteers will be in maintaining our canals and what the future holds for British Waterways.

20111203

British Waterways is responsible for over two thousand miles of canals and navigable rivers across the country.

Next year, it is just one of many bodies preparing to become a charity due to Government cuts.

As part of this new status, the organisation is launching a recruitment drive for volunteers to train as lock keepers.

Today's Open Country, is from Caen Hill locks in Devizes, one of the most impressive and iconic canals in the country.

Jules Hudson finds out how important volunteers will be in maintaining our canals and what the future holds for British Waterways.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer : Anna Varle.

A major recruitment drive is launched for volunteers to help man our waterways.

2011122220111224

This is one of the busiest times of year on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast.

Almost 1,500 seal pups are being born and almost half of these will die in their first three weeks.

Since 1951, wardens have been counting and tagging the pups born on the Farne Islands.

During this time, the number of pups born has trebled, from 500 to 1499, making it the largest English colony of Atlantic grey seals.

When the survey began, scientists knew almost nothing about how seals bred, what they ate or where they went during the winter.

Those early studies on the Farnes were groundbreaking, setting the standard for all later seal research around the world.

The local port, Seahouses, used to be a major fishing town.

During the 1960's and 70's, thousands of seals were shot because they were thought to be a threat to local fish stocks.

Now the town relies more on tourism than fishing.

Jules Hudson visits the Farne Islands to find out more about the research project and to investigate the impact the seals are having on the fishing industry and the local area.

Farne Island is home to the largest colony grey seals, 60 years on we look at the impact.

This is one of the busiest times of year on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast. Almost 1,500 seal pups are being born and almost half of these will die in their first three weeks. Since 1951, wardens have been counting and tagging the pups born on the Farne Islands. During this time, the number of pups born has trebled, from 500 to 1499, making it the largest English colony of Atlantic grey seals.

When the survey began, scientists knew almost nothing about how seals bred, what they ate or where they went during the winter. Those early studies on the Farnes were groundbreaking, setting the standard for all later seal research around the world.

The local port, Seahouses, used to be a major fishing town. During the 1960's and 70's, thousands of seals were shot because they were thought to be a threat to local fish stocks. Now the town relies more on tourism than fishing.

2011122920111231

The fisherman’s gansey (a word thought to derive from ‘guernsey’) is a seamless woollen pullover worn by generations of seamen for work and at leisure. It was comfortable, practical and tough enough to provide some protection from the elements, and every community had its own pattern (possibly in an effort to identify drowned fishermen) although these patterns were seldom committed to paper. The ganseys of the Moray Firth coastline, the 500 miles between Duncansby Head and Fraserburgh, have become the focus of a three-year project aiming to preserve the heritage of the fishing communities and save the gansey from becoming a historical curiosity. Project workers are working to save existing ganseys, helping local knitting groups to create new ones and encouraging modern interpretations of this most traditional of garments. The gansey, it turns out, is more than a fisherman’s jumper: it’s a potent symbol of lives past and of a community in danger of losing touch with its early fishing roots.

The coastal communities of Moray Firth discuss the importance of preserving the gansey.

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Helen Mark visits the Scottish Highlands to see how a river can shape a village's fortunes

Knockando woolmill, near Aberlour on Speyside, has produced fabric since 1784. Its original machinery has supported families down the centuries and the mill has retained a place at the heart of the local community, working with wool from local sheep and weaving tweed and blankets for the flocks' owners. A break had to come, though, for renovation and renewal work which, it is hoped, will allow it to continue its work into the next century and beyond. The trust which runs the mill is determined that it should continue to be far more than a living museum, so Helen Mark visits Knockando just as the restoration work comes to an end to ask where it might market its products, whether anyone nowadays has the skills to keep it alive, and how the Knockando community can be involved in its survival.

Presenter: Helen Mark.

Producer : Moira Hickey.

2012011220120114

This is the year of the London 2012 Olympic Games. In just 6 months time, 60,000 people are expected to flood into Weymouth and Portland every day for 2 weeks to watch the sailing events. GB has topped the Sailing medals table at the last three Olympic Games. British sailors will be hoping to repeat the feat at London 2012, battling their rivals in Weymouth Bay. Weymouth and Portland have been preparing for this moment since the location of the sailing events was announced over five years ago. The area has seen major developments in terms of the roads, the marina and the esplanade. For this week's Open Country, Helen Mark visits the area to find out how it has prepared to host such a major event and what impact these changes are having on local residents.

Presenter : Helen Mark

Producer : Anna Varle.

With six months to go, Helen Mark investigates if Weymouth is ready for the Olympic Games.

2012011920120121

It's been seven years since hunting with hounds was abolished. But it's claimed the country's hunts, which no longer chase a live animal but a trail of artificial scent instead, are in the best shape anyone can remember. So is the ban working? On Boxing Day, three hundred hunts took place across the country and Agricultural Minister, Jim Paice announced there'd be a vote on whether to repeal the act when there's time in the parliamentary calendar. So on today's Open Country, Helen Mark investigates what the latest is on both sides of the debate.

Seven years since the hunting act became law, Open Country investigates if it's working.

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Jules Hudson visits an Afghan village in Norfolk used to train soldiers deployed to Kabul.

Deep in the countryside of eastern England, British troops train in a mock Afghan village designed to look, feel, and sound like the real thing. The 30,000-acre training complex allows soldiers to prepare themselves for the cultural and tactical challenges operating in Afghanistan. The facility, built in 2008, is meant to replicate a typical village in Helmand, with houses, shops and open markets, and the exiles playing the role of villagers.

In July 1942 about a thousand men, women and children were compulsorily evacuated from the site north of Thetford. It is an area of heath forming a large part of the unique Norfolk- Suffolk Breckland landscape which was cleared to make way for an army training area where troops could manoeuvre using live ammunition.

On today's Open Country, Jules Hudson visits the site to investigate how important the village is in preparing the troops for Afghanistan and finds out how those displaced from their villages in 1942 feel about the evacuation 70 years on.

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Jules Hudson discovers a hidden landscape, deep beneath the East Anglian fens.

Jules Hudson discovers an ancient landscape buried deep beneath the East Anglian fens which gives, possibly, the best idea yet of what life was like here thousands of years ago. Several wooden boats, spears, swords and other items have been found on the site of a brick quarry, preserved in silt and peat, and researchers say that this is one of the most important Bronze Age sites ever to be found in Britain

Jules hears from David Gibson and Mark Knight of Cambridge University's Archaeological Unit about the history of the Fenland environment and what the discovery of the six boats tells them about the utilisation of the landscape's river system. Amongst the objects that have been found are ancient eel traps, used by some of the first fishermen, and Jules meets Peter Carter who is possibly Fenland's last eel fisherman. Peter takes Jules out on the fens to explain how the the eel traps that have been unearthed at the dig site were made and used and how little this ancient technology has changed over the years. And Maisie Taylor, an expert in prehistoric wood, explains the technology of the boats that have been found and her excitement at the fact that six have been discovered so close to each other. Could there be more?!

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

2012032220120324

To celebrate the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, Helen Mark visits the Medway towns to find out how important a part the Kent landscape played in Dickens' life and works. Except London - no part of the British Isles features more prominently in Dickens' life than Kent. "Kent Sir - Everybody knows Kent - apples, cherries, hops and women" Mr Jingle, Pickwick Papers. Anyone who's ever thumbed through the likes of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield or The Pickwick Papers will know that the landscape and people of 19th Century Kent provided rich pickings for Dickens. In particular, the clutch of towns around the River Medway including Chatham and Rochester are referenced frequently in Dickens' works. It was growing up here that the author was at his happiest, stockpiling memories he would recycle in later years. Presented by Helen Mark and Produced by Anna Varle.

Open Country explores the importance of the Kent landscape to Charles Dickens

2012032920120331

Flat Holm is the most southerly point in Wales. The Island sits just off the Cardiff Coast. In 1982, the Flat Holm Project was established. The aim was to manage Flat Holm as a local nature reserve and to encourage visitor access and opportunities for education. The Island has a long and varied history having been used by man since prehistoric times. It was farmed for some 800 years and stopped in 1942. It has been fortified twice, most recently during the 2nd World War. The Island has many buildings and structures of historic interest, many are listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments. In this week's Open Country, Helen Mark finds out what life is like for the wardens and volunteers who live on the Island all year round and what is done to prepare the Island for the influx of tourists in the summer. Presented by Helen Mark and Produced by Anna Varle.

Helen Mark investigates the Flat Holm nature reserve off the Cardiff coast.

2012071220120714

Helen Mark explores the landscape around Wenlock Edge in Shropshire.

As the excitement mounts around London 2012 Helen Mark visits Much Wenlock, the birthplace of the modern Olympics, and explores the landscape around Wenlock Edge.

In the small market town of Much Wenlock in rural Shropshire, Dr William Penny Brookes came up with an inspirational way to promote healthy living to local people by devising an annual Games event which led to the rebirth of the Olympics at its classis home in Athens. The Wenlock Olympian Society has continued with the games which are still a unique annual attraction to this day.

Helen Mark hears from some of the people taking part in, and involved with, the Games and also explores the 'living entity' that is Wenlock Edge. This wooded, limestone escarpment stretches for around 17 miles from Craven Arms to Much Wenlock and finds out more about the history, archaeology and wildlife of this incredible landscape.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

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Helen Mark visits the Ring of Gullion in Northern Ireland.

Helen Mark visits the Ring Of Gullion in Northern Ireland to discover it's ancient geographical features that are now attracting visitors from all over the world.

The Ring Of Gullion is in South Armagh, near the border with Ireland.

For years the area was an area that was dangerous during the troubles and so overlooked by tourists, but the locals have aware of it's beauty, wildlife and ancient history, packed with myths and legends for centuries. Now the area is trying to attract visitors and put itself firmly on the map as an area with plenty to attract visitors from all over the world.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

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Helen Mark takes to the seas to explore the North Antrim coastline.

Helen Mark takes to the seas to explore the North Antrim Coastline, taking in Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede from the water.

She meets Robin Ruddock who teaches people to kayak along this coast and is joined by experts from Ulster Wildlife who tell her about the Living Seas project and the richness and diversity of marine life found in the waters off the North Antrim Coast.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: martin Poyntz-Roberts.

2016081120160813 (R4)

The largest mechanical puppet ever made in the UK "The Man Engine" has been striding out across Cornwall to celebrate 10 years since Cornwall's mining landscapes were awarded the status of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Standing 10 metres high this 'Man Engine' will visit each of the 10 heritage areas across Cornwall and Helen Mark meets him and his creator Will Coleman in Liskeard and Minions on Bodmin moor. Helen speaks to some of the people who live here about what tin mining means to them today and to their sense of history. Former miner Mark Kaczmarek tell us about life in the mines today at Camborne School of Mines and we hear songs from Nick Hart from 'The Story of Cornwall' that make up the soundtrack to this incredible landscape and the industry which began here.

Helen Mark meets the UK's largest puppet, Man Engine, in Cornwall's mining landscape.

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Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker investigates the threat to the Dartmoor pony.

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Bethan Bell visits Aviemore to see what effect climate change is having on Scottish ski resorts.

The lack of snow is forcing the local tourist industry to seek alternative means of attracting holidaymakers.

Countryside magazine.

Bethan Bell visits Aviemore to see what effect climate change is having on Scottish ski resorts. The lack of snow is forcing the local tourist industry to seek alternative means of attracting holidaymakers.

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Helen Mark explores the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean.

This series of large sculptures, which includes a giant's chair, a large stained-glass window and a wallpapered tree, was begun 21 years ago by Martin Orrom, who wanted to encourage people to reconnect with the forest environment.

Helen Mark explores the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean. This series of large sculptures, which includes a giant's chair, a large stained-glass window and a wallpapered tree, was begun 21 years ago by Martin Orrom, who wanted to encourage people to reconnect with the forest environment.

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Countryside magazine.

In the first of two programmes from Dumfriesshire, Helen Mark visits Wanlockhead and Leadhills, two of the highest villages in Scotland.

She goes panning for gold and sees wild salmon spawning.

In the first of two programmes from Dumfriesshire, Helen Mark visits Wanlockhead and Leadhills, two of the highest villages in Scotland. She goes panning for gold and sees wild salmon spawning.

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Matt Baker visits the New Forest.

Countryside magazine.

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Matt Baker visits the New Forest.

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Caroline Sarll visits Tower Colliery in South Wales to find out how a mine is closed down and the land made safe.

Countryside magazine.

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Matt Baker visits two post offices in North Yorkshire.

Countryside magazine.

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Caroline Saarl travels to Longwood Community Forest to meet some of the Ceredigion Young Carers taking time out from their stressful lives to learn about having fun in the outdoors.

Countryside magazine.

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Elinor Goodman visits Eymet in the Dordogne to find out why so many Brits have decided to make this part of rural France their home.

Countryside magazine.

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The countryside magazine visits the North Kent coast to examine the battle the coast has fought with the sea over the centuries.

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Countryside magazine.

Elinor Goodman visits Glastonbury.

Countryside magazine. Elinor Goodman visits Glastonbury.

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Countryside magazine with Matt Baker.

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Elinor Goodman meets the finalists in England's first Green Village competition.

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Matt Baker finds mud, fish and relics in the Bristol Channel.

Countryside magazine.

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Caz Graham visits Northumberland to see how fire has shaped the landscape.

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Helen Mark sails the length of Lough Foyle to find out how the return of a ferry route has reunited the land.

Countryside magazine.

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Matt Baker discovers the latest attempts to save red squirrels from extinction.

Countryside magazine.

Matt Baker visits Cumbria to discover the latest developments in the fight to save the country's red squirrels from potential extinction.

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker visits Cumbria to discover the latest developments in the fight to save the country's red squirrels from potential extinction.

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Helen Mark visits Mourne in Northern Ireland, a place fabled in song and literature and mooted as the country's first national park.

Helen Mark visits Mourne in Northern Ireland, mooted as the country's first national park.

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Helen Mark chats with owners of small woodlands and the creator of the nation's newest and largest forest, Felix Dennis, who is creating the forest of Dennis.

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Matt Baker discovers the Second World War secrets of the Peak District.

Nestled away in the Peak District are two Second World War 'training grounds'.

The first is the Derwent Valley, with the wide open dam that heard the roar of Lancaster bombers as they prepared for the historic Dambuster raids.

The second is the lesser known Burbage Valley, where in secrecy, British and Canadian troops were trained for war, leaving their battle scars across the landscape.

Burbage Valley is also home to one of the first bomber decoys in the country.

In an extroadinary bid to distract German bombers, a mini-Sheffield was built.

This hoax site comprised an elaborate arrangement of lights and fires contained in baskets and trenches that were designed to replicate Sheffield's railway marshalling yards as seen from the air at night.

This 'model city' was set into action by brave Sheffield men who had to run straight into the decoy to activate it, knowing full well that if they were successful it could mean that they were running to their own graves.

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Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits Kielder Water in Northumberland as England's largest reservoir celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Kielder Water is Europe's largest man-made lake.

It was constructed to service the industry in teesside, but just as the dam was being built, that industry was in decline.

A valley was flooded and people lost their homes.

Twenty five years on, Helen Mark finds out whether the new man-made landscape has been a success for local people and the environment.

Helen Mark visits Kielder Water in Northumberland as England's largest reservoir celebrates its 25th anniversary. Kielder Water is Europe's largest man-made lake. It was constructed to service the industry in teesside, but just as the dam was being built, that industry was in decline. A valley was flooded and people lost their homes. Twenty five years on, Helen Mark finds out whether the new man-made landscape has been a success for local people and the environment.

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In the second of two programmes from Dumfriesshire, Helen Mark visits the town of Sanquhar.

She goes dog sledding and hears of Robbie Burns's close association with the town.

Countryside magazine.

In the second of two programmes from Dumfriesshire, Helen Mark visits the town of Sanquhar. She goes dog sledding and hears of Robbie Burns's close association with the town.

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Helen Mark visits the Western Weald on the border of the South Downs, a unique landscape rich in history.

Campaigners are fighting for the area's inclusion in the South Downs National Park.

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits the Western Weald on the border of the South Downs, a unique landscape rich in history. Campaigners are fighting for the area's inclusion in the South Downs National Park.

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Matt Baker spends the day with a shepherdess in Ashdown Forest.

Countryside magazine.

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Helen Mark visits the south Shropshire town of Church Stretton nestling in the hills that earned it the nickname of Little Switzerland.

The town is currently divided over the issue of building affordable homes, which residents say will compromise the town's beauty and not help the local community.

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits the south Shropshire town of Church Stretton nestling in the hills that earned it the nickname of Little Switzerland. The town is currently divided over the issue of building affordable homes, which residents say will compromise the town's beauty and not help the local community.

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Helen Mark investigates willows grown on the Somerset Levels.

Traditionally used for basket making, these are increasingly being harvested for charcoal.

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark investigates willows grown on the Somerset Levels. Traditionally used for basket making, these are increasingly being harvested for charcoal.

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Helen Mark looks into the demise of rural pubs in Yorkshire and finds a family-run pub in Rippondale which is maintaining its popularity and continuing to serve its local community.

Countryside magazine.

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Helen Mark visits Exmoor, where local farmers and businesses are saving rare butterflies.

Countryside magazine.

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Horse ownership is increasing all over the UK.

Helen Mark visits Yorkshire villages to meet a variety of horse owners of different ages and from very different walks of life.

She finds out why they have taken up riding and asks what effect this will have on the countryside.

The New Equestrians

Horse ownership is increasing all over the UK. Helen Mark visits Yorkshire villages to meet a variety of horse owners of different ages and from very different walks of life. She finds out why they have taken up riding and asks what effect this will have on the countryside.

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Helen Mark investigates the UK's increasing share of the wine market for consumption at home and abroad.

Both red and white wines are produced at the award winning Camel Valley Vineyard, but their speciality is a sparkling wine which cannot be called Champagne so instead rejoices in the name of Cornwall.

Camel Valley Vineyard

Helen Mark investigates the UK's increasing share of the wine market for consumption at home and abroad. Both red and white wines are produced at the award winning Camel Valley Vineyard, but their speciality is a sparkling wine which cannot be called Champagne so instead rejoices in the name of Cornwall.

* The Hastings Fishing Fleets *2008042620080501

Helen Mark finds out how sustainable fishing is raising the profile of local food in Hastings.

The town has maintained a successful fishing industry for centuries, and now the fishermen want to show their continued commitment to sustainable fishing.

They want to see Marine Stewardship Council certification, which already covers mackerel and herring, also apply to all Dover sole caught.

The Hastings Fishing Fleets

Helen Mark finds out how sustainable fishing is raising the profile of local food in Hastings. The town has maintained a successful fishing industry for centuries, and now the fishermen want to show their continued commitment to sustainable fishing. They want to see Marine Stewardship Council certification, which already covers mackerel and herring, also apply to all Dover sole caught.

01/01/201120110106

Helen Mark discovers a dramatic transformation to the waters of the River Thames.

01/08/200920090806

Matt Baker discovers the Second World War secrets of the Peak District.

02/02/201220120204

Jules Hudson discovers a hidden landscape, deep beneath the East Anglian fens.

02/04/201120110407

The shores of the Durham coastline were once as black as the coal that was tipped into the waves that crashed onto them. But in recent years an amazing transformation has taken place. Helen Mark finds out about the Durham Heritage Coast.

Helen Mark visits the transformed landscape of the Durham Heritage Coast.

02/05/200920090507

Helen Mark joins historian Peter Edwards to visit the Worcestershire village of Rushock.

03/01/200920090108

Matt Baker visits Northumberland to see how the fledgling red kite population is faring.

03/07/201020100708

Helen Mark discovers a new centre in Northamptonshire for vulnerable teenagers.

04/04/200920090409
04/12/201020101209

We explore how the UK's only independent run lighthouse in Happisburgh has survived.

05/01/201220120107

Helen Mark visits the Scottish Highlands to see how a river can shape a village's fortunes

06/08/201120110811

Ordnance Survey, the organisation responsible for mapping every inch of land in England, Scotland and Wales, was set up in 1791 as a military mapping service based in the Tower of London.

It was used to create maps of Britain during the Napoleonic Wars to protect England from the French invasion and the art of map making subsequently played a major role in both World Wars.

Now based in Southampton, the agency has moved from the paper-based hand-drawn maps of its origins, to technologically advanced digital mapping systems in order to cope with the constant changes to the landscape of the country.

Helen Mark visits the Kent coastline to discover how war has shaped the landscape and how important these maps have been in the past and today.

Helen Mark visits Kent to discover the history of the Ordnance Survey after 220 years.

06/12/200820081211
07/03/200920090312
07/05/201120110512

Helen Mark takes a ride on the new Welsh Highland Railway, which eaves Caernarfon and takes in the stunning Snowdonian landscape, before arriving at its destination in Porthmadog.

Along the way Helen hears about the back-breaking work undertaken by hundreds of volunteers to get the railway up and running and about the history of slate mining in the area, which used to rely so heavily on the railways.

She also stops off at the RSPB's Osprey Project at Glaslyn to catch sight of the only breeding pair of ospreys in Wales.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark takes a ride on the Welsh Highland Railway through the landscape of Snowdonia.

Helen Mark takes a ride on the new Welsh Highland Railway, which eaves Caernarfon and takes in the stunning Snowdonian landscape, before arriving at its destination in Porthmadog. Along the way Helen hears about the back-breaking work undertaken by hundreds of volunteers to get the railway up and running and about the history of slate mining in the area, which used to rely so heavily on the railways. She also stops off at the RSPB's Osprey Project at Glaslyn to catch sight of the only breeding pair of ospreys in Wales.

09/05/200920090514

Matt Baker visits one of the railway line between Settle to Carlisle.

10/01/200920090115

Helen Mark visits the Black Mountains.

10/07/201020100715

Welsh poet and writer Owen Sheers hears about plans for a badger cull in Pembrokeshire.

10/11/201120111112

Open Country investigates the latest on a disease which is ravaging forests across the UK.

11/04/200920090416
12/01/201220120114

With six months to go, Helen Mark investigates if Weymouth is ready for the Olympic Games.

13/08/201120110818

The Wye historically has been England's greatest salmon river. However stocks have declined massively as a result of drift nets at sea, estuarine putchers, and continuous removal of stocks caught on rod and line. In the early sixties a few hundred barbel were released in the River Lugg. These found their way into the Wye and quickly established themselves from Hay on Wye down to Brockwier. Today The Wye holds a remarkable population of very long large finned lanky and hard fighting barbel.

The barbel year starts in June but recently some good barbel rivers have declined as a result of otter and mink predation, fish eaten by migrant populations and fish being washed out of or back to main river during flooding. There are also those who blame the barbel for the decline in salmon.

Richard Uridge goes in search of this hardy fish, asks whether the salmon will ever return and along the way finds some of the most idyllic spots the River Wye has to offer.

Richard Uridge travels the River Wye looking for barbel fish and tranquil waters.

13/11/201020101118

Helen Mark hears how a forest of ten million conifers changed Ayrshire's Whitelee Plateau.

13/12/200820081218

Helen Mark chats with the creator of the nation's newest and largest forest, Felix Dennis.

14/02/200920090219

Matt Baker travels to Essex to see the vast area the RSPB is turning into a nature reserve

14/03/200920090319
16/04/201120110421

Helen Mark is in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire to find out how horses and the natural landscape of Royal Deeside are helping wounded and serving military personnel. Set up by ex-marine Jock Hutchison and his wife Emma, Horseback UK is a charity aiming to provide a safe and secure environment for soldiers returning from active service or those that have already left, many of whom have suffered injury or acute stress as a result of active service. The charity uses equine therapy and the value of the great outdoors and nature therapy to provide part of the rehabilitation process for serving personnel and veterans from the UK military. Helen hears from Jock about their hope that those who have lived their lives on the edge will benefit from the opportunities available to them in the peace and tranquillity of the countryside and the quality of life this offers. Fundamental to this is the relationship with the horses and the style of Western riding which gives these guys the experience of being a cowboy high up in the saddle and looking down on countryside that they might previously not have noticed as they passed through. Mixing equine therapy, nature therapy and adventure training the aim is for people to learn about opportunities in the Scottish countryside, including game-keeping, horsemanship, fishing etc. while getting to know their local community. Helen hears from Jay Hare and Rick Anderson, two of the people who have benefited from the centre, and also from Eric Baird at the nearby Glen Tanar Estate, one of the areas that is supporting the charity by encouraging people there to become involved in conservation work. Fundamental to the work of the centre are the horses and the way in which they are used to integrate the people they carry on their backs into the community and countryside of the Royal Deeside landscape.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark is in Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire to find out about Horseback UK.

17/01/200920090122

Matt Baker visits the first wild beaver colony in the UK, in Gloucestershire.

17/04/201020100422

Matt Baker visits the Brecon Beacons.

17/11/201120111119

Richard Uridge meets the 58 residents of Herm who all live and work for just one employer.

18/12/201020101223

Helen Mark is in Dorset to find out how marine life can impact on the local community.

19/01/201220120121

Seven years since the hunting act became law, Open Country investigates if it's working.

19/03/201120110324

Is the iconic Dartmoor pony under threat? Helen Mark is on Dartmoor to find out.

20/11/201020101125

Richard Uridge goes foraging for fungi in the New Forest.

20/12/200820081225

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker reports from a valley in Yorkshire.

