Successful northern debut as Castle Howard hosts Countryfile Live

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker meets and greets fans, human and furry, at this weekend's live event. Picture Charlotte Graham.
Countryfile presenter Matt Baker meets and greets fans, human and furry, at this weekend's live event. Picture Charlotte Graham.
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Organisers of one of the nation's favourite TV programmes have hinted they are already discussing future plans to return to Yorkshire with Countryfile.

Thousands of people have flocked to Castle Howard since last Thursday for a four day celebration of county life as the BBC show Countryfile Live came to Yorkshire for the first time since it launched at Blenheim Palace four years ago.

Today's time-table saw the dog and duck show, falconry, sheep-dog and horse displays as well as mountain biking and music from morris dancers to brass bands.

Countryfile fans queued for meet and greets with presenters, including Leeds born John Craven, who are watched every week by an audience of around six million viewers.

As the event drew to a close this evening, show directors said it had been a "tremendous" first outing in the north and future plans were already being discussed.

BBC Countryfile Live deputy event director, Olivia Rostron told The Yorkshire Post: "We have had a tremendous first outing for Countryfile Live in the North. Castle Howard provided a stunning backdrop for all our activities including people taking to the lake on kayaks and trying out croquet on the lawn in front of the house.

"Huge thanks to everyone who turned out to see us and the Countryfile presenters who had a brilliant time meeting fans of the show.

"We've been overwhelmed by the support and warmth by the people in Yorkshire and we'll be announcing plans for the future in the coming weeks."

Although overall numbers of attenders are yet to be confirmed there were in the region of 15,000 people through the doors on the first day in what is believed to be the largest new event held in the North this year.

A show of hands from the audience during a turn on stage by presenter Adam Henson suggested that there was about a 50:50 split in urban and rural visitors, and the presenter said he believed an historic divide between people in the countryside and towns and cities is less stark than in the past.

He said: "In today’s society, we’ve got growing gardens in schools, television programmes talking about what’s going on in the countryside and the farming and countryside community is much more engaging with the general public with people from towns and cities, the countryside is much more accessible than it used to be, so I think that divide is shrinking.”