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Today, I am on a journey through the heart of East Anglia.
Below me these vast swathes of fertile land have seen a huge amount
of change over the centuries.
From the green roots of agriculture, to the sport of kings.
My journey begins high in the sky above Tibenham airfield.
I'll travel along an ancient Roman road before ascending
into the trees of Thetford Forest.
I'll stop at Lynford, visit the strange landscape of Grime's Graves
before racing on to my final destination,
the famous turf at Newmarket.
Along the way, I'll be looking back at the very best
of the BBC's rural programmes from this part of the country.
This is Country Tracks.
I can't explain just how magical it is
to be soaring thousands of feet above the patchwork of fields below.
It really is the most awesome way to see this county.
Known as the bread basket of England, East Anglia grows a quarter of the country's wheat,
a third of its potatoes and over half its sugar beet crop.
Little wonder that it has the largest agricultural workforce in the country.
Now that's Thetford Forest just below me.
A little later in the programme, I'll be exploring the canopy a little closer to the ground.
Straddling the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk,
Thetford Forest is the largest lowland pine forest in Britain.
Below me is a working landscape.
It's provided an income for British people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
But in recent times, less and less Brits have been inclined
to follow the seasonal work as Tom Heap found out back in 2004.
I've been pressed into service on this asparagus grading line.
I'm trying to get the right thickness into the right crate,
so thinner ones in there, thicker ones in that one there.
Everybody in this room is from overseas, mostly Bulgaria and Poland, and this is just
one production line on one farm, of one kind of vegetable.
What's happening here in the summer is repeated across Britain.
But with 1.5 million people unemployed within this country,
why aren't hardly any of them doing this work?
Roger Burrows finds workers for this packing plant in Norfolk.
Ten years ago, the whole workforce was British. Today, that figure has radically changed.
Two-thirds of the men and women on the factory floor are foreign, just one third British.
It's clean work, it's not horrendously cold,
is not horrendously wet, it's not horrendously dirty.
The pay is good. But for some reason the traditional British worker
is more interested in moving into the city and other types of work.
How important is it that we continue this flow, that you continue the supply of foreign workers?
It's vital to this type of industry. There's no question about that.
The production line wouldn't keep rolling
without the influx of foreign workers as we have at the moment.
Without talking to all Britain's unemployed, it's hard to be sure why seasonal jobs are so unappealing.
Such unpredictable employment doesn't sit easily with the bureaucracy and box-ticking of the benefits system.
Because it's short-term work,
you may have difficulties when the job finishes.
Then you've got to reclaim all your benefits again,
which means filling in the forms,
and quite often there's a long wait before you get the benefit through.
Particularly housing benefit can be a real problem where you end up...
We've had people who've almost lost their home because of delay
paying housing benefit after they've done some temporary work.
This asparagus farm employs nearly 30 students from Eastern Europe.
The farmer gives them at least the minimum farming wage of £4.85 an hour.
I'm in this to earn a living out of it.
Therefore, it's not cheap labour. We have minimum standards,
or minimum wages that we have to adhere to.
Just like any other vegetable that we bring into this country,
it's a world market. They're bringing it in from nine countries,
just during our English season.
It's coming from South America, Peru, Chile, also from Spain,
where their labour costs are considerably lower than our own.
Labour's a big input into the production of this crop?
Probably 75-80% of the cost of production of asparagus.
Therefore, it has a big influence on what we do.
Farms like this need a lot of work but only at a very few weeks of the year, the high season.
So you bring in homes, but you make them temporary, there's no point building permanent structures.
These container homes come off the back of a truck, and they contain dormitories.
There's toilet and washing facilities
and in other ones, television, lounges and things like that.
The students pay £25 a week for accommodation.
They earn ten times more than they would for the same work back home.
-How many of you live in here?
-Four girls live here.
How do you find working generally here? OK?
It's not so hard. It's hard when you're on the field,
but we rest in the pack house, we listen usually music.
-All the time we are enjoying.
-You are from university in Bulgaria?
Yes, I am studying at university, macro economics.
What do you hope to do when you've earned the money from this job?
I will continue my education. I need this money for my education.
Legal migrant workers on schemes such as Daisy's are lucky.
When 20 Chinese cockle pickers drowned in Morecambe Bay in February,
it highlighted the plight of illegal migrant workers.
But even those here legally can be exploited.
Lukie Gooda is a Portuguese liaison officer.
Every name here is a person with a problem.
Most stem from ignorance and fear.
It started with the transport provided for them.
Then the amount of work. Most of these people work 12-hour shifts.
The health problems, due to health and safety conditions that are not met by the employers.
