LO­CA­TIONS OF THE ‘WATCHES’

Countryfile Magazine - - Springwatch -

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!

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