John Craven marks the 40th anniversary of LS Lowry's death by following in the artist's footsteps. Ellie Harrison learns about how to conserve moorland.
John Craven takes to Northumberland's roads in a vintage Volvo, much like the car used to ferry the artist LS Lowry around on his visits to the area. To mark the 40th anniversary of Lowry's death, John follows in the artist's footsteps, accompanied by Simon Marshall, who used to drive Lowry to scenic spots for him to paint. Together, they meet the last of Berwick's traditional fishermen, a subject often painted by Lowry. Simon reveals, for the first time since the artist's death, two delicate line drawings that the artist gave him the last time they met.
Ellie Harrison is on the moors learning that the best ways to conserve vital moorland is to burn it. She joins the team behind an innovative scheme to train people how to cope with wildfires and how controlled burning can benefit wildlife. She also meets the breeder keeping one of the UK's most endangered heavy horses, the Clydesdale, going. Ellie tries her hand at working the horses on long reins and has a go at dressing their tails for showing.
Domestic violence can be a problem anywhere, but as Charlotte Smith discovers, when you live in an isolated rural area, finding the support you need to escape an abusive situation can be tough.
Plus the second of the Farming Hero nominees, Julia Evans, who opened a care farm in Worcestershire.
LS Lowry’s Northumberland
It's 40 years since the world renowned artist died, to mark the anniversary John Craven is taking a journey through the county following in the artist’s tracks. He’s joined by Simon and Veral Marshall, family friends of Lowry, who drove the artist to scenic spots helping to inspire him. They travel in style, in a vintage Volvo 144 just like the one Simon used to drive Lowry around in. They visit places seen in some of Lowry’s pictures, experiencing wide landscapes and seascapes, a contrast to the grime and urban backdrops of his Salford paintings. What emerges is a picture of a solitary man who took solace and inspiration from the landscape of Northumberland.
Of all the breeds of working horse, Clydesdales, perhaps more than any other, represent what working horses are. They're the massive, muscled beasts of burden that powered our agriculture in days gone by. Ellie Harrison meets mother and daughter Vivienne and Anna Cockburn who have dedicated their lives to saving the breed. They have 22 prized animals on their farm. The most in any one place in the country. Ellie gets up close to these massive animals. She’s shown how to work them with long reins, as farmers of old would have done. Back in the stables, Anna shows Ellie how to plait their manes and tails as they do for horse shows.
Rural domestic abuse
It’s a story line that has gripped a nation. From the front pages of the newspapers to Downing Street, listeners to the Archers, have followed the controlling and violent relationship of Rob Titchener and Helen Archer. But the sad reality is, there are thousands of real Helens out there. Charlotte Smith investigates the stories that have inspired the radio soap and discovers what is being done to combat domestic violence in rural areas and the help that is available to both male and female victims.
Ellie Harrison journeys to Northumberland National park and discovers that the best way to manage our valuable moorland habitat is to burn it. It helps regenerate the all-important heather cover and stops the moorland becoming overgrown with scrub. There’s nothing new in this approach, people have done it for centuries. It can, however, sometimes get out of hand and that’s when problems occur. So the National Park has come up with a scheme to minimise the risk. Ellie meets park ranger Andrew Miller, who together with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, run fire training days to show farmers and gamekeepers how to manage burns properly. Then Ellie joins the team as they get ready for the biggest burn of the season.
Lowry and traditional salmon fishing
John Craven and the Marshalls continue their journey in the vintage Volvo. They come to a halt on the banks of the River Tweed. In Lowry’s day this river would have been alive with the salmon industry. Today, almost nothing remains. John meets photographer Jim walker who saw the end of the industry back in the 1980’’s and decided to record it before it disappeared. His photos reveal another world. There is still a small handful of fishermen, mending nets, and getting gear ready, in time honoured tradition, for the start of the salmon fishing season. John also meets the last of the coble builders and sees the skill that goes into building these traditional fishing boats.
The Countryfile Farming Hero Award, Julia Evans
Adam Henson’s searching for Countryfile’s Farming Hero of 2016. He’s joined by Charlotte Smith on a visit to Longlands Care Farm in Herefordshire. It was founded by beef farmer Julia Evans after a life changing illness prompted her to give something back to society. Julia takes on young people who are on the margins of education and at risk of school exclusion, and helps them learn through practical farming experience. Adam and Charlotte spend a day on the farm, joining staff and students for lunch and meeting past and present pupils, to find out why Julia’s methods have such an impact on their lives.
|Executive Producer||William Lyons|
|Series Producer||Joanna Brame|