IT’S A crime which would tax even the redoubtable Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby: how to prevent the Chilterns’ picture postcard landscape from being swamped by a tide of unsightly litter.
It’s an open secret that many of the picturesque but deadly villages which feature as backdrops to the long-running detective drama are spread across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
Co-creator Brian True-May, who produced more than a dozen series of the show between 1997 and 2011, hails from Great Missenden and one Oxfordshire villages website lists dozens of Chilterns locations where different episodes have been filmed.
Visit Midsomer is a website developed by South Oxfordshire District Council to help visitors to discover the locations filmed for the TV programme. It says: “Fans know Midsomer as the home of traditional pubs, village greens, fetes and Sunday afternoon cricket.
“They watch the improbable number of murders committed in dastardly yet creative ways, and solved by the unflappable Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby of Causton CID. But that’s the fictional Midsomer County.
“The real-life Midsomer Murders locations are spread across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire where towns and villages have names every bit as wonderful as their fictional counterparts. South Oxfordshire’s villages, stately homes, stone cottages and market towns provide around half of the filming locations.
“This rural English countryside is a short distance outside of London and easily reached for a relaxing short break.”
But visitors taking a tour in the footsteps of Inspector Barnaby might be disappointed to discover the scale of the problem local councils face with fly-tipping and litter pollution. And while councils across the area spend millions keeping the villages and towns as pristine as possible, main roads across the region are harder to clean up.
Beyonder co-editor Andrew Knight said: “You don’t have to drive very far around Buckinghamshire to find roadside verges and laybys which are awash with litter.
“It looks disgusting and it’s totally avoidable. It’s hard to understand the mindset of someone who just throws coffee cups, plastic bottles and half-eaten takeaway meal wrappings out of their car window, but the evidence is there across the Chilterns – and it’s getting worse.
“Our councils do what they can, any many villages, parks and National Trust properties are kept pristine for visitors. But that’s not possible for all the main roads in the area.
“We have to find ways of attacking the problem at source – educating young people about the environment has got to be a long-term solution. But we also want to look at ways of helping to clean up our main roads and stop people dropping their rubbish in the first place.”