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Southport

The Countryfile team visit the Merseyside coast around Southport. Matt Baker looks at the history of shrimping in the area, and Ellie Harrison visits a family potato farm.

The Countryfile team visit the Merseyside coast around Southport. Matt Baker looks at the history of shrimping in the area, and meets one of the last shrimpers to harvest the shellfish with a horse and cart. Matt meets the men who have restored an old shrimping cart found rotting in the basement of a museum. He helps make the last wheel before getting it back on the beach for one last chance to find shrimps.

Ellie Harrison is on a family potato farm as they sow the year's first crop, and she discovers why Lancashire is such a fertile farming area for potatoes. On the Fiddlers' farm she also finds out why they have diversified into making their own crisps, with a factory on the farm and the unique flavour of lancashire sauce.

Ellie also looks at the damage done by the winter storms last year. Many pine trees were felled by the high winds, but Ellie meets the apprentices learning how to turn the fallen trees into something more useful.

Presenter and keen amateur photographer Shauna Lowry is out with two brothers who are inspired by the seascapes in the area. We also hear from Antony Gormley about his standing men statues on Crosby beach and why he thinks it is the perfect landscape for them. The statues are now home to hundreds of barnacles. Shauna meets the scientist studying them and finds out which part of the statues they favour most.

Adam Henson looks at the technology of farming and eyes up some clever new bits of kit.

Over the last few decades there has been a dramatic decline in farmland birds across the UK. Tom Heap investigates the cause of their demise, and asks what we can do to bring them back.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 21 Apr 2014 02:30

Southport shrimping

Southport shrimping

Matt Baker is on the tranquil coastline of Southport on Merseyside searching for a local delicacy that’s hiding in the sand - the famous Southport shrimp. The easiest way to catch them is to go fishing with a local shrimper, like Christian Peet in his old Leyland tractor! In the industry’s heyday horse drawn carts would be used instead of tractors to pull the nets. The only traditional shrimping cart left in Southport is now on show at The Atkinson museum. This cart is being given a new lease of life thanks to local lad and master wheelwright Phill Gregson. Matt helps him create some new wooden wheels before the cart goes back to the beach for one last shrimping trip.

 

Find out more about the shrimp family

Coastal art and nature

Coastal art and nature

The vast open sands of the Sefton coastline have been inspiring artists for centuries. Shauna Lowry is a keen amateur wildlife photographer, so we asked her to grab her camera and see what she could make of Merseyside. To get a few tips Shauna meets artist Mike Collier, who uses colourful pastels to make his bold and graphic artwork, and his brother Tim Collier, a professional wildlife photographer. Twice a day the sea by Crosby beach reveals an internationally renowned man-made artwork, Sir Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’. This army of one hundred iron men silently stare out at the horizon. Since they were installed nearly 10 years ago the natural world has been slowly reclaiming them and these iron men have provided an unlikely new home for a special crustacean.

 

Find out more about Another Place

Springtime on the farm

Springtime on the farm

Adam Henson is busy at the moment tending to his ewes and lambs in the field. As the grass is still growing, he is feeding the flock with some fodder beet, a root crop that is high in carbohydrates and sugar. The arable crops on the farm are benefitting from the mild spring and while the weather is dry Adam's team are adding fertiliser. They use the latest technology to optimise crop productivity. On a neighbouring farm Adam then helps to manage a herd of Hereford cattle. After spending the winter months in the barns, finally it’s time to turn them out.

 

Springtime for British farmers

Storms and potatoes

Storms and potatoes

Potato farming had an inauspicious start in the north-west when a ship carrying a cargo of spuds ran aground off the Lancashire coast way back in the 17th century. Hundreds of years later, Ellie Harrison meets a family of third generation potato farmers who are expanding their business and manufacturing their own crisps. Ellie then heads to the coast to see the damage that winter storms did to the Sefton coastline. She discovers that a team of rangers is taking a positive approach to the destruction with an inclusion project that’s helping to repair parts of this battered coast.

Farmland bird decline

Farmland bird decline

In recent decades there has been a dramatic decline in farmland birds, partly due to more efficient agricultural methods. That decline has slowed in recent years but, despite most farmers carrying out conservation measures, numbers of birds - like the Turtle Dove and the Skylark - are still falling. Tom Heap investigates their decline and asks what more we could do to encourage bird life back into our fields.

 

Find out more about Skylarks

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Matt Baker
Presenter Ellie Harrison
Presenter Shauna Lowry
Presenter Adam Henson
Presenter Tom Heap
Series Producer Teresa Bogan

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