Episodes

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A Circus Of Puffins On The Isle Of May2020062520200627 (R4)Every year on Scotland's Isle of May, thousands of puffins return from a winter at sea.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Every year on Scotland's Isle of May, thousands of puffins return from a winter at sea to mate in burrows underground. As they arrive in spring, so do a team of ornithologists and conservationists and in this programme the team are joined by presenters Emily Knight and Becky Ripley who make a series of visits throughout the season to follow the breeding season and live the life of a puffin researcher, spending their days in the company of the clowns of the sea on this remote island with a captivating history.

Producer: Tom Bonnett

A Year In Roald Dahl Country2019011020190112 (R4)As a new year begins the countryside can seem a bleak place. The writer Roald Dahl recommends staying in a hot bath and contemplating the joys of the natural world which are to come. Helen Mark visits Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire to see the beech woods which feature in books like 'Fantastic Mr Fox' and 'Danny Champion of the World' and the village itself which appears in 'Matilda' and 'The BFG'. In his last book 'My Year' Dahl looks back on a lifetime of adventure in the countryside, Helen discovers the wildlife, people and places which inspired him in the Chilterns landscape and looks for some of those natural sights which we can all look forward in the coming year.

Great Missenden is Roald Dahl country. Helen Mark discovers the writers love of nature.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Arnos Vale Cemetery2019112120191123 (R4)For the first time, Open Country is entirely based at a cemetery. Helen Mark explores Arnos Vale in Bristol - forty-five acres of green space and woodland which provide a vital wildlife corridor in the city. First established 180 years ago as a 'garden cemetery' with architecture in the style of classical Greece, Arnos Vale quickly became the fashionable place for Victorian Bristolians to be buried. It was one of the first places in England to install a crematorium, a state-of-the-art development in its day. But during the latter part of the 20th century it fell into disrepair. Neglected and overgrown, it almost closed for good. A campaign to save it has resulted in a cemetery which today is much more than just a place to bury the dead. As Helen finds out, it has a whole life of its own. Wildlife thrives in the trees and undergrowth which almost swallowed the gravestones during the years of neglect. Now restored as a working cemetery, it also has a cafe and a shop, and is a venue for everything from yoga classes and craft fairs to film screenings and even weddings.

Producer: Emma Campbell

Helen Mark explores the landscape of Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ash To Ash2018112220181124 (R4)Ash trees are prolific in our landscapes and have long held an important place in our culture. Their long, straight trunks have been shaped into spears, wheels, oars and arrows amongst many other tools which have aided our evolution. The tree has also been revered for its healing powers in the past but today it is the ash itself which is in danger. Ash dieback was first found in the UK in 2012 and it is now found across the UK. Most of our ash trees will disappear from the landscape in the next few decades so in Kent, where the disease has already had a devastating impact, the 'Ash Project' has been set up to remember the tree and its cultural importance. Helen Mark visits to see 'Ashes to Ashes' a sculpture by Ackroyd and Harvey made from ash at White Horse Wood and finds out about attempts to save the ash trees which show signs of immunity in the hope that we might be able to return ash to our landscapes in the future.

Ash trees are dying from ash dieback. Helen Mark hears how Kent is preserving their memory

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ballooning In Bristol2017081720170819 (R4)Helen Mark takes flight at the International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Balnakeil Craft Village2015123120160102 (R4)Helen Mark visits Balnakeil Craft Village in Sutherland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Barton-upon-humber Clay Pits2017011220170114 (R4)Helen Mark discovers why flooded clay pits make up the landscape of Barton-upon-Humber.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Bbc Monitoring At Caversham2017070620170708 (R4)Caz Graham visits BBC Monitoring - the Berkshire mansion that eavesdrops on the world.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Bellaghy - Seamus Heaney's Homeplace2016090820160910 (R4)Helen Mark travels to Bellaghy to discover poet Seamus Heaney's 'Homeplace'.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Bell-ringing In Devon2017110920171111 (R4)Mary Ward-Lowery finds out why bell-ringing is different in Devon.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Belvoir Castle And Its 'capability' Brown Landscape2016120120161203 (R4)Helen Mark explores the completed 'Capability' Brown gardens at Belvoir Castle.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ben Shieldaig2020071620200718 (R4)Helen Mark learns about a Scottish mountain and the village that nestles in it's shadow.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

On the West Coast of Scotland, the village of Shieldaig nestles in the shadow of a mountain. On the steep sides of Ben Shieldaig is a very rare habitat called temperate rainforest. Under the trees the air is humid and the rocks are soft with moss.

Recently, the mountain has been bought by the Woodland Trust, which aims to cover the whole area in trees through a combination of natural regeneration and some planting.

Unable to leave her home in lockdown, Helen Mark meets locals online for a virtual tour of this magical place. She learns about the history of the village and its once isolated community, and find out what the future will hold.

Produced by Heather Simons

Produced by Heather Simons
Image : Steve Carter

Benjamin Britten's Aldeburgh2018112920181201 (R4)The composer Benjamin Britten is closely associated with the Suffolk coast at Aldeburgh where he lived and worked for most of his life. This episode of Open Country explores how this landscape and the sea inspired some of Britten's most famous work. Lucy Walker from the Britten-Pears Foundation describes how Britten became rooted in Suffolk and how important it was for him to write music specifically for the people and places in Aldeburgh. Two of Britten's well-known operas Billy Budd and Peter Grimes are about people who made their living from the sea - we hear from fishermen in Aldeburgh about how the industry has changed since Britten's day.

Britten often walked along Aldeburgh beach to think and compose in his head. An open stretch of this shingle ridge just north of the town is now home to the Scallop, Maggi Hambling's 15-foot stainless steel sculpture dedicated to Britten. Maggi tells the story of how Scallop was inspired by Britten and his achievements, and the row that erupted in the local community after it was installed.

Producer: Sophie Anton

An exploration of how the sea and Suffolk coast inspired Benjamin Britten's music

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Biodiversity At Heathrow2016072120160723 (R4)Helen Mark visits Heathrow to discover how the airport encourages biodiversity.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Birmingham Tree City Of The World2020042320200425 (R4)Helen Mark finds out why Birmingham is so obsessed with trees.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Birmingham is one of only fifty-nine cities around the globe to be awarded the status of 'Tree City of the World'. This is an international framework for a healthy, sustainable urban forestry programme, an award that's all down to the passion of Birmingham's citizens for trees.

Helen Mark meets tree planters young and old from near and far; tree wardens, who are kind of like traffic wardens, but for trees (and just as fierce: really, don't mess with their trees); an academic who runs the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (he really loves trees) and an arboriculturalist who gets to work at 6.30 every morning in his mission to extend Birmingham's canopy cover. Helen finds out why the city's tree-focussed ambitions go well beyond just planting trees. All these people know you have to take care of trees for their whole life, not just plonk them in the ground. They also know that urban trees suffer more than those planted in the countryside, so they need extra tenderness.

Helen also finds herself in a once-famous garden that has re-wilded itself. Once the immaculate BBC show garden of TV gardener Percy Thrower, this patch of tree-laden wilderness-heaven is in a secret corner of Birmingham's Botanical Gardens. She thinks on the whole, he'd approve of the trees. Although maybe not the weeds.

Recorded in early March.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Bishop Auckland, History In Production2016070720160709 (R4)Helen Mark explores the history of Bishop Auckland as theatrical production Kynren opens.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Blencathra: The People's Mountain2017050420170506 (R4)Blencathra in the Lakes has become the People's Mountain. Helen Mark discovers why.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Border Country2017112320171125 (R4)As Brexit gathers pace, Helen Mark explores the landscape of the Irish border.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Brett Westwood And Wyre Forest2021010720210109 (R4)Brett Westwood and Rosemary Winnall are in Wyre Forest in search of wild service trees.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Brett Westwood's Summer Nature Diary2020082720200829 (R4)Brett Westwood shares his audio-diary of the natural world in summer.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Bristol And The Transatlantic Slave Trade2019121920191221 (R4)Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley examines how the transatlantic slave trade has shaped Bristol and meets some of the historians, artists and cultural figures who are redressing how the legacy of slavery is presented and how the city's story is told.

Jasmine speaks to Olivette Otele, the newly appointed Professor of the History of Slavery at the University of Bristol about why the University has decided to examine its past and what this might mean for the city's wider approach to its colonial history.

Jasmine meets Stacey Olika, Donnell Asare and Ade Sowemimo who are working on a project at Bristol Museum to tell the story behind how some of the objects on display which they hope will present a clearer and more honest narrative about the cultural significance of the objects and the legacy of Britain's colonial past.

Historian Madge Dresser has been talking about Bristol's relationship with the slave trade for some time and she tells Jasmine that after one of her talks in the late 1990's someone defaced the city's statue of Edward Colston.

Lynn Mareno talks about how when she was growing-up in Bristol in the 1960s she was regularly subjected to racism, and how Bristol needs to deal with its past in order to move forwards..

Edson Burton is an writer, performer and historian and he tells Jasmine that whilst this work has been going on for years there have been significant steps forward in recent years, but he cautions against presenting these issue as the opinion of one united voice.

Jasmine ends the programme in Henbury at the grave of Scipio Africanus, one of the few recorded enslaved people who lived in Bristol.

Presenter: Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley
Producer: Toby Field

Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley examines how the transatlantic slave trade has shaped Bristol.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Lynne Mareno talks about how when she was growing-up in Bristol in the 1960s she was regularly subjected to racism, and how Bristol needs to deal with its past in order to move forwards..

Canna2021040820210410 (R4)Canna is four miles long and one mile wide. It has no doctor and the primary school closed a few years ago. The islanders depend on a weekly ferry service for post, food and medical supplies. Fiona Mackenzie and her husband, Donald, have lived on the island for six years. Donald is the harbourmaster and Fiona is the archivist for the priceless collection of Gaelic music, photographs and literature stored in Canna House. She's also an accomplished folk singer - the ideal guide for an Open Country visit to the island.

The folklorist and Gaelic scholar, John Lorne Campbell, bought the island in the 1950s. His family was part of Scotland's landed gentry, but he was opposed to sporting estates and absentee landlords and wanted to develop Canna as a flourishing, Gaelic-speaking community. He lived in the island's Big House with his wife, Margaret Fay Shaw - a Gaelic song collector. Canna House became a bohemian Hebridean retreat with a constant flow of colourful visitors including Compton Mackenzie, the author of Whiskey Galore. Campbell's vision for Canna never fully materialised and he gave the island and its archive to the National Trust for Scotland in 1981. It is run as a sheep and moor farm and has a population of just 14.

As well as her archive work, Fiona Mackenzie gives visitors impromptu history and nature walks. She and Fiona Hutton, owner of the island's only guesthouse, take the listeners on a tour of some of the island's sights of historic interest. Fiona and her neighbours also discuss the rewards and challenges of living in a small island community, particularly during the Covid lockdowns.

Down at the shoreline, she finishes the programme with a treat for the listener, a 'Song for Attracting Seals' –.and she promises it does work!

Fiona Mackenzie on the history, music and landscape of the Isle of Canna in the Hebrides.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Capability Brown At 3002016072820160730 (R4)Helen Mark finds out why Capability Brown is heralded as the Shakespeare of gardening.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Changing Seasons2020050720200509 (R4)Helen Mark looks at the changing seasons on her family farm near Limavady in N Ireland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The signs of spring are everywhere, transforming our gardens and fields with splashes of colour and signs of new life. Unable to travel to explore new locations and landscapes as she normally would for Open Country, Helen Mark takes a walk around her own family farm on the edges of Lough Foyle in Northern Ireland, spotting the signs of seasonal change. She talks to wildlife experts and local farmers, finding out how the rhythm of the seasons affects their relationship with the land.

Produced by Emma Campbell.

Changing Tides At Morecambe Bay2019041120190413 (R4)The Eden Project plans to bring its distinctive building design and appreciation for biodiversity to Morecambe. It's hoped that this Eden Project of the North would not only bring many visitors to the wider Morecambe Bay area but that it would also help us to understand the incredible ecosystem within the bay.

Until now the Bay has often been feared after tragedies such as when 23 cockle pickers were drowned in 2004. It is the UK's largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sands and this ecosystem creates a feeding ground and habitat for many species as well as supporting a unique method of fishing on foot and tractor. Many of those fishermen know how to work and cross the bay safely but Cedric Robinson is the man intrusted as 'The Queen's Guide to the Sands'. In this role he has been helping people cross the bay for 55 years and he has seen the bay changing.

Helen Mark meets Cedric and hears how the Eden Project and the Morecambe Bay Partnership hope to transform the bay into a place of fascination for all with landscape art, iconic buildings such as The Midland Hotel and proposed Eden Project and the stories of those who know the bay best.

Morecambe Bay is changing. Helen Mark hears how buildings and artworks will set the tone.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Childhood Holidays In Pembrokeshire2018083020180901 (R4)Charlotte Smith goes on a trip down memory lane, visiting St Davids in Pembrokeshire. It's the area where she spent many of her childhood summer holidays - but a place she hasn't been back to in forty years. She meets the family still running the farm and campsite where she used to stay as a child, learns how to forage for food in rock pools along the shore, and discovers that the 21st century has found a new use for a disused slate quarry. Life may be very different from how it was in the 1970s, but Charlotte finds nostalgia in the unchanging nature of the Welsh landscape.

Produced by Emma Campbell.

Charlotte Smith revisits Pembrokeshire, where she spent many of her childhood holidays.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Cleeve Common2020090320200905 (R4)At 330 meters about sea-level, Cleeve Common in Gloucestershire is the highest point of the Cotswold Hills. It's become famous as the backdrop to the racing at the Cheltenham Festival, and Sybil Ruscoe first saw it from a helicopter while covering the Festival for BBC 5 Live.

In this programme she re-visits the common, where thousands of years of history is etched into the landscape. From Roman stone quarries to an Iron Age meeting place...from the original racecourse to a modern golf course.

She finds out about the wildlife that calls the common home - from skylarks to yellow meadow ants - and learns about the centuries old balancing act between recreation, agriculture and conservation.

Produced by Heather Simons

Picture credit: Michael Bates

Sybil Ruscoe visits Cleeve Common, the highest point of the Cotswold Hills.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Climbing High Pike With Sir Chris Bonington2017110220171104 (R4)Mountaineer Chris Bonington takes Helen Mark to his favourite view in the Lake District.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Closed Country: A Spring Audio-diary With Brett Westwood2020043020200502 (R4)Spring - an audio diary with Brett Westwood

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

It seems hard to believe, when so many of us are coping with lockdown and more, that the power of nature continues unfettered: Spring, in all its fecundity, is altering our landscape as it always does. To chart this time of great change we gave the naturalist, Brett Westwood, a microphone at the end of March and asked him to record a nature diary. He lives in urban Stourbridge in the West Midlands, which doesn't sound an obvious setting for a spring journal but actually it's perfect: What he sees at close quarters, with his expert eye, is available for us all if we know where and how to look. His sightings include feather-footed flower bees who live in the brickwork of our houses, buzzards that might steal frogspawn from your pond, bee-flies which coat their eggs with dust before shooting them at the nests of solitary bees, and mistletoe... which doesn't sound as intriguing, but it really is: Brett can explain why our behaviour is causing it to spread further than ever before.

