In this seasonal special the team look at how autumn marks a time of transformation for the wildlife, landscape and communities of our countryside.
Matt Baker heads to Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire to take part in a citizen science project aiming to identify the first signs of autumn. He also joins the University of Oxford using hard science to take an autumn health check of the woodland and reveals how the conkers of horse chestnut trees are under attack from an army of tiny predators.
Ellie Harrison takes to the land as she tries her hand at the Mendip Ploughing Match and takes renowned chef Raymond Blanc back to where his culinary journey first began 55 years ago – foraging in the forests. Tom Heap is joined by weatherman John Hammond as they canoe down the River Wye to take in its autumnal splendour and reveal the science behind the season. And Adam Henson pays a visit to a turkey farm that’s using fireworks training to make sure its birds are safe come bonfire night.
Our regulars are joined by wildlife cameraman Richard Taylor-Jones, who heads to Skomer hoping to glimpse some of autumn’s newest arrivals – grey seal pups. We also follow a project monitoring the UK’s only native dormouse – the hazel dormouse – as they prepare to hibernate. Leading contemporary sculptor Simon Gudgeon unveils his latest seasonally-inspired work.
We’ll be live tweeting during the show – join us over on Twitter by following @Countryfilemag and using the hashtag #Countryfile.
Our favourite walks in Oxfordshire
Oxford and Thames Canal
Escape Oxford along the Thames and Oxford canal and take in the locations that inspired Inspector Morse and Alice in Wonderland.
Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire
Enjoy a picnic with ked kites from towering Beacon Hill in Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve.
Wayland’s Smithy, Oxfordshire
A legendary tomb, an ancient trackway and a wild huntswoman await visitors to Wayland’s Smithy.
This crisp autumnal walk in Oxfordshire’s Chiltern Hills offers long views into the Oxfordshire vales.