LOCATIONS OF THE ‘WATCHES’
Springwatch has traditionally stayed in the same place for three years at a time, whereas Autumnwatch and Winterwatch have always been more moveable feasts. So where have the shows been over the years?
The first Springwatch was in 2005, and was based on an organic farm in Devon. It featured swallows, wagtails and a famous family of barn owls in which the largest chicks ate their way through their siblings to survive.
In 2008, the show moved to Pensthorpe Natural Park in Norfolk, where it stayed for the next three years, before heading to the very west of Wales and the RSPB’s Ynys-hir reserve from 2011 to 2013, including one memorable year in 2012 when torrential rain flooded the production village and threatened to take the show off air. From west Wales, the show moved just about as far east as possible, landing at RSPB Minsmere in 2014. The next three years included the show’s first ever bittern nest and ‘Spineless Si’ – the stickleback that stole the nation’s heart in 2015. The last Minsmere show was in 2016, before the move to Sherborne last year.
The first Autumnwatch was also in 2005, as a one-off. It didn’t appear as a full series until 2006, when it was based at WWT Martin Mere in Lancashire. This started a pattern of going to wetlands for autumn to capture the seasonal flocks of wading birds and waterfowl. The show visited the National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust’s reserve of Brownsea Island on the south coast in 2008, returning to the area in 2016, just across Poole Harbour at RSPB Arne. In between were visits to Westonbirt Arboretum’s woods, the WWT sites of Slimbridge and Caerlaverock, and RSPB Leighton Moss.
Winterwatch launched in 2012, again as a one-off show from the Brecon Beacons at first. By 2013 it was also a fully fledged series, based in the Highlands of Scotland for the next three years, two of which were from the Mar Lodge Estate where, at one point, the presenters were almost blown away in blizzard. In 2017 it also moved to RSPB Arne, before this year’s edition from Sherborne.
After this year’s Springwatch the show will be on the move again… so watch this space for where we end up next!