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Rivers & Waterways

The team look at how rivers and waterways have shaped our landscape. Matt Baker is on the Thames Estuary to meet a writer who draws inspiration from the estuary and its people. He also meets the Port Authority staff who oversee some 30,000 annual ship movements, jumps on the foot ferry that once would have brought livestock into the city and meets an artist making beautiful things from the flotsam brought in on the tide.

Sean Fletcher is just a few miles from Matt, finding out what it takes to turn a landfill site into a thriving nature reserve. And Naomi Wilkinson is in Devon at the beautiful Lydford Gorge, meeting a photographer captivated by its waterfall and whose pictures have become an internet sensation. Naomi then takes to the oldest shipping canal in Britain on a paddleboard!

Meanwhile, Adam visits Widecombe Fair in Devon - one of the country's last traditional country fairs. And with the badger cull once again well underway, Tom Heap explores the science around bovine TB and asks what the future might hold.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Mon 17 Oct 2016 01:50
BBC Two except Scotland

The Thames Estuary

The Thames Estuary

A gateway to the world, a place of arrivals and departures, the Thames Estuary is one of the busiest waterways in the UK. Against the back drop of Estuary 2016, an arts festival celebrating the life and times of the waterway, Matt Baker meets Rachel Lichtenstein, the Festivals’ curator and an acclaimed author.  Not far from the festival, and the next stop in Matt’s journey is the control room of the Port of London Authority, the hive of activity that keeps the estuary in order. 

Find out more about Estuary 2016

The science behind bovine TB

The science behind bovine TB

In Britain’s high risk Bovine TB areas, one in five cattle herds given the all clear from the disease could still have TB. That’s according to the responsible government department, Defra. Tom Heap looks at why the TB test is missing infected cows and looks at what science has to offer to help beat the disease.

Paddle boarding

Paddle boarding

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Exeter Canal, and what better way to celebrate than to get out on the water on a paddle board? With autumn sunshine and glassy water, Naomi Wilkinson meets paddle-boarding instructor Mark Bloxham and his Springer Spaniel Cookie to learn the basics of the sport, before heading out onto the River Exe to meet female paddle-boarding champion, Marie Buchanan. With water lapping at her feet and a need to stay balanced, will Naomi stay afloat long enough for the unusual activity Mark has planned? 

Discover the history of the Exeter Canal 

The Tilbury foot ferry

The Tilbury foot ferry

It’s the last public crossing point before the Thames flows out into the sea and it’s been here since Tudor times. The Tilbury and Gravesend foot ferry serves commuters and day trippers these days, but 400 years ago it would have carried cattle to market and pilgrims to Canterbury. Matt Baker meets the captain of the ferry, John Potter, to see why this is still such an important crossing. 

Widecombe Fair

Widecombe Fair

UK Wool Week runs from the 10th to the 16th of October and aims to promote the best of British wool. So to celebrate we sent Adam to Widecombe fair on Dartmoor. The Whiteface sheep have been an integral part of farming life on the moors for centuries. The wool they produced provided an income to farmers and ensured their survival. Adam finds out what makes this breed so special. 

What's going on during British Wool Week!

Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge

The beautiful Lydford Gorge was one of the UK's earliest tourist destinations. Young 18th century men and women in search of the picturesque came here to marvel at the stunning waterfall. Today it still draws people. Naomi meets Stuart Mathieson from the National Trust, to learn about the myths and legends surrounding the falls. She then meets up with local artist and photographer, Jo Bradford, to capture the beauty of this historic landscape in a very modern way.

Explore Lydford Gorge

Estuary Wildlife

Estuary Wildlife

Rare wading birds feeding on the mudflats, seals sunning themselves on the shoreline and cows grazing in the fields nearby, Thurrock Thameside Nature Park is a haven for wildlife. However it used to be a landfill site for all of London’s rubbish. Sean Fletcher meets Charlie Oliver from the Essex Wildlife Trust, to see how this land has been re-wilded and discovers the beautiful and unlikely species that it attracts. 

Thurrock Thameside Nature Park

Thames 21 clean up

Thames 21 clean up
Matt is put to work as part of the Thames 21 clean-up project, clearing the shoreline of the trolleys, tyres and water bottles that find their way into the estuary. However one man’s rubbish is another woman’s treasure, and Matt meets artist, Nicola White, to see the weird and wonderful items she has found along the shore and the artwork she has created with it. 

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterSean Fletcher
PresenterNaomi Wilkinson
PresenterTom Heap
Executive ProducerWilliam Lyons
Series ProducerJoanna Brame