On a wet and windy summer's day Jarvis Cocker takes you to the remote village of Edale and Kinder a landscape he has fallen in love with. He first came across the Peak District while he was a pupil in his native Sheffield and came out on a school trip which he says no–one wanted to go on. However, after two days of exploring he says something happened – something clicked in his head and he didn’t want to admit it but he started to enjoy the landscape. Over the last 40 years it’s a region he has regularly visited and explored and is now truly hooked.
To introduce more people to this landscape especially people from the cities, Jarvis along with artist Jeremy Deller and the National Trust who own Kinder Scout has created a trail ‘Be Kinder’. The trail winds its way along a route stretching almost two miles from the tiny railway station in Edale to the foot of the plateau of Kinder Scout to mark the 1932 mass trespass on Kinder Scout. This mass trespass was all about allowing working class people access to the countryside something Jarvis wants to rekindle as he wants everyone to discover the magic and beauty he has found in this landscape.
The presenter is Jarvis Cocker and the producer is Perminder Khatkar.
Contributors: Jeremy Deller, actress Maxine Peake, Gordon Miller and MEP Magid Magid.
Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory
Helen Mark goes to Down House in Kent, the home of the naturalist Charles Darwin, to find out how he used plants in his garden and the surrounding landscape to develop his theory of evolution by natural selection.
Darwin lived at Down from 1842 until his death about 40 years later. His famous theory was published in On The Origin of Species in 1859, some 20 years after his voyage on the HMS Beagle. Head Gardener Antony O'Rourke explains how Darwin went on a 'voyage of the mind' at Down, and spent much of his life devising experiments using local flora and fauna to rigorously test his theory. Darwin made forays into the surrounding chalk down landscape to observe native flowering plants like orchids and primroses. We visit the Down Bank nature reserve to hear why Kent is such a hotspot for orchids and how it provided the inspiration for the final paragraph of On The Origin of Species.
Producer: Sophie Anton
The Centre of the Earth
In this week’s Open Country, Helen Mark journeys to 'The Centre of the Earth', an urban nature reserve in Birmingham, next to Winston Green Prison.
The Centre of the Earth is Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust’s purpose built environmental centre in Winston Green - just 1.5 km from Birmingham City Centre. Situated in what has historically been one of the country’s most deprived, urban areas, this little pocket of green is a special place for the community and a thriving home to all kinds of wildlife. Through tender love and care from the dedicated volunteers, there are otters, smooth newts and a wild flower nursery that helps populate other urban sites across the city, including the visitor’s garden at the prison next door. It's also inspired a local school, which has students who between them speak over 40 different languages, to develop their own nature space. And then, last but by no means least, there’s the Golden Sparkles community group…
Presented by Helen Mark
Produced by Nicola Humphries
Helen Mark visits the last surviving workhouse, the minster and a very special apple tree to find out how these important landmarks in Southwell have impacted on the lives of those who live there.
Michael Perkins lived in the workhouse in 1948 with his mother and six siblings when they became homeless. Now aged 75 he goes back to the workhouse and revisits the room he lived in – he remembered “the pink brick walls and always feeling hungry“.
The workhouse was a place of last resort for the poorest and opened in 1824 and was built by Rev John Becher a resident and clergyman of Southwell Minster.
Robert Merryweather’s great grandfather was fortunate and didn’t need to turn to the workhouse as aged just seventeen it was him and his family who pioneered the 'Bramley apple' from the original 200 year old apple tree planted in Southwell .
But, Emma Rose a dancer, says she probably wouldn’t have escaped the workhouse had she been born a 100 years ago – last year the young single mum found herself homeless. After visiting the workhouse she choreographed a dance inspired by the stories of mums being separated from their children which was a common practice in the workhouse.
Today, the workhouse is owned by the National Trust and is one of the last remaining workhouses where visitors can get a glimpse of what life was like for those who lived there. This year for the first time the infirmary which was added onto the workhouse a few years later, has been restored and gives an insight into how the sick and dying were treated.
Presenter Helen Mark
Producer: Perminder Khatkar
Dance choreographed by Emma Rose.
Filmed by Artist & Filmmaker Benjamin Wigley from ARTDOCS with sound design by CJ Mirra.
The Isle of Eels
Earlier this year, Helen Mark visited the Isle of Eels in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens for its annual eel day festival. She joins the parade of eels through the streets and takes part in the World Eel Throwing Competition (which thankfully involves no real eels). She also learns about the life cycle of the eel and discovers how this extraordinary fish is intimately bound up with the history and culture of Ely. Producer Sarah Blunt.