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West Yorkshire

Ellie Harrison joins one of Britain's best poets, Simon Armitage, on a yomp across the snowy moors. Matt Baker visits a farm run by volunteers with wildlife in mind.

Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker are in West Yorkshire where Ellie joins one of Britain's best poets, Simon Armitage, on a yomp across the snowy moors. She's following the Stanza Stones trail - a series of rocks with verses written by Simon carved upon them. Matt visits a farm run by volunteers where they are farming with wildlife in mind. Joe Crowley tells the tale of the Cragg Vale Coiners, an outlaw band responsible for one of the biggest counterfeiting crimes in history. Adam visits a farm where they are using French percheron heavy horses to work the land. Plus, the first of the Food and Farming Awards packages.

Tom Heap visits a state-of-the-art laboratory at Pirbright that will soon become our first line of defence against a host of exotic diseases that target farm animals, horses - and even humans.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 9 Feb 2015 02:35

Stanza stones

Stanza stones

The Stanza Stones Project is a collaboration, between Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage and the Ilkley Literature Festival, devised to get people into the landscape and inspired to write. Six poems were carved into the rock on a 47 mile trail that takes in the best scenery West Yorkshire has to offer. Ellie Harrison meets Simon at the Snow stone in Marsden, the trail starting point and finds out how water in its different forms has inspired his poetry. Ellie later goes underground to find out how Standedge Tunnel, played an essential role in the regions development during the Industrial Revolution.

Visit the Standedge Tunnel & Visitor Centre

Farm restoration

Farm restoration

Matt Baker heads to Stirley Community Farm on the edge of the Pennines. This 240 acre working farm is run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The Trust aims to get pastoral farming working with wildlife. It will take years, but the aim is to make Stirley Farm a glorious piece of wildlife-rich British countryside and an example to farming across the whole of pastoral Britain. Matt learns what the farm was like before the Trust took over four years ago and sees everything that’s been achieved in that time. Joining workers and volunteers Matt mucks in, from bedding down cattle to DIY. Then it’s time to use the farm’s vegetables to make winter soup with some local schoolchildren.

Find out more about Stirley Farm

Yorkshire coiners

Yorkshire coiners

Back in the late 1700s Cragg Vale was the setting for one of the most audacious financial crimes in history. Counterfeit gold coins, forged by a criminal gang on an industrial scale, were at the heart of it. The criminals clipped the edges of gold guineas and made new gold coins from the clippings. The gang was called the Cragg Vale Coiners and their leader was known as ‘King’ David Hartley. Joe Crowley, meets a direct descendant of ‘King’ David, has a go at making gold coins and finds out how the criminal gang was finally brought to justice.  

Find out more about the Yorkshire Coiners

Percheron horses

Percheron horses

Adam is travelling back in time to get a taste of some traditional farming methods with a modern twist. Robert Sampson breeds and trains Percheron horses on his Hampshire farm. Originally used to pull artillery guns during World War One, he now uses this breed to manage his 265 acre farm. As Adam discovers, Robert adapts traditional and modern day farming equipment and that enables him and his family to continue farming using the horses.

Find out more about Percheron Horses

Ellie tries stone carving

Ellie travels part of the Stanza Stones poetry trail taking in West Yorkshire’s breathtaking landscape. On a frozen Ilkley Moor, by the Puddle stone, Ellie meets stone carver Pip Hall who spent a year carving the stanza stone poems. Ellie tries her hand at carving before continuing her journey down the moor towards the last stone on the trail, Beck. She then meets young poet Poppy Turner, whose poetry was inspired by the project and won her a national award.

Find out more about the Stanza Stones Project

Blue Tongue threat

Blue Tongue threat

Tom Heap investigates predictions from scientists that the disease, Blue Tongue, could reach British shores again this year – and asks whether we are ready to combat it. Tom gets special access to a new research centre at The Pirbright Institute – a world-leading centre for research into diseases that affect animals. Here he finds out how a warming climate could bring fresh threats to the UK – not just blue tongue, but a variety of different diseases that can affect farm animals, horses and even humans. 

Find out more about the work at The Pirbright Institute


Role Contributor
Presenter Matt Baker
Presenter Ellie Harrison
Presenter Tom Heap
Presenter Adam Henson
Executive Producer William Lyons
Series Producer Joanna Brame