Magazine article Geographical

Britain's Lost Routes

Magazine article Geographical

Britain's Lost Routes

Article excerpt

BRITAIN'S LOST ROUTES

Acorn Media,

DVD, 13.99[pounds sterling]

Michael Palin's many achievements include the instigation of an unwritten law of British TV--if you're making a travel programme, you need a comedian to host it. In Britain's Lost Routes, the role falls to Griff Rhys Jones, and if the series' basis is somewhat tenuous--that there exists a network of 'forgotten routes that made this country great', long before railways, canals and motorways took over (in fact, those same railways, canals and motorways pretty much follow those routes)--its essential purpose is to educate, inform and entertain, which it achieves nicely.

So we have Rhys Jones boarding a 'stackie'--a haystack-bearing barge-and retracing the coastal journey taken by those who supplied 19th-century London's 300,000 horses with hay and straw. He also follows on foot the 260-kilometre route that medieval pilgrims took from the Dee Estuary to St David's Cathedral. He recreates Elizabeth I's Royal Progress of 1574 from Windsor to Bristol (in, sensibly, a Rolls Royce Phantom, although in the interests of authenticity, he's carted through Burford on a litter). …

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