Monday 12th December 2016

Countryfile filming for the Christmas special at Greystones FarmCountryfile filming for the Christmas special at Greystones Farm

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) has welcomed presenter Ellie Harrison and the Countryfile team to Greystones Farm nature reserve to film for the BBC One show’s Christmas Special.

Producers were drawn to the reserve for its diverse range of habitats, stunning frosty landscape views, the wildlife-friendly farm ethos and the extraordinary volunteer culture of the Trust.

Ellie, who is also GWT President, worked hard alongside regular volunteer groups who were carrying out essential tasks for keeping wildlife safe, and Greystones wild.

Nothing we do here would be possible without the help of our volunteers

The day started with scrub clearance and riverbank rebuilding; vital work for rare water voles found in the area. Ellie donned waders and joined Will Masefield (GWT Cotswold Community Development Officer) in the river to learn the various ways in which the Trust is using habitat-rich hubs like Greystones to launch landscape-scale conservation projects. All of which are helped enormously by the tireless efforts of volunteers who turn up week-on-week, come rain or shine.

Will Masefield said: “Nothing we do here would be possible without the help of our volunteers. The wildlife that thrives here: the water voles; the barn owls; the rare orchids in our meadows; they’re all enhanced by local people re-connecting with their environment and digging deep to help them all year round. And we’re delighted that Countryfile is so keen to highlight that with us.”

The afternoon saw the group get to work on constructing barn owl boxes as part of the Barn Owl Recovery Project. Made possible thanks to generous contributions from GWT members and long-term supporters, Grundon Waste Management, the project aims to support Gloucestershire’s barn owls, whose numbers fell dramatically in 2015. The Countryfile team were shown how the project will build and install 60 barn owl boxes in good foraging habitat; train volunteers in barn owl monitoring and advise landowners on creating and retaining suitable barn owl habitat.

The day was rounded off with mulled wine and mince pies in the barn, with a toast to the Cotswolds. The Countryfile Christmas Special airs on Sunday 18th December on BBC One at 5:40pm.

Ellie Harrison