21/02/200920090226

Helen Mark finds out how whisky production has shaped Speyside in Scotland.

21/03/200920090326
22/01/201120110127

Helen Mark meets Bristol city dwellers developing a nature reserve on their doorstep.

22/03/201220120324

To celebrate the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, Helen Mark visits the Medway towns to find out how important a part the Kent landscape played in Dickens' life and works. Except London - no part of the British Isles features more prominently in Dickens' life than Kent. "Kent Sir - Everybody knows Kent - apples, cherries, hops and women" Mr Jingle, Pickwick Papers. Anyone who's ever thumbed through the likes of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield or The Pickwick Papers will know that the landscape and people of 19th Century Kent provided rich pickings for Dickens. In particular, the clutch of towns around the River Medway including Chatham and Rochester are referenced frequently in Dickens' works. It was growing up here that the author was at his happiest, stockpiling memories he would recycle in later years. Presented by Helen Mark and Produced by Anna Varle.

Open Country explores the importance of the Kent landscape to Charles Dickens.

22/11/200820081127

Matt Baker discovers the latest attempts to save red squirrels from extinction.

Countryside magazine. Matt Baker visits Cumbria to discover the latest developments in the fight to save the country's red squirrels from potential extinction.

22/12/201120111224

Farne Island is home to the largest colony grey seals, 60 years on we look at the impact.

23/04/201120110428

Richard Uridge is in Herefordshire at the annual film festival to hear why it's important to bring the cinema experience to rural areas. On a farm outside the city of Hereford, he discovers a recently rehoused international film archive containing 80,000 documentaries including several old films on life in the Herefordshire countryside dating back to the 1930s that are being preserved as part of our rural heritage.

Richard Uridge visits Herefordshire's rural film festival.

24/01/200920090129

Matt Baker finds out about the role of Morris Dancing in the life of the Cotswolds.

24/11/201120111126

Research sheds light on acts of resistance in occupied Jersey during the Second World War.

26/01/201220120128

Jules Hudson visits an Afghan village in Norfolk used to train soldiers deployed to Kabul.

27/12/200820090101

Reporting from the tiny Channel island of Sark.

28/02/200920090305

Matt Baker investigates Cumbria's industrial coastline, which is being given a makeover.

28/03/200920090402
28/08/201020100902

Richard Uridge visits Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight where the Dabell family have owned and run a theme park on the clifftops for more than 150 years.

In that time much of their and their neighbours' land and property have disappeared over the cliffs due to erosion.

Richard finds that there's a defiant spirit to the people who live in fear of the sea claiming their homes as well as a love and reverence for the power of Nature.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Richard Uridge investigates the disappearing village on the Isle of Wight.

28/11/200920091203

Helen Mark is in Northern Ireland to follow the Ballinderry River from mountain to lough.

29/03/201220120331

Helen Mark investigates the Flat Holm nature reserve off the Cardiff coast.

29/12/201120111231

The coastal communities of Moray Firth discuss the importance of preserving the gansey.

30/01/201020100204

Helen Mark travels a chalk stream that gives its name to Wandsworth.

30/04/201120110505

Barra, Vatersay and Mingulay are three of the southernmost islands of the Outer Herbrides and their shared history is one of survival by moving with the times.

In 1912 the last inhabitants of Mingulay left the island for Barra after the turbulent seas had claimed a boat full of the fishermen who the island relied upon.

Today Mingulay's waters are back in discussion as it has become a proposed area of conservation due to ancient corals which lie beneath.

The islanders of Barra fear that this conservation zone will make it harder for them to make their living from fishing these waters but Scottish Natural Heritage feel the risks to the coral are too high to let activities go on unchecked.

The debate is a heated one but as Helen Mark discovers it is part of a long history of independence from interference from the mainland, a unique past which makes the island stronger today than it perhaps ever has been.

Helen Mark visits Barra in the Outer Hebrides to hear about island life past and future.

30/10/201020101104

What is life like in Britain's most haunted village? Helen Mark is in Pluckley to find out

A Journey Through The New Forest

A Journey Through The New Forest2009111420091119

Matt Baker joins the team involved in a unique restoration project which is using a light railway to help restore areas of New Forest wetland that have been missing since Victorian times.

He takes a wander along part of the 800-metre long rail line, learning more about the project which it is hoped will see the return of habitat and wildlife lost to the forest for years.

Matt also joins the team involved in the hugely successful British-built Steam Car ahead of its triumphant return home to the New Forest after smashing the 100-year-old world land speed record for a steam-powered car.

Finally, Matt reduces his hoof-print even further and rounds off the day at nature's pace by meeting the Suffolk Punch horses of the New Forest Horse-Drawn Omnibus.

Matt Baker discovers some alternative methods of transport in the New Forest.

A Journey Through The New Forest20091119

Matt Baker discovers some alternative methods of transport in the New Forest.

A Tale Of Three Piers2013070420130706

Helen Mark promenades with Timothy West along the pier at Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare.

Helen Mark takes a day at the seaside to visit the romance of piers. They have been hailed as great examples of Victorian architecture but the cost of maintenance and repair from weather damage or fire can run into millions. She visits Weston-super-Mare in Somerset where the now hi-tech restored Grand Pier overlooks the damaged remains of Birnbeck. Actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales join her in Clevedon to visit the 'pier of the year' which was once only a vote away from demolition. It was described by Sir John Betjeman as 'delicate as a Japanese print in the mist' but it may have a fragile future. They welcome the paddle steamer Waverley as it docks - revisiting memories of Timothy's childhood holidays.

Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.

A World In A Woodland2013072520130727

Woodlands are often the setting for fairy stories but also for the creation of a new childhood game, a secret adventure or a new den and are cherished places. Helen Mark heads to Gloucestershire to see how children, large and small, share a love for the forest.

In Berkeley she meets children from a 'forest school' where lessons are taken outside and children are taught to use axes and saws, to identify trees and create and build. While the children teach her how to get involved, she hears it's not just the children who've changed through freedom outside the classroom.

Near Tetbury she meets James Shrives and his wife Debs who've crammed 1000 trees into an acre of garden space to create their own forest. The dense growth provides a sanctuary and draws in wildlife but will the pride they've taken in the growth make it heartbreaking to thin down the area?

Finally she heads to the edge of Bristol where a council-managed forest at Ashton Court provides an escape for city-dwellers. She joins a group of friends to see how the wild space inspires them and if it can rival their computers and meets author Ingrid Skeels whose own alternative education led her to create St Cuthbert's Wild School for Boys.

Aberdeenshire2003092720031002

As the wild mushroom industry sits on a knife edge between bumper crop and abysmal pickings, Helen Mark visits the Muir of Dinnet in Aberdeenshire to meet some local fungi fanatics.

Open Country sent them on a mushroom hunt to see what fungal fancies they could find.

The Muir of Dinnet is situated on the north side of the River Dee and surrounded by two lochs, Davan and Kinord.

To get a full picture of the surrounding countryside Helen met up with Ewen Cemeron, from Scottish Natural Heritage.

Helen found Dick Peebles down near Loch Kinord rummaging for mushrooms.

Dick owns Caledonian Wild Foods, a Glasgow based company that specialises in supplying the catering industry with a vast variety of wild foods, especially mushrooms.

Dick is mad about mushrooms, whether picking, protecting, researching or simply speaking about them; his enthusiasm is infectious.

Unfortunately mushrooms were some what thin on the ground in the Muir of Dinnet so Helen headed north to Culbin Forest in Morayshire where she met up with keen mycologist Liz Holden.

Liz has recently written a list of English names for the 3000 species of fungi found in Britain.

Previously the mushrooms had only their Latin names which are almost impossible for the novice to remember.

Thanks to Liz's work names such as Lemon Disco and Rooting Poisonpie are now common place in the mushroom world!

Back at the Muir of Dinett near Loch Kinord, still faced with a lack of chanterelles and ceps, Helen met Ann Miller who has found a unique way cultivating mushrooms.

As Anne explains growing Shittake mushrooms on logs and Oyster Mushrooms on toilet rolls is much easier than many people would think!

With the group back together again and comparing bounties, Jimmy and Amanda Graham were kind enough to cook them for us! James is a top Scottish chef and the husband and wife team own the acclaimed restaurant Ostlers Close in Cupar, Fife.

Being big mushroom enthusiasts, they refuse to buy mushrooms and the menu always revolves around what mushrooms have been gathered that day.

Adlestrop2014013020140201

Helen Mark visits the Gloucestershire village that inspired Edward Thomas's famous poem.

Helen Mark visits the small Gloucestershire village of Adlestrop that inspired Edward Thomas' famous eponymous poem when his steam train unexpectedly stopped there 100 years ago, on the eve of war. Helen meets Ian Morton of the Edward Thomas Fellowship to find out more about the poet who died in combat in 1917, as well as people who live and work in this beautiful corner of the Cotswolds. She visits Daylesford, the nearby large organic farm operation, makers of their own Adlestrop cheese, and hears about the Wychwood Forest Project.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Anglesey2012090620120908

Jules Hudson visits the Penrhos Nature Reserve on the isle of Anglesey.

Jules Hudson visits Anglesey's Penrhos Nature Reserve to find out about development plans for the area. The land, which is owned by Anglesey Aluminium, has been used by locals and visitors alike for many years but is now the subject of a planning proposal by tourism and leisure company, Land and Lakes who hope to turn it into what they say will be a world class holiday resort and eco tourism destination. Jules meets the developers and hears about their plans for both Penrhos and an area of Cae Glas which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest which the public has never previously had access to. Jules hears from members of the local community about their concerns at the loss of what they see as a very special area which should be preserved and protected and others who feel that without the development access could be lost completely. And where does the island's population of red squirrels fit into the plans?

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Ardtornish20101127

In Open Country this week, Helen Mark visits Ardtornish Estate in Morvern, in the western Highlands of Scotland.

The estate, covering around sixty square miles of hill, woodland, rivers and lochs, has been in the Raven family for three generations, and Helen is here to see how the way it is managed has changed over the years.

The present trustees are harnessing the power of the rainfall, which is never in short supply in this part of the world, to supply electricity to the National Grid.

Estate manager Angus Robertson and farm stock manager James Laurie discuss the changes they have seen at Ardtornish, while Faith Raven, who was born as her father bought the estate, tells Helen why change and continuity can go hand in hand in the Highlands.

Producer: Moira Hickey.

Helen Mark visits Ardtornish estate in Morvern, in the western Highlands of Scotland.

In Open Country this week, Helen Mark visits Ardtornish Estate in Morvern, in the western Highlands of Scotland. The estate, covering around sixty square miles of hill, woodland, rivers and lochs, has been in the Raven family for three generations, and Helen is here to see how the way it is managed has changed over the years.

The present trustees are harnessing the power of the rainfall, which is never in short supply in this part of the world, to supply electricity to the National Grid. Estate manager Angus Robertson and farm stock manager James Laurie discuss the changes they have seen at Ardtornish, while Faith Raven, who was born as her father bought the estate, tells Helen why change and continuity can go hand in hand in the Highlands.

Ardtornish20101202

Helen Mark visits Ardtornish estate in Morvern, in the western Highlands of Scotland.

Atlantic College At 502012112920121201

Felicity Evans visits Atlantic College in South Wales - set up to promote peace.

The 12th century St Donat's castle in South Wales was once home to media mogul William Randolph Hearst - subject of Citizen Kane. Fifty years ago it became the home of Atlantic College, a unique educational establishment bringing together students from around the world in the hope of promoting peace and understanding and to overcome the problems of the Cold War. Felicity Evans explores the campus grounds, meeting students past and present, to find out how an alternative education has influenced their lives. She asks how serving the community and working on the land - including running the organic farm and lifeboat unit - has helped shape their views and plans for the future.

Ballooning In Bristol20170817

Helen Mark takes flight at the International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol.

The International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol has been running for nearly 40 years, drawing pilots and tourists form around the world. Helen Mark has been invited to Ashton Court to help launch one of the crafts and take flight in the direction determined by the wind. During the journey she'll find out how so many navigate around one another, and why those involved are so passionate about this way of travelling. Drifting through the skies with her will be 'The Flying Archaeologist' Ben Robinson who can reveal hidden histories in the landscape below that often go unnoticed. But all her plans are at the mercy of the weather.

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Balnakeil Craft Village2015123120160102 (R4)

Helen Mark visits Balnakeil Craft Village in Sutherland.

Helen Mark meets the artists and artisans of Balnakeil Craft Village in Sutherland.

Constructed as an early warning station in the Cold War period, the MOD camp reinvented itself as a place for creative people to live and work when nuclear attack did not come. Set against white sand beaches and the clearest blue seas, it's easy to see why the landscape inspires artists in this remote part of Scotland.

Helen meets internationally-renowned ceramic artist Lotte Glob, one of the earliest inhabitants of Balnakeil. Her work can be found in the most isolated places in the hills around the village, carried there by Lotte on one of her long walks.

There's South African painter Nicola Poole, who loves the simplicity of life here and the way it allows you the quiet space to be creative. She thinks it's 'paradise' and is inspired by the landscape in her paintings. Her husband Ludo Van Muysen repairs musical instruments for the whole Highland region, but he can turn his hand to many types of work, and originally trained as a nurse in his home country of Belgium.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Barton-upon-humber Clay Pits2017011220170114 (R4)

Helen Mark finds out about the flooded clay pits that make up the landscape around Barton-upon-Humber.

Standing on the south side of the Humber Bridge, the pits look like a series of holes punched into the landscape, or a piece of lace attached all the way along the Humber bank. The pits were excavated for the fine clay they contain, to make beautiful red bricks to build local houses that are still so typical here, and tiles which were packed into barges and taken off to London to feed the housing boom of the nineteenth century.

There are two tile-works alive and kicking at Barton, still making traditional tiles in exactly the same way they have for the past two hundred years. The clay digging that used to take half a year of hard labour with a wheel barrow is now done in a couple of weeks by a digger, so it's not quite the task it once was. For a small town, Barton has a vibrant present and a big industrial past, manifested by the Ropewalk, a museum and cultural space housed in what the managing director, Rachel Benet, calls the town's 'cultural quarter mile'. It is a narrow red brick-and-tile building a quarter of a mile long, designed to allow the manufacture of rope in one long, straight piece.

But it's the clay pits that have made the biggest mark on the landscape around Barton-upon-Humber. Many of them are now wildlife reserves run by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, home to bearded tit, bittern and marsh harriers.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Helen Mark discovers why flooded clay pits make up the landscape of Barton-upon-Humber.

Bbc Monitoring At Caversham20170706

Caz Graham visits BBC Monitoring - the Berkshire mansion that eavesdrops on the world.

For 75 years a stately home near Reading has eavesdropped on the world. As BBC Monitoring changes, Caz Graham hears why the organisation is leaving Caversham.

Caz speaks to staff past and present to hear about the vital daily work conducted behind the grand portico, amidst splendid grounds, listening in to and translating radio broadcasts since 1943.

Retired staff recall being on shift when major world events occurred, such as the deaths of Stalin, Franco and Brezhnev. With its roots in short wave technology, Caversham's sensitive radio aerials and satellites could be retuned to listen in to countries around the world. Current manager at BBC Monitoring, Chris Greenway, describes the organisation's work today, for example tracking social media and the broadcasting activities of Islamic State (IS).

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Bbc Monitoring At Caversham20170713

Caz Graham visits the Berkshire mansion which as BBC Monitoring eavesdrops on the world.

Ian Marchant associates the landscape at the mouth of the River Lune with his friend and musical partner, Chas Ambler, who died nearly two years ago.

In this personal exploration of his connection to the life of the river, Ian talks to poet Paul Farley about how to value un-romantic landscape. He meets Fiona Frank, one of the founder members of the Lancashire Co-Housing project , to discuss living in an 'intentional community' on the banks of the Lune. Lancaster has a little-known connection with the slave trade, which Ian discusses with Anthea Purkis from the city's Maritime Museum.

Ian also visits Michelle Stevenson - or Chel - to talk about how she invited Chas to move into her family home at Glasson Dock for the last few weeks of his life, an act of extraordinary generosity. And if that isn't enough to reaffirm his faith in life, Ian meets haaf net fisherwoman, Margaret Owen, at the isolated north bank of the river, Sunderland Point.

An unusual, moving and funny edition of Open Country exploring the dark side of the Lune.

Beasts Of Brighton2012111520121117

Helen Mark finds surprising wildlife in the city of Brighton.

Helen Mark visits Brighton to find surprising wildlife in the city. She finds an urban flock of sheep grazing on ancient chalk downland areas in the city. Their gentle nibbling is kinder to wildlife than mowing and ensures that green spaces stay clear for wildlife and people. Helen meets a volunteer shepherd in charge of watching the sheep through the winter months.

Nearby, Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project works with excluded school pupils growing vegetables and gardening for wildlife. Helen is shown the project's tree house, outdoor clay oven, turf sofa, and traditional bee hive. Now a thriving garden run by an army of volunteers the original piece of land, hidden away behind Moulsecoomb railway station, had been left overgrown and derelict for nearly twenty years.

Down on Brighton's beach Helen joins Huw Morgan from Sussex Wildlife Trust as he splashes around in rock pools with children from a local school. Their city centre school lacks green space for them to explore so the beach is the perfect place for them to run free and learn about marine wildlife and sustainable fishing.

Producer Beatrice Fenton.

Beer Quarry Caves2013082920130831

Helen Mark visits Devon's Beer Quarry Caves which supplied Exeter cathedral with limestone

The history of Britain's cathedrals is celebrated but much less so that of the quarries and quarrymen, who hewed the stone they're built of. On this week's Open Country, Helen Mark rectifies that. With her hard hat to hand she goes underground in the South West.

She explores Devon's Beer Quarry Caves which supplied Exeter cathedral with the highest quality limestone, reserved for some of the finest carvings in this and many other medieval churches.

Helen meets John Scott who fought hard to make sure that the Beer Quarry Caves weren't demolished in the 1980s. John is a master storyteller who conjures the underground world of generations of anonymous masons and quarrymen at the caves, which are open to the public. They're joined by master mason Peter Dare.At Exeter cathedral the archaeologist John Allan shows Helen the tracery windows and high ribbed ceilings, all carved from the characteristic creamy white Beer stone.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Belfast Hills2014120420141206 (R4)

Helen Mark makes a trip to the Belfast Hills and hears from the people who live and work in the landscape to discover how their lives have been shaped by the tough environment.

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

Helen Mark is in the Belfast Hills to hear from the people who live and work there.

Bellaghy - Seamus Heaney's Homeplace2016090820160910 (R4)

Seamus Heaney grew up in Bellaghy in Northern Ireland and his poetry features many of the people who lived there and the views he saw there. Helen Mark visits Bellaghy to discover the real places which inspired so many well loved words and meets the people who live there to find out what Heaney's work means to them.

Helen Mark travels to Bellaghy to discover poet Seamus Heaney's 'Homeplace'.

Bell-ringing In Devon20171109

Mary Ward-Lowery finds out why bell-ringing is different in Devon.

Meditation, a celebration, a warning, the marking of a solemn occasion, music: bells are a public sound that changes according to the landscape. And bell-ringing in Devon is unique: it all sounds a bit trance, according to Mary Ward-Lowery. She hears other mind-bending sounds in this programme, including the noisy tramping of ants' feet and the peaceful fusion of bells and birdsong.

With artist Marcus Vergette, sound recordist Tony Whitehead, an award-winning band of Devon call-change ringers, oh, and a steeplejack who spends his life mending church towers rocked by centuries of bells swinging the mortar loose.

Belvoir Castle And Its 'capability' Brown Landscape2016120120161203 (R4)

Helen Mark is in Leicestershire, to discover how the 'Capability' Brown plans for Belvoir castle have finally come to fruition.

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, regarded as one of the greatest landscape architects, laid out his vision for how the landscape around this ancestral home should look, back in the 18th century. Some work was undertaken, but then a fire destroyed Belvoir castle. It was assumed all the Brown maps were lost too and plans for restoring the landscape were forgotten. However, the current Duchess of Rutland, Emma Manners and her team found the lost 'Capability' Brown plans. They have just finished restoring the landscape around Belvoir Castle, now a completed 'Capability' Brown garden, just in time to mark the 300th anniversary of his birth.

The producer is Perminder Khatkar.

Helen Mark explores the completed 'Capability' Brown gardens at Belvoir Castle.

Big Chill In Llanthony2015102920151031 (R4)

Twenty years ago The Big Chill festival pioneered the concept of the boutique festival. Helen Mark meets founder Pete Lawrence as he returns to the magical Llanthony Valley where the first festival was staged. Together they explore the history of this unique landscape which has attracted artists and seekers of solitude since the 13th Century.

The imposing ruins of Llanthony Priory have been painted by Turner and it is here where Pete first decided to hold an event characterised by music in keeping with the surroundings. Just down the road is the Maes-Y-Beran camping ground where the event took place, 500 music lovers congregated on Wyndham Morgan's farm in 1995 and Ariane Morgan has fond memories of that time. Helen takes Pete to remember that day along with some of the musicians and festival goers who were there.

Helen Mark visits Llanthony in Wales to hear how the Big Chill festival began 20 years ago

Biodiversity At Heathrow2016072120160723 (R4)

Helen Mark visits Heathrow to discover how the airport encourages biodiversity.

Helen Mark visits Heathrow Airport to discover what steps they take to encourage biodiversity and assesses the impact the proposed third runway will have should the decision be made for it to go ahead.

Heathrow has thirteen sites of Conversation, and Helen speaks to to the Airport's Biodiversity Manager Adam Cheeseman about the species he finds there including the Black Bee. Environmental Operations Manager Russell Knight explains how they've encouraged fish species to return to their rivers, and how they plan to create a green fringe around the proposed new runway. Helen also asks how much difference biodiversity can make to a project of this scale.

She visits Colne Valley Park, part of which will be taken up by the new runway, and asks Stewart Pomeroy about the challenges of balancing the needs of the Park with the need for development, and to Mathew Frith from the London Wildlife Trust about the potential impact on the Park's bird and fish species. She also speaks to Colin Rayner who farms land around Heathrow about what life's like for him now and what he thinks the future will be should permission for a third runway be granted.

Producer: Toby Field.

Bishop Auckland, History In Production2016070720160709 (R4)

'Kynren' is set across a landscaped stage which is the size of 5 football pitches and involves over 1000 local volunteers. Organizers hope that it will transform Bishop Auckland and bring many visitors to the area for years to come. The story will explore 2000 years of British history from Roman times through the Saxons and Vikings to Industrial times and beyond. Helen Mark hears from the local volunteers about what it means to them and discovers the real history behind Bishop Auckland. She visits Binchester Roman Fort, Escomb Saxon Church and the shut down collieries to see how history remains clearly written in the landscape as well as in this ambitious new production.

Blencathra: The People's Mountain20170504

Blencathra in the Lakes has become the People's Mountain. Helen Mark discovers why.

Terry Abraham could be likened to Alfred Wainwright in his love of the Lakeland fells. Blencathra was known by Wainwright as the 'mountaineers mountain' and he devoted more pages to this fell than any other in his pictorial guides. However, since the proposed sale of the mountain in 2014 it has become known as the 'Peoples Mountain'. The owner, the 8th Earl of Lonsdale, put the mountain up for sale at a price of £1.75 million and a community group called Friends of Blencathra was set up in a bid to raise enough money to buy the mountain. In 2015, the mountain was taken off the market but the sense of ownership felt by the local community remains. Helen Mark meets Terry and the local people who live within the shadow of this iconic peak.

Blue Moon

Blue Moon2009122620091231

Helen Mark celebrates December's Blue Moon with artist Elspeth Owen, who is living outside and walking every night as part of an eccentric and unique project.

When there are two full moons in one calendar month, the second of those moons is called a Blue Moon.

Elspeth Owen, who is in her 70s, has decided to live outside between the first full moon (on the 2nd of December) and the second full moon (on the 31st).

She wants to discover something about the dark, about fear and about using her senses differently.

For this Open Country special, Helen Mark visits Elspeth, who lives in the Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester, when the sky is at its darkest - mid-way through her project.

Helen Mark celebrates December's Blue Moon with artist Elspeth Owen.

Blue Moon20091231

Helen Mark celebrates December's Blue Moon with artist Elspeth Owen.

Bluebird's Return To Coniston Water

Bluebird's Return To Coniston Water20100508

Matt Baker is in Coniston to find out about the planned return to the water of Donald Campbell's iconic boat, Bluebird, and what this will mean to the village which has protected it since it crashed in 1967.

When Donald Campbell died on Coniston Water in January 1967 attempting to break his own water speed record, it was to many people the end of an era.

They would always remember where they were when the iconic images of Bluebird crashing and disintegrating on the lake appeared on TV screens and the story broke across the world.

On 8 March 2001, after 34 years underwater, Donald Campbell's ill-fated craft, Bluebird, was raised from the deep by wreck finder and engineer, Bill Smith, and later that year on 28 May Donald Campbell's remains were recovered.

In September 2001, he was finally laid to rest in the churchyard in Coniston.

Now his daughter Gina, who shares her father's addiction to speed, wants Bluebird restored to her 'beautiful, magnificent self', in the hope of inspiring the next generation of racers, engineers and adventurers.

She joins Matt in Coniston to explain why and how it is of the utmost importance that both her father and Bluebird remain in Coniston, a community which took Donald Campbell in and made him him one of its own.

Bill Smith, the man responsible for raising Bluebird from Coniston Water, takes Matt to the spot from which he dived to the bottom of the lake and discovered the wreck when he was grabbed on the foot by Bluebird's tail fin.

He describes the moment when he also discovered Campbell's body after Gina Campbell had asked him to look for her father.

Anthony 'Robbie' Robinson has lived in Coniston all his life and was a member of Donald Campbell's team on that fateful day in 1967.

Standing on the jetty at Pier Cottage, from where Campbell left on that fateful morning, he tells Matt how it felt to watch Bluebird flip over and disappear into the lake.

At Donald Campbell's graveside, Matt meets Steve Hogarth, vocalist with Marillion whose lyrics inspired Bill Smith to first dive for Bluebird back in 1996.

Although only 8 years old at the time, the memory of his mother crying when the boat crashed never left Steve and found its way into song years later, a song which he was invited to sing at Donald's funeral....'Three hundred miles an hour on water, in your purpose built machine'.

Gina Campbell has now given Bluebird to the Ruskin Museum and, more importantly, to the village and people of Coniston who protected her father and the crash site for so long.

Matt hears from the curator of the museum, Vicky Slowe about what this means to the museum and the local community.

Who will take the seat in that famous cockpit? What will this mean for the community of this quiet Cumbrian village which has become synonymous with the names Campbell and Bluebird? Where behind the Black Bull Inn and Hotel the Coniston Brewing Company turns out Bluebird Bitter and where walkers and visitors can enjoy the views over the lake from the Bluebird Cafe.

And how will it feel to stand on the shores of Coniston Water and watch Bluebird fly again?

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

What will the return of Donald Campbell's boat Bluebird mean to the people of Coniston?

Bluebird's Return To Coniston Water20100513

What will the return of Donald Campbell's boat Bluebird mean to the people of Coniston?

Border Mires Of Keilder2009041820090423

Matt Baker investigates the work of the Border Mires Project, which has spent one million pounds and uses 21st-century machinery to undertake the difficult work of restoring the fragile ecosystem of the 10,000-year-old Border Mires of the Keilder Forest in Northumberland.

Home to rare dragon flies, damselflies and plantlife, the Border Mires also store carbon more efficiently than the many trees of the forest that surround them.

Border Mires Of Keilder20090423
Bosworth Field

Bosworth Field2004011720040122

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Richard Uridge explores rural life.

Bosworth Field2010032720100401

- BOSWORTH FIELD

The Battle of Bosworth was the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, a long and bloody conflict which ended when Richard III became the last king of England to die on the battlefield signalling the end of Plantagenet rule and the birth of the Tudor dynasty.

According to 'history' , the Battle of Bosworth was thought to have taken place around the site of Ambion Hill near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire.

Yet for years controversy has raged over the precise location of the battle and recently the search for the exact location culminated in the discovery of 'extraordinary and unexpected' evidence.

So where actually was the Battle of Bosworth and what it it mean for the town and region ?We hear the story of the battle and talks to the people who have spent years investigating the various theories and scouring the countryside around Ambion Hill to pinpoint the exact location of the battle and of Richard's death.

She meets actor Robert Hardy, Patron of the Richard III Foundation, who feels that Richard was the innocent victim of Tudor spin.

Robert has published several books on medieval warfare and social and military history and has himself walked the various possible sites of the battle during the course of the investigation.

Glenn Foard, Project Officer for the Battlefields Trust, takes Helen to an unremarkable field on farmland in Leicestershire, but one which yielded the most incredible and conclusive evidence yet to pinpoint it as the exact site of the battle.

Helen hears from the farmer who owns the field about what it means to him to own this piece of land where the scale of the find is said to transform the significance of Bosworth to a battle of international importance.

Helen also joins the people from the Wars of the Roses Federation for a lesson in medieval warfare and hears about their regular battle reenactments.

Will they move their battle too? And how will this discovery change the perception of the battle for the people who visit the Bosworth Battlefield Centre on Ambion Hill?

Helen Mark reveals the true location of the Battle of Bosworth.

Bosworth Field20100401

Helen Mark reveals the true location of the Battle of Bosworth.

Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons, Waterfall Country2014041020140412

Felicity Evans visits the western end of the Brecon Beacons and walks behind a waterfall.

Felicity Evans visits the waterfalls and swallow holes at the western end of the Brecon Beacons, and discovers that besides its natural beauty, it's an area with a rich industrial heritage. Today its deep, mossy ravines are of great interest to walkers and potholers. But the waterfalls, Felicity discovers, gave rise to local industries - including a gunpowder works, and the silica mines provided firebricks that were shipped around the world.

She even walks behind one of the waterfalls, Sgwd Y Eira, the waterfall of snow.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Brian May's 3-d Village

Brian May's 3-d Village2009103120091105

Queen guitarist Brian May uncovers the story of an Oxfordshire village captured in time by Victorian photographic pioneer T.R.

Williams.

May has been fascinated by 3-D images since collecting cereal packet picture cards as a boy.

He was particularly intrigued by a set of stereoscopic images of village life taken by photographic pioneer T.R.

Further investigation revealed all the images to be 3-D pictures of the tiny Oxfordshire village of Hinton Waldrist, taken in the 1850s.

Brian joins presenter Helen Mark for a time-travel tour of the village.

Together they discover how the people and wildlife of this Thames-side community have changed since Williams recorded these evocative images of blacksmiths, spinners and farm workers.

Kerry Lock of the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust describes the waxing and waning of wildlife over the past 160 years, while Nicola Verdon of the British Agricultural History Society examines the telling detail in photos taken at the height of farming's golden age.

To discuss the past, present and future of 3-D photography Helen is also joined by Brian's collaborator, the photo historian Elena Vidal and by David Burder of the British Stereoscopic Society.

Has the boom in 3-D cinema and the launch of a 3-D digital camera come at just the right time for a revival of interest in T.R.

Williams and a re-birth of the art of stereoscopic photography?

Brian May's 3-d Village20091105

Queen guitarist Brian May visits a village captured in time by a Victorian photographer.

Bristol Green City2015043020150502 (R4)

On the eve of Bristol's Food Connections Festival Helen Mark discovers how nature and wildlife are thriving in this urban landscape.

In 1985, Bristol's Brandon Hill became the UK's first ever urban nature reserve. 30 years on, Helen Mark discovers how Avon Wildlife Trust is continuing this tradition of environmental trend setting by creating 'wildlife corridors' throughout the city, supporting communal growing at 'Feed Bristol' and developing a brand new reserve out of a disused sports site to mark the city's status as The 2015 European Green Capital.

Helen Mark explores the nature reserves of the 2015 European Green Capital, Bristol.

British Raj In The Peak District2014040320140405

Helen Mark discovers Indian heritage amongst the hills of the Peak District National Park.

We might think we know the Peak District quite well, but in reality it has many secrets and many stories still to tell, such as its connection with British Imperial India. Helen Mark travels with National Park Ranger Chamu Kuppuswamy as they discover the Indian heritage tucked amongst the wild hills of The Peak District National Park.

Brooklands Racetrack2014050820140510

With the growing Formula 1 schedule and following, there's an increasing appetite for motor racing. Helen Mark heads to Weybridge in Surrey to visit Brooklands - claimed to be the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit to hear how one Hugh Locke-King's passion for speed led him to have the track designed and built on his land, almost bankrupting him.

The site was used for land speed records even before the first race and also became a centre for aviation development. It reached its heyday in the 1920s and 30s but World War II saw it taken over by the Ministry of Defence and its decline as a circuit.

Enthusiasts from the Brooklands Society fought to preserve it - both by digging the track free of overgrowing weeds and by getting it listed - and the museum continues to celebrate the records and achievements marked in its history. Malcolm Campbell's grandson Don Wales shares about his family's love of the track.

Helen Mark heads to the track in style - in a 1929 four and a half litre Bentley - to see how it's used today. Members of the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) take tests, both of vehicles and drivers, around planned courses but how will Helen fare on her spin up test hill and the historic banking?

Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Helen Mark visits Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit.

Brownsea Island, Dorset2014112720141129 (R4)

After a trip to Brownsea Island in 1818, George, the Prince Regent declared "'I had no idea I had such a delightful spot in my kingdom'. It may only be 1.5 miles long and 0.75 miles wide but this 500 acre island is full of history, mystery and wildlife.

Felicity Evans takes a boat across and meets Claire Dixon of The National Trust, who took over the island in 1963.

As Claire explains, many previous inhabitants have left their mark on Brownsea. Colonel Waugh and his wife Mary were walking along the beach in the early 19th century when she got her umbrella stuck in the sand, pulled it out and discovered clay. They built the village of Maryland and started a pottery. At a newly excavated site, you can see some of the cottages that were built for the potters. She also tells the story of the eccentric recluse, Mrs Mary Bonham Christie who threw all the inhabitants off the island and patrolled the beaches with a shotgun. She handed it back to nature and for 45 years, animals, birds and the rhododendron ran wild.

Then it's a walk to spot red squirrels with ranger John Lamming, who's lived on the island for over 30 years. Brownsea is one of the few places you can see this highly protected animal and in autumn they are easy to spot, burying food on the woodland floor.

Felicity then heads to a low hide over the saltwater lagoon, to meet Reserve manager, Chris Thain, of the Dorset Wildlife Trust to see and hear about the huge diversity of birds that frequent this area.

Finally, to the flattest part of the island where Lord Baden Powell hosted his first experimental Scout camp in 1907. Next to a huge memorial stone to the movement, Scout Commissioner, Kevin Philips explains how Brownsea is still visited by thousands of Scouts and Guides every year. Youth group leader and Girl Guide, Amanda Shorey encourages Felicity to have a go at den building, low ropes and archery, just some of the activities going on in The Outdoor Centre.

Presenter: Felicity Evans

Producer: Julia Hayball.

Buckinghamshire20021205
Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire2014072420140726

How did people live and work 2,000 years ago? Helen Mark finds out at Butser Ancient Farm.

How did people live on the land 2,000 years ago, during the Iron Age? Helen Mark finds out when she visits Butser Ancient Farm near Petersfield in Hampshire, very much a living experiment in practical archaeology.

Founded 42 years ago by Peter Reynolds, Helen hears that Butser still operates as a kind of laboratory that looks into how our ancestors lived. For example, Butser's thatched roundhouses are built according to the exact dimensions found at digs in the vicinity, along the wooded hills and valleys of the South Downs. Butser director Maureen Page shows Helen the sheep they keep, which are genetically close to those kept by Iron Age farmers.

Experienced thatcher and roundhouse builder, Dave Freeman, demonstrates how to lay Norfolk reed as a roofing material. However, we hear the reed isn't from Norfolk or anywhere in the UK, but from Turkey. This is because our reeds simply aren't up to the job, affected by chemical runoff from the fields into our waterways.

Meanwhile Butser's resident experimental archaeologist, Ryan Watts, shows Helen the canoe he successfully made last summer from a fallen oak, hollowing it out with fire, and finishing it off with bronze axes that they cast on site.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Cannock Chase2013050920130511

Jules Hudson goes to Cannock Chase in Staffordshire to find out about its military past. A major training camp during the First World War, he visits a mock-up of part of the Western Front that was built in order to familiarise troops with the concept of trench warfare, before they were sent to France and Flanders. Now covered in scrub, county archaeologists will begin clearing the site, a model of Messines Ridge, this summer. This is in preparation for the centenary commemorations next year that mark the beginning of the First World War.

Cannock Chase as a whole can be seen as a landscape of commemoration. Besides the mock-up of the Trenches, the area is home to cemeteries for Commonwealth and German soldiers who died in the UK during both world wars, including the crews of the Zeppelins shot down over Britain during the First World War. Jules also visits a memorial to the Katyn Massacre on the Chase, which commemorates the 22,000 Polish soldiers who were shot by the Soviets on Stalin's orders in 1940.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Capability Brown At 3002016072820160730 (R4)

Lancelot 'Capability' Brown is heralded as the Shakespeare of gardening who in the eighteen century designed an estimated 170 landscapes including Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle and Highclere Castle. To mark the 300th anniversary of his birth, Helen Mark discovers how his naturalistic landscapes changed the face of the countryside in the eighteenth century and continue to endure today. She visits Wrest Park in Bedfordshire to identify the trademarks of a classic Capability Brown landscape and finds out how these gardens became the height of fashion for the ruling classes, and how Brown turned himself into a brand. Helen also visits Brown's grave in the village of Fenstanton and finds out how they're marking his life through music and literature.

Producer: Toby Field.

Helen Mark finds out why Capability Brown is heralded as the Shakespeare of gardening.

Celebrating Golowan In Cornwall2015070920150711 (R4)

Helen Mark lights the midsummer bonfires on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall to celebrate Golowan.

Golowan is the Cornish tradition of lighting Midsummer Bonfires. This ancient tradition which hopes to prolong the summer sun for a good harvest was revived by The Old Cornish Society. Helen Mark meets some of their members to learn how they hope to keep the unique identity of this place alive and well.

On Bodmin Moor and Kit Hill there are reminders of man's habitation going back 5000 years. The fires they light on Bodmin Moor each year hark back to pre-historic times and scattered around the moor are Neolithic monuments which bear testament to man's long history in this 'ritual landscape'. Writer Philip Marsden explains how his search for the 'Spirit of Place' began on the moors and then spread deep into the heart of the Cornish landscape and its people.

Celebrating The Plum2013091220130914

Helen Mark meets Alistair McGowan at a plum festival in the Vale of Evesham.

Once strewn with apple, pear and plum orchards the Vale of Evesham has been famous for its fruit since the middle ages. Helen Mark visits the Vale to see the work being done to continue the area's heritage of fruit production.

In Pershore she spends the day at the annual plum festival, a celebration of the close association the town has had with the fruit for hundreds of years. Here, she meets comedian and conservationist, Alistair McGowan, and hears about his memories of growing up in the area and lifelong fondness for plums.

After the boom years of fruit production in the Vale at the end of the nineteenth century, the 1950s saw a decline in the industry and, since then, almost 80% of the orchards have closed in the area. Helen meets Edward Crowther, whose family has run fruit businesses near Evesham for many generations, and hears about the changes in the Vale during the last century. She joins John Porter at Hipton Hill orchard and learns about the work his conservation group is doing to arrest the decline in the number of traditional orchards in the area and restore them to their former glory.

Produced by Beatrice Fenton.

Chalk Streams2014081420140816

Revered by fly fishermen, Helen Mark visits the famous chalk streams of Hampshire and Wiltshire to find out about their particular ecology. With their trademark gravel beds and gin-clear waters, chalk streams are one of the very few habitats that are almost entirely exclusive to England.

Helen begins at Salisbury's Harnham Water Meadows, close to the city's cathedral, with its well known limestone spire, from the spot where Constable painted his view of the scene. She hears that the meadows act like a sponge, and without them absorbing the heavy rainfall last winter, flooding in the Salisbury area would have been considerably worse.

She meets Jan Fitzjohn and Tim Tatton-Brown, Trustees of the water meadows, who tell her about the winter 'drownings' of this low-lying land, which gave a distinct economic advantage to southern England's once vital sheep and wool industry. The irrigation of the water meadows achieved this by encouraging the early growth of spring grass, known as the 'first bite'. We also meet grazier Rob Hawke, whose sheep today feed on the pastures, in the shadow of Salisbury's spire.

Then, in the Hampshire village of Nether Wallop (the Wallop being a tributary of the celebrated trout stream, the Test) Helen finds out about the patient art of fly fishing from writer Simon Cooper.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Chelford Cattle Market2014032720140329

Helen Mark explores Chelford Cattle Market in Cheshire.

Helen Mark travels to Chelford Cattle Market in Cheshire, along with hundreds of buyers and sellers from across the UK. It was first formed over a century ago and has weathered the storms of the foot and mouth outbreak and BSE crisis which resulted in many others closing down altogether. It still nestles on the edge of the village of Chelford, next to the station, as livestock used to be delivered by rail. Like many others though, it has plans to move out to newer facilities closer to the motorway network.

The market has sales of more than just cattle - sheep, pigs, poultry and goats but also machinery and horticulture. Helen joins auctioneer Gwyn Williams as he balances 'on the plank' above the pigs and sheep but even from that vantage point the subtle nods and winks of the bidders can be hard to spot for a novice.

Not everyone is a buyer though. Helen meets some farmers simply scouting the market for prices and for many it's a great social occasion and an opportunity to catch up on gossip. But keep that between us.

Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Cheshire Salt2014082120140823

Look at any map of the district around Northwich in Cheshire and you'll see that it's dotted with numerous lakes, called flashes. What have these got to do with salt? Felicity Evans is astonished to learn that they've been created by the unregulated extraction of rock salt, which has been exploited for industrial as well as culinary purposes since the 1700s.

We'll hear that salt crystals were evaporated from brine in huge pans at numerous salt works across the county, the firewood for which saw the loss of the county's forests. Meanwhile, the rock salt was hewn deep underground then, just as it is today. In fact, Felicity goes underground at Winsford when she visits the Salt Union's massive caverns, so vast they have a similar volume to that of fifty St Pauls cathedrals.

Felicity meets salt historian and archaeologist Andrew Fielding, as well as Kelly Fletcher, Heritage Officer with Middlewich Town Council. Industrial archaeologist Chris Hewitson shows Felicity around the Lion Salt Works, which open to the public next year, while at Winsford rock salt mine, Felicity goes underground with mine manager, Gary Sinclair.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Christmas In Norfolk2012122020121222

Helen Mark is in Norfolk where preparations for Christmas are well underway.

Helen Mark is in Norfolk where preparations for Christmas are underway. In Great Hockham Helen meets Vincent Thurkettle whose life has been defined by a love of trees and the great outdoors. During the early part of the year, Vincent tends his fields of Christmas trees, which are allowed to grow with wild flowers at their roots, before spending his summers diving for sunken treasure off the coast of Britain. Returning to Norfolk later in the year, Vincent begins his Christmas tree deliveries and Helen joins him as he sets off.

In the coastal town of Cromer, a rather more unusual Christmas tree has appeared in the churchyard and Helen meets fisherman, John Davies, to find out about the 150 lobster pots that were used to build the tree which now lights up the town and celebrates the town's fishing heritage.

Helen also finds out how to decorate a Christmas tree for garden birds before heading back to Great Hockham where Vincent Thurkettle has finished the day's deliveries. Vincent, who also spends a week each year chopping wood to heat his cottage and cook his food gives Helen a lesson in how to lay the best wood fire and where the chestnuts will soon be roasting.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Christmas Trees At Castle Howard2014121820141220 (R4)

This week Caz Graham visits Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

Famous as the setting for 'Brideshead Revisited' the country estate has been gearing up for the festive period for months.

In the heart of the Howardian Hills, the estate has around 6,100 acres of farmland.

Much of the produce ends up in the farm shop on the estate.

There is also 2000 acres of woodland and at this time of year there is only one tree that people are after: Christmas Trees. Caz meets Nick Cooke, the man in charge of making sure that the trees reach the customers in good condition and also responsible for supplying some of Yorkshire's largest towns with their towering Christmas trees. Caz discovers why the Howardian Hills are perfect from growing Christmas trees and gets an insight into what happens in the winter on a large country estate.

Presenter: Caz Graham

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

Caz Graham visits Castle Howard, where Christmas tree sales are in full swing.

Churchill's Chartwell In Kent2015012220150124 (R4)

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, Helen Mark heads to Chartwell in Kent to explore the family home and gardens.

Churchill bought the home in 1922 to live in with his wife Clementine and their children and remained here until his death in 1965. As well as making structural changes to the grounds he used it as an inspiration for writing and painting and it's been maintained to reflect how he kept it. Helen asks what Chartwell tells us about the man - to so many a great leader - but also a father, husband and nature lover.

Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock.

Helen Mark explores Sir Winston Churchill's family home of Chartwell in Kent.

Climbing High Pike With Sir Chris Bonington20171102

Mountaineer Chris Bonington takes Helen Mark to his favourite view in the Lake District.

High Pike in the Lake District is far from the highest peak Sir Chris Bonington has scaled yet from its summit he can see some of the most magnificent views in the Northern Fells and the place he calls home. Helen Mark attempts to keep up with one of the UK's most renowned mountaineers as they climb High Pike together and discovers, not just his incredible story of love and loss but also his passion for the area of Caldbeck itself.

Common Ground, Dorset2014020620140208

For thirty years, the arts and environment organisation Common Ground has used Dorset as a kind of laboratory for its work celebrating local distinctiveness, before rolling their projects out elsewhere around the UK. Helen Mark hears from Common Ground co-founder Sue Clifford why they began Apple Day events near her home in Shaftesbury, as a way of celebrating and protecting old apple orchards. Helen also meets the sculptor Peter Randall-Page who was commissioned to carve some small wayside sculptures along a footpath above Lulworth Cove, and the composer Karen Wimhurst reflects on Confluence, the three year music project she was involved in that celebrated the river Stour, from its source to the sea.

But now that the Common Ground co-founders are retiring, Helen also meets Adrian Cooper, who's taken the helm, and is steering the organisation into new waters.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Conservation Grazing In Cornwall

Conservation Grazing In Cornwall20100904

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out why the reintroduction of cattle to graze the Penwith Moors of Cornwall and improve the area's bio-diversity has upset some of the local community.

She meets up with archaeologist Craig Weatherhill at the Tregeseal Stone Circle to hear about the damage he says is being caused to these ancient monuments by the horns of the non-native Longhorn breed of cattle being grazed on the moors.

Craig also tells Helen about the difficulties faced by horses and their riders from the newly erected gates and fences which they have to pass through.

At Carn Galva, one of Cornwall's most unique and pre-historic landscapes, Helen meets up with Peter Bowden from Natural England and Jon Brookes of the National Trust who explain the reasons for the conservation grazing scheme and how important it is to this ancient landscape.

This heathland is of national and international importance and the grazing scheme is intended to open up footpaths the natural way, avoiding the need for heavy machinery and herbicides, and fences and cattle grids have been put there to keep cattle in and not people out.

However, when Helen joins Ian Cooke and Steve Yandall of the Save Penwith Moors campaign, she hears about their concerns for the environment and how emotional they felt to have barbed wire fences appearing out on the moors.

But when she arrives at Trengwainton Farm near Penzance, farmer Stephen Bone takes Helen to a part of his land that his father fenced and grazed 40 years ago and which soon became waist high in bracken when the cattle were taken in.

Stephen is actually now busy re-fencing his land ready to graze animals there as part of the Conservation Grazing Scheme.

He tells Helen that he has offered an olive branch to those opposed to the scheme by suggesting that he take his livestock in during the busy summer months and school holidays.

Finally, Helen meets up with Stephen Warman who has been brought in to try and resolve the situation and to narrow the gap between the two opposing sides.

Where do they all go from here in order to manage the moors in the best way for all those who care about this landscape?

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out about some new features of the landscape.

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out why the reintroduction of cattle to graze the Penwith Moors of Cornwall and improve the area's bio-diversity has upset some of the local community. She meets up with archaeologist Craig Weatherhill at the Tregeseal Stone Circle to hear about the damage he says is being caused to these ancient monuments by the horns of the non-native Longhorn breed of cattle being grazed on the moors. Craig also tells Helen about the difficulties faced by horses and their riders from the newly erected gates and fences which they have to pass through.

At Carn Galva, one of Cornwall's most unique and pre-historic landscapes, Helen meets up with Peter Bowden from Natural England and Jon Brookes of the National Trust who explain the reasons for the conservation grazing scheme and how important it is to this ancient landscape. This heathland is of national and international importance and the grazing scheme is intended to open up footpaths the natural way, avoiding the need for heavy machinery and herbicides, and fences and cattle grids have been put there to keep cattle in and not people out. However, when Helen joins Ian Cooke and Steve Yandall of the Save Penwith Moors campaign, she hears about their concerns for the environment and how emotional they felt to have barbed wire fences appearing out on the moors. But when she arrives at Trengwainton Farm near Penzance, farmer Stephen Bone takes Helen to a part of his land that his father fenced and grazed 40 years ago and which soon became waist high in bracken when the cattle were taken in. Stephen is actually now busy re-fencing his land ready to graze animals there as part of the Conservation Grazing Scheme. He tells Helen that he has offered an olive branch to those opposed to the scheme by suggesting that he take his livestock in during the busy summer months and school holidays.

Finally, Helen meets up with Stephen Warman who has been brought in to try and resolve the situation and to narrow the gap between the two opposing sides. Where do they all go from here in order to manage the moors in the best way for all those who care about this landscape?

Conservation Grazing In Cornwall20100909

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out why the reintroduction of cattle to graze the Penwith Moors of Cornwall and improve the area's bio-diversity has upset some of the local community.

She meets up with archaeologist Craig Weatherhill at the Tregeseal Stone Circle to hear about the damage he says is being caused to these ancient monuments by the horns of the non-native Longhorn breed of cattle being grazed on the moors.

Craig also tells Helen about the difficulties faced by horses and their riders from the newly erected gates and fences which they have to pass through.

At Carn Galva, one of Cornwall's most unique and pre-historic landscapes, Helen meets up with Peter Bowden from Natural England and Jon Brookes of the National Trust who explain the reasons for the conservation grazing scheme and how important it is to this ancient landscape.