They have to work under conditions that people in this country would not accept.
Most of them when they come over here already have debts back home, you know,
that they need to send money to deal with.
The moment they are here and they don't speak the language,
the employer, whatever the employer says, goes. They trapped.
They really trapped. That provokes all kind of exploitation, really.
For the public, the word illegal has become attached to the word migrant labour.
-What do you think about that?
-It's very sad because the majority of it is perfectly above board.
It's very legal. They all have work permits.
They're all working to the minimum wage requirements.
It's sad to see the industry run down by, you know, the few.
As shoppers, we demand fresh produce at the lowest price.
Because such a large percentage of the cost of producing fruit and veg
is made up by labour, there's no real escaping from the fact that workforce will have to get a pretty low wage.
Too low it would seem to attract British workers to dig carrots or cut asparagus.
So foreign migrant labour is going to be part of the horticultural scene for years to come.
The Government is backing a change in the law so the companies which
provide migrant labour, gang masters, will have to be registered.
But it will need enforcement muscle and political will to be sure illegal working is stamped out.
The good news is that since that report was made, the Government has set up
the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, making it a criminal offence to supply labour without a licence.
It remains to be seen if the changing global economy
will bring British workers back to the fields.
That was brilliant.
-Thank you very much.
-I loved that.
Wow! I'm almost lost for words, that was incredible.
What a fantastic way to see the landscape below, and a perfect way to begin my journey.
With my feet firmly back on the ground,
I've headed 17 miles north-east to Knettishall
where I'm joining the ancient Roman road known as the Peddar's Way.
Peddar's Way was built by the Romans around 61 AD
to provide a route across East Anglia for policing purposes.
Typically, it was built in a very straight line using local materials
to provide a link between the Roman garrison town in Colchester
and the heartland of Queen Boudicca's tribe, the Iceni.
As you walk the Peddar's Way, it's tempting to conjure images
of all the others who've trodden the same ground - Stone Age hunters,
Roman soldiers, Saxon settlers, or medieval pilgrims.
Walking in your time, you really do feel part of history.
Inspired by the Australian Aboriginal belief
that each ancient trail is part of a vast, epic musical score,
the verses of which tell the tale of how that landscape and its landmarks came into being,
storyteller Hugh Lupton collaborated with a group of local artists to create a Norfolk song line.
Taking inspiration from land, they used story, poetry, image and
song to evoke the landscape history and geology of the Peddar's Way.
# The winding welter of tracks Pulls towards
# As a bow stri-i-ing
# Straight as a rod of iron... #
It's incredible to think the Romans would have used this route.
To listen to this music is incredibly evocative.
# ..The sole of a boot to the taken land
# The sole of a boot to the taken land... #
In the words of one of the artists, "All the past that has led to your moment in time
"is held like a great secret in the landscape that surrounds you."
As I saw from the air, the land in this area has been put to many different uses over the centuries.
Crops have been grown here but there's another type of farming that rather less is known about.
Adam Henson came to find out how rabbits were harvested for their fur and for their meat.
Rabbits were brought into the country by the Romans,
but it was the Normans who first introduced the idea of farming them.
By the 16th century, bunnies were big business -
both the fur and meat was in demand, and even worth fighting for.
This is quite a structure, isn't it, like a mini fortress?
It is, yes. It's like a miniature castle keep, really.
The reason for it being here, and built like this,
was it was the home of a rabbit warrener
from about the 1340s onwards, we think here.
Where would the rabbits have been kept?
The rabbits were roaming free all over the warren,
and they were guarded, nurtured and trapped by the warrener.
The warrener was one of the highest paid of all the manorial officials
in the Middle Ages, and he needed to be able to regulate the number
of bucks to does, to look at the economies of the market,
when was the best time to sell the rabbits.
He even needed to do things, certainly when the warrens were first established in Breckland,
like digging burrows for the rabbits to shelter in.
Because rabbits come from the Mediterranean, they're native there,
they don't need shelter in such a better climate, really.
Better management meant rabbit numbers increased. By the...1840s,
we are talking about an annual cull on this warren alone of 28,000 rabbits.
It's because they were so valuable they had to build these fortresses?
Yes. Because of a rise in demand for the rabbits, poaching was really big business.
We know, for instance, of armed gangs attacking the warrens,
killing their lurcher dogs, which the warreners used to help them track the rabbits.
So, defence was a matter of great importance to them, really.
For another 500 years, rabbits played a pivotal role in local history.
Their meat was part of the staple diet,
and rabbit fur was also at the height of fashion.
By the 20th century, three fur factories opened up in the area.
One of the workers, 86-year-old Harold Glaister, remembers a time when rabbits
were an important source of income for those living near the forest.
