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Matt Baker and John Craven head to South Wales.

Matt is on the coast finding out what's being done to rejuvenate its spectacular sand dunes to prevent them from turning in to giant grass hills. Further down the coast, Matt is put to the test when he joins a local college rugby team who use the dunes as an outdoor gym.

Further inland, John Craven unearths a tale of deception. In 1944, seventy German Prisoners of War tunnelled their way to freedom from a prison camp in Bridgend. It was the biggest escape attempt on British soil. John discovers how they managed to do it right under the noses of the guards and he helps to create a 3D model of the escape route. He also meets a woman whose family aided the capture of two of the escapees.

Elsewhere, Tom's on the trail of our fastest growing source of energy - bio-mass and Adam's investigating a winter crop.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 4 Feb 2013 09:40

Matt and the disappearing dunes

Matt and the disappearing dunes

Matt Baker visits the spectacular sand dunes at Kenfig. These dunes are so important they’ve been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  But all is not well. They are becoming vegetated, turning from sand to giant grass hills. This could mark the beginning of the end for the sand dunes and the rare plants and insects that rely on them. Matt takes a look at a pioneering engineering project which should help rejuvenate the disappearing dunes. He also tries out a simpler approach, joining the local rugby team who break up the grass with their feet.


Find out more about the Kenfig Dunes

The Welsh Great Escape

The Welsh Great Escape

John Craven unearths an incredible tale of deception that took place on the outskirts of the Welsh town of Bridgend. Towards the end of the Second World War, at a prisoner of war camp built on old farmland, German inmates dug a tunnel. On the 10th of March 1945 that tunnel would become their escape route. Right under the noses of their guards, seventy inmates broke out and scattered across the nation. With the help of laser-imaging expert Nick Russill, the team unearth the prisoner’s escape tunnel, revealing it as it has never been seen before – modelled in 3D.  John also meets Elaine Jones who helped capture the final three escapees, all those years ago.


Find out more about the Welsh Great Escape

Tom tackles biomass

Tom tackles biomass

The constant search for reliable forms of renewable energy has taken us back to our roots. Wood was one of the first sources of light and heat for humans. Now it is back in fashion thanks to the growing use of biomass – plants, usually wood or woodchip, used to generate energy. Tom Heap follows two very different projects that use this form of power – Heathrow’s new terminal and the Drax power station. But, as he discovers, not everyone is convinced that biomass really is the answer to our need for sustainable power.

Sugar beet in the snow

Sugar beet in the snow

Adam Henson is scanning his pregnant ewes. It is a skilled job so he has contracted in professional sheep scanner, Wally Chantler. The big worry this year is the Schmallenberg virus and he is keeping his fingers crossed the scans don’t reveal any early signs. Then, Adam travels to Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk to find out how farmers are coping with the harvest of sugar beet in the snow. He follows the process as the root crop is lifted and transported to the factory where it is turned into granulated sugar. Fifty percent of all the sugar we consume in the UK comes from British beet, but the weather is not making its production any easier.


Find out more about sugar beet production

John visits the Margam Estate

John visits the Margam Estate

During his visit to South Wales, John heads to the home of a man who made the most of the area’s natural resources and a lasting impact on its landscape. Victorian entrepreneur Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot helped turn this part of the country into an industrial powerhouse. He not only invested in ironworks, he also created the docks and transport links needed to support them.  'Port Talbot' was named in his honour.  The landscape around Talbot’s home, Margam Castle, has changed little since his death and, as John discovers, it is now the home of several rare breed animals, some you won’t find anywhere else.

Find out more about the Margam Estate


Role Contributor
PresenterJohn Craven
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterTom Heap
PresenterAdam Henson
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan

Secret Britain starts on 8th April

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Don't miss the new series based on Countryfile viewers' favourite secret landscapes.

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