This heathland is of national and international importance and the grazing scheme is intended to open up footpaths the natural way, avoiding the need for heavy machinery and herbicides, and fences and cattle grids have been put there to keep cattle in and not people out.

However, when Helen joins Ian Cooke and Steve Yandall of the Save Penwith Moors campaign, she hears about their concerns for the environment and how emotional they felt to have barbed wire fences appearing out on the moors.

But when she arrives at Trengwainton Farm near Penzance, farmer Stephen Bone takes Helen to a part of his land that his father fenced and grazed 40 years ago and which soon became waist high in bracken when the cattle were taken in.

Stephen is actually now busy re-fencing his land ready to graze animals there as part of the Conservation Grazing Scheme.

He tells Helen that he has offered an olive branch to those opposed to the scheme by suggesting that he take his livestock in during the busy summer months and school holidays.

Finally, Helen meets up with Stephen Warman who has been brought in to try and resolve the situation and to narrow the gap between the two opposing sides.

Where do they all go from here in order to manage the moors in the best way for all those who care about this landscape?

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out about some new features of the landscape.

Helen Mark is in Cornwall to find out why the reintroduction of cattle to graze the Penwith Moors of Cornwall and improve the area's bio-diversity has upset some of the local community. She meets up with archaeologist Craig Weatherhill at the Tregeseal Stone Circle to hear about the damage he says is being caused to these ancient monuments by the horns of the non-native Longhorn breed of cattle being grazed on the moors. Craig also tells Helen about the difficulties faced by horses and their riders from the newly erected gates and fences which they have to pass through.

At Carn Galva, one of Cornwall's most unique and pre-historic landscapes, Helen meets up with Peter Bowden from Natural England and Jon Brookes of the National Trust who explain the reasons for the conservation grazing scheme and how important it is to this ancient landscape. This heathland is of national and international importance and the grazing scheme is intended to open up footpaths the natural way, avoiding the need for heavy machinery and herbicides, and fences and cattle grids have been put there to keep cattle in and not people out. However, when Helen joins Ian Cooke and Steve Yandall of the Save Penwith Moors campaign, she hears about their concerns for the environment and how emotional they felt to have barbed wire fences appearing out on the moors. But when she arrives at Trengwainton Farm near Penzance, farmer Stephen Bone takes Helen to a part of his land that his father fenced and grazed 40 years ago and which soon became waist high in bracken when the cattle were taken in. Stephen is actually now busy re-fencing his land ready to graze animals there as part of the Conservation Grazing Scheme. He tells Helen that he has offered an olive branch to those opposed to the scheme by suggesting that he take his livestock in during the busy summer months and school holidays.

Finally, Helen meets up with Stephen Warman who has been brought in to try and resolve the situation and to narrow the gap between the two opposing sides. Where do they all go from here in order to manage the moors in the best way for all those who care about this landscape?

Cornish Alps2015082020150822 (R4)

Helen Mark visits Cornwall's clay country to see how mining has sculpted the landscape.

From a ferry, Helen sees the sharp, conical peaks that dominate the coastline, known locally as the Cornish Alps. The skipper, John Wood, explains how they were formed from the spoils of the clay industry.

Helen takes a closer look at one of the largest of the spoil heaps near St Austell, known as the Sky Tip, and talks to primary school teacher Ann Teague and local landlord Andrew Dean about why they think it is such an important landmark. They explain how they see beauty in the scarred industrial landscape, and are campaigning to prevent a new town being built near the peak.

Helen then comes across a reunion of former clay workers at the Wheal Martyn museum, where she meets Arthur Northey and Colin Knellor. They started working in the industry as boys of fourteen and as well as recounting stories from their lives working in clay, they tell Helen that they would welcome development on the brownfield sites where the clay mines once stood.

From a viewing platform high above a quarry, Helen looks down at the lunar landscape of a working clay mine. Her guide is Ivor Bowditch who worked as a mine captain, then as a spokesperson for the china clay industry. He shows Helen what the mining company has done to regenerate the land after the clay has been taken from it. One of the main projects is a series of clay trails through the landscape, which Helen then explores with a group of walkers.

Presented by Helen Mark and produced by Beth McLeod.

County Clare In Ireland2005101520051020

This weeks programme travels to County Clare in Ireland, home to folklorist Eddie Lenihan.

Eddie takes Richard to the newly built motorway just outside Ennis to show him a rather ordinary, stunted hawthorn bush.

But this is no ordinary bush - Eddie tells Richard that this is a fairy tree, a meeting place for the fairies of Munster, a staging post as they gathered to do battle with the fairies of Connaught.

In fact the motorway was diverted at the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to accommodate the tree.

This motorway and the bush symbolise perfectly the meeting of two cultures: post-industrial modern Ireland and rural traditional Ireland.

Crossing The Forth2013080820130810

Open Country marks the naming of the new Forth crossing near Edinburgh.

The profiles of the two Forth bridges, rail and road, are a familiar and much-loved part of the Edinburgh landscape. Spanning the Firth of Forth between North and South Queensferry, the cantilevers of the rail bridge stand as a monument to Victorian ambition and achievement in engineering and building. Learning lessons from the great Tay Bridge disaster of 1879, its architects took bridge building into an entirely new era and the vision and physical toil involved in its construction leave present-day engineers in awe. A recent ten-year renovation programme has left the bridge in line for World Heritage Site status, while, as Helen Mark discovers, its importance to the people who live and work with it day to day goes far beyond its function as a crossing of the firth. Local people tell Helen that it serves as a constant reminder of the men who laboured to build the bridge and who, in many cases, lost their lives in the process.

The road bridge was also a ground-breaker when it was opened in 1964, and quickly became an iconic landmark in its own right. But it will soon find itself overshadowed by a new neighbour, to be named, by public vote, the Queensferry Crossing. The bridge's chief engineer takes Helen to admire the view from the top of one of the road bridge's towers and discusses how it will feel, when the new bridge opens, to surrender the title of Bridgemaster.

The murky waters of this stretch of the Firth of Forth will soon have three bridges - one from the nineteenth century, one from the twentieth and one from the twenty first - and for engineers and local people alike, that says something very significant about Scotland and its place in engineering history.

Cs Lewis Nature Reserve, Oxfordshire2015040220150404 (R4)

Helen Mark discovers the Oxfordshire woodland that once belonged to author CS Lewis.

65 years after the first publication of The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, Helen Mark discovers a real life Narnia in the form of a tranquil Oxfordshire woodland that once belonged to CS Lewis.

It is said that Lewis enjoyed wandering here while writing his children's book series which includes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and that he and his brother 'Warnie' planted trees amongst the woodland. The reserve - now owned and managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust - was Lewis's back garden. At that time, the area of Risinghurst was a rural escape on the fringes of Oxford. Today, with the A40 nearby and surrounded by houses, this small area of land has managed to keep its sense of stillness.

Lewis's red brick home 'The Kilns', still nestles to the edge of the reserve. Today it is cared for by The CS Lewis Foundation and as Helen discovers, it still holds strong memories for CS Lewis's former secretary and friend, Walter Hooper.

CS Lewis was laid to rest in the grounds of the church where he worshipped, just a short walk away, at Holy Trinity Church Headington Quarry.

Including interviews with Reserve Warden Mark Bradfield, local historian Mike Stranks, Rev David Beckmann and Walter Hooper.

Presented by Helen Mark

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

Cumbrian Power

Cumbrian Power2009082220090827

One of the proposed sites for the new generation of nuclear power stations is farmland near the villages of Kirksanton and Silecroft on the Cumbrian coast.

Helen Mark finds people there fighting the plans, but also some who support the idea.

Kirksanton lies south of Sellafield, and this rural community, which nestles between the most southerly fells of White Combe and Black Combe, was shocked to hear of the plans.

Many villagers believe that the development would destroy the tranquility and beauty of the area they love.

Others welcome the plans and the one opportunity they may bring to reinvent the Millom area as a centre for excellence in the nuclear industry, providing jobs, improving infrastrucure and ensuring young people have a future in the area.

Helen considers what would be gained and what would be lost.

Helen Mark visits rural Kirksanton, a possible site for a new nuclear power station.

Cumbrian Power20090827

Helen Mark visits rural Kirksanton, a possible site for a new nuclear power station.

Dart Estuary20141227

The Dart Estuary is one of South Devon's longest and most spectacular ria valleys. The surrounding area is a honeypot for visitors, and the boat trip along the estuary is one of the most popular attractions. Helen Mark visits during the calm tranquillity of winter, taking a boat from Dittisham to Dartmouth exploring the Dart's industries, habitats and naval history.

Helen meets skipper Dave Eggins at the village of Dittisham and they embark down the river soaking up some of the sights on the way. Their first stop is to meet oyster farmer Pat Tucker at a very important time of year as he harvests his oysters for the French market at Christmas. They join him on the first day of a low tide, as the oysters can only be harvested on 25 days of the year when the water is low enough to reveal them.

Next Helen and the skipper pop over the river to meet Nigel Mortimer, Estuaries Officer from the South Devon AONB. He sheds light on some of the characteristically important habitats of the estuary such as mudflats, saltmarsh and reed beds and they see if they can spot any of the regular visiting wildlife. Using nets they take a closer look into the mud to see the important worms, snails and bacteria which recycle the organic detritus from the river basin, and which many other species depend on.

Helen gets back on the boat to head to the port of Dartmouth where the estuary widens into a deep water harbour. No trip on the Dart would be complete without delving into its long and colourful naval history. She meets David Lingard Chairman of the Dartmouth Museum and retired Royal Navy Commander at the historic Bayard's Cove. He reveals how international trade has shaped the fortune of Dartmouth and other settlements along the Dart over the centuries.

Although this global maritime trade may be consigned to the past, the Dart is still used by the Royal Navy today. The Britannia Royal Naval College is an imposing building overlooking the lower estuary with a close connection to the Dart. We meet Lieutenant Commander Sue Bryson on a college jetty to hear about how the estuary provides an excellent environment in which the cadets gain essential seamanship, warfare and leadership training.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Sophie Anton.

David Lindo On The Isle Of Man2016111720161119 (R4)

David Lindo, AKA the Urban Birder, leaves the city to meet the wildlife of the Isle of Man

David Lindo is the Urban Birder. He loves the birds he finds in parks and open spaces in the city but for this weeks Open Country he sets sail for the open spaces and cliffs of the Isle of Man, a landscape he has always wanted to visit. Stuck out in the middle of the Irish Sea The Isle of Man is a birders paradise with rare sightings of elusive birds such as choughs, hen harriers and falcons. David crosses the Sound to visit the Bird Observatory on the Calf of Man where the Manx Shearwater is making a comeback and hears about how to keep the sea god Manannan happy.

Dawn Chorus Across Europe2016051220160514 (R4)

Brett Westwood presents a special programme as Open Country joins forces with the European Broadcasting Union and RTE in Ireland to follow the Dawn Chorus from East to West across Europe.

Sunday 1 May was International Dawn Chorus Day and from midnight until six am, Brett Westwood sat in RSPB Ham Wall in Somerset broadcasting about what he heard. The silence of the night is broken by belching Moorhens, booming Bitterns and even a Marsh Frog before Dawn breaks to reveal a huge cast of Coots, Little Grebes and even Brett's first Cuckoo of Spring, to name but a few.

But as the Dawn moves West, Brett speaks to Alexander Khaburgaev in Russia about the Starlings of Moscow which imitate cab drivers from a hundred years ago, and Jason Aloisio describes how tackling illegal hunting has allowed the sparrows of Malta to thrive. Helge Søfteland and Niall Hatch witness a thrilling spat between rival Capercaillie, and Rob Buiter and Eric Dempsey report on Bluethroats in The Netherlands.

Producer: Toby Field.

Brett Westwood follows the dawn chorus from east to west across Europe.

Dennis Potter And The Forest Of Dean2014091120140913

Felicity Evans visits the Forest of Dean, the landscape that author Dennis Potter loved.

"Strange and beautiful, a heart shaped place between two rivers" is how television playwright and author, Dennis Potter described the Forest of Dean, where he grew up. On the 20th anniversary of his death, Felicity Evans explores the landscape that shaped much of his work.

The Forest has a rich industrial heritage which Forester and Freeminer, Rich Daniels explains at the former site of the New Fancy coal mine. The old spoil heap now provides spectacular views across the Forest. In the distance, you can see Cannop Ponds and the pit where Dennis' father was a miner.

Then it's to Berry Hill, the place where Potter grew up and visited frequently with his own family. Firstly to "Spion Kop", the Potter family home where artist John Belcher now lives and then onto some of the locations used in Potter's work.

Felicity meets historian and verderer, Ian Standing who talks about his role in upholding Forest law and culture and shows us the oak trees that Lord Nelson planted.

Finally from the ancient forest to the very modern as we visit a nearby café in Coleford to talk to teenagers from the Forest Youth Forum about what it's like to live in the Forest of Dean today. How does the landscape affect them? Dennis Potter was concerned that the "New Foresters" would have no sense of community and not realise how special and unique it is. Were his fears unfounded?

Devon Farm Vet2012051020120512

Jules Hudson explores how the role of the farm vet has changed in recent years.

Jules Hudson shadows a farm vet in Devon. As the landscape has changed and farms have grown larger the role of the farm vet has changed also. A large part of their role is now on disease prevention rather than simply treatment and they can be crucial in spotting disease outbreaks like foot and mouth which have devastated the countryside in the past. Jules shadows newly qualified vet Jen Hall to find out what's involved and how important the relationship with the farmer can be in protecting animals and the countryside.

Producer: Anne-Marie Bullock.

Devon Farm Vet20120512

Jules Hudson explores how the role of the farm vet has changed in recent years.

Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire2013122620131228

Helen Mark visits Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire, where festivities include a shoot.

Helen Mark visits Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire to talk about how the estate's shoot forms part of the landscape management and a desire for locally-sourced produce. It also provides the farm shop and restaurant with festive fare, including pigeon burgers.

James Birch is Doddington's owner, (his wife's family have owned the estate continuously for around four hundred years). Shooting has always been part of life here and even now there's a full-time gamekeeper, who doubles as security guard and fly-tipping preventer.

The game from the shoot is used in the restaurant and is cooked by Chris Maclure, senior sous-chef, who makes sure nothing goes to waste. Helen talks to university lecturer- turned-florist Rachel Petheram, who loves the challenge of using only locally-grown flowers and herbs in her Christmas displays.

Helen also goes beating with Will Birkett, a young gamekeeper preparing for a day's shooting with his gun dogs.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Doggerland

Doggerland2009071820090723

Helen Mark explores a land lost beneath the waves off the Northumbrian coast.

‘Doggerland' is the name for a huge area that, ten thousand years ago, before the end of the last Ice Age, linked the British Isles with Denmark and Northern Germany, a time when the Thames was a tributary of the Rhine.

Besides speaking to archaeologists who are investigating Doggerland, she is joined by the storyteller Hugh Lupton who imagines the myths of those long-lost hunter-gatherers.

Helen Mark explores the history of Doggerland, a land lost beneath the waves.

Helen Mark explores a land lost beneath the waves near Craster on the Northumbrian coast.

Archaeologists and storyteller Hugh Lupton evoke the contours of Doggerland, reclaimed by the North Sea at the end of the last Ice Age.

Helen Mark explores the history of Doggerland, a aland lost beneath the waves.

Doggerland20090723

Helen Mark explores the history of Doggerland, a land lost beneath the waves.

Drought2012040520120407

As parts of the country face a hosepipe ban for the first time in 20 years, Jules Hudson is in Berkshire to find out how the drought is affecting the county.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Jules Hudson is in Berkshire looking at the effects of the drought.

Drought20120407

Jules Hudson is in Berkshire looking at the effects of the drought.

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle2009082920090903

So many stories are told about Dunluce Castle and its surrounds that it is hard to separate fact from fiction.

Helen Mark visits the ruins on the north Antrim coast to try to establish some facts at the first major archaeological dig to be held there.

The archaeological team have been astounded by the wealth and quality of their finds, which include an entire lost merchants' town and the location of a 13th-century settlement.

Helen also goes underground to find how the sea caves and their legends have inspired a photographer to capture their image.

But does Helen's experience of unexplained howls add more to the myths than to dispel them?

Helen Mark unearths some new truths about Dunluce Castle in County Antrim.

Dunluce Castle20090903

Helen Mark unearths some new truths about Dunluce Castle in County Antrim.

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island20100116
Eel Pie Island20100121

Helen Mark discovers rural bliss and community spirit on Eel Pie Island in the Thames.

Eel Pie Island2010012320100128

Most people who know anything about Eel Pie Island know it was home to traditonal jazz, British blues and some pretty wild weekends for teenagers and art students in the 1950s and 60s.

The bohemian days are long gone but the memories live on for at least one islander, the septugenarian inventor of the clockwork radio Trevor Baylis.

Helen Mark meets him as she tours the tiny island in the Thames and discovers it is possible to have it all - the peace, the wildlife and the community spirit of country life combined with the convenience of being 20 minutes from the centre of London.

Helen Mark finds a rural lifestyle within striking distance of the centre of London.

Most people who know anything about Eel Pie Island know it was home to traditonal jazz, British blues and some pretty wild weekends for teenagers and art students in the 1950s and 60s. The bohemian days are long gone but the memories live on for at least one islander, the septugenarian inventor of the clockwork radio Trevor Baylis.

Eel Pie Island20100128

Helen Mark finds a rural lifestyle within striking distance of the centre of London.

Eel Pie Island *2010011620100121

People who have heard of Eel Pie Island, in the Thames off Twickenham, probably associate it with trad jazz, free love and the birth of the British blues boom of the 1960s.

Indeed, Ken Colyer and the Rolling Stones often played in the island's crumbling hotel ballroom before they were famous and the place did have a decidedly bohemian reputation.

These days it retains a special air, even though a suburban housing development has replaced the hotel.

Helen Mark explores the nature reserve, the boatyards and the homes of some of its residents, including inventor Trevor Baylis, and the authors of a new history of the island.

Helen Mark discovers rural bliss and community spirit on Eel Pie Island in the Thames.

Eels2012070520120707

Helen Mark is in Gloucestershire to find out about the mysterious eel.

Helen Mark is in Gloucestershire to find out more about one of our most fascinating creatures, the eel, and hear why efforts are being made to save this endangered species.

When eels arrive in the UK as tiny babies, called elvers, they do so at the end of an exhausting 4,000-mile marathon swim from the Sargasso Sea where they have spawned. For generations, their arrival was greeted with much anticipation by fishermen on the Rivers Severn and Wye where they were caught at night and often used in dishes and delicacies.

But the eel is in trouble and has been placed on the Red List of Fish to Avoid by the Marine Conservation Society who class it as critically endangered. However, others believe that the decline in the number of eels is not just a result of over-fishing but is also due to the way in which rivers are managed and flood defences are erected, so blocking the eels migratory route, and that by leaving them to their own defences the eels' fate will be sealed.

Helen Mark meets some of the people involved with trying to save this precious and mysterious creature including fisherman Richard Cook who has a life-long passion for eels and who is now taking tanks of eels into schools to teach the children who look after them for a few weeks about the importance of the fish, our rivers and the environment. Eventually, the children will release the eels back into the river as part of a restocking project.

Helen also hears from Bernadette Clarke of the Marine Conservation Society about the reasons why they felt it was important that eels should be classed as critically endangered and placed on the Red List. And Helen meets Andrew Kerr of the Sustainable Eel Group which is working to devise a recovery plan to protect and preserve the eel.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Eliza Carthy In Robin Hood's Bay20170810

Folk singer Eliza Carthy unearths the secrets of Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire.

Eliza Carthy is one of England's finest folk performers. In this episode of Open Country Eliza explores her hometown of Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. Famed for shipwrecks, smugglers and fossils Eliza uncovers the true history of the place she calls home through those who know it's history and secrets best.

Elmley Nature Reserve2014103020141101 (R4)

Helen Mark visits the marsh-swathed landscape of Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent.

As Open Country returns for a new series, Helen Mark ventures to The Isle of Sheppey where she becomes immersed both in the marsh swathed landscape of Elmley Nature Reserve and the infectious enthusiasm of the man who oversaw its creation.

Elmley is the only National Nature Reserve in the UK to be managed by a farming family and this unique status is down to the forward thinking of farmer Philip Merricks. Bumping along the ridge of the reserve's sea wall in his trusty 4x4, Philip introduces Helen to this historic Kent landscape, accompanied by the flight of lapwing and wigeon.

It's an area that is believed to have inspired Charles Dickens in the writing of 'Great Expectations' but as Helen discovers, it has also inspired an even bigger story of ground breaking conservation.

During the 1980's, farmers were paid compensation for turning land over to wildlife but Philip felt that this was unproductive for both farmers and wildlife and so wrote - what he calls - a fairly strong letter to the House of Commons Select Committee that had been tasked with finding a solution to what was becoming a rural battle ground. Remarkably, Philip's letter found its way into Parliament and his ideas were held up as a potential way forward.

Thirty years on Philip's enthusiasm and dedication to this one of a kind nature reserve is as strong as it ever and now - with the support and care of long standing farm manger Steve Gorden - Philip's daughter Georgina and son-in-law Gareth are moving forward with sharing this special place with visitors and encouraging that passion for farming and conservation that Philip began decades ago.

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

Fair Isle Birds

Fair Isle Birds20100724

In Open Country this week, Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle, Britain's most remote inhabited island, to find out how it became a world leader in the study of birdlife.

Since 1948, when a bird observatory was first built there, it has led the way in research into seabirds and in recording rare migrants, blown on to this tiny island midway between Orkney and Shetland.

For its seventy inhabitants, the bird observatory has become crucial to the viability of Fair Isle as a place to live: visiting birders feed the economy and help keep fragile air and sea links in business.

With the opening of a brand new observatory, Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle to get a taste of what attracts ornithologists from around the world.

Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle for the opening of a new bird observatory.

In Open Country this week, Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle, Britain's most remote inhabited island, to find out how it became a world leader in the study of birdlife. Since 1948, when a bird observatory was first built there, it has led the way in research into seabirds and in recording rare migrants, blown on to this tiny island midway between Orkney and Shetland.

For its seventy inhabitants, the bird observatory has become crucial to the viability of Fair Isle as a place to live: visiting birders feed the economy and help keep fragile air and sea links in business. With the opening of a brand new observatory, Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle to get a taste of what attracts ornithologists from around the world.

Fair Isle Birds20100729

Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle for the opening of a new bird observatory.

Fair Isle Knitting

Fair Isle Knitting2010073120100805

Fair Isle is famous for its knitting, but is it a dying tradition? Moira Hickey reports.

In Open Country this week, Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle, famous around the world for its knitting.

With a plentiful supply of wool from the island's hardy Shetland sheep, knitting kept many families from starvation, and the craft is still economically important for Fair Isle.

Yet with Shetland schools soon to drop knitting from the curriculum, can it survive for much longer? Will Shetland's children still learn to knit, and if they don't, will it really matter? Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle to look at the importance of knitting to the islanders, and to ask what the future holds for this traditional craft.

In Open Country this week, Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle, famous around the world for its knitting. With a plentiful supply of wool from the island's hardy Shetland sheep, knitting kept many families from starvation, and the craft is still economically important for Fair Isle. Yet with Shetland schools soon to drop knitting from the curriculum, can it survive for much longer? Will Shetland's children still learn to knit, and if they don't, will it really matter? Moira Hickey visits Fair Isle to look at the importance of knitting to the islanders, and to ask what the future holds for this traditional craft.

Fair Isle Knitting20100805

Fair Isle is famous for its knitting, but is it a dying tradition? Moira Hickey reports.

Falkland Centre For Stewardship20140116

Falkland Centre, Fife2014011620140118

Felicity Evans visits Falkland Estate in Fife, home to a former royal palace.

The Falkland estate in rural Fife is very different to traditional family-owned estates in Scotland. Felicity Evans meets Ninian Stuart, who is using his inheritance to increase public access to the woods and fields that make up this 1,900 hectare estate, which is 35 miles north of Edinburgh. She hears how Ninian's set up the Centre for Stewardship which actively involves schools, playgroups and many others in Fife's wider community to make the most of the estate's varied landscape.

It's a former royal hunting estate where Felicity meets Dr Simon Taylor who's been researching Falkland's Trenches, now understood to have been a way of funnelling red deer towards the royal hunting parties. She also meets playgroup leaders who bring children to the estate's woods so that they can benefit from playing in nature. Ninian Stuart explains why he's using some of his prime arable land for the benefit of people who'd like to start new smallholdings from scratch.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Fens Of Cambridgeshire2013042520130427

What is phenology? Felicity Evans visits Fenland Cambridgeshire to learn about an influential but largely unacknowledged Victorian vicar - the Reverend Leonard Jenyns - who made a lasting contribution to science.

Jenyns is certainly not as well known as Charles Darwin, even though he passed up the chance of sailing on HMS Beagle as the ship's naturalist. In fact, Jenyns never set foot outside the UK, yet his contribution to science was enormous. Felicity hears how phenology has become a key aspect of observing climate change, noting the first and last days of the seasons.

She finds out how much Fenland Cambridgeshire has been dried out since Jenyns' day, and the ways in which this rural vicar bore witness to the habitat destruction and species extinction in his own parish in the mid-Victorian period.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Finding Neverland2012122720121229

On the edge of JM Barrie's Kirriemuir, Helen Mark discovers the real Never Never Land.

Helen Mark takes us on a journey to the real Never Never Land.

