Ellie Harrison, John Craven and Anita Rani explore Britain's woodlands, while Tom Heap investigates what can be done to protect trees from the threat of disease.
In this themed programme Ellie Harrison, John Craven and Anita Rani explore Britain's woodlands. Ellie is high up in the canopy with the scientists collecting leaf buds to learn more about the effects of CO2 on woodland. She then helps release some hedgehogs, one of the nation's favourite and most-threatened woodland species, back into the wild. John finds out what it takes to manage your own woodland and discovers that the return of the old craft of coppicing is proving a boom to wildlife. He also joins the conservationists using novel methods to increase the dormice populations in Shropshire's woods. And Anita discovers how to build with baked wood - using a new technique that hardens and weatherproofs timbers making them much more durable and better for building with.
Adam Henson has the third and final of the Countryfiles Farming Heroes nominees. The biggest threat to British trees is disease - and in many cases there's no cure. Tom Heap investigates the threats to our woodland and finds out what we can all do to defend our trees.
Woodlands are some of our most treasured landscapes. They have been around for thousands of years, providing inspiration, precious habitats and materials that have helped build our nation. Today, truly ancient woodland covers only around 2% of the UK. Ellie Harrison is in Dorset, learning what makes woodland ‘ancient’. She identifies some of the species that contribute the special ecosystem of an ancient forest and takes some time to enjoy the tranquillity that woods can provide.
John Craven is on Wenlock Edge with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, as they attempt to discover more about the dormouse population in this patch of woodland. John learns about the habits of this sleepy creature, as the team from the trust put out new camera traps high up in the canopy. They hope these cameras will confirm these little animals are using the very tops of the trees to get around.
Anita Rani is in Oxfordshire, with the Sylva Foundation, as they open their brand new Wood Centre for the very first time. Anita joins Rodas as he finishes the cladding on the building, which is made from thermally treated British ash and sycamore. This treatment makes the wood more durable, allowing it to be used more widely. Anita meets with one of the new tenants of the Wood Centre, sculptor Simon Clements, who is taking his inspiration from the quivering leaves of the woodland canopy.
The biggest threat to British woodland is disease. The most famous outbreak in the UK was Dutch Elm disease which killed millions of trees in the 1970s and 80s. Since then a host of other threats have reached our shores, including ash dieback. Tom Heap discovers that many of these diseases have no cure and asks what we can do to stop them spreading – or arriving in the first place.
John Craven is in Shropshire finding out about the traditional methods of managing our smaller woodlands. John has a go at coppicing and learns how this age old practice can support the wider ecosystem in the woods. He discovers the practical uses for timber that comes from small woodlands and relaxes in a beautifully made, coppiced hazel chair.
Countryfile Farming Hero
The judges for Countryfile’s Farming Heroes Award are in the bleak yet beautiful hills of Northumberland National Park meeting our third finalist. Shepherd Robert Bertram came to the rescue when a neighbour had a quad bike accident in the snow. Robert, who was born and raised in the National Park, used his local knowledge to search the hillside in a blizzard. Eventually he managed to find and rescue Mark Dey who was trapped under his overturned quad. Adam Henson traces the route with Robert and hears how Mark’s dog also played a crucial role in the rescue.
Ellie travels to Staffordshire to meet the team from the University of Birmingham Institute of Forest Research. They are working on one of the biggest woodland experiments the world has to offer. Ellie gets high up in the canopy, taking samples of the twigs and buds for the researchers to monitor back in the lab. She also gets to see the insides of the trees as core samples are taken for research. All this is in preparation for the main experiment, an attempt to find out how our woods and forests will cope with raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the future.
Ellie Harrison is with Stuart Edmunds of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, as he prepares for a big day. Stuart has nurtured two hedgehogs through the winter at his home and it is time now for them to be released, back into the wild. Ellie and Stuart prepare some brash piles for the hogs to get comfortable in, before John Craven arrives to help see the spiny creatures on their way.
|Executive Producer||William Lyons|
|Series Producer||Joanna Brame|