South Downs gets star billing in new TV programme

February 14, 2017

Britain’s newest National Park, the South Downs, takes centre stage in a new documentary presented by author and local parish priest Peter Owen-Jones.

The programme will premiere on Tuesday 21 February at 21:00 on BBC 4 and has been a labour of love for its director Nick Stringer from international production company BigWave, based in Chichester. The South Downs National Park Authority worked closely with Nick from the start of the project.

‘Lifts the heart’ Radio Times

‘This wonderful film captures the great British countryside in all its glory.’ Daily Mail

‘A poetic and stunning portrait of the South Downs National Park.’ Sunday Times

When Peter Owen-Jones arrived in the South Downs to take up a new post as a parish priest his whole world changed: “When I saw the gently rolling hills, the light and the sea, it was love at first sight. I’ve travelled the world, but nothing compares to this. The only way I’ll leave is if I’m carried out in a box!”

The programme joins Peter on a personal journey into heart of the National Park. From the Seven Sisters Cliffs to Winchester, he experiences an extraordinary year following the wildlife and the people who live and work in what was described by William Blake as ‘England’s mountains green’.

Through the seasons he captures natural treasures, such as a 2,000 year-old woodland that explodes with pollen and chalk grasslands that take a thousand years to mature.

This is the first UK-based film made by Emmy Award winner Nick Stringer, who has travelled the world making documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic and others: “I’ve lived in and around the South Downs for almost 20 years and there are few places that match their beauty. This is a homage to my backyard, the South Downs National Park and I can’t imagine a better person that Peter Owen-Jones to tell this story.”

Peter Owen-Jones is an author and parish priest. He lives and works in the Downs at the eastern end of the South Downs National Park. He has presented several award winning documentaries for the BBC including Extreme Pilgrim, Around the world in Eighty Faiths and How to Live a Simple Life.