Peter Pan first came to life on the glittering stage of London's Duke of York Theatre on 27th December 1904, but he began life far away from the hustle, bustle and glamour of the West End in the market town of Kirriemuir near Dundee. Helen Mark visits the birth place of J.M. Barrie who immortalised this "wee red toonie" as "Thrums" in his popular (pre-Pan) novels Auld Licht Idylls, A Window in Thrums, and The Little Minister. Helen also takes us out into the landscape that is believed to have inspired Never Never Land and the adventures of Peter Pan himself.

Producer: Nicola Humphries.

Firth Of Lorne

Firth Of Lorne2009072520090730

Helen Mark reports on the dispute between fishermen and conservationists over the wildlife-rich waters of the Firth of Lorne on the west coast of Scotland.

Dotted with tiny islands, the Firth of Lorne on the west coast of Scotland is a yachtsman's dream.

Fishermen also covet the Firth's prawns and scallops, whilst conservationists fret over threats to the extraordinary reefs, the sea bird colonies and the whales and dolphins that pass between Mull and Jura.

Helen joins local wildlife biologist Tessa McGregor for a boat trip around the Firth, meeting fishermen, farmers and naturalists, all of whom are anxious to reach a balance that preserves livelihoods without further threatening this precarious natural environment.

Scallop dredging is currently banned in the Firth, much to the displeasure of local fishermen who have to sail further and into more dangerous waters to bring home a profitable catch.

The Scottish government may reverse the ban, but a local diver tells Helen that such a move would cause further damage to the sea bed, the rocky reef and the aquatic life that depends on it.

On her voyage around the Firth's tiny islands Helen will also be meeting the local Luing breed of cattle and seeing the beehive huts used by the first generation of Scottish monks.

Helen Mark on the battle between fishermen and conservationists over the Firth of Lorne.

Helen Mark reports on new peace proposals to resolve the long-running battle between fishermen and conservationists over the wildlife-rich waters of the Firth of Lorne on the west coast of Scotland.

Rich blue waters dotted with tiny islands, the Firth of Lorne on the west coast of Scotland is a yachtsman's dream.

Fishermen also covet the Firth's prawns and scallops, while conservationists fret over threats to the extraordinary reefs, the sea bird colonies and the whales and dolphins that pass between Mull and Jura.

She joins local wildlife biologist Tessa McGregor for a boat trip around the Firth, meeting fishermen, farmers and naturalists, all of whom are anxious to reach a balance that preserves livelihoods without further threatening this precarious natural environment.

The Scottish government looks set to reverse the ban, but local divers tell Helen that such a move would devastate the sea bed and the aquatic life that depends on it.

Firth Of Lorne20090730

Helen Mark on the battle between fishermen and conservationists over the Firth of Lorne.

Foot And Mouth - Ten Years On20110514

When Foot and Mouth disease struck the UK in 2001, it caused a major crisis in agriculture and the British countryside.

Hundreds and thousands of sheep and cattle were slaughtered in an attempt to halt the disease, footpaths were closed and the countryside effectively closed down.

Cumbria was one of the worst affected areas of the country and many farmers found themselves at the very heart and soul of the crisis as mass livestock burials and plumes of black smoke from burning pyres destroyed their livestock and their lives.

Ten years on, Helen Mark visits Cumbria to find out how they have coped with the crisis since then.

Some farmers chose to rebuild their lives in completely different ways but many continued to farm whilst also diversifying into other areas.

Helen hears from farmer, Trevor Wilson about life after Foot and Mouth and from vet, Iain Richards, who found himself in the thick of the outbreak, travelling from farm to farm to diagnose sick animals.

Once the disease was confirmed, Iain would then be declared a 'dirty' vet and would have to remain at the farm until the animals had been destroyed.

Helen also meets Andrew Nicholson who, with his wife Karen, had only been farming in Cumbria for a few years when the disease broke out.

Andrew lost many of his valuable Herdwick sheep but now has one of the most remarkable stories to tell of how he dealt with the crisis.

And Helen visits the former airfield which became the burial ground for thousands of slaughtered animals and hears from Frank Mawby and director and retired farmer, William Little, about the way in which the local community voted overwhelmingly to turn the site into what is now the Watchtree Nature Reserve.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Ten years after the countryside was devastated by Foot and Mouth, Helen Mark is in Cumbria

When Foot and Mouth disease struck the UK in 2001, it caused a major crisis in agriculture and the British countryside. Hundreds and thousands of sheep and cattle were slaughtered in an attempt to halt the disease, footpaths were closed and the countryside effectively closed down. Cumbria was one of the worst affected areas of the country and many farmers found themselves at the very heart and soul of the crisis as mass livestock burials and plumes of black smoke from burning pyres destroyed their livestock and their lives.

Ten years on, Helen Mark visits Cumbria to find out how they have coped with the crisis since then. Some farmers chose to rebuild their lives in completely different ways but many continued to farm whilst also diversifying into other areas. Helen hears from farmer, Trevor Wilson about life after Foot and Mouth and from vet, Iain Richards, who found himself in the thick of the outbreak, travelling from farm to farm to diagnose sick animals. Once the disease was confirmed, Iain would then be declared a 'dirty' vet and would have to remain at the farm until the animals had been destroyed.

Helen also meets Andrew Nicholson who, with his wife Karen, had only been farming in Cumbria for a few years when the disease broke out. Andrew lost many of his valuable Herdwick sheep but now has one of the most remarkable stories to tell of how he dealt with the crisis. And Helen visits the former airfield which became the burial ground for thousands of slaughtered animals and hears from Frank Mawby and director and retired farmer, William Little, about the way in which the local community voted overwhelmingly to turn the site into what is now the Watchtree Nature Reserve.

Foot And Mouth - Ten Years On20110519
Gainsborough's Nodding Donkeys2016040720160409 (R4)

Helen Mark visits the nodding donkeys of the Gainsborough Trough.

Forget Texas! There's oil in the plains of Lincolnshire. But not many people seem to notice.

Helen Mark travels to the market town of Gainsborough to discover more about the nodding donkeys that pepper its landscape. Oil wells sit comfortably fringed by a housing estate, the leisure centre and the golf course.

It turns out that the East Midlands is the UK's second largest inshore oil producing area, courtesy of the Gainsborough Trough, once a deep and dirty patch of sea. Now it produces twelve hundred barrels of high quality oil a day, mostly pumped up by nodding donkeys.

Whereas fracking attracts protest and controversy, local people seem quite content to live alongside these nodding pumps, perhaps because they look so benign - friendly even - and work away quietly with apparently little human intervention.

Helen meets local teacher and long-distance runner Nigel Bowler, for whom the donkeys are a landmark on his running routes. There's artist Verity Barrett, who loved the pumps as a child, part of the 'scenic route' on trips to visit her granddad.

Julie Barlow from i-gas explains the business of oil extraction and geologists Malcom Fry and Paul Hildreth slice through the soil to bring alive the geological layers that led to the Gainsborough Trough. Then there are Daniel Ashman and Louise Hammond, who've spent the last week camping outside a new exploratory oil boring site near the village of Laughton, as part of an anti-fracking protest.

As the dustbin lorry and the postman do their rounds of the Park Springs Housing Estate on the edge of Gainsborough, another few barrels of oil are drawn up from 1500m underground. The nodding donkeys aren't bad neighbours, it seems. 'I think they're wonderful' says Paul Hildreth.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981205]

Richard Uridge visits the Isle of Wight which is proving to be a mecca for palaeontologists. Producer Karen Gregor

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981205]

Unknown: Richard Uridge

Producer: Karen Gregor

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981212]

Richard Uridge with more of life in the British countryside. Producer Alasdair Cross

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981212]

Unknown: Richard Uridge

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981219]

Richard Uridge visits Shetland. Producer Karen Gregor

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981219]
Genome: [r4 Bd=19981225]

Country Christmasses down the ages, Presented by Richard Uridge. Producer Alasdair Cross

Genome: [r4 Bd=19981225]

Presented By: Richard Uridge.

Producer: Alasdair Cross

Geocaching In Salcey Forest2013110720131109

Helen Mark joins geocachers from around the world discovering the Salcey Forest.

The sport of geocaching has become increasingly popular. The modern twist on a treasure hunt involves using GPS to solve clues and follow trails to find caches and the rise of the smartphone has seen its popularity soar.

Helen Mark joins hundreds of geocachers in the Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire where people have travelled from across the world to be at the 'mega-event'. The ancient hunting forest was used by Henry VIII but also once saw elephants roam the land. Will the clues help her find out more about its history?

Produced in Bristol by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Er

Gloucestershire Wildlife Er2009120520091210

Helen Mark visits Vale Wildlife Rescue, a hospital where wild animals and birds are taken when they're found injured in Gloucestershire and the surrounding region.

Perhaps surprisingly, the hospital provides good indicators of the health of local wildlife: it's possible to tell which species are flourishing by the numbers brought in.

They also run wildlife rehabilitation courses for people who want to know what to do when they come across an injured animal or bird.

Helen talks to the staff, and meets patients and long-term residents, including owls, buzzards, foxes, deer....and a skunk.

A colony of skunks has sprung up in the nearby Forest of Dean and one was recently brought into the Rescue centre.

The family who captured the skunk tell of their adventure, and why it is that skunks are now to be found living wild in the UK.

Helen Mark goes in search of the wild animals of Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Er20091210

Helen Mark goes in search of the wild animals of Gloucestershire.

Gone Fishing On The Banks Of The Weir2003122020031225
Graham Sutherland's Pembrokeshire2013041120130413

Felicity Evans follows the Pembrokeshire footsteps of abstract artist Graham Sutherland.

The great abstract artist Graham Sutherland lived and work for many years in the far-west of South Wales. For 'Open Country' Felicity Evans follows his footsteps, discovering the landscapes, people and harsh geology that inspired his work.

Producer: Nicola Humphries.

Growing Tents Not Crops On Gower

Growing Tents Not Crops On Gower20091219

What does it mean for the future of agriculture when farmers find that tents are more profitable than crops? Helen Mark visits the Gower Peninsula in south-west Wales, one of the UK's most popular holiday locations, to explore the long-term impact of tourism on farming.

Gwent Levels2012082320120825

Helen Mark explores the Gwent Levels, an extensive low-lying area of the Severn Estuary.

Helen Mark explores the Gwent Levels, an extensive low lying area on the north side of the Severn Estuary in South Wales registered as a Historic Landscape of Outstanding Interest. The area has a rich archaelogical past and tell a fascinating story of the recent social history of Wales and the battle between man and river, as well as being home to Magor Marsh, the last fenland on the Levels.

Helen meets Kevin Dupe, Reserve Manager of the Newport Wetlands to find out how the Reserve fits into the history of the area and Chris Hurn who gives Helen a sense of the interaction between man and wildlife, a sense of change, and an idea of the friendships had on the Levels. Artist, Jill Hobbs, tells Helen how she uses her love of this landscape to create her own representations of it and Helen also climbs the tower at Redwick Church with Rick Turner for a birds eye view of this landscape. Archaeologist, Nigel Nayling, gives Helen a sense of the ancient history of the area and gamekeeper, Paul Cawley explains the importance of conservation for such an important area.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Elizabeth Pearson.

Hafod, Mid Wales2014071720140719

Felicity Evans visits Hafod estate near Aberystwyth, once Wales's most popular attraction.

Once, the Hafod estate near Aberystwyth was one of Wales' most popular attractions, but that was 200 years ago. Then the grand stately home burnt down, and by 1950 the landscaped grounds (inspired by visions of classical Italy - unlikely as that might sound, given the extremely high annual rainfall in mid-Wales!) had fallen into disrepair, off the map, and out of the guidebooks. That's when the Forestry Commission bought the estate and planted it with conifers.

As Felicity Evans finds out, in recent years there's been an ongoing programme to restore the fine paths through the estate's wooded hills, and preserve the ancient parkland trees that still remain. This makes it a fascinating place to visit.

She's shown around by estate manager, David Newnham, landscape historian Jennie Macve (who's written a history of Hafod, and its remarkable founder, Thomas Johnes) and the botanist Ray Wood. Felicity also visits the nearby Llywernog Silver Lead Mine to meet Peter Lloyd Harvey who shows her how this mine reveals a very different attitude to landscape in the early Victorian period: it was far from being a tourist attraction for visiting gentry.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Hampstead Heath Ponds2012071920120721

Jules Hudson takes a journey around the unique swimming ponds of Hampstead Heath.

Jules Hudson explores the waters of Hampstead Heath which have been used for over 200 years by champion swimmers and year round bathers. How and why did they come to be and what stories can they tell? How has the landscape around them changes and what is it about them that still draws over a quarter of a million visitors a year? And what does the future hold for them?

Jules Hudson is joined by Caitlin Davies who has swum in the ponds all her life to find out more about these unique ponds.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Lizz Pearson.

Hastings: The Shingle Fleet2013010320130105

Helen Mark visits the ancient fishing community in Hastings, down on the shingle beach.

Helen Mark visits the ancient town of Hastings to meet the people involved in the fishing community there. The fishing fleet is made up of small wooden boats which are all under ten metres long. This is important as, unusually, they are launched each day from the beach. This involves pushing them down the shingle bank, by tractor nowadays but traditionally by hand, and winching them back up again out of the sea when they return. Helen meets Paul Joy, a fisherman, who can date his family back as far as the 1000s, all launching their boats from the beach in Hastings as he does today. This is true of lots of the fishing families working there. But even with such a long and thriving history behind them the Hastings fishing industry is now in trouble. Their crews are in their seventies and there's no sign of new blood, and their wages are falling. Before 2006, under ten metre boats weren't subject to any EU fishing quotas as they were deemed exempt, but new legislation brought in six years ago changed all this. Since then the number of cod they're allowed to catch has dramatically reduced, and the fishermen are struggling.

Producer: Beatrice Fenton.

Haweswater

Haweswater2009091220090917

The village of Mardale was flooded in 1935 to create Haweswater reservoir to provide for the needs of Manchester.

When water levels are really low the walls of Mardale reappear.

Helen Mark meets Booker-nominated novelist Sarah Hall to talk about the power the landscape has had on her writing, including her first novel, Haweswater.

Helen joins Ian Winfield from the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology as his team count the fish in the lake using hydroacoustic equipment.

Haweswater is now managed to protect the rare Shelley and Arctic Char which are found in its waters.

John Gorst from United Utilities explains that the fish are recovering in numbers since it was realised that low lake levels in summer were having a detrimental effect on their ability to breed.

Helen also meets Spike Webb from the RSPB in the only valley in England which is a permanent home to a golden eagle.

Helen Mark meets Booker-nominated author Sarah Hall at Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria.

Helen Mark meets novelist Sarah Hall at Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria to talk about the power the landscape has had on much of her writing, including her first novel, Haweswater, which fictionalised the flooding of the valley - and the disappearance of the village of Mardale - in 1935 to create a reservoir to provide for the needs of Manchester.

Today, when water levels in the reservoir are really low, the walls of Mardale reappear.

Haweswater is now managed in order to protect the rare Shelley and Arctic Char which are found in its waters.

Helen also meets Spike Webb from the RSPB in England's only valley which is a permanent home to a golden eagle.

Helen Mark meets booker nominee Sarah Hall at Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria.

Haweswater20090917

Helen Mark meets Booker-nominated author Sarah Hall at Haweswater Reservoir in Cumbria.

Hay Meadows20110702

When we hear about the threat to some of our precious and important habitats, our minds often turn to the polar ice cap or the rainforests of the Amazon.

But one of our most threatened natural environments is right here in the UK and that is the traditional upland hay meadow - fields packed with grasses and wild flowers, alive with bird song and the buzz of bees.

Sadly these meadows have almost disappeared from our landscape.

There are less than 4 square miles of this habitat left in the UK and around 40% of that is in the North Pennines.

A lot of hard work is currently being undertaken to protect and preserve what we have left.

For this week's Open Country Helen Mark travels across the north of England, meeting and chatting with some of the people who are working to preserve these precious habitats.

Rebecca Barrett of the North Pennines AONB tells Helen about the work they are doing with farmers such as Karen Scott from Low Way Farm in Middleton-in-Teesdale to save the hay meadows.

This work involves harvesting seed from a donor field to sow elsewhere in the hope that the hay meadows of the future will begin to grow.

Vet, Neville Turner, shows Helen his former beat where he has travelled over a million miles in 30 years in his work , always accompanied by his trusty camera which captured a year in the life of an upland hay meadow.

These photographs now accompany a touring play 'Sward! Story of A Meadow' and Helen catches up with the Blaize Theatre Company and its artistic director, Mike Bettison, in the Yorkshire village of Reeth as they prepare for their afternoon performance.

And Helen meets hay meadow expert Professor John Rodwell, who tells Helen about his concern over the decline in our upland hay meadows....after all, who needs a hay meadow museum?

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Which of our precious natural habitats is under threat? Helen Mark finds out.

When we hear about the threat to some of our precious and important habitats, our minds often turn to the polar ice cap or the rainforests of the Amazon. But one of our most threatened natural environments is right here in the UK and that is the traditional upland hay meadow - fields packed with grasses and wild flowers, alive with bird song and the buzz of bees. Sadly these meadows have almost disappeared from our landscape. There are less than 4 square miles of this habitat left in the UK and around 40% of that is in the North Pennines. A lot of hard work is currently being undertaken to protect and preserve what we have left. For this week's Open Country Helen Mark travels across the north of England, meeting and chatting with some of the people who are working to preserve these precious habitats. Rebecca Barrett of the North Pennines AONB tells Helen about the work they are doing with farmers such as Karen Scott from Low Way Farm in Middleton-in-Teesdale to save the hay meadows. This work involves harvesting seed from a donor field to sow elsewhere in the hope that the hay meadows of the future will begin to grow. Vet, Neville Turner, shows Helen his former beat where he has travelled over a million miles in 30 years in his work , always accompanied by his trusty camera which captured a year in the life of an upland hay meadow. These photographs now accompany a touring play 'Sward! Story of A Meadow' and Helen catches up with the Blaize Theatre Company and its artistic director, Mike Bettison, in the Yorkshire village of Reeth as they prepare for their afternoon performance. And Helen meets hay meadow expert Professor John Rodwell, who tells Helen about his concern over the decline in our upland hay meadows....after all, who needs a hay meadow museum?

Hay Meadows20110707

When we hear about the threat to some of our precious and important habitats, our minds often turn to the polar ice cap or the rainforests of the Amazon.

But one of our most threatened natural environments is right here in the UK and that is the traditional upland hay meadow - fields packed with grasses and wild flowers, alive with bird song and the buzz of bees.

Sadly these meadows have almost disappeared from our landscape.

There are less than 4 square miles of this habitat left in the UK and around 40% of that is in the North Pennines.

A lot of hard work is currently being undertaken to protect and preserve what we have left.

For this week's Open Country Helen Mark travels across the north of England, meeting and chatting with some of the people who are working to preserve these precious habitats.

Rebecca Barrett of the North Pennines AONB tells Helen about the work they are doing with farmers such as Karen Scott from Low Way Farm in Middleton-in-Teesdale to save the hay meadows.

This work involves harvesting seed from a donor field to sow elsewhere in the hope that the hay meadows of the future will begin to grow.

Vet, Neville Turner, shows Helen his former beat where he has travelled over a million miles in 30 years in his work , always accompanied by his trusty camera which captured a year in the life of an upland hay meadow.

These photographs now accompany a touring play 'Sward! Story of A Meadow' and Helen catches up with the Blaize Theatre Company and its artistic director, Mike Bettison, in the Yorkshire village of Reeth as they prepare for their afternoon performance.

And Helen meets hay meadow expert Professor John Rodwell, who tells Helen about his concern over the decline in our upland hay meadows...

after all, who needs a hay meadow museum?

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Which of our precious natural habitats is under threat? Helen Mark finds out.

When we hear about the threat to some of our precious and important habitats, our minds often turn to the polar ice cap or the rainforests of the Amazon. But one of our most threatened natural environments is right here in the UK and that is the traditional upland hay meadow - fields packed with grasses and wild flowers, alive with bird song and the buzz of bees. Sadly these meadows have almost disappeared from our landscape. There are less than 4 square miles of this habitat left in the UK and around 40% of that is in the North Pennines. A lot of hard work is currently being undertaken to protect and preserve what we have left. For this week's Open Country Helen Mark travels across the north of England, meeting and chatting with some of the people who are working to preserve these precious habitats. Rebecca Barrett of the North Pennines AONB tells Helen about the work they are doing with farmers such as Karen Scott from Low Way Farm in Middleton-in-Teesdale to save the hay meadows. This work involves harvesting seed from a donor field to sow elsewhere in the hope that the hay meadows of the future will begin to grow. Vet, Neville Turner, shows Helen his former beat where he has travelled over a million miles in 30 years in his work , always accompanied by his trusty camera which captured a year in the life of an upland hay meadow. These photographs now accompany a touring play 'Sward! Story of A Meadow' and Helen catches up with the Blaize Theatre Company and its artistic director, Mike Bettison, in the Yorkshire village of Reeth as they prepare for their afternoon performance. And Helen meets hay meadow expert Professor John Rodwell, who tells Helen about his concern over the decline in our upland hay meadows... after all, who needs a hay meadow museum?

Heather Moorland2011091020110915

75% of heather moorland is found here in the UK.

The North York Moors are perhaps best known for their glorious purple carpets and on Open Country Jules Hudson explores the past and the potential future of this rare habitat.

Heather moorland relies on management.

Created over centuries of sheep grazing and man management the blooms require regular burning to remain healthy and attractive to the varied wildlife that makes its home on the moors.

Sometimes controversially this management is often only made possible with the finance brought in by grouse shooting.

As the slopes and bogs of Spaunton Moor come alive with the vivid colour of the heather the grouse are also reaching their prime.

Today at places like Spaunton eight days of shooting allows the moor to be managed and preserved for both the grouse and many other species of birds and invertebrates all year round.

The spectacle of purple is testament to the effective nature of management but can conservation and hunting really work in harmony?

Jules Hudson visits the North York Moors to see how heather moorland is being revived.

75% of heather moorland is found here in the UK. The North York Moors are perhaps best known for their glorious purple carpets and on Open Country Jules Hudson explores the past and the potential future of this rare habitat. Heather moorland relies on management. Created over centuries of sheep grazing and man management the blooms require regular burning to remain healthy and attractive to the varied wildlife that makes its home on the moors. Sometimes controversially this management is often only made possible with the finance brought in by grouse shooting.

As the slopes and bogs of Spaunton Moor come alive with the vivid colour of the heather the grouse are also reaching their prime. Today at places like Spaunton eight days of shooting allows the moor to be managed and preserved for both the grouse and many other species of birds and invertebrates all year round. The spectacle of purple is testament to the effective nature of management but can conservation and hunting really work in harmony?

Heather Moorland20110915

Jules Hudson visits the North York Moors to see how heather moorland is being revived.

Helen Baxendale Visits Belper In Derbyshire2016082520160827 (R4)

to explore the traces of its industrial past.

Guest presenter Helen Baxendale visits Belper in Derbyshire, to explore the landscape for traces of the town's industrial past. Belper is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site (as designated by UNESCO in 2001), so she expected to find the river-power and the ironstone that made the town a perfect site for Jedediah Strutt to locate his mills in the eighteenth century. More surprising is the vibrant artistic scene and a large helping of community spirit whose roots can be traced back over to Strutt.

Helen also explores a nature reserve that bears the scars of industry, with rivers dredged to feed the mills, flood plains damned and built up and a former landfill site that looks as wild as the rest of the reserve. Closer scrutiny suggests that local flora and fauna are less willing to make their home on the former rubbish tip, even though it is entirely covered in soil and vegetation and doesn't appear to leach into the surrounding environment.

Helen Baxendale is an actress best known for her roles in Cuckoo, Cold Feet and Friends. She also has a keen interest in the environment and family roots in Derbyshire.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Herefordshire

Herefordshire2010011620100121

How the landscape of Herefordshire has changed due to the arrival of migrant workers.

Richard Uridge muses on the idea that one tiny fruit - the strawberry - has transformed both the physical and cultural landscape of Herefordshire, with the arrival of pickers from Eastern Europe and the building of polytunnels to grow the fruit all year round.

He meets some of the young people from countries such as Lithuania and Poland who have taken the brave decision to settle in the county, sometimes moving on from fruit picking to start their own businesses, and discovers how new friendships are being made between local people and the migrant workers. On a very snowy hill in woodland overlooking the city of Hereford, he meets one woman who says her life has been enriched by the friendships she's made with some of the workers, and how she, in turn, can take credit for introducing the Hokey Cokey to some of the Baltic States.

Herefordshire Churches2012041920120421

Where might you find the spot where Saint George killed the dragon and the oldest complete set of medieval bells? The answer lies in the Herefordshire countryside and in the history and legend attached to just some of the beautiful churches that can be found there. The Bishop of Hereford once said that 'The Diocese of Hereford is blessed with so many beautiful church buildings. Most of them stand at the centre of communities they have served for a thousand years or more."

Helen Mark travels around the Herefordshire countryside to meet some of the people involved with the churches that are still at the heart of of the rural communities that they serve. She finds out about their history and heritage, the legend and folklore, their past, their present and what the future holds for them.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Anne Marie Bullock.

Helen Mark meets some of the people involved with the rural churches of Herefordshire.

