Following the phenomenal success of BBC1’s Halcyon River Diaries (May-June 2010), Charlie, Philippa and the boys are back this festive season with a wonderfully charming and often humorous one-off special, narrated by ‘Outnumbered’ actor Hugh Dennis. 

 A year has passed and we join Charlie as he tracks his beloved otters with Gus, sets up an experiment with Fred to see how fast kingfishers actually fly and tries to record the elusive winter song of a dipper.

 Charlie explains what we can expect “Well I can’t give too much away without ruining the programme, but there have been a lot of developments both good and bad, some have taken us by surprise but we have recorded them all for this one off diary special for Christmas.

 “There will be lots of family fun, especially when Fred and I use a special invention to find out where the fish go in the winter.  There is of course, plenty of wildlife, we try some experiments to find out just how fast a kingfisher dives and catch up with the mother otter and her cub.”

 Philippa is busy re-homing 12 battery hens and making bird cakes with Arthur, until one day a predator strikes and a duck is killed.  Are her water vole colony are under threat – could the mink be back on the river?

 “For a while we were mystified” said Philippa. “Something had managed to get in through the electric fence and the duck was just left lying in the stream, it was tragic – one of the ducklings I had reared last year and the worst part was knowing that the others were in danger but not knowing where from.”

 Find out what happens when Halcyon River Diaries is transmitted on BBC1 on Monday 27th December at 6.10pm


December 7, 2010

Don’t forget to watch Philippa Forrester as part of the Wildlife Presenters team versus the Eggheads is  being transmitted on Thursday 16th December on BBC 2 at 18.00.

Keep up to date with all the news on the Halycon River on Facebook by clicking on the following link…

Philippa Forrester has helped launch a search to find the nation’s best loved and most neglected rivers.

The ‘Our Rivers Campaign’, which includes the Angling Trust, the RSPB, the Salmon and Trout Association and WWF-UK, is calling on people to take part in the first Our Rivers Awards by going online and voting for the best or worst rivers in England and Wales.

Philippa, who is currently appearing in Halcyon River Diaries on BBC One, was the first person to cast her vote for the Our Rivers Awards.

She said: “Living close to a river I get to see an amazing array of life from the emergence of mayflies in spring to the darting flash of a hunting kingfisher and the secretive habits of the water vole.It may be small but my vote has to go to the river which runs close to my home, the real star of the Halcyon River Diaries, because it is a very special place for me. We have to do all we can to protect these vital wildlife habitats and I hope the Our Rivers awards will highlight the pressures these waterways, and the life they support, are facing.”

The ‘Our Rivers’ campaign was launched last year to campaign for clean, healthy rivers across England and Wales.

An Environment Agency report on the state of the country’s rivers, published soon after in September 2009, found that 74% of rivers in England and Wales were failing to meet European environmental targets and just 5% remained in pristine condition.

‘Our Rivers’ said the rest faced a variety of pressures including run off pollution from fertilizers and poorly designed urban drainage, invasive riverbank species such as signal crayfish and American mink, and low water levels.

Campaigners hope the new survey will help celebrate and bring attention to some of Britain’s best loved and long forgotten rivers.

The best river will win a specially designed badge to be used by the local council and tourist board plus a sculpture or commemorative panel to be placed on the riverbank or elsewhere in town.

The Our Rivers team of experts will a workshop with the local council and/or local groups at the river voted the worst, to develop an action plan to improve the condition of the river and bring back the wildlife.

To vote visit the Our River campaign website at Voting will remain open until October 31.

Philippa Forrester did the honours at the official relaunch of Winchester’s City Mill on 4th September 2010.

 The former Peter Symonds College student reopened the historic mill in 2000 when restoration works were being planned.

 The National Trust has made several improvements since then and the latest refit is now complete – and Philippa was invited back to see the finished article.

