Come and join our celebrities including Michaela Strachan, Ray Mears, Naomi Wilkinson and Gillian Burke talking about the British countryside in the National Trust Theatre hosted by Countryfile presenters Charlotte Smith and Tom Heap.  We’ll also be debating hot countryside issues including food prices, wildlife decline and farming post Brexit.

Seats are limited. Remember to book your seat once you have booked your entrance tickets!

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Thursday 3rd August
Opening of the National Trust Theatre followed by: An Audience with… Michaela Strachan
11:00 - 12:15

Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, will officially open the theatre with a short address which will be followed immediately by An Audience with… Michaela Strachan. Michaela Strachan is one of British television’s best loved wildlife television presenters. From the Really Wild Show and Michaela’s Wild Challenge to Countryfile and Springwatch – which this year was broadcast from our very own Sherborne Estate in Gloucestershire - she has been bringing animals into our living rooms for more than twenty years. Find out about the funniest, toughest and most heart-warming moments of her career. You will also discover her passion for helping endangered species, making sure children don’t miss out on the wild world – and why pulling a face won her an award that was better than a BAFTA.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first.

The lunchtime debate: Cheap food – but at what cost?
12:30 - 13:30

We need to produce cheap food so people can afford to eat and our farmers can compete with other countries. But does it lead to more waste, more intensive farming – and lower welfare standards? Debating this topic will be Andrew Blenkiron, Vice Chairman of Red Tractor, Professor Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at London’s City University and Kathleen Kerridge, freelance writer on food poverty. This debate is being recording for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first.

Matt Baker presents the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize
13:45 - 14:30

The Wainwright Prize seeks to reward the best writing on the outdoors, nature and UK-based travel writing and is sponsored by Wainwright Golden Beer. The prize was inspired by Alfred Wainwright’s hugely-influential walking guides for the Lake District and is awarded in association with the National Trust. Countryfile presenter Matt Baker will introduce this year’s shortlist and reflect on his favourite nature books before announcing this year’s winner. The 2016 winner was The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. This year’s finalists are: Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting (Granta), The Otters’ Tale by Simon Cooper (William Collins), The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel (Doubleday), Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel (W&N), Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss (Vintage), The January Man by Christopher Somerville (Doubleday), The Wild Other by Clover Stroud (Hodder & Stoughton). Some of the authors shortlisted will be selling and signing books at the end of the event in the National Trust Theatre.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first. BSL session

Rural Connectivity with O2 and the Country Land & Business Association (CLA
15:00 - 15:30

If you live in a town or city then good connectivity – whether it’s a mobile phone signal or a broadband connection – is something that gets taken for granted. But in many isolated parts of the British countryside it is a very different story. Online speeds can be slow – or non-existent – and mobile phone coverage, patchy. So how do we ensure that rural Britain is connected to the rest of the country - and the world – and whose job should it be to do that? Charlotte Smith talks to Paul James, Head of Public Affairs at O2 and Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first.

Debate: Fracking, friend or foe?
15:45 - 16:45

Fracking could help provide energy security for our nation and make money for the government. So should concerns about safety, the environment and climate change stand in its way? Joining this discussion will be Tom Fyans, Acting Chief Executive of CPRE, Rose Dickinson from Friends of the Earth, John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Ken Cronin from UK Oil and Onshore Gas.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first. BSL session

Mike Dilger’s Wild Guide to Nature Presenting
17:00 - 17:45

The One Show’s Mike Dilger is one of TV’s best-known wildlife presenters. He has birded, botanised and even entomologised all over the world, from here in the UK to Southeast Asia. His books include Nightingales in November, RSPB Wildlife in Your Garden and Wild Town. Mike will talk about where his love of nature came from and the challenges that go with being a wildlife presenter who is literally up-for-anything. Find out how he picked up the title of ‘Britain’s most diseased man,’ learn a few bird calls, then sit back and enjoy an insightful and hilarious guide to one of the trickiest jobs in television.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first. BSL session

Soundscapes – music inspired by nature
18:30 - 19:30

For a perfect end to a brilliant day, why not relax and reflect listening to some of our favourite music that has been inspired by nature? Join soprano Susanne Mecklenburg, pianist William Hancox and violist Judith Busbridge in a musical celebration of nature including some of the best-loved works by Haydn, Britten, Bridge, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Granados and Poulenc.

Remember, you need to book your show entrance ticket first.