Herefordshire Churches20120421

Helen Mark meets some of the people involved with the rural churches of Herefordshire.

Heritage At Risk - West Midlands2013011020130112

Thousands of historic buildings and monuments are at risk of being lost through damage or neglect. Jules Hudson tours sites in the West Midlands to assess the level of damage, to ask what's key to helping preserve or restore them and ask if some merit the cost and effort involved.

Many walking through Bubbenhall village in Warwickshire may not know about the scheduled ancient monument under the earth because even signs of it are only visible for two weeks in the year but experts say it's key to understanding our ancestors.

He travels to Fazeley near Tamworth which has clusters of Grade 2 listed buildings but some have been destroyed by fire and others virtually abandoned by owners who can't afford the development work. He helps assess one of the buildings with experts from English Heritage who want to produce a database on the state of Grade 2 listed buildings.

Jules also explores nearby Middleton Hall which was so neglected it was used as a motorbike track. Volunteers set up a trust and have spent 35 years bringing it back into use. However, they say their work is still not done.

Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Heritage Cotton Mills, Derbyshire2014041720140419

Helen Mark visits the cotton mills of the Derwent Valley.

Helen Mark visits the Derwent Valley, an area dotted with old, looming cotton mill structures to discover what the future holds for these 'industrial giants' of the landscape.

At the turn of the 19th Century, Britain was world leader in cotton manufacturing and home to the largest industrial complexes on the planet. The last spinning machines closed in 2003 and the UK now produces zero amount of cotton, but the awesome brick structures still tower over the Derbyshire Countryside. Stretching 15 miles down the river valley from Matlock Bath to Derby, the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site contains a fascinating series of historic mill complexes, including some of the world's first 'modern' factories. But how can these structures remain relevant rather than redundant? Visiting Cromford Mills, The Belper River Gardens and the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds these giant structures, Helen meets the people whose passion keeps this history alive.

Herriot Country2013071820130720

James Herriot's books about life as a country vet in the 1970s sold 60 million copies worldwide. Later many of the stories were made into feature films and a very popular TV series, 'All Creatures Great and Small'. Herriot's real name was James 'Alf' Wight, and he was known as 'Alf' by local people. He practiced as a vet in Thirsk, a small market town just a few miles from the North York Moors, as did his son, Jim Wight. Felicity Evans visits 'Herriot Country' to meet Jim Wight and talk about his father, the changes there have been in veterinary practice since the 1940s and the legacy 'James Herriot' left both the town and the local farming community.

Jim Wight takes Felicity to the old surgery in 23, Kirkgate, Thirsk where Alf served the local community as a vet, initially working with Donald Sinclair, who became Siegfried Farnon in the books. Jim lived here until he was ten and later when he followed his father into the practice, it was also his place of work. Now it's 'The World of James Herriot Museum', where the rooms are lovingly preserved and visitors can see the old dispensary and the veterinary instruments used in the post war era. The visit brings back many memories for Jim including sharing some of the humorous stories that made his father's books so famous.

The farming industry has also changed since Alf Wight's time and Felicity visits John Bowes and his son Jonathan, one of the few remaining dairy farmers now left in the area who remember Alf Wight's visits. She also meets the Town's Mayor, Janet Watson who talks of the 'Herriot effect' on business in the town and proudly shows her the newly laid cobblestones in the Market Square and the restored town clock.

Felicity ends her visit to Thirsk by observing a veterinary consultation at the Skeldale Veterinary practice. Peter Wright talks about the loss of many family run farms who kept livestock which has given way to a veterinary practice that is now dominated by small animals. Happily both Peter and Jim Wight believe that the changes, particularly in disease control, are very much for the better.

Producer: Sarah Pitt.

James Herriot's books about life as a country vet in the 1970s sold 60 million copies worldwide. Later many of the stories were made into feature films and a very popular TV series, 'All Creatures Great and Small'. Herriot's real name was James 'Alf' White, and he was known as 'Alf' by local people. He practiced as a vet in Thirsk, a small market town just a few miles from the North York Moors, as did his son, Jim Wight. Felicity Evans visits 'Herriot Country' to meet Jim Wight and talk about his father, the changes there have been in veterinary practice since the 1940s and the legacy 'James Herriot' left both the town and the local farming community.

The farming industry has also changed since Alf White's time and Felicity visits John Bowes and his son Jonathan, one of the few remaining dairy farmers now left in the area who remember Alf White's visits. She also meets the Town's Mayor, Janet Watson who talks of the 'Herriot effect' on business in the town and proudly shows her the newly laid cobblestones in the Market Square and the restored town clock.

Hicks Lodge/national Forest2012110120121103

Helen Mark visits a restored open cast mine in Leicestershire, now a haven for wildlife.

Helen Mark visits Hicks Lodge, a restored open cast mine in Leicestershire, now a haven for wildlife, walkers and cyclists and other more unusual visitors. Over 100 different bird species have been recorded at Hicks Lodge, which is run by the Forestry Commission and is situated in young woodlands at the heart of the National Forest.

Helen meets Area Forester, Alan Dowell, to find out more about Hicks Lodge and the various walking routes and cycle trails that are available and joins local cyclist, Marc Stapleford for a bike ride through the site of what is now the National Forest Cycle Centre. Helen also hears from Chief Executive of the National Forest, Sophie Churchill, about the background to the Forest itself which covers 200 square miles of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. They are joined by retired Geography teacher, Dot Morson, and one of her former pupils, Mark Knight. Both are local residents who have seen the landscape around them transformed over the years. And

Stuart Malcolmson and Racheal Bailey of the National Forest Mushing Team give Helen a lesson in dog sledding - one of the more unusual pastimes to be found on the site of a former open cast mine!

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

High Peak2008051720080522

Helen Mark visits the Peak District to see the battle to save peat bogs vital to the area's ecosystem.

Countryside magazine.

Helen Mark visits the Peak District to see the battle to save peat bogs vital to the area's ecosystem.

High Speed Rail2011010820110113

The proposals for high speed rail in Buckinghamshire that are provoking protest campaigns.

Richard Uridge travels the route proposed for high speed rail in Buckinghamshire to find out what is so special about the countryside there that inspires people to battle to protect it.

High Speed Rail20110113

The proposals for high speed rail in Buckinghamshire that are provoking protest campaigns.

Highland Ponies2013050220130504

The image of a keeper leading a pony off a heather-clad hill, a deer carcass slung across its back, may sound like something from a Landseer painting, but in 21st century Scotland, Highland ponies - or garrons - are still a valued part of the deer stalking business.

Helen Mark visits the Reay Forest estate in Sutherland to find out what ponies can offer which even the toughest off-road vehicle cannot. Garrons were a fixture of most estates until the 1970s, when in many places they were deemed to be part of the past. Some estates, though, kept garrons for use in the most inaccessible corners of their land, and they are now being adopted for the first time by some estates which have come to see the value of these hardy creatures. Helen hears how the garron is part of the Highland landscape not just for sentimental reasons, creating continuity with the past, but for sound economic and practical purposes too.

Produced by Moira Hickey.

Horseback Uk20111105

Helen Mark is in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire to find out how horses and the natural landscape of Royal Deeside are helping wounded and serving military personnel.

Set up by ex-marine Jock Hutchison and his wife Emma, Horseback UK is a charity aiming to provide a safe and secure environment for soldiers returning from active service or those that have already left, many of whom have suffered injury or acute stress as a result of active service.

The charity uses equine therapy and the value of the great outdoors and nature therapy to provide part of the rehabilitation process for serving personnel and veterans from the UK military.

Helen hears from Jock about their hope that those who have lived their lives on the edge will benefit from the opportunities available to them in the peace and tranquillity of the countryside and the quality of life this offers.

Fundamental to this is the relationship with the horses and the style of Western riding which gives these guys the experience of being a cowboy high up in the saddle and looking down on countryside that they might previously not have noticed as they passed through.

Mixing equine therapy, nature therapy and adventure training the aim is for people to learn about opportunities in the Scottish countryside, including game-keeping, horsemanship, fishing etc.

while getting to know their local community.

Helen hears from Jay Hare and Rick Anderson, two of the people who have benefited from the centre, and also from Eric Baird at the nearby Glen Tanar Estate, one of the areas that is supporting the charity by encouraging people there to become involved in conservation work.

At the heart of everything are the horses and the way in which they are used to integrate the people they carry on their backs into the community and countryside of the Royal Deeside landscape.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark is in Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire to find out about Horseback UK.

Helen Mark is in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire to find out how horses and the natural landscape of Royal Deeside are helping wounded and serving military personnel. Set up by ex-marine Jock Hutchison and his wife Emma, Horseback UK is a charity aiming to provide a safe and secure environment for soldiers returning from active service or those that have already left, many of whom have suffered injury or acute stress as a result of active service. The charity uses equine therapy and the value of the great outdoors and nature therapy to provide part of the rehabilitation process for serving personnel and veterans from the UK military. Helen hears from Jock about their hope that those who have lived their lives on the edge will benefit from the opportunities available to them in the peace and tranquillity of the countryside and the quality of life this offers. Fundamental to this is the relationship with the horses and the style of Western riding which gives these guys the experience of being a cowboy high up in the saddle and looking down on countryside that they might previously not have noticed as they passed through. Mixing equine therapy, nature therapy and adventure training the aim is for people to learn about opportunities in the Scottish countryside, including game-keeping, horsemanship, fishing etc. while getting to know their local community. Helen hears from Jay Hare and Rick Anderson, two of the people who have benefited from the centre, and also from Eric Baird at the nearby Glen Tanar Estate, one of the areas that is supporting the charity by encouraging people there to become involved in conservation work. At the heart of everything are the horses and the way in which they are used to integrate the people they carry on their backs into the community and countryside of the Royal Deeside landscape.

Hoylake: Green Belt And Greens2016090120160903 (R4)

Helen Mark finds out how a proposed golf resort in Hoylake will affect the green belt.

A new golf resort has been proposed for Hoylake in Wirral. Helen Mark explores how this will affect the local green belt and the birdlife and wildlife that live there. She also finds out what benefits developments like this can bring to an area including trade, jobs and international profile, and how these considerations are weighed up against the rules which protect England's fourteen green belts.

Producer: Toby Field.

A new golf resort has been proposed for Hoylake in Wirral. Helen Mark explores how this will affect the local green belt and the birdlife and wildlife that live there.

Helen speaks to Andrew Needham from the Council for the Protection of Rural England about what constitutes green belt land and why a golf course may be permissible. John Hutchinson from the Hoylake Golf Resort Committee talks about his opposition to the resort and how it will destroy a much-loved piece of land. Dr Hilary Ash takes Helen bird-watching for some of the thousands of Black Tailed Godwits that use the existing land as part of their migration. Craig Gilholm shows Helen around the Royal Liverpool Golf Club and recalls how the Natterjack Toad almost halted the Open in 2006, and local resident and golfer David Stacey explains why the lure of a new Championship Golf Course would be an asset to the area. Cllr Gerry Ellis says this proposed resort is the biggest issue he's faced as a Councillor and explains why he's less optimistic now that the resort will ever go ahead.

Huw Stephens At Green Man Festival20170824

Huw Stephens goes to Green Man festival to hear why music sounds best in the countryside.

Huw Stephens is our guide to the Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons. As a DJ Huw has been to many festivals but the Green Man is a favourite. Set in his homeland of Wales the festival is not just about rock music but also about the place in which it is set. This year festival goers are invited to spend time on the site before the music starts to get back to nature and settle into the spirit of the place. Huw meets festival goers, musicians, local food producers and druids to try to understand why hearing music in the great outdoors can be such a powerful experience.

In Search Of Wild Boar2003121320031218

Helen Mark uncovers more stories and characters from the British countryside.

Inishowen2013032120130323

Helen Mark explores the landscape and shoreline of the Inishowen Peninsula.

In a year when Derry-Londonderry takes centre stage as the UK City of Culture, Helen Mark steps out into the city's back garden to explore the hidden gems of the Inishowen Peninsula. Located at the northernmost tip of Ireland where it meets with the Atlantic Ocean, and with Lough Foyle to the east and Lough Swilly to the west, Inishowen is rich in history, heritage and landscape, with more than its fair share of undiscovered delights.

Helen Mark begins her journey at the Glenevin Waterfall with American, Doris Russo. Now in her 90s, Doris first visited Donegal almost 20 years ago when she fell in love with the area and bought Glen House with its adjoining land and beautiful, yet inaccessible, waterfall. Helen hears how Doris took it upon herself to clear the brambles and undergrowth that blocked the route to the waterfall and so began a project that would take years to reach fruition with the help of the local community and volunteers. There are very few people in the area now without a friend or relative who has been involved in the Glenevin Waterfall including farmer, Michael Devlin, who tells Helen of his own experiences of the waterfall as a child.

At the northern tip of Inishowen Helen meets writer, Cary Meehan, to visit the atmospheric Bocan Stone Circle at Malin Head. Cary has made a promise with herself to visit a sacred place every week and feels that these are places that give people a divine connection that there really are no words for.

Heading back along the shores of Lough Foyle, Helen stops off for a kayak trip out on the waters with Adrian Harkin before making her way back to the border. Before she leaves Inishowen, Helen makes one last stop to meet Dessie McCallion who takes Helen to one of his favourite hidden gems, a woodland near the village of Muff where he walks and feeds the red squirrels who call the woodland home.

Presenter: Helen Mark Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Ireland - Peat2012081620120818

Helen Mark is in Ireland, looking at attitudes down the centuries to the peat bogs.

The peat bogs of Ireland's midlands have become a battlefield, with opinions divided on how they should best be managed in the future. Helen Mark looks beyond the present-day arguments and travels to Counties Longford, Roscommon and Offaly to find out how attitudes to the bog have evolved over centuries. From the Iron Age Corlea trackway, an oak road discovered just a few years ago, perfectly preserved in peat, to startling evidence of early Christian links with Africa and memories of childhood days spent peat cutting , Helen explores what the bog has to tell us - and what it might have in store for the future.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Moira Hickey.

Island Revival2011082020110825

Just off the coast of Mull lies the tiny island of Ulva.

For 200 years it has been virtually abandoned.

The Highland Clearances saw the removal of most of the 800 people who had been scraping a living from its shores and its farmland.

Today a shot of energy is pulsing through the island, giving this beautiful place a chance of economic and natural revival.

The manager of the island, Jamie Howard has just married field biologist and broadcaster, Tessa McGregor.

Together they've come up with a plan to turn Ulva into a paradise for nature tourism.

They've identified the island's extraordinary variety of unusual plant and animal species, they're helping archaeologists reconstruct the nine thousand year history of human habitation and they're replanting the native woodland and reconstructing abandoned buildings.

For 'Open Country' Helen Mark will be joining the energetic couple in the middle of a crucial summer for the island's future.

Can they use the short tourist season to attract people and money into Ulva to fund their grand revival plans?

Producer: Alasdair Cross.

The isle of Ulva was abandoned 200 years ago.

Helen Mark finds out why it's now thriving.

Just off the coast of Mull lies the tiny island of Ulva. For 200 years it has been virtually abandoned. The Highland Clearances saw the removal of most of the 800 people who had been scraping a living from its shores and its farmland. Today a shot of energy is pulsing through the island, giving this beautiful place a chance of economic and natural revival.

The manager of the island, Jamie Howard has just married field biologist and broadcaster, Tessa McGregor. Together they've come up with a plan to turn Ulva into a paradise for nature tourism. They've identified the island's extraordinary variety of unusual plant and animal species, they're helping archaeologists reconstruct the nine thousand year history of human habitation and they're replanting the native woodland and reconstructing abandoned buildings.

For 'Open Country' Helen Mark will be joining the energetic couple in the middle of a crucial summer for the island's future. Can they use the short tourist season to attract people and money into Ulva to fund their grand revival plans?

The isle of Ulva was abandoned 200 years ago. Helen Mark finds out why it's now thriving.

Island Revival20110825

The isle of Ulva was abandoned 200 years ago. Helen Mark finds out why it's now thriving.

Isle Of Bute2012090620120908

Helen Mark goes 'doon the watter' to explore the Isle of Bute, off Scotland's west coast.

Helen Mark explores the landscape and waters of the Isle of Bute off the west coast of Scotland where, for over 200 years, visitors have gone 'doon the watter' to take advantage of the island's relaxing atmosphere and healing properties. Suggestions have been made that Bute should be designated as Britain's first 'blue space', an area defined by blue sea, sky and fresh air which all have a therapeutic effect. Boarding the ferry at Wemyss Bay, Helen joins Shiona Lawson, one of those whose family would take the ferry each year to go 'doon the watter'. Shiona recalls that back then the beaches seemed to go on forever and the sun seemed to be always shining and remembers an island that had such an effect on her that she eventually moved to live there. At the harbour to meet Helen is James McMillan. James is a 'Brandane', someone who was born and bred on the island.

Helen then meets up with Roddy McDowell who runs Kayak Bute and who takes Helen out on the waters around the island and gives her a lesson in sea kayaking , an experience which Roddy describes as crossing the boundary between the green space and the blue. Helen then hears from archaeologist, Paul Duffy, about the rich heritage of Bute. Walking from the car park at Scalpsie Beach to the seashore, Paul takes Helen on a journey through 8000 years of history in 8 minutes. Finally, wildlife photographer Philip Kirkham gives Helen a lesson in photography on the shoreline in front of his house under the big skies of the island he loves.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Isle Of Mann2003100420031009
Jersey Shores2015081320150815 (R4)

Jersey doubles in size when the tide goes out. Helen Mark discovers what the retreating waters reveal, from the evidence of our Neanderthal ancestors to the extraordinary marine life of the island's reefs.

At La Rocque three local guides take her across miles of treacherous shifting sands to Seymour Tower, built to defend Jersey against the French but used by the German occupiers. On the north coast she meets Dusty, the first red-billed chough to be born in the wild in Jersey for a hundred years and in the south-east she searches for evidence of the Neanderthals who left more evidence of their existence here than in the rest of the British Isles combined.

Producer: Alasdair Cross.

At La Rocque three local guides take her across miles of treacherous shifting sands to Seymour Tower, built to defend Jersey against the French but used by the German occupiers. On the north coast she meets Dusty, the first red-billed chough to be born in the wild in Jersey for a hundred years and in the south-east she searches for evidence of the Neanderthal people who left more evidence of their existence here than in the rest of the British Isles combined.

Johnsons Island2013013120130202

Tiny Johnsons Island sits in contrast to the hustle and bustle of Brentford and West London surrounding it. At the confluence of the Rivers Thames and Brent and the Grand Union Canal, the area was important historically for the barges that had carried goods from Birmingham. Nearby boat yards continue to repair and renovate vessels of all types while shiny new developments overlook the island - a mixture of old and new alongside one another. Helen Mark meets the community of artists who work on Johnsons Island and discovers how its nature and surroundings inspire them. A small gallery has been set up to exhibit their work but also to honour the late local character and 'naive artist' Barry Jones - an accomplished jazz musician who sold art works for beer money. The island is shared by one of the boatyards, complete with wet dock, chickens, bees and allotments. Yet many don't know of the island's existence, let alone its history. Helen explores the secrets of Johnsons Island.

Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Keighley And Worth Valley - The Railway Children At 402010080720100812

It was back in spring 1970 that Lionel Jeffries and his film crew first descended on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire to begin making the classic British film, The Railway Children.

To this day, the film remains a firm family favourite with many people remembering the images of the children sitting on the fence waving to the Old Gentleman or running down the embankment to stop the train after a landslide.

The film's closing scene remains a tear-jerker as the steam clears on the platform to reveal Mr Waterbury standing on the platform being greeted by his daughter played by Jenny Agutter.

To the people living along the Keighley and Worth Valley though, the real star of the film was their railway.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a standard gauge branch line, joining the national railway network at Keighley and running 5 miles along the Worth Valley to Oxenhope with the stations of Ingrow, Damems, Oakworth and Haworth along the way.

Helen Mark begins her journey along the 5 mile stretch of the Keighley and Worth Valley by catching the train at Oxenhope with Jim Shipley, former Station Master at Oakworth Station.

Many of the film's classic scenes were filmed at Oakworth Station and several local people were used as extras.

Jumping off the train at Haworth, Helen meets up with Graham Mitchell, who 'starred' as himself opposite Bernard Cribbins' s portrayal of Perks the Porter.

Graham reveals more about the history of the railway which was built by local mill owners back in 1867 and eventually bought outright by local people who opposed its closure by British Rail in the early 60s.

The line eventually reopened in 1968 and two years later The Railway Children arrived.

The railway never looked back.

Helen joins Bill and Betty Black for a picnic lunch overlooking the embankment from which the children would sit on the fence and wave to the Old Gentleman at the back of the train.

40 years ago the couple had a picnic in the same spot with their children while they watched the filming take place and they remember the impact the film had on the local community.

Finally Helen arrives at Oakworth Station where much of the filming took place, in particular the final tear jerking scene as Mr Waterbury emerges from the steam onto the platform to be reunited with his family.

Helen hears from David Petyt, current Station Foreman and one of the 350 volunteers who run the railway, and David Pearson who was 15 years old at the time of filming and who played a part in that final moving scene.

Generations of families now visit the valley to see where the film was made and travel on the steam trains that still play such an important part in the life of the valley.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Forty years after The Railway Children left, Helen Mark visits the Keighley and Worth Valley

It was back in spring 1970 that Lionel Jeffries and his film crew first descended on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire to begin making the classic British film, The Railway Children. To this day, the film remains a firm family favourite with many people remembering the images of the children sitting on the fence waving to the Old Gentleman or running down the embankment to stop the train after a landslide. The film's closing scene remains a tear-jerker as the steam clears on the platform to reveal Mr Waterbury standing on the platform being greeted by his daughter played by Jenny Agutter. To the people living along the Keighley and Worth Valley though, the real star of the film was their railway. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a standard gauge branch line, joining the national railway network at Keighley and running 5 miles along the Worth Valley to Oxenhope with the stations of Ingrow, Damems, Oakworth and Haworth along the way.

Helen Mark begins her journey along the 5 mile stretch of the Keighley and Worth Valley by catching the train at Oxenhope with Jim Shipley, former Station Master at Oakworth Station. Many of the film's classic scenes were filmed at Oakworth Station and several local people were used as extras. Jumping off the train at Haworth, Helen meets up with Graham Mitchell, who 'starred' as himself opposite Bernard Cribbins' s portrayal of Perks the Porter. Graham reveals more about the history of the railway which was built by local mill owners back in 1867 and eventually bought outright by local people who opposed its closure by British Rail in the early 60s. The line eventually reopened in 1968 and two years later The Railway Children arrived. The railway never looked back.

Helen joins Bill and Betty Black for a picnic lunch overlooking the embankment from which the children would sit on the fence and wave to the Old Gentleman at the back of the train. 40 years ago the couple had a picnic in the same spot with their children while they watched the filming take place and they remember the impact the film had on the local community.

Finally Helen arrives at Oakworth Station where much of the filming took place, in particular the final tear jerking scene as Mr Waterbury emerges from the steam onto the platform to be reunited with his family. Helen hears from David Petyt, current Station Foreman and one of the 350 volunteers who run the railway, and David Pearson who was 15 years old at the time of filming and who played a part in that final moving scene. Generations of families now visit the valley to see where the film was made and travel on the steam trains that still play such an important part in the life of the valley.

Keighley And Worth Valley - The Railway Children At 4020100812

It was back in spring 1970 that Lionel Jeffries and his film crew first descended on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire to begin making the classic British film, The Railway Children. To this day, the film remains a firm family favourite with many people remembering the images of the children sitting on the fence waving to the Old Gentleman or running down the embankment to stop the train after a landslide. The film's closing scene remains a tear-jerker as the steam clears on the platform to reveal Mr Waterbury standing on the platform being greeted by his daughter played by Jenny Agutter. To the people living along the Keighley and Worth Valley though, the real star of the film was their railway. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a standard gauge branch line, joining the national railway network at Keighley and running 5 miles along the Worth Valley to Oxenhope with the stations of Ingrow, Damems, Oakworth and Haworth along the way.

Helen Mark begins her journey along the 5 mile stretch of the Keighley and Worth Valley by catching the train at Oxenhope with Jim Shipley, former Station Master at Oakworth Station. Many of the film's classic scenes were filmed at Oakworth Station and several local people were used as extras. Jumping off the train at Haworth, Helen meets up with Graham Mitchell, who 'starred' as himself opposite Bernard Cribbins' s portrayal of Perks the Porter. Graham reveals more about the history of the railway which was built by local mill owners back in 1867 and eventually bought outright by local people who opposed its closure by British Rail in the early 60s. The line eventually reopened in 1968 and two years later The Railway Children arrived. The railway never looked back.

Helen joins Bill and Betty Black for a picnic lunch overlooking the embankment from which the children would sit on the fence and wave to the Old Gentleman at the back of the train. 40 years ago the couple had a picnic in the same spot with their children while they watched the filming take place and they remember the impact the film had on the local community.

Finally Helen arrives at Oakworth Station where much of the filming took place, in particular the final tear jerking scene as Mr Waterbury emerges from the steam onto the platform to be reunited with his family. Helen hears from David Petyt, current Station Foreman and one of the 350 volunteers who run the railway, and David Pearson who was 15 years old at the time of filming and who played a part in that final moving scene. Generations of families now visit the valley to see where the film was made and travel on the steam trains that still play such an important part in the life of the valley.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Forty years after The Railway Children left, Helen Mark visits the Keighley and Worth Valley

Lakeland Adventures2012110820121110

Helen Mark is looking for adventure in the Lake District.

