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1st.Take "Discovering Counties" Series

Shop | Railways | 1st. Take Productions |  1st.Take "Discovering Counties" Series

Discovering Somerset Vol.1: The North


Discovering Somerset Vol.1: The North

Ref: FT122D


Celebrate the visual beauty, rich heritage and hidden treasures of Somerset with Glastonbury-based author Henry Buckton. Beginning in the north of the county, this first volume of an exciting new series includes visits to ancient hill forts and long barrows, such as at Stantonbury Camp and Stoney Littleton; the mysterious stone circles at Stanton Drew; the sites of medieval castles such as Culverhay, Richmont and Farleigh Hungerford; and historic battlefields at Lansdown Hill and Norton St. Philip. You will also see spectacular limestone gorges at Cheddar and Burrington Combe; the man-made lakes of Chew Valley and Blagdon; and the majestic Clifton Suspension Bridge.

We discover how Bath grew from a small Roman spa town to one of the most beautiful Georgian cities in England, and how the Victorian appetite for tourism transformed small coastal villages like Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare into premier seaside resorts. What is now seen as a largely rural area actually has a strong industrial heritage. Special attention is paid to the North Somerset coalfield, which extended from Bath to Nailsea, where glassmaking and later a large cider factory were also significant. We also reveal lead mining at Charterhouse and East Harptree, a watermill at Priston and iron-making near Mells.

Transport was key to industrial development and informed contributors reveal the story of the Somerset & Dorset Railway, the ‘Strawberry Line’ and the Somersetshire Coal Canal. We also learn about the history of Cheddar Cheese, and see how local beer is brewed by visiting the famous Butcombe Brewery near Wrington. Helped by superb modern film and rare archive material, this historical tour will encourage you to explore this beautiful county.





Running Time: 104mins (1hr 44mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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1. Branch Lines of Somerset (101-mins) (Ref: FT120D)


Discovering Somerset Vol.2: Central & South


Discovering Somerset Vol.2: Central & South

Ref: FT123D


Somerset’s glorious heritage is revealed further with this latest volume on the county’s history, which was written and presented by Glastonbury-based author Henry Buckton.

Our journey begins at Burnham-on-Sea and meanders across Central and South Somerset before almost returning to the coast at Bridgwater. Join us as we visit country houses, abbeys and cathedrals, some of the county’s top sporting facilities and sample some world-beating Somerset cider.

Glastonbury, the fabled Isle of Avalon, is celebrated as the final resting place of King Arthur, and where Joseph of Arimethea allegedly brought Christianity to Britain. Cadbury Castle is uncovered as the site of the legendary Camelot and Athelney is remembered as the place where King Alfred the Great took refuge before finally beating the Danes.

See also how events in Somerset were pivotal in ending the First English Civil War and how the Duke of Monmouth and his rebel army lost the last full-scale battle to be fought on English soil. The county’s industrial heritage is explored at the Brick & Tile Museum in Bridgwater, which is also home to the famous carnival, the oldest event of its type in Britain.

Our Somerset odyssey also includes visits to Wedmore, the Avalon Marshes, Wells, Shepton Mallet, the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore, the Royal Bath & West Show, Nunney, Frome, Bruton, Wincanton (including the Racecourse), the Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford, Ilchester, Yeovil Town FC, Montacute (calling in at the TV Radio Toy Museum), Martock, the Muchelney Pottery, Chard, Dowlish Wake (including Perry’s Cider Mill), Langport and Burrow Mump.

Enhanced by superb modern film, fascinating interviews with a host of contributors and rare archive material, this historical tour of Central and South is an unmissable tribute to a delightful county.





Running Time: 109mins (1hr 49mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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Discovering Somerset Vol.3: The West


Discovering Somerset Vol.3: The West

Ref: FT126D


You can now explore West Somerset, one of England’s prettiest areas, in this final part of a three-volume series on the county’s history. Presenter Henry Buckton, who wrote all three volumes, is rightly proud of his Somerset home, and in this instalment he takes you from the county town of Taunton to the beautiful coastline, samples some of the delights of Exmoor and visits many other towns, villages and places of interest.

