BBC Open Country

BBC Open Country episode Radio 4


Open Country is the BBC Radio 4’s countryside magazine that features the people and wildlife that shape the landscape of the British Isles. Helen Mark the presenter of the programme visited the Avalon Marshes in January to find out about the part peat has played in shaping the landscape.

She visited Glastonbury Lake Village museum and met Steve Minnitt of South West Heritage Trust (SWHT). At Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve (NNR) she visited the replica of the Sweet Track with SWHT’s Dr Richard Brunning and also met Simon Clarke of Natural England.

The Avalon Marshes has a very long history of peat extraction and use. Godwins peat are one of the principal peat companies and Ben Malin talked about modern day use. In contrast Avalon Marshes volunteer Peter Lander explained the peat industry of old. Peter, who lives in Meare, has put in well over 300 hours of his time researching the history of the Eclipse Peat Company who were primarily based at what is now Shapwick Heath NNR. The company were innovative in their uses of peat, even selling peat dust to the Americans as a premium grade product!

You can find out more and listen to the programme on BBC’s catch up, just open this link and click on the photo.

Helen with Richard Brunning                        Helen with Peter Lander

Helen Richard BBC Presenter Radio 4 Open Country

Copyright both images – BBC / FabProm

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