John’s dolphin exclusive!
John Craven heads to one of the deepest parts of the North Sea in search of the mysterious white-beaked dolphin. Little is known about the creatures but as John travels to the Farne Deeps the spectacular athleticism and curiosity of the species is revealed. Countryfile gets exclusive access to never-before-seen underwater footage of them in UK waters as well as finding out about the science behind the study of the mammals.
The debate over the growing of genetically modified crops has been hugely controversial in the UK. But the development of British GM animals has gone relatively unnoticed. Tom Heap travels to the Roslin Institute in Scotland to meet ‘Pig 26’ the first farm animal in the UK to have its genes edited. Scientists hope that this method will help them create animals that are resistant to diseases such as African swine fever, avian flu and even foot & mouth. But, as Tom discovers, this pioneering work has led to concerns about the future of British farm animals.
Bronze Age secrets revealed
Historical secrets are being unearthed in Northumberland and it’s all down to the power of the sea. Coastal erosion at Druridge Bay has uncovered a Bronze Age burial ground and it’s a race against time for archaeologists to excavate the site before it slips into the water forever. The pounding waves have also exposed an ancient forest floor in which human and animal footprints have been preserved. John discovers how the sea can be an archaeologist’s friend and foe.
IMAGE: John helps archaeologist Philippa Cockburn excavate the burial site
Ellie, oysters and terns
Nestling in the Solent are colonies of some of Britain’s more reclusive wildlife. To the west of Portsmouth lies Fareham Creek – an estuarine mudflat, home to the native oyster. Ellie Harrison is venturing across the cloying mud with Hampshire Wildlife Trust as they survey the oysters, identifying and marking their most common locations in the hope of designating the area as a Marine Conservation Zone. On the other side of the city lies Langstone Harbour, where the native oysters were once farmed and sent to London for fine dining. Ellie meets the RSPB who are making the most of the old oyster beds as a breeding ground for Little Terns.
Combine harvester graveyard
In a field in Northumberland lie the rusting remains of 350 combine harvesters. But this is a profitable business for farmer John Manners who strips them down and sells the parts all over Europe. John meets the self-proclaimed ‘Combine Undertaker’ to find out what started him off on this strange form of farm diversification. But what’s the going rate for old combines?
Making hay while the sun shines
Adam Henson looks back at a tough year for farmers. The wet and cold conditions - followed by heavy snow in April - are still affecting his animals and crops. When the July sunshine finally arrived it couldn’t have come a moment to soon. But there has been a silver lining. There is usually only a small window in which hay is at its ideal stage for harvesting and this year the hot and sunny conditions were perfect. Adam manages to bale enough to fill his stores, which will feed his animals throughout winter. It is not just the grassland that benefitted from these conditions. The arable crops flourished, which is just what is needed as harvest is approaching.
- John Craven
- Tom Heap
- Adam Henson
- Series Producer
- Teresa Bogan
- Ben Burville