Countryfile – The UK’s Highest Village in Winter: It’s 60 years since the Big Freeze, one of the coldest winters on record, when even the sea froze over, and rural communities were cut off by blizzards and towering snowdrifts. Anita Rani and Joe Crowley are in Flash, the UK’s highest village, to see how the community coped then and how they brace for winter now. They also find out what sort of weather can be expected in future winters.
Anita unlocks the secrets of Flash’s history, from special buttons to a booming business in counterfeit money, while Joe discovers the secrets of seaweed in the village brewery. Adam Henson reveals a new insulating product for chimney flues, and Tom Heap is on the Isle of Eigg, where islanders aren’t waiting for government to help them level up but are doing it for themselves.
Stories are shared of the people, places and issues at the heart of the British countryside. Popular features include the programme’s photography contest, which culminates in a yearly calendar sold to benefit charity, the Video Diary, produced by viewers and focused on life in rural areas, and the weather forecasts.
Countryfile – The UK’s Highest Village in Winter
As an expert in the British countryside, Countryfile – Cotswolds offers weekly coverage on BBC One of rural, agricultural, and environmental issues in the United Kingdom. The program features a diverse range of presenters including John Craven, Adam Henson, Matt Baker, Tom Heap, Ellie Harrison, Paul Martin, Anita Rani, Helen Skelton, Steve Brown, Charlotte Smith, and Sean Fletcher. Each episode delves into the unique stories, characters, and traditions of a specific location or region. The program covers a variety of topics such as wildlife conservation, farming, food production, the arts, countryside crafts, social history, and leisure activities.
Journalism also plays a significant role in the program’s agenda, with Rural Affairs Correspondent Tom Heap or John Craven presenting a weekly investigation into pressing issues affecting the British countryside. Farmer Adam Henson joined the program in 2001 and in 2009, began hosting the “Adam’s Farm” segment which gives viewers an in-depth look into running a mixed farm in the Cotswolds.
In 2013, the program celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special edition guest-edited by The Prince of Wales. The episode, “Countryfile: A Royal Appointment,” followed the team as they joined the Prince on his Gloucestershire farm to learn about his passions for the British countryside, rare breed animals, organic farming and hedge-laying. Countryfile also traveled to County Durham to explore efforts to support struggling hill farmers and to a London school where pupils are growing and cooking their own food. To mark the occasion, the program also featured a new title sequence and re-versioned music composed by David Lowe.
The 1963 Big Freeze: A Look Back
The 1963 Big Freeze in the UK was a severe winter weather event that lasted from December 1962 to March 1963. It was one of the coldest winters in the 20th century, with temperatures dropping as low as -22.2°C. The freeze caused widespread disruption across the country, with heavy snowfall and icy conditions making travel difficult. Many roads and railways were blocked, causing major delays and cancellations. The extreme cold also caused damage to buildings and infrastructure, with pipes bursting and power cuts reported.
Despite the challenges, the country pulled together to face the freeze. The army was called in to assist with snow clearance and to provide emergency supplies to isolated communities. Local communities also rallied to help each other, with neighbors digging each other out and checking on the welfare of the elderly and vulnerable.
The freeze had a significant impact on the economy, with businesses struggling to keep their doors open and farmers losing livestock due to the harsh conditions. However, the country was able to recover and the freeze is now remembered as a significant event in British history.
Impact on Transportation
Transportation was severely affected by the freeze, with many roads and railways becoming impassable due to heavy snow and ice. The freeze caused numerous train cancellations and delays, leaving commuters stranded. Air travel was also affected, with London’s Heathrow Airport shutting down for several days. The freeze also made it difficult for emergency services to reach those in need, as ambulances and fire trucks were unable to navigate the icy roads.
Effect on Agriculture
The agricultural industry was also hit hard by the freeze. The prolonged cold weather damaged crops, causing a shortage of fruits and vegetables. Livestock also suffered, as many farmers were unable to feed their animals due to the snow and ice. The freeze resulted in a significant loss of income for farmers, and some were forced to sell their livestock at a loss.
Impact on Daily Life
The freeze also had a major impact on daily life. Many homes and businesses were without heating or hot water, as the cold weather caused pipes to freeze and burst. People were forced to queue for hours to buy food, as shortages and rationing became common. The freeze also had a significant impact on mental health, as people were isolated and unable to leave their homes due to the weather.
Lessons Learned – Countryfile – The UK’s Highest Village in Winter
The Big Freeze of 1963 was a stark reminder of the power of nature and the importance of being prepared for extreme weather events. The United Kingdom has since implemented better infrastructure and emergency response plans to ensure that transportation and essential services can continue to operate during severe weather conditions. The agricultural industry has also taken steps to mitigate the impact of extreme weather, such as developing hardier crops and implementing better livestock management practices.