Tales from the Green Valley
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Tales from the Green Valley

2005, History  -   54 Comments
8.44
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Ratings: 8.44/10 from 41 users.

Tales from the Green ValleyTales from the Green Valley, explores life on a British farm in the 17th century. This 12 x 1/2 hour television documentary, produced and directed by Peter Sommer, attracted large audiences and wide critical acclaim. Tales from the Green Valley follows the five as they labor for a full agricultural year, getting to grips with period tools, skills, and technology from the age of the Stuarts, the reign of James I.

Everything must be done by hand, from plowing with a team of oxen using a replica period plowing and thatching a cowshed using only authentic materials, to making their own washing liquid for laundry and harvesting the hay & wheat with scythes and sickles. Each of the 12 half-hour programmes, made by Lion TV for BBC Wales, follows a month in the life of the farm situated on the Welsh borders.

Far from being a reality series, these beautifully filmed programmes revel instead in the period’s rich history, the British countryside as it changes through the seasons, and of course food. Every episode features a dinner cooked up using period breeds and varieties of animals, fruits, and vegetables, according to 400 year old recipes extracted from housewives’ diaries, farming manuals etc.

The five specialists wear period clothing - because they’re practical, real working garments, with the men in breeches so the bottoms don’t get muddy and wet, and the women wearing long thick skirts which protect from brambles and keep them warm.

This documentary led to the creation of the following programmes: Victorian Farm, Victorian Pharmacy, Victorian Farm Christmas and Edwardian Farm.

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Peter Wadham
Peter Wadham
11 years ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary. I would for one be prepared to pay money to spend time here in my holidays, learning and helping with the work. It sounds like a very enjoyable time to be had. Can they please (I realise that it is probably too late) make a film on the farm and the preparation work that they did to do this. Is it possible to see some of the conclusions and learnings that they got. May be a web site with papers or lectures based on the learning from this period.

Noele French
Noele French
12 years ago

Ah the seemingly much younger and less experienced crew jump into the time machine for a first time! They've spent considerably more time with excrement on their hands in this series. One of the best aspects of these films is their relaxing simplicity, but this particular set is a bit naughtier in it's details about rural life and facts about human nature. I believe nobody quite delivers an old adage like Ruth. Some of them really link us very much to our history as a people. it's great.

shane scallan
shane scallan
12 years ago

If I had the money I would finance a load of these projects for the benefit of allowing personal development oppurtunity. There is something truly spiritual about working the land and laboring for your own surrival.

I think people would pay money to participate in such projects provided it was marketed in the populist way.

Sulla123
Sulla123
12 years ago

Wonderful. wonderful, wonderful. Genuine, informative and educational. The participants were dedicated and determined whilst retaining a sense of humour and I, for one, came away from the whole experience with nothing but awe and admiration for the 'poor, ignorant' peasant farmers of the time. Strip away our technology and we would not last five minutes alongside these 'bumpkins'. Easily a 10 from 5!! A must see for anyone, especially your children!!!!!

John L Cannon
John L Cannon
12 years ago

This is a fascinating series...it's like a 4real reality show sans who's screwing whom...n yelling n screaming...u know, cambridgesque...

Gina Salazar-Raynow
Gina Salazar-Raynow
12 years ago

I love the documentaries that were done with Peter, Alex and Ruth. To be able to live in that style, the simplicity and all the work! How wonderful. Thank you for putting these on here. We have learned so much. I use them as a homeschooling tool!!

Teugels
Teugels
12 years ago

Asked this site to put it on asap, which they did. In daily life I often think of how I could get back to a slow, simple life, in a small community of congenial people. A place where I live from own resources, and where I can share it with outsiders to shown them how to live more in balance with our nature. A life where travelling, eating, living etc. would be slow again. A world without electricity, modernism, hypes, media etc... Actually a world a little bit like Amish in the US (but without the religious crap). What really is attracking me is living in such community in the Spanish Pyrenees in one of the numerous abandoned villages there. Unfortunately, mostly there is a reason why it was left... There is always the rational way of dealing with this craving and the feasible reality. Anyone can help me out in finding a way to, at least, work out this dream for a small part. I do live in Flemish Ardennes - Belgium.

