Thousands attend BBC Countryfile Live

Ray Mears inspires young nature lovers at BBC Countryfile Live

The sun shone on 125,000 visitors to the first ever BBC Countryfile Live in August 2016. The event was a celebration of all aspects of the countryside and rural life at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Over 100,000 people celebrated the countryside at BBC Countryfile Live
Over 100,000 people celebrated the countryside at BBC Countryfile Live

The British countryside is really important to us – we care for 250,000 hectares and more than 775 miles of coastline.  We want to keep them healthy, by protecting habitats, wildlife and nature; and accessible for future generations. Taking part in Countryfile Live was our opportunity to meet anyone and everyone interested in the outdoors, wildlife and nature.

Countryside talk

Our National Trust Theatre hosted some very special guests including bushcraft expert Ray Mears, wildlife experts and TV presenters Simon King and Mike Dilger, author Will Self and Martha Kearney, radio broadcaster with a passion for bees. They all had their audiences gripped as they told anecdotes of their own adventures in nature and described their love of the countryside. 

We also debated some of the really big issues facing rural Britain. These included whether the countryside will be better or worse off outside the EU, Britain’s housing crisis, rewilding, sustainability, climate change and energy.

Tasty food from our producers

Visitors also had the chance to meet some of our tenant producers and to sample some of their produce at our cookery demo stage. Our guest chefs, included Tom Herbert, Marcus Bean, Holly Bell, Richard Bertinet, Claire Thomson and our very own Clive Goudercourt. They whipped up some delicious dishes using some of our award winning organic flour, honey, Red Devon beef, new potatoes, apple juice, milk, crab, lamb, eggs and beer.

Some of these great products were also included in our catering offer. We even had our very own National Trust bar for visitors to enjoy.

50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ woodland

A family enjoys our pond dipping area at BBC Countryfile Live
A family enjoys our pond dipping area at BBC Countryfile Live

The young and the young-at-heart enjoyed our magical waterside woodland. Children could learn tree-climbing skills, build dens, bird boxes and bug hotels and go hunting for bugs and pondlife.  Some were lucky enough to meet Ray Mears and Mike Dilger who both made special guest appearances to inspire the young nature enthusiasts.

We were also joined by people from our retail, fundraising, volunteering, careers and membership teams. Two of our corporate partners – Panasonic and Cotswold Outdoor - also attended.

Thank you to everyone that came to visit us.  It was wonderful to meet you and we hope you had a great day out.