programmes  —  Wild Gardens  —  Downland

Downland – Wiltshire has the most important area of chalk downland in Europe. However, what is left of this flower-rich downland is now fragmented; we have 20% of what existed 100 years ago. Linda Smith from Natural England tells us why chalk downland is so rich in flowers and insects and show Mike the rare Burnt-tip Orchid and many other downland flowers.

The downs of Wiltshire are also home to a bird which is three feet tall and has a wing span of six feet. The rare Great Bustard was once common on Salisbury Plain and now after 150 years they have been re-introduced to the area. Several of these extraordinary birds can be seen. Their chicks live entirely on insects and thus they reside among flower-rich meadows where they can find the insects they need. Al Dawes is Project Manager for the Great Bustard Project and tells us all about one of the rarest birds in Britain.

Mike visits Charles Flower’s flower-farm who explains how you can grow wild flowers in your own garden and help to attract more butterflies and bees. Downland plants are essential food plants for many rare butterflies like the Small Blue.

Mike also visits Lyn Miles in her downland garden near Salisbury and she tells us how flowers can grow well in thin, chalky soils.

With thanks to
Natural England
Great Bustard Project
English Heritage
CJ Wildlife
Paul Toynton

Mike Dilger

Clive North

Camera assistant
Ben Crossley

Wildlife Camera
Keith Rogerson

Gary Moore
Kevin Meredith

Fred Tay

Title Music
Tim Baker

Jessica Tombs

Production Manager
Lea Aldridge

Production Co-ordinator
Hanna Saastamoinen

Stewart Barlow

Dubbing Editor
Ben Wood

Dubbing Mixer
Neil Hipkiss

Online Editor
Tim Bolt

Series Producer
Sarah Pitt

Executive Producer for ITV
James Garrett

Produced and Directed by
Mary Colwell

© Mallinson Sadler Productions 2008