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Saturday 24th May 2002 0900 GMT
Life in the fast lane
farmhouse with traffic infront
Farmhouse with traffic travelling in front.
A new BBC Radio Four documentary visits Calderdale sheep farmer Ken Wild who lives on an island in an 18th Century farmhouse surrounded by the six lanes of the M62 motorway.
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FACTS

The M62 provides the major transport link for the movement of freight from the maritime ports of Hull, Goole and Liverpool and the international airports of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds/Bradford and Humberside to the rest of the UK.

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From Ken's farm it is twenty yards on either side to the fast lanes of the east and west bound carriageways of the M62 - as the transpennine route climbs to its peak and claims the title of the highest motorway in England.

motorway
In the middle of the motorway

Ken and Beth's house is seen by 90,000 people on a daily basis, yet most only get a fleeting glimpse as they pass by at 70 mph - and often in the harshest of weather conditions.

This is certainly a life in the open moors of West Yorkshire well away from the picture postcard villages.

sheep
Remote with just sheep for company

Beth talks of one motorist who claims over time to have seen her entire selection of underwear hanging out on the line. The only half-legitimate excuse for enquiring further into their world is a breakdown - when, if the curious driver is lucky, a brave dash across three lanes of traffic might be rewarded with a brew.

For most, Ken's life is left to the imagination and the tall tales about how he got there. What sort of man is he? Was this one farmer's brave stand against the construction companies? How does he cope with the constant roar of traffic? And how can he possibly run a farm from this bizarre spot?

farmhouse
The farmhouse

Now a new BBC Radio Four programme reveals the story of Ken and Beth Wild in a tapestry of words, sound and specially composed music. The simplicity of Ken's existence contrasts with the complexity of the modern lives carried by the motorway. A Fork in the Road is on Monday 26th May at 8.30pm on Radio 4.

Watch a video clip from Close Up North: Highway in the Sky transmitted on 8/2/2001

 



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