Countryfile is ratings smash

The first-ever peak-time edition of Countryfile is a hit with BBC viewers. If you haven't already seen it, here's a run-down of the episode now available on BBC iPlayer

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If you watched Countryfile in its new evening slot last night then you’re in good company. Viewing figures for the BBC One show peaked at 6.3 million viewers for its final 15 minutes.

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Drawing an average of 5.5 million overall, the new teatime Countryfile proved to be the most-watched programme in its 7pm slot. 

BBC One controller, Jay Hunt said: “I am delighted that the refreshed Countryfile drew such a large audience to its new peak-time slot, proving the enduring appeal of its great journalism about the countryside.”

If you missed the show you can watch it now on BBC iPlayer. Here’s a quick run down of what you’ll see: 

The Lake District, Cumbria
Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury head to the Lake District in Cumbria, to celebrate a landmark in the history of our countryside. It’s 60 years since national parks were enshrined in law, protecting the landscape and opening up the countryside for everyone to enjoy. Today there are 14 national parks in the UK – including the latest, the South Downs.
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But with the Lake District now one of the most visited areas in the UK outside London, there is a price to pay. Path erosion on the fells can be a real problem and Matt joins a local organisation which uses a helicopter to transport the stone needed to do the repairs.
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Otters
Each week Countryfile turns the spotlight on you to find out about your country life. This week it’s Rob Weaver from Worcestershire. He’s in the Somerset Levels in search of one of our most elusive creatures – otters. 

Via Ferrata
The Via Ferrata at Honister in the Lake District is based on an idea imported from Italy and translates as “Iron Road”. Created in a disused slate mine, it’s a network of constructed cables, bridges and ladders constructed to allow walkers to reach parts of the fells usually accessible only by experienced climbers or mountaineers. 
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Seal Shooting
This week’s Countryfile investigation is about one of our best-loved wild animals – seals. The colonies around our shores are internationally important but seal numbers have been falling. That’s why there’s increasing concern about the fact that salmon farmers are allowed to shoot seals to protect their stock. It’s a legal practice but conservationists say the shooting must now stop. John Craven reports. 
READ ‘MPS CALL FOR BAN ON SEAL SHOOTINGS OFF SCOTTISH COAST’ 
DISCUSS THIS STORY ON THE BBCCOUNTRYFILE.COM FORUM

Lambing
Each Sunday Countryfile will be visiting Adam Henson on his farm in the Cotswolds. This week we catch up with him at the height of the lambing season as he battles to save new lives which are hanging in the balance.

Isle of Harris
Katie Knapman visits the Hebridean island of Harris which is bidding to become Scotland’s third national park. National Park status would create more jobs on the island, and that’s important because one of Harris’s main industries has been through some tough times of late. 
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Just 500,000 metres of Harris Tweed was produced last year, compared to 5 million in the mid 1990’s. But in typically tough fashion, local people are on the campaign trail, bringing tweed to a whole new audience.
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Ghyll Scrambling
Cumbria is bidding to become the UK’s “Adventure Capital” and ghyll scrambling is becoming one of the most popular activities in the Lake District. It involves travelling through a mountain stream by sliding, jumping and scrambling down a series of naturally-formed obstacles such as waterfalls and plunge pools.
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The Search and Rescue Dog Association
The Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA) prove a lifeline for any walkers who find themselves in trouble out on the fells.  In 2008 the dogs and their handlers took part in 168 rescues and Matt and Julia join the team in a training exercise in preparation for the start of the tourist season.
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WATCH COUNTRYFILE ON BBC iPLAYER

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