ground beneath our feet hides a
fascinating secret history; the geological
wonder of our planet began billions
ago and has shaped our land-
scape in many strange and beautiful
ways, as revealed in the riveting BBC
series The Great British Countryside...
FOR THREE BILLION YEARS, the Earth has been growing and changing. The British
Isles is blessed with, comparatively, the largest variety of geology on Earth;
and its creation in the distant past still affects and shapes the countryside
No matter where we live, the rocky upheavals of Britain's epic past surround
us. The informative, stimulating and appealing four-part BBC documentary series
The Great British Countryside looks at the beautiful landscapes, fascinating
industrial heritage, rich history and many legends that each area has to offer,
what was happening all those years ago and how this is relevant to us today.
series aired on BBC1 in February 2012 with television favourites Julia Bradbury
(Countryfile) and Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered) travelling to all
four corners of The British Isles to explore four stunning British landscapes:
Devon and Cornwall, The Scottish Highlands, The South Downs and finally Yorkshire,
to learn more about how mighty earth movements have flooded, frozen and ravaged
our beautiful land.
The Great British
Hugh and Julia discover the stunningly wild and craggy landscape of top tourist
area Devon and Cornwall in Episode One. The rugged Cornish coast juts straight
out into the Atlantic and was shaped by brutal conditions and molten rock in
a battle between the land, the sea and the weather. It is here that Hugh gets
his first taste of coasteering and attempts to land on Britain's most frightening
helipad on top of an exposed lighthouse.
Meanwhile, Julia finds out why Cornwall is a mecca for experienced surfers and
also ventures into the spookiest parts of Dartmoor. This darkly mysterious place
with its dramatic granite tors was the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's
Sherlock Holmes adventure The Hound of the Baskervilles and recently
featured in television's Sherlock.
and Julia discover where the Romans, Saxons and Normans found their building
stone, visit the remarkable Tintagel, where King Arthur is reputed to have been
conceived, and the remains of Cornish tin mines that still litter the landscape
before hearing tales of fossil finders and smugglers on the amazing Jurassic
In Episode Two it's off to the Highlands of Scotland, Britain's wildest, most
extreme landscape. Formed by volcanoes, earthquakes and ice, it is one of the
oldest places on Earth. Hugh takes a breathtaking ride across Loch Ness, where
land speed holder John Cobb died in an attempt to beat the water speed record
in 1952, and reveals how the Highlands helped to win the Battle of Britain.
Julia takes a seaplane ride to find clues to the Highland's turbulent past and
visits Comrie, known locally as Shakey Toon. Comrie has suffered earthquakes
as recently as the 1800s, being along the Highland Boundary Fault that runs
through Loch Lomond. Another fault the Great Glen Fault = divides Scotland.
At the massive military base Fort George, Julia meets young men from all over
the world and spots Bottle-Nosed Dolphins close to the shore. Then it's on to
Skye where dinosaur footprints and fossils have been found and mountaineers
flock to the challenging peaks before sampling whisky on the Island of Islay.
The South Downs is covered in Episode Three. Beneath the gentle, rolling land
is chalk, the crumbliest rock, that was once under a vast ocean. The comfortable
commuter country is home to the famous White Cliffs and hides secrets and surprises
like the largest underground mine in Southern England and the discovery of oil
near Chichester. British hang-gliding was born on the South Downs in the 1970s,
closely followed by paragliding.
Discover why this is the best land on which to graze South Downs sheep and champion
racehorses, why Goodwood has such perfect turf for racing and why quality grapes
and watercress grow here.
Hugh challenges world-class ice-climber Dave Pegler to climb the most dangerous
cliffs and we discover the battle to prevent the beautiful chapel of Lancing
College from crumbling.
Britain's biggest county, Yorkshire, with its three national parks, is explored
in Episode Four. Yorkshire is a patchwork of geology with some of the more unusual
rock formations, including an incredible limestone pavement that bears evidence
of a forest that once covered the area. A scene from a Harry Potter movie was
filmed here in the unspoilt countryside, as was Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.
Julia and Hugh travel across the moors and dales, through landscapes that seem
other-worldly, to the coast where erosion causes metres of land to disappear
every year. Hugh experiences gliding and explores one of the country's largest
potholes. There are more tunnels and chambers in Yorkshire than anywhere else
in the country, so it is a haven for potholers and cavers.
Yorkshire is coal country and was at the heart of the industrial revolution.
Julia looks at how objects, include a teddy bear and Agatha Christie's handbag,
have been turned to stone while Hugh visits the massive inland cliff of Sutton
Bank and explores Mallen Cove. Where else but Yorkshire can you see the tallest
unbroken waterfall in Britain and experience the evocative sight of a steam
train gliding through a spectacular deep gorge?
With every footstep we take on our planet, we are walking on our intriguing
past. But it is not just the historic remains of our ancestors that hide in
the earth beneath our feet; it is a geological marvel that has evolved since
the very beginnings of the Earth's existence and is now revealed by Julia and
Hugh in The Great British Countryside.
Title Music is by Sarah Class; Produced and Directed by: Bob Marsden (Cornwall),
Matthew Ainsworth (Yorkshire), Spike Geilinger (South Downs) and Bill MacLeod
(Scottish Highlands); and Series Producer is Mary Summerill.
The Great British Countryside with
Julia Bradbury and Hugh Dennis now comes to DVD as a two-disc set to be released,
courtesy of Acorn Media, on 7 May 2012. Running Time: 240 Minutes approx on
2 discs | RRP: £19.99.
"The Great British Countryside… informative, stimulating and appealing"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar