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DVD Review

DVD cover

Wild Britain with Ray Mears


Presenter: Ray Mears
ITV Studios Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: E
Available 18 April 2011

Intrepid explorer Ray Mears crosses through the vast regions that make up the dramatic and poetic landscapes of Britain. From woodland and meadows to mainstream farmland, wetlands and shingle shores, viewers are drawn into Ray’s journey with all his usual passion and knowledge, in order to discover England’s unique relationship with the wild, even in the places closest to home. Following the specialist journeyman as he uses his expert tracking skills to seek out the animals and insects most at home in Britain’s wild, Ray Mears immerses himself and the viewers in each of the many habitats across the country and investigates the vivid role man plays in the ever changing environment...

Wild Britain with Ray Mears collects together the six 40-minute episodes, that were originally broadcast on ITV 1 in 2010, across two DVDs.

Each episode sees Mears visit a different region of the UK where the wildlife has been left to its own devices (with the occasional reintroduction and monitoring of species). Here he talks to resident experts and samples the indigenous food - which he cooks to show us how simple it is to live off the land. He also shows us how to start a fire using flint, or wood, as well as how to create our own shelter and thumb stick.

Episode one, Decidicious Forest, sees Mears travel to the Forest of Dean. Here we witness the antics of the grey squirrel, the dormouse, wild boar, floor flowers, fallow deer, adders, goshawks, the different edible and poisonous plant life, and how to make a fire using nature.

Episode two, Shingle Shore, and we're off to the North Norfolk coastline. Here we get to glimpse seals, oyster catchers, tiger beetles, natterjack toads, marsh-harriers, sandwich terns, solitary bees, sand martins and shell ducks.

Episode three, Breckland, and we follow Mears to Breckland in East Anglia. The gorse covered sandy heath, which is kept under control by rabbits, is home to a number of creatures including foxes, stone curlews, pool frogs, brown hare and red deer. We also get to visit an ancient flint mine.

Episode four, Heather Moorlands and Uplands, and we're off to the Peak District. This part of the UK is home to red grouse, short-eared owls, badger, ring ousals, sundew plants, wych elm trees, great crested newts and the caddisfly. This region is also where 75% of the world's heather comes from.

Episode five, Wetlands, and Mears takes us to the Somerset Levels to see herons, marsh frogs, sundew plants, the damselfly, the dragonfly, falcons, marsh-harriers, otters, swans and eels.

Episode six, Hay Meadow, is centred around Somerset. Here we examine the numerous meadow flowers, bees, skylarks, green woodpeckers, butterflies, house martins, slow-worms, examine the contents of owl pellets, small roe deer and barn owls.

Mears's enthusiasm comes through - but not too much as to appear insincere. With so many of these creatures on our very doorstep this series should encourage everyone to get out into the countryside and take in the natural beauty of it all.

There are no extras.


Darren Rea

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