Countryfile comes from the snowy Yorkshire Dales. John Craven explores the historic ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, once home to Cistercian monks who would have farmed the land around the abbey. It is thought that the monks could have made the very first Wensleydale cheese with their own French recipe; John attempts to help make cheese on the site for the first time in more than 500 years.
Julia Bradbury goes on the hunt for Britain's native red squirrel. Few people know that Yorkshire is a red squirrel stronghold, but Julia meets a photographer who feeds the squirrels and regularly sees more than 20 a day from his hide in the forest.
Jules Hudson is also in the Dales, following in the footsteps of Britain's most famous vet, James Herriot. He goes out on the farm rounds with a young veterinary couple who specialise in large animal work.
Tom Heap investigates rural poverty, and Adam Henson is on his farm in the Cotswolds learning more about the rural folklores surrounding our weather.
John and the cheese making monks
John Craven explores the atmospheric ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, which was plundered and pillaged during the dissolution of the monasteries. Monks made it their home in the twelfth century, working the land and using ewes milk to make an early version of Wensleydale Cheese. John helps an artisan cheese maker revive the original recipe. Together they make history, creating cheese in the abbey’s grounds for the first time in more than five hundred years.
Julia and the red squirrels
Widdale is one of seventeen red squirrel conservation reserves in the north of England. These squirrels are threatened by the American grey variety which has taken over their habitats in many parts of the UK. So, great efforts are being made by local people to help the red squirrels to thrive and flourish. Julia Bradbury joins the newest group as it sees what can be done to make the reds feel at home. She also gets a lesson from a wildlife photographer. But can she snap more than a blurred tail as the bouncy creatures play in the snow.
Adam and the weatherman
After struggling to farm because of torrential rain and waterlogged fields, Adam Henson is now having to contend with freezing conditions. That means bringing out extra food for animals which can no longer eat grass hidden under the snow. So why has he had such a difficult year? Adam invites BBC weatherman John Hammond to his farm to explain the changing weather and to see if things are going to improve in the years to come?
The modern day Herriots
Veterinary surgeon, Alf Wight, is better known by his pen
name, James Herriot. He enthralled readers with his many tales of working in rural
Yorkshire during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Since then there have been major
advances in technology and medicine, so Jules Hudson sets out to discover if
the colourful characters of the novels can still be found in the area. He joins
a couple of real life vets as they traverse the Dales dealing with a variety of
animals, from pet border terriers to prize winning dairy cows.
Tom and the struggling farmers
Rising feed prices and terrible weather have made life difficult for farmers across the UK in the last 18 months. Tom Heap visits two farms that have been struggling to make money. On one he meets a cattle producer who has been forced to sell his prize-winning herd. On the other there’s a sheep farmer who is making no money at all from his livestock. Tom discovers that the aftershock of a difficult 2012 will also make life tough for farmers in 2013. He also finds mixed views on the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, which looks after the working conditions of farm workers.
IMAGE: Tom with sheep farmer Steve Wooldridge
Medieval stronghold, Bolton Castle, has looked out over Wensleydale since the fourteeth century . It has been in the same family for 600 years and now the current owner is attempting to bring back the kind of animals that would have been around in its heyday. Julia meets up with him as they feed the boar, which are now housed in the grounds. She also discovers what is being done to restore salmon to the River Ure, which runs through the estate and Wensleydale.
IMAGE: Julia with Tom Orde-Powlett
|Series Producer||Teresa Bogan|