Teugels
Teugels
12 years ago

Asked this site to put it on asap, which they did. In daily life I often think of how I could get back to a slow, simple life, in a small community of congenial people. A place where I live from own resources, and where I can share it with outsiders to shown them how to live more in balance with our nature. A life where travelling, eating, living etc. would be slow again. A world without electricity, modernism, hypes, media etc... Actually a world a little bit like Amish in the US (but without the religious crap). What really is attracking me is living in such community in the Spanish Pyrenees in one of the numerous abandoned villages there. Unfortunately, mostly there is a reason why it was left... There is always the rational way of dealing with this craving and the feasible reality. Anyone can help me out in finding a way to, at least, work out this dream for a small part. I do live in Flemish Ardennes - Belgium.

Tim Flinchum
Tim Flinchum
12 years ago

Watched all episodes in one sitting...immensly enjoyable and educational!!

John Christopher McDonald
John Christopher McDonald
12 years ago

This is a fascinating documentary that really helps gather a sense of life in that era. The cast is great, especially with their accents, and the series has a steady progression that, while 5 hours, runs by at a fairly steady pace. 4/5 stars

Jo McKay
Jo McKay
12 years ago

well done... took a couple days but got through the series. I imagine this was popular when it aired. A significant message, that looking after ones own needs brought a lot of satisfaction. Another mark for sustainability and sharing skills.

Nikita2012
Nikita2012
12 years ago

Just watched episode 1, very interesting and inspiring! great project by these 5 daring people! few years back I lived with one of the countryside farming community for a year in India. That was an amazing experience in my life. The farmers do not use any modern technology and farming is done in traditional methods. Everything is done manually, and its amazing to know their wisdom on tradition farming. The only difference of the farming community I lived with and this documentary is – the documentary is a project they are experimenting and the people in the farming community I lived with is their way of life! so we still have people, community even today who are living life in a simpler but meaningful way.

Jack1952
Jack1952
12 years ago

I have just finished episode 2. His statement about herding pigs is absolutely true. It has been my experience that it you are trying to chase a pig to a desired location, let it think that you are chasing him in the opposite direction. It will go exactly where you want and will be quite smut about getting its own way.

Daniel
Daniel
12 years ago

Oh god that psycho woman is on this again. I believe she will cause the apocalypse only so that everyone has to live like they did during an old time era.

Stas Plaizier
Stas Plaizier
12 years ago

It's October, and witch burning season in the Green Valley...

Barb Mathews
Barb Mathews
12 years ago

This documentary seems so picturesque, and the natural foods so healthy and nutritious, but can you imagine the constant back breaking, never ending work? Still, I would have enjoyed sustainable lifestyle coupled with modern work saving conveniences in a similar idyllic setting. Lovely.

Denise Debra Ann Machan
Denise Debra Ann Machan
12 years ago

How idyllic and satisfying; what a feeling of accomplishment!!
Life today just can't compare.

NAND Gate
NAND Gate
12 years ago

Pretty sure this will be real life shortly.

Jack1952
Jack1952
12 years ago

I've only watched the first episode but I think that the farmers back then would burnt the land off before they started plowing. It would add fertilizers to the soil and would have helped to prevent the clumping problem they initially experienced. It would have made it easier to do the spring plowing, also.

Paul M Webb
Paul M Webb
12 years ago

I wish the world could be like this.

Yasuhiro Usuba
Yasuhiro Usuba
12 years ago

Great documentary! I've always imagined what it would've been like to live in these times without technologies such as iphones and laptops, and the rewards of good hard solid work as well as old fashioned cooking! In fact, I wouldn't mind doing it myself but a nice hot bath would be hard to come by no? ^_^