Ask many what phrase comes to mind when ‘Sunday’ is mentioned, and the answers will usually be one of the following; a day of rest, a day of reflection and enjoyment. It’s the one day of the week the BBC has always done pretty well with encapsulating down the years. It just wouldn’t seem like the tail end of the weekend without long running favourites like Countryfile and Songs of Praise in the schedule.
It was only a matter of time before someone thought to marry up the core elements of both to a brand new show – chiefly, the former’s exploration of and celebration of the great British outdoors, and the spiritual aspects of our wildlife and natural environments that’s occasionally (but not very often) touched on in the latter. Three episodes in, Walks of Life could well be about to follow in these shows’ footsteps.
Hosted by blogger, journalist and presenter Mehreen Baig, and former JLS star turned farmer and presenter JB Gill, Walks of Life sees each take turn on a fortnightly basis to embark on walks along some of Britain’s most beloved walking routes, meeting along the way the people along it, their connection to the land, and exploring sites of historical and spiritual significance.
Each hour long episode feels just the right length – you feel instantly like you’ve been on the walk yourself, and feel the same sense of discovery and wonderment at corners of the country that aren’t often explored so readily. JB and Mehreen are just the right hosts for this – their style is easy and relaxed and they feel like the tour guides we all wished we had on a nature ramble.
Of the three episodes that have aired so far, the ones along the stunning Lake District in Cumbria and in Cornwall have proved most enlightening. Mehreen’s visit to a Jersey cow farm run by an ex-City worker in the former episode, who has set up her own business selling a bespoke brand of soaps using the cows’ milk was insightful, as was JB’s visit to a a Christian surfing group on the Cornish coast that were established in Australia, and now has 25 similar groups operating up and down the UK’s coast lines.
Even if you have no inclination towards a faith or spirtuality of any kind (a Methodist all male choir and a Buddhist tai chi retreat in a converted cow shed are among the other stops along the walks), Walks of Life is still an engaging watch, and is a good show to switch off from the world with and reconnect with our natural world around us. We certainly felt that – and an overwhelming sense of peace – after each episode. Rest, reflection and enjoyment on Sundays? You betcha.
‘Walks of Life’ continues Sundays at 11am on BBC One. UK viewers can watch the first three episodes back now on BBC iPlayer.