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Sundays 12 February to 12 March 2.45-3.00pm

Naturalist Mike Dilger visits Extreme Britain in five of its many guises and uncovers some surprising stories in unexpected locations.

Mike Dilger watches people surf the Severn bore
Mike Dilger watches surfers ride the Severn bore

Programme 1 - The Lowest of the Low
Holme Fen, south of Peterborough is a rare surviving relic of the vast fenlands that once covered the countryside in parts of East Anglia and is now the lowest point on land in the British Isles. Drainage and agriculture have combined to lower the land, but as Mike views the startling evidence of its shrinkage, he also learns of a plan to re-create those landscapes of the past.

 Listen again to Programme 1

Programme 2 - Phoenix Trees
Britain's oldest tree will always be a subject of controversy. At Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, Mike meets a venerable giant lime which doesn't conform to our usual image of an ancient tree, but has a strong claim to be the oldest in Britain. This discovery sets him on the trail of "phoenix trees" which may look young but could, in the right circumstances, live forever.

 Listen again to Programme 2

Programme 3 - The Wettest Place
Borrowdale in Cumbria doesn't just have the highest annual rainfall ever recorded in the UK, but is also home to Britain's temperate rainforest. Mike finds out what it's like to farm and rear sheep in the wettest inhabited place and marvels over mosses and translucent ferns in the mist-laden woods at Seathwaite.

 Listen again to Programme 3

Programme 4 - The Most Dangerous Place in Britain
With a keen ear for a story Mike decides that, for those susceptible to folklore, Dartmoor must be the most dangerous place in Britain. The wild moors, tors and bogs are rife with dark stories of Evil Riders, witches and Wist Hounds among others and Mike visits the classic locations which have inspired some of the most notorious tales.

 Listen again to Programme 4

Programme 5 - The Biggest Tide
With a 14 metre rise between lowest and highest tides the Severn estuary can boast not only the greatest tidal reach in the UK but also the second greatest in the world.  It's also the site of the famous Severn Bore and Mike meets a committed bore-rider and a flock of Russian invaders on his journey along the lower Severn.

 Listen again to Programme 5
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