Countryfile marks the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth by discovering his passion for the outdoors and how it inspired his writing.
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Majestic woodlands cresting gently rolling chalk hills.
Pretty villages with their well-kept greens.
The Chilterns are a magical place and are the setting for some
children's stories that are loved around the world.
Children and adults alike delight in the writings of Roald Dahl.
He was born 100 years ago this month in Wales, but he sought out
these Chiltern Hills in the 1950s
and he made them his home for the rest of his life.
I've got a golden ticket to the countryside he knew
and I'll be meeting people whose lives Roald Dahl touched.
And as a result, are carrying on his legacy.
I'm going to be looking through the Countryfile archives to uncover
how the British countryside has drawn to it other creative spirits.
From the time Matt took watercolouring quite literally...
..to the mystery wildlife photographer
And when Ellie helped a graffiti artist turn images
Plus, Matt has got more news of a very special Countryfile
There are just a few weeks to go until this year's Countryfile Ramble
We are all getting ready and, later on,
I'll be telling you how you can take part.
And I'll be recalling some of my own personal memories of the man
whose life we're celebrating today, Roald Dahl,
when we lived not far from each other, here in the Chiltern Hills.
and stretching from the River Thames in the south to Hertfordshire,
and the village of Great Missenden lies at their heart.
It's an area that was much loved by Roald Dahl,
who drew inspiration from its landscape and from its people.
Roald Dahl was a dyed-in-the-wool countryman.
wander through the valleys, and what he found there was the inspiration
for his writing for both adults and children.
He lived in Great Missenden, and wander along the high street
and you pass places that he visited...
Today, a Roald Dahl Museum here draws in tens of thousands
is pointing out some rather special locations.
He would always take a break between his two writing stints every day and
he would walk down this high street, which probably looked very similar.
Some of the shops have changed. But he had a wonderful expression.
He talked about how he imagined tentacles coming out of his brain,
reaching for ideas in the air, and he would have been doing
that consciously or unconsciously just walking down the street.
So, what are some of the buildings then that ended up in his books?
Well, we're just coming to one right here,
this lovely timbered building called Crown House.
It's a private home but we've got evidence in the archive
that this is where he was thinking of when
he was talking about the "norphanage" where Sophie lives,
the little girl who is the hero of the BFG.
So he would have imagined the Big Friendly Giant looking into
the top windows. Yeah, possibly stooped in a little bit.
But he wasn't the biggest giant in the pack.
'A brilliant moonbeam was slanting through a gap in the curtains.
'The other children in the dormitory had been asleep for hours.
'Sophie closed her eyes and lay quite still.
'She tried very hard to doze off. It was no good.'
I wonder what Roald would have made of having
a museum on this high street dedicated to him.
I think he'd be glad that it's not a boring museum and
he always wanted his archive to stay in one place and stay in Britain.
The fact that we've got that at the heart of the collection,
I think he would have really appreciated.
He wanted adults to be "sparky," didn't he? Absolutely, he did.
And here is a great example of that from
So anybody who knows that wonderful book and knows that Danny and
his dad lived at a filling station. Yes.
These are the petrol pumps he would've seen.
'We lived in an old gypsy caravan behind the filling station.
'My father owned the filling station and the caravan and a small
'field behind, but that was about all he owned in the world.
'It was a very small filling station, on a small country road,
'surrounded by fields and woody hills.'
This is straight out of Danny, Champion Of The World, isn't it?
That's right and the book is set squarely in the Chilterns and
there are so many other parts of this world that feature in Danny
The beechwoods and rolling hills of the Chilterns also
Quite a few big, friendly giant strides away
I lived on the hills above Great Missenden
He and his wife, Felicity, lived in a house just around the corner from
here and one night my wife and I were having dinner with them there.
We had a very convivial meal and then afterwards,
a truly Roald Dahl moment happened because a bowl was produced
little mixed chocolate bars that children love so much and so,
for a brief time, with its creator looking on,
I felt like Charlie in the chocolate factory.
After all, Dahl did believe a little nonsense now and then
His corner of the Chilterns has become
a place of pilgrimage for fans of all ages and, for many,
an essential stop is Roald Dahl's grave.