Note: The podcast contains extra material that couldn't be squeezed into the original programme: see the 'related links' box below for how to access and download the BBC Sounds App.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Closed Country: Changing Seasons20200507
Closed Country: Helen Glover In Her Buckinghamshire Back Garden.2020040220200404 (R4)We were going to kick off this series with Helen Glover exploring Newlyn in Cornwall: on an RNLI lifeboat, and with open-water swimmers... However, at the last minute, Covid19 stymied our plans. Instead of the wild open countryside of Cornwall, she's reporting from the confines of her back garden, on the River Thames, in Buckinghamshire. Luckily, she's married to the naturalist Steve Backshall, so she has access to a ready-made expert who helps to explain the wildlife in their midst.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Helen Glover discovers what's in her own back garden with the help of Steve Backshall.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Closed Country? With Helen Glover In Her Berkshire Back Garden20200402We were going to kick off this series with Helen Glover exploring Newlyn in Cornwall: on an RNLI lifeboat, and with open-water swimmers... However, at the last minute, Covid19 stymied our plans. Instead of the wild open countryside of Cornwall, she's reporting from the confines of her back garden in Berkshire. Luckily, she's married to Steve Backshall, so she has access to a ready-made expert who helps her explore what wildlife can be found in a small-scale domestic garden.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Helen Glover discovers what's in her own back garden with the help of Steve Backshall.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Community Resilience In Toppesfield2019111420191116 (R4)Across the country, rural communities are finding their local services under threat, but in the north Essex village of Toppesfield, residents are finding creative ways to keep their local amenities open and village life thriving.

From the volunteer run village shop to the community funded pub and locally founded microbrewery, the villagers of Toppesfield are working hard to keep this rural community fired up with community spirit and much needed local establishments. Helen Mark meets the locals who have generated and supported these projects and the organisations that are on hand to help, to find out what lessons could be shared with other rural villages.

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock

Helen Mark meets the thriving community of Toppesfield.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Coventry Edgelands2018041220180414 (R4)Helen Mark explores the landscape in between the city of Coventry and the countryside which surrounds it. These 'edgelands' are often ignored yet they are also places which inspire artists and writers and can tell us about how we live today. Tile Hill is the place which the artist George Shaw depicts in his work and inspired by him poet Liz Berry has written about these 'edgelands' and the stories they contain. Jonny Bark is a photographer who has recently explored this theme in his work around Coventry and writer JD Taylor has spent time travelling around these overlooked places in search of who we are and how we live in 21st Century Britain.

Helen Mark visits Coventry to discover its Edgelands, the places in between landscapes.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Darwin's Landscape Laboratory2019082920190831 (R4)How Charles Darwin used the plants in his garden to develop his theory of evolution.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark goes to Down House in Kent, the home of the naturalist Charles Darwin, to find out how he used plants in his garden and the surrounding landscape to develop his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Darwin lived at Down from 1842 until his death about 40 years later. His famous theory was published in On The Origin of Species in 1859, some 20 years after his voyage on the HMS Beagle. Head Gardener Antony O'Rourke explains how Darwin went on a 'voyage of the mind' at Down, and spent much of his life devising experiments using local flora and fauna to rigorously test his theory. Darwin made forays into the surrounding chalk down landscape to observe native flowering plants like orchids and primroses. We visit the Down Bank nature reserve to hear why Kent is such a hotspot for orchids and how it provided the inspiration for the final paragraph of On The Origin of Species.

Producer: Sophie Anton

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

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Dawn Chorus Across Europe2016051220160514 (R4)Brett Westwood follows the dawn chorus from east to west across Europe.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Dawn Walk2020072320200725 (R4)It's just before dawn in late May when we join wildlife cameraman John Aitchison as he steps out of his home to be greeted by a rich chorus of birdsong before strolling across his garden towards the woodland and then the shoreline beyond at the start of this coastal walk near his home in West Scotland. As John approaches the shore he spies one of his regular neighbours; an otter, scouring the weed near the edge of the shoreline for food. The otter is not alone, John also spots a roe deer swimming near the far shore, as well as a group of Canada geese which are wary of the otter and keep their distance. In a shelter belt of trees, John pauses to enjoy the songs of a song thrush and a willow warbler; one a resident bird here all year round the other a summer visitor from Sub-Saharan Africa. Further along the shoreline, John passes a stunning bed of flag irises; vivid yellow against a green background. Out at sea a group of porpoises dive for fish. As the sun breaks through the skyline there's another wonderful surprise when a white tailed eagle appears; a huge bird with a 6 foot wingspan which lands briefly on a rock in the shallows. As he approaches the end of his walk, John makes a discovery near the water's edge, is serenaded by skylarks and has a surprising close encounter with a very special mammal. Producer Sarah Blunt

A coastal dawn walk with wildlife filmmaker John Aitchison in West Scotland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Eilean Shona2020112620201128 (R4)Eilean Shona, a small wooded island in Loch Moidart, on the West Coast of Scotland, is owned by Vanessa Branson, sister of Richard.

Over many years she has restored deserted crofters' cottages, the schoolhouse and the Big House, replanting trees and managing the wildlife. It's famed for a unique collection of pine trees planted in the 19th century by a former owner, Captain Thomas Swinburne. Vanessa runs artists workshops and retreats as well as a holiday business. The island has a famous literary connection with J.M Barrie who is reputed to have written the screen play for 'Peter Pan' while staying there.

Vanessa tells Helen Mark that living in such a remote, exposed part of the UK has made her much more conscious of the threat of climate change. She talks about the growing number of severe winter storms and dry hot summers which are increasing the risks of tree diseases and forest fires.

Vanessa says she is very conscious of controversies over Scottish land ownership and describes herself and her family as Eilean Shona's 'custodians', preserving and looking after the environment and respecting its past. She believes it also has a valuable role as a cultural centre where writers, artists and film makers can work.

James MacLellan, grew up on Eilean Shona. His family worked there for generations and he recalls being the only pupil in the island's school. He remembers helping his father when it was a working estate and he talks about the pressure on families living in tied cottages.

Jonty and Sarah Watt have recently given up their commuter lifestyle in the south of England to become the island's estate managers. They talk about the challenge and attraction of moving from Sussex to the Hebrides.

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Kathleen Carragher

Eilean Shona, once a Highland crofting island, now a nature reserve and holiday retreat

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Eliza Carthy In Robin Hood's Bay2017081020170812 (R4)Folk singer Eliza Carthy unearths the secrets of Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Exercise Shallow Grave2019070420190706 (R4)Mary-Ann Ochota joins Archaeologist of the Year, Richard Osgood and his team of veterans and local archaeologists as they unearth Saxon artefacts and develop life changing skills.

An idyllic site in Gloucestershire has yielded some important 6th Century artifacts and is vulnerable both to ploughing and ‘night hawking'. But what's going on above ground is just as valuable as what lies beneath it.

Lead by former Marine Dickie Bennet, ‘Breaking Ground Heritage (BGH)' uses archaeology and heritage to develop projects that encourage physical and psychological well-being amongst former members of the armed forces. Working alongside trained archaeologists, participants bring their skills of attention to detail and resilience whilst also building their own recovery pathways, empowering them to regain control of their lives.

Produced by Nicola Humphries
Presented by Mary-Ann Ochota
Photography by Harvey Mills

More information on Breaking Ground Heritage can be found at www.breakinggroundheritage.org.uk

Mary-Ann Ochota joins former members of the armed forces as they unearth Saxon artefacts.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

An idyllic site in Gloucestershire has yielded some important 6th Century artefacts and is vulnerable both to ploughing and ‘night hawking'. But what's going on above ground is just as valuable as what lies beneath it.

More information on Breaking Ground Heritage can be found at www.breakinggroundheritage.org.uk

Family Monsters Garden In Swaffham And Chelsea2019071820190720 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Escape Project in Swaffham, Norfolk, to find out why a group of volunteers are helping create a garden full of monsters for the Chelsea Flower Show.

These monsters represent the kinds of problems facing every family, and a garden is the perfect place to talk about them together. The Family Monsters Garden, designed by Alistair Bayford, has been inspired by 'Escape', a community allotment which welcomes people to spend time outdoors to benefit their wellbeing and especially their mental health. Escape is funded by the charity Family Action which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The 'family monsters' theme is designed to start a national conversation about some of the family problems we may all face, but rarely talk about.

At Escape you can plant seeds, do a bit of weeding, harvest vegetables and fruit, and make friends over Susan's homemade soup or pizza baked in the handmade, dragon-covered clay pizza oven. Although if the mason bees are still nesting in the clay, you'll have to wait another week or so. It's a wildlife haven and a soothingly busy, green place to be.

Sometimes a volunteer (like Gavin) gets so hooked on gardening they take up their own allotment. Volunteer Sarah has found she's become a bit of a celebrity because of the Chelsea buzz, and William is hoping the limelight will turn into extra funding to support the project, which has been a lifeline and a source of joy for him. Team leaders Karen and Katy know that long after memories of the Flower Show have faded, they'll still be planting lettuce and purslane, with their green-fingered extended family. Helen visits before and after the show to find out about its longer-term impact.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Helen Mark visits the Escape Project in Swaffham as they prepare for Chelsea Flower Show.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark visits the Escape Project in Swaffham, Norfolk, to find out why a group of volunteers are helping create a garden full of monsters for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Helen Mark visits the Escape Project in Swaffham as they prepare for Chelsea Flower Show.

Helen Mark visits the Escape Project in Swaffham as they prepare for Chelsea Flower Show.

Finding Fossils On The Jurassic Coast2018011120180113 (R4)The crumbling Jurassic Coast in Dorset has already helped us to discover some of the most interesting species from deep time, revolutionising our understanding of dinosaurs and the prehistoric landscape. The latest important fossil to be found along this stretch of coastline is not a huge dinosaur but a tiny mammal. Grant Smith recently found the fossilised teeth of a small rodent like creature which date back to the early Cretaceous period, around 140 million years ago. The sophistication of these teeth have made scientists reassess the time frame for mammal development as they indicate a far more developed mammal species who would have lived alongside the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period.

The new species which Grant unearthed is mankind's earliest ancestor and has been named 'Durlstotherim Newmani', after keen amateur palaeontologist and local landlord Charlie Newman. The landlord of the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers founded his own fossil museum in the pub, and pointed Grant to the location in Durlston Bay at which he found the specimen.

The rich history of scientists and academics being ably assisted by passionate amateurs on this coastline is echoed further down the coast at Kimmeridge where Steve Etches, a retired plumber, has just opened his incredible collection of fossils to the public at the Etches Collection. It is a history of collaboration which goes right back to one of the earliest fossil hunters Mary Anning and as Helen Mark discovers the work of the people who live along this coastline in enhancing our understanding of deep time is now being rightly celebrated.

Helen Mark discovers the story of man's earliest ancestor on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Fisherwomen2021042220210424 (R4)The voices of the women who mend the nets, gut the fish and fix the lines of Britain's fishing fleets.

“I started at seventeen as a v-boner. I was everywhere, on the barding, skinning, heading. My last job was in defrost. I was the only one woman in defrost.” Dawn Walton

This rarely heard community have been recorded by landscape photographer Craig Easton and include a trawler skipper called Sheila Hirsch with a gripping account of 'going over the wall' or into the sea. "I've been lucky," she says. "I've been over the wall three times, and each time I've been alright."

Produced in Bristol by Miles Warde

The voices of the women who mend the nets and gut the fish.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The voices of the women who mend the nets, gut the fish and fix the lines of our fleets

Folklore And Ghost Stories In Northumberland2019103120191102 (R4)Jez Lowe is a singer and writer and in this Halloween episode of Open Country he explores the slightly sinister song and story of Northumberland. This is a county filled with history; from Roman walls to Border battles, and that may be one reason why it is also a place of legends, mythical creatures and ghostly stories. In Northumberland National Park Jez learns about the history beyond the iconic Hadrian's Wall. Further into the park he learns about the murderous Duergarr and meets Rachel Unthank to hear about the traditional song that depict maidens turned into serpents and cruel sisters. The mist and moors and castles of the county lend themselves to tales and songs with magic at their heart and at Featherstone Castle Jez uncovers the historical truth behind some of Northumberland's most spooky tales and finds out why we all love a good ghost story.

On Halloween, Jez Lowe explores Northumberland's rich folklore, song and ghost stories.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Football And Fairies Around Bradford2018010420180106 (R4)Helen Mark uncovers fantastic fairy stories and forgotten football legends in the landscape around Bradford. She also visits UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 'model' village of Saltaire, with Salts Mill at its centre, now home to David Hockney's extraordinary series of paintings 'The Arrival of Spring'.

Helen meets archaeologist Jason Wood, who has excavated the former football ground of Bradford Park Avenue, along with memories of footballing legends, including the star goalie who was regularly showered with safety pins after an embarrassing incident with the elastic in his football shorts. Sure enough, the dig turned up nappy pins around the goal mouth.

She has her photo taken at Cottingley Beck, where the Cottingley fairies caused a sensation in the early twentieth century, when two young girls took photographs of the fairies they saw at the bottom of the garden. News of the fairies travelled all over the world and the story has never quite been laid to rest. And early example of the transmission of fake news?

Helen meets Zoe Silver, whose father Jonathan bought Salts Mill after it closed in 1986, to find out how her family continues to protect the extraordinary original vision of Titus Salt, who built the mill and the village of Saltaire in 1953. Artist David Hockney was born in Bradford and was a close friend of Jonathan Silver, which is why so many of his paintings, including landscapes of the local countryside, are on show at Salts Mill.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Helen Mark finds football and fairy stories in the landscape around Bradford.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Frank Turner And The Meon Valley20201226In 2012 punk and folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner was on top of the world. He had his first gold record, headlined his first arena show, and to top it all off he performed at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. But as the press requests and celebrity party invited poured, Frank chose to step out of the limelight and head home, back to Winchester and the Meon Valley where he spent the first part of his life, to walk the South Downs Way.

For this programme Frank returns to the area to find out more about its rich Saxon history and its unique wildlife habitats, and to explore how this area shaped him as a person and as a musician, with songs like 'Take Me Home' and 'Wessex Boy' drawing so strongly from the landscape. There's even time for him to speak to his Mum!

Producer: Toby Field

Frank Turner returns to the area in which he spent his early life, the Meon Valley.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Gainsborough's Nodding Donkeys2016040720160409 (R4)Helen Mark visits the nodding donkeys of the Gainsborough Trough.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

George Eliot Country2019042520190427 (R4)‘She was a woman ahead of her time, she pushed every boundary.'

For this week's Open County, Helen Mark heads to the Warwickshire landscape of Nuneaton where she walks in the footsteps of one of Britain's greatest authors and through the locals who are celebrating her legacy today, Helen comes face to face with the woman herself – 200 years after her birth.

Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880) is best known by her pen name George Eliot. An English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era, her novels reflected the landscape and the lives of those she lived amongst. 200 years on from her birth we meet the community that continue to celebrate her life today and the shifting landscape that still holds traces of Mary Anne's rural beginnings.

Presented by Helen Mark
Readings by Eleanor Charman from Sudden Impulse Theatre
Produced by Nicola Humphries

Helen Mark visits Nuneaton to follow in the footsteps of Victorian novelist George Eliot

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880) is best known by her pen name George Eliot. An English novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era, her novels reflected the landscape and the lives of those she lived amongst. 2oo years on from her birth we meet the community that still celebrates her life today and the shifting landscape that still holds traces of Mary Anne's rural beginnings.

