Devon and Cornwall folk star in new TV series

A man in braces on a farm with his arm round the shoulder of his wife.

In episode three, we meet fruit and veg farmers Wendy Murray and Andy Knight. - Credit: Channel 4

Popular Channel 4 TV series Devon and Cornwall is returning to our screens for a fifth season    

Shining a light on local personalities, the docu-series Devon and Cornwall showcases the best of the South West and celebrates those who call it home. Since first airing in 2019, the show has won the nation’s hearts and changed the lives of everyday locals who have been featured. 

Starting on Friday, May 27, 2022, Cornwall-born star John Nettles will narrate his way through four further episodes focussing on the picturesque countryside and coast as viewers follow the lives of local farmers, fishermen, artisans and adventurers, showcasing the trials and tribulations of life living on the peninsular.

A man in a yellow sou'wester on a boat.

Hotelier Robert Francis is also a fisherman and vineyard owner. - Credit: Channel 4

The weekly docu-series will be divided into four hour-long episodes, giving viewers a glimpse into the everyday lives of four locals amid their unique projects and businesses. A total of 16 individuals and pairs throughout Devon and Cornwall will be featured in the series, with locations including Dartmoor, Brixham and the Isles of Scilly.  

In episode one, enterprising Cornishman Jack Baines is hoping to turn fields of colourful flowers into liquid gold. Along with farmer Nick Dymond, Jack’s aim is to turn an estimated 275,000 sunflowers – growing just outside Truro - into the county’s first sunflower cooking oil.  

Two men on the back of a boat at sea.

Father and son Rupert and Henry Kirkwood vie to capture the best photographs on a trip near Brixham. - Credit: Channel 4

In Devon, wildlife watching father and son Rupert and Henry Kirkwood vie to capture the best images on a trip near Brixham. Rupert’s famous for taking award-winning pictures from his kayak, paddling around the Devon and Cornwall coast to capture its fantastic wildlife. 

On Cornwall’s south coast, traditional boat builder Peter Williams is undertaking a very special commission – crafting a brand new Cornish gig for Boscastle Rowing Club. 

And on the northern fringes of Dartmoor, in the fields surrounding the market town of Chagford, we meet young farming couple Lewis Steer and Flora Searson who raise rare breeds of sheep. 

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In episode two, we meet Emma Collison on Bodmin Moor who looks after a woolly herd of animals more suited to south America than South West England. Emma runs an alpaca trekking business, and we join her as she welcomes two new arrivals to her flock, Sid and Marble. 

In the Devon town of Teignmouth mussel fishermen Matt and Barry Sessions are looking at new ways to diversify their business to ensure its future. To maximise their catch and use mussels that can’t be sold commercially, Barry’s producing his own gourmet smoked mussels from a specially built smoker, which they plan to sell to local restaurants and fishmongers. 

A man in a checked shirt in a boat-building yard.

Traditional boat builder Peter Williams is undertaking a very special commission to craft a brand new Cornish gig for Boscastle Rowing Club. - Credit: Channel 4

On Dartmoor, diversification is also part of the master plan for farmer Steve Alford and his partner Hayley. They’re hoping to tap into the growing popularity of glamping, so with the help of Hayley’s dad Malc, they’re building a cosy shepherd’s hut to rent out to tourists during the holiday season. 

Meanwhile, in nearby Ashburton, artist and sign writer Josh Monk has been commissioned to create a mural of one of Devon’s most famous sons – Sir Walter Raleigh. But painting the legendary explorer will be a challenge in itself – Josh needs to create the massive mural high up on a pub façade on the town’s busy high street. 

In episode three, we meet fruit and veg farmers Wendy Murray and Andy Knight, who have a passion for growing the peculiar. On their small holding in Morval, near the Cornish seaside town of Looe, Wendy and Andy are already growing ambitious crops like cucamelons – a grape-sized fruit that’s a cross between a cucumber and a melon. 

In Devon’s Coly Valley – farmer and builder Martin Banks is tasked with helping restore an ancient stone wall at Dunkeswell Abbey. The ruins of the Cistercian abbey date back to the 13th century and along with his cousin Nigel, Martin’s rebuilding a drystone wall from scratch to preserve it for future generations. 

In the port of Brixham, fisherman Fraser Pugh is also hoping to grow his business of supplying hand-dived scallops. Fraser’s now selling his sustainable seafood at foodie fairs and farmers markets and demand is on the up and to ensure he can keep supplying his scallops he’s invested in a bigger boat. 

A woman standing in front of her own self-serve produce hut.

Diversification is also part of the master plan for Hayley Alford. - Credit: Channel 4

Meanwhile in South Molton, farmers and Exmoor pony breeders Sarah and Rob Taylor face a crucial inspection that could determine the future of their herd. Their youthful stallion Dickie is up for inspection, to size up whether he’s a good enough specimen to carry forward the pedigree breeding lineage. 

In the final episode of the series, we follow friends Gary Aldington and Nick Spencer as they attempt to turn a passion for retro powerboats into racing glory and prizes. The pair are putting Gary’s 1980s powerboat Kohaku through its paces in Falmouth harbour ahead of their first ever competition in Torquay. 

On the Isles of Scilly, the pace of life is a little less frenetic. On St Mary’s, hotelier Robert Francis runs the Star Castle Hotel, located in a 16th century fortress. As well as running the hotel Robert’s also a fisherman and vineyard owner, and we join him as he harvests his latest crop from the vines before heading out to sea to haul in his lobster pots. 

Two women selling produce from a stall at a famers' market.

Veg farmers Wendy Murray, left, has a passion for growing the peculiar. - Credit: Channel 4

In Devon’s Teign Valley, woodsman John Williamson and daughter Betsy are attempting to revive a lost tradition – making Devon stave baskets from ash collected from their very own ten-acre wood. 

  • Tune in to Devon and Cornwall season 5 every Friday at 8pm on Channel 4.   
    A man and his daughter in a woodworking workshop.

    Woodsman John Williamson and daughter Betsy are attempting to revive a lost tradition. - Credit: Channel 4