The Countryfile team visits the rural county of Wiltshire. Matt Baker looks at the pig industry. The county has a long and proud history with the animal, and Matt visits a farm containing the oldest pedigree herd of pigs in the country. They are Tamworths, and Matt helps out with the piglets who are just a few days old. He also sees how the meat from the pigs is cured and smoked.
Jules Hudson is at one of Help for Heroes' recovery centres at Tedworth House, meeting some of the servicemen who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses whilst serving their country. He sees how working in the countryside helps in their recovery and also helps set them up with skills for a career outside the forces.
Julia Bradbury is in Cambridgeshire looking at the birds that call the UK home in the winter months. She heads to Ely with urban birder David Lindo to see what they can find in the city, before heading to Welney Wetland Centre to feed the swans who have made the long journey from colder climes.
With huge swathes of our countryside under water, Tom Heap asks whether rural areas are being sacrificed so our towns and cities can keep dry.
Down on the farm, Adam finds out about a parasite that is affecting cattle, including some of his own.
Pigs and Wiltshire
Pigs are big business in Wiltshire and Matt Baker is finding out why. He discovers the secrets behind the county’s famous cured bacon and ham and meets the oldest pedigree pig herd in the country - rare breed Tamworths. There’s even a family tree to prove it. Matt has certainly fallen for the latest generation. With 24 breeding sows, owner Caroline Wheatley-Hubbard has plenty of hungry piglets - some of them just a few days old.
Jules at Tedworth House
In the heart of the Wiltshire countryside is Tedworth House - a recovery centre run by Help for Heroes in partnership with the Ministry of Defence. The residents are working to overcome the twin traumas of their injury or illness and dealing with a military career cut short. Through working with nature in the 30 acres of woodland, the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust teaches them skills to equip them for the future. Jules Hudson hears the inspirational story of Corporal Michael Day who was blown up during a routine patrol in Afghanistan. Thanks to Michael’s experience here he now has a whole new career to look forward to teaching outdoor and woodland skills.
Record amounts of rainfall in parts of the country, severe flood warnings, storm surges and high winds - the recent weather has taken its toll leaving large areas of our countryside underwater for weeks. Tom Heap visits two of the worst affected areas – the Somerset Levels and Berkshire. He’s meeting residents, business owners and a farmer to find out how daily life is being disrupted by the extreme wet. Tom also asks the question – are rural areas being sacrificed to protect our towns and cities?
Julia Bradbury’s doing a spot of winter birdwatching. First she meets The Urban Birder, David Lindo, who likes nothing better than looking for our feathered friends in towns and cities – places such as Ely in Cambridgeshire. Julia then heads across the border to Norfolk where thousands of swans make the Welney Wetland Centre their home for the winter.
Adam’s microscopic nightmare
There’s a microscopic menace that’s quietly infecting livestock. It’s called Neospora and is the most common cause of bovine abortion in the UK. There are no obvious symptoms for an infected cow, but looks can be deceiving as Adam Henson has been finding out on his farm. The Neospora parasite is passed from cows to their calves or spread by dog poo, but it’s so tiny that you need a microscope to see it. Adam visits Dr Damer Blake at the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire to find out more and it’s not good news for his own cattle who have been infected.
Pork and lardy cake
In the 1800s Wiltshire became a historic hub for processing pork as pigs were walked from Bristol to market in London. On his journey tracing the meat from farm to fork, Matt brushes up on his butchery skills. But it’s not all bacon and ham - there’s cake too. Pig fat makes great lard and master baker Richard Marshall goes to work producing traditional Wiltshire lardy cake.
|Series Producer||Teresa Bogan|