TV presenter Lindsey Chapman on her love of the outdoors and her favourite Yorkshire spots
- Credit: Lindsey Chapman
Lindsey Chapman is a TV and radio presenter. She’s fronted programmes including Springwatch Unsprung alongside Chris Packham, Big Blue UK with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Springtime on the Farm. Lindsey grew up in rural East Yorkshire and loves connecting people with the natural world…
How did you get the wild life bug?
One of my earliest memories is going on a family walk across the fields near our home in East Yorkshire. I liked the freedom of the open space and spent days biking around the lanes with my sister. We jumped in streams, hid in hedgerows and climbed trees; you learn a lot about a tree if you’re stuck in it! That sense of adventure has never gone away. I think all children have the wildlife ‘bug’ though, it’s a question of nurture and access.
Favourite Yorkshire spots
Bempton Cliffs has to be one of my top places in the UK to watch sea birds. Dramatic scenery, a cacophony of sound and a smell to go with it (depending on which way they wind is blowing) gives an immersive wildlife experience. Over the summer, around half a million seabirds raise a family on the towering chalk cliffs. Gannets, guillemots, puffins. What more could you ask for! I’m also a fan of the understated and unexpected. Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit near Etton is beautiful and Spurn Point is great for migrating birds.
Any hairy/ memorable moments?
One of my most outstanding wildlife moments was satellite tagging on Les Etacs, a slab of rock in the English Channel home to 2% of the world’s population of northern gannets.
I was filming for BBC One’s Big Blue UK and working with the Alderney Wildlife Trust. It was the final day of a research project into gannets and the sea state was rough. Getting onto the island via a steep, rocky outcrop was challenge enough, then being so close to the impressive seabirds (they have a wingspan of nearly 2m) combined with the smell – a heady combination of fish guts, salt and guano – the whole experience was truly spectacular and something that will stay with me forever.
Where do you enjoy visiting?
We are lucky in the UK to have varied and beautiful landscapes right on our doorstep. I’ve worked in the Cairngorms, along the Suffolk Coast and at Arnside and Silverdale AONB. East Yorkshire and Cornwall are my two favourites though. One means ‘home’ and that connection runs deep, the other I’ve been visiting for years. Cornwall seems to have its own microclimate; the water is stunning and there’s loads to do outdoors. One of my favourite beaches is Porthcurno, overlooked by the stunning Minack Theatre, what a place!
Aside from wildlife what do you love about the outdoors?
It’s the freedom and space that I love. Chance to get lost for a while in something bigger. I’m fascinated by the relationship between art and the natural world. Having originally trained as an actor, there’s so much in theatre, literature, music and art that reflects nature, it’s always an inspiration. I’m also really sporty and like to run and swim outside. I play a lot of netball (I’m the BBC’s international netball commentator) and the outdoor seasons are my favourite, depending on the changeable British weather of course.
How has the last year affected your relationship with the outdoors?
My favourite thing about being a presenter is working with other people, telling their stories. I get great joy from connecting people with the natural world and this is something that has really resonated over the last year. So many people have spoken about their renewed interest in nature and the many benefits it provides. Personally, having an outdoor space to escape to and exercise in has kept me sane. As we try to comprehend the enormity of the climate crisis we face, I hope we can remember these months and know that nature is our ally. Not only must it be protected, but more importantly, enhanced.
Favourite outdoor space
St Nicholas Chapel overlooking Porthmeor beach in St Ives or a little wooden bench in the hedgerows just outside Lockington that I call the ‘thinking bench’. Both of these special places are part of who I am.