Taunton, historically a hotbed of insurrection, is covered in some depth and there is a special tribute to the town’s cricketing heritage, before strolling through the Quantock, Brendon and Blackdown Hills, as well as the wide expanse of Exmoor with its wild ponies roaming free. You will see a coastline of ancient cliffs and quaint harbours, such as at Kilve; visit prehistoric monuments including Tarr Steps and the Caractacus Stone; castle ruins, such as at Nether Stowey; learn about some of the industries of the area, and see how the region’s beauty inspired some of our greatest works of literature, such as Lorna Doone and Kubla Khan. Among the many highlights of this film are special features on Minehead, Watchet, Dunster, the Washford Radio Museum, Porlock, Dulverton, the Exmoor Pony Centre, Simonsbath and Wiveliscombe.

Our West Somerset itinerary is enhanced by beautiful modern film, rare archive images and enlightening interviews with a wide variety of contributors. It is packed with some of the region’s most scenic views and also includes visits to the remnants of the West Somerset Mineral Railway, Allerford, Malmsmead and Wellington, before this stunning series reaches a fitting conclusion at the nearby monument, which celebrated victory at Waterloo in 1815.





Running Time: 106mins (1hr 46mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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Discovering Devon Vol 1


Discovering Devon Vol 1

Ref: FT138D


Devon is one of England’s largest and most beautiful counties and in this film, the first in a series of four, we will be taking a tour around its eastern region. Presenter Henry Buckton takes you on a tour around some of the traditional industries that have flourished here and examines the important part that canals, railways and tourism have played in developing the area, as well as the ever present influence of the sea.

The film begins in the historic town of Tiverton, blessed by the convergence of two rivers, the Exe and the Lowman, which made it an ideal site for occupation from the very earliest of times. A little further south is the beautiful village of Bickleigh, with its stunning mill, and then you will see Wolford Chapel, a little piece of Devon which is owned by the people of Canada. Honiton, nestling in a pretty valley near the River Otter, is famous for its lace-making, and has had royal endorsement since the time of Queen Victoria, while Axminster, site of a medieval abbey, has been renowned for producing carpets of the finest quality for over 200 years. The River Axe was an important trade route from very early times and the attractive harbour at Axmouth was the gateway into an ancient land inhabited by several Iron Age tribes. Across the river is the town of Seaton, now famous for its superb tramway which runs on the track bed of an old railway branch line.

Other highlights include visits to the majestic coastal village of Beer, once a major producer of stone; Ottery St Mary, where the burning of tar barrels still persists on Guy Fawkes night; the picturesque resorts of Sidmouth and Exmouth, which both began life as small fishing villages; the impressive sea stacks at Ladram Bay; genteel Budleigh Salterton; and a feature on Topsham, once one of the busiest ports in England. Our itinerary concludes at Devon’s capital, Exeter, originally a Roman settlement and now a dynamic, bustling city adorned by a wonderful cathedral, one of the most awesome medieval buildings in Europe. Enhanced by beautiful modern film, rare archive images and enlightening interviews with a wide variety of contributors, this historic journey around East Devon is truly unmissable.





First published on DVD: 2017
Number of discs: 1 DVD-R
Running Time: 100 mins (1hr 40min)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
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Discovering Dorset Vol.1: The South


Discovering Dorset Vol.1: The South

Ref: FT127D


Your tour will take you along the southernmost part of the county, beginning at Lyme Regis, the town at Dorset's western boundary, following the famous Jurassic shoreline but making detours off-route to explore some of the lesser-known places along the way. You will discover old industries and visit towns which were small coastal ports until they reinvented themselves as seaside resorts in the 18th and 19th centuries, including Weymouth, the quintessential seaside town.

You will see abbeys, castles, fine houses and deserted villages; view chalk hill-carvings, quarries, local industries and lost railways. Portland's stone and Bridport's rope-making are among industries featured and no story of the area would be complete without a visit to the coastal villages where less law-abiding citizens profited from shipwrecks and smuggling.

Step onto the steeply shelving shingle of Chesil Beach, the extraordinary age-old barrier against the sea, without which much of the Dorset coast would have been eroded away, and visit the popular resort of Swanage, before finally arriving at the mouth of Poole Harbour with Millionaire's Row at Sandbanks in view.

The county's history, literary heritage, legends, personalities and unrivalled scenery are all reflected, in Discovering Dorset.





