Countryfile is in Shropshire, where Matt Baker discovers the garden that inspired Charles Darwin's thinking and Ellie Harrison learns of a special restoration project.
Countryfile is in Shropshire, where Matt Baker discovers the garden that inspired Charles Darwin's thinking. He gets stuck in restoring the fabled 'Thinking Path' in the garden of Darwin's birthplace and helps survey the garden's wildlife for the first time since Darwin's day.
Ellie Harrison is in Shropshire's own 'Lake District,' where a special restoration project is creating the right habitat for one of Britain's rarest mammals, the water vole. She also visits the RAF base where a big project to breed one of the most productive honey bees is being run with military precision.
John Craven uncovers a secret wartime plan than saved thousands of lives during the Second World War, but was almost unheard of until now. And Adam Henson is on HM the Queen's Balmoral Estate in Scotland, where he handles rare Balmoral ponies and witnesses the birth of the first of the new season's foals.
Few animals look as calm and relaxed as cattle, so it is hard to believe that, every year, walkers are seriously injured, and in a few tragic cases killed, by bulls and cows. Tom Heap asks whether we should we be frightened of a field full of animals.
Charles Darwin was born at the Mount House in Shrewsbury in 1809. His childhood home stood in over seven acres of pleasure gardens, woodland and meadows – grounds that provided the ideal environment to nurture a budding naturalist. Most of the original gardens have now disappeared under new housing, but the Shropshire Wildlife Trust has recently acquired a portion of the original woodland where Darwin and his family would take their daily walk. Matt Baker discovers what plans the trust has for it and goes in search of remnants of the original gardens.
Adam and the Balmoral ponies
Back in January, Adam Henson travelled to the Balmoral Estate for the Countryfile Winter Special. Now spring has sprung, he’s making a return visit. As well as Highland cattle, there’s another famous local breed on the Royal estate, Highland ponies. Head of the Balmoral stud is Sylvia Ormiston. But she’s not the only one who is passionate about these hard-working creatures - they’re a personal favourite of the Queen too. Adam heads for the hills to enjoy the stunning scenery and see what the ponies are really made of. While filming, he gets some exciting news, a new foal has been born on the farm and Adam’s on hand to see it take its first steps.
During World War Two, the Fenn’s & Whixall Mosses Nature Reserve in Shropshire was the site of a top secret project, codenamed ‘Operation Starfish’. The operation’s aim was to trick German planes away from bombing our cities, by lighting dummy fires in open countryside. John Craven discovers the history behind this covert project and what Natural England are doing at the reserve to preserve this fascinating, and largely unknown, part of our military history.
Every year members of the public are seriously injured, and in some tragic cases killed, while walking through fields containing cattle. Tom Heap hears from a man who was attacked by a herd of cows while walking his dog in Wiltshire, leaving both him – and a neighbour who came to his rescue – with serious injuries. So should we be doing more to tackle the problem? Tom learns about the danger signs to look out for and some simple tips for lowering the risk of an attack. He also discovers that there is a lack of hard data which could tell us whether certain situations – and particular breeds of cattle – are more dangerous than others.
Meres, mosses and mason bees
Ellie Harrison visits a little known watery world in northern Shropshire. This is one of the rarest habitats on earth and at the heart of one of the biggest landscape restorations Britain has ever seen – the Meres and Mosses Project. As well as checking out wetland conservation and discovering the importance of peat bogs, Ellie takes to the water in search of the elusive water vole. But will she find one? Ellie then goes on to find out about another conservation project at RAF Shawbury, where they are trying to increase the numbers of mason bees.
|Series Producer||Joanna Brame|
|Executive Producer||William Lyons|