Over 80 years after the publication of 'Swallows and Amazons', Helen Mark visits the Lake District to find out why the lakes and landscapes that inspired some of Arthur Ransome's most famous stories are now the setting for a variety of different and often more daring adventures. From trails to triathlons, ghyll scrambling to zorbing and aqua rolling, there is now something for everyone to be found on the Lakeland fells.

On the lower slopes of Helvellyn, around 1200 people prepare to take part in a trail run designed to test and exhilarate them as they make their way through some of the most dramatic views that Lakeland has to offer. Helen meets the organiser, Graham Patten, to find out more about the people who travel miles to take part and also why the National Park is so keen to promote the area as the UK's Adventure Capital. It's a far cry from the more genteel adventures of sailing, camping and fishing experienced by the Walker children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger, who Arthur Ransome wrote about.

Out on Coniston water Arthur's cousin, Richard Ransome, tells Helen how his own childhood, growing up in the area, was very like something from his cousin's books and how he feels that the magic element of imagination seems to be missing from the adventures of today. Helen is given a demonstration of ghyl scrambling by a group of adventurers who describe the thrill this gives them. And finally, Helen meets John Nettleton and Jenny Massie, whose own adventures climbing and running on the screes and fells of this landscape began at a time when they almost had their own bit of Lakeland to themselves.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Lancashire - Shale Gas20111208

Does the British landscape hold the key to a new and revolutionary form of energy? Jules Hudson is in Lancashire to find out about shale gas, a by-product of shale rock which forms much of the geology of the county's landscape.

Using a technique known as 'fracking', which involves using a high pressure combination of water, sand and chemicals, the rock is then fractured in order to release the gas.

For Cuadrilla, the company responsible for the drilling, these are exciting times.

But opponents to the process are concerned about the environmental damage this may cause and also about the possibility of earthquakes after drilling was halted earlier this year following two quakes close to Blackpool.

Should we unlock the vast resources of shale gas deep under our landscape? Jules Hudson visits Lancashire to meet the people responsible for the drilling and to find out what is so special about the Bowland Shale.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Does the Lancashire landscape hold the key to cheaper gas bills?

Does the British landscape hold the key to a new and revolutionary form of energy? Jules Hudson is in Lancashire to find out about shale gas, a by-product of shale rock which forms much of the geology of the county's landscape. Using a technique known as 'fracking', which involves using a high pressure combination of water, sand and chemicals, the rock is then fractured in order to release the gas.

For Cuadrilla, the company responsible for the drilling, these are exciting times. But opponents to the process are concerned about the environmental damage this may cause and also about the possibility of earthquakes after drilling was halted earlier this year following two quakes close to Blackpool.

Lancashire: Shale Gas20111210
Lancashire: Shale Gas20111210

Does the British landscape hold the key to a new and revolutionary form of energy? Jules Hudson is in Lancashire to find out about shale gas, a by-product of shale rock which forms much of the geology of the county's landscape. Using a technique known as 'fracking', which involves using a high pressure combination of water, sand and chemicals, the rock is then fractured in order to release the gas.

For Cuadrilla, the company responsible for the drilling, these are exciting times. But opponents to the process are concerned about the environmental damage this may cause and also about the possibility of earthquakes after drilling was halted earlier this year following two quakes close to Blackpool.

Should we unlock the vast resources of shale gas deep under our landscape? Jules Hudson visits Lancashire to meet the people responsible for the drilling and to find out what is so special about the Bowland Shale.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Does the Lancashire landscape hold the key to cheaper gas bills?

Does the British landscape hold the key to a new and revolutionary form of energy? Jules Hudson is in Lancashire to find out about shale gas, a by-product of shale rock which forms much of the geology of the county's landscape.

Using a technique known as 'fracking', which involves using a high pressure combination of water, sand and chemicals, the rock is then fractured in order to release the gas.

For Cuadrilla, the company responsible for the drilling, these are exciting times.

But opponents to the process are concerned about the environmental damage this may cause and also about the possibility of earthquakes after drilling was halted earlier this year following two quakes close to Blackpool.

Landscape Art In Northumberland2015050720150509 (R4)

Caz Graham visits the Northumberland countryside to discover stunning art in the landscape

Caz Graham visits the Northumberland countryside to discover stunning art in the landscape, produced by Iranian artist Khosro Adibi.

Khosro is a visual artist from Iran. He's lived in Europe for several years now and has created site-specific environmental sculptures and land art pieces in the landscape.

He has been artist in residence at Tarset in Northumberland since August last year. His work involves carving directly into sandstone, reminiscent of the pre-historic cup and ring marks that can be found in Northumberland.

Caz also meets some archaeologists who spot similarities in Khosro's work to the ancient markings that are found in the area.

Presenter: Caz Graham

Producer Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

Laurie Lee Land2013090520130907

Helen Mark explores the newly safeguarded 'Laurie Lee Wood' and meets the people who inhabit the 21st Century 'Cider with Rosie' Landscape. Earlier this year Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust had an unprecedented response to its appeal to save a plot of ancient woodland. It had once belonged to Slad Valley's beloved son, Laurie Lee. Having become too much for the author and playwright's remaining family to maintain, the trust launched an appeal to take it over. In this week's Open Country Helen Mark meets the people who saved this land and the community that still find inspiration in this valley today including Julie and Simon Cooper at 'The Cider Farm' where they now handcraft frames for old master paintings, artist Amanda Lawrence who draws inspiration from the natural landscape and captures her work in glass and writer Adam Horovitz who is capturing his own 'Cider with Rosie' experience on paper.

Helen Mark explores the new life springing up in Laurie Lee's beloved Slad Valley.

Helen Mark explores the newly safeguarded 'Laurie Lee Wood' and meets the people who inhabit the 21st Century 'Cider with Rosie' Landscape. Earlier this year Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust had an unprecedented response to its appeal to save a plot of ancient woodland. It had once belonged to Slad Valley's beloved son, Laurie Lee. Having become too much for the author and playwright's remaining family to maintain, the trust launched an appeal to take it over. In this week's Open Country Helen Mark meets the people who saved this land and the community that still find inspiration in this valley today including Julie and Simon Cooper at 'The Cider Farm' where they now handcraft frames for old master paintings, artist Amanda Lawrence who draws inspiration from the natural landscape and captures her work in glass and writer Adam Horowitz who is capturing his own 'Cider with Rosie' experience on paper.

Learning From The Wild In Dartington2017040620170408 (R4)

Helen Mark travels to south-east Devon, to the Dartington Estate.

This 14th century estate was reinvented by an off-shoot of the Bloomsbury set in the mid-1920s as a centre for personal growth, innovative education and rural regeneration, inspired by the environment. It still has the arts, ecology, sustainability and social justice at its heart and aims to be 'a laboratory for living and learning with the purpose of pioneering deep personal and societal change'.

Helen Mark finds out about the extraordinary history, present and future of a movement and community inspired by the landscape of Dartington.

Lee Valley2014111320141115 (R4)

Where can you find a hill that looks like an Inca monument but which is in fact an old nitroglycerin factory? The answer can be found in the Lee Valley, a 26 mile long green and watery wedge that grows and flows from Hertfordshire and Essex through northeast London to The River Thames. Occupying a liminal space between rural countryside and the industrial, the Lee Valley presents a surprising landscape - where nature has come back reclaim the monuments of an industrial past.

Helen Mark travels down the Lee Valley and its waterways to explore how for centuries it was a crucial thriving hub of industry before falling into decline until more recently experiencing regeneration of its natural spaces. She visits the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Kings Weir Cottage, Glasshouses, The Waterworks and the Lee Navigation to meet people who work on and live by the Lee Valley's historical waterways; people like Barbara the wife of one of the navigation's last weir-keepers.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Melanie Brown.

Where can you find a hill that looks like an Inca monument but which is in fact an old nitroglycerin factory? The answer can be found in the Lee Valley, a green and watery wedge that grows and flows from Hertfordshire and Essex through northeast London to The River Thames. Occupying a liminal space between rural countryside and the industrial, the Lee Valley presents a surprising landscape - where nature has come back reclaim the monuments of an industrial past.

Leeds-liverpool Canal2010091120100916

Helen Mark travels along a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and hears from just a few of the people whose lives revolve around it.

Stretching 127 miles the canal crosses the Pennines, and climbing to 487 feet at its summit, the canal has 91 locks including the unique 5-rise lock at Bingley in Yorkshire.

Helen hears from Vince Moran of British Waterways about the reason for the recent closure of almost half of the canal from Wigan to Gargrave following the prolonged spell of dry weather earlier this year.

She also chats to boaters who have made the canal their home.

Mike Clarke of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society tells Helen about the canal's history and about his involvement with the Short Boat Kennet, one of the last unconverted boats which worked on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Kennet is on the Register of Historic Vessels and serves as a reminder of the canal's heritage.

Helen then joins Don Vine from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on a boat trip to an area between the canal and the River Aire where a special project is underway to improve the habitat for otters, before meeting up with John Fairweather at the unique 5 Rise Lock at Bingley for an insight into life as a lock-keeper on the longest canal in the UK.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark explores life along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Helen Mark travels along a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and hears from just a few of the people whose lives revolve around it. Stretching 127 miles the canal crosses the Pennines, and climbing to 487 feet at its summit, the canal has 91 locks including the unique 5-rise lock at Bingley in Yorkshire.

Helen hears from Vince Moran of British Waterways about the reason for the recent closure of almost half of the canal from Wigan to Gargrave following the prolonged spell of dry weather earlier this year. She also chats to boaters who have made the canal their home. Mike Clarke of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society tells Helen about the canal's history and about his involvement with the Short Boat Kennet, one of the last unconverted boats which worked on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Kennet is on the Register of Historic Vessels and serves as a reminder of the canal's heritage.

Leeds-liverpool Canal20100916

Helen Mark travels along a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and hears from just a few of the people whose lives revolve around it. Stretching 127 miles the canal crosses the Pennines, and climbing to 487 feet at its summit, the canal has 91 locks including the unique 5-rise lock at Bingley in Yorkshire.

Helen hears from Vince Moran of British Waterways about the reason for the recent closure of almost half of the canal from Wigan to Gargrave following the prolonged spell of dry weather earlier this year. She also chats to boaters who have made the canal their home. Mike Clarke of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society tells Helen about the canal's history and about his involvement with the Short Boat Kennet, one of the last unconverted boats which worked on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Kennet is on the Register of Historic Vessels and serves as a reminder of the canal's heritage.

Helen then joins Don Vine from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on a boat trip to an area between the canal and the River Aire where a special project is underway to improve the habitat for otters, before meeting up with John Fairweather at the unique 5 Rise Lock at Bingley for an insight into life as a lock-keeper on the longest canal in the UK.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark explores life along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Life On Coquet Island2014051520140517

Helen Mark visits Coquet Island, sanctuary for some of Britain's rarest nesting sea birds.

Helen Mark visits Coquet Island, a sanctuary for some of Britain's rarest nesting sea birds. It's also home to the world's first 'puffin piano'...

Coquet Island is an RSPB reserve which due to the rarity of some of its winged visitors, is protected under European Law and no-one is allowed to set foot on it without special permission. There's no running water and no mains electricity, but every summer a small, dedicated team of wardens and volunteers lead by Paul Morrison take up residence on Coquet Island to ensure that the thousands of birds who migrate there will thrive and live secularly for the duration of their stay, including Britain's rarest nesting sea bird, the roseate tern.

Just a mile off the coast of Amble, Northumberland, the reserve is also rich in human history and has been occupied since the 7th Century, initially as a monastic cell and later a lighthouse station. The buildings now provide simple accommodation for those who come to care for the birds. There's no running water or mains power but should they become stranded, assistant warden Wesley Davies has created a board game called 'Coquet-opoly' to while away the hours... and that's not all...

Many thousands of nesting Sandwich, Arctic and common terns accompany the roseates in May, June and July, whilst thousands of puffins occupy the main part of the island - and this year they will be treated to their own, fully functioning piano...

Each year Wesley creates new items for these naturally curious creatures to play with (there's also been an Olympic stadium and a pirate ship), the filming of which feeds into social media outlets to raise awareness about the valuable conservation work that takes place on Coquet to protect this precious environment.

Lighthouses Of Northern Ireland2013112820131130

Our infatuation with lighthouses and the need to preserve these iconic landmarks.

We explore our infatuation with lighthouses as the Irish coastline spends two million pounds on renovating five of them across the region -two in County Donegal and three in Northern Ireland. Helen Mark visits two of them for Open Country. In the pretty town of Whithead sits Blackhead Lighthouse build in 1902 it proudly sits on the cliff top. St John's Point in County Down is a striking yellow and black building and was threatened with closure as it now sits empty and vacant with no purpose like so many along the the coastline. But Helen discovers a much deeper story -for most there is a need to preserve these iconic buildings as what they symbolise today is just as important.

Producer : Perminder Khatkar.

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage2014012320140125

Helen Mark explores the aviation heritage of Lincolnshire, a county criss-crossed with former airfields, and finds out how they are being used today.

She visits Woodhall Spa's airfield, once home to the Dambusters squadron and until recently, a sand and gravel quarry. Bordered by nature reserves, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust aim to buy the airfield and return it to the heathland it once was, as described by local Victorian naturalist, Joseph Burdett-Davey. Evidence of its past remains in the form of concrete and tarmac runways, lakes which were formed by sand excavation and more surprisingly, alien plants that arrived on the kit of the Australian and New Zealand air-crews who worked here in the 1940s.

Helen meets Dora Garner who lived on the edge of the airfield in 1942. She recalls playing on the planes, writing messages on bombs in chalk, and one morning discovering the nose of a Lancaster bomber three yards from the bedroom window, after it slipped its moorings in the night.

Open Country takes a trip to the Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby to meet Harold Panton and his family. Harold and his brother Fred built a chicken farm on the old runway there, which now sits side-by-side with their privately owned museum. It's the only place in the country where you can still take a taxy-ride in a Lancaster Bomber.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Helen Mark discovers how Lincolnshire's former airfields are being used today.

Lincolnshire Bike Night20170727

Paul Murphy puts on his leathers to find out why Lincolnshire is biker heaven.

Leathers, green beard, a Harley and pension: guest presenter Paul Murphy meets some of the people behind the longest running bike night in the UK.

Lincolnshire's roads are long, straight (Roman) and quiet, perfect for motorbikes. Every week between March and October, about a thousand of them ride out in the county for a pub supper and a cup of tea. It's a sight you don't easily forget.

Graham Sugdon started Lincolnshire Bike Nights in 1989 when his hair and beard were long and black. He's a third generation biker and hopes he'll be riding into his eighties, like his Dad, Bernard. Frustrated by the 'No Bikers' signs at venues, Graham set out to persuade landlords that bikers could be good customers. Twenty-eight years later he's still organising weekly 'rides out'. It is about landscape - the pleasures of experiencing it at speed.

Steve Smith, landlord of the Ferry House Inn in the Trent-side village of Burton upon Stather, always looks forward to bike night. These customers may have tattoos, ZZ top-style hair and green beards, but they're unfailingly polite, their bikes are immaculate and they don't drink and drive. These leather-clad cruisers appreciate a nice bit of landscape.

Presenter...Paul Murphy
Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Lincolnshire Coast Revival2015121020151212 (R4)

On the 5th of December 2013 the Lincolnshire community saw the worst flooding in 60 years. A tidal surge two metres above normal levels flooded coastal nature reserves and Gibraltar Point visitor centre was severely damaged. Two years on and Helen Mark finds a remarkable transformation taking place here and along the coastline with a series of iconic buildings and art installations including a new marine observatory, a cloud watching bar and a new visitor centre built on stilts to protect it from future floods.

The impact on wildlife and habitat is still being assessed, local farmers have lost productive land but there are signs of hope. At Donna Nook the seal colony continue to thrive and Helen visits as the last of this year's pups are being born.

Helen Mark visits the Lincolnshire Coast to find new life and regeneration in the winter.

Living In The Woods2003101120031016
Loch Tay And Ben Lawers20170720

Helen Mark climbs Ben Lawers above Loch Tay for a better view of the southern Highlands.

Helen Mark is in Perthshire to climb Ben Lawers above Loch Tay for a better view of the southern Highlands. Scotland's 10th highest Munro, it's home to rare alpine wildflowers, and loved by walkers. The landscape's been shaped by centuries of grazing, first by cattle and in more recent times by sheep. Helen visits the sites of the old shielings, the summer dwellings used by farming families after driving their livestock up for the pastures.

Back down at loch level, Helen visits the locality's annual Kenmore Highland Games, and finds out what a crannog is. Visiting the Scottish Crannog Centre she learns why these ancient fortified dwellings were built over the lochs, on wooden piles.

Up on Ben Lawers overlooking Loch Tay Helen also finds out about the ancient 'cup and ring' markings engraved on boulders long before even the crannogs were built. We might not know their purpose, but that doesn't stop us from guessing.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

London: A National Park City?2017011920170121 (R4)

There's a campaign gaining ground to make London a National Park City. But what exactly does that mean? David Lindo meets the campaign founder Dan Raven-Ellison to find out and goes on a journey across London to see for himself why anyone would think the UK's biggest city could qualify for such a title. Along the way he finds a ghost of a river, an enthusiastic ornithologist, and some paddlers who call Regents Canal their breathing space.

Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh2010071720100722

Helen Mark takes to the waters of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

Helen Mark is in Northern Ireland where she takes to the waters of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the UK, measuring over 20 miles long, nine miles wide and containing over 800 billion gallons of water! Six major rivers flow into the Lough and only one, the River Bann, flows out.

Five of the six counties which make up Northern Ireland have shores on the Lough which is also a source of fresh water to many people.

Eel fishing on the lough has played a huge part in the lives of local people for centuries whilst the lake is also at the forefront of the sand extraction industry.

Yet although the lough has been described as extremely enigmatic, it has remained very much a place of extraction with very little put back in to it over the years.

Seven years ago, a group of local people came together to do something about this and recently their hard work was rewarded when the Lough Neagh Partnership received an award for Outstanding Achievement.

Helen hears from some of the people involved and starts her journey by boarding the Island Warrior from Sandy Bay to Rams Island, formerly a rat-infested strip of land on the lough and now a haven for wildlife and a popular tourist spot.

She hears from Gerry Darby about why the Lough Neagh Partnership was formed and also from Island Warrior skipper and volunteer, Michael Savage, about the labour of love carried out to transform Rams Island.

Helen then continues her journey around the shore hearing from heritage officer and archaeologist, Moira O'Rourke about some of the stories she has unearthed in her shoreline walks and from Kieran Breen of the Lough Neagh Heritage Boating Association about his passion for keeping alive the age-old spirit of the Lough Neagh by building some of the old traditional working boats used on the lough.

Helen rounds off her day along the shores with a visit to Coney Island, the only inhabited island on the lough, where she hears from the island's only inhabitant about the changes he has seen during his 12 years on Coney.

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Lough Neagh20170511

Helen Mark visits the largest lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

Lough Neagh is the largest lake by area in the British Isles. It supplies 40% of Northern Ireland's water and today it is home to the Lough Neagh wild eel fishery. The Lough Neagh Fishermen's Co-operative sell most of the eels they catch here to markets in Holland or London but they also try to encourage local people to enjoy this delicacy. Helen Mark joins the crew onboard for the first fishing trip of the season and discovers the history and folklore which surround this stunning but sometimes treacherous piece of water.

Lughnasa Festival2012080920120811

The festival of Lughnasa (pronounced Loon-asa) is an ancient Celtic celebration of the harvest, with its roots in County Meath in Ireland. The god Lugh is said to have established the festival in honour of his foster mother Tailtiu, who had exhausted herself by clearing forest land for agriculture. Helen Mark visits Teltown in Meath, which is said to have taken its name from that of Tailtiu, to see how Lughnasa is celebrated there today.

Presenter : Helen Mark

Producer : Moira Hickey.

Helen Mark is in Ireland to celebrate the ancient Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa.

Lyme Regis2013041820130420

Helen Mark visits Lyme Regis, along Dorset's Jurassic coast, to explore the Undercliffs, a fascinating jungle-like terrain that's been created by 200 years of landslips, and is still evolving today.

She learns that the exceptional rainfall of the last twelve months has increased the geological instability of this area that lies to the west of Lyme Regis, through which passes the South West Coast Path.

Helen meets geologists, naturalists, and the wildlife artist Elaine Franks, all of whom are passionate about the striking quality of the Undercliffs - a six mile stretch of land that's the nearest to jungle conditions that can be found in Britain.

Producer: Mark Smalley

Marshes Of Norfolk2013011720130119

Cley Marshes was purchased in 1926 making it the first Wildlife Trust reserve in the country. It's a fascinating place with inspiring international connections including a special link with the Middle East.

In December and January overwintering birds fill the air and the reed beds of Cley but it's not just our winged friends that migrate here. A group of artists drawn from Germany, the US and all around the UK settled in Cley 30 years ago. Inspired by the light and the landscapes the collective known as 'Made in Cley' are regularly drawn to the marshes to create their art, but Cley's power to inspire doesn't stop there.

In an act of global solidarity, Nature Iraq made a donation to Norfolk Wildlife Trust to support their work on England's North Norfolk coast. As renowned birder Richard Porter explains, they did this as a gesture of thanks for the help they have received from colleagues in the UK. The links with the Middle East are also close to the heart of Richard Aspinall as his brother, Simon Aspinall was a leading authority on the region's birds. Despite travelling the world, Cley is the place that Simon made home. Simon was diagnosed with motor neurone disease which left him unable to move without significant help, but this did not stop both Simon and Richard visiting the marshes right up until the end of Simon's life.

The personal connections to Cley run as deep as the international ones. For three generations Bernard Bishop and his family have cared for the marshes. Bernard's great grandfather was the first warden, followed by his father and then Bernard himself. Between them they've seen visitors grow from the occasional walking party of 10 a day to over 100,000 a year all flocking to see the outstanding bird life that call Cley home.

Producer: Nicola Humphries.

Memories Of The Black Isle2013012420130126

Felicity Evans visits the Black Isle to hear how residents are collecting memories of the landscape, before they are forgotten forever. The Killearnan Memories Group meets to share their knowledge of this part of the Eastern Highlands in order to preserve it for future generations. Members of the group have grown up on the Black Isle and have memories and stories about the physical landscape which they are using to create a written archive. This movement has been inspired by a project run by Cait McCullagh from Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), in which Black Isle residents gathered together to remember buildings, sites and other aspects of their heritage, using old maps and photographs as inspiration.

Produced by Beatrice Fenton.

Mendips Canal2012120620121208

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape Britain's landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain.

Mersea Island2005100820051013

A few miles south of Colchester lies Mersea Island, though technically it's only cut off from the mainland at the highest tides.

The name means "island of the pool or mere" and you get there by crossing a road known as the Strood which was built around 1300 years ago.

It's only five miles long and a couple of miles wide, and although it's a popular spot for Essex weekenders, remarkably unspoilt.

And although holidaymakers bring prosperity to the area, the island is also a focus for farming and fishing.

From the Shetland Islands to the Channel Islands, from Ireland to East Anglia, Open Country explores Britain's rural life. [Rptd Thurs 1.30pm]

Midsummer Music In Orkney2016063020160702 (R4)

Orkney has a great heritage of music so for this weeks Open Country Helen Mark visits the St Magnus International Festival of Music and Arts. Now in its 40th year St Magnus was founded by the late Orkney-based composer, and Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. This years festival will celebrate his legacy as well as shining a light on new talent from the islands.

During the summer months Orkney enjoys 'Twilight All Night' due to its latitude, Helen discovers what this means for the people who live there and the festival. She meets local musicians and composers to find out how the unique landscape, history and wildlife of Orkney inspire individual creativity and how music contributes to the community spirit so integral to island life.

Helen Mark visits Orkney to hear music and stories from 40 years of St Magnus Festival.

Mistletoe2010122520101230

Owen Sheers visits the annual Mistletoe Festival at Tenbury Wells.

Owen Sheers is in Worcestershire to learn about the Druidic custom of gathering in the mistletoe.

Each year it is harvested and blessed at the Mistletoe Festival in the town of Tenbury Wells.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Owen Sheers is in Worcestershire to learn about the Druidic custom of gathering in the mistletoe. Each year it is harvested and blessed at the Mistletoe Festival in the town of Tenbury Wells.

Mistletoe20101230

Owen Sheers visits the annual Mistletoe Festival at Tenbury Wells.

Monmouthshire And Brecon Canal2012042620120428

As the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal celebrates its 200th anniversary, Helen Mark takes a boat trip to find out about the canal's importance to the South Wales landscape. Helen is joined by David Morgan from British Waterways to find out more about the canal's history and Helen and David help local brewer, Buster Grant, to deliver his celebratory ales to local pubs in the way that they would have been delivered 200 years ago. Stopping off en route, Helen finds out more about the lime industry in the area from Nigel Gervis who still produces lime today which is used in maintenance work on the canal's locks and bridges. Helen also meets Ceri Cadwallader from the Blaenavon World Heritage Site to find out about the Forgotten Landscapes Project and the importance of the canal's industrial heritage and its place within the communities of Monmouthshire and Brecon today. And Helen jumps aboard a second boat with ecologist, Mark Robinson, to find out about the wildlife that now inhabits the banks of the canal.