Gertrude Jekyll At 1752018051020180512 (R4)Gertrude Jekyll was born in the late 19th Century and, as a talented gardener and craftswoman, managed to forge a highly successful path in a male-dominated world.

This year marks the 175th anniversary of Gertrude's birth. Helen Mark heads to sunny Godalming in Surrey, to visit the home and gardens where Ms Jekyll defined her gardening style, bred new plant varieties, developed a life-long partnership with the architect Edwin Lutyens, and became the 'celebrity gardener' of her day.

Uncovering Gertrude Jekyll's talent, determination and focus, and considering her legacy today, we look at the impact this iconic gardener has had on Britain's private landscapes.

Helen Mark celebrates the 175th anniversary of the birth of garden guru Gertrude Jekyll.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ghost Ponds And Underwater Songs2020102220201024 (R4)Richard Waddingham, a Norfolk farmer has been the inspiration for a remarkable project which is recovering and restoring Norfolk's ponds. Norfolk has more ponds than any other English county; around 23,000 ponds. In North Norfolk many of these ponds were created in the 17-19th centuries as marl pits to provide lime-rich clay to improve the soil for crops. But over the last 50 years many of these ponds have suffered neglected or been filled in, largely as a result of changes in farming practices. Today, the Norfolk Pond Project is working to recover and restore these ponds. And where there is life in a pond there is sound; for example, water boatmen, respiring plants and water beetles all produce sounds, so by listening to the underwater sounds in a pond, you can estimate its health. For one composer, this was also an opportunity to create music. Not only does a healthy pond ‘sing', but it increases the biodiversity in an area, and as Richard Waddingham first discovered and demonstrated, pond conservation and intense agriculture can coexist.
Presenter Helen Mark, Producer Sarah Blunt
For more information
www.norfolkponds.org
https://www.greenthefarm.org/see-the-ponds/

In Norfolk, ghost ponds are being recovered, restored and heard to sing once again.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

For more information www.norfolkponds.org

Gilbert White's Selborne2020110520201107 (R4)Gilbert White, born on the 18th July 1720, is one of Britain's most influential natural scientists. He is often described as the Father of Ecology and revolutionised the way people observed and interacted with Nature. His main work 'The Natural History of Selborne' which was published in 1789 and is a series of letters to fellow naturalists has never been out of print and is thought to be the fourth most published book in the English Language. 'Open Country' steps back in time as we take a tour of Gilbert White's garden and the surrounding landscape of Selborne 300 years after this pioneering naturalist and gardener was born, to explore the landscape and wildlife which so inspired him and which remarkably has changed relatively little since then. Presenter Helen Mark, Producer Sarah Blunt.

A tour of Gilbert White's Selborne 300 years after this pioneering naturalist was born.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Green Pavements2020080620200808 (R4)Why do the weeds in our pavements deserve our attention? Helen Mark presents a pavement safari in search of our urban flora. French botanist, Sophie Leguil decided to start chalking the names of plants next to them to draw people's attention to the downtrodden. Others, like Jane Perrone began to do the same thing, and gradually the urban flora is gaining a new respect. But this isn't the first time these plants have attracted interest, botanist Phil Gates tells the story of weeds, walking and worship as he reveals how some 90 years ago a young Edward Salisbury, (who was later to become Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew) discovered how seeds could be picked up and transferred vast distances on the soles of our shoes. So has the time come to show the downtrodden a little more respect? Trevor Dines of Plantlife certainly thinks so, and argues that we should be protecting our grass verges, reducing the frequency with which they are mowed and allowing the wildflowers that line our roads to grow which would enrich our environment and our well-being. Producer Sarah Blunt
Photo credit: Phil Gates

Why the plants in our pavement cracks are attracting attention as important urban flora.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Gwent Levels2018082320180825 (R4)Stretched along the northern side of the Severn Estuary, the historic and naturally rich landscape of the Gwent Levels represents the largest and most significant example in Wales of a 'hand-crafted' landscape. They are entirely the work of man, having been recurrently inundated and reclaimed from the sea from the Roman period onwards.

This stunning patchwork of natural habitats has become nationally renowned for the diverse wildlife which has made its home amongst the alluvial wetlands and intertidal mudflats. It is also home to the Lave-Net Fishermen at Blackrock, a group who have fished along the estuary for centuries.

But having been carved out by the hand of man the levels are now facing re-invention once again as plans to extend the M4 through part of the landscape are currently being debated through a local public enquiry.

Helen Mark journeys through this ever shifting area to hear the stories from those who live and work there and asks what these potential changes could mean for them.

Helen Mark visits the outstanding historic landscape of the Gwent Levels.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Halsway Manor2020020620200208 (R4)Helen Mark heads to the Quantock Hills to visit the national centre for folk arts and meet some of the people taking part in a 'Winter Warmer' celebration of music and dance. She meets musician Becki Driscoll whose track 'Cold Light' was composed in the summer house at the Manor, and asks Chief Executive Crispian Cook about the history of this residential haven for folk arts. Helen catches Moira Gutteridge for a chat just as she's about to lead a walk, and high on top of the Quantocks she speaks to Philip Comer, Chair of the 'Friends of the Quantocks' about the area, the grazing rights on common land and why it's not a good idea to feed the wild ponies. Roger and Nanette Phipps tell Helen why the spot for the Maypole is currently taken up with flower bulbs, and how according to local legend dragons may still lurk in the surrounding hills. There's also time for a spot of sword-dancing which is not as easy as it's made to look.

The music is performed by Becki Driscoll, Ted Morse, Peter and Moira Gutteridge and Mary Rhodes.

Producer: Toby Field

Helen Mark visits the national centre for folk arts which sits in the Quantock Hills.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark visits the national centre for folk arts which sits in the Quantock Hills.

Helen Baxendale Visits Belper In Derbyshire2016082520160827 (R4)Helen Baxendale visits Belper in Derbyshire to explore the traces of its industrial past.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Herodsfoot, Thankful Village2018110820181110 (R4)Helen Mark visits the 'thankful' village of Herodsfoot in Cornwall. At its centre is a war memorial that looks like any other, to the extent that most people in the village had no idea that it was not a memorial to the fallen. All thirteen of those who served in World Ward One returned alive. The story of the men of Herodsfoot is unique in Cornwall and has been made into a community play to mark the centenary. But there's another reason why the people of the village were safe from the perils of the frontline, by an accident of the Cornish landscape.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Helen Mark visits the 'thankful village' of Herodsfoot in Cornwall.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Hoylake: Green Belt And Greens2016090120160903 (R4)Helen Mark finds out how a proposed golf resort in Hoylake will affect the green belt.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Humphry Repton And His Red Books2018062820180630 (R4)On the bicentenary of Humphry Repton's death Helen Mark finds out all about the landscape gardener and his red books. Humphry Repton is the last English landscape designers of the eighteenth century, often regarded as the successor to Capability Brown. He created over 400 designs across Britain and Ireland and it was Repton who coined the phrase 'landscape gardener'.
His trademark was the red book in which he kept detailed designs and sketches. However, as Helen discovers in Norfolk where several of his designs are, the red book for his very first commission Catton Park is missing. She meets Gill Renouf, Chair of Friends of Catton Park, can she shed any light? And just how important were these red book to find out Helen goes to Sheringham Park, Repton's favourite work designed towards the end of his career and talks to Sally Bate, Vice Chair of Norfolk Garden Trust. Finally, onwards to Cromer, Northrepps where Helen meets Simon Gurney who has something very special to show Helen -the red book for Northrepps which Simon has been using to restore his Repton landscape.
So maybe with all this focus on Humphry Repton on his bicentenary year which the Garden Trust is leading, perhaps the mystery of the missing Catton Park red book might finally be solved.
The producer is Perminder Khatkar.

Helen Mark finds out about Humphry Repton the landscaper gardener and his red books.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Huw Stephens At Green Man Festival2017082420170826 (R4)Huw Stephens goes to Green Man festival to hear why music sounds best in the countryside.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

In The Bleak Midwinter: Holst's Cotswolds2019122620191228 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Cotswold village of Cranham and its surroundings: countryside that was home to the composer Gustav Holst, and now features a walking trail named after him.

Holst grew up among these gently rolling hills, and created several of his works – including the Cotswolds Symphony and his classic arrangement of In The Bleak Midwinter – thanks to inspiration gleaned from his years in the area.

Exploring his old haunts, visiting the church where he had his first job as organist and treading the same hills where Holst used to practice his trombone, Helen discovers how the landscape influenced the composer; and how his own influence lingers on in the area today.

Produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.

Helen Mark considers how composer Gustav Holst's youth in the Cotswolds shaped his work

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Inspiration On The Island Of Jura2019080120190803 (R4)The Island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides is one of the most sparsely populated places in Scotland. This dramatic and mountainous landscape is home to around 200 inhabitants but much more than it's fair share of artists, musicians, makers and writers. George Orwell chose the remote location of 'Barnhill' on the island to write his masterpiece '1984' near the end of his life. Although it is hard to detect the famous 'Paps' and seascapes in his dystopian vision it was Jura which allowed him the space to get his ideas on to paper.

Today Jura is home to a number of creative people who have found the inspiration and solitude they need to create and these musicians and makers have also found each other, forming a collective called FL:EDGE. Helen Mark meets Giles Perring, Amy Dunnachie, Kirsten Gow and Gini Dickinson to hear more about the history and future of Jura.

The Isle of Jura has inspired many artists, including George Orwell. Helen Mark hears why.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Inspired By Flowers, Lincolnshire2018042620180428 (R4)Lincolnshire is famous for vast fields of tulips, but this week Helen Mark meets people in the country who have a more personal relationship with flowers, including a family whose snowdrop wood is the location for a naming ceremony for their daughter, conducted by a Druid named Kevin. Helen contemplates the fading of memories with a Greek artist and choreographer, resident in Lincoln, who makes photographs using flower emulsions. There's a beekeeper who trains new recruits and packs her garden with as many flowers as she can to provide the bees with sustenance; a former IT manager turned English flower-grower and the only elderflower farmers in the UK.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Helen Mark meets people inspired by flowers in Lincolnshire.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Isle Of Wight: Plastic Free?2018040520180407 (R4)Ian Marchant visits The Isle of Wight looking for a plastic-free future. He helps with a beach-clean, finds out what skateboarders and sailors can contribute and visits Afton Down. Here a mountain of trash was cleared from the site of the legendary 1970 pop festival, when 600,000 people descended on the island to hear Hendrix play.

Ian also meets Father Xavier from Quarr Abbey, who has a spiritual approach to the problem of sustainability.
Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Ian Marchant visits the Isle of Wight in hope of a plastic-free future.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Jallianwala Grove: Remembering The 1919 Massacre In Amritsar2019041820190420 (R4)The first memorial to remember the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 has been created in Britain by a Sikh charity group. A hundred years ago, Brigadier General Reginald Dyer and his men opened fire and shot at thousands of unarmed people who had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh, a walled garden area in the city of Amritsar, India. Hundreds were shot dead, making this one of the darkest days in British colonial history.
Broadcaster and author Anita Anand has grown up knowing about this tragic event, as her own grandfather Ishwar Das Anand was in Amritsar that day. She meets Chan Chowdhry, the general secretary of The Pothohar Association UK, who came up with the idea to plant 1650 trees for the 100th year. For Chan, it was important to create a living breathing memorial.
This newly planted woodland memorial known as ‘Jallianwala Grove' is now part of the National Forest in an area known as Eastern Old Parks, which lies on the outskirts of the historic town of Ashby-de-la Zouch in Leicestershire. Chan sees for the first time the completed woodland memorial and tells Anita why it's important to mark this awful tragedy in the English landscape.
Anita also speaks to the National Forest's Chief Executive John Everitt, who explains the long established tradition of planting a tree to remember, commemorate or celebrate.
The producer is Perminder Khatkar.

Readings by Anita Anand 'The Patient Assassin'.

The first memorial to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre has been created in Britain.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Jarvis Cocker's Edale2019090520190907 (R4)On a wet and windy summer's day Jarvis Cocker takes you to the remote village of Edale and Kinder a landscape he has fallen in love with. He first came across the Peak District while he was a pupil in his native Sheffield and came out on a school trip which he says no–one wanted to go on. However, after two days of exploring he says something happened – something clicked in his head and he didn't want to admit it but he started to enjoy the landscape. Over the last 40 years it's a region he has regularly visited and explored and is now truly hooked.

To introduce more people to this landscape especially people from the cities, Jarvis along with artist Jeremy Deller and the National Trust who own Kinder Scout has created a trail ‘Be Kinder'. The trail winds its way along a route stretching almost two miles from the tiny railway station in Edale to the foot of the plateau of Kinder Scout to mark the 1932 mass trespass on Kinder Scout. This mass trespass was all about allowing working class people access to the countryside something Jarvis wants to rekindle as he wants everyone to discover the magic and beauty he has found in this landscape.
The presenter is Jarvis Cocker and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.
Contributors: Jeremy Deller, actress Maxine Peake, Gordon Miller and MEP Magid Magid.

Jarvis Cocker's love affair with Edale and Kinder Scout.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Journey Into Space, In Sutherland2019012420190126 (R4)Ian Marchant visits a remote boggy wilderness in Sutherland, on the north coast of Scotland, to see the spot where the UK's first spaceport is to be located.

The A'Mhoine Peninsula has been chosen as the potential site of the spaceport, which would launch small satellites into space at the rate of three a month. The UK Space Agency has given Highlands and Islands Enterprise £2.5m towards the development of the facility, which they are working on with a consortium including the US aerospace company Lockheed Martin. Their aim is to have the spaceport ready for launching in the early 2020s.

Many local people are enthusiastic about the plans, which could bring high quality jobs to an area which has been de-populating at an alarming rate. Others are angry about the plans to build on a wilderness which is unique in the world and has been virtually unchanged since the last Ice Age.

Ian meets people on both sides of the debate. What makes this landscape so special and why, given its unique status, is it the perfect location for a spaceport?

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Ian Marchant visits a boggy Highland wilderness that could be the UK's first spaceport.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Julia Blackburn And The Suffolk Coast2021012820210130 (R4)Helen Mark talks to the writer Julia Blackburn about her love of the Suffolk coastline.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Julie Walters On Warley Woods2020070220200704 (R4)Julie Walters shares memories of her favourite childhood park, Warley Woods in Smethwick.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Dame Julie Walters shares memories of her favourite childhood park, Warley Woods in Smethwick. It's an urban green treasure with one hundred acres of woods and parkland. But while most parks are looked after by local authorities, Warley Woods is entirely managed by a Community Trust. One third of its income is dependent on the generosity of local people who donate money, another third comes from the golf course and onsite shop, while the remaining third is funded by the Council. So, when Lockdown forced the closure of both the shop and golf course and threatened people's ability to donate, the fear was that the pioneering Community Trust would fail putting the future of this historic site in jeopardy.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Kitty Macfarlane And The Somerset Levels2020121020201212 (R4)Singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane explores how the landscape of the Somerset levels has inspired some of her music, from clouds to curlew, bitterns to eels.

