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Working Animals

Sean is in the Lake District taking a look at some of the jobs working animals do, and we take another look at working animals we’ve featured in the past.

Sean is in the Lake District taking a look at some of the jobs working animals do. He joins Cockermouth Mountain Rescue team to see search and rescue dogs in action and he meets 15 week old Jura, a Border Collie pup learning the ropes from the older dogs. Then he is off to see George Newton and his two Dales ponies, Charlie and George. They work the forests for timber as they are able to get to places that normal machinery cannot. But Sean is surprised to find that the biggest job is being done by the smallest creatures; beetles. Katy Dainton and her team at Forest Research are using a predatory beetle to attack the destructive spruce bark beetle which threatens thousands of trees in commercial plantations. We will also be going back through the archives to take another look at other working animals we have featured; including some laid back donkeys Matt spent time with on the Isle of Wight. The runner ducks that gave Anita the run-around in Norfolk. And the mallards that John saw munching their way through acres of pond weed at Blenheim palace.

56 minutes

Last on

Tue 27 Aug 2019 01:55

Mountain-rescue Dogs

Mountain-rescue Dogs
Sean meets the working dogs who could save your life - and he puts the skills of these mountain rescue pups to the test.With owner John Leadbetter and puppy Jura, Sean sees what it takes to train up these life-savers.So how good is an old-hand like Bute when it comes to a giant game of hide and seek...will Sean be tracked down by the end of the programme?

Pine Marten Sniffer Dog

Pine Marten Sniffer Dog

Ellie’s taking a woodland walk to track down the elusive pine marten – with the help of a sniffer dog that can smell their poo!

By pawing at suspected pine marten scat (or poo), black Labrador Luna helps expert Stuart Edmunds map their territory while any scat samples found are also DNA-tested to help determine the population’s genetic make-up.

And Stuart’s also got some exciting news for Ellie: his woodland cameras have recently captured footage of pine marten kit – the first evidence of breeding in the woodland! 

Horse-drawn Tram

Horse-drawn Tram

Joe Crowley is on the Isle of Man where he takes a trip back in time and jumps on board the world's oldest horse-drawn tram in Douglas. 

The trams were first introduced to take advantage of the booming tourist trade in Victorian times. 

Joe steps inside the stables and meets Mike Crellin who has been holding the reigns for 41 years.

But even with expert instruction, how will first-time tram driver Joe fair?

Dog and Duck

Dog and Duck

The Countryfile Team set Anita a little challenge - to up her rural credentials! 

Her mission is to learn how to herd ducks with dogs under the watchful eye of Stuart Barnes.

 This isn’t just a jolly though – Anita’s real test will be putting her skills into practice in front of a live audience at Countryfile Live.

Stuart uses rescue Collies to explain dog behaviour, dog-training and psychology. 

They show their skill by herding a flock of fast-moving flightless Indian Runner ducks that live with the dogs and are very used to them. 

They are also rescue animals.  Being male and skinny they can’t lay eggs and don’t make for good eating. But they do provide great entertainment!

Working Ducks

John visits Blenheim Palace to see how ducks are being put to work on the estate’s lakes.

Plagued by Canadian pondweed that threatened the natural ecosystem, the estate team called upon the help of mallard ducks to keep this weed in check.

John lends a hand as the latest 50 ducks are introduced to their new home.

Truffle Snuffler

Truffle Snuffler

Truffles are one of the world’s most expensive ingredients, and also one of the most mysterious. 

Now, with the help of a 170-year-old ‘living laboratory’ and a dog called Lucy, researchers at Cambridge University are studying the seasonal changes and productivity of the Burgundy truffle. 

Ellie joins Professor Ulf Büntgen and his dog Lucy on one of their hunts for truffles in the Cambridge Botanic Garden.

Donkey Power

Donkey Power

Matt meets up with one of the laziest residents of Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. 

Donkeys were used for centuries to draw water from the castle’s deep well by walking round a 360 degree treadmill.

These days Carisbrooke’s donkeys only do the very occasional turn drawing water for tourists, but only if you can get them to!

And, to be fair, Jack the donkey isn't really that keen. Who can blame him? Maybe Matt can do a better job!

Timber-lugging Ponies

Timber-lugging Ponies
Sean meets the Dales ponies making light work of lugging timber in the Lake District.The ponies have been drafted in to work the woods under the watchful eye of George Newton.George is here every day, chainsaw in hand, taking out trees marked for timber.It's then down to the ponies, Charlie and George, to haul the felled timber into the sunlight.But can Sean keep up?


Role Contributor
Presenter Sean Fletcher
Presenter Matt Baker
Presenter Anita Rani
Presenter John Craven
Series Producer Joanna Brame
Executive Producer Bill Lyons


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