This is the Dahl bench in the graveyard
And, if you follow in these giant footprints,
Here he lies buried, along with some of his treasured possessions.
This is a place of celebration, not mourning.
I've got some very fond memories of him,
like the time when we judged a local talent contest.
You should have heard some of his whispered comments.
When he wanted to be, Roald could be rather disruptive.
And, after his death, I along with a group of other people from
television and the stage who knew and respected him,
at a special event here at the parish church.
It was one of the most moving occasions I can ever remember.
For a while now, we swap Dahl's beloved Chiltern Hills
Last summer, Matt set off on a voyage from Seahouses
with a landscape artist seeking inspiration beneath the waves.
..traditional fishing communities, clustered around sandy coves.
catering for tourists and the fishing industry alike.
We're on board the Glad Tidings and heading out to the Farne Islands.
a couple of miles off the shore of Northumberland.
But however many there are, I'm not going to be stepping foot on
a single one of them because I'm going to be exploring the
Farne Islands from a very different perspective.
That's because I'm joining an artist on his first official dive
Chris Rose normally works on dry land,
He's a member of the renowned Society Of Wildlife Artists
and has exhibited all over the world.
His paintings are incredibly lifelike,
Water features heavily in his work and he's now been awarded a grant
to create art inspired by what he sees underwater.
Chris, I have never heard of anything like this.
I mean, it's quite an exciting concept, drawing underwater.
Well, I'd never heard of it either, to be honest.
I'd heard of it but I'd certainly never tried it. OK.
I've developed my own sketching kit. This is waterproof paper. OK.
What you do down at the seabed, then,
how much of that is that like a sketch of what you're going
to do, as far as the finished product? Or, is that it?
Really what I'm trying to do today is just go down,
do some little sketches of things and it'll just be in pencil.
Those will be my prime source of reference.
That together with the memory of the dive, if you like.
To access this underwater world, you need to be qualified.
I'm an advanced diver with more than ten years' experience, and Chris
has been in intense training for the past month, or so.
To keep us safe on our dive, we've got a fully seasoned diving
crew and Nic from Seasearch is also here to help Chris.
So, Nic, how does what Chris is doing fit in to what you do?
I think whilst we collect data and we can do reports,
that might not always catch the imagination of your average
person who comes out to the Farne Islands.
But if Chris comes up and does some of his drawings of what we see
then it really does show people it's worth looking after our seas.
There is so much interesting life down there.
The forest of kelp on the seabed first catches my attention.
Then I remember I'm not just here to look.
Chris's drawing system works a treat.
But with a tidal flow and the cumbersome kit, it's tricky.
We're under the sea for about 30 minutes.
Woo! Wow! I tell you what, it's pretty nippy down there.
Right, Chris, it's the show and tell now. It's the show and tell.
Oh, dear. I did sort of like a weird seascape thing that, I don't know...
I don't know where that was going but I took bits from all over
the place. There's the sea urchin. The sea urchin there on that one.
Yeah, I sat there and thought, "OK, we've got that sea lettuce."
There was a little patch of green in there.
There was, really vibrant, wasn't it? It was a lovely vibrant green.
Then you had kelp in the background and there was
a patch of sand which would give a nice tonal contrast to the
whole thing and, of course, in the background you've just got that
In conditions where it really is hard to draw,
it's difficult to imagine creating high-quality art.
We take our time, heading back to Seahouses to catch our breath.
It isn't long before Chris is interpreting his sketches in paint.
So all these colours, they're just coming from memory?
When we were down there I was consciously looking at all
the colours and trying to record them in my head,
which is why, when I come out of the water,
I wanted to crack straight on with doing this field painting,
while the colours are still fresh in my mind,
to try and get a sense of the atmosphere of the underwater world.
Thank you very much for a wonderful experience, one I'll never forget.
Leaving the north-east, we return to the Chilterns and the
Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden.
It may be small but visitors come from far and wide to marvel
at its definitive collection of Dahl artefacts.
And this is perhaps the most remarkable thing in the museum.
It's the inside of Roald Dahl's writing hut.
I remember seeing the hut in his garden, at his home.
Now here it is in the museum, exactly as it used to be.
They even brought the dust from the floor with them.
There's his old writing chair and the HB pencils.
