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A Royal Appointment

In this special 25th anniversary edition of Countryfile, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is guest editor. The stories and locations featured reflect many rural issues that are close to his heart. Whether it's the plight of struggling hill farmers, apprenticeship schemes to encourage young people into farming, or innovative schemes to get school kids growing their own food, the Prince shares his passion for the countryside and the people in it.

The Countryfile team learn too of his love of hedgelaying, of farming, and of walking in the country, as we spend time privately with the Prince on his Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 18 Mar 2013 09:35

Hill farming

Hill farming

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. 


Find out more about the UTASS scheme


Discover more about the Prince's Countryside Fund


The Prince’s farm

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.

 

Prince of Wales & Jamie Oliver visit Carshalton Boys

Disability Access

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?


Find out more about the work of the Fieldfare Trust

Farm apprentices

Farm apprentices

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’?

  

Find out more about the Cumbria Hill Farm Succession Scheme


Hedgelaying

Hedgelaying

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.

  

Visit the National Hedgelaying Society website


Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterMatt Baker
PresenterJulia Bradbury
PresenterJulia Bradbury
PresenterJulia Bradbury
PresenterJohn Craven
PresenterJohn Craven
PresenterJohn Craven
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterAdam Henson
PresenterEllie Harrison
PresenterEllie Harrison
PresenterEllie Harrison
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan
Series ProducerTeresa Bogan
ParticipantHannah Cockroft
ParticipantHannah Cockroft
ParticipantHannah Cockroft

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