13/01/2013

Image for 13/01/2013Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour

Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury head to the Hertfordshire countryside. Julia finds out how a super food is providing the perfect habitat for shrimp. She gets up early to catch a glimpse of one of our rarest birds feasting on them. Matt meets the county's finest flyball teams before putting his own dog - Annie - through her paces on one of their courses. He also joins the rural special constables helping local police stamp out crime.

Hertfordshire constabulary aren't the only ones trying to maintain law and order in the countryside; officers across Britain have got their hands full tackling crime against wildlife, as Tom Heap discovers. On his Cotswold farm, Adam is busy moving some rather feisty ponies. Also, he reveals the person named Farmer of the Year in the BBC's Food and Farming Awards.

  • Matt on the beat

    Rural Specials

    Crime is on the increase in our countryside, but local communities are fighting back.  Hertfordshire was the first county in the UK to introduce ‘Rural Special Constables’ - volunteers specifically tasked with tackling rural crime. Matt Baker meets the men and women giving up their time to help maintain law and order in their rural community. He discovers they are on the frontline in the fight against crimes like fly tipping, diesel theft and animal cruelty.


    Find out more about Rural Special Constables

  • Wildlife crime

    Tom with eagle

    Tom Heap discovers that there’s a problem with wildlife crime, not just in Hertfordshire but right across the UK. Every year thousands of incidents are reported, from poisoned birds to baited badgers. Staffordshire police are keen to tackle the problem and they allow Countryfile to join them on the hunt for deer poachers around Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. But, as Tom finds out, questions are being asked nationally about how effective the fight against wildlife crime actually is. Should organisations like the police, the RSPCA and the RSPB should get more money – and stronger legal backing – as they hunt the criminals killing our wild animals?


    Find out more about tackling wildlife crime in Staffordshire

  • Hertfordshire naturalist

    Julia Tring museum
    Julia Bradbury is walking in the footsteps of a Victorian aristocrat who made Hertfordshire his home and playground. Lionel Walter Rothschild’s passion for exotic wildlife saw him bring thousands of animals specimens to the county in the 19th century. Most of these were destined to be stuffed and put on display in a collection that now forms the Natural History Museum at Tring. However, Walter and other Victorians also held collections of live animals in private menageries. Julia then goes on the trail of one animal, introduced by wealthy Victorians, that has since escaped and is on the increase across the country, the black squirrel.

    Help record black squirrels in your area
  • Elephants in the snow

    Elephant in the snow

    Over the border in Bedfordshire, Katie Knapman meets more of the unusual animals that have found a home in this part of the UK. Whipsnade Zoo is home to a group of Asian elephants who enjoy nothing more than a good ramble through the Chilterns, even in the snow. It turns out that a trunk is the perfect tool for making snowballs! It’s not all fun and games though, the zoo also maintains a valuable area of chalk grassland, designated as a site of special scientific interest. Katie also meets the zoo’s newest recruits - a herd of badger faced sheep whose grazing habits help keep this rare habitat healthy.

     

    Find out more about the Asian elephant

  • Lemsford Springs

    Julia Watercress

    Hidden away just a few hundred metres from the A1 in Hertfordshire, is a secret sanctuary for some of the UK’s rarest birds. Lemsford Springs was once a watercress bed, providing vital vitamins for the population of nearby London. Now, this watercress is the basis for a thriving ecosystem. Freshwater shrimp feeding on the watercress provide an easy meal for birds such as the little egret and green sandpiper. Julia Bradbury mucks in with a work party of volunteers whose hard work has helped maintain this site, even in the coldest winter weather.

     

    Find out more about the green sandpiper
  • The flyball challenge

    Matt and his lab

    While Julia and Katie look for exotic wildlife, Matt’s finding out how even our most well-known pets could be harbouring hidden talents. He meets Mitch, a springer spaniel with a busy lifestyle. Mitch works as part of a search and rescue team and Matt lends him a helping hand with some valuable training. Mitch’s work as a search dog leaves him in need of some serious playtime and he likes nothing more than a game of Flyball, a canine sport imported from the USA in the 1990s. There are now hundreds of teams in the UK and some of the best are in Hertfordshire. Matt has brought his own Labrador, Annie, along to get her basic training. Will she have what it takes to run alongside some of the top dogs in the UK?


    Find a flyball club near you

  • Adam and the stubborn rams

    Adam and rams

    At the start of another farming year, Adam Henson is preparing for the year ahead. His rams have finished their work, as most of his ewes are pregnant. It is now time to move the rams to new pastures where they will spend the spring and summer gaining weight ready for another mating season in the autumn. Last year Adam was a judge for the ‘BBC Farmer of the Year 2012’ and this week he announces the winner at the BBC Food and Farming Awards that took place in November 2012.

     

    Find out more about the ‘BBC Farmer of the Year’

Credits

Presenter
Matt Baker
Presenter
Matt Baker
Presenter
Matt Baker
Presenter
Julia Bradbury
Presenter
Julia Bradbury
Presenter
Julia Bradbury
Presenter
Tom Heap
Presenter
Tom Heap
Presenter
Tom Heap
Presenter
Adam Henson
Presenter
Adam Henson
Presenter
Adam Henson
Series Producer
Teresa Bogan
Series Producer
Teresa Bogan
Series Producer
Teresa Bogan

Broadcasts

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