BBC Springwatch lands a new home in the Cotswolds

Springwatch will return to BBC Two this month, broadcasting live from a new location in rural Gloucestershire.

Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Martin Hughes-Games and Gillian Burke (pictured below) will host the three-week wildlife extravaganza live from the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate. The Watches will settle at the site in the Cotswolds countryside in the heart of the UK for the rest of the year, to cover the changing seasons for Autumnwatch and Winterwatch.

With five tenant farms surrounding the village of Sherborne and the constant activity at the working National Trust estate, the Springwatch team will explore: The eighteenth century water meadow which is rich in fish life, otters, dragonflies and damselflies; the disused Second World War airbase where arable crops grow and hares and farmland birds such as skylarks, yellowhammers and the ‘red listed’ corn bunting congregate - as well as reporting from historic oak parkland, riverbank environments where the Windrush Rover and Sherborne Brook waterways criss-cross, limestone grasslands, wildflower meadows and the miles of Cotswold stone walls which house weasels, stoats, rodents, lizards and colonies of lesser horseshoe bats.

Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual says: “I'm thrilled the Watches have found such an extraordinary home for the next twelve months. The Sherborne Estate is the perfect location to bring the very best of British wildlife to our loyal audience”.

Simon Nicholas, National Trust countryside manager at the Sherborne Park Estate says: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Springwatch to Sherborne. The idyllic estate is like the Cotswolds in miniature – and thanks to the efforts of our rangers, farmers and partners it is home to water voles, red kites and flocks of rare farmland birds. Thousands of families come to our woods and parklands each year to see the nature on their doorstep”.

Springwatch Unsprung will also be filmed at the new Cotswold location, with Chris Packham returning as host accompanied by celebrity guests who share a love for wildlife including film stars, comedians, authors and musicians. Springwatch Unsprung will air on BBC Two from June 5-16 at 6.30pm.

The Springwatch team will also offer viewers rolling news, streaming wildlife action as it happens on the Springwatch Live website, on BBC Red Button and on mobile devices from 4am to midnight daily during the new series transmission dates from Monday 29 May to Thursday 15 June on BBC Two.


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Twitter: @BBCSpringwatch / #Springwatch

TX dates

Springwatch will air from Monday May 29 - Thursday June 15th at 8pm on BBC Two
Unsprung will air from Monday June 5 - Friday June 16 at 6.30pm on BBC Two

About the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate

The National Trust Sherborne Park Estate comprises almost 1,700 hectares (4,100 acres) of parkland, farmland and woodland.

The Cotswold estate centres on the historic honey-stone village of Sherborne and also includes Lodge Park, a historic deer park with an opulent 400-year old grandstand where courtiers would have bet on the outcome of deer coursing races.

The estate, which lies 10 miles north east of Cirencester, was left to the National Trust by Lord Sherborne in 1987.
Nature-lovers visiting Sherborne can spot kingfishers, otters, red kites and rare farmland birds like corn buntings and yellowhammers.

The estate is split into five farms. The families of some of these tenant farmers have farmed at Sherborne for generations. The estates woodlands, parklands and 10.5km of footpaths and bridleways are looked after by a team of five National Trust rangers.

A major partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to restore the gravel beds in the River Windrush and restore water meadows, has seen water vole numbers on the estate boom. The National Trust recently committed to creating 25,000 hectares of new nature habitats, such as water meadows, by 2025.

May 4, 2017 4:24am ET by BBC TWO  

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