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BBC Countryfile Film in the Forest

Tuesday, 3rd August 2010

Ellie Harrison interviewed National Forest Company Chief Executive Sophie Churchill and learnt how The National Forest came into being, its development so far and plans for the future. 

Adam Henson spent the night in the Forest after a day of bushcraft skills training with Dave Watson of Woodland Survival Crafts.

Ellie also met horse loggers at Jackson’s Bank, in the Staffordshire part of the Forest, to find out more about this niche method of modern woodland management; spoke to volunteers and veterans at the National Memorial Arboretum, and found out how land restoration from mineral extraction and quarrying helped create this striking institution.  She also learnt about the benefits former market gardener Dave Smith brought to the landscape, to local wildlife - and the benefits to his business - when he planted thousands of trees through National Forest schemes.

Once Adam had survived his night in a woodland shelter, he ventured over to Beacon Hill in Leicestershire, the site of the National Forest Wood Fair on August Bank Holiday Monday, to learn about the site’s history as a Bronze Age hill fort, and see Leicestershire County Council’s heathland management in action thanks to longhorn cattle, sheep, alpacas – and pigs.

Adam said: ‘I've always been in touch with my environment through a life on the farm, but getting away from it all, learning a few skills over the course of a day and settling down for a night in the peacefulness of the forest has re-awakened my love for nature. It's great to see what The National Forest project has achieved and to know that this beautiful environment will continue to grow for the generations of the future to enjoy.’

Sophie Churchill said: ‘With all this debate about the BBC licence fee, what could be better value than a heart-warming piece from The National Forest? The Countryfile crew was really enthused by the scale of The National Forest and the passion and enthusiasm of the people involved in it.  When we were filming in Donisthorpe I'd hardly finished talking about the new cycle centre and trails to be created when two little lads wobbled past on their bikes and were filmed 'for the telly'. I hope lots of people enjoy the shots of the forest and its residents and animals in what promises to be a great programme.’

The programme will go out on BBC1 at 8pm on Sunday 8 August.