He never used any other kind of pencil,
only HB which he had brought over from America.
There are lots of other things in this room
Look, over there, there is a model of a Hurricane fighter plane.
That was given to him by his secretary, Wendy, because Roald Dahl
was a fighter pilot during the war and he flew Hurricanes.
This is where he turned his genius into books.
The museum has a remarkable set of Dahl manuscripts,
a tale of a crafty fox and his battle to outwit local farmers.
Dahl's early versions of the story, not normally on show,
are quite different from the finished book.
Mr Fox, no "fantastic" at this stage. Mr Fox by Roald Dahl.
As you can see, he cut out all the little bits of typing into
this notebook and gradually the story developed.
He sent this to his publishers and the new ideas came in.
The farmers were added to add a bit of conflict and eventually,
after a lot of hard graft and rewriting because, after all
Later, I'll be venturing into the woods that Dahl explored with
his children and which inspired him to write Fantastic Mr Fox,
but first, Ellie met a graffiti artist last autumn who also
has a fancy for foxes... and other creatures.
The Shropshire hills are abundant with wildlife.
The berry-rich hedgerows, a feast for migrating winter birds.
It's these feathered friends that have captured the imagination
of an artist whose work has very urban origins.
Matt Sewell has exhibited in London, New York, Tokyo and Paris.
He's spray-painted walls across the globe.
But this street artist is a country lad at heart, an avid
ornithologist, whose caricatures of birds
What was it that first got you into birds,
When I grew up on a smallholding in County Durham
and we were just surrounded by birds and my dad liked to just keep
me in check, knowing that I knew everything that was there.
So what about the street art, then? When did that come in?
That was kind of when I got a bit older and moved to Brighton.
So nature and art became what I kind of did, really.
What sort of stuff were you doing in Brighton?
It was the fox that quickly became my signature, in a sense.
But today, it's Matt's spotting and jotting guide to British birds
that's capturing people's imaginations.
I've got one of your books and it's the descriptions
because the illustrations are lovely, but, you get a real sense of
the caricatures from what you say about them.
It all comes from just the thoughts I used to have of them when I
was a kid. I couldn't help but just create little characters for
them by what they look like as well, by the movements and habits.
Matt and I have come to The Hollies nature reserve.
On a good day, it's the ideal spot for watching
Today, the birds may have taken shelter from the wind and rain,
but that's not going to put us off sketching.
Shall we have a go at drawing something, even though the
shapes are a little bit blurry out there? I can definitely show
you how to draw a redwing, anyway. OK, great.
and the long body, with the long wing.
That's a distinctive Matt Sewell, within seconds. Yeah!
If I coloured that in now, that would definitely be a blackbird,
but, to make it the redwing, you just give it this kind of, like,
marking behind the eyes and the speckled thrush chest.
There you go, instant. Yeah. And now, all I need is my red pencil
to go under the wing and there we go. Identifiable within seconds.
if you come out and you're not getting the bird
Well, I just like going and seeing what I can find.
If it's like this, just going for a walk and just trying to get
a little bit of inspiration and then taking it back to the studio.
I've basically just copied yours there, look.
It does look more like a robin. How can that be?
But then, a robin is related to it. It's a thrush, isn't it?
Matt didn't seem too impressed with my sketches,
but maybe I'll fare better with a can of spray paint.
Matt said that I could get stuck in giving him a hand with a mural
that he's dedicated to Shropshire wildlife.
Matt's illustrations have led to many commissions for murals,
including this one on the edge of a housing estate
Hi. It's looking good. Thanks very much.
You've got all the holly and everything.
I guess what's great about this is that you're bringing wildlife
that might not be seen in the town right into this environment,
No, there's not that many places to do it, so this is perfect, really.
A lot of people pass through here. There's a lot of nature around,
It's like a spotter's checklist as they go off on their walk. Exactly.
Now, I've never, ever done this, so I'm going to need a lot of guidance.
I don't want to ruin it. You'll be all right. Yeah, gloves on.
Yeah, get your gloves on. What's next? Right, OK.
So, you need to do... So, you've got the beak.
Oh, nearly. Just nice and slow. OK, slow, slow, slow.
Oh, you're doing good. That's good coverage.