Running Time: 85mins (1hr 25mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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Discovering Dorset Vol.2: The East


Discovering Dorset Vol.2: The East

Ref: FT128D


Anyone who has been captivated by Dorset will relish this latest visit to one of Britain’s most spectacular counties. Your journey begins at Studland, where we take the Chain Ferry across Poole Harbour, first visiting the millionaires’ playground of Sandbanks.

A stroll around Poole Quay reveals how the town developed, largely through its trade links with North America; at its peak in the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports in Britain. In more recent times, it was a major embarkation point for the D-Day landings of the Normandy Invasion.

After looking at some of Poole’s most historic buildings, as well as Holes Bay and the national headquarters of the RNLI, we take a majestic boat trip around the second largest natural harbour in the world, which includes a view of Brownsea Island, where Robert Baden-Powell set up the first Scout Camp in 1907.

We then set sail on the world’s last seagoing paddlesteamer, Waverley, which berthed at Poole for the first time since 1987. As we reached Branksome Dene Chine, the presentation was handed over to distinguished Bournemouth historian and tour guide John Walker. John explains the history of significant sites such as the Royal Exeter Hotel, once home of the town’s founder Captain Lewis Tregonwell. You will also see St Peter’s Church, where Frankenstein author Mary Shelley is buried, enjoy a tribute to the town’s floral splendour, and visit the Pier, the Pavilion and the Bournemouth International Centre.

There is also time to call at Boscombe, Southbourne and the ancient town of Christchurch, famous for its splendid 11th century Priory and its stunning quay, before we finish our tour at Highcliffe, on the very edge of Hampshire.





Running Time: 85mins (1hr 25mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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Discovering Dorset Vol.3: Inland


Discovering Dorset Vol.3: Inland

Ref: FT129D


The third volume of this popular series, which previously explored coastal Dorset, now heads inland.

Your historical tour begins in the delightful, bustling market town of Wimborne Minster, adorned by the magnificent Church of St Cuthberga, complete with its enchanting Quarterjack, a truly wonderful Model Town and a variety of majestic bridges. It then heads westwards with highlights including the Georgian town of Blandford Forum, which was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1731; Milton Abbas, where villagers were once evicted on the whim of a local landowner; Tolpuddle, which still resonates with the proud legacy of its famous Martyrs; the grand county town of Dorchester, which dates back to Roman times and is so closely linked to literary heroes Thomas Hardy and William Barnes; the picturesque village of Cerne Abbas, adorned by its famous chalk giant; and the pretty town of Beaminster, near the border with both Somerset and Devon, before concluding over 900 feet above sea-level on Pilsdon Pen, offering spectacular views for miles around.

You will visit towns and villages brimming with their own very individual stories and legends, which ensures an unforgettable journey.





Running Time: 90mins (1hr 30mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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Discovering Dorset Vol.4: The North


Discovering Dorset Vol.4: The North

Ref: FT130D


Complete your Dorset odyssey with a journey to the beautiful north of the county, where the boundary joins Wiltshire and Hampshire in the east and Somerset in the west.

Your tour includes visits to Sherborne, with its stunning Abbey, known as ‘the Cathedral of Dorset’, two castles and majestic views of the Blackmoor Vale; the unspoilt town of Shaftesbury, including the amazing Gold Hill and historic Abbey ruins; Cranborne Chase, the hunting ground of King John in the 13th Century; the remarkable ‘lost village’ of Knowlton, whose medieval church was built 4,000 years after the first community settled here; the county’s most northerly town, Gillingham, famous for its distinctive red-brick buildings; Sturminster Newton, adorned by a thousand-year old mill and a magnificent six-arched bridge over the River Stour; and a host of quaintly named villages such as Sixpenny Handley, Fontmell Magna, Tarrant Gunville and Ryme Intrinseca, each with its own unique story to tell. This largely rural area of the county is such a pleasure to explore, and your enjoyment of it will be enhanced by rare archive material, maps and interviews with people who are proud to call North Dorset their home.





Running Time: 100mins (1hr 40mins)

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Price:14.95 (including VAT at 20% for customers in the UK & EU)
Price: 12.46 excluding VAT (for customers in non-EU countries e.g.Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada)

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