Finally, Helen and David join forces to roll out the barrel as Buster's beer arrives at its final destination.

Presenter: Helen Mark

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Helen Mark takes a trip along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in its 200th year.

Monmouthshire And Brecon Canal20120428

Helen Mark takes a trip along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in its 200th year.

Moray Firth2012091320120915

Richard Uridge goes whale-watching in Scotland's Moray Firth.

Open Country visits Scotland's Moray Firth, testing the health of its marine mammal population

The beaching of twenty six pilot whales in Scotland's Firth of Forth made headlines, and highlighted the importance attached by many of us to the creatures which live, largely unobserved, in our seas. In Open Country this week, Richard Uridge travels further north, to the Moray Firth, to test the health of its mammal populations, and to try to fathom what it is about these creatures which strikes such a chord in humans.

Moseley Bog2013111420131116

Felicity Evans visits the land that inspired Tolkien's Middle Earth and discovers how this Birmingham Bog also kick started the Urban Wildlife Movement.

From the ages of four to eight , J.R.R. Tolkien, author of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings', lived with his mother and brother opposite Sarehole Mill on the Wake Green Road in Birmingham, a short walk from what is now Moseley Bog and 'Joy's Wood', a local nature reserve. As a boy, it is into this unexpected patch of woodland that Tolkien would disappear - both literally and in his imagination. Years later he would cite this period of his life as the inspiration for the landscapes and characterless of his now legendary books. A century on, urban development of the ever increasing Birmingham City has stopped short of this special site. This rural idyll, just three miles from Birmingham's city centre was preserved by local mum, Joy Fifer who launched a local campaign in the 80's which went on to start a national urban wildlife movement. It is now cared for by enthusiastic volunteers and enjoyed by the local school children who still disappear into this land and their imaginations - much as Tolkien did so many years before them.

Felicity Evans visits the Birmingham bog that inspired Tolkien's Middle Earth.

Nature Reserves In Cumbria2014121120141213 (R4)

Caz Graham visits two nature reserves in Cumbria to see what wildlife visits in winter.

Caz Graham visits two Nature Reserves in Cumbria to find out what happens on wildlife reserves in winter and meets the people working away to maintain these conservation areas.

It's cold outside: many birds have flown south for the winter and the smaller mammals have gone into hibernation, but there is still life to be found on nature reserves, if only in the form of teams of conservationists maintaining the area for next year's visitors.

Caz heads first to Foulshaw Moss, an expanse of peat bog that has been restored over the past decades to ensure the peat continues to grow and squelches her way around the wet habitat.

She then heads to Roudsea Nature Reserve to find a team at work preparing the woodland for the tiny, hibernating dormice that make the area their home.

Presenter: Caz Graham

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

Navigation Skills2012051720120519

More of us are being encouraged to explore the British countryside but how many navigation skills should we have before we venture out? Helen Mark travels to Northern Snowdonia to meet the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation who are called out to an incident every 3 days. Some they say are simply avoidable with people venturing out unprepared and lacking the navigation skills to get themselves back on track when lost.

Helen joins a navigation course to test her own skills which she admits may be rusty since her Duke of Edinburgh award to see if the compass is mightier than the GPS. She asks how to ensure people are properly equipped without putting off newcomers from the countryside.

Produced in Birmingham by Anne-Marie Bullock.

Neptune's Army Of Rubbish Cleaners2011090320110908

The 'Big Society' is alive and well in Pembrokeshire conservation.

As grants are cut more organisations rely on volunteers to help keep our rarest habitats thriving and Skomer Island is no exception.

Neptunes Army of Rubbish Cleaners are a group of divers who give up their time to keep the Pembrokeshire coastline clean.

Manmade debris at the bottom of the sea can affect marine life and their work removing fishing tackle and other litter helps to keep the sea healthy.

This is vital work when you have such rare habitat as Skomer Island to protect.

Here there are guillemots, razorbills and puffins who rely on the sea for food.

Skomer also uses volunteers.

Assistant wardens spend a week at the time helping with the running of the island and conservation work such as surveying.

In the future many more volunteers may be needed to help preserve wildlife and ecosystems.

Richard Uridge explores the Pembrokeshire coast around Skomer island from the bottom up.

The 'Big Society' is alive and well in Pembrokeshire conservation. As grants are cut more organisations rely on volunteers to help keep our rarest habitats thriving and Skomer Island is no exception. Neptunes Army of Rubbish Cleaners are a group of divers who give up their time to keep the Pembrokeshire coastline clean. Manmade debris at the bottom of the sea can affect marine life and their work removing fishing tackle and other litter helps to keep the sea healthy.

This is vital work when you have such rare habitat as Skomer Island to protect. Here there are guillemots, razorbills and puffins who rely on the sea for food. Skomer also uses volunteers. Assistant wardens spend a week at the time helping with the running of the island and conservation work such as surveying. In the future many more volunteers may be needed to help preserve wildlife and ecosystems.

Neptune's Army Of Rubbish Cleaners20110908
North Devon Coastline20090521

Helen Mark takes to the sea to find out how the perilous conditions of the north Devon coastline have affected life there from prehistory to the present day.

She tours Baggy Point with National Trust archaeologist Shirley Blaylock in search of the first coastal dwellers, attempts the perilous crossing to Lundy Island and crosses the Cornish border to hear the story of Parson Hawker, the eccentric vicar of Morwenstow and purported scourge of the wreckers.

Helen Mark explores the north Devon coastline.

North Wessex Downs2003032920030403
Northamptonshire Inspiration2012050320120505

Richard Uridge discovers the Northamptonshire countryside around Rockingham Forest.

Richard Uridge is in Northamptonshire to discover the inspirational landscape around Rockingham Forest.He meets musician, Nick Penny, who explains to Richard how he records the nightingales that frequently return to Glapthorn Cow Pasture and works with these sounds and other birdsong to create sound diaries of the landscape.His friend and collaborator David Garrett, takes inspiration from the Northamptonshire countryside for his poetry which began with 'Rose of the Shires, a tribute to the county he loves. And artist, Claire Morris Wright, takes Richard for a walk in the forest behind her house in the hamlet of Laxton and explains how important the feelings and textures of the landscape are to her in her work, whether in prints or clay.

Presenter: Richard Uridge

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Northamptonshire Inspiration20120505

Richard Uridge is in Northamptonshire to discover the inspirational landscape around Rockingham Forest.He meets musician, Nick Penny, who explains to Richard how he records the nightingales that frequently return to Glapthorn Cow Pasture and works with these sounds and other birdsong to create sound diaries of the landscape.His friend and collaborator David Garrett, takes inspiration from the Northamptonshire countryside for his poetry which began with 'Rose of the Shires, a tribute to the county he loves. And artist, Claire Morris Wright, takes Richard for a walk in the forest behind her house in the hamlet of Laxton and explains how important the feelings and textures of the landscape are to her in her work, whether in prints or clay.

Presenter: Richard Uridge

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Richard Uridge discovers the Northamptonshire countryside around Rockingham Forest.

Northumberland Castles

Northumberland Castles2010041020100415

Matt Baker visits Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, home to the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland where he meets the Duchess, Jane, and Frenchman, Christian Perdrier.

After spending 12 years at Disneyland Paris, Christian has joined Jane at Alnwick to 'awaken a sleeping beauty' that he says is Alnwick and the castle that towers over this market town in Northumberland surrounded by an unspoilt landscape.

Matt is shown around the famous Alnwick Garden, created by Jane herself and set around a cascading fountain.

This is the only place in the world to have a section devoted entirely to a poison garden, where every plant grown is a potential killer and is also home to the world's largest tree house.

Leaving Alnwick Matt meets folk singer-songwriter, Jez Lowe, born and raised in the North East who draws inspiration from the daily lives of the people and places of the area for his music.

Matt then travels on along the coastline to the imposing Bamburgh Castle which stands on an outcrop of volcanic rock.

This medieval fortress has around 4,000 years of continuous occupation and since 1996 the Bamburgh Research Project has been working on the castle, unearthing many exciting finds including the 7th century Bowl Hole cemetery.

Finally Matt heads south where, in stark contrast to the grandeur of Alnwick and Bamburgh, he arrives at the iconic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle.

Dunstanburgh is the largest in Northumberland and here Matt meets poet and historian, Katrina Porteous whose work is inspired and influenced by the Northumberland coast, and the cultural and natural history of the area.

Over the course of a year, Katrina visited Dunstanburgh Castle several times in all weathers, observing its seasonal changes.

The result was the epic poem, 'Dunstanburgh' which draws on the history and local legends of the castle.

Can a man from Disney transform Alnwick Castle? Matt Baker goes to find out.

Northumberland Castles20100415

Can a man from Disney transform Alnwick Castle? Matt Baker goes to find out.

Northumberlandia20110723
Northumberlandia20110728

How are the people of Cramlington reacting to the open cast mining in their area and to the creation of the largest replica of the human body in their landscape? Will it attract tourists and put Cramlington on the map or will they become the laughing stock of Northumberland?

For this week's Open Country, Jules Hudson visits Cramlington in the north east where work has started on a giant sculpture of a naked woman which is to be carved into the Northumberland landscape.

It will be made from 1.5 million tonnes of overburden from the Shotton open cast mine, near Cramlington.

It will be 400 metres long and will stand higher than the Angel of the North.

The sculpture, known as Northumberlandia, will form the centrepiece of a 29 hectare public park on the Blagdon Estate and, once developed, it is believed it will be the largest human form to be sculpted into the land, in the world.

But these plans have prompted opposition from some, as did the plans for the open cast mine.

From the car park of the Snowy Owl pub, Jules hears from landlord Colin Ward about his thoughts on his newest and nearest neighbour, before heading off to check on progress.

Taking the route along the leg, knee and thigh of Northumberlandia, Jules arrives on the sculpture's forehead with Mark Dowdell and Iain Lowther of the Banks Mining Group to find out about their reasons for embarking on such an ambitious project and what they hope it will bring to the local economy and community.

But not everyone is happy.

Back at the Snowy Owl, Jules meets Tony Ives who set up a local opposition group, SCRAM - Support Cramlington Residents Against Mining.

Tony tells Jules why he is so unhappy with the idea of Northumberlandia, which has been given the alternative nickname of 'Slag Alice' by some people who are against the idea.

However, at nearby North Shotton farm, tenant farmers Julie and Robson Philipson are looking forward to the completion of the sculpture and the park.

Despite losing much of their farm to the open cast mine, and being left with only two of their fields, Julie and Robson are adapting to a different way of life on the farm and are excited about the prospect of Northumberlandia opening in 2013.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Is the largest replica of the human body in the landscape a good idea for Northumberland?

For this week's Open Country, Jules Hudson visits Cramlington in the north east where work has started on a giant sculpture of a naked woman which is to be carved into the Northumberland landscape. It will be made from 1.5 million tonnes of overburden from the Shotton open cast mine, near Cramlington. It will be 400 metres long and will stand higher than the Angel of the North. The sculpture, known as Northumberlandia, will form the centrepiece of a 29 hectare public park on the Blagdon Estate and, once developed, it is believed it will be the largest human form to be sculpted into the land, in the world. But these plans have prompted opposition from some, as did the plans for the open cast mine.

From the car park of the Snowy Owl pub, Jules hears from landlord Colin Ward about his thoughts on his newest and nearest neighbour, before heading off to check on progress. Taking the route along the leg, knee and thigh of Northumberlandia, Jules arrives on the sculpture's forehead with Mark Dowdell and Iain Lowther of the Banks Mining Group to find out about their reasons for embarking on such an ambitious project and what they hope it will bring to the local economy and community.

But not everyone is happy. Back at the Snowy Owl, Jules meets Tony Ives who set up a local opposition group, SCRAM - Support Cramlington Residents Against Mining. Tony tells Jules why he is so unhappy with the idea of Northumberlandia, which has been given the alternative nickname of 'Slag Alice' by some people who are against the idea. However, at nearby North Shotton farm, tenant farmers Julie and Robson Philipson are looking forward to the completion of the sculpture and the park. Despite losing much of their farm to the open cast mine, and being left with only two of their fields, Julie and Robson are adapting to a different way of life on the farm and are excited about the prospect of Northumberlandia opening in 2013.

Northumberlandia20110804

How are the people of Cramlington reacting to the open cast mining in their area and to the creation of the largest replica of the human body in their landscape? Will it attract tourists and put Cramlington on the map or will they become the laughing stock of Northumberland?

For this week's Open Country, Jules Hudson visits Cramlington in the north east where work has started on a giant sculpture of a naked woman which is to be carved into the Northumberland landscape.

It will be made from 1.5 million tonnes of overburden from the Shotton open cast mine, near Cramlington.

It will be 400 metres long and will stand higher than the Angel of the North.

The sculpture, known as Northumberlandia, will form the centrepiece of a 29 hectare public park on the Blagdon Estate and, once developed, it is believed it will be the largest human form to be sculpted into the land, in the world.

But these plans have prompted opposition from some, as did the plans for the open cast mine.

From the car park of the Snowy Owl pub, Jules hears from landlord Colin Ward about his thoughts on his newest and nearest neighbour, before heading off to check on progress.

Taking the route along the leg, knee and thigh of Northumberlandia, Jules arrives on the sculpture's forehead with Mark Dowdell and Iain Lowther of the Banks Mining Group to find out about their reasons for embarking on such an ambitious project and what they hope it will bring to the local economy and community.

But not everyone is happy.

Back at the Snowy Owl, Jules meets Tony Ives who set up a local opposition group, SCRAM - Support Cramlington Residents Against Mining.

Tony tells Jules why he is so unhappy with the idea of Northumberlandia, which has been given the alternative nickname of 'Slag Alice' by some people who are against the idea.

However, at nearby North Shotton farm, tenant farmers Julie and Robson Philipson are looking forward to the completion of the sculpture and the park.

Despite losing much of their farm to the open cast mine, and being left with only two of their fields, Julie and Robson are adapting to a different way of life on the farm and are excited about the prospect of Northumberlandia opening in 2013.

Presenter: Jules Hudson

Producer: Helen Chetwynd.

Is the largest replica of the human body in the landscape a good idea for Northumberland?

Nottinghamshire2004120420041209

A piece of fabric used by a king to declare war on his own people gives this week's Open Country its starting point.

Helen Mark looks out from the roof of Nottingham Castle towards the mound, later christened Standard Hill, to which Charles I rode in great ceremony to raise the Royal Standard in August 1642.

Historian Dr Trevor Foulds explains the huge significance (and ultimate farcical quality) of the act which effectively began the Civil War, and also of the flag itself, which represented the power of the king over his subjects, the old order which was itself, of course, soon to become history in its turn.

The royalist symbols on the flag told anyone who saw it that this was a king quite separate from, and infinitely superior to, his subjects.

Those symbols - a shorthand form of communicating power - find an echo on the walls of Church Hole, part of the Creswell Crags cave complex where Britain's earliest examples of Ice Age art have been found by Sheffield University's Dr Paul Pettitt and colleagues in the field.

Overlooked by generations of archaeologists, these drawings, which include etchings of what are thought to be reindeer and bison, give an insight into why early man created such works of art.

For the most part incomplete and so hidden away that they were not apparently drawn to be viewed, it seems that the artists were expressing a sense of belonging to a group of fellow hunter-gatherers, and fulfilling a spiritual need in evoking the animal on which they so heavily relied for life.

This sense of belonging to a group finds very clear expression in miners' banners and Paul Whetton, a lifelong NUM member, tells Helen how his colliery colleagues at Bevercotes saved to pay for their own, and what it meant to be chosen to carry that banner at the miners' gala in Mansfield.

On strike for 12 months in the 1980s, Paul feels that the solidarity felt by miners gathered behind a banner is similar to family feeling - gathering below a banner provides a sense of support, of belonging, of unity, of strength and of working class power.

Holding up a banner, he says, is like holding up pride in yourself, in your industry and in your community.

Just down the road from Paul's home, at St Paulinus' Church in Ollerton, Reg Pritchard and his wife Dorothy have created a stained glass window in memory of the miners who worked, lived and died in the Nottinghamshire pits.

Reg's father, uncles and grandfather were miners and, seeing what it had done to them, he chose to leave Ollerton and escape the industry.

But he is, he says, imbued with the mine and put into the window his emotions about his family and his pride in what miners gave for the community.

Now that most evidence of the industry has been erased from the landscape, Reg - and people like Joan Seger, whose idea the window was - wanted to make sure that the work, so integral to the community, was never forgotten.

And anyone looking at the window, with its two miners and Christ each carrying a lamp, should know instantly what story is being told.

It's as simple, as symbolic and as easily understood as that royal standard raised by Charles over his people in Nottingham.

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Helen Mark visits the sisters of the environmentally-friendly Stanbrook Abbey in Yorkshire

Solar panels and sheep may not be the first things that spring to mind when you think of a monastery but at Stanbrook Abbey you'll find these alongside a woodchip boiler and a roof covered in sedum grass to insulate the building and attract local wildlife.

The sisters at Stanbrook Abbey (and the sheep) live very much in harmony with their North Yorkshire Moors National Park surroundings. The community of sisters embraced their new, high tech, high spec, eco-friendly home after leaving their more traditional, gothic style 20-acre site in Worcestershire in 2009. Having lived there for 171 years, this was not an easy decision to make but the need to down-size and provide a more practical style of accommodation for the future lead them to this setting in Yorkshire, a place with a strong Cistercian heritage, where in their own words they '...seek to become 'lovers of the place', working in harmony with the National Park ethos to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and cultural heritage of this landscape'.

Helen Mark meets with the sisters of Stanbrook as they care for their livestock, explain the eco workings of Stanbrook, the joys of reflecting nature in art and the excitement of new beginnings.

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

Helen Mark meets with the sisters of Stanbrook as they care for their livestock, explain the challenges of cultivating moorland, the joys of reflecting nature in art and the excitement of new beginnings.

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Guest presenter Ian Marchant meets people who live off-grid in his part of the world, near Presteigne in mid-Wales.

There's Bob, who started his off-grid life on the hippy trail in the sixties, driving over-land to Afghanistan and bringing back the first Afghan coats to the London fashion scene. Now he lives in a wood, still making jewellery and living in his van. For him, there's adventure in every aspect of his life, even the washing up, especially if you have to do it in 'horizontal snow'.

Goffee-the-Clown has built himself an idyllic cottage, but somehow he can't bring himself to move in. He prefers the simplicity of his pale blue retro caravan with its wood-burner and collection of spider-webs, idyllically situated on the bank of the River Usk.

There are the Hoopers, a family of four who run an efficient small-holding as carbon-lightly and self sufficiently as is possible. They did have a brief spell in a house, but despite the fascinations of the washing machine, they were delighted to be back living off-grid up a mountain.

And there's Briar, who has just moved in to her new home, a yurt she has built herself, snugly insulated with duvets and brightly-coloured rugs and fabrics. Everything she needs is to hand, and there's water from the spring nearby. Knowing she can rely on her own strength and skill to live anywhere makes her happy and gives her confidence. And the cost? This luxurious construction cost her roughly twenty quid to build.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

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Helen Mark visits the Iron-Age Hillfort in Oswestry, Shropshire to discover why it's the "Stonehenge of the Iron Age" and how plans for housing might affect the landscape. Dr Rachel Pope tells Helen why the size and scale of the Western entrance ramparts help make the Hillfort one of the most important Iron-Age monuments in England, and why it's a symbol for community and trade rather than defence. Dr George Nash explains how the site was used to train soldiers in trench warfare and mortar practice during World War One. John Waine links this to soldier and poet Wilfred Owen who returned to his home-town of Oswestry for training and may have written 'Storm' in the shadow of the Hillfort. Helen meets Sarah Gibson of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and goes in search of Yellowhammers and Linnets which nest in the ramparts, and finds out how the Violet Oil Beetle hitches a lift on the backs of bees. Following Shropshire Council's decision to include a piece of land near the Hillfort in their plan for development, Bill Klemperer of Historic England explains how they hope to minimise its impact should an application for housing be made. But for Rachel Pope the Hillfort has so many tales to tell that any erosion to the landscape around it would devalue its setting.

Producer: Toby Field.

Helen Mark visits the Iron Age hillfort in Oswestry, Shropshire.

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Felicity Evans visits the autumnal orchards of Herefordshire and discovers how centuries of cider production have shaped this landscape. For at least 350 years there has been cider production in this area and there are over 800 orchards across the Wye Valley, which make a significant contribution to the beautiful countryside.

Norman Stanier's family have lived in this area for generations and are deeply rooted ('scuse the pun') in the apple industry here. He shares his passion for this landscape and explains how centuries ago these local enterprises caught the eye of Gladstone's government as they sought to do away with the 'Yankee Apples' and how today, this area has become 'The Big Apple' of the UK.

Featuring visits to a variety of cider and perry producers - from small scale ametuer production to award winning artisan ciders and global scale distribution from Europes largest cider factory.

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

Orkney Energy

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Helen Mark drives a chip fat-powered car around the Orkney island of Westray as she meets the pioneers determined to turn their island into the first community in Britain to be entirely self-sufficient in energy.

The local kirk is powered by a wind turbine, holiday homes are heated by ground source heat-pumps and local farmers and fishermen are making their own fuel from cattle manure and cooking oil.

Helen also takes to the water to discover more about the enormous energy resource contained within the tides and currents of the Orkney Islands.

Can a parade of new gadgets harness the power without disturbing the birds and mammals that feed in the rich waters of the Pentland Firth?

Helen Mark meets the Scottish islanders determined to become self-sufficient in energy.

Helen Mark meets the Scottish islanders determined they become self-sufficient in energy.

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Helen Mark meets the Scottish islanders determined to become self-sufficient in energy.

Orkney Wildlife In Crisis2016080420160806 (R4)

The Orkney Isles are one of the best places for wildlife in the country. Species such as seals and puffins which are hard to find in other parts of the UK can often be spotted in Orkney with ease. Helen Mark visits to discover for herself the incredibly rich beaches, cliff tops and moorland on the islands. Despite the display of rare species on offer Helen finds that even here marine life is increasingly threatened by an array of problems and once thriving populations are now in decline. She talks to Martin Gray, the Orkney beachcomber who has dedicated his life to cleaning up the shores of his home. She learns how to capture the flight of the Arctic Tern on paper with artist Tim Wooton. Helen visits the 'sea bird city' at Marwick Head and discovers how their decline, as well as that of the harbour seal, is being tracked using mobile technology. Can conservationists learn enough about the feeding habits of the most threatened species to halt the decline? The nature lovers of Orkney continue to hope they can.

Orkney's incredible wildlife is under threat. Helen Mark discovers how technology can help

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Caz Graham goes in search of Cumbria's regular visiting ospreys.

Caz Graham goes in search of Cumbria's regular visiting ospreys at a selection of locations in the Lake District.

Once extinct in England, Ospreys are now thriving in the UK. Breeding pairs are well established in Scotland and for several years they have become regular visitors to the Lake District.

Caz travels to Foulshaw Moss, a nature reserve on the side of the busy A590, just south of Kendal, where a nesting pair have made their home and are raising three chicks. Whilst there she encounters a host of rare butterflies, dragonflies and moths, along with a big fat toad sheltering from the summer sunshine under a corrugated iron canopy. She also finds several slow worms trying to keep cool and unnoticed by predators that maybe roaming.

A few miles from Foulsahw Moss is Esthwaite Water and here Caz meets with Natalie Cooper from the National Trust. Natalie recounts the relationship Beatrix Potter had with the area and in particular Estwaite Water itself as it is just a short distance from Hill Top Farm, where she once lived.

Then Caz takes to the water, cutting through Jeremy Fisher's lily-pads as she goes in search of the lake's own resident Ospreys, and visits the parts of the lake that the birds are known to hunt. But will she find them?

Presenter: Caz Graham

Producer: Martin Poyntz-Roberts.

Ospreys Of Rutland Water

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Our growing population in the UK is creating more demand for water and so several new reservoirs are planned and others extended.

Helen Mark explores Rutland Water to investigate the controversy it caused in the 1970s when plans to flood two villages and vast swathes of farmland were announced.

Now it is home to thousands of wildlife species, including the rare osprey.

Helen finds out about the success of the reintroduction project there and gets within touching distance of three new chicks as they are ringed.

But once again farmland has been sacrificed for the lagoons.

She explores how well new species are taking to the man-made pools and investigates who wins in the battle for food, water and wildlife.

Helen Mark looks at the battle between water supply and wildlife at Rutland Water.

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Helen Mark looks at the battle between water supply and wildlife at Rutland Water.

Owenstown

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The philanthropist Robert Owen brought about sweeping social reforms in his model village of New Lanark.

Workers in the mill town were given improved housing and working conditions while the children were taken out of the mills and schooled instead.

But his vision for a self-sufficient community was never fully realised in his lifetime.

Matt Baker explores new plans for Owenstown, a new town of 20,000 planned just a few miles from New Lanark.

The co-operative society will be encouraged to foster a sense of community and the town will be carbon neutral, generating its own power from wind and waste.

Matt also visits the nearby village of Rigside; once riding high on the jobs and prosperity of the coal pit, it is now facing severe decline and hopes that some of the excitement and prosperity from Owenstown will benefit their area.