On today's programme, we're taking a look at our country's magnificent
landscapes and their influence on some of our most creative talents.
Only last spring, Helen met and unmasked a mysterious photographer,
who gets inspiration from the beautiful Peak District.
He has 13,000 followers on the internet and some pictures have
been shared more than ten million times.
But, like the Banksy of the photographic world,
he is known only by the mysterious alias, Villager Jim.
Today, he's agreed to reveal his identity to me
Jim. Hi, Helen. Nice to meet you. Pleased to meet you, too.
I can imagine, living in a place like this, it's quite easy
to get into photography, but how did it all start?
Yeah. Well, I started getting into photography when I moved
to the Peak District, simply because I noticed, coming from a city,
It's not about sitting there with a camouflage tent for me.
I'm about going out there and seeing what's out that particular morning.
I'm a complete novice, although I invested in an OK camera.
You can take amazing photos nowadays, so, people shouldn't be
It's really, mostly, all about composition
and anticipation of what's going to happen in a shot.
One of the best ways of having good composition is to imagine
a noughts and crosses on your screen and try not to put the subject
Is there anything else I should be thinking about?
Instead of taking the whole animal, just take a part of it and
play around and you'll suddenly realise that taking that ear or
Where is a good place to start when you are looking for a subject?
Any garden bird is fantastic if you get the right picture of it.
and the thing to do is to help them by feeding them.
Never mind Villager Jim, I think he's more like Dr Dolittle.
So far, so good, but Jim has sent me on a solo mission
to put his tips into practice by photographing the pedigree cattle
just down the road at the Chatsworth Estate.
If that wasn't pressure enough, the Duke of Devonshire himself
is also a fan of Jim's work, so, my photos better be up to standard.
OK, now, Jim said don't get you in the centre.
are in the middle of my noughts and crosses grid.
something that's not going to happen.
I've definitely got quantity, if not quality.
Well, I'm pleased with my pics. Time to see what the maestro has to say.
Right. Well, the very first one I click on is actually pretty good.
Obviously, there's lots of cows, but with Chatsworth at the back,
And, you've actually, going on the noughts and courses,
you've used the bottom three squares as the main subjects.
Yeah, again, makes a fabulous photo, cos they look so gentle, don't they?
But, it's just ever so slightly out of focus, even with my glasses on.
With that one, I was going for the anticipation thing.
I was trying to get it to stick its tongue out.
For me, it's just the way that the cow tilts her head.
It just gives a bit of character to it. So, you'd print that?
Thank you. I may have taken about 800 pictures today,
but that nod of approval will do. Thank you, Jim.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of
Roald Dahl, so, we're exploring his Chiltern Hills and other
landscapes that stir the creative spirit.
but he was also a very keen gardener.
He didn't grow snozzcumbers or giant peaches or anything like that,
but he was very passionate about his garden and I'm off now to meet a man
Keith Pounder became Roald Dahl's gardener in his early 20s
and he still looks after the five-acre garden
that he helped create around Dahl's writing hut.
Did he ever discuss his stories with you?
He often mentioned about the countryside around us and things
that were in the garden that had developed,
like the cherry tree at the top of the garden.
he was thinking about James And The Giant Cherry,
but I think in the end he thought a cherry
So, he opted for the peach. It doesn't sound as good, does it?
James And The Giant Cherry Tree. No. Definitely not.
and he used to have a little competition with his snooker buddies
each year of who could grow the biggest onion.
I did hear a story once that he did cheat a little bit sometimes.
Is that true? Well, he just got a head start.
He used to buy his plants in already part-grown. Ah, right.
Everybody else was growing from seed? Yeah.
And what would you say was Roald's legacy, as far as you're concerned?
Erm, I think, for me, he taught me to be the best I can be.
Even if it was the minor things in life, to do the best you can.
Absolutely. Yeah. You've got to enjoy what you do in life.
Well, let's step away from the Chilterns for news of a Countryfile
event that's harnessing the power of the countryside to change lives.
and I wanted to go on this ramble to help Children in Need.
Last year, we launched the first ever Countryfile Ramble
whoever you were with, we all walked together.
And we proved that taking a few simple steps can help transform
the lives of thousands of disadvantaged youngsters.