Friday 4th August
Rural Connectivity with O2 and the Countryside Alliance
11:00 - 11:30

If you live in a town or city then good connectivity – whether it’s a mobile phone signal or a broadband connection – is something that gets taken for granted. But in more isolated parts of the British countryside it is a very different story. Online speeds can be slow – or non-existent – and mobile phone coverage, patchy. So how do we ensure that rural Britain is connected to the rest of the country - and the world – and whose job should it be to do that? Charlotte Smith talks to Paul James, Head of Public Affairs at O2 and Shane Brennan, Director of External Affairs, for the Country Land and Business Association.
The lunchtime debate: Should trees replace shooting and sheep in Britain’s uplands?
12:00 - 13:00

Traditionally home to hill farms and shooting estates, there are now calls for the uplands to be managed for wildlife and woodland. It is claimed that more trees will restore health to our hills and even prevent flooding. But what about the businesses that rely on shooting and farming – aren’t they already doing their bit to promote wildlife? Joining this discussion will be Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust, Martin Harper, RSPB’s Global Conservation Director, Adam Smith, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Director in Scotland and John Davies from NFU Wales.
An audience with…National Trust Director-General, Helen Ghosh
13:30 - 14:30

Helen will be joining us to share her insights on how we’re rising to the conservation challenges of the twenty-first century. With the Trust having recently announced its ambitious aims for the next decade, particular around caring for the outdoors and nature, this is an exclusive chance for visitors to ask Helen questions and to hear more about our plans and to discover more about our work.
Talk: How to eat better
15:00 - 15:30

Join James Wong, as he discusses the natural benefits of food and how to get the most out of what you eat. In this talk, James draws on his expertise in nature and botany to demonstrate how simple changes to the way you select, store and cook food, can have massive effects on their taste and nutritional benefits.
Mike Dilger’s Wild Guide to Nature Presenting
16:00 - 16:45

The One Show’s Mike Dilger is one of TV’s best-known wildlife presenters. He has birded, botanised and even entomologised all over the world, from here in the UK to Southeast Asia. His books include Nightingales in November, RSPB Wildlife in Your Garden and Wild Town. Mike will talk about where his love of nature came from and the challenges that go with being a wildlife presenter who is literally up-for-anything. Find out how he picked up the title of ‘Britain’s most diseased man,’ learn a few bird calls, then sit back and enjoy an insightful and hilarious guide to one of the trickiest jobs in television.
An Audience with… Alys Fowler
17:00 - 17:45

Join one of the country’s most passionate and popular gardeners to find out more about her career as a TV presenter, journalist and writer. Alys will talk about the highlights of her gardening year and the questions that she gets asked most by both amateur and more experienced gardeners. You’ll also get the chance to hear about her latest book, Hidden Nature, where she discovered the wonders of wildlife on her own doorstep by navigating the canals around Birmingham.
Soundscapes – music inspired by nature
18:30 - 19:30

For a perfect end to a brilliant day, why not relax and reflect listening to some of our favourite music that has been inspired by nature? Join soprano Susanne Mecklenburg, pianist William Hancox and violist Judith Busbridge in a musical celebration of nature including some of the best-loved works by Haydn, Britten, Bridge, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Granados and Poulenc.
Saturday 5th August
An audience with… Simon King
11:00 - 11:45

Simon King OBE talks about a love of wildlife which began as a small boy in Africa and blossomed into a television career that has taken him around the world. Simon has been involved in some of the landmarks of wildlife documentary-making - from Big Cat Diary to Planet Earth. He will talk about the challenges of filming animals and about his love of British wildlife – which has prompted him to create a nature reserve of his own. And there’s a chance to find out the one animal that he has always wanted to be.
The lunchtime debate: No more handouts - should farming subsidies be scrapped after Brexit?
12:15 - 13:15

Farmers get billions of pounds every year in European subsidies. But would that money be better spent on education, health or social care? Or are subsidies vital for producing cheap food, looking after the landscape and allowing British farmers to compete with producers around the world? Guests debating this topic include Helen Ghosh, the National Trust’s Director-General, George Dunn, Chief Executive of the Tenant Farmer’s Association, Minette Batters, Deputy President of the NFU and Dieter Helm, Official Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford.
An audience with… Ray Mears
13:45 - 14:30

Ray Mears is a world authority on wilderness survival and a household name thanks to television series such as Tracks, World of Survival and Bushcraft. This session offers a chance to discover where his love of the natural world came from, how he first started to develop his famous survival skills - in the North Downs of Southern England - and why he is so passionate about passing his knowledge on to others. Plus you may pick up some survival tips of your own!
The Butterfly Man
15:00 - 15:30

