Ten years on from the fox hunting ban, Matt Baker visits the oldest pack of foxhounds in the country and Tom Heap hears from people on both sides of the debate.
Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker are in Gloucestershire looking at life in the county ten years on from the hunting ban. Matt visits the oldest pack of foxhounds in the country and finds out that the best way to exercise them is to jump on a bike and pedal like mad! He also helps carry out a health check on the deer at Berkeley Castle. Ellie visits the new services on the M5 and finds how they're redefining motorway services for the 21st century. She then meets the local producers supplying the services with gourmet food products.
John Craven takes a look at Woodchester Mansion, a relic of Victorian architecture which was never finished but is now home to rare horseshoe bats. Tom Heap takes a look at the pros and cons of the hunting ban and hears from people on both sides of the debate. And Adam's rounding up sheep on the sand dunes in Merseyside.
Ten years since the hunting ban in England and Wales started, Matt Baker heads to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire’s Severn Vale, one of the country’s oldest traditional family estates. He meets Henry Berkeley who inherited the role of Master of Foxhounds from his father and is an expert on the breed. Henry introduces Matt to the newest generation of hounds, the pack’s three-week old puppies, and explains the traits that define the ideal foxhound. The pack needs plenty of exercise so Matt and Henry get on their bikes to take the dogs out for a run around the estate.
The hunting ban
A decade after it came into force, Tom Heap asks what impact the ban on hunting with packs of dogs has had. He meets the Beaufort Hunt, who now chase a scented lure rather than a live fox. They want the law scrapped, partly because they say it is far too easy to accidentally break it. Tom also meets a farmer who says the Hunting Act has stopped him controlling the local fox population – which regularly kills his sheep. Those opposed to hunting want the law changed too. Although the League Against Cruel Sports believe the ban has helped the welfare of foxes, they believe that the law is still being broken and would like to see traditional hunts banned altogether.
Much has changed across Gloucestershire in the past decade and Ellie Harrison is visiting one of the latest additions to the county’s rural economy. At the new Gloucester services along the M5 motorway she meets Sarah Dunning, daughter of a farming family who set up the services in an effort to bring local produce to commuters from all over the UK. Ellie learns how the services aim to do things differently, from the environmental credentials of the building itself to making sausages with the services’ on-site butcher.
John Craven visits the stunning Woodchester Mansion, a Victorian gothic masterpiece hidden away in a valley near Stroud. He explores the building, which has stood incomplete since the builders downed tools in 1873. John discovers how the building is being used to the advantage of the next generation of master stonemasons, who get to practice their craft on this living Victorian blueprint. John also meets renowned bat expert Dr Roger Ransome, who shows him that although it was never lived in by people, the mansion today is home to endangered bats.
The dune sheep
The Ainsdale sand dunes in Merseyside are a national nature reserve and maintaining this unique environment is vital for conservation. A large flock of Herdwick sheep graze the dunes here and this helps maintain a perfect habitat for lots of rare and unusual species such as natterjack toads and sand lizards. The sheep need moving regularly to different areas along the dunes. It’s a challenging environment for a working dog though and Adam offers to lend a hand with Peg, his border collie, something she has never done before.
Ellie visits one of the 130 producers across the county who supply the Gloucester Services with all manner of local food. She travels to Cinderhill Farm in the Forest of Dean to meet smallholders Deborah and Neil Flint. They started the farm just 4 years ago, doing everything by hand with the help of their neighbours. Ellie meets their rare breed British Saddleback pigs and lends a hand in the onsite “Pie House” making the unusual wild boar sausage rolls that have secured the farm’s future.
Whitcliff Deer Park
Not far from the Berkeley Kennels is the family’s medieval deer park, one of just a few that still remain in the hands of the family who founded it. Whitcliff is home to 300 Red and Fallow deer, all direct descendants of the animals originally enclosed back in the 14th century when the park provided food for the family. Matt hops on a quad bike to help park keeper Ricky Coombes with his daily rounds feeding the deer. He is captivated by the spectacular sight of the herd running together across the park.
|Executive Producer||William Lyons|
|Series Producer||Joanna Brame|