Filming at Foxglove

Saturday, August 20th 2016

We now have permission to tell the tale of a Filming Day at Foxglove.  Preparation for the day had taken place the week before and on the day itself everyone was there before 8.  There were several sequences to film starting with felling of a diseased Ash tree that was becoming a safety hazard.  The plan was to re-locate the tree into the middle of the lake where it would become an attractive preening and resting facility for the resident waterfowl directly in front of the disabled hide.  The whole process was very much an unknown quantity and although the outcome was clear the method was quite a different story.  Tony Robinson (Baldrick) is the star of the series and the story was centred around him.  To begin with the canoe was carried down to the lake for use later in the day.

Canoe being carried to the lake

Sean, our tree surgeon,  checked that everything was ready for the tree to be felled.

Sean checking all was well.

9am and we were all waiting, radios to the ready and cameras handy, for the filming crew and Tony Robinson to arrive.  The radio crackled with the message that they were all at the guard room signing in and being filmed.  An hour later they arrived at the lake.  We realised that things would take some time, but everything had to be completed by 12.

First the volunteers had to 'pretend' to clear the area where the tree was to be felled.  Several rehearsals took place and this piece of lakeside was absolutely immaculate, not a tiny branch to be seen!

Rehearsing clearing the area by the lakeside

After all that hard work some volunteers needed a rest!

Resting volunteers

Then it was onto the bridge for Tony (Crease) to be interviewed.

Tony Crease being interviewed

Finally, after ensuring everything was ready, the tree was expertly felled by Sean.

Tree falling

Despite naturally leaning the wrong way, it fell precisely where it should - with a large splash!

A large spalsh!

The rope had then to be moved so that the tree could be winched into the centre of the lake.

Cheking the ropes and slings

By this time midday had come and gone and the next deadline was 2pm.  Tony Robinson, camera crew and volunteers returned to the Field Centre for lunch, tea and cakes.  Moth trapping and bird ringing were filmed in turn.

Moth trapping being filmed

Bird ringing being filmed

2pm came and went, next deadline 4pm.  Back at the lake it was time to move the tree from where it had fallen into the deep water.

Willie and the winch were filmed, after rehearsals of course.  The tree did not move - yet.

Wilie and the winch

Finally,  all was ready, and the tree was slowly winched out into the lake.  It was heavy, weighing several tonnes.

Filming the tree being winched into position

Roger put on waders and entered the water to ensure that everything was in the correct location for the last few precise movements of the tree. By 6pm it was in exactly the spot we wanted.

Checking the ropes and slings

Sophie, in the lake hide, was radioed to confirm the tree was exactly where it was planned to be. It was!

Tree in the middle of the lake

Having had an eventful and successful day Tony Robinson and the camera crew eventually left at 6.30pm followed by staff and volunteers shortly after.  All the planning, with expert input from Sean and Willie, and the hard work from staff and volunteers, meant the day went without a single problem and the outcome is fantastic.

A huge thanks is due to everyone involved.  The day could not have gone as well without your support and hard work - and a measure of good fortune!.

The following day stakes were placed around the tree by Roger and Stacey to keep it in place during windy conditions.  The water in the photograph is actually 2m deep and braying in posts whilst balancing on a submerged branch can be tricky!

Staking the tree

Already the tree is well used and the Mallards and Moorhens have been seen sitting on it regularly..

Mallard on tree

The filming was for a programme called 'Coast to Coast' and it should be on Channel 5 TV towards the end of October or early November.  We will let you know when we have confirmation of the date.

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