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Helen Baxendale visits Belper in Derbyshire

Guest presenter Helen Baxendale visits Belper in Derbyshire to explore the landscape for traces of the town's industrial past. She also finds an long history of community spirit.

Guest presenter Helen Baxendale visits Belper in Derbyshire, to explore the landscape for traces of the town's industrial past. Belper is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site (as designated by UNESCO in 2001), so she expected to find the river-power and the ironstone that made the town a perfect site for Jedediah Strutt to locate his mills in the eighteenth century. More surprising is the vibrant artistic scene and a large helping of community spirit whose roots can be traced back over to Strutt.

Helen also explores a nature reserve that bears the scars of industry, with rivers dredged to feed the mills, flood plains damned and built up and a former landfill site that looks as wild as the rest of the reserve. Closer scrutiny suggests that local flora and fauna are less willing to make their home on the former rubbish tip, even though it is entirely covered in soil and vegetation and doesn't appear to leach into the surrounding environment.

Helen Baxendale is an actress best known for her roles in Cuckoo, Cold Feet and Friends. She also has a keen interest in the environment and family roots in Derbyshire.

Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.

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