Wild Britain with Ray Mears

Salisbury Plain

Series 3 - Episode 4 Salisbury Plain



Ray Mears stomps across Salisbury Plain, land used by the Ministry of Defence for more than 100 years and scarred by countless tank-tracks. Yet it’s home to a huge amount of wildlife. Little green critters swim happily in ponds formed in the ruts while the magnificently named great bustard is back, mincing across the plain for the first time in years. The bird is slowly being reintroduced to the wild after almost becoming extinct in the 19th century thanks, oddly, to bird-lovers who killed great bustards for their collections.

Mears meets pecky Fergus, a great bustard whose damaged wing means he cannot be let out into the wild.


The survival expert explores Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, home to Stonehenge and the largest army training area in the UK. He discovers an ancient invertebrate that depends on military manoeuvres to survive, and spots rare wildflowers in unlikely places as well as bird species, including the grey partridge, yellowhammer and corn bunting, that are in drastic decline elsewhere. Ray also meets David Waters, who has pioneered the reintroduction of the great bustard - the world's heaviest flying bird - after an absence of 180 years.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Ray Mears
Director Phil Coles
Executive Producer Petra Regent
Series Producer Hayley Smith