Tales from the Green Valley

Tales from the Green Valley is a British historical documentary TV series in 12 parts, first shown on BBC Two from 19 August to 4 November 2005. The series, the first in the historic farm series, made for the BBC by independent production company Lion TV, follows historians and archaeologists as they recreate farm life from the age of the Stuarts; they wear the clothes, eat the food and use the tools, skills and technology of the 1620s.

Tales from the Green Valley
GenreDocumentary series
Directed byPeter Sommer
Narrated byOwen Teale
ComposerDavid Poore
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes12
Executive producerRichard Bradley
ProducersPeter Sommer
David Upshal (series producer)
CinematographyPeter Harvey
Pete Hayns
Running time30 minutes
Production companyLion Television
Original networkBBC Two
Picture format16:9 576i
Audio formatStereo
Original release19 August (2005-08-19) –
4 November 2005 (2005-11-04)

The series recreates everyday life on a small farm in Gray Hill, Monmouthshire, Wales, in the period, using authentic replica equipment and clothing, original recipes and reconstructed building techniques. Much use is made of period sources such as agricultural writers Gervase Markham and Thomas Tusser.

The series was written, directed and produced by British archaeologist and documentary maker, Peter Sommer, who was awarded the Learning on Screen Award in 2006 by the British Universities Film & Video Council, for Tales from the Green Valley.[1][2]

The series features historians Stuart Peachey and Ruth Goodman, and archaeologists Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn and saddler Chloe Spencer.

The series was released on DVD, distributed by Acorn Media UK.[3] An associated book by Stuart Peachey – The Building of the Green Valley: A Reconstruction of an Early 17th-century Rural Landscape – was published in 2006.[4]

The sequel to this series is Victorian Farm, with Goodman, Langlands and Ginn returning as TV hosts.


# Title Directed by Original air date
1"September"Peter Sommer19 August 2005 (2005-08-19)
Ploughing with oxen, baking in a hearth.
2"October"Peter Sommer26 August 2005 (2005-08-26)
Gathering Black Worcester pears, thatching the cowshed roof with a bracken undercoat and a wheat thatch, period clothes and boots, driving pigs to forage.
3"November"Peter Sommer2 September 2005 (2005-09-02)
Slaughtering and butchering a pig, building a wattle and daub wall, harvesting medlars, salting a table, combing thatch and pegging it down, making hog's liver pudding.
4"December"Peter Sommer9 September 2005 (2005-09-09)
Building a hovel (a woodshed), period clothing, peas, preparing food (roast beef, chicken, a "Grand Salad", a marzipan pig's head, etc.) and drink (Wassail, "Lambs Wool" made from heated beer and stewed-apples, and "whisky beth" (made from any distilled spirit and choices of spices, such as licorice, anise, sugar, etc.)) for a Christmas feast.
5"January"Peter Sommer16 September 2005 (2005-09-16)
Preparing period medicines, wood gathering, hedge laying, making ink from oak apples, and rural home pharmacy (using a small brazier and an alembic).
6"February"Peter Sommer23 September 2005 (2005-09-23)
A heavy fall of snow, rebuilding an outdoor lavatory, checking the sheep in preparation for their health and for their upcoming lambing, period musical instruments, preparing a meal of fish and bagged puddings for Lent.
7"March"Peter Sommer30 September 2005 (2005-09-30)
Preparing the garden for sowing, wheat threshing, a trip to the miller (featuring the Melin Bompren mill, St Fagans National Museum of History), brewing March beer, pig yokes, fun and games, egg and pear pie with stewed salt cod.
8"April"Peter Sommer7 October 2005 (2005-10-07)
Spring cleaning, rebuilding a dry stone wall, a new calf.
9"May"Peter Sommer14 October 2005 (2005-10-14)
Preparing a new field for spring sowing, making charcoal, and butter.
10"June"Peter Sommer21 October 2005 (2005-10-21)
Washing and shearing sheep (and sampling "sheep washer's posset"), cheese making, and mid-summer revels.
11"July"Peter Sommer28 October 2005 (2005-10-28)
New harvest from the garden (beans and gooseberries), making hay and potash lye, clothes washing.
12"August"Peter Sommer4 November 2005 (2005-11-04)
Fattening geese, goose pie and carrot puree, wheat and straw harvest, reed lights.


A Tudor Feast at Christmas – a "spin-off" from the series, broadcast on 21 December 2006, produced and directed by Chris Mitchell for Lion Television – showed the team recreating a Tudor banquet at Haddon Hall with experts Marc Meltonville and Hugh Beamish.[5][6][7]

A new series set in the 19th century, Victorian Farm, was screened on BBC Two in January 2009 and was followed by Edwardian Farm in November 2010. A series set during the Second World War, titled Wartime Farm, followed in September 2012, with Tudor Monastery Farm then premièring in November 2013.


  1. ^ All3Media: "Tales from the Green Valley"
  2. ^ Learning on Screen Awards. Winners 2006"
  3. ^ Tales from the Green Valley. Acorn Video AV9400
  4. ^ Heritage Marketing & Publications Ltd.ISBN 978-1-905223-13-8
  5. ^ IMDB
  6. ^ BBC: "A Tudor Feast at Christmas"
  7. ^ Blogspot: A Tudor Feast at Christmas

External linksEdit