Alexandra Harris presents a cultural history of the cold and how it has shaped the British. With the help of poets and writers including Simon Armitage, A.S. Byatt, Katherine Swift and Adam Gopnik Alex looks at the way our literature began with the cold in poems like 'The Seafarer' and 'The Wanderer'. Making winter a synonym for age and endurance the Anglo-Saxons wrote poetry mesmerised by the beauty and horror of cold. In Yorkshire Simon Armitage discusses his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight imagining the Pennines crossed by Gawain, hung with icicles on his hunt for the Green Knight. And the gardener Katherine Swift takes us on a winter tour of her garden in Shropshire.