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The Peaks

Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker are in the Peaks in Derbyshire, looking at how the geology there gives rise to two distinct landforms - the Dark Peak and the White Peak.

Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker are in the Peaks in Derbyshire, looking at how the geology there gives rise to two distinct landforms - the Dark Peak and the White Peak. Matt is in the White Peak discovering that the limestone that characterises the region is the remnant of an ancient tropical reef. He ventures underground to see how the action of rainwater down the millennia has carved fabulous forms and caverns, which gave rise to the area's chief industry - lead mining.

Ellie is in the Dark Peak, where it's gritstone that marks out the landscape. She takes a walk with an artist who maps the land and creates three-dimensional maps in metal. Ellie then ventures further north to catch a glimpse of England's last remaining population of mountain hares. At this time of year they shed their dull coats for cloaks of white. But, as Ellie discovers, this could make them vulnerable in a changing climate.

Sean Fletcher is at Haddon Hall helping with some of the restoration of this famous building. He visits the quarry where they get the gritstone to make the repairs, and he gives Haddon's fabled gargoyles a wash and scrub.

Also in this programme, Adam Henson recounts the story of the tractor, from its origins in the age of steam to the hi-tech GPS-guided self-driving tractors of today. And he gets to try his hand at building one.

Wild boar had been extinct in Britain for at least 300 years, but now they are back. In the Forest of Dean alone there are now thought to be more than 1000. But, as Tom Heap has been finding out, not everyone is pleased to see their return.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 21 Dec 2015 02:15

The White Peak

The White Peak

The Peak District boasts some of the UK’s most dramatic and diverse landscapes. The differing geologies of the southern White Peak and the northern Dark Peak create two distinct landscapes. Matt Baker visits the White Peak in the picturesque village of Castleton in Derbyshire to find out how this landscape has been shaped from the ground up over 300 million years.  Matt meets local geologist Pete Loader and discovers he is standing on the ridge of an ancient tropical lagoon. After discovering the fossilised evidence of life that once thrived here, Pete shows the extent of the reef system on a map revealing how it stretches across the whole of the Peak District.

Find out more about the White Peak

Mountain hares

Mountain hares

While Matt explores the White Peak, Ellie Harrison, goes in search of a very elusive creature that lives in the high-altitude moorlands found in the Dark Peak. These are Mountain Hares, a species well adapted to living through very cold conditions on these exposed hilltops. They use the landscape of the Dark Peak not only for food but also for shelter. With winter in full swing their fur will begin to change colour from brown to the white colour of snow. Ellie meets Sarah Proctor, Project Manager from ‘Moors for the Future’ who is heading up a community science project. The project involves communities collecting valuable data and sightings to establish just how much this mysterious species is affected by our warming climate.

Find out more about the project

Wild boar

Wild boar

The wild boar had been extinct from Britain for at least 300 years but – thanks to escapes from farms – they are now back. There have been boar sightings right across the UK, but the largest population is in the Forest of Dean, where there are thought to be more than a thousand. The numbers are managed by culling, but the boars are multiplying faster than they can be killed. They can churn up fields, cause road accidents and be a danger to dogs.  But locals seem to have mixed feelings about the return of this wild animal, as Tom Heap finds out.

Find out more about the British boar

Cumbrian floods

Cumbrian floods

Last weekend, much of northern Britain and Northern Ireland was hit by torrential rain and flooding. One of the worse affected areas was Cumbria and we’ve been to see how the rural community is coping there. We meet farmer John Richardson, who lost more than forty sheep when torrential rain caused a landslide which swept his animals into the river. But amongst the tragic scenes, the rural community has come together to help those who have been affected. In Penrith an aid centre has been set up. Volunteers there are collecting supplies and sending out care packages to people who are cut off or trying to cope without water or power. 

Tractors through time

Tractors through time

The tractor plays a major role on farms all across the world. It has altered our landscape and made working the fields far easier for farmers. To discover how they have evolved Adam Henson visits tractor collector Patrick Edwards and gets the opportunity to drive an 1899 steam powered traction engine. Engines like this replaced the horse and dramatically increased productivity on farms. Over the years they evolved into the high-tech tractors we use today. Adam visits the UK’s largest tractor plant, where a new machine rolls off the production line every four minutes.

Speedwell Cavern

Speedwell Cavern

Over millions of years the elements have shaped the landscape of the Peak District and carved out natural caverns and tunnels that stretch for miles underneath the surface. Matt descends underground to a subterranean cave system that was home to a very important mineral, galena. By boat Matt explores Speedwell Cavern formed by the uplift of a once submerged landscape and years of rain filtering though the rock. Cracks in the stone meant easy access for miners to discover new worlds and the rich source of lead that Castleton became famous for.

Find out more about lead mining

Metal maps

Metal maps

Ellie discovers more about the geology of the Dark Peak and takes a walk with an artist who celebrates this distinctive landscape by creating three-dimensional maps made from metal. Alison Counsell designs stainless steel contoured map sculptures and her inspiration is not only drawn from maps and technical illustrations but also from the landscape that surrounds her. Alison and Paul, a National Park Ranger, walk the routes of each map they produce. Ellie takes a look at the whole process from the first walk to the end result.

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Ellie Harrison
Presenter Matt Baker
Presenter Sean Fletcher
Presenter Adam Henson
Presenter Tom Heap
Executive Producer William Lyons
Series Producer Joanna Brame

Broadcasts

  • Sun 13 Dec 2015 18:20
  • Sun 20 Dec 2015 07:15
  • Mon 21 Dec 2015 02:15