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BBC Countryfile on the trail of the Tour de France in West Yorkshire

24th June 2014

Lower Laithe reservoir, near Oxenhope

The BBC's Countryfile programme, broadcast on Sunday 22nd June 2914, was in West Yorkshire, on the trail of the Tour de France. They visited the Yorkshire moors because, as presenter Ellie Harrison said, '...the biggest bike race of them all, the Tour de France is coming.'

Countryfile focused initially on a land art project, Fields of Vision. Harrison interviewed Andrew Wood, who had the original idea. He said his thought a few years ago was to draw a pint of beer on a field, killing the grass inside the pint pot to make it brown, and penning sheep in at the top for a frothy head. However, the themes finally chosen are more sophisticated.

One of the images is a woman leaping across the hillside, representing the freedom that bikes gave women. In the Countryfile episode, Ellie Harrison helped to 'draw' the lines onto the field by cycling them with her mountain bike. The work, called 'The Leap' is between Lower Laithe reservoir and the village of Oxenhope, and the viewpoint is the Waggon & Horses Inn, part way up Cock Hill.

Meanwhile, John Craven looked at another of the images, 'One Man and his Dog', at Stanbury, and he commentated on a challenge in which a sheepdog and handler herded sheep into a pen on the man's hand. He visited Cragg Vale, too, the longest continuous incline in England.

Harrison also told the story of Beryl Burton, the champion cyclist from Yorkshire, interviewing her husband, who described her as 'determined...very'. Harrison also rode the Beryl Burton cycleway with Burton's daughter Denise, who told the story of Beryl Burton winning the Otley Cycling Club 12-hour race, beating all the men, including the men's champion Mike MacNamara.

Other artworks seen in the programme included glass miniatures by Jane O' Neill of Abundant Glass in Cragg Vale, willow sculptures in Huddersfield, and Hollywood-style signs with Yorkshire messages (for example, 'Love Yorkshire').

Fields of Vision 'All Kings are Temporary'

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