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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 29 November
Repeated Thursday 4 December
Listen to this programme in full
Mourne
Helen Mark explores one of the most beautiful areas in the British Isles, the Mourne area of Northern Ireland, with its mountains that really do "sweep down to the sea." 
 
 
Now the Mourne is being pushed to become Northern Ireland’s first national park. Martin Carey, of the Mourne Heritage Trust tells Helen why a national park is necessary for the area and how it would help protect its unique landscape.
But the idea of a national park is not without its controversy. Valerie Hanna and Harold McKee both represent farmers and others who object to the idea of a national park. It isn’t that they don’t feel the land needs protecting, it’s just, as they tell Helen, that more rules would mean more hardships for them.
So what is it that makes the Mourne so special? It could have something to do with the stone. Mourne granite has graced everything from the Albert Memorial in London to the paving stones in Manchester. Ernie Wilson, an amateur industrial archaeologist and granite enthusiasts explains its properties. Or perhaps it’s the wildlife. At Murlough Nature Reserve, owned by the National Trust, Helen chats with David Thompson who shows her around nearly 6 miles of ancient sand dune system meeting some of the unique plants and animals.

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