A journalist, Daniel Parish, arrives in Lark Rise with news that Emma Timmins is set to inherit a large amount of money, enough to change the family's life forever. Daniel plans to write their story for his newspaper, but Dorcas is suspicious of his motives,. Can Laura and Daniel's friendship survive this? Meanwhile Ruby looks for romance and Minnie tries not to tell a lie.
When a tree at Lark Rise appears to bleed human blood days before the bishop is coming to consecrate a new font, people begin to act strangely. Twister takes to the street telling everyone food will rain from the sky, Robert has trouble finishing the font, and Dorcas accidentally tells Pearl of Ruby's pen friend, causing the sisters to row. An irate Thomas tries to chop the tree down but Dorcas stops him, reminding him that his faith is above local superstitions. Daniel returns to court Laura though Emma disapproves.
Alf Arliss gets his first proper wage and can afford to rent his own cottage so he throws a house-warming party. But the Timmins' enjoyment is short-lived when Edmund announces he is leaving school to work in the fields, despite an excellent exam result. He argues with his parents and moves in with the Turrills, whilst the Arliss children accuse the Timmins family of snobbery because Emma wants better than labouring work for her boy. Dorcas, noting Minnie's maternal instincts, suggests she would make a good mother so, when Minnie finds a baby on her doorstep, she ...
It is harvest time at Lark Rise and all the families are working in the fields. However, a measles epidemic sweeps through the county and as the mothers must stay at home to look after the sick children, the harvest is in danger of being so delayed that it cannot be saved. Daniel, come to tell Laura that he is leaving to work in Cambridge, deliberately gives up his new job to stay on and organize isolation and to rally the people of Candleford to come to Lark Rise to act as field workers and nurses.
Mr. Reppington, a recluse staying at the Golden Lion hotel, asks Dorcas to administer a fund he has set up to help poor widows. He turns out to be William Bourne, a famous concert pianist who has now given up playing as he is mourning his childhood sweetheart, a Candleford girl whom he sacrificed for his career and who has recently died after years of marriage to another man. She and Minnie also prevail upon Ruby, who is leaving for Pontefract, to bid a proper farewell to Pearl rather than slipping away in the night.
Pegleg, a crippled Crimean War veteran, makes his annual pilgrimage to Lark Rise to beg and Daniel, setting up his new paper The Candleford Chronicle, plans to highlight the government's shameful treatment of him by denying him a war pension. Thomas feels inadequate after reading a self-help book whilst Alf lets a lovestruck Minnie down gently.
Sir Timothy is expected to visit Lark Rise from London to view the locals' mummers play but only Lady Adelaide shows up. The play goes ahead, with Queenie, who has temporarily left Twister to teach him a lesson, upstaging her husband, but afterwards Lady Adelaide confesses to Dorcas that she had a short fling, now over, with another man, causing a rift with Timothy. She assumed he had returned to Lark Rise to seek comfort with his old flame, Dorcas, hence her visit.
Pearl Pratt is struggling to maintain her business after Ruby's departure and is overjoyed when Enid, a brilliant seamstress, shows up in Candleford and works for her, revitalizing the shop. However, they fall out when Enid reveals she belongs to the Rational Dress Society, who oppose the wearing of corsets, and makes an oration outside the shop. Enid is also a runaway wife. Thomas and Daniel come to grief whilst playing conkers and Sidney goes to great lengths to prevent a goose being killed for Michaelmas.
After a visit to Oxford, where postmen work shorter, prescribed hours, Thomas strives to form a union but gets little help from his colleagues. Dorcas is patronizing. Margaret and Emma both step into the breach when the village schoolmistress is scared off by the rowdy children and both hope to get the post permanently. Neither is supported by her husband, Thomas being annoyed that Margaret sees the job as compensation for her childlessness and Robert believing Emma should look after the family.
Bessie Mullins,the biggest gossip in Lark Rise, points the finger at Daniel when her daughter Emily gets pregnant and refuses to name the father. She has no proof and nobody believes her until Minnie sees Daniel give Emily money. Dorcas discovers he was only acting as agent for the real father, son of Emily's wealthy employers who have sent him abroad in disgrace. Bessie apologizes to Daniel and, although considering returning the money as a gesture of defiance, decides it is better for the baby if she and Emily keep it. Twister sulks when Queenie sells his chair to ...
Fisher Bloom arrives in Candleford on his way to a commission in the nearby town of Inglestone. He is greeted with general hostility by the friends of Laura and Daniel and Laura explains she no longer loves him. Dorcas is looking forward to Mischief Night when the townsfolk play pranks on each other but is less happy when Fisher tells her his work in Inglestone is connected with the arrival of the railway there, which will divert postal services from Candleford, to her detriment.
As Fisher tells Daniel he is his love rival for Laura and Laura feels torn between the two boys, Dorcas makes an unwelcome discovery. In the light of the railway forcing new arrangements, Blakestone, the district manager and an old enemy of hers, wants to buy the Candleford post office for his son and will turn her out if she refuses. Daniel organizes a campaign to support her, backed by all in Lark Rise and Candleford. Minnie and Alf begin to walk out properly whilst adopting a gorgeous stray dog brings joy to the Browns.