A beautiful corner of England is revisited by conservationist and Springwatch presenter Chris Packham as he walks north alongside one of the oldest waterways in the country.
When is Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me on TV?
Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me will air on Wednesday 28 July at 8pm on BBC Two.
However, it has already aired on BBC One South and Oxfordshire in early July, so it is available now on iPlayer.
Where is Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me filmed?
The start of Chris Packham’s latest programme is a tad different to his usual documentaries. Rather than standing in a field somewhere in the UK or in the bush somewhere in Africa, this one kicks off in his kitchen with his gorgeous poodles, where he introduces the programme and explains that, without the normal film crew available due to pandemic restrictions, he is using a 360-degree, hand-held camera to record his walk.
Chris takes us to the southern county of Hampshire for the 16.4km walk, starting near Eastleigh and following the River Itchen and the Itchen Navigation for much of the way, before finally finishing outside Winchester Cathedral.
What is Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me about?
It’s an early spring day, with a blackthorn tree in flower (an “absolute cloud of confetti”), frost covering the ground, an argumentative robin singing overhead and sunlight filtering through the branches and leaves of the trees.
“It’s not any old walk, it’s a really important walk to me. I’m going to be following in my distant footsteps, on a path where I grew up. Where I really cut my teeth as a naturalist and had plenty of time to think about the world.”
Supported by some fantastic drone shots, this is a wonderful, emotional and enchanting journey. Packham points out the local wildlife and historical features, sticks the camera underwater to have a look at minnows, revisits both beautifully joyful and heart-breakingly painful memories, and chats to other people enjoying the outdoors, including some rather brave cold-water swimmers and a community following the ancient tradition of flooding their watermeadows.
So intimate is the effect that you feel as if you are walking with him.
Main image: Chris Packham sitting on his tree trunk seat on the banks of the River Itchen. In the programme, Chris follows the water upstream all the way to Winchester. © Tim Smith/Atypical Media Ltd/BBC