Image for 14/12/2008Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 55 minutes

John Craven heads to the Cairngorms in Scotland where they are preparing for Christmas and Adam Henson is in Ulverston in Cumbria for the annual Dickensian festival. Plus, Juliet Morris discovers why trees play such an important part in our festive celebrations.

  • Chipping Campden: Holly

    John Craven visits Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds – a town with an enviable reputation for having the most beautiful high street in England. With the help of the local community, John sets about creating a Christmas meal with a difference. He also visits one of the biggest holly plantations in the country to find out about the quality of this year’s crop.

    Find out more about Tenbury Mistletoe and Holly Auction
  • Fuel Laundering

    Adam Henson heads to Northern Ireland to find out about the environmental impact of an illegal practice known as “fuel laundering”. It involves obtaining red diesel – the reduced duty fuel used mainly by farmers – and washing out the dye using cat litter or sulphuric acid so it looks like normal diesel. Not only is this activity resulting in huge revenue losses, but the by-product is a highly toxic waste which is being dumped in the countryside - with devastating environmental consequences.

    Official HMRC (Northern Ireland) statement on fuel laundering
  • Donkey Boy Video Diary

    It won't be long before children are searching the skies and listening out for the distant jingling of Santa's reindeer. But in one small town near Belfast, the sound of hooves and sleigh bells has come early thanks to a 12-year-old boy and his team of eight……donkeys.

    Robert Wallace lives on a former dairy farm in Ballynahinch, Northern Ireland with Fudge, Muffin, Popcorn, Sparkler, Denis, Treacle, MJ and Jack of Diamonds. Every year, Robert dusts off his Christmas carriage and takes his prize-winning donkey Denis for a festive trot around town, complete with jingling bells and a Santa hat.

  • Chipping Camden: Three Bird Roast

    John visits Lower Clopton Farm in Chipping Campden to find out what makes their turkeys so special. For his Christmas dinner with a twist they show him an alternative main course to the traditional turkey – a three bird roast made up of a pheasant inside a duck, inside a turkey.

    Lower Clopton Farm
  • Tree Dressing

    The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex kicks off the festive season with an alternative to some of the more traditional Christmas celebrations. Each year to celebrate the end of National Tree Week the museum hosts its annual Tree Dressing event. With the focus on nature and the changing seasons, children and adults alike flock to the museum to decorate lanterns and join in with traditional folk dancing and singing. The event culminates at sunset with the hanging of lanterns on two imposing Aspen trees in the museums grounds. Charlotte Smith and her family went along to join in the with the fun and festivities.

    Weald and Download Open Air Museum
  • Dickensian Festival

    The rivers were brown and pungent, the houses were haunted and the streets were awash with thieves. That’s the world that Charles Dickens wrote about over 100 years ago yet people remain captivated by his stories. His literary legacy is celebrated by the market town of Ulverston in Cumbria which has an annual festival in his name. The guest of honour is the author’s great great grandson, Gerald Dickens. Adam Henson – aka Scrooge – joined in the festive fun.

    Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival
  • Chipping Camden – Pudding Club

    No Christmas dinner would be complete without a pudding and John visits the famous Pudding Club in the Cotswolds to find out more about why this great British tradition has come back into fashion. He also chooses a final course to complete his alternative Christmas menu – a St Nick’s pudding.

    The Pudding Club
  • Countryfile Photo Competition

    The Countryfile Calendar for 2009, sold in aid of Children in Need is still available.

    View the winning entry and find out how to purchase a copy of the 2009 calendar


John Craven
Adam Henson
Juliet Morris


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