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Dorset: Country and Coast | Preview (Channel 5)

A jaunt around this charming part of southwest England, narrated by Alan Titchmarsh, taking a stroll through rolling countryside, visiting charming seaside towns and marvelling at the dramatic Jurassic coast.

We explore Dorset's most iconic sites, uncover lesser-known gems, and examine daily Dorset life through a variety of perspectives - from locals to holidaymakers and farmers to wildlife conservationists - and immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds and tastes of the region.

In the first episode we visit Lyme Regis and experience the excitement and wonder of finding a 200-million-year-old fossil lying on the beach. We learn about how the area became so famous for its fossils, and why thousands flock here every year in search of their own piece of history. We meet renowned chef and restaurateur Mark Hix MBE and accompany him on a fishing trip to catch sea bass that will later feature on his menu.

We then travel inland to Mapperton House with its luscious Grade II* listed gardens, lovingly tended by Countess of Sandwich, Caroline Montague. Renowned for their design and varied planting, the gardens are among the most stunning in southern England.

Beyond the gardens, some new residents have recently moved into the grounds in the form of beavers and wild Exmoor ponies. Both are part of an ambitious rewilding project designed to encourage a wider and more diverse range of species to flourish on the estate.

On the coast we visit the sought-after beach huts of Mudeford, transformed from the basic fishing sheds from 100 years ago into luxurious holiday homes. They may be small but they carry a hefty price tag, with sales of some reaching almost half a million pounds. Many of the beach huts have remained within families for generations and few of those lucky enough to own one would consider parting with it.

Dorset contains more thatched properties than any other county in the UK. We meet father and son thatchers Nick and Mike Farwell, whose skill and dedication to their craft are keeping the ancient art of thatching alive for generations to come.

Delightful Dorset begins Wednesday 27th July at 8pm on Channel 5.


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