British Isles: A Natural History was a new BBC 1 series that started at the end of September 2004. The 8-part series was the first complete picture of the geographical, natural and human history of the British Isles.
Natural history enthusiast, Alan Titchmarsh, turned landscape detective to unravel the epic story of the evolution of the British Isles from prehistory – when hippos roamed through Trafalgar Square; an immense forest stretched from Land’s End to John O’Groats; and prehistoric reptiles swam in Britain’s tropical seas – through to today and the challenges of the future.
The Isle of Wight featured in both the main programmes and in some of the regional slots at the end of each programme. The series went out at the end of September and ran until the end of November, with the Island appearing in programmes 2, 3 and 4: Birth of Britain (Hanover Point, Alum Bay and Dinosaur Isle) Ice Age Britain (Newtown Harbour) and Island Britain (Red Squirrels). The Island’s world-famous dinosaur footprints at Hanover point featured, as did bison bones from the mouth of Newtown Harbour.
Linked to the television series, a local series of events called ‘Go Wild on Wight’ were put together to encourage Island residents to explore the natural wonders on their own doorstep. Dinosaur Isle and the Countryside Section of the Isle of Wight Council worked with local organisations to put together a weekend festival at Dinosaur Isle on 30th and 31st October 2004.
Martin Munt, Curator of Geology said “This weekend festival will celebrate the Island’s wonderful natural heritage - the diversity of geology, archaeology, habitats and many different plants and animals we are fortunate to have here.
“The event has brought together twenty-five different groups linked to archaeology and natural history. It’s a celebration of the roles these groups play in conservation and education, working in partnership keeping the Island a very special place to live. We would encourage everyone to come along and take part in the range of activities going on; these include bird watching, nature walks, internet searching, talks and demonstrations, including bats from the Isle of Wight Bat Hospital. If you have natural history, geological or archaeological objects you want identified just bring them along with you”.
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