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Forest of Dean Remembrance

To mark Remembrance Sunday, Countryfile visits the Royal Forest of Dean, one of our most ancient and beautiful woodlands. Ellie Harrison discovers how the forest became a resource in wartime, when she meets the 'lumberjills'- women who took on the role of forester to help the war effort.

Matt Baker takes a walk through the forest following a giant sculpture trail, and along the way he meets the artist who turned a quiet glade into a place of remembrance and contemplation. In Oxfordshire, Helen Skelton finds out how men from the countryside were trained as a secret army during World War Two.

Meanwhile, Tom Heap investigates the impact legislation to protect our village greens is having on the countryside. Adam Henson goes off to see some of the best Highland cattle in Britain, but without heading north of the border.

Finally, Matt and Ellie meet up in Drybrook Church, at the forest's northern edge, to find out more about its wartime history and pay tribute to the servicemen and women who put their lives on the line in conflicts from the trenches of World War One to the deserts of Afghanistan.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Sun 18 Nov 2012 12:35
BBC One Scotland

Ellie And The Lumberjills

Ellie And The Lumberjills

During the Second World War the UK’s forests played a vital role in supplying the 51 million cubic feet of wood needed for the war effort. With many men away fighting, the government created the Women’s Timber Corps in 1942, 70 years ago this year. Affectionately known as “Lumberjills”, these female fellers were dispatched across the UK, armed with axes and saws to provide wood for everything from pit props to aeroplane wings. The Forest of Dean was one of the first places to echo to the sound of the Lumberjills’ axe. Ellie Harrison joins three former members of the corps to find out more about the working life of a Lumberjill.

 

Can you help find a Lumberjill?

Matt On The Sculpture Trail

Matt On The Sculpture Trail

The Royal Forest of Dean has a rich industrial history in mining, charcoal burning and timber production. During the Second World War it was also a major staging post for British and US troops destined for battle on mainland Europe. Matt Baker explores how this varied history is expressed in a sculpture trail that winds through the forest, peppering the landscape with weird and wonderful objects. The latest addition to the trail brings things right up to date with a reference to the on-going conflict in Afghanistan. Matt meets artist David Cotterrall who explains how his time in Helmand Province inspired him to install some 21st century military architecture in the heart of the forest.

 

Find out more about the sculpture trail

Adam And The Island Highlands

Adam And The Island Highlands

Adam Henson visits a top class breeder of one of his favourite rare breed cattle, the Highland. But he’s not heading to Scotland, instead Adam is taking a short hop across the water to the Isle of Wight where he gets to see a beautiful herd of more than hundred Highlands. Incredibly he also discovers that one of the animals in the herd is descended from one of his own cows. Adam also gets close up to the heart of any good herd, a magnificent one-ton Highland bull that’s sweeping the boards at all of the top shows. 


Find out more about the Isle of Wight’s Highland cattle

Tom On The Village Green

Tom On The Village Green

Tom Heap investigates claims that ‘village green’ status is now being used as a tool to block housing developments in the countryside. In recent years lakes, beaches and even farmer’s fields have been put forward as potential village greens. In many cases, they have been protected to safeguard spaces that are regularly used by the public. But, is the law also being abused by people who just want to keep the land around them development-free? The government certainly thinks so and, as Tom discovers, they want to bring in new rules to limit the number of sites that can be protected.

 

Find out about the proposed changes

Forests Under Threat

Forests Under Threat

Britain’s trees are currently under threat from a range of deadly diseases. The most well-known is ‘Ash dieback’, but in the Forest of Dean it’s the commercially valuable larch trees that are most at risk. Phytopthora Ramorum is a fungus-like pathogen that can kill whole patches of larch in a year. Ellie finds out why protecting these trees requires tens of thousands of them to be prematurely felled. Quickly felling such a large number of trees calls for some serious forestry hardware. Ellie jumps behind the controls of a machine that can fell 700 trees a day and makes her own small contribution to the cause.

 

Find out more about the threats to our forests

Churchill’s Secret Army

Churchill’s Secret Army

During the Second World War, farmers and gamekeepers were being secretly recruited to form guerrilla troops. Helen Skelton is on a mission to find out more about these men, known as the Auxiliary Units or the British Resistance. They trained at Coleshill House in Oxfordshire and were tasked with building underground bases and emerging, ready to attack, should Britain have been invaded. Thankfully their training was never put to the test. Helen joins some scouts as they attempt to recreate an exercise – but will they make it past the enemy unseen?

 

Find out more about Auxiliary Units 

Forest Church Bells

Forest Church Bells

For nearly 200 years the Holy Trinity Church in Drybrook has been at the centre of remembrance in the Forest of Dean. The area suffered heavy losses in both world wars and memories of lost love ones live on amongst local people. Matt is meeting Freda Margaret whose father and two brothers fought for their country - her brother Ivor made the ultimate sacrifice and never came home. Following the First World War, families who lost loved ones in battle created a unique set of tubular bells in the church as a tribute to the fallen. The bells ring out over the forest to this day and will play a big part in the church’s Remembrance service this weekend.

 

Find out more about the Holy Trinity Church

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterEllie Harrison
PresenterEllie Harrison
PresenterEllie Harrison
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterTom Heap
PresenterTom Heap
PresenterTom Heap
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan