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factual
OPEN COUNTRY
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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 28 July 2007
Listen to this programme in full
Red Squirrel
This week, Richard is on Tayside, exploring what trees have brought to this part of Scotland
Perthshire may today be branded Big Tree Country, but its conifer-clad slopes are a relatively new phenomenon. Syd House tells Richard how an aristocratic family changed the face of Perthshire including bringing the Douglas Fir from America.

Another American import has been less beneficial. The grey squirrel is a constant threat to the survival of the native red squirrel and the arrival of squirrel pox a disease carried by greys but deadly to reds, is only compounding the problem. Ken Neil and gamekeeper Bob Clarke of the Dundee Countryside Ranger service take Richard to look for them in Templeton Woods.

The Birnam Oak is a remnant of the forest referred to by Shakespeare in Macbeth. At between four and five hundred years old, it's entirely hollow nowadays but big enough for local tree and woodland officer Richard Brough and Richard to sit in its very heart. Trees like this support a huge range of wildlife as Craig Macadam of Buglife Scotland explains.

And Loch of the Lowes is home, year after year, to a pair of ospreys, who return each Spring to refurbish the nest and prepare for a new breeding season. Andrea Williams, warden of the Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve explains why the tree makes a perfect home for the pair.

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