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The Trees That Made Britain

  • 2008-06-18T16:00:00-07:00
  • BBC Two
  • 2006-09-14T17:00:00-07:00
  • 30 mins
  • 7 hours, 0 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary
Tony Kirkham, the head of the arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and his colleague, tree-climber Jon Hammerton, both of whom were favourites in the BBC TWO series A Year at Kew , will be travelling across Britain delving into the cultural, architectural, historical, economic and pleasure-giving properties of Britain's native species. Their journey will take them north to view forest destruction in the highlands of Scotland, south again to see the good ship Mary Rose in the ancient docklands of Portsmouth, east to collect tree fossils on Scarborough beach and west to see how they handle a wooden coracle in Wales. Throughout the eight-part series, Tony and Jon meet many interesting characters, including actor Robert Hardy - an expert in the long-bow, the medieval weapon of choice, food historian Marc Meltonville, who advises on how to make the popular Roman tipple crab-apple mead as well as giving a few tips on how trees are used to make gunpowder, and Nancy Harrison, whose garden boasts the Bramley apple tree from which all other Bramleys throughout the world stem. The series sees the pair getting to grips with history, as well as having a hands-on experience of shaping planks, building chairs, and taking to the sea in Bronze Age boats. Tony, who has 14,000 trees, 50 staff and 300 acres in his care at Kew Gardens and is credited with bringing more trees to the UK than anyone else alive in his role there, is keen to learn more about the species featured. But tree surgeon Jon still believes the best way to get to know a tree is to climb it - and he'll be making several forays skywards in the branches. The series will take a different native tree as its starting point each week, and look at its significance in both the current British landscape, and the nation's past:

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