Image for 22/02/2009Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 55 minutes

John Craven marks the 250th anniversary of Kew Gardens by discovering what contribution it has made to our understanding of plants.

Resident wildlife enthusiast Rob Weaver follows one of nature's most impressive journeys, the migration of Atlantic salmon to their spawning grounds in the River Severn.

It is back-to-basics for the so-called 'free economist' who is trying to live without money for a year. Plus controversy over the Government's multi-million pound effort to improve the provision of gypsy sites in England.

  • Kew Gardens

    Countryfile visits the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to celebrate its 250th anniversary. The gardens are a designated World Heritage Site and play a vital role in conserving some of the world’s most significant plants and habitats. John Craven meets with a scientist trying to save one of the UK's rarest plants, the lady slipper orchid. He also visits one of Kew's historic glasshouses, where biological controls have replaced pesticides as a way of keeping plants pest free.

    Kew is one of the best places to see the effects of the changing climate, and thanks to more than 50 years of detailed observations from one of Kew's botanists, scientists are now noticing some tell tale changes in our native flora.

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Travellers

    For over 500 years gypsies and travellers have been part and parcel of the British countryside, traditionally providing itinerant labour for farming communities. In 1994, laws changed meaning local authorities were no longer required to provide sites for gypsies and travellers, as a result over a third of these communities don’t have anywhere legal to put their homes. Recently the Government pledged £97 million over three years for local authorities to enlarge existing travellers’ sites and open new ones. However the decision over where these sites are to be created is causing much controversy. Adam Henson investigates.

    Communities and Local Government: Policy on Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople
  • Free Economist

    Mark Boyle is a free economist embarking on a year-long experiment to try to live without money. He is the founder of the free economy movement, a philosophy that tries to get people to re-evaluate their outlook on life and specifically, their relationship with money. He believes we should share what skills and talent we have without asking for money in return.

    The Freeconomy Community
  • Dolphin Pingers

    Cornwall has the highest rate of cetacean deaths in the UK and every year around 80 dolphins are found dead along this stretch of coastline, over 60% of them are thought to have died in fishing nets. However a new acoustic device called a pinger has been designed to prevent dolphin deaths by deterring them away from fishing nets and Cornwall Wildlife Trust are the first organisation in the UK to trial them. Juliet Morris investigates.

    BBC News: Dolphin 'pinger' devices trialled
  • Migrating Salmon

    Countryfile joins Rob Weaver on a journey following the route of migrating Atlantic salmon to their spawning grounds. Their 100-mile mission begins in the Severn estuary and then takes them upstream to tributaries in Wales where they themselves hatched three or more years earlier. The climax of Rob’s video diary is special underwater footage which allows him to witness first hand the remarkable sight of male and female salmon laying and fertilising their eggs and also fending off predators.

  • Altura Mountain Bike Trail

    Adam Henson heads to Whinlatter Forest in the Lake District to tackle England’s highest and only purpose-built mountain bike trail. As a designated red route it’s only recommended for use by advanced riders. It’s therefore just as well that Adam receives expert tuition from an experienced mountain biker. He also finds out how the Forestry Commission and disabled mountain bikers worked together to adapt the course to meet their specific needs.

    Whinlatter Forest Park Altura Mountain Bike Trail


John Craven
Rob Weaver


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