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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday  9 December 2006
Listen to this programme in full
In this week’s Open Country, Richard Uridge is searching for peace and quiet on the Suffolk Coast.
Richard starts on the beach near Sizewell Nuclear plant. There he meets Graeme Willis, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England  who recently published a map outlining the tranquillity quotient for the country. The colour coded map shows areas where people can find the most peace (shaded green) to those that are the noisiest (shaded red). According to Graeme, tranquillity isn’t just about a lack of noise, it’s more about the quality of the sounds you hear and what you see.

Next, Richard makes his way up the coast to hear about the lost metropolis of Dunwich . According to  Morgan Caines, assistant manager of the local museum,  Dunwich was half the size of London and had the fourth largest port in the country – in the Middle Ages. But a five-day storm put paid to all that, silting up the harbour and taking away all the jobs. “The sea made Dunwich,” Morgan said. “It also destroyed it.” The sea continues to nibble away at the town, a metre a year. All that’s left of it now are a few homes, a church and recently breached sea shingle bank.

Can you build tranquillity? One man believed he could. Nearly 100 years ago, Glen Stuart Ogilvie built and designed a vacation village in what was once a sleepy fishing hamlet of Thorpeness. His goal was to create the perfect holiday paradise for British families returning from abroad. His grandson, Glen Ogilvie, explains how this singular vision transformed the area.

Some say that a good walk is a way to clear your head and gain some perspective. Neil Lister knows all about this. Neil helps manage the Suffolk Coast Path. Part of his job involves making sure the path people take along the coast is in good condition. This means getting volunteers to walk the length of the path checking to see if parts of it have washed away (the sea is notorious for gobbling up bits of the Suffolk coastline.) He takes Richard on a bit of a walk along the coast.

Finally, Richard ends the day bird watching at Minsmere Reserve . Minsmere is one of RSPB’s most popular reserves, attracting 93,000 visitors a year. But as manager Adam Rowlands says, the sheer size of the place means that anyone can still find calm away from visitors, among the birds and the freshwater reed beds. 

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