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The Great British Countryside
The Great British Countryside“The ground beneath our feet hides a
  fascinating secret history; the geological
  wonder of our planet began billions
 
of years 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 today.

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.

The Great British
Countryside —
informative, stimulating
and appealing...
The 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.

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.

Hugh 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 Coast.

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