BBC Countryfile Magazine
CATCH-UP TV THE LAKES WITH SIMON REEVE
In this thought-provoking three-part series, presenter Simon Reeve reveals the huge environmental and economic changes starting to affect Cumbria, and the iconic lakes and meres, mountains and valleys of the Lake District National Park.
Filmed as Covid restrictions were easing at the end of spring last year, Simon meets campaigners working to save the red squirrel population. Surprised to hear that just 12% of the national park is covered by forest, he then witnesses the clearing of Sitka spruce and replanting with native trees as part of the Ennerdale Wild Project. Sheep and cattle have shaped Cumbria’s landscapes, but now hill farmers are struggling to survive as wool and meat prices plummet; Simon meets farmers whose livelihoods are at risk.
In episode two, Simon scales Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, to find the heavy footfall from so many visitors is damaging the mountain and overstretching local rescue services. He plunges in to learn about the life-changing joy of wild swimming in the clear waters of Buttermere, but then travels to Derwent Water to find it clogged with invasive weeds. Near Carlisle, Simon visits a river restoration project working to help return the area’s wetlands to their former glory.
The final episode sees Simon explore a part of Cumbria’s rugged coastline with spectacular sand dunes – a habitat at risk. This wilderness sits in the shadow of Sellafield, home to ageing, disused nuclear facilities. A walk on the farm with shepherd and author James Rebanks, whose vision for regenerative farming aims to boost biodiversity and soil health, ends this illuminating series on a hopeful note. Margaret Bartlett