Coming up on this week's Countryfile - Sunday 21 February
If you own a wicker basket made in this country, it is likely to have started life in the withy beds of the Somerset Levels. The wetlands provide the perfect conditions for growing the willow, which has been used here as a structural material since Roman times. Having survived the introduction of plastics in the 1950s, the industry is now seeing a revival, particularly among eco-conscious customers. Matt lends a hand with the harvesting, while Julia tries weaving some willow.
The Amazon basin or the jungles of Borneo are the types of habitats usually associated with the discovery of new species. But it can happen much closer to home. Three new species of tree have recently been discovered in Cheddar Gorge, the dramatic limestone cliffs that border the Levels. Julia meets the botanist whose patient cataloguing of thousands of trees eventually led to this discovery, and she learns why this new discovery poses a dilemma for the National Trust.
Six-thousand years ago, Britain’s first farmers took steps to keep their feet dry while crossing these wetlands. They built the Sweet Track. Named after its discoverer, it is a raised wooden walkway built around 4000BC and the oldest manmade footpath in the UK. Matt has a go at reprising this feat of Neolithic engineering with the help of some of today’s Somerset farmers.
Last week, John Craven looked at the implications of plans to expand massively the use of wind energy. This week, in keeping with the theme of renewables, we look at the options available in your own home. And with the government’s announcement that you will now get paid for producing your own energy – is it time we jumped on board or are domestic energy devices just ‘eco-bling’? John investigates.
The Imbolc fire festival, which takes place in the village of Marsden in Yorkshire each year at this time of year, is based on a traditional Pagan festival. It marks the transition from winter to spring. Katie Knapman enjoys the spectacular fire procession and watches a staged fight between the Green Man of Spring and winter’s Jack Frost.
Nearly every week for the past decade, someone has died while working on a farm. Countryfile’s own Cotswold farmer, Adam Henson, meets a man who lost an arm in a tractor accident, to hear just how dangerous a workplace a farm can be. He asks a health and safety expert to visit his own farm, to carry out a rigorous inspection.