An Oxfordshire team has launched an ambitious bid to give nature in the county and further afield a voice through a TV/online show called The People’s Countryside www.thepeoplescountryside.com
Stuart Mabbutt the Presenter, William Mankelow the Photographer and Ross Arrowsmith the Videographer are running a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to fund their next project of the TV/Online show The People’s Countryside. Exploring the often overlooked, partially disused, old Wycombe Railway line that used to run from Oxford to Princes Risborough highlighting how nature has and is reclaiming the area along the line.
Stuart said: “We want to examine the social and industrial history of the line, filming rare footage of trains still running on the used section near the BMW factory. As well as showcasing why the old track bed through the village of Horspath is a key ‘green corridor’ linking Shotover Country Park (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) with the wider countryside”.
The old railway tunnel through the village of Horspath now houses one of the most important bat Hibernaculum in the county. A volunteer group has spent many 100’s of hours in the tunnel since 1999 installing accommodation in that tunnel for thousands of bats to hibernate.
Stuart added: “During these times of austerity, funds or resources haven’t been found to engage an individual or company, with structural engineering expertise. This is the main appeal we want to make to the audience through the film. We have not had access to the tunnel for monitoring purposes in recent years. To be permitted to continue monitoring the bats and maintaining that special physical environment for their hibernation, it is essential for a structural engineer to survey and give assurance this tunnel is not liable to collapse or cause injury.
“A direct appeal on camera will be made to try and find a qualified individual or structural engineering company to offer their services for free or at a much reduced rate, so the bat hibernaculum can be maintained for generations to come.”
The People’s Countryside team plan to film this episode in two parts. The main film and appeal will be filmed in May and released soon after. They will revisit in June and July for further filming.
The June visit will be to explore the wildlife in the Horspath Conservation area, which is very well populated with dragonflies, damselflies and hoverflies, and particularly the Hawker Dragonflies. In July they will film some of the bats when they are swarming in large numbers. The June and July footage will be released as part two later in 2018.
The People’s Countryside team plans to also record material for their radio show Going Wild With Wildlife that’s transmitted on multiple hospital/community and internet radio stations. Taking nature to a wider audience.
Here’s a link to some of the live radio shows https://www.mixcloud.com/stuart-mabbutt/
They will also produce a photographic archive to document the state of nature so future generations of conservationists can make educated decisions with regard to habitat management. Getting people aware of the old railway line and its habitats will be a step in getting people caring about the environment around the line once again.
The Peoples Countryside will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter on March 30 running until April 28. Check out the draft of the fundraising campaign before it goes live https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/220900427/2108978207?ref=366430&token=80b3448c £4000 needs to be raised in 30 days otherwise the team cannot undertake the project.
Online pledges will also be possible via the website once the campaign goes live https://thepeoplescountryside.com/get-involved/
Stuart added: “It’s indefensible the negative environmental impacts we are having all over the world and the team want to showcase more tenable ways we can all contribute to the state of nature for generations to come.”