There were hundreds of rabbits about everywhere you went.
On the road you'd see them, on the warrens at the side of the road...
Even the milkman came around with two or three rabbits on his cart
and says, "Do you want to buy a rabbit?"
What was your job in the fur factory?
Well, I was a machinist, you could say.
There were others with me, there were two or three departments there.
When the rabbit skins arrived, they were what they call wet ones.
When they were dry, they then used to go into the openers.
They handled them then and cut all the waste bits off
and opened the skin right out.
Then they went to their cardners who cleaned the skin up,
and then the cutting shop to take the fur off the skin.
So do you enjoy a rabbit now?
I wouldn't like one now, that's funny, isn't it?
By the 1970s, all factories had been closed down as rabbits had almost disappeared from the forest.
The rabbits we'd once wanted were now taking over the countryside and we wanted them out.
Myxomatosis was deliberately introduced and spread through Thetford's rabbit population,
killing 99% of them in just two years.
The disease was far more effective at killing rabbits
than anyone had expected, and with a loss of the rabbit population came the loss of a whole industry.
Today the disease has been controlled and the rabbit population has bounced right back.
So much so, they're an official pest, causing vast amounts of damage to young trees and other crops.
Controlling rabbit numbers is a constant struggle for Trevor Banham and his team of rangers.
How many rabbits are you having to get rid of in a year?
Currently around 10,000 a year, in the forest
which is nothing compared to the old days when the forest
was being established in the '20s when 100,000 plus a year would be killed.
Where do the rabbits go once you've caught them?
All these rabbits here will go off to the game dealer and they go into the food chain.
The rangers themselves may feed their dogs or ferrets on them.
How do the guys work this, then?
What you've got is Dudley and Paul here, they're working the ferret
to hopefully bolt the rabbits out so they can get shot.
They have just put the ferret in there.
Now you just wait for the rabbit to bolt?
Hopefully, yes. The ferret's got a collar around his neck.
This collar has a transmitter in it and Dudley or Paul will have the receiver
in his pocket and they'll have to draw that out and find out where the ferret is laying up underground.
Some people would think it was cruel to kill rabbits.
In some areas, we need rabbits. They can be a useful tool.
For somewhere like heathlands, we need them grazed, in conjunction with sheep, we get that happening.
But what else can we do? Rabbits are rabbits, and as we know they breed like rabbits!
We have to control numbers.
It's all part of the management of the forest, the habitat, the environment.
It's all part of a bigger picture.
Lucky for the rabbits, an unproductive day for the ferret and wardens,
and proof that controlling their numbers seems to be working.
Thetford's rabbits may have fallen from grace over the last few years,
but with careful management it's hoped that their future here is a more harmonious one.
I've left Peddar's Way behind me and followed Adam deep into the shady heart of Thetford Forest.
It may seem hard to believe, but this magnificent forest was actually
created after World War One to provide a strategic reserve
of timber as most of the oaks and slow-growing trees in this country had been lost to the war effort.
Its creation destroyed much of the typical Breckland environment of gorse and sandy ridges.
But, of course, that environment was itself man-made, since the area
had been stripped by activities like flint mining and rabbit grazing.
Today, the forest feels and looks completely established.
There's something incredibly peaceful and quiet about walking in the forest enveloped in the trees.
But that tranquillity is about to be shattered
because I'm taking to the canopy and a high-wire, I'm going ape.
The origins of Go Ape lie in France.
Back in 2001, Triss and Becks Mayhew were on holiday in the Auvergne.
They came across a French family swinging through the trees.
From the looks on their faces, it was clear both the kids
and their parents were having the time of their lives.
Eight years later, they've built one of the fastest growing companies in the country.
Right, I'm harnessed up, let's find out what this is all about.
-Nice to meet you.
-How are you?
-What's going to happen today, what's Go Ape about?
-We're about to have a couple of hours of fun.
It's effectively an assault course
which is up to about 40 feet up in the air.
What I love is already the forest is reverberating to the sound of laughter. That's a good sign.
What's the first plan of action?
The first step, we've checked you're in the equipment safely and now we have to run through the safety brief.
Attached to the front of your harness there are two yellow and blue safety lines.
Around about belly-button height we have a metal ring,
-and you also have a pulley attached to your harness.
Around every tree on the course, there is a red safety halo
into which you must clip your carabiniers one at a time.
When I clip them in, I clip one in one direction and the second one
in the opposite direction, making sure they're both closed. Release the pulley from the harness,
pop it over the top of the cable, from the halo around the tree,
place that straight through both the holes in the bottom of the pulley, long safety on.
