Middleton-in-Teesdale, in County Durham, is a town close to the Prince’s heart. He first visited in 2002 in the aftermath of the Foot and Mouth crisis. It was then that he heard of the work of UTASS – Upper Teesdale Agriculture Support Services, a charity set up to help struggling hill farmers. And he liked what he saw. He gave them cash from The Prince’s Countryside Fund to help with expansion. But how has it made a difference? Ellie Harrison joins the Prince as he returns to see how UTASS is helping turn things round for the hill farmers of Teesdale.
Together they meet the Johnson family who’ve farmed the hills since 2000. But it’s a hard life. The terrain is tough. The weather can be harsh and there’s little money in it. For farmers like them it can be isolating, which is where UTASS comes in.
The Prince’s farm
The Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire has been the family home of the Prince of Wales for more than 30 years. Situated in the heart of the Cotswolds near Tetbury, the estate includes 1,100 acres of farmland, known as Duchy Home Farm.
The Prince himself refers to it as `Old MacDonald’s Farm’ because there’s a bit of everything. It’s a mix of arable and livestock, all run organically. Like any farm there are jobs to do all year round from harvesting in late summer to calving in winter – all managed by David Wilson. And, as Adam discovered, the Prince’s farm is just like his – with good days and bad.
Food for thought
This comprehensive school on one of the biggest council estates in Europe has an extraordinary story to tell. In the last couple of years the exam results have gone from a 4% pass rate to 100% – and a lot of that success is put down to food.
And it’s impressed the Prince. Matt Baker joined him as he paid a visit to the school to see for himself how growing it, cooking it and eating it is improving the lot for the pupils of Carshalton Boys Sports College in London.
The Paralympics went down a storm and our disabled athletes brought home the gold. But it’s one thing thrashing round an athletics track in a wheelchair and quite another going for a day out in the country.
It’s reckoned that less than 1% of our footpaths are fully accessible to disabled people. So John hooked up with double gold medal winning Paralmypian Hannah Cockroft to put our countryside to the test. Was it a winner or was it stuck on the starting line?
Adam Henson follows in the footsteps of Lord Alan Sugar as he goes to Cumbria in search of the farming apprentices. They’re the farmers of the future, like Martin Halliday and Amy Harrison, who are both aged 20 and on a special scheme to get into the industry.
And the industry needs them. The average age of hill farmers is pushing 60, so the Hill Farm Succession Scheme was set up to bring in young blood. Adam finds out what the apprenticeship has taught Martin and Amy and hears their hopes for the future. Will they be `hired” or “fired’?
It’s the day of the big competition. They’ve come from all over the UK with their billhooks and their sharp axes. Their mission? To lay 10 yards of perfect hedge. Hedgelaying is one of the Prince’s biggest passions and his Highgrove Estate is hosting the annual competition.
But they’re not all hotshot hedgelayers here, Matt and Adam have joined the ranks and are going head to head. Meanwhile Julia is off getting some private instruction from the Prince and she finds out he’s no mean hedgelayer himself.
- Series Producer
- Teresa Bogan
- Matt Baker
- Julia Bradbury
- John Craven
- Adam Henson
- Ellie Harrison
- Prince Charles
- Hannah Cockroft