For one weekend only, the rambles are back and this year's
Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need needs you.
On the 8th and 9th of October, while we're heading out
on our own rambles, we want you to head out on yours.
We want you to let your feet do the talking, because you are the
power behind the Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need.
and put on your own sponsored ramble.
We know from last year that if we all get out there and ramble
But sadly there are still thousands of youngsters
Children in Need help families all over the UK.
The charities they support help children gain confidence and
Olivia lives near Cardiff with mum Karen and dad Jeff.
and loves doing all the things that any teenager enjoys.
one of the most well-known causes of a learning disability.
The condition can affect people in lots of different ways
but children who have it are as individual as any other child.
Maybe I could do some swimming on the lake.
The main thing Olivia loves to do is be the centre of attention.
When Olivia was born, it soon became clear to Karen and Jeff
to say there's a possibility that she could be Down's syndrome.
Our world was just totally turned upside down.
With all the hopes and fears of any new mum,
this wasn't the start in life they'd imagined for their new daughter.
The fear was not fully understanding the scale of Down's syndrome,
is she going to be able to walk, to talk, to communicate?
It was like fast-forwarding her life to 20, 30 years,
when my husband and I are not around.
From that moment, Karen and Jeff always wanted to give Olivia
She'd been in a mainstream environment all her life.
She had a fantastic network of friends.
But as time went on, Olivia began to feel isolated at school
and Mum and Dad became increasingly concerned.
Olivia was getting anxious. She wasn't herself.
She'd come home, you'd ask her how she got on at school, it was like,
She was withdrawn from all her friends.
And then it just went from bad to worse.
saying she didn't want to go back to school.
It was just horrendous seeing her go through that.
It was a local club in the community that helped give the family
the support that they so desperately needed
and helped bring back the Olivia they knew.
Cathays Community Centre is one of the best things
and I think, not just from Olivia's point of view,
from the children that are actually living in that community.
It's a hub where people meet, where people feel relaxed
The Cathays Central Youth and Community Centre,
with vital funding from Children in Need,
run a Friday evening club for children and young adults
I can do, like, I do outdoor learning
Maybe arts and crafts, and I can do a lot of acting as well.
Children have loads of fun at the centre and go on activity trips
to the countryside, where the great outdoors helps them to
build confidence and enrich their lives.
It's just a safe haven for her, which is her time,
and she's involved with not just people from her own school,
from the community down there as well.
Everybody is equal and they all get on.
I like to chill out. I can do lots of kind of things.
The people that work there, a lot of them do it voluntary
and I take my hat off to them. I couldn't...
of what they've actually provided for my daughter.
Being part of the club is making a huge difference to Olivia's life...
Olivia, prynhawn da, Olivia. Prynhawn da, Miss Margaret.
has helped return her to her usual happy self.
Your trainers. Look at them. They're posh, aren't they? Yeah.
She's very happy and she takes everything in her stride,
Yeah, definitely. I'm always happy, with me.
At the end of the day, it's all about Olivia and her happiness.
It's clear that with her new-found confidence,
Olivia's gone from strength to strength.
The Cathays Central Youth and Community Project
is just one of the many organisations
that rely on funding from Children in Need.
Now, we know that some of you won't be able to put on your
walking boots and get out into the countryside
Please donate now, if you're able, because it will
help other children like Olivia get the vital support that they need.
The Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need takes place on
Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of October.
is download a sponsorship form from our website,
raise some money and get out there on your ramble.
On the website, you'll also find ideas and inspiration for
And when you've planned your route,
we'd love to hear where you're going,
Together we can make this year's ramble bigger, better and
offer our support to even more of Britain's most vulnerable children.
The power to transform lives for ever.
Today, we're exploring stirring landscapes
like the Chiltern Hills that so captivated Roald Dahl.
A couple of winters ago, Adam travelled to Cornwall
to discover inspiration can literally wash up at your feet.
Where I live in the Cotswolds, I'm totally landlocked, so I love
coming to the beach to get my sea fix, particularly at this
time of year when it's so wild and unpredictable.
Even familiar places look very different.
