This series will appeal to many people, not just walkers and not just those with an interest in Britain's industrial heritage. The subject matter cleverly encompasses both subject matters and more, including some natural history and sociology from the last hundred years. By following the previously abandonded railway tracks, Julia Bradbury traces a path through the industrial and post-industrial landscape of the UK, and she meets many knowledgable local folk along the way who illuminate her path.
The photography is top-notch, and JB is an excellent, intelligent presenter. She strides through the landscape, talking to the viewer as if we are on the path alongside her. You feel included in the day's outing, almost a part of the excursion, and your travelling companion frequently spots something interesting -- an odd bird, an old tower, a deserted tunnel -- and points it out to you.
Each programme is set in a different area and following a walking trail which most viewers will be able to tackle themselves, should they feel inspired after watching. You might not want to do all of each walk, however, because some un to a dozen miles which might stretch the 'occasional' rambler. However, JB shows us where to start and finish, and points along the route where refreshments might be found; useful practical stuff!
But the core of each episode is the history of each railway line. Most were constructed during the industrial boom; some were for tourism but the majority were built to carry freight from the rural wilderness to the centre of the country. In themselves, many of these railways were magnificent constructions and we see several landmark tunnels and viaducts (including one of Isambard's which failed after only 70 years or so!).
We also see how the communities were originally built alongside these railways, and how they've faded away since the Beeching Act closed down the trunk and branch lines.
Some times this series cannot help but be wistful and a little sad; the greatness that was the British railway system is all but gone. However, JB puts a positive spin upon the joy of being able to walk along the old tracks, many of them now well-maintained public footpaths, and overall each episode is a treasure.
My only grumble is that I would have enjoyed much more detail on each location and its history. For me, each episode could easily have been an hour long and kept my attention. Hence it's not quite perfect. But close!