Kitty meets Gavin Pretor-pinney of the Cloud Appreciation Society at Burrow Mump to talk about the importance of looking up, and to Steart Marshes to speak to Mary Colwell author of 'Curlew Moon' about the importance of wetland habitats to the local birdlife. She speaks to Andrew Kerr, Chairman of the Eel Sustainable Group about her work surveying eels and their extraordinary life-cycle, and in RSPB Ham Wall she reflects on the plight of the bittern and the meeting of mankind and nature. Plus there are exclusive live versions of Kitty's tracks 'Starling Song', 'Lamb' and 'Glass Eel'.

Producer: Toby Field

Singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane explores how the Somerset levels inspires her music.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Konnie Huq Goes Back To Kew Gardens2018020120180203 (R4)Ealing girl Konnie Huq finds out more about her favourite green spaces in London - Kew Gardens and Northala Fields. Konnie's late mother often took the family to Kew Gardens as it reminded her of her childhood in Bangladesh. Konnie goes back to Kew to revisit memories of her mother with her sister Nutun, before meeting scientists and horticulturalists to discover more about the work that goes on behind the scenes. She also gets a sneak preview of the newly renovated Temperate House that's been closed to the public for 5 years.

Konnie has two young sons and their favourite London park is Northala Fields in Northolt. She finds out how this award-winning park was created from rubble from the demolition of the old Wembley Stadium, which created its four dramatic conical hills.

Konnie Huq visits her favourite London parks - Kew Gardens and Northala Fields.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Landscapes In Lockdown2020070920200711 (R4)With the country in lockdown, archaeologists have had to cancel plans for excavations which would have allowed them to explore the history of our landscapes. Unable to put their trowels into action this summer, many are finding alternative methods of research. In this programme, Helen Mark finds out how some have turned to "virtual archaeology", using new technologies to continue to make discoveries about the past. She also hears about a new educational project, set up to help with home-schooling, which is using archaeology as a means to teach other skills - and in the process introducing the subject to a new generation, and perhaps inspiring the archaeologists of the future.

Produced by Emma Campbell

How archaeologists have made new discoveries about the landscape, even during lockdown.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Produced by Emma Campbell

Learning From The Wild In Dartington2017040620170408 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Dartington Estate, Devon, where learning from nature changes lives.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Leicester's Hidden Gem - Bradgate Park - Bought For The Locals, But Where's All The Archive?2018121320181215 (R4)Just 5 miles from Leicester City Centre is Bradgate Park, 850 acres of natural landscape, an ancient deer park which was the home of Lady Jane Grey the nine day queen who was convicted of high treason and executed at the Tower of London.
This year marks Bradgate's 90th year and over the last 18 months local residents and photographers have been encouraged to take pictures of everything from the 600 deer to the wardens, the visitors and wildlife to start to create an archive. Because despite the rich history and significance of the landscape Peter Tyldesley, director of ‘Bradgate Park Trust', a charity who runs the park discovered there was virtually no archive and quality images of the park.
Taking up the challenge Helen Mark with help from Rob Doyle from the Leicester Photographic Society, gets tips on how to take a perfect image. Along the way she meets volunteer Joy Braker who has been visiting the park since she was a child and is now restoring a walled garden to get it back to how it would have looked in the days of Lady Jane Grey.
Helen also meets Charles Bennion, whose great grandfather a local businessman bought the park in 1928 for the people of Leicestershire. Charles named after his great grandfather shows Helen the original deeds to the park and a family scrap book from the 1920's.
The day ends with local performer Andy Griffiths who has been inspired to write a song about Bradgate Park and Helen hoping that her Open Country image that she took at the start of the day might just be good enough to make it into Bradgate's 90th Birthday archive.
The producer is Peminder Khatkar.

Bradgate park bought for the people of Leicester from the heirs of Lady Jane Grey.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Life On The Canals At Foxton Locks2018120620181208 (R4)Life on the canal is not just a place of leisure and tourism as Helen Mark finds out that more and more people are now full time residents on the water. For this Open Country Helen chugs along on ‘Ardley Way‘ a 60 foot narrow boat with Pete and Bev Ardley who are full time residents at Foxton Locks in Leicestershire. Will Helen be convinced of this lifestyle?
Meanwhile ,Carolyn Watts is taking her lock keepers assessment, will she remember everything she's been taught and get the narrow boats through Foxton locks and become a qualified lock keeper? A nurse by profession she started volunteering last year as the canals have always have always been part of her families history.
Foxton Locks consists of 10 locks all after each other and is the steepest and longest flight staircase of locks on the English canal system explains Alex Goode, the Site Manager whose father worked there too. Every year he and his team are responsible for almost 5000 boats going through the locks.
The day ends at Bridge 61 as Helen meets Sarah and Shane Kennedy the newest members of the boating community; they've never been on a narrow boat, never holidayed on one but decided to buy and live on one permanently this year. As the depth of winter approaches are they still confident they've done the right thing?
The producer is Perminder Khatkar.

Life on the canals, from the lock keeper to those who live on the water at Foxton Locks.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Lincolnshire Bike Night2017072720170729 (R4)Paul Murphy puts on his leathers to find out why Lincolnshire is biker heaven.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Liverpool Giants2018102520181027 (R4)The famous cityscape of Liverpool can seem familiar to visitors and locals alike. But the arrival of three giants is about to transform the way it's seen. A 50 foot giant man has been shipwrecked on a Wirral beach and will make a raft to travel across the Mersey while a 'Little boy giant' and his dog Xolo will soon wake up and stride through the streets exploring. The marionettes are powered by 'Liliputians' and have enchanted thousands of Liverpudlians who line the streets to see them with people from all over the world. The spectacle is the idea of French theatre group Royal de Lux and it's the third and final time the giants will visit the city - each time telling a story about Liverpool.

Helen Mark is literally chased through the streets in a bid to get close to these creatures. She asks why the people have taken the giants to their heart and why the company wanted to return so often. Ten years since it became the European Capital of Culture many say the city has a new confidence and can hold it's head up high.

Presented by Helen Mark and Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock of Radio and Music Production Bristol.

Liverpool's landscape is dwarfed by three beloved giants. Helen Mark gets up close.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Loch Tay And Ben Lawers2017072020170722 (R4)Helen Mark climbs Ben Lawers above Loch Tay for a better view of the southern Highlands.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

London: A National Park City?2017011920170121 (R4)Can London be a National Park City? David Lindo finds out.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Longborough's Opera2019062720190629 (R4)Verity Sharp finds out how a converted cattle shed has become home to an opera festival. Builder and property developer Martin Graham decided to build his own 500-seater opera house in the village of Longborough, in the Cotswolds, so that he could stage his favourite Wagner operas, ‘The Ring Cycle', which he first watched on the television - and became hooked. But Martin's love for opera and classical music started when he was a little boy growing up in the village. A man named Jack started to tell him all about Beethoven and Strauss and for Martin the seeds were planted.
Verity arrives during the dress rehearsal as it's on this day that people from the village, along with children from the local primary schools, all attend the performance. For two pupils who attend Longborough Primary School, Poppy and James, it's going to be particularly exciting as they are going to be performing for the very first time. They are providing the screams in ‘Das Rheingold'- first of the four music dramas that make up Wagner's ‘Ring Cycle'.
With the festival now running for over 20 years, Verity finds out what locals make of an opera house in their village and how it's inspired and impacted the life of one photographer.

Producer: Perminder Khatkar

How a converted cattle shed has become home to a major opera festival in the Cotswolds.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Lough Neagh2017051120170513 (R4)Helen Mark visits the largest lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Midsummer Music In Orkney2016063020160702 (R4)Helen Mark visits Orkney to hear music and stories from 40 years of St Magnus Festival.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Moorland Fires2018071220180714 (R4)In this week's Open Country, Caz Graham asks what impact the huge moorland fires near Saddleworth and at Winter Hill have had on the landscape and the wildlife of the area. She meets farmers, gamekeepers, the RSPB, and members of the local community - who have been doing what they can to help the fire crews battling to stop the spread of the flames. Caz also talks to the local Wildlife Trust and the Peak District National Park Authority. With thousands of acres of moorland already destroyed, how long will it take the ecosystem to recover? And what can be done to try to prevent fires on this scale in future?

Produced by Emma Campbell.

Caz Graham asks what impact the moorland fires near Saddleworth have had on the landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Moorland On The Mend2018122020181222 (R4)In July this year, pictures of burning moors were everywhere in the news. During one of the hottest summers for decades, hundreds of acres of moorland went up in flames, destroying fragile ecosystems and wrecking wildlife habitats. Nearly six months on, how are they starting to recover? Caz Graham returns to some of the areas near Manchester which she first visited when the fires were at their height. She finds the landscape looking very different from last time, with scorched and blackened earth repopulated by new green shoots. She meets the organisations and volunteers involved in work to restore the moors, and learns about their efforts to fireproof them for the future.

Producer: Emma Campbell

Caz Graham re-visits moors destroyed by fire this summer, to ask how they are recovering.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain.

Caz Graham re-visits moors destroyed by fire this summer, to ask how they are recovering.

Nan Shepherd's Cairngorms2017122820171230 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Cairngorms to find out why writer Nan Shepherd found a refuge here.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

New Land Owners, New Visions2020111920201121 (R4)Two historic community land buyouts have recently been agreed in the south of Scotland. The Duke of Buccleuch, Scotland's second biggest landowner, has sold land to the communities of Newcastleton and Langholm. The land hasn't changed hands in hundreds of years, and signals a gradual shift in the pattern of land ownership in this part of the country.

Caz Graham goes to meet the people who made these buyouts happen, and hears how this is a once in a lifetime chance to shape the future of their community. At Newcastleton the local trust has taken control of 750 acres above the village, they plan to develop it with new housing, leisure and tourism, and renewable energy. Just over the hill, 10 miles away at Langholm a second significant community buyout has just been agreed. The Langholm Initiative are set to own just over 5000 acres of moorland, making it the biggest buyout in the south of Scotland so far. They explain their ambitious plans to create a new nature reserve, create new woodland and restore peat to help tackle climate change. They are also passionate about demonstrating that conservation and development can be mutually beneficial, and describe how they will deliver ecological restoration alongside the regeneration of their community.

Presenter: Caz Graham
Producer: Sophie Anton

Caz Graham meets the people behind two historic land buyouts in the south of Scotland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Off Grid In Mid-wales2016102720161029 (R4)Guest presenter Ian Marchant meets people who live 'off-grid' in mid-Wales.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Old Oswestry Hillfort2016042120160423 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Iron Age hillfort in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

One Tree Hill20190905One Tree Hill is a famous landmark, but its origins are a mystery.

Otherwise known as Crookbarrow Hill or Whittington Tump it's instantly recognisable to anyone driving near junction 7 of the M5, the exit for Worcester. For generations of motorists this distinctive hill, with a solitary tree on top, has become a symbol of homecoming, an emotional way-marker. But ask around and nobody seems to know much about it. It's a Scheduled Monument, on private land inaccessible to the public, and it's never been excavated; however there are enough clues to warrant some educated speculation. So, for Open Country, Karen Gregor climbs the Tump with three local experts to pick their brains, she also speaks to Henry Berkeley who owns the land on which the hill stands, and hears from locals who have a personal connection to it.

Scroll down to the Related Links section to click through to these interviewees' organisations.

Adam Mindykowski - Historic Environment Advisor for Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service.
Wendy Carter and Harry Green - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Henry Berkeley - Spetchley Park Gardens and Estate

The music in the programme:
Chris Flegg - A Hill So High
The Stands - I Will Journey Home
Oysterband - One Green Hill

Produced in Bristol by Karen Gregor

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

One Tree Hill2019110720191109 (R4)One Tree Hill: a famous landmark that connects us emotionally and confounds us archaeologically.

Otherwise known as Crookbarrow Hill or Whittington Tump it's instantly recognisable to anyone driving near junction 7 of the M5, the exit for Worcester. For generations this distinctive hill, with a solitary tree on top, has become a symbol of homecoming, an emotional way-marker. But ask around and nobody seems to know much about it. It's a Scheduled Monument, on private land inaccessible to the public, and it's never been excavated. However there are enough clues to warrant some educated speculation. So, for Open Country, Karen Gregor climbs the Tump with three local experts to pick their brains. She also speaks to Henry Berkeley who owns the Spetchley Estate on which the hill stands, and to locals who have personal stories to tell about it.

Scroll down to the Related Links section to click through to these interviewees' organisations.

Adam Mindykowski - Historic Environment Advisor for Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service.
Wendy Carter and Harry Green - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
Henry Berkeley - Spetchley Park Gardens and Estate

The music in the programme:
Chris Flegg - A Hill So High
The Stands - I Will Journey Home
Oysterband - One Green Hill

Produced by Karen Gregor

One Tree Hill: a landmark that connects us emotionally and confounds us archaeologically

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Orkney Wildlife In Crisis2016080420160806 (R4)Orkney's incredible wildlife is under threat. Helen Mark discovers how technology can help

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Painshill In Surrey - Lost And Found2019121220191214 (R4)In the 18th Century Charles Hamilton created Painshill, an early example of the English Landscape Garden. He redeveloped land in Cobham in Surrey to create a circuit garden with buildings inspired by his grand tours and he introduced plants being brought to Britain by traders. He aimed to create a living work of art with changes in mood and creating a 'hide and reveal' of the features. It was hugely influential with visitors from the USA and across Europe coming to view and recreate his new style of garden - seen as a work of art in itself. Yet the land was sold and passed through different hands and became overgrown, the buildings crumbled and Painshill forgotten about. In the 1960s a teenage local history enthusiast, David Taylor, read about the place and rediscovered it one dramatic night. He wrote an article for the local paper urging an effort to chart what was there before it was lost entirely. His words inspired a stronger momentum and the land was bought by the council and work began to research the original vision and recreate Hamilton's Painshill Park. The work has lasted decades and while featured like the Gothic Temple, crystal grotto and Turkish Tent have been done, the Temple of Bacchus interior is the new challenge for 2020. Helen Mark finds out more about how Hamilton's influential vision was almost lost and how those involved just can't give up working to restore it. Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock, BBC Radio and Music Production Bristol

Charles Hamilton's Painshill in Surrey was nearly lost. Helen Mark discovers more.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

In the 18th Century Charles Hamilton created Painshill, an early example of the English Landscape Garden. He redeveloped land in Cobham in Surrey to create a circuit garden with buildings inspired by his grand tours and he introduced plants being brought to Britain by traders. He aimed to create a living work of art with changes in mood and creating a 'hide and reveal' of the features. It was hugely influential with visitors from the USA and across Europe coming to view and recreate his new style of garden - seen as a work of art in itself. Yet the land was sold and passed through different hands and became overgrown, the buildings crumbled and Painshill forgotten about. In the 1960s a teenage local history enthusiast, David Taylor, read about the place and rediscovered it one dramatic night. He wrote an article for the local paper urging an effort to chart what was there before it was lost entirely. His words inspired a stronger momentum and the land was bought by the council and work began to research the original vision and recreate Hamilton's Painshill Park. The work has lasted decades and while featured like the Gothic Temple, crystal grotto and Turkish Tent have been done, the Temple of Bacchus interior is the new challenge for 2020.Helen Mark finds out more about how Hamilton's influential vision was almost lost and how those involved just can't give up working to restore it. Produced by Anne-Marie Bullock, BBC Radio and Music Production Bristol

Charles Hamilton's Painshill in Surrey was nearly lost.Helen Mark discovers more.

