Countryfile is in Shropshire. Its countryside is rich picking for some of Britain's finest homegrown foods. Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to the small market town of Ludlow for its annual food and drink festival. This place is up there with the best when it comes to all things local. Matt samples a few delights on offer at the festival, and he meets the farmer putting the county's native breed of sheep back on the culinary map. Meanwhile, Ellie finds out how rare breed pigs are giving our continental cousins a run for their money, and doing their bit for conservation too.
Elsewhere, Tom Heap looks at the threat that non-native invasive species are posing to British plants and wildlife - and even to our own houses. But, as he discovers, some home-grown species also seem to be upsetting the delicate balance of flora and fauna in the countryside. And Adam is in Wales catching up with two sheep dog handlers representing Wales in this year's One Man and His Dog competition.
The Ludlow Food Festival
This week Matt Baker is visiting the small medieval market town of Ludlow for its 19th annual Food Festival. The festival is thought to be one of the oldest of its kind in the UK and Ludlow has been home to food markets since the 12th century. Matt meets local Michelin starred chef Will Holland to find out how and why the town has become so renowned for its culinary produce.
Ellie and the woodland pigs
Ellie Harrison has her own adventure in the culinary county of Shropshire when she meets the rather unusual inhabitants of the Wyre Forest - pigs! Used to help manage the Forestry Commission woodland, Sally and Jeremy Levell’s rare breed pigs also provide great meat for salami to rival our continental neighbours.
Tom investigates invasive species
We often hear about the destructive impact that plants and animals from other countries can have on the British countryside, but how bad is the problem really? Tom Heap investigates the issues caused by foreign invasive species, including the infamous Japanese Knotweed. He discovers that although the cost of dealing with these foreign foes is well over a billion pounds every year only a minority of plants and animals from overseas are actually causing problems. Tom also asks whether we are overlooking the native invasive species, such as bracken and brambles, which are also having an impact on the natural world.
Matt and the Shropshire sheep
Shropshire is home to some of the best produce in the UK and during his visit Matt gets the chance to find out more about one of the UK’s oldest breeds of livestock, the Shropshire sheep. He helps raddle Special Agent, a ram with an important job to do. Raddling means putting a colour block on the front of a ram, which leaves a distinctive mark on all the sheep they’ve tupped. He also finds out about the Shropshire’s unique qualities that are making it stand out from the crowd. Back at the Ludlow Food Festival Matt hones his butchery skills as he prepares some Shropshire lamb chops to cook up with the help of an army chef.
Shropshire’s historic fruit
Just down the road from the busy and bustling Ludlow Food Festival, Ellie visits the home of an historic fruit, the Shropshire Prune damson. She meets damson enthusiast Catherine Moran to find out more about this little-known fruit. Then, alongside local chef David Jaram, Ellie learns how the damson can be used in modern day cuisine by helping prepare some rather unusual delicacies ready for the festival.
James and the jewel of York
James Wong is making a visit to York to find out why one of our native species of beetle is under threat. The Tansy beetle, once widespread throughout the UK, is on the brink of extinction having been confined to just one small stretch of the River Ouse. James is learning about this precious beetle and meeting a group of locals to see what they’re doing to preserve its remaining habitat.
|Series Producer||Teresa Bogan|