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Open Country

Podcast Open Country

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  • Radical Essex
    Emily Knight uncovers an unexpectedly radical story, hidden in the Essex countryside. In the 1940s, men and women horrified by the violence of war, disconnected, disillusioned and despondent, began to turn to the land - and each other - for healing. A new way of life was needed, and a new movement sprang up. Part pacifist philosophy, part radical Christianity, part utopian idealism, the Back-to-the-Land movement of the '40s and '50s saw groups of people coming together to take over pockets of farmland, working collectively, sharing the hardships and the joys of communal living. But this isn't just a farming movement. It's a story in which pacifist philosophy overlaps with new forms of Christianity, where the literature of DH Lawrence and George Orwell meets a working-class intellectualism, fired up by the possibility of real social change. It's a world of big dreams, hard graft, close communities, and a flowering of music, poetry and theatre, all under the arched roof of a crumbling Essex barn. In a world ravaged by climate change and Covid-19, could we see a similar movement springing up today? Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol : Emily Knight
  • A new road for Kerrera
    It's so close to the mainland that most people don't even realise it is there, but Kerrera in early summer is a jewel, and Antonia Quirke - who lives a couple of miles away - is curious about the impact of a new road. Early one summer morning she and producer Miles Warde take the ferry from Oban to find out what has changed. Antonia Quirke is a broadcaster and author. She moved to the west coast of Scotland at the start of lockdown for love. Produced for BBC audio in Bristol by Miles Warde
  • Uncharted Stories of the Causeway Coast
    Helen Mark is in Northern Ireland to hear little known histories about the Causeway Coast. A new project is gathering stories from the local community to add to a digital map, before they are forgotten forever. Produced by Beatrice Fenton.
  • Aberystwyth Inspiration
    Writer Niellah Arboine returns to her university town of Aberystwyth, to remember the landscape which inspired her writing so much. She recalls how shocking it was to arrive in a place so different from her South London home. Niellah meets three other creatives working in Cardigan Bay, and explores their connections with place, art and the natural world. Produced by Beatrice Fenton
  • The Search for Summer Snow
    Andrew Cotter and Iain Cameron first met on twitter, though neither will admit who made the first move. They've been walking together since 2016 and are often looking for snow. Iain researches snow patches across the Highlands and Andrew seems to enjoy coming along for the ride. On a marvellous early sunlit morning they climb the Grey Corries with producer Miles Warde and try to work out how much snow will survive the summer heat. Iain Cameron is the author of The Vanishing Ice. He's been drawn to the white patches of the Scottish Highlands since 1983. Andrew Cotter is a sports reporter and the author of several books about his dogs, Mabel and Olive. Produced for BBC audio in Bristol by Miles Warde

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