Pete Waterman At Braunston Marina2020082020200822 (R4)Pete Waterman, is best known as part of the hugely successful music production and song-writing partnership, Stock Aitken Waterman, creating hits for artists like Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley. But he grew up in Coventry close to the canal, and years of fishing with his father while on holiday at Braunston Marina gave him an interest in the canals and their history.

Braunston Marina is situated at the junction of the Grand Union and Oxford canals, not far from Daventry. In this programme, Pete revisits his childhood holidays at the Marina and learns more about the important role it has played as the heart of the canal network.

2020 marks 50 years since the last regular commercial canal contract came to an end. It was called the Jam 'Ole Run and involved boats taking coal from around Coventry to a jam factory in London, going via Braunston. Pete finds out more about it, and gets to see one of the boats that was present on the last ever run.

Produced by Heather Simons

Songwriter and music producer, Pete Waterman, revisits his childhood holidays

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Planting Trees To Save The Planet In Cumbria20191212Helen mark meets teenage environmental campaigner Amy Bray in her native Cumbria as she plants trees to help halt climate change. Amy has inspired her community to take action with a no plastic shop and helped to raise awareness with a mass fell climbing. Helen helps her as she takes on her latest challenge - to plant more trees and help to create natural flood defences as well as absorb carbon.

Helen Mark meets teenage campaigner Amy Bray planting trees to save the planet in Cumbria

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Planting Trees To Save The Planet In Cumbria2020010920191214 (R4)
20200111 (R4)
Helen mark meets teenage environmental campaigner Amy Bray in her native Cumbria as she plants trees to help halt climate change. Amy has inspired her community to take action with a no plastic shop and helped to raise awareness with a mass fell climbing. Helen helps her as she takes on her latest challenge - to plant more trees and help to create natural flood defences as well as absorb carbon

Helen Mark meets teenage campaigner Amy Bray planting trees to save the planet in Cumbria.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark meets teenage environmental campaigner Amy Bray in her native Cumbria as she plants trees to help halt climate change. Amy has inspired her community to take action with a no plastic shop and helped to raise awareness with a mass fell climbing. Helen helps her as she takes on her latest challenge - to plant more trees and help to create natural flood defences as well as absorb carbon

Helen Mark meets teenage campaigner Amy Bray planting trees to save the planet in Cumbria

Helen Mark meets teenage campaigner Amy Bray planting trees to save the planet in Cumbria.

Purton Hulks2018080920180811 (R4)Helen Mark discovers the fascinating world of the UK's largest ship's graveyard Purton Hulks, the largest collection of maritime wrecks above water in Britain.

What began as the intentional beaching of a small fleet of semi-redundant timber lighters in the winter of 1909 to strengthen the nearby eroding canal bank eventually grew into 81 vessels that and today represents the largest collection of maritime artefacts on the foreshore of mainland Britain - including boats that hold scheduled monument status, the same protection afforded by Westminster Abbey and Stonehenge.

Resting on the banks of the River Severn they still provide a barrier of protection for an important stretch of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which runs alongside the village of Purton in Gloucestershire. Following an on-going programme of research carried out by a dedicated team of volunteers, the stories of these ships have finally been revealed and their future is being protected for generations to come. Helen Mark uncovers the fascinating history of these stranded ship and the emotional resonance that they still hold for visitors today as she meets with those who care for these ships and manage the special landscape that surrounds it.

Helen Mark discovers the fascinating world of the UK's largest ship's graveyard.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Red Squirrels In Formby2017120720171209 (R4)Helen Mark is in Formby, a place that is regarded as a haven for the native red squirrel.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Rediscovering Redesdale2020120320201205 (R4)Helen Mark is in Redesdale in Northumberland to find out about a project to restore and celebrate the landscape of these historic borderlands. Now one of the most peaceful parts of England, Redesdale and the surrounding area was a lawless frontier where families on both sides of the border, the Border Reivers, raided each other's lands. One element of the ‘Revitalising Redesdale' project is to look for new evidence of the location of the infamous medieval Battle of Otterburn, which inspired several ballads which have been passed down the generations. Northumbrian piper Karthyrn Tickell who lives on the banks of the river Rede, describes how this area's distinct musical traditions are linked to its landscape.

Producer: Sophie Anton
Presenter: Helen Mark

How the community in Redesdale, Northumberland, is restoring and celebrating its landscape

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Reservoirs And Lost Villages2018122720181229 (R4)In this programme Helen Mark is in Derbyshire to hear the stories of the reservoirs of the Derwent valley. Under one of them, Ladybower, lie the remains of two villages which were demolished and flooded to make way for a new reservoir in the 1940s. After an exceptionally dry year, water levels have dropped so low that the stones of the past can once again been seen emerging from the mud. Helen meets the people who have travelled to the area to catch a glimpse of a long-gone community, and learns about the fascination the story of the lost villages holds. Meanwhile, further up the valley, are the remains of another village - largely ignored by the tourists. Birchinlee, or "tin town" as it was known, was built to house the navvies working on the construction of the other two reservoirs of the valley - Dewent and Howden. Helen meets an archaeologist who shows her how traces of this once-bustling settlement can still be seen in the landscape today.

Produced by Emma Campbell

Helen Mark visits Derbyshire to hear about reservoirs and long-gone villages.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain.

Restoration In The Lake District2020073020200801 (R4)Ian Marchant talks to people involved in re-imagining the landscape and culture of the Lake District, with lines both sinuous and straight.

Lee Schofield of the RSPB has been part of a project to re-meander Swindale Beck, which had become canal-like after years of 'improvement'. Lee is used to the fruits of conservation work taking years, but this time, the results were virtually instantaneous. The team finished work one Friday when it started raining. A flash flood over the weekend brought calls from the onsite supervisor, afraid of disaster: the whole valley was flooded. Lee arrived back on Monday morning to find the river had become a gentle, naturally sinuous stream, with shallow gravel pools for the salmon to use as spawning grounds. The hay meadows on either bank no longer fill with stagnant standing water, and sand and stones don't get washed downstream.

Jim Bliss is the Conservation Manager of Lowther Estates and he is just beginning the estate's journey into ecological restoration, taking up fences, and selling the flock of 5000 sheep. Now they have Longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs and soon, they hope, reintroduced beavers. There are also bees, which Jim hopes will be a measure of the success of the restoration, responding to the increased biodiversity of the flora with a bigger crop of honey.

Ian loves trains and so does Cedric Martindale, who is keeping alive a dream he has had for twenty-five years, to restore the Penrith to Keswick Rail Line. Nina Berry is a distinctive new playwright based in Cumbria, inspired by the landscape she grew up in. She's been commissioned by Paines Plough and Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, to write a new play in the series: Come To Where I Am.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Ian Marchant talks to people restoring landscapes in the Lake District.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Return To The Fens2016021120160213 (R4)Helen Mark and writer Simon Barnes explore the Great Fen and Charles Rothschild's legacy.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Rewilding At Knepp Castle2017121420171216 (R4)Helen Mark explores the wilderness at Knepp Castle and asks if it is really working.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Rick Stein's Cornwall2019102420191026 (R4)Rick Stein's first business venture in Padstow was a nightclub which he bought in the 1970s but it was soon shut down due to the rowdy behaviour of the drunken fisherman. To avoid bankruptcy he turned the nightclub into a restaurant and that's where everything changed for him. Some of those burly fishermen who caused the trouble under the influence of too much alcohol became his suppliers and his business took off.
Over forty years on for Rick Cornwall and Padstow "remains pleasantly old fashioned and just that little bit different" and in this edition of Open Country he revisits his favourite places.
To help tell his story Rick talks to local fisherman Rob Thompson who when fishing with his father Tony in the 1970s used to supply the catch of the day.
Artist Kurt Jackson and Rick visit Hawkers Cove and Nicola Hooper tells Rick why they've adopted a more traditional, old-fashioned way of farming.
Rick's friend Dave Brown, who played with bands in the 60s and 70s from Elkie Brooks to the Stones, is still playing but now with a local ukulele band, ‘The St Merryn Ukes'.

Presenter: Rick Stein.
Producer: Perminder Khatkar.

For Rick Stein why Padstow remains old fashioned and that little bit different.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Rick Stein's first business venture in Padstow was a nightclub which he bought in the 1970s but it was soon shut down due to the rowdy behaviour of the drunken fisherman. To avoid bankruptcy he turned the nightclub into a restaurant and that's where everything changed for him. Some of those burly fishermen who caused the trouble under the influence of too much alcohol became his suppliers and his business took off.
Over forty years on for Rick Cornwall and Padstow "remains pleasantly old fashioned and just that little bit different".
To help tell his story Rick talks to local fisherman Rob Thompson who when fishing with his father Tony in the 1970s used to supply the catch of the day.
Artist Kurt Jackson and Rick visit Hawkers Cove and Nicola Hooper tells Rick why they've adopted a more traditional, old-fashioned way of farming.
Rick's friend Dave Brown, who played with bands in the 60s and 70s from Elkie Brooks to the Stones, is still playing but now with a local ukulele band, ‘The St Merryn Ukes'.

River Tay2016010720160109 (R4)Salmon, apples and whisky. Caz Graham follows the fertile flow of the River Tay.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Rockfield Studios2019072520190727 (R4)Music Journalist Laura Barton visits Rockfield Studios to hear how this farm based facility became the birthplace to some of the greatest albums of all time.

Rockfield Studios lies just outside just outside the village of Rockfield, near Monmouth in Wales. It began its commercial recording life in 1961 and in 1965 was acknowledged to be the first residential recording studio in the world. It's played host to many of the world's biggest artists including Iggy pop, Coldplay, Oasis and Black Sabbath and in 1975 it was the primary studio used by Queen for recording their legendary track ‘Bohemian Rhapsody' – but it began life as a family farm and still holds on to these rural routes.

Laura spends the day with members of the studio's founding family and hears the stories of how this rural landscape and local community found their way into the ground breaking albums that were produced there.

Presented by Laura Barton
Produced by Nicola Humphries

Laura Barton visits Rockfield Studios, used by Queen to record Bohemian Rhapsody.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Music Journalist Laura Barton visits Rockfield Studios to hear how this farm based facility became the birthplace to some of the greatest albums of all time.

Rockfield Studios lies just outside just outside the village of Rockfield, near Monmouth in Wales. It began its commercial recording life in 1961 and in 1965 was acknowledged to be the first residential recording studio in the world. It's played host to many of the world's biggest artists including Iggy pop, Coldplay, Oasis and Black Sabbath and in 1975 it was the primary studios used by Queen for recording ‘Bohemian Rhapsody' – but it began life as a family farm and still holds on to these rural routes.

Laura spends the day with members of the studio's founding family and hears the stories of how this rural landscape and local community found their way into the legendary albums that were produced there.

Presented by Laura Barton
Produced by Nicola Humphries

Laura Barton visits Rockfield Studios, used by Queen to record \u2018Bohemian Rhapsody'.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ryebank Fields2020012320200125 (R4)Ryebank Fields is a small patch of land in Chorlton in the south of Manchester. Spanning around eleven acres this overgrown piece of grassland has become a favourite spot for the community's families to wander, explore and play. But this much-loved spot is now under threat. The owners, Manchester Metropolitan University, want to sell the land for development into housing and invest the money back into their existing inner-city site.

Campaigner Julie Ryan tells her she used to play there as a child before taking her own children there. She says it's her go-to place when she's stressed out, and together with campaigner Tara Parry they take Helen Mark on a tour. Tara describes Ryebank as the "green lungs" of Manchester and talks about why the land could have a future as a community garden and orchard. Steve Silver and Helen walk around the oak trees that he planted at the turn of the Millennium and says that he'd love it to be renamed "Silver's Wood" in the future. All three herald Ryebank as a habitat for wildlife and plantlife. Archaeologist Dr. Michael Nevell shows Helen the historic Nico Ditch and separates fact from folklore about its status and significance. Dr. Rebecca Taylor tells Helen about her work looking into the benefits of semi-wild green spaces in cities and how planners could consider the non-monetary value of these spaces in the future. Helen also speaks to Michael Taylor from Manchester Metropolitan University who argues that the money from the sale of Ryebank can be invested back into the University's inner-city campus and cites the sustainable measures that will be put in place as part of any development.

Presenter: Helen Mark
Producer: Toby Field

Helen Mark visits Ryebank Fields in Chorlton and asks if it can be saved from development.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Campaigner Julie Ryan tells her she used to play there as a child before taking her own children there. She says it's her go-to place when she's stressed out, and together with campaigner Tara Perry they take Helen Mark on a tour. Tara describes Ryebank as the "green lungs" of Manchester and talks about why the land has a future as a community garden and orchard. Steve Silver and Helen walk around the oak trees that he planted at the turn of the Millennium and says that the nearby Longford Park would be no substitute. All three herald Ryebank as a habitat for wildlife and plantlife. Archaeologist Dr. Michael Nevell shows Helen the historic Nico Ditch and separates fact from folklore about its status and significance. Dr. Jenna Ashton tells Helen about her work into the benefits of semi-wild green spaces in cities and how it can lead to a sense of ownership and curiosity. Helen also speaks to a representative from Manchester Metropolitan University who argues that the money from the sale of Ryebank can be invested back into the University's inner-city campus and cites the sustainable measures that will be put in place as part of any development.

Presenter: Helen Mark
Producer: Toby Field

Helen Mark visits Ryebank Fields in Chorlton and asks if it can be saved from development.

Sathnam Sanghera Goes Home To Wolverhampton2016112420161126 (R4)Writer Sathnam Sanghera goes home to Wolverhampton to discover a changed landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Scowles In The Forest Of Dean2016012820160130 (R4)Helen Mark is in the Forest of Dean in search of geological formations known as scowles.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Serpentine On The Lizard, Cornwall2017111620171118 (R4)Helen Mark meets people whose livelihoods depend on the unique landscape of the Lizard.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Skateboarding In The Woods2020010220200104 (R4)Ruth Sanderson discovers a skateboarding camp, deep in the Forest of Dean. Camp Hillcrest mixes urban pursuits with forest living, and Ruth visits when the residential camp is in full swing. Kids come to be fully immersed in everything about skating culture, all in the idyllic setting of the Gloucestershire woods. The owner, Tom Seaton, tells Ruth how he has discovered this combination of urban skate vibe mixed with forest school activities engages children who otherwise wouldn't be attracted to the countryside, and gives them a unique experience.

Produced by Beatrice Fenton

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Skiving At Poverty Bottom, Newhaven2017041320170415 (R4)Ian Marchant revisits the familiar landscape of Newhaven, to learn how to see it properly.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Small Fish - Big Project2020040920200411 (R4)How a little known fish, rare and remarkable, is driving a huge project on the River Severn.

Weirs may look dramatic and sound wonderful but, for fish, they are nothing more than a barrier, preventing progress upstream. That's why you'll see anglers, both human and heron, hanging around weirs for an easy-ish catch. One fish in particular, previously found in healthy numbers on the Severn, has suffered. It's the Twaite Shad, sleek and fast, but not fond of leaping. However, a project called Unlocking the Severn is well underway to install gigantic fish-passes at four weirs. These will allow the Twaite Shad to swim through and reach their spawning grounds in significant numbers for the first time since the Victorians installed weirs to improve navigation during the industrial revolution.

