Countryfile travels to Yorkshire and the Humber, a dynamic landscape where expansive skies take in views over its low-lying countryside and its dramatic coastline.
Matt Baker is out on the Humber estuary. When the tide retreats it reveals a large expanse of saltmarsh and mudflats; beneath it, a banquet awaits the thousands of wading birds that flock here. But to make sure there is enough food for them, the marsh has to be managed. Matt finds out about a new project that has been set up which brings together farming and conservation. Also, he visits an agricultural college where the girls are giving the boys a run for their money when it comes to farming.
It's not just the coastline that is a rich breeding ground for wildlife; Julia Bradbury discovers it can be found in the most unlikely of places. Leconfield is an MOD defence school for transport. It is here that military personnel learn how to drive combat vehicles; but away from the track, a small army of volunteers are doing their bit for nature. Julia joins them on a night-time operation looking for deer.
Wildflowers were once a common sight in the British landscape, but in less than 70 years more than 95% of them have disappeared. Tom Heap finds out why. Down on the farm, Adam helps a friend buy a herd of Hereford cattle.
Julia’s military mission
Julia Bradbury is on a military mission at the MOD in Leconfield. Home to the Defence School of Transport, every driver deployed in Afghanistan is trained here, and today one of their instructors will be putting Julia through her paces. As well as training our servicemen the site is home to a very different sort of operation altogether - the ongoing efforts to maintain a thriving wildlife habitat. With over 700 acres of land it is a tough job to maintain this conservation landscape, but the military are doing exactly that. With the help of the RAF and the MOD Julia will be on the hunt for the near-extinct Turtle Dove. She is also taking part in a nighttime survey to spot the rather elusive deer population on site.
Matt on the Humber
Matt Baker is visiting the Humber Estuary this week to learn more about our next generation of young farmers. With women now making up around a fifth of all farmers Matt visits an agricultural college in Beverley to meet twins Victoria and Elizabeth Appleyard. With no history of farming in their family Matt finds out why they have embarked on a career in agriculture and gives them a helping hand in preparation for their annual show. 26 miles down the road on a saltmarsh on the banks of the Humber, Matt is finding out how an innovative project is aiming to unite agriculture and conservation by loaning land to young farmers. Matt meets Jack Johnson who is learning the benefits of grazing his flock of Bluefaced Leicester and Swaledale sheep on conservation land.
In the last seventy years more than 95% of British wildflower meadows have disappeared. That’s not only taken much of the colour out of our landscape, it is also disturbing a food chain that supports a huge array of plants and animals. This week Tom asks how we can reverse this ‘quiet catastrophe’. He joins one of the founders of the charity Plantlife to discover the huge potential for roadside verges as habitats for wild flowers. It’s a potential they are already starting to realise in Devon. Then Tom heads to Wandsworth to discover how urban areas can be transformed too. Here he finds experts from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew who want communities to become involved in their campaign to create more habitats for wild flowers, ‘Grow Wild’.
Adam and the Herefords
This week on Adam Henson’s farm the fine weather finally means that his crops are starting to flourish. So he is out in his fields checking on their progress. Adam is then out and about on the hunt for some Hereford cattle. Unusually he has a very rare opportunity to buy not just one or two of these wonderful beasts but a whole herd of over twenty cattle - from a Herefordshire farmer who has been breeding them for over forty years. But as much as Adam would like to keep them for himself – the herd is not for his farm.
|Series Producer||Teresa Bogan|