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Northumberland

Countryfile heads to the wild, rugged and dramatic landscape of Northumberland. From its moorland to its coastline, its beauty belies violent times. It is a county where we first encountered a fearsome new threat brought in on the seas. Julia Bradbury unpicks the history of this ancient kingdom and she learns how it has also influenced the local dialect.

Further in land and thousands of years later, an unknown soul was forging ahead with green energy. Matt Baker finds out how Lord William Armstrong, a pioneering Victorian, came up with a revolutionary plan to use the power of water to power his house. It was to become the first home-grown hydroelectric scheme in the world, and plans are afoot to fire it up again.

Ellie Harrison finds out how the ancient art of willow spiling is helping to reinforce river banks in the Northumberland countryside. Elsewhere, Tom Heap finds out what impact the proposed new high speed rail link (HS2) is going to have on the countryside and the people living in it. And Adam travels to Shropshire to see how science is helping to protect and preserve the rare breed Hackney horse.

55 minutes

Last on

Mon 11 Mar 2013 09:40

Julia explores Lindisfarne

Julia explores Lindisfarne

The tranquil moors and endless coast of Northumberland are the setting for some of the most pivotal and violent moments in British history. The rulers who ran the ancient kingdom of Northumbria controlled great swathes of England from their seat of power on this beautiful coastline. Julia Bradbury is heading out across the causeway to the tidal island of Lindisfarne, once the cradle of Christianity and home to monks who would become saints. However, their coastal retreat was rocked in 793 when marauding Vikings launched a raid on the island, shattering their dream of isolation forever.

 

Find out more about Lindisfarne

Matt visits Cragside House

Matt visits Cragside House

The North East has a proud industrial heritage, but one name that you may not have heard of is Lord William Armstrong. This Victorian industrialist was a powerhouse of invention and for him, innovation started close to home. His lifelong love affair with the Northumberland countryside led him to build Cragside House, a grand mansion towering over stunning landscape gardens. Thanks to Armstrong, the house was the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity and came kitted out with a whole range of labour saving devices.  Matt Baker is heading to Cragside to help prepare the house and gardens for their 150th birthday.

Tom investigates HS2

The second phase of Britain’s newest high speed railway line will take fast trains from Birmingham through the countryside to Leeds and Manchester. But what impact will this new route have on the environment? Tom meets locals who are concerned about the effect the line will have on their livelihoods and local wildlife. Then he travels to Kent to find out what the impact of Britain’s first purpose-built high speed railway was.

 

See the plans for phase two of HS2

Northumbrian Dialect

Northumbrian Dialect

The Geordie accent is one of the most recognisable in the UK. Dig a little deeper, however, and you find there is more to the language of this area than “howay the lads” or “gannin’ along the Scotswood Road”. The Northumbrian Dialect is a language born from the landscape and history of Northumberland, a melting pot of influences brought in by those who’ve settled in the area over thousands of years. Julia heads into the remote hills of the Northumberland National Park to meet a farmer’s son working to keep the dialect alive. James Tait has teamed up with local schools to pass this unique language on to the latest generation of Northumbrians.

 

Find out more about the Northumbrian dialect

Adam’s Farm

Adam’s Farm

This week Adam’s father Joe Henson visits the farm and they look back on how Gloucester cattle numbers have increased since the formation of the Rare Breed Survival Trust, 40 years ago. Adam also visits a gene bank in Whitchurch, Shropshire that specialises in storing equine semen. This technology is being used to help protect rare breeds of horses like the Hackney stallion. This elegant horse was known as a carriage horse, but it lost popularity when the motor car took its place. Adam discovers the science behind freezing their genes in time as a safeguard for the future.

 

Find out more about the Rare Breed Survival Trust

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterJulia Bradbury
PresenterJulia Bradbury
PresenterTom Heap
PresenterTom Heap
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterAdam Henson
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan

What's on this week's Countryfile

Ellie, Matt and Romans FOR WEB

Find out more about what's on the 26th October edition of Countryfile

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BBC Earth

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