The Lake District
The Countryfile team is in the Lake District, looking in detail at some of the locations featured in the opening titles of the programme. Matt Baker visits the beach the horses race across, meeting the riders and their steeds. Matt is also at Blea Tarn, where the wild swimming was filmed. He meets a wild swimmer who takes to the water even in February. Helen Skelton recreates the rock-climbing scene and meets the family who pioneered the sport in the area.
Ellie Harrison is also in the Lake District, meeting world-renowned graphic artist Russell Mills. She hears the extraordinary story of Russell's inspiration, Kurt Schwitters, his journey to Cumbria from Nazi Germany and his life and work in the Lake District.
Ellie also explores some of the landscapes which inspired one of our most famous poets, William Wordsworth, and sees the link between the poet and a unique gingerbread made in the area.
Tom Heap is in Yorkshire, looking at the damage that winter storms have done to the British coastline. He begins at Spurn Point, where, despite the use of tonnes of concrete and rock, this thin spit of land was breached and the road was washed away. With predictions of more frequent and severe storms, Tom asks what's the best way to protect our shores in the future.
Adam Henson is in Kent, visiting one of the finest, record-breakingly expensive bulls in the world.
Our famous riders
Matt Baker is on a mission to find out more about the locations featured in the Countryfile opening title sequence. On Silecroft Beach in Cumbria he meets the horses, pony and riders that can be seen galloping through the surf in the opening titles every week. Matt soon discovers that not all of them were lucky enough to make the final cut and he tries to rectify this situation so that they all get their 15 seconds of fame.
Helen Skelton joins Matt on his quest to find out more about the opening titles. Helen’s mission is to recreate the climbing shot which was filmed in the Langdale Valley. On her journey she heads to an old climbing haunt to meet Bill Birkett whose family are legends in the area. Spurred on by the Birketts’ spirit of adventure, Helen takes on Lower Scout Crag with the help of a local mountain guide, but her climb isn’t without its problems.
Over the last couple of months the British coastline has taken a battering from the sea – first on the east coast and then on the west. Tom Heap travels to Yorkshire to see some of the most dramatic consequences of the storms and find out how traditional hard defences – such as rock barriers and concrete walls – have fared against the power of the waves. Tom also looks at the growing move towards soft defences, where coastal land is sacrificed to sea when the weather is bad and tides are high. But there are some places where homes are threatened that have no defences at all. So, with predictions of more severe and frequent storms in the future, what is the best way to defend our coastline?
Record breaking bull
Adam Henson travels to a farm in Chiddingstone in Kent to visit a rather special herd of Charolais cattle. A bull they produced called Vexour Garth sold at the Stirling cattle sale in Scotland for an incredible £105,000, taking the title of the most expensive Charolais bull on the planet. The owners hope to make back their investment more than twenty times over and so keeping a bull of this calibre in tiptop condition is vital to his welfare and future success. Adam meets up with farm manager Ray Firminger to help with the routine that keeps his stock in great condition. Although persuading Vexour Garth to have his toenails clipped seems to be easier said than done!
Wordsworth and gingerbread
This year marks the 200th anniversary of ‘The Excursion’, arguably the most important poem of William Wordsworth’s lifetime. Ellie Harrison meets Wordsworth expert, Jeff Cowton, to find out more about the poem and one of the stunning places it features. Wordsworth’s writing brought many tourists to the Lake District. This provided gingerbread baker, Sarah Nelson, with a passing trade and a great opportunity to make money. Today Sarah’s gingerbread is world famous. Ellie visits the original shop to find out more about this delicious delicacy.
Nestled between Great Langdale and Little Langdale valley is the crystal clear Blea Tarn - one of the beauty spots filmed last summer for the Countryfile opening titles. But who is the mystery swimmer in the tarn? Matt reveals all and meets Pete Kelly - a local cold water swimming enthusiast. Pete enjoys nothing more than to take an invigorating dip in Blea Tarn in the winter - wearing nothing but a pair of trunks.
Who was Kurt Schwitters?
Ambleside was once home to a very influential but little known artist called Kurt Schwitters. Born in Germany, Schwitters fled in 1940 and finally settled in this picturesque town. Ellie learns more about his artwork and meets one of his old friends, Jo Clarke. Described by some as the ‘godfather of pop art’, Schwitter's work still influences artists today. Russell Mills, a local artist, is a huge fan of his work and Ellie goes to his studio to find out why.
|Series Producer||Teresa Bogan|