Because of Covid19, the sound-quality of this programme will be a little different: all the interviewees recorded themselves, on their phone voice-recorders, in their own homes... many thanks to each of them for persevering!

See the 'related links' box below for more info on the entire Unlocking the Severn project.

Producer/Presenter: Karen Gregor

How a little known fish, rare and remarkable, is behind a huge project on the River Severn

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Snowdonia Marathon2016111020161112 (R4)Helen Mark meets the runners, organisers and volunteers behind Snowdonia Marathon.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Snowdrop Country2021011420210116 (R4)Over the past decade there's been an explosion in “Snowdrop Mania” – galanthophiles, or snowdrop fans, desperate to get their hands on the newest species of snowdrops, paying hundreds, or even upwards of a £1000 at auction for a single bulb.

Two years ago, Radio 4 producer Polly Weston heard of a man in Somerset who had discovered and named many of the most sought after varieties – Alan Street. Polly pictured following him around the countryside in search of the snowdrop which might make him his fortune. The truth turned out to be very different. Alan works for a family-owned nursery, where new varieties of snowdrop seed themselves around a little woodland – thanks in part to the huge number of species they already grow, working in collaboration with the family's bees. Alan's lost count of the number he's discovered and named – “50, 70, 100 or more perhaps… I've more than enough.” Yet he still keeps looking. He isn't interested in money – the auctioning of snowdrops to the highest bidder makes him uneasy – and has spawned the unfortunate side effect of snowdrop crime – people stealing snowdrops. As we record, 13,000 are dug up one night from an abbey in Norfolk. Alan is ever vigilant. Once upon a time, snowdrop bulbs were only ever swapped by galanthophiles, just for the love of it.

Through the seasons, Alan tends and protects this small landscape, and cultivates each of his newly discovered, and rare varieties. We begin to realise the meaning behind each one – many are named after people, many of whom Alan knew and have now gone. It takes years for new varieties to become established and ready to be shared. But as we follow the progress of Alan's snowdrop landscape through 2020, we approach a snowdrop season which has never been so meaningful or welcome.

Alan Street has spent his life discovering snowdrops - but now there is new demand.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Snowsports At Glenshee, Cairngorms2016020420160206 (R4)Helen Mark gets on her skis at Glenshee as it opens for the winter season's first snow.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Somerset Peat: Past, Present And Future2016012120160123 (R4)Helen Mark uncovers why peat makes the Somerset Levels a special place to visit.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Somerset Wassail2019020720190209 (R4)In the depths of the winter, on the old 12th Night, an ancient custom is held in the cider apple orchards of Somerset. Wassailing involves pouring cider round the roots of the wassail tree, putting cider-soaked toast in its branches, singing to it, and sometimes firing guns through its branches. It's all about scaring away evil spirits, and encouraging the trees to produce a good crop in the year to come. Wassailing is a tradition with many elements: blessing the crops goes back to at least Tudor times, while the words "waes hael", meaning "be you healthy", are found in toasts as far back as the 12th century. By 1990 wassailing in apple orchards had almost died out in Somerset, but over the last thirty years the tradition has undergone a remarkable revival. As Helen Mark finds out, it's now very much alive and well - and if nothing else, provides a good excuse for a party to brighten up the dark winter nights!

Producer: Emma Campbell

Helen Mark visits Somerset to find out about the ancient tradition of wassailing.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain.

Songs Of England2021041520210417 (R4)English Heritage manages some of our most important historic sites, such as Stonehenge and Hadrian's Wall. In this Open Country, folk singer and song collector Sam Lee explains how he has paired these sites with relevant or revealing folk songs from the British Isles.

We meet Sam at Stonehenge, to hear him perform the song 'John Barleycorn'. From Salisbury we travel to Hadrian's Wall with The Brothers Gillespie and the borders song 'When Fortune Turns the Wheel'. At Whitby Abbey Fay Hield performs the tragic tale of 'The Whitby Lad' and at Ironbridge, the birthplace of industry, Abel Selaocoe sings about the impacts of the industrial revolution in 'The Four Loom Weaver'.

The aim of English Heritage and the musicians of the Nest Collective is to connect us to the people who inhabited these historic landscapes through the power of song. The music gives voice to how people felt and how they lived in a way that the monuments and buildings we have left cannot. Their hope is that by hearing these stories from the past we can connect with the landmarks we see today, even when we can't visit them in person.

Produced by Helen Lennard

Photo: English Heritage/Andre Pattenden

Folk singer Sam Lee explores the historic landmarks of England through song.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Southwell Races, Nottinghamshire2016042820160430 (R4)Helen Mark spends a day at the rural racetrack of Southwell in Nottinghamshire.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Southwell's Workhouse2019080820190810 (R4)Helen Mark visits the last surviving workhouse, the minster and a very special apple tree to find out how these important landmarks in Southwell have impacted on the lives of those who live there.

Michael Perkins lived in the workhouse in 1948 with his mother and six siblings when they became homeless. Now aged 75 he goes back to the workhouse and revisits the room he lived in – he remembered “the pink brick walls and always feeling hungry“.
The workhouse was a place of last resort for the poorest and opened in 1824 and was built by Rev John Becher a resident and clergyman of Southwell Minster.
Robert Merryweather's great grandfather was fortunate and didn't need to turn to the workhouse as aged just seventeen it was him and his family who pioneered the 'Bramley apple' from the original 200 year old apple tree planted in Southwell.
But, Emma Rose a dancer, says she probably wouldn't have escaped the workhouse had she been born a 100 years ago – last year the young single mum found herself homeless. After visiting the workhouse she choreographed a dance inspired by the stories of mums being separated from their children which was a common practice in the workhouse.

Today, the workhouse is owned by the National Trust and is one of the last remaining workhouses where visitors can get a glimpse of what life was like for those who lived there. This year for the first time the infirmary which was added onto the workhouse a few years later, has been restored and gives an insight into how the sick and dying were treated.

Presenter Helen Mark
Producer: Perminder Khatkar

Dance choreographed by Emma Rose.
Filmed by Artist & Filmmaker Benjamin Wigley from ARTDOCS with sound design by CJ Mirra.

Southwell's workhouse, minster and a 200-year-old apple tree.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark visits the last surviving workhouse, the minster and a very special apple tree to find out how these important landmarks in Southwell have impacted on the lives of those who live there.

Presenter Helen Mark
Producer: Perminder Khatkar

Dance choreographed by Emma Rose.
Filmed by Artist & Filmmaker Benjamin Wigley from ARTDOCS with sound design by CJ Mirra.

Spurn Point Lifeboat Station2016081820160820 (R4)Helen Mark meets the only full-time lifeboat crew in the UK at Spurn Point in East Yorks.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Stonehenge And Its Community2019050920190511 (R4)Helen Mark finds out how Stonehenge continues to influence and shape the next generation of makers and trades people in Amesbury and the villages around it. Helen meets a thatcher, the cob wall maker and a frame maker who are all in their own way keeping a traditional craft going. But their skills have also ended up inspiring artist Linda Brothwell who has captured their stories and their lives in her latest work. The makers have no idea what Linda has made and are going to have to wait to see the exhibits when Stonehenge hosts this very first contemporary art exhibition.
The producer is Perminder Khatkar.

The makers and trades people of Stonehenge, whose lives are shaped by their landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape our landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Stonehenge And Mental Health2017042020170422 (R4)Can time spent in prehistoric landscapes around Stonehenge help Wiltshire residents?

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Stormont Estate2021040120210403 (R4)Stormont's parliament buildings, on the outskirts of Belfast, often features in the national news as the focus of raucous political debates and protests. But the building is also set in the middle of several hundred acres of magnificent parkland. Most of it was closed to the public at the height of the Troubles, but from the late 1990s, as the peace process developed, it has become a treasured public space.

In the past twenty years, the Stormont Estate has developed its woodland and added environmental trails and wetland areas as well as an outdoor fitness gym, running paths and a large play park. It's now one of Northern Ireland's most popular outdoor parks and is also used regularly as a venue for charity and public events. It has been a particularly important fresh air 'escape' for local people during the Covid lockdowns.

Helen Mark talks to Stormont's Head of Estate, Nigel Bonar, about the challenges of looking after a parkland which is also a workplace for politicians and three thousand civil servants. Author Jack Gallagher remembers the excitement of visiting Stormont as a child of the 40s and describes the contrast between its green open spaces and the grey blitz-damaged streets where he lived. We hear about some of the significant moments in Stormont's history and former politician, Monica McWilliams, pays tribute to the late Mo Mowlam who was instrumental in opening up the park to the public when she was Secretary of State during the peace process negotiations in the mid-1990s. Her lasting legacy on the Stormont Estate is the 'Mo Park', the play park enjoyed by thousands of children every week.

Producer: Kathleen Carragher

Helen Mark finds out how the public and politicians in Northern Ireland share a parkland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Surfers In Cayton Bay2017010520170107 (R4)Helen Mark finds the best surf in England. It's in Yorkshire, not Cornwall, at Cayton Bay.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Surfing On Scotland's North Coast2019040420190406 (R4)The reef break at Thurso on the rugged North Coast of Scotland is one of the best waves in Europe. Helen Mark meets Thurso's surfing community, from the pioneers who began surfing in the 1970s on empty waves, to the up-and-coming young surfers hoping to make Scotland's national squad this year.

Presenter: Helen Mark
Producer: Sophie Anton

Thurso's surfing community on why their reef break is one of Europe's best waves.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Sussex Weald Ironworking2019050220190504 (R4)Ian Marchant visits the Sussex Weald, once the epicentre of the international arms trade, owing to its ironstone reserves and subsequent iron-making expertise. It's a personal story too: 'Marchant' is one of the Sussex names associated with metal-working migrants from Belgium in the late 15th century.

Hammer and furnace ponds and former forges are now dotted about the landscape, rich habitat for wildlife, according to naturalist Richard Jones. A walk on the Weald is a treasure hunt for history-of-iron enthusiasts (of whom there are an unusual number in Sussex). They frequently come across previously undiscovered remains, some dating back to medieval times.

Ian takes a walk at Newbridge with Jeremy Hodgkinson and Roger Prus, who can interpret the bumps in the woodland that most people would pass without noticing. They might be old furnace sites or even remains of buildings used by iron workers.

He meets Emma O'Connor to explore the Anne of Cleves House collection of iron artefacts in Lewes. These range from items with military uses to all kinds of domestic and industrial products, most of which are beautifully preserved and attest to our ancestors' habits of recycling, repairing and preserving the things they owned.

Ian visits Glynde Forge, where blacksmith Ricky Delaney demonstrates the living craft of working with metal in Sussex. Will Ian discover that forging metal is in his blood?

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Ian Marchant discovers that Sussex was once the epicentre of the international arms trade.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Swansea Copper And Choir2018050320180505 (R4)Helen Mark explores the site of the former Copperworks near Swansea. As the huge mechanical puppet 'The Man Engine' visits to celebrate that great history of innovation and industry we look at how the geology of Wales has shaped its landscape but also its culture.

Professor Daniel Williams tells Helen about how heavy industry here had a global impact and how it continues to influence Welsh culture. Perhaps the best example of this is that iconic sound of the Welsh Male Voice Choir, many formed around the mines and associated industry and were of necessity all male.

Today that distinctive sound remains even though the mines and copperworks have closed and we hear from Huw Roberts of the Morriston Male Voice Choir about why it is important that this sound remains part of Swansea's culture.

Doug Evans and Ray Trotman, former workers at the Copperworks take us on a tour of the site to tell us about why song was so important to them and what they feel about the remains of industry we can see today.

Geoff Dendle wants to see the site preserved as testament to the huge contribution Swansea made to global industrialisation and Will Coleman explains why his 'Man Engine' celebrates that huge endeavour but also recognises the great human cost which mining and heavy industry had on the landscape and the people here.

Helen Mark visits Swansea to hear how heavy industry shaped its landscape and its culture.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Tales From The Black Mountains2021042920210501 (R4)Travel writer Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent moved to a cottage deep in the Welsh Black Mountains at the end of October last year, arriving just two hours before lockdown began. She's pretty much been in lockdown since that day so, unable to go anywhere or see people, has spent the months exploring the mountains from her new front door. She's walked hundreds of miles from this door, OS map in hand, exploring this new landscape - its ancient sites, high ridges, wooded valleys and peaty uplands. Antonia immerses us in this place and its wildlife, and hears stories from her new neighbours; people who know every crease of the hills, every bird call, as well as its history, myths and legends. Through reflecting on this deep exploration, she explores the process of the unknown becoming home.

Producer: Sophie Anton

Travel writer Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent explores her new home in the Welsh Black Mountains.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Tennyson's Lincolnshire2016050520160507 (R4)Helen Mark explores the Lincolnshire Wolds through the poetry of Tennyson.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Battle Of Pinkie Cleugh2017102620171028 (R4)Helen Mark asks why the largest battle fought on Scottish soil has been largely forgotten.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Boat Builders Of Pin Mill2018072620180728 (R4)Writer Jonathan Gornall has attempted to row across the Atlantic twice. On the second attempt he nearly drowned but his relationship with the sea has continued. Today he spends his time at Pin Mill in Suffolk where he has just built a small sailing boat for his daughter and he hopes the boat will teach her to love the sea too. Helen Mark meets him and the boat building community who live beside the River Orwell to discover the great history of sailing which remains at the heart of Pin Mill today.

'How to Build a Boat' by Jonathan Gornall
http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/How-To-Build-A-Boat/Jonathan-Gornall/9781471164781.

Helen Mark sets sail from Pin Mill to discover the history of boat building in Suffolk.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Bord Waalk Of Amble2020102920201031 (R4)Amble lies at the mouth of the River Coquet on the North Sea coast of Northumberland. Today it is a lively coastal port with a harbour village, a lobster hatchery, sandy beaches and boat trips to Coquet Island where the only colony of Roseate Terns in the UK nest and breed. But this hasn't always been the case as we hear. Formerly a coal mining town, Amble suffered terrible economic decline. But in the last 25 years or so, the area has been rejuvenated and community self confidence, self esteem and economic prosperity have grown. The latest project in this regeneration inspired by the landscape and the wildlife called Bord Waalk is a Bird Sculpture Trail which follows a route from Low Hauxley along the coast, around Amble and along the river to Warkworth. Whilst the starting point take us back in time as rising sea levels at Low Hauxley are uncovering extraordinary archaeological remains including Beaker pots and burial cairns, the sculptures and accompanying phone app have been inspired by the wildlife and landscape of the present; including seabirds and starling murmurations over the nearby reedbeds. Presenter Helen Mark, Producer Sarah Blunt

Landscape and wildlife have inspired a Bird Sculpture trail called Bord Waalk in Amble.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Brecks - East Anglia's Secret2017083120170902 (R4)Helen Mark visits East Anglia's best kept secret, the Brecks - heath, forestry and farms.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Centre Of The Earth2019082220190824 (R4)In this week's Open Country, Helen Mark journeys to 'The Centre of the Earth', an urban nature reserve in Birmingham, next to Winston Green Prison.