And it's now that nature takes over, reclaiming its shoreline,
Dom Clarke knows all about the effect of storms on our coastline
and the objects that end up where the sea meets the land,
Hi. That looked pretty severe out there. Yeah, some pretty
big waves. And I suppose these winter storms are bringing it in.
Yeah, low pressure after low pressure at the moment.
A strand line is where debris from the sea gets washed up...
to the furthest point of where the tide can get to.
There's a lot of rubbish in here, isn't there?
One of the big things that you find is what we call sea nuts.
And that's a hazelnut. Who knows where it's come from?
It could have come from anywhere, I suppose. It really could have.
And are the winter strand lines very different to the summer?
We get a lot more wood washed ashore at this time of year
and, as you can see, giant logs over there.
Yeah, it's floating around like matchsticks in the ocean.
That is sort of your classic cuttlebone.
You get a lot of these washed up after storms as well.
They sell them in pet stores for parrots...
What they actually used to do is grind up the body of it,
and put it into toothpaste as an abrasive to clean your teeth.
Incredible. There you go. Never knew that.
Dom's not the only person exploring the strand line for bounty.
His friend, Susie Ray, is an artist who turns what she finds on
Hi, Susie. Good to see you. Hello, Adam. Hey, Suse. Hey, Dom.
My word. You've got a lot more in your buckets than I've got in mine.
Oh, there's just tons of stuff out there today.
The storms are amazing. Dom, do you want to hold that bucket?
Those are big cuttlefish there, aren't they? Yeah.
And whelk eggs. Yeah. Whelk eggs, incredible!
Yeah, they look man-made. Some people think they are.
They look a lot like bubble wrap. They do, don't they?
Or packaging, so that's what a lot of people assume that they are
This is really great stuff, actually.
We do some fantastic art stuff with that.
That's beautiful, isn't it? It's really amazing.
I've got here, a couple of sea beans. That's amazing.
That comes from tropical America or the West Indies and it comes on
the Gulf Stream via the North Atlantic Drift
and what's amazing is that they can float for up to 19 years.
So shall we take all this lot back to your studio? Absolutely, yeah.
I can't wait to show you what we can do with it.
You've got to go back surfing. Surf's up.
You've got everything you need? Oh, look. There we go.
Susie's home and studio are within shouting distance
She grew up on the south Cornish coast, where she first developed
her love of beachcombing and the natural world.
Now her home is filled with treasures from the beach.
She's going to show me how to use a 19th-century Japanese
printing technique to transform flotsam into works of art.
Just be bold. Mix up lots of paint. More blue than black, I'd say.
Just get it on. Give it that nice tinge.
And then it always comes out differently, every one you do.
So just grip your sculpture and just cover it in paint.
OK, that's really good. Nearly there.
Lift that up and put that onto this sheet here
That's it. Is that OK? Yes. Keep one hand on it. Yeah.
That's it. And then just smooth it down with your fingers.
Keep this... Always keep that hand on if you can. That's it.
That's it. Just do the... The big reveal. ..the big reveal.
Look at that. Oh, yes. That's not bad.
That's not bad, especially for a first attempt.
So while I perfect the technique using more of our morning's finds...
..Susie is showing me what an expert can achieve on a whole John Dory.
Right, well, I think we can have a go at pulling back the sheet
Well, here we are. This is the result of my day at the seaside.
Actually, I'm quite pleased with those.
The objects used in Susie's art have been on an extraordinary journey,
from distant continents and from the seabed.
that leave them like gifts on our shores.
and is it going to be, in the words of Roald Dahl, a wondercrump week
or will it be bopmuggered for rambling and everything else?
Let's find out by going over to the BBC weather centre.
