Helen Mark visits the Escape Project in Swaffham, Norfolk, to find out why a group of volunteers are helping create a garden full of monsters for the Chelsea Flower Show.
These monsters represent the kinds of problems facing every family, and a garden is the perfect place to talk about them together. The Family Monsters Garden, designed by Alistair Bayford, has been inspired by 'Escape', a community allotment which welcomes people to spend time outdoors to benefit their wellbeing and especially their mental health. Escape is funded by the charity Family Action which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The 'family monsters' theme is designed to start a national conversation about some of the family problems we may all face, but rarely talk about.
At Escape you can plant seeds, do a bit of weeding, harvest vegetables and fruit, and make friends over Susan's homemade soup or pizza baked in the handmade, dragon-covered clay pizza oven. Although if the mason bees are still nesting in the clay, you'll have to wait another week or so. It's a wildlife haven and a soothingly busy, green place to be.
Sometimes a volunteer (like Gavin) gets so hooked on gardening they take up their own allotment. Volunteer Sarah has found she's become a bit of a celebrity because of the Chelsea buzz, and William is hoping the limelight will turn into extra funding to support the project, which has been a lifeline and a source of joy for him. Team leaders Karen and Katy know that long after memories of the Flower Show have faded, they'll still be planting lettuce and purslane, with their green-fingered extended family. Helen visits before and after the show to find out about its longer-term impact.
Ulva - An Island for the People
Ulva is an island just off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. It was once home to up to 800 people but after the 'clearances' of the 19th Century it gradually declined to just 5 inhabitants today. Helen Mark visits Ulva one year after a community and government buyout was completed to find out about the plans to rebuild the abandoned houses and make this place a thriving community once more.
Exercise Shallow Grave
Mary-Ann Ochota joins Archaeologist of the Year, Richard Osgood and his team of veterans and local archaeologists as they unearth Saxon artefacts and develop life changing skills.
An idyllic site in Gloucestershire has yielded some important 6th Century artifacts and is vulnerable both to ploughing and ‘night hawking’. But what’s going on above ground is just as valuable as what lies beneath it.
Lead by former Marine Dickie Bennet, ‘Breaking Ground Heritage (BGH)’ uses archaeology and heritage to develop projects that encourage physical and psychological well-being amongst former members of the armed forces. Working alongside trained archaeologists, participants bring their skills of attention to detail and resilience whilst also building their own recovery pathways, empowering them to regain control of their lives.
Produced by Nicola Humphries
Presented by Mary-Ann Ochota
Photography by Harvey Mills
More information on Breaking Ground Heritage can be found at www.breakinggroundheritage.org.uk
Sussex Weald Ironworking
Ian Marchant visits the Sussex Weald, once the epicentre of the international arms trade, owing to its ironstone reserves and subsequent iron-making expertise. It's a personal story too: 'Marchant' is one of the Sussex names associated with metal-working migrants from Belgium in the late 15th century.
Hammer and furnace ponds and former forges are now dotted about the landscape, rich habitat for wildlife, according to naturalist Richard Jones. A walk on the Weald is a treasure hunt for history-of-iron enthusiasts (of whom there are an unusual number in Sussex). They frequently come across previously undiscovered remains, some dating back to medieval times.
Ian takes a walk at Newbridge with Jeremy Hodgkinson and Roger Prus, who can interpret the bumps in the woodland that most people would pass without noticing. They might be old furnace sites or even remains of buildings used by iron workers.
He meets Emma O'Connor to explore the Anne of Cleves House collection of iron artefacts in Lewes. These range from items with military uses to all kinds of domestic and industrial products, most of which are beautifully preserved and attest to our ancestors' habits of recycling, repairing and preserving the things they owned.
Ian visits Glynde Forge, where blacksmith Ricky Delaney demonstrates the living craft of working with metal in Sussex. Will Ian discover that forging metal is in his blood?
Stonehenge and its community
Helen Mark finds out how Stonehenge continues to influence and shape the next generation of makers and trades people in Amesbury and the villages around it. Helen meets a thatcher, the cob wall maker and a frame maker who are all in their own way keeping a traditional craft going. But their skills have also ended up inspiring artist Linda Brothwell who has captured their stories and their lives in her latest work. The makers have no idea what Linda has made and are going to have to wait to see the exhibits when Stonehenge hosts this very first contemporary art exhibition.
The producer is Perminder Khatkar.