Great British Railway Journeys: Biggin Hill to Ashdown Forest (BBC Four, Monday 13 May 2024)

Great British Railway Journeys

In the first episode of series 13 of Great British Railway Journeys, Michael Portillo embarks on a thrilling and enlightening journey from Biggin Hill to Ashdown Forest. The episode airs on BBC Four on Monday, 13 May 2024, at 7:00 pm.

Portillo begins his expedition with a heart-pounding experience as he takes to the skies in a World War II Spitfire above Biggin Hill, the renowned aerodrome that played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. The 80-year-old aircraft, meticulously maintained by a dedicated team, carries the legacy of countless brave young men who fought for their country. Guided by an ex-Royal Navy pilot, Portillo learns about the airfield’s strategic importance during the war.

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Returning to solid ground, Portillo boards a train to East Grinsted, where he embarks on a whimsical trail inspired by a beloved children’s character. In Ashdown Forest, he meets a biographer of AA Milne and explores the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, engaging in a playful game of Pooh Sticks. He also indulges in a treat at Pooh Corner, capturing the whimsical charm of Milne’s creations.

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Venturing deeper into the forest, Portillo discovers Plaw Hatch Farm, a unique community-owned farm spanning 200 acres. Here, he explores the principles of biodynamic farming, first introduced in the 1920s. He lends a hand with cabbage harvesting and cheese production, connecting with the land and the local community.

Great British Railway Journeys: Biggin Hill to Ashdown Forest airs Monday, May 13, 2024, at 7:00 pm on BBC Four.

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Isabelle aka Izzy Jacobs is the UK previews specialist at Isabelle is particularly drawn to crime dramas, but she also has a not so secret love for all things reality TV. In addition to her work at, Isabelle is also an avid traveler and a devoted foodie.