Speaking before a host of civic dignitaries, she said: “I first came here as a child, and I was thrilled to be called back here in 2000. Now, ten years’ later, it has been transformed and I can feel the difference with the extra space downstairs and the ability to see what’s happening with the waterwheel.” 

During her visit, she signed copies of her books The River, Halcyon River Diaries and Get Out and Explore Your Local River.


August 17, 2010

Taking place at Anglian Water and Birdwatching Centre, Egleton Nature Reserve, Rutland Water.

Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd August
9am – 5.30pm Daily.

Admission prices:
Adults £10
Children (under 16) Go free
Two Day ticket £18
Three day ticket £24
RSPB and Wildlife Trust Members on Sunday £8

 For more info on the fair itself visit

 Mike Dilger will  be on the Swarovski and RSPB Wildlife Young Explorers Stands over the weekend.

Johnny Kingdom will be ‘Pond dipping’ on the RSPB Wildlife Young Explorers stand every morning from 10am for an hour. You will also be able to met Johnny on his own stand in Marquee 3 on stall number 35.

Jonathan and Angie Scott will also be on the Swarovski stand on for all the three days.


Mike Dilger will be taking part in ‘Just a Linnet’ in the Event Marquee at 12 – 12.45. A Birdfair take on the Radio 4 program ‘Just a Minute’.


Mike will be giving a talk entitled “Birds on BBC” at 10am – 10.45am in the event Marquee.

Philippa Forrester and her wildlife cameraman husband Charlie Hamilton James will be on the RSPB Wildlife Young Explorers stand from 11am to 12 for a Book Launch of Philippa’s new children’s book “GET OUT and explore your local river”.

  Philippa Forrester and Charlie Hamilton James will be giving a talk entitled “Halcyon River Diaries” in the Events Marquee at 4pm – 4.45pm followed by a book signing of their books “Halcyon River Diaries”, “Kingfisher – Tales from the Halcyon River” and “The River”.


Jonathan and Angie Scott will be giving a talk entitled “A Photographic Journey” followed by a book signing. 

Mike and Johnny will be taking part in ‘Wild Brain of Britain’ in the Event Marquee at 1pm – 1.45pm. They will be battling it out against Chris Packham and Janet Sumner to be crowned Wild Brain by answering questions on their specialist subject.

 Johnny Kingdom will be giving a talk entitled “My life on Exmoor” in the Events Marquee at 2.15pm -3pm followed by book signing.

Come along and join in the action – there are fun things to do for all ages so there is no excuse to miss out!!

Come along and have your say on re-newable energy by joining Philippa Forrester who will be chairing the debate on the following dates:

Tuesday 22nd June – Solihull Arts Complex, Solihull

Tuesday 29th June – Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, Sutton Coldfield

Thursday 1st July – Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster

Tuesday 6th July – Stratford High School, Stratford Upon Avon

Thursday 8th July – Leamington Spa Town Hall, Leamington Spa

Each session will begin at 6.30pm.

For more details go to

Episode 4 is at the earlier time of 6pm

Watch the final instalment of Philippa and Charlie’s ‘Halcyon River Diaries’ this Sunday 6th June.

This is the last in the 4 part series documenting life on, in and around the river that run outside the family’s back door.

It is now winter so watch to see how the wildlife survives the harsh nature of the season.

Friday 4th June 2010.
2pm – Heligan Shop
PL26 6EN
01726 845 100

If you are in Cornwall why not visit the wonderful gardens of Heligan. Wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton-James and his conservationist wife Philippa Forrester will be signing copies of their Halcyon River Diaries from 2pm in the shop. The book accompanies the major four-part BBC1 TV series about their family’s year living by a West Country river.

Also listen to Charlie talking about his current project filming at Heligan by following this link:

REMINDER: Do not forget to watch the 3rd in the series of Halcyon River Diaries on Sunday 30th May at 7pm.

 You can catch up on BBC IPlayer if you have missed the previous episodes.

 You can also purchase the book that accompanies the series of the same name “Halcyon River Diaries” from  Amazon.