Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Wild Boar
The wild boar has had a checkered history in the British countryside. This once native species was hunted out of existence in the 13th Century and despite a number of reintroductions finally disappeared from our fauna in the 17th Century. And for the next 300 years the sound of boar, the onomatopoeia collective term for boar is , sound, lay silent across the landscape. Until around 20 years ago, when wild boar once again roamed some areas of the British countryside. But how did they get there? To find out more, in this Living World, Lionel Kelleway heads to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire on the trail of this shy and evasive animal, which although now firmly re-established in the British landscape is surprisingly hard to track down. Lionel enlists the help of boar expert, Dr Martin Goulding and after a day in the woods, the result was a surprise to both of them.
In the decade since the programme was first broadcast, the situation of wild boar has of course changed. Wildlife presenter Lindsey Chapman revisits this Living World from 2007 before bringing the story up to date for today's audience.
Producer Andrew Dawes
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Winter Ravens
The raven is both agile and majestic in flight but shrouded in mystery, superstition and folk law. How was it that our biggest member of the crow family, a bird once protected as an important scavenger in ancient times, was then persecuted almost to extinction in the British Isles, with less that 1000 pairs clinging onto a precarious future in few remote hills in upland Britain? In this Living World from 2010, Lionel Kelleway travels to the syperstones in Shropshire where thankfully the raven is making a remarkable comeback. Here he meets up with Leo Smith and Tom Wall from the Shropshire Raven Study Group, a group who have been studying these magnificent birds for nearly 20 years. As they walk to an old raven nest in wet woodland, they encounter many ravens on the wing. But the tide has turned and now Shropshire is home to a remarkable wildlife spectacle, a raven roost in a private woodland where Lionel is chorused by over 60 ravens wheeling and displaying in the gathering dusk.
Since the programme was broadcast, the Shropshire Raven Study group has completed it's work. In this revised episode wildlife presenter Lindsey Chapman updates the listener with this corvid success story.
Produced by Andrew Dawes
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Caledonian Pine forest
Standing next to a tree which was likely a sapling when wolves roamed freely in Scotland is a humbling experience. And so it was that Lionel Kelleway began this Living world from 2002. Joining Lionel next to a venerable 'granny tree' is renowned naturalist Roy Dennis MBE who explains that today just 1% of the original 1.5 million hectares survives. Unraveling the complexities of what happened to this huge tract of the Caledonian Forest which the Romans called 'silva caledonia' is revealed as the duo trudge across the landscape looking for ecological clues and to revel in the abundant wildlife that still thrives here, from pine marten to Scottish crossbill.
But what of the future? To bring the story up to date since this programme was first broadcast in 2002, wildlife presenter Lindsey Chapman refreshes the story for today's audience, including some ambitious plans to rewild the area once more.
Producer Andrew Dawes
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Avocet
As the logo of the RSPB, the slender black and white avocet is a familiar bird in winter on the river Exe in Devon, but not in the summer. By the mid Victorian era the avocet had all but stopped breeding in Britain and it was not until 1947 that the first avocet bred again in Suffolk. Since then the breeding population has increased dramatically with over 1000 breeding pairs as their range has expanded out of the South East corner of Britain. To discover more in this episode from 2001, Lionel Kelleway heads off to the Exe on a winters day, where he joins Malcolm Davies from the RSPB. Beginning at low tide, Lionel and Malcom discuss what has happened to avocet numbers since their return as a breeding species although they do not breed in the South West. but in winter avocet arriving from the Continent can swell numbers towards 7000.
Much has changed since the programme was first broadcast, therefore in this revised episode, wildlife presenter Lindsey Chapman revisits this Living World from 2001, bringing the story up to date for today's audience.
Producer Andrew Dawes
Lindsey Chapman's Living World From the Archives - Dungeness
The shifting shingle world of Dungeness is a remarkable place. There are four internationally important shingle peninsulas in the world. Two in Germany, one in America, (Cape Canaveral) and yes you've guessed it, Dungeness in Kent. The unique landscape of Dungeness has been studied since Medieval times giving scientists such as Erica Towner and David Harper from Sussex University a wealth of historical data to work from.
Which is why Peter France joined Erica and David on a timeline walk from the sea edge to dry land in this Living World. Along the way, Peter discovers shingle is a very underrated habitat and far from being like a desert the area is teeming with life. Dungeness has also the RSPB's oldest nature reserve created in 1932 from land bought in 1930 on Denge Beach. As part of their journey the trio look at the nuclear power stations on Dungeness, which were built on good former shingle sites of Special Scientific Interest. That destroyed the shingle but on the positive side, the power stations provide cliff habitat for redstarts and rare lichens, and their warm discharge water provides feeding areas for birds. As can be imagined on a shingle headland, tree cover is limited, though visiting ancient holly bushes on Ministry of Defence land usually not open to the public provides a startling glimpse into the past.
Lindsey Chapman revisits this edited Living World from 1990 to gently bring the story of Dungerness and it's wildlife up to date with a unique wildlife project.