BBC's flagship rural show turns attention to Northumberland

The judging of heavy horses.
The judging of heavy horses.

Northumberland is the focus of tonight's episode of Countryfile, which takes in LS Lowry's links to Berwick, the fishing industry, wildfires and heavy horses.

Presenter John Craven will be seen taking to the county's roads in a vintage Volvo, much like the car used to ferry the artist LS Lowry around, on his visits many years ago.

Berwick historian Jim Walker, author of A Wake for the Salmon.

Berwick historian Jim Walker, author of A Wake for the Salmon.

Lowry loved Northumberland and this year marks the 40th anniversary of his death so John follows in the artist's footsteps, accompanied by Simon Marshall, who used to drive Lowry to scenic spots for him to paint.

Together they meet the last of Berwick's traditional fishermen, a subject often painted by Lowry. Berwick historian Jim Walker, author of A Wake for the Salmon, is also interviewed for the programme.

More information from our sister paper, the Berwick Advertiser: Berwick to feature on Countryfile.
Ellie Harrison journeys to the Northumberland National Park and discovers that the best way to manage our valuable moorland habitat is to burn it. It helps regenerate the all-important heather cover and stops the moorland becoming overgrown with scrub. There's nothing new in this approach; people have done it for centuries.

It can, however, sometimes get out of hand and that's when problems occur. So the National Park has come up with a scheme to minimise the risk. Ellie meets park ranger Andrew Miller, who together with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, runs fire-training days to show farmers and gamekeepers how to manage burns properly. Then Ellie joins the team as they get ready for the biggest burn of the season.

Ellie also meets mother and daughter Vivienne and Anna Cockburn who have dedicated their lives to saving the Clydesdale breed of working horse. They have 22 prized animals at Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre, near Ford - the most in any one place in the country.

Ellie gets up close to these massive animals and is shown how to work them with long reins, as farmers of old would have done. Back in the stables, Anna shows Ellie how to plait their manes and tails as they do for horse shows.

Countryfile airs at 7pm tonight on BBC One.