The Centre of the Earth is Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust's purpose built environmental centre in Winston Green - just 1.5 km from Birmingham City Centre. Situated in what has historically been one of the country's most deprived, urban areas, this little pocket of green is a special place for the community and a thriving home to all kinds of wildlife. Through tender love and care from the dedicated volunteers, there are otters, smooth newts and a wild flower nursery that helps populate other urban sites across the city, including the visitor's garden at the prison next door. It's also inspired a local school, which has students who between them speak over 40 different languages, to develop their own nature space. And then, last but by no means least, there's the Golden Sparkles community group…

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Nicola Humphries

Helen Mark journeys to The Centre of the Earth, a hidden nature reserve in Birmingham.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Changing Face Of Wind In The Willows Country2016122920161231 (R4)Helen Mark explores the landscape that inspired Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Changing Thetford Forest2019011720190119 (R4)After the First World War the nation's timber stocks were at their lowest level with many trees being taken for the trenches and also used for coffins. 2019 marks the centenary of the Forestry Commission which helped create new woodlands to replenish stocks. Among them was Thetford Forest in Norfolk. Writer Ian Marchant explores how it was created and what it looks like now. Things don't stand still though and some of the original species are being replaced with others that can weather climate change. The people and animals aren't standing still either. Although they weren't originally encouraged to use the forest today visitors are crucial. Ian gets up early to join the cani-cross club - human runners who attach themselves to dogs to race as a team - and the alpaca walkers.

Ian Marchant meets some of the unexpected animals in Thetford Forest in Norfolk.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Chilterns - A New National Landscape?2020011620200118 (R4)Ian Marchant visits the Chilterns to test out some of the ideas for new ‘National Landscapes' in the recent government-commissioned Glover Review into England's National Parks. What barriers do some people face when it comes to visiting the countryside? (Hint: it's not just owning a pair of wellies). And why does spending a night under the stars for every child matter for the protection of the countryside?

Ian meets the author of the new review, Julian Glover, in a wet wood above Wendover, just a stone's throw from the Prime Minister's country residence, Chequers. Julian is confident that the government will support his recommendations, one of which is to improve access to the countryside for people from diverse backgrounds. This includes High Wycombe born-and-bred Sadia Hussain, who loves the countryside but understands some of the barriers faced by people like her parents, who settled here from Pakistan. To them, the countryside has a different meaning and set of associations. And it also includes Layla Ashraf-Carr, a Chiltern Ranger. Born in Singapore, Layla suspects the Malay side of her family might have preferred her to be a lawyer or a doctor rather than a custodian of the natural landscape.

Ian also meets farmer Ian Waller, who loves his worms and his flock of Herdwick sheep, and historian and teacher Stuart King, who can explain how the landscape of the Chilterns allowed the local furniture making industry to flourish.
Producer Mary Ward-Lowery

Ian Marchant visits the Chilterns, to test ideas from a new review into National Parks.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ian meets the author of the new review, Julian Glover, in a wet wood above Wendover, just a stone's throw from the Prime Minister's country residence, Chequers. Julian is confident that the government will support his recommendations, one of which is to improve access to the countryside for people from diverse backgrounds. This includes High Wycombe born-and-bred Sadia Hussain, who loves the countryside but understands some of the barriers faced by people like her parents, who settled here from Pakistan. To them, the countryside has a different meaning and set of associations. And it also includes Layla Ashraf-Carr, a Chiltern Ranger. Born in Singapore, Layla suspects the Malay side of her family might have preferred her to be a lawyer or a doctor rather than a custodian of the natural landscape.

The Dark Side Of The Lune2017071320170715 (R4)Ian Marchant explores the dark side of the Lune. The River Lune in Lancashire.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Dolphins Of Cardigan Bay2016071420160716 (R4)Patrick Aryee encounters the dolphins and dolphin-watchers of Cardigan Bay.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The First Lundy Marathon2018080220180804 (R4)Lundy Island sits just off the North Devon Coast in the Bristol Channel. It has a fascinating history which dates back to the Bronze Age and has been home to pirates and outlaws. Previous owners have even had their own stamps and coinage produced but today it is managed by the Landmark Trust and the island and its surrounding waters are recognised for their rich wildlife and habitat. David Lindo visits the island as it holds the very first 'Lundy Marathon'. 250 trail runners will brave the rocky coastal paths over a distance of 14 miles and they hope the sport they love can work in harmony with this precious and remote habitat.

David Lindo visits Lundy in north Devon for the island's very first half marathon race.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Future Of Sherwood Forest2017042720170429 (R4)Sherwood Forest is looking towards a new future, David Lindo finds out more.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Gardens At Glyndebourne2017080320170805 (R4)Helen Mark finds out how Glyndebourne's gardens inspire singers, artists and opera-goers.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Great Exhibition Of The North2018071920180721 (R4)Helen Mark explores landscapes of the future, of the imagination and of the past, at the Great Exhibition of the North, which is centred in Newcastle and Gateshead. It's a three-month celebration of the impact of northern England's creators, inventors, artists and designers.

Helen meets environmental artist Steve Messam to hear his sound sculpture 'Whistle', a series of steam engine whistles echoing around the city walls. There's Naho Matsuda whose 'data poetry' is created by people's interaction with the cityscape and displayed on a split-flap display board at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle. Helen will follow one of GetNorth's story trails with the multi-award winning author David Almond and investigate public transport of the future with Sophie Connor of Ryder Architecture. And she'll find out how local children respond to highlights of the exhibition.

Producer Mary Ward-Lowery.

Helen Mark explores landscapes of the future at the Great Exhibition of the North.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Great Spotted Woodpecker Quest2020081320200815 (R4)A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a trail of clues reveals the connection between a garden feeder and the local woodland. Hiding in his garden shed with some very large spiders for company, wildlife cameraman James Aldred spends many happy hours in May watching Great Spotted Woodpeckers gorging themselves on the peanut feeders in his garden on the edge of Bristol. Both male and female birds regularly visit the garden and appear to fly back and forth from the direction of a woodland. Are the birds that feed in his garden actually stocking up on protein to feed young in a nest in the woodland and will those young birds return to feed in his garden when they fledge? There's only one way to find out. It proves to be a fascinating and tantalising quest as James solves the puzzle, discovers a line of connection and unravels the truth about his garden visitors! Producer Sarah Blunt

Finding a Great Spotted Woodpecker's nest is far from easy for cameraman James Aldred.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Finding a Great Spotted Woodpecker's nest is far from easy for cameraman, James Aldred.

The Isle Of Eels2019081520190817 (R4)Earlier this year, Helen Mark visited the Isle of Eels in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens for its annual eel day festival. She joins the parade of eels through the streets and takes part in the World Eel Throwing Competition (which thankfully involves no real eels). She also learns about the life cycle of the eel and discovers how this extraordinary fish is intimately bound up with the history and culture of Ely. Producer Sarah Blunt.

Helen Mark visits the Isle of Eels and joins their annual eel day parade

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Isle Of Gigha2018020820180210 (R4)Ian Marchant has always longed to visit the Inner Hebridean island of Gigha, off the west coast of Scotland.

For a writer and hippie like Ian, it sounds like a dream: an island owned and run by its own community of fewer than 170 people. No more exploitative or neglectful landlords; everyone has a say in how things are done and they all live happily ever after. But also, no more wealthy and benevolent landlords, no more cash injections when things get tough. And, everyone has a say in how things are done.

It's a dream - or a nightmare - that has come true on the Scottish island of Gigha. In 2001 the islanders took their destiny into their own hands and made a successful bid to buy the island. Ian finds out how the landscape is changing and how the people here are adapting to a new way of living.

Interviewees include Tony Philpin of the local Coast and Countryside group; owner of Achamore House Don Dennis; Alasdair MacNeill, whose family were once lairds of the island tracing back to the eleventh century; Joe Teale who approves of the buy-out and runs the island's only shop; and Elaine Morrison, the manager of the Heritage Trust.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Ian Marchant visits the Isle of Gigha to discover if his island dream is a reality.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Lighthouse On The Headland Of The Great Seas2020121720201219 (R4)Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, on the westernmost tip of the UK mainland, is one of a number of 19th century “Stevenson” lighthouses and has a unique Egyptian style of architecture – inspired by the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria. On a clear day there are spectacular views towards Skye and the Outer Hebrides. On a dark, stormy night it's a desolate, forbidding place.

The Ardnamurchan light is operated remotely from Edinburgh by the Northern Lighthouse Board but a local community trust recently bought the site and wants to develop its tourism potential.

On a wet and windy day, Helen Mark is shown around the site by the trust's manager and retained light keeper, Davie Ferguson. Despite sophisticated new technology, mariners still rely on lighthouses for guidance and Davie leads Helen up the dizzying climb to the lantern room to show her the modern LED light which casts its beam 24 miles out to sea.

The area's connections with the lighthouse are deep rooted – its construction provided employment for local people during the potato famine and the keepers and their families were important members of the small crofting community. Former lighthouse keeper, Ian Ramon, now acts as a guide, tells visitors what life was like when the light was run on paraffin and when being caught asleep on shift meant instant dismissal!

As well as enjoying the stunning scenery and feeling the power of the wind and waves, visitors can tour the small museum and take shelter in the tearoom when the storms are sweeping in from the Atlantic. For many, the biggest attraction is the giant red foghorn which sits at the bottom of the lighthouse. It hasn't sounded for many years but the trust's recently appointed project officer, Stephanie Cope, tells Helen of her hope that it may, one day, blare out its warning signal again.

Ardnamurchan Point is also part of a network of viewing areas set up by The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust along the west coast of Scotland. Volunteers record sightings around the peninsula in the summer months and arrange exhibitions and talks for visitors. Siobhan Moran, from the Trust, talks to Helen about the project's links with the lighthouse and the importance of Ardnamurchan as a whale watching site.

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Kathleen Carragher

How the local community is preserving the history of Scotland's Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

On a wet and windy day, Helen Mark is shown around the site by the trust's manager and retained light keeper, Davie Ferguson. Despite sophisticated new technology, mariners still rely on lighthouses for guidance and Davie leads Helen up the dizzying climb to the lantern room to show her the modern LED light which casts its beam 24 miles out to sea.

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Kathleen Carragher

The Malvern Hills2018090620180908 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Malvern Hills. She meets a landscape historian, who shows her how human history has left its marks on the topography - if you know where to look for them. She finds out about the inspiration which the composer Edward Elgar drew from the area, and learns how the landscape is reflected in his music. Malvern is famous for its spring water, which has been bottled in the town since the 17th century. Helen meets the man who bought one of the springs by accident - and then went on to revive the Malvern spring water brand. The area is also known for its gas lamps, which are believed to have inspired C.S. Lewis in his description of the entrance to Narnia in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. Helen finds that there are some very 21st century developments afoot for the Victorian gas lamps, and meets the man who's worked out how to power them using something which is in plentiful supply on the hills - dog poo!

Produced by Emma Campbell.

Helen Mark explores the landscape of the Malvern Hills in the Midlands.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The 'man Engine' In Cornwall's Mining Landscape2016081120160813 (R4)Helen Mark meets the UK's largest puppet, Man Engine, in Cornwall's mining landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Mildenhall Treasure2017020220170204 (R4)Helen Mark meets the people who are re-examining the site of the Mildenhall Treasure.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Music Of The Surrey Hills2020041620200418 (R4)Ian Marchant explores music inspired by the landscape of the Surrey Hills.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ian Marchant meets musicians inspired by the landscape of the Surrey Hills, including concert pianist Wu Qian, who found it terrifying when she first arrived from China aged 12. She soon learned to love the place and co-founded an international music festival which incorporates into its programme inspiring country walks in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Ian meets Julia and Henry Pearson, who help to run the festival and live in the picturesque village of Shere, with its thatched cottages and 'terminally cute' setting. They are music lovers and keen walkers, so the festival is a perfect fit. Since the programme was recorded in early March, the festival has been cancelled, but imagining the concerts in the 'cathedral in the woods' at Ranmore Church, is still a piece of 'enchantment'.

Ian was born in this area and remembers being told that the view from Newland's Corner was the best in England. It was, in fact, what England should look like, according to his father. Ian now knows this isn't quite true, but it is how people all over the world picture the English countryside: rolling hills, woods, clear, babbling streams and a vista that extends to the English channel.

Ian meets sound artist Graham Downall who has created music/soundscapes to reflect the locations of five sculptures which have been placed in the landscape, and he discovers that the tipple of choice at this festival isn't to be found in the Worker's Beer Tent, but in the sparkling white wine which is produced from the chalky slopes of Denbies Vineyard near Dorking.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

The National Forest: 25 Years2016041420160416 (R4)Helen Mark visits the National Forest as it marks 25 years.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Pill Hobblers2017020920170211 (R4)Helen Mark discovers the fascinating world of the Pill Hobblers, both past and present.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Pub At The End Of Easdale2019013120190202 (R4)Easdale is a small, car-free island in the Firth of Lorn in Scotland. Once a centre of the British slate industry, Easdale Slate was exported around the world and the island was home to hundreds of quarry workers. After the quarries were flooded the island was nearly deserted by the 1960's but today over 60 islanders live there permanently and Easdale has become a thriving community again. Right at the heart of that community is the 'Puffer Bar and Restaurant' and its owner is looking for someone to take over. No cars, no street lights and no noise except the sound of the sea and the exceptional wildlife. It could be the perfect job. Helen Mark discovers what it takes to run the islands local and why Easdale is an island where everyone is welcome.

Helen Mark learns what it takes to run a pub on the tiny Scottish island of Easdale.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Radnorshire Dragon2018081620180818 (R4)Ian Marchant hunts for dragons, real and imaginary, in the spooky and fantastic landscape of Radnorshire in Wales. He'll meet a sleeping dragon in Presteigne made by blacksmith Peter Smith; he'll look at the range of hills known as the 'dragon's back' with writer Phil Rickman and he'll hunt for newts - which are tiny dragons, after all - in Radnor Forest. And he'll find out why so many churches in Radnorshire are dedicated to St Michael. It turns out they're all needed to hold down the Radnorshire dragon, or the evil forces it represents.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

Ian Marchant hunts for dragons in the landscape of Radnorshire in Wales.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Sea2020111220201114 (R4)As he strolls along the coast of Northumberland, an archaeologist points out where you can still see the signs of a tsunami which played a part in the separation of mainland Britain from Europe. Meanwhile, a cross-channel swimmer, a keen bird watcher, and an environmental artist reveal their own very personal connections with the landscape of the sea. From the beauty and mental healing we gain from the sea to the pollution we cause in it, these are stories of revelation, respect, fear, horror, unknowing, wonder and inspiration. Presenter Helen Mark, Producer Sarah Blunt.

A cross-channel swimmer, a bird watcher, and an environmental artist reflect on the sea.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Secret Life Of Pigeons2019120520191207 (R4)“They're wonderful creatures, wonderful creatures with wings.” Says 11-year-old Callum Brooks, who has just recently started pigeon racing.

We join Callum and other pigeon fanciers from all over the UK as they give us an insight into the highs and lows of pigeon racing and find why a sport that was once a popular pastime of the working classes is now falling out of fashion and is in danger of disappearing altogether.

We discover the art of breeding a winning bird from Clive and Jill in Radstock. Head to the back of the Larkhall Inn as pigeons are marked up ready for a Saturday race. Then spend a morning with the Convoyors as they prepare for the liberation of 5000 birds. And finally join Trevor and his son Simon on race day as they anxiously wait to find out if they have won, or even if their pigeons will return home at all.

