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Open Country

Podcast Open Country
Podcast Open Country

Open Country


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  • Goats on the Gun Batteries
    Purdown is a large green hilly area on the edge of Bristol and is one of the highest points of the city. It's marked out by two buildings: the telecom tower and the large yellow dower house - a familiar sight to anyone who regularly drives along the nearby M32. In this programme Helen Mark explores the area, finding out about its significance in World War II, and meeting the goats which are now helping to preserve the remains of the gun placements put there to protect the city from bombing raids. She also learns about the history of Stoke Park estate, and goes on a hunt for hidden artwork in the woods. Produced by Emma Campbell
  • Ancient Dartmoor
    Dartmoor is one of the UK's most significant archaeological landscapes. In this episode of Open Country, Ian Marchant explores some of its most interesting sites. He meets the National Park's lead archaeologist and finds out about a new research project being carried out by an academic from Leicester University, who is using cutting-edge new technology to discover structures which may have been left by Dartmoor’s earliest farming communities more than five thousand years ago. Ian also meets a present-day farmer, who tells him what it's like to farm in field systems first laid out by his predecessors from centuries gone by. Meanwhile an artist and ecologist explains how his art is inspired by Dartmoor's landscape and its wildlife, and Ian finds out why Dartmoor hill ponies may be a form of "living archaeology" themselves. Produced by Sarah Swadling
  • Classic Rock
    Jack's Rake is a famous diagonal groove up a Lake District rock face. It's tough, but not too tough - so can a newby climber manage it? Helping Emily Knight up the face is Anna Fleming, author of Time on Rock, plus Langdale native Bill Birkett who's made a few first ascents in the Lakes. On the way they talk about the rock, the attitude, and the kit. The producer for BBC audio in Bristol is Miles Warde
  • Reflections and Connections
    A wildlife cameraman, a sea swimmer, a poet and a professional tree climber reflect on their relationship with their local landscape; sea, loch, rocky beach and woodland on the cusp of a new year. From a new understanding of home to the discovery of one’s real self, their reflections are inspiring, insightful and powerful. Produced by Sarah Blunt for BBC Audio in Bristol.
  • Bright lights and bees at Blenheim
    In this edition of Open Country, Helen Mark explores the landscape at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The 2000 acres of parkland were landscaped by Capability Brown, and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The grounds are also home to a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and earlier this year a colony of rare bees was discovered in its ancient woodland - surviving descendants of indigenous honeybees which were previously thought to have been wiped out. There are also 12,000 acres of farmland, where a new project is underway to try and make the estate carbon neutral. As dusk falls, Helen winds her way though Blenheim's illuminated trail, where more than a million sparkling lights and lasers light up the winter landscape. Produced by Emma Campbell

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