The Hidden Wilds of the Motorway

The Hidden Wilds of the Motorway


The quieter roads we’ve experienced during lockdown may not be normal, but was smelly gridlock ever a good normal? A question for another time, perhaps. But if we’re ever going to think differently about things, we’ll need people like naturalist Helen Macdonald. Her pre-pandemic “road movie” is a clockwise but counter-intuitive trip around Britain’s busiest road, the M25. It’s a 117-mile journey – from the woodlands of Kent to the industrial landscapes of Essex – that is packed with wonderful surprises.

From the great tits evolving to pitch their song above traffic din to deer crossing the road by bridge, nature has found a way to exist despite vehicular humanity – even to thrive. Not that we deserve it, but nature could even help us relieve road congestion (watch the magical growth patterns of neurospora or the way lapwings flock). A wondrous hour of wildlife, history, geography and even literature, whose blending comes across quite naturally, as does Macdonald’s presenting style. Give her a series, BBC.


Author and naturalist Helen Macdonald embarks on a clockwise loop around London's orbital motorway - searching for wildness and natural beauty within sight and sound of the M25. Helen encounters the remarkable people, plants and animals living above, beside and beneath the motorway, and delves into the controversial history of the UK's longest bypass.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Helen Macdonald
Director Nathan Budd
Executive Producer Rory Wheeler
Producer Nathan Budd