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Episode 1

Episode 1 of 3

Neil Oliver uncovers Britain's ancient landscape of belief and ritual. He goes in search of the earliest stirrings of religion in Britain, finding clues left by Ice Age hunters.

In the first of a three part series, Neil Oliver sets off on in search of the Sacred Wonders of Britain. What was it about Britain's rich and varied landscape that inspired our ancestors to express their beliefs by reshaping the world around them? What did they see in our countryside that led them to deem some places more sacred than others and why are we still drawn back to those places today?

From the heart of our cities to the furthest reaches of our islands, it's a journey to reveal the sacred face of Britain - an ancient landscape of belief and ritual that still lies hidden just below the surface of our modern world.

Neil goes in search of the very first stirrings of religion in Britain. In Nottinghamshire he discovers clues to a world of magic and ritual etched into the rock of Creswell Crags by Ice Age hunters. In the south of England and on the Scottish borders, great tombs are evidence of ancestor worship among the first farmers of the Neolithic era and an extraordinary discovery in Herefordshire reveals what really lies beneath their burial mounds.

In the flint mines of Grimes Graves in Norfolk, he discovers how Stone Age miners carried their religion deep underground. Finally, in the great stone circle and henge of Avebury and the extraordinary monuments of Orkney, he discovers how a new age of belief swept away the old religions and changed Britain for ever.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 4 Jun 2020 09:00

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Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:24

    Gareth Gates



Role Contributor
Presenter Neil Oliver
Director Martin Kemp
Series Producer Martin Kemp
Executive Producer Mike Smith


Neil Oliver's blog post: 'I have to concede that Orkney knocks me off my feet.'

Neil Oliver's blog post: 'I have to concede that Orkney knocks me off my feet.'

Neil writes for the BBC Love TV Blog on his encounters with sacred sites.