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Duration: 1 hour

Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head for Northern Ireland on a journey that takes them from the windswept Antrim Coast to the ancient forests of the Lagan Valley near Belfast.

Plus, 10 years after the worst outbreak of foot and mouth in living memory, John Craven asks what would happen if the disease broke out today?

Adam Henson takes to the streets of Stow-on-the-Wold to model a suit made from home-grown wool. He's accompanied by the real stars of the show - some of the sheep which provided the raw material.

Last on

Thu 24 Feb 2011 00:05 BBC One Northern Ireland only

See all previous episodes from Countryfile

  • Adam’s Wool Crusade

    Adam’s Wool Crusade

    Countryfile’s Adam Henson hits the streets of Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire's Cotswolds to show off his brand new threads - and some of the animals that provided the wool to make them! The suit he’s wearing came from the wool sheared from rare breeds sheep which was then spun, woven into cloth and finally made into a suit on Savile Row – the street in London’s Mayfair famous all over the world for its bespoke tailoring. Since Adam revealed that he gets just £1.50 a fleece from his flock of rare breeds, he’s been on a crusade to try and put British wool back on the map. Where better to start than in Stow, where driving sheep through the streets was once commonplace? When the Cotswold wool industry was at its peak the town was famous for it's huge annual fairs where as many as 20,000 sheep were sold at one time. Picture courtesy of the Gloucestershire Echo.

  • How British Wool Is Making A Comeback

    How British Wool Is Making A Comeback

    After years of decline, the British wool industry is fighting back. BBC Breakfast's Jenny Hill reports on how exports are on the way up.

    Click here to see Jenny's report
  • Foot and Mouth: What If It Happened Today?

    Foot and Mouth: What If It Happened Today?

    Ten years after the most devastating outbreak of foot and mouth disease to hit the UK in living memory, John Craven asks what would happen if the disease struck again today? In this special investigation Countryfile uses dramatisation to recreate what would happen on a farm where foot and mouth was discovered. Farmer Tom Rosedale, played by actor Clive Hawley (pictured above), is at the centre of the outbreak, his business brought to a standstill as the authorities move in. But how quickly would they react to contain the disease and what lessons have we learned from 2001? John meets the man who would be at the helm of the operation – the chief vet Nigel Gibbens who says we would react very differently today. But David Handley from Farmers For Action argues the Government is no more prepared for an outbreak today than it was a decade ago.

    All you need to know about foot and mouth disease
  • Ellie On Rathlin Island

    Ellie On Rathlin Island

    Ellie Harrison explores Rathlin Island off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The island, which lies just six miles from the Isle Of Mull in Scotland, has a colourful history. The Scottish King Robert the Bruce is said to have taken refuge here in 1306 when he was driven from Scotland by Edward 1 of England. When he was on Rathlin, it is said that he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Robert the Bruce took heart from the spider's efforts, raised fresh forces and returned to Scotland to fight for his kingdom. He too, eventually succeeded and in 1314, regained the crown of Scotland. Today around 100 people live on the island which is renowned for its spectacular cliff top walkways, caves and wildlife.

    Click here to learn more about Rathlin
  • Rathlin’s Golden Hares

    Rathlin’s Golden Hares

    Rathlin might be home to Northern Ireland’s biggest seabird colony but Ellie visits the island to find its most elusive inhabitant. Ellie joins island resident Tom McDonnell to search for the golden hare which exists nowhere else in the world. Tom’s an expert at tracking them down and took this photograph on one of his of one of his recent walks. A weird genetic quirk has produced these golden-coloured mammals which are much lighter coloured than all the rest. One theory is that they only survive here because there are no predators. Others think that it is a natural colour for an animal that survives by speed, not camouflage. So will Ellie manage to spot this almost mythical animal? Find out by watching this week’s Countryfile.

    Click here to learn more about the ‘golden’ hare.
  • Lagan Valley Horse Power

    Lagan Valley Horse Power

    Matt heads to the Lagan Valley near Belfast to help plant oak saplings and get involved in woodland management. The foresters here use heavy horses to move logs so that there is little damage to the forest floor. The horses also have the advantage of being able to use trails that would be impossible for vehicles to negotiate. Some of the oak trees in the forest are more than 400 years old. The larch are being cleared to make room for beach trees to let more light in.

    Click here to learn more about the Lagan Valley
  • Down In The Valley

    Down In The Valley

    Matt meets Jo Boylan, a volunteer and education officer at Lagan Valley Regional Park.

  • Hurling in Belfast

    Hurling in Belfast

    Ellie and Matt head to Casement Park, the principal Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland to learn about the traditional game of hurling. The game has prehistoric origins and has been played for at least 3,000 years. Local school children demonstrate how the game is played as Matt and Ellie slog it out to see who can hit the ball – known as a sliotar – the hardest and fastest. The professionals can hit it up to 93 miles per hour! Ellie uses a hurl she’s made with a local ‘hurlmaker’ from locally grown ash.

    All about hurling
  • Ellie Takes A Swing

    Ellie Takes A Swing

    Ellie tries her hand at hurling at the legendary Casement Park Stadium in Belfast.

  • Patterson Spade Mill

    Patterson Spade Mill

    Patterson Spade Mill in County Antrim still uses traditional methods to craft steel spades. Matt Baker feels the heat as he learns from an old master how to make his own spade at the only surviving water-driven mill of its kind in Northern Ireland. It's now run by the National Trust but it is still fully operational. So skilled were the men who knew how to make the 171 different designs of spade that the techniques were closely guarded family secrets. Matt watches as the red-hot billets of steel are removed from the forge and fashioned into spades using the mill’s massive trip-hammer. All of the original machinery is intact and the mill is still producing garden and turf-cutting spades on a daily basis.

    Click here to learn more about the mill


Series Producer
Teresa Bogan
Matt Baker
Ellie Harrison
John Craven
Adam Henson
Executive Producer
Andrew Thorman


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