I'm not sure about this week but last week in the words of rolled up
could be glorious is not a bit jumpy. We were breaking record last
week with temperatures recorded just short of 35 Celtics. Last time we
had temperatures like that in September was over a hundred years
ago. We had three consecutive days of 30 selfies and we have not had
that in September since 1929. But it all ended with a bang on Thursday
and Friday with rainfall totals like this in part of Suffolk, a months
worth of rain in 24-hour 's. Fortunately we had some clearer
skies through the weekend and we were sent in these beautiful harvest
Moon shots, the last full moon before the autumn equinox which is
this week. It is on Thursday and I'm pleased to say the weather looks a
bit more straightforward. Some sunny spells, some rain, but temperatures
near normal for this time of year. The rain will come from areas of low
pressure shooting in from the Atlantic, some quite intense for a
time but they will weaken substantially as they will be
blocked by an area of high pressure. That will be the pattern for the
next few days. The jet stream will be fairly invigorated as it dries
these areas in but you can see there is quite a kick as it pushes them up
towards Iceland, blocked by this omega patent of high pressure around
Scandinavia and we consider first sight of that at the moment. Moving
through tonight into Monday morning, the weather front will be weakening
and pushing into the Midlands and down to the south-west and that is
where it is likely to stay on Monday with a band of cloud and patchy
drizzly rain. Underneath it it will feel disappointing. In the east,
some sunshine and warmth, to the north and west, some sunny spells.
Moving into Tuesday, that front doesn't move far. Still a band of
cloud thick enough for the odd spot or two of rain. It might start a bit
misty in the south-east but the sunshine will come through with
highs of 20. Moving into Wednesday, another significant low-pressure
will bring some wet and windy weather into Northern Ireland and
west of Scotland. There will be an increase of cloud on the western
coasts but the further east, the best of the sunshine, again the
potential for some early morning mist and patchy fog which should
lift and we should have highs of the mid to high teens. In the Thursday,
a significant chance of more frequent and sharp showers around
the country so what the full cost for more details. Highs of 15 to 20
again. Another fund looks likely to push in on Friday and we could see
significant gales in the extreme north and west, tightly squeezed
isobars and more rain but relatively quiet for the bulk of the country.
Again, you will have to watch the forecast for mist and fog patches
first thing but we will see a good deal of dry weather with some
sunshine coming through. If you still have harvest together or field
to plough, there is always the risk of some rain in the far north and
west with stronger winds but when the mist and fog lifts there will be
some decent and dry weather with some sunshine coming through.
This week we're celebrating Roald Dahl's centenary.
Shortly, I'll be walking through the Chiltern Beechwoods
that inspired one of his best-loved stories.
Anita travelled deep into south Devon to meet an artist
entranced by the woodlands around him.
hardly anything has changed for centuries,
from the ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle
and the ancient waters that surround it.
So it's the perfect spot to meet a sculptor who takes
inspiration from the old to create something very new.
Alarik Greenland is a local sculptor.
He painstakingly twists wires and jewels together
They're ancient trees from his childhood surroundings.
Alarik, you can see that this is a very special spot.
It is, yeah. It's very special to me.
Everywhere I go around here, it stirs up memories for me,
just because I've been here my whole life.
What is it about the trees in particular?
It's the sense that they have been here for so long
and that they've been touched by people that I've never known.
The ruined castle offers fantastic views of the woodland below,
a perfect spot for a lesson in tree sculpture.
Wow. How many hours did it take you to make this?
Altogether, it can take about four to five weeks to make a tree.
I can't promise you four weeks of my life
but I certainly fancy having a go. Yeah. Shall we?
Right, so don't mess up, Anita, cos it's expensive. Yes!
and then make about three to four twists.
And how many beads would one tree have on it?
One tree, the latest one that I've got is 10,000,
I might have just wasted a bit of gold!
This is an incredibly intricate work of art, but
the piece of wood it sits on has a fascinating life of its own, too.
Alarik salvages these centuries-old pieces of wood from the depths
of the River Dart, but how did they get their remarkable appearance?
I was excavating a Bronze Age site on the top of Dartmoor...
'Dr Ralph Fyfe, an expert in fossilised plants,
'is casting his eye over one of Alarik's finds.'
at the bottom of the river. A little bit like this.
Let's spin it round. This was out in the water column.
What's happened is, as this piece of wood
there's tannins in the wood, and those tannins are reacting with
the slightly acidic waters, and the iron in the water as well.
That means that a chemical process occurs, which means
the wood draws the iron into the actual structure itself.
then it sits around in the water for a few hundred years.
And it becomes this. And then it gets given a new life by an artist.
I'm keen to find a piece, and Alarik knows just what to look for.
Sometimes it can be too rotten, not bogged enough,
And another thing, it's not the right shape,
so we've got to look carefully, we've got to look for a nice piece.
