Songs Of The Southern English Landscape
We had seen a number of references to Ridgeriders, scattered
across a number of websites, but could find out nothing about the programme..."that'll teach you to look harder"...Oh hush!...anyway,
at long last we found out all about the programme and subject matter. What a joy....history and travel........
history, it's woven into the very fabric, that is Britain. This particular pattern has been looked at, far more, from a mythological
stand-point, now, I think it is perhaps time to look at it from it's historical stand-point. The peoples that followed the
ancient ridgeways, existed, they lived and breathed, the same way as we do, now. They were not gods or goddesses....they were
Let's follow them and see where and how they travelled, visit the places they visited, and lived; for our soundtrack.....?
Well, you'll see......
Below, is the subject and episode synopsis of the British TV series, Ridgeriders, that has been
playing for the past five years, and gives you a very good idea about what the programme was all about. If you are a
history buff, or a motor cycle buff, this page is for you. Alas the series is no longer being made, the Albion Band and The
Ridgeriders Band are no more, but the memories live on in our hearts and minds, and as long as we have these things,
so shall they and the landscape of Southern England be eternal.
On Meridian on Thursdays at 7.30pm from 7 June
Nick Knowles takes to the saddle once again for a new four-part series of
RIDGERIDERS, which follows the
ancient trackways of the South of England.
with classic motorcycles, Nick and two guest travelling companions explore thousands of years of history to unlock the secrets
of our ancestors. They travel on some of the oldest roads in the world - the great ridgeways that have criss-crossed
since the Stone Age, many of which they have had special permission to use.
En route, the explorers discover treasures
such as Roman, Bronze Age and Iron Age relics. They also meet the people who can explain their significance.
In the first
programme of this seventh series, Nick is joined by Penny Mallory from Channel 4's Driven, and Radio 1 DJ Kevin Greening.
Together they ride the Eastern Ridgeway of the Isle of Wight.
Their journey begins at Priory Bay, where they see evidence
that Stone Age hunters were in the area around 100,000 years ago, before the Island or even Britain existed. From there they
visit St Helen's tower, all that remains of the Norman church, before wending their way up onto the Downs and the 19th century
Bembridge Fort, built to withstand a French invasion that never happened.
Passing the Bronze Age burial grounds on Culver
Down, Nick, Penny and Kevin head for Brading Roman Villa, where museum manager Neville Carr tells them of a gruesome discovery
down an old well, and shows them some unusual Roman artefacts.
"I love this Roman stuff, I can't get enough of it," says
Penny Mallory. "I would love to be transported back in time and be here when it was first built and see what life was like."
Kevin adds: "I hated history at school. Why couldn't my teachers have been more like Neville........School should be for
adults I think. They should make kids work and when they get older they go to school and learn the real stuff."
Down they meet Vicky and Frank Basford, who love the Island for its history and its archaeology.
"We like to think the
Island is a special place......it's part of the Wessex region," says Vicky. "We don't have some of the really rich goodies
of the area around Salisbury, but it's the same kind of culture and the same kind of landscape."
The last leg of the RIDGERIDERS
journey takes them through a landscape that 10 million years previously would have been covered by a forest of tree ferns,
and good dinosaur country.
The dilapidated stately pile of Appuldurcombe House is this week's journey's end. Nick
the history of the house, including the scandal of the lord of the manor, his wife and her 27 lovers!
is produced by Peter Hayton and directed by Mike Fuller, a Topical
Television production for Meridian.
programmes in the series were as follows:
Programme Two: on Meridian on Thursday 14 June at 7.30pm.
is joined by comedienne Jasmine Birtles and Home and Away actor Michael Piccarilli on the old royal hunting preserve of Cranborne
Chase. Their route
takes them from the village of Chettle to Eastbury House at Tarrant Gunville, and then on the turnpike
to an ancient feat of engineering - the Dorset Cursus. Then they ride the prehistoric ridgeway to the 18th century folly Horton
Tower, cross the River Allen on the
county bridge at Witchampton before heading straight down a Roman road to finish the
day at the Iron Age hill fort of Badbury Rings.
Programme Three: on Meridian on Thursday 21 June at 7.30pm.
search of the lost royal road from Winchester to Salisbury, Nick Knowles is joined by TV presenter and superbiker Suzi Perry,
and daredevil Bear Grylls, the youngest Briton to climb Everest. Their route takes them to the horse monument at Farley Mount,
remains of the Norman Ashley Castle, the railway station with a Roman platform at
Horsebridge, and to their final
destination of the mediaeval Clarendon Palace.
Programme Four: on Meridian on Thursday 28 June at 7.30pm
bikers Claire Ritchie, who manages a top motorcycle racing team, and business guru Geoff Burch, join Nick Knowles to follow
the tracks of the mediaeval drovers who herded cattle out of Wales and the West Country through Winchester and to
The RIDGERIDERS pass through Milbury, Warnford, via Old Winchester Hill Fort to Butser Hill, Hambledon and to Portsmouth.
The Ridgeway runs from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.
The trail follows part of an ancient track established by prehistoric man that stretched across the country from Dorset to
Norfolk. It passes through two distinct landscapes.
The western half of the trail, from Avebury to Goring, follows a broad
track along the North Wessex Downs, with far-reaching views over rolling open downland to the south and the wide expanse of
the Thames Valley to the north.
The eastern half, from Goring
to Ivinghoe Beacon, begins by following the banks of the River Thames before heading into the Chiltern Hills, through a landscape
of beech woodlands and fertile farmland dotted with attractive villages and towns. The Ridgeway has a long and rich history.
Stone Age man left the long barrows at West Kennet, Waylands Smithy, and Whiteleaf Hill as well as the extraordinary stone
circle at Avebury and Silbury Hill, the largest man-made mound in Europe. Bronze Age people left the round barrows that litter
the route and the Uffington White Horse, one of the most famous hill figures in the country. Grims Ditch and vast hill forts
including Barbury, Liddington, Uffington, Segsbuy, Pulpit Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon were built during the Iron Age. In the
Dark Ages The Ridgeway was the main route for the Saxons and Vikings during their advances into Wessex. From medieval times
until about 200 years ago, it was drovers moving livestock, rather than armies, who used The Ridgeway.
|The White Horse at Uffington
Songs of the Southern
from the Television Series
HTD Records HTD CD 103 (CD, UK, 1999)
Phil Beer, vocals, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, mandocello, fiddle, mandolin;
Chris While, vocals, acoustic guitar;
Hutchings, vocals, acoustic bass, electric bass
Joe Broughton, fiddle, mandolin;
Neil Marshall, drums, percussion;
Julie Matthews, keyboards, backing vocals;
Nicol, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals;
Simon Nicol, acoustic guitar on Close Your Eyes
Recorded at Tone Deaf Studios, Preston, and at Central Studios, Southport, in 1999.
Close Your Eyes recorded
at Courtyard Studios in 1995 and previously released on Albion Heart
by Ken Nicol,
except for tracks 1, 3, 10 & 12, engineered and mixed by Julie Matthews
Executive producer: Ashley
Mastered by Andy Seward
Photography by Jeff Wright
and please visit our Ridgeriders website which you can get to here
or via the album cover just above this text.