02/09/2012

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Duration: 1 hour

Matt Baker and Helen Skelton head for the Oxfordshire countryside. Matt's taking a walk on the wild side in search of its wild beasts including the humble hedgehog. Matt discovers what's being done to halt the decline in the hedgehog population which has halved in the last 25 years. While Helen's at the home of croquet - Chastleton House and gardens where she'll be getting to grips with the rules for a match against the estate volunteers.

There will also be the judging of Countryfile's annual photographic competition. Every year Countryfile's talented viewers send in tens of thousands of entries to the programme's photographic competition. This year is no exception - around 50,000 photos will be scrutinised to find the final twelve that will feature in the Countryfile calendar for 2013.
Last year, the calendar raised more than one-and-a-quarter million pounds for Children in Need, so there's a lot of pressure on the judges to get it right. As usual, former competition winners will help shortlist the entries before John Craven, naturalist and photographer Chris Packham and writer comedian Jo Brand find the final twelve. Then it's up to the viewers to vote for the overall winner.

Elsewhere, Tom Heap investigates the impact of rising sea temperatures on our marine life.

  • Judging The Photographic Competition

    Judging The Photographic Competition

    On this week’s Countryfile we’ll be announcing the twelve finalists in this year’s photographic competition. But, as you’ll see on the programme, getting tens of thousands of entries down to just a dozen was no easy task. First a selection of previous finalists painstakingly whittled nearly fifty thousand pictures down to around three thousand. Then it was the turn of our celebrity judges, Chris Packham, Jo Brand and our own John Craven to pick the final twelve. They came together in the scenic surroundings of the Royal Palace at Eltham in Greenwich to make their selection. We’ll be revealing the photographs they chose on the programme and then you have a chance to pick the overall winner.

  • The Home Of Croquet

    The Home Of Croquet

    Four centuries ago the grandson of a wealthy wool merchant built Chastleton House in the middle of the idyllic Oxfordshire countryside. It was here that one of his descendants, the eccentric Walter Whitmore Jones, came up with the rules for croquet. Helen Skelton picks up a mallet and finds out how the game has changed since then, before helping with the upkeep of the romantic topiary garden. Finally, Helen takes on Matt Baker using her newly acquired croquet skills.

    IMAGE: Matt & Helen filming croquet in traditional dress

    Find out more about Chastleton House and Gardens
  • Saving Our Hedgehogs

    Saving Our Hedgehogs

    Hedgehogs are becoming an increasingly scarce sight in the UK. In the last 25 years numbers have halved and it’s feared by 2050 they could disappear from some areas altogether. The good news is there’s a campaign underway to try and reverse that trend. Matt Baker meets a family who are trying to make their garden more hedgehog-friendly and finds out what we can all do to help.

    IMAGE: Matt and the family of hedgehog champions

    Could you help a hedgehog?
  • Tom's New Sea Life

    Tom's New Sea Life

    The seas around Britain are getting warmer because of climate change. Tom Heap investigates what impact this is having on the fish and other sea life around our shores. He discovers that some of our tradition species, like cod and haddock are starting to move north in search of warmer waters. In their place, new fish are arriving, together with unusual crabs, plants and even dolphins. But will the British fishing industry be able to adapt?

    IMAGE: Tom inspects a new arrival with local fishmonger Shaun Mitchell.

  • Matt And The Solitary Bees

    Matt And The Solitary Bees

    You might not recognise a solitary bee at first glance. Instead of living in hives they can make their nests in discarded insect shells or in small holes in the ground. Some aren’t even black and yellow, but they are important. These bees pollinate a lot of our flowers, without them our countryside could look quite different. Matt goes in search of solitary bees and helps enthusiast Ivan Wright to carry out research which could help protect them in the future.

    IMAGE: Filming a solitary bee

    Find out more about solitary bees
  • Crocodiles In Oxfordshire

    Crocodiles In Oxfordshire

    Matt finishes his walk on the wild side by coming face to face with some fearsome predators. Luckily for him it’s just the baby ones. With their armour-plated bodies and huge teeth crocodiles have a frightening reputation, but animal lover Shaun Foggett wants to change people’s perceptions. He keeps almost a hundred of them in a sanctuary in the countryside.

    IMAGE: Matt and Shaun pose for a snap

    Meet the crocodiles

Credits

Presenter
Matt Baker
Presenter
Matt Baker
Presenter
Helen Skelton
Presenter
Helen Skelton
Presenter
John Craven
Presenter
John Craven
Presenter
Tom Heap
Presenter
Tom Heap
Series Producer
Teresa Bogan
Series Producer
Teresa Bogan

Broadcasts

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