But first things first, you've got to get me in the water. Yes.
How do you plan on doing that, then? Run in!
The sun's shining and I'm all out of excuses.
I want to get out and look at it. Let's pull it out.
That is... Look at that. Are you happy with that?
My mind's ticking over already. How I can use it. That's wonderful.
So, in a few months' time, this could look like that.
Could well be, yes. Wow. I feel like we've done a good day's work today.
Yeah, we have. Well done. Thank you. Should we get back in? Yeah!
Alarik's beautiful sculptures, combined with the deadwood from
the river, are giving Devon's ancient trees an artistic afterlife.
Just a short walk from the Chiltern village of Great Missenden is
Angling Spring Wood, a place of enchantment for Roald Dahl.
He would come here to dream up the magical tales he'd later
One fan who's followed in Dahl's footsteps around this
landscape is another children's author, Piers Torday.
Did you ever get to meet the great man, Piers? I did, I was very lucky.
When I was younger, he visited the children's bookshop my mother ran.
And afterwards he sent me this note and explained how as a writer
he had made mistakes and he had to take something out of
And when I was much older and trying to write myself,
I went back to that note. And the fact that Roald Dahl had made
mistakes and had to start again gave me the confidence to carry on.
And now you write children's stories yourself.
I do, I write children's stories about the outdoors and animals.
Dahl himself was a great countryman, wasn't he? He was.
He loved the countryside, right from a boy, when he loved playing
in the fields of Wales, to as an adult when he lived here.
And he used to come and walk amongst these woods.
And it was actually here that he got the idea for the Fantastic Mr Fox.
In this very wood. There was a tree that sadly fell down
and it was under that tree in a hole that the Fox family lived.
There was a great character in the village of Great Missenden
called Claude, who was one of Roald Dahl's great friends,
who was actually a bit of a poacher and a rascal,
and Roald Dahl loved nothing more than hanging out with him...
Doing a bit of poaching? Doing a bit of poaching.
the foxes love eating coopfuls of chickens - he wasn't sentimental
about that nature is red in tooth and claw.
Piers runs regular storytelling sessions for young Roald Dahl
enthusiasts in locations the man himself knew and loved.
Welcome, everyone, to this beautiful wood in the hills above
Great Missenden, which of course is where Roald Dahl used to live.
I really like Roald Dahl because in nearly all of his stories,
And Damian, what do you think childhood would be like
It would just be all boring. I think we all look up to him.
so our world would just be completely different without him.
It's almost impossible to assess, isn't it,
the impact that Roald Dahl has had on millions of children
all around the world, and still does today? And still does to this day.
I think what was so extraordinary about Roald Dahl is that
sometimes, inspiring their imagination is more important
than just giving them the facts about the world.
You just need to give them that spark of life and curiosity,
and that's what might turn them into great people.
And is that what you're trying to do now?
That's what you're trying to do with stories for children,
you're trying to just reach out, just to one, that their
curiosity might go on to help make this world a better place.
the Chilterns of Roald Dahl's imagination and the magical
landscapes beyond have become the most wonderful creative force,
and as Dahl once wisely said, "And above all,
"watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you."
That's just about it from Roald Dahl country.
Next week, Countryfile will be hosting the 40th anniversary
With teams from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales,
it's going to come from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland,
But right now, from Buckinghamshire, it's goodbye,
Countryfile marks the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth by discovering his passion for the great outdoors and how it inspired his writing. John Craven explores Great Missenden, the village where Dahl lived for much of his life. He meets children's author Piers Torday, who is inspired by both the countryside and by Dahl himself. There is also a look back through the Countryfile archive to the times we have met others inspired by our beautiful countryside, from underwater painters to graffiti artists.
Matt Baker has more news on how viewers can take part in this year's Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need by putting on their own sponsored rambles. This year's ramble weekend is Saturday 8and Sunday 9 October. Last year, thousands of Countryfile viewers took part, helping us raise over £850,000 and transforming the lives of some of Britain's most disadvantaged youngsters.
With a fortnight to go until Countryfile plays host to the 40th-anniversary edition of the legendary One Man and His Dog sheepdog trialling competition, Adam Henson meets the English and Scottish teams hoping to bring home this year's trophy.