Produced by Nikki Ruck

Join us as we uncover the little-known world of the humble homing pigeon

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Strawberry Line Community2019010320190105 (R4)The first trains ran on the officially named Cheddar Valley Line after opening in 1869. A branch line providing a vital local link for farmers and growers along the Mendip Hills and on through the moors of the North Somerset Levels. Their trade was destined for the mainline and then on to Bristol, Exeter, London and beyond. While the railway line was a vital economic link for passengers, its function developed for the the transportation of products particularly from local quarrying and agriculture, including a hectic month in high summer when strawberries rushed from the Mendip farms along the line, destined for the rest of the UK.

Then in 1963 what is now known as the Strawberry Line story could have ended. Along with many branch lines it was closed under the axe of the Beeching cuts. Over the years, the landscape consumed the track and it all but disappeared from the landscape it once dominated. Then, a few decades ago, local people got together and took it upon themselves to resurrect the line for the benefit of wildlife, for the benefit of local communities and as a green transport route. The Strawberry Line was reborn.

Local wildlife expert Chris Sperring MBE walks along the line to offer a glimpse into the function of the Strawberry Line today. It would be easy to go back in time and reflect on the past but this is a story about the future. From slow beginnings slowly the line brought the community along it together with a common purpose that of being part of this linear feature in the landscape. From a national cider producer who has created a permissive path through its orchards, to a cafe managed and run by people with learning disabilities. A local wildlife group manages the track for the benefit of everyone who uses it, as well as for the nature which now finds its home there. And a local heritage centre, run and managed by community volunteers, provides the history of this local line with a national reach. But, as they say, nothing is new and the Strawberry Line is now poised to play another role in a much more ambitious project to connect this least known area of Somerset to a regional, and national, network once again.

Producer Andrew Dawes
Presenter Chris Sperring MBE

Far from being abandoned, the Strawberry Line in Somerset has a new role in the community

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Suffolk Maharajah2018111520181117 (R4)Elveden is a quaint rural Suffolk village with an intriguing history as the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire was buried here in 1893. For almost two decades the village has attracted coach loads of Sikhs from all over the country and the world flocking to see the graveside of Maharajah Duleep Singh.
Bobby Friction, a broadcaster and DJ who is Punjabi Sikh has grown up hearing stories all about the last King of the Sikh Empire. He visits Elveden for the first time for Open Country to see for himself the graveside on the day that marks 125 years since Duleep Singh died. Bobby finds out more about the Maharaja and travels to the adjoining town of Thetford where the Maharaja has become an important part of the landscape.
The producer is Perminder Khatkar.

How did an Indian Maharajah end living and being buried in a quaint rural Suffolk village?

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

The Windermere Boys2018110120181103 (R4)Helen Mark discovers the true story of the ‘Windermere Boys', the three hundred child holocaust survivors who found rehabilitation and a new life in the Lake District nearly 70 years ago.

Arriving in the immense and beautiful Cumbrian landscape many of them thought they'd found paradise. Helen meets the survivors, the community that welcomed them and the children that are keeping their memory alive today.

Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Nicola Humphries
Photo Credit: Another Space/LDHP

More details about The Lake District Holocaust Project can be found at www.ldhp.org.uk

How 300 orphans of the holocaust began a new life in the Lake District.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Tintagel2020013020200201 (R4)Helen Mark visits Tintagel in Cornwall to cross the new bridge which now links the castle to the mainland. She discovers its links with the legends of King Arthur, the way that this myth has shaped the buildings we now see in this landscape and the people who live there and finds that the real historic importance of this part of the UK is only just beginning to be understood.

With storms and high winds will Helen Mark be able to cross Tintagel's new bridge?

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark visits Tintagel in Cornwall to cross the new bridge which now links the castle to the mainland. She discovers its links with the legends of King Arthur, the way that this myth has shaped the buildings we now see in this landscape and the people who live there and finds that the real historic importance of this part of the UK is only just beginning to be understood.

With storms and high winds will Helen Mark be able to cross Tintagel's new bridge?

Torridge And Taw, North Devon2017122120171223 (R4)Writer Linda Cracknell joins Helen Mark in North Devon to seek out her maritime roots.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Tughall Mill, Northumberland2017090720170909 (R4)How will the 200 acres at Tughall Mill change now it is owned by the National Trust?

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Twelve Months Of Open Country2021020420210206 (R4)Helen Mark looks at some of the highlights from the last twelve months of Open Country. This includes contributions from Olympic rower Helen Glover and her husband Steve Backshall in their garden in Buckinghamshire, and Dame Julie Walters talking about her attachment to Warley Woods in Smethwick. Helen heads up into the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse on the most Westerly tip of Scotland with light keeper, Davie Ferguson, and from her family farm in Binevenagh she and Seamus Byrne share their passion for the huge flocks of Whooper Swans which make that part of Northern Ireland their home from September until March. Brett Westwood brings us bird song from the woods close to his home in Stourbridge, and Sybil Ruscoe is on top of Cleeve Common gazing out at the view. Artist Frances Anderson reflects on the experience of cross-channel swimming, and beneath the water Jack Greenhalgh and Tom Fisher are capturing the sounds of insects and plants. Back in Scotland the mountain of Ben Shieldaig is where we find artist Lisa Fenton O'Brien as she explores the mountain's unique temperate rainforest habitat, and singer-songwriter Kitty Macfarlane serenades the wildfowl from the banks at RSPB Hamwall.

With the United Kingdom back in lockdown let Open Country bring the outdoors into your home.

Producer: Toby Field

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Tynemouth Sea And Song2018070520180707 (R4)Up on the cliff tops at the mouth of the Tyne sits the imposing Tynemouth Priory and Castle. It's history stretches back to the Iron Age and it has been used by both Monks and the Military as a place to defend nation and faith. This great monastic heritage may be one reason why the songs of this region have been kept alive. Jez Lowe discovers this place became a seat of learning which meant that there was a history of print; crucially songs were recorded and not lost but also the cultural influence of Christianity from Ireland and mainland Europe gave rise to a melting pot of ideas and influences.

This melting pot of influences is evident today as Jez visits the nearby Fish Quay at North Shields. The songs, and even unique instruments, from this place mix Irish, Scottish and English sounds and themes with music from as far afield as Scandinavia. Even today you can find fishermen from places like the Philippines and the Netherlands working alongside the local boatmen. Music remains ever present in the traditions of the place and Jez explores the songs and sounds which resonate most with people who live and work at the mouth of the Tyne today.

Folk singer Jez Lowe explores the maritime song and history of Tynemouth and North Shields

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ulva - An Island For The People2019071120190713 (R4)Ulva is an island just off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. It was once home to up to 800 people but after the 'clearances' of the 19th Century it gradually declined to just 5 inhabitants today. Helen Mark visits Ulva one year after a community and government buyout was completed to find out about the plans to rebuild the abandoned houses and make this place a thriving community once more.

Helen Mark visits Ulva to hear about plans to repopulate and revitalise the island.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Ulva is an island just off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. It was once home to up to 800 people but after the 'clearances' of the 19th Century it gradually declined to just 5 inhabitants today.Helen Mark visits Ulva one year after a community and government buyout was completed to find out about the plans to rebuild the abandoned houses and make this place a thriving community once more.

Helen Mark visits Ulva to hear about plans to repopulate and revitalise the island.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Underground Bristol2017012620170128 (R4)Bristol's hidden gems are explored by Helen Mark.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Vikings On The Isle Of Lewis2018012520180127 (R4)The Vikings arrived on British shores in the 8th century, and their image is deeply engrained in the British consciousness. We think of them as fierce raiders, who travelled in longboats and wore horned helmets. The helmets were a myth, but what were these arrivals from Scandinavia really like, and did they deserve their ferocious reputation? In this programme, medieval historian Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough travels to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides to explore the Norse traces which can still be found on the island today. She meets an archaeologist who takes her to her the foundations of what could have been a Norse house, a local historian who tells her about the clues still to be found in the island's place-names, and a crofter who shows her a Viking comb he stumbled upon one day while out walking. She also finds out more about some of the most famous Viking artefacts, the Lewis chessmen - a group of 12th century chess pieces made of ivory and whalebone, found in a sand dune on the island in 1831.

Presented by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and produced by Emma Campbell.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough explores the legacy of the vikings on the Isle of Lewis.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Visions Of Birmingham2017113020171202 (R4)Adrian Goldberg meets fellow Brummies with a vision for Birmingham's future landscape.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Whitelee Windfarm On Eaglesham Moor2016120820161210 (R4)Helen Mark visits Eaglesham Moor in Scotland, home of the UK's largest onshore wind farm.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Wild Boar In The Forest Of Dean2016110320161105 (R4)Helen Mark has a close encounter with some wild boar in the Forest of Dean.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Wild Cats In The Highlands2018011820180120 (R4)Strathpeffer in the Highlands of Scotland is one of the few remaining strongholds of the elusive Scottish wildcat. The species is now considered to be rarer than the tiger with estimates of between 40 and 400 wildcats left in the wild. The reason that these estimates vary so widely is that the creatures are very hard to spot and that they are often mixed up with large feral or hybrid cats who are also responsible for diluting the remaining gene pool.

Feral cats also cause problems for the wildcats when they bring disease into the few remaining areas where experts believe wildcat populations exist. That's why the Scottish Wildcat Action team are working on a 'Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release' programme. with the help of the local community, to ensure domestic cats do not interbreed with wildcats or spread disease.

David Lindo meets the team at Scottish Wildcat Action in Strathpeffer to see first hand how this programme works as the wildcat enters the vitally important breeding season from January to March.

David Lindo searches for the elusive Scottish wildcat and hears about efforts to save them

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Wimbledon2017062920170701 (R4)Alison Mitchell meets the people who cultivate the sporting landscape at Wimbledon.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Windows2021012120210123 (R4)From tower blocks to stately homes, the office to the garden shed, schools, hospitals or even a prison cell. Windows of all shapes and sizes admit light and connect us to green or urban landscapes, and if you are very fortunate – wildlife! During the winter months and through lockdowns, we are spending more time indoors and perhaps looking out of a window.
For this Open Country, we meet 3 people who each have a unique relationship with windows and who live and work on both sides of the glass to understand why they are so important to our mental health and well-being? Interviewed are Professor John Mardaljevic from Loughborough University, window cleaner Amy Owens and retired psychologist Marco Del Aberdi.

Presented by Helen Mark and produced by Marcus Smith.

Helen Mark rethinks her relationship with windows and how they connect us to the world.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Winter At Binevenagh2020123120210102 (R4)Helen Mark is used to travelling all over the UK recording for Open Country, however this year she's mostly stayed at home in the north-west corner of Northern Ireland. In April she introduced us to her family farm in Limavady as winter gave way to spring. Now as 2020 draws to an end, we join Helen as she rediscovers the coastal lowland landscape which surrounds her home, overlooked by the dramatic peak of Binevenagh. The area between Derry Londonderry and Castlerock has been an overlooked landscape, but is full of historical intrigue and is one of the best places in the UK to experience the wildlife spectacle of overwintering Whooper Swans on Lough Foyle. The Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust has just been awarded lottery funding to restore and reconnect people to aspects of this landscape. We go to find the pillboxes and other relics from the Second World War to hear about when Lough Foyle was one of the main bases for the Allied Forces in Europe. The mountain of Binevenagh towers above these lowlands and Helen's farm. She climbs the peak to hear more about its history, wildlife Through the programme Helen and her guests reflect on how this extraordinary year has changed our sense of place and how we experience our local landscapes. Presented by Helen Mark and produced by Sophie Anton.

Helen Mark immerses us in her local landscape surrounding Binevenagh in Northern Ireland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Helen Mark is used to travelling all over the UK recording for Open Country, however this year she's mostly stayed at home in the north-west corner of Northern Ireland. In April she introduced us to her family farm in Limavady as winter gave way to spring. Now as 2020 draws to an end, we join Helen as she rediscovers the coastal lowland landscape which surrounds her home, overlooked by the dramatic peak of Binevenagh. The area between Derry Londonderry and Castlerock has been an overlooked landscape, but is full of historical intrigue and is one of the best places in the UK to experience the wildlife spectacle of overwintering Whooper Swans on Lough Foyle. The Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust has just been awarded lottery funding to restore and reconnect people to aspects of this landscape. We go to find the pillboxes and other relics from the Second World War to hear about when Lough Foyle was one of the main bases for the Allied Forces in Europe. The mountain of Binevenagh towers above these lowlands and Helen's farm. She climbs the peak to hear more about its history, wildlife Through the programme Helen and her guests reflect on how this extraordinary year has changed our sense of place and how we experience our local landscapes. Presented by Helen Mark and produced by Sophie Anton.

Helen Mark immerses us in her local landscape surrounding Binevenagh in Northern Ireland.

Helen Mark immerses us in her local landscape surrounding Binevenagh in Northern Ireland.

Winter Solstice At Newgrange2016122220161224 (R4)To celebrate winter solstice Helen Mark visits prehistoric monument Newgrange in Ireland.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Witham Navigable Drains2019112820191130 (R4)Some people dream of canoeing up the Zambezi, or exploring Venice by gondola, but Ian Marchant has always dreamed of the world's least romantic waterway: the Witham Navigable Drains, near Boston in Lincolnshire. And there is romance and beauty here. And grand sluices, mighty pumps and a box or two of maggots.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

Ian Marchant fulfils a boyhood dream, of navigating the Witham Navigable Drains.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Wordsworth's County Remade2016121520161217 (R4)Helen Mark visits the Lake District to hear how 'Wordsworth's County' is being remade.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Yorkshire In The Dark2016011420160116 (R4)Yorkshire looks different in the dark. Helen Mark looks into the heavens and underground.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain

Young People And Landscape, Doncaster2018041920180421 (R4)Actress Dominique Moore visits forests, moors and parkland around Doncaster to find out how young people here are using the countryside.

Rural landscapes in this area tend to be sandwiched between motorways, airports and industrial parks, but there are places to escape for a breath of fresh air, if you look carefully. And in Bawtry Forest, you won't just find trees. You might also bump into a couple of tanks or a helicopter from a film set, at the home of the largest paintballing centre in Europe. Owner Karl Broadbent says that young people think about the outdoor spaces through the prism of the computer games they play at home.

Being tied to a screen can adversely affect your mental health, according to young graduates Megan Humphries and Helen Earnshaw, who are part of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's 'Tomorrow's Natural Leaders' scheme. They are setting up an eco-therapy project to enable people to improve their mental well-being in the outdoors at the Trust's Potteric Carr Reserve.

Dominique also meets 19 year old Suzanne Lines, an apprentice with Flying Futures, at Hatfield Moor. Learning survival skills on the National Citizen's Service course helped her discover a passion for the outdoors which she had never suspected. Now she leads groups of young people in alternative provision education, building fires and searching for adders on the Moor.

The last visit is to meet the lions at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which hosts 'ranger' training for young people on week-long courses in animal husbandry. The large carnivores are always popular with teenagers, according to Rachel Ford. But it's a shock for Dominique to go behind the scenes and visit the Meat Store. Hand-feeding the wallabies, on the other hand, is hard to resist.

Dominique Moore finds out how young people are engaging with the landscape near Doncaster.

Countryside magazine featuring the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of Britain