National Trust nature specialist, Matthew Oates, has grown up with a passion for butterflies. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about these beautiful creatures – except for what the future holds. He’ll give a lively and engaging talk on the challenges we face in caring for butterflies when they are threatened by climate change and the loss of natural habitats.
Wildlife's Climate Change
16:00 - 16:45

John Hammond has regularly appeared on BBC Countryfile, not just to present the weather but also to show how our climate affects the British Countryside. He will be joined on stage by David Bullock, the Head of Nature Conservation for the National Trust. Together they’ll deliver a fascinating and often startling view of the impact that climate change could have on the UK’s wildlife during this century. You will hear how some animals face a desperate battle for survival, while others may actually flourish as weather patterns change. Plus we’ll discover that when it comes to coping with a changing climate, it could be humans rather than wildlife that face the biggest challenge.
Mike Dilger’s Wild Guide to Nature Presenting
17:15 - 18:00

The One Show’s Mike Dilger is one of TV’s best-known wildlife presenters. He has birded, botanised and even entomologised all over the world, from here in the UK to Southeast Asia. His books include Nightingales in November, RSPB Wildlife in Your Garden and Wild Town. Mike will talk about where his love of nature came from and the challenges that go with being a wildlife presenter who is literally up-for-anything. Find out how he picked up the title of ‘Britain’s most diseased man,’ learn a few bird calls, then sit back and enjoy an insightful and hilarious guide to one of the trickiest jobs in television.
Soundscapes – music inspired by nature
18:30 - 19:30

For a perfect end to a brilliant day, why not relax and reflect listening to some of our favourite music that has been inspired by nature? Join soprano Susanne Mecklenburg, pianist William Hancox and violist Judith Busbridge in a musical celebration of nature including some of the best-loved works by Haydn, Britten, Bridge, Vaughan Williams, Walton, Granados and Poulenc.
Sunday 6th August
Mike Dilger’s Wild Guide to Nature Presenting
11:00 - 11:45

The One Show’s Mike Dilger is one of TV’s best-known wildlife presenters. He has birded, botanised and even entomologised all over the world, from here in the UK to Southeast Asia. His books include Nightingales in November, RSPB Wildlife in Your Garden and Wild Town. Mike will talk about where his love of nature came from and the challenges that go with being a wildlife presenter who is literally up-for-anything. Find out how he picked up the title of ‘Britain’s most diseased man’, learn a few bird calls, then sit back and enjoy an insightful and hilarious guide to one of the trickiest jobs in television.
The lunchtime debate: British wildlife in decline - how do we get a better balance between nature and farming?
12:15 - 13:15

Modern agriculture is constantly blamed for loss of natural habitats and the decline of farmland wildlife. But landowners say they are helping nature to flourish again. So can producers work with conservationists to stop the decline of British wildlife? Joining us will be Peter Nixon, Director of Land, Landscape and Nature at the National Trust, Professor Lord Krebs, Oxford University, Guy Smith, Vice President of the NFU and Tim Breitmeyer, Deputy President of the Country Land and Business Association.
Gillian Burke
13:45 - 14:15

BBC Springwatch presenter and former natural history producer Gillian Burke talks about her love of spiders – and why you should love them too. Gillian will give a fascinating insight into the vast array of eight-legged creatures living in Britain today, many of them on – or inside – our own doorstep. You’ll hear about her close encounters with these creepy-crawlies both at home and abroad, including filming the remarkable Ladybird spider for BBC Autumnwatch.
An audience with… Naomi Wilkinson
14:45 - 15:30

Wildlife presenter Naomi Wilkinson has hosted a huge variety of natural history programmes for children, including Live’n’Deadly, Wild & Weird and Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature. She will talk about the incredible experiences that have allowed her to bring children face-to-face with some of the world’s most amazing animals. Her adventures include abseiling onto one of the largest piles of bug-infested bat poo in the world, coming nose to nose with a crocodile in Australia and swimming with sharks without a cage. They say you should never work with children or animals but, as Naomi will reveal, working with Steve Backshall can be just as challenging.
Nature watch – Simon King
16:00 - 16:30

Simon King has filmed for some of the landmarks of natural history television, from Big Cat Diaries to Planet Earth, but you may not have seen his face until he appeared on Springwatch. In this talk, richly illustrated with Simon’s photography and films, you will learn how to bridge the gap between the wild world and your own. Simon shares his unique, first-hand knowledge of animal tracks and signs, mimicry and observation skills, peppered with stories of wild encounters from the UK and beyond.