Clip that onto the cable directly behind the pulley,
it always goes behind it, and notice how the carabiniers are opposite.
So, Simon, what would you hope the visitors here get out of an experience like this?
It's really just to get them back out in the countryside and really,
as our company ethos says, to live life a bit more adventurously.
Does it have a negative impact on the environment?
The local bird population seems to be fluctuating well, and as they're a top end indicator
of what's happening here, they seem to be showing us
that what we're doing here is, if anything, having a beneficial effect.
Fantastic. This is where we're going to start. Am I all set, then?
We've completed your training, Ben. Now it's up to you.
-Go have some fun.
-I can't wait!
Let's see if I can remember everything. This clips onto here.
Right. Wish me luck!
Really excited about this.
Right, now this is called the Tarzan Swing.
To be honest, it looks quite scary.
Anyway, here we go. We're all on.
Oh, I missed it!
Ha, ha, ha! Woo-hoo!
I LOVE this!
Woo! You don't have to take the high wire to enjoy the Thetford forest.
Using the forest as a playground brings many pleasures, not all of them planned.
Under cover of night, things are even less predictable.
I'm really excited
because I've been invited to the equinox star party.
I'm nearly there.
Put that light out! >
I should have realised, not those sort of stars.
Forget glamour and celebrities, think tents and anoraks.
This is the only convention for British amateur astronomers.
200 people are camping here in Thetford Forest in Norfolk to look at stars, and planets, and galaxies.
It's a field where size and technology matter.
This is one that I've had for a couple of years now.
So what can you see through that, then? Everything?
Oh, yes. This is what you would call a computer-controlled telescope.
What you would do is...
..you'd punch in the coordinates of an object that you want to look at
and the telescope's computer will automatically slew the telescope to the object.
Which may take some of the skill out of it,
but does mean that we can see views once reserved for scientists, like the sun.
You need special filters to see the sun through a telescope - without them, it would blind you.
Here at the sky party, there are plenty of experts to help the uninitiated.
Konrad, what can I expect to see at this time of year?
Now that we're approaching autumn,
you'll find that Orion would be rising.
Not too far from the constellation Orion
is the constellation of Taurus.
And in Taurus the Bull, you'll find a nebula called the Crab Nebula,
which is the result of a supernova explosion about 900 years ago.
Now, since then, it's been discovered that the centre of the supernova explosion
is a rotating, hyper-dense object called the neutron star,
a model of which I'm presently holding in my hand.
And it goes extremely fast.
This particular model isn't actually the Crab Nebula pulsar,
but it does go around like this and if you happened to be standing
so that the torch sweeps in your direction,
you will see the lights and see flashes once every 30 seconds.
Right, that's clear, then.
At least there's a chance of seeing a pulsar,
whereas astronomers have to leave the country
to get photographs as stunning as this.
The skies in Britain are awful.
We suffer from something called light pollution.
This is stray lights blocking out the beauties of the night sky.
We go abroad to do away with that problem.
We go to a protected site in the Canary Islands, on top of a mountain
where the sky is arguably the best in the world.
You take these fantastic pictures. We're standing in the middle of nowhere,
surely there's no light pollution here?
There's light pollution in virtually every site in the UK.
No matter how far you travel in the UK, you'll find some form of light pollution,
and it's getting worse all the time. It's a growing problem.
Caused by us. So this event is open to the public to give astronomers the chance to explain
and, of course, to show off their equipment in the hope that more of us
will be inspired to spend sleepless nights gazing into the sky.
I'm enjoying just seeing all the telescopes
and being able to use them, because I hope that they're going to
let me come round this evening and use them.
You need to see the stars at night to appreciate
what it really is, and how far away they are.
It's amazing, it blows your mind. Phenomenal, really.
It really is, yeah.
And that's before the bar opened.
As for the astronomers...
I always come here and go home full of ideas,
so plenty of ideas to build a new telescope for next year.
We came along really to meet other astronomers,
to see the equipment and generally just to meet other people, really.
-And drink, yes! We had a few!
As darkness falls, the stargazers prepare for a long night.
Warm food and thermal undies at the ready. All we need is a clear sky.
It's night, and it's cold, and there are a lot of telescopes set up,
but everybody's gone to the bar.
That's because it's really cloudy and you can't see a thing.
About two or three years ago, I discovered a new minor planet, an asteroid,
a lump of rock going round between Mars and Jupiter.
So I went out one night and found it.
It's a bit of real estate, it's only 30 miles across,
but there's a bit of real estate that's mine.
Take you a long time to visit it,
-Yeah, take a fair amount of time to do that!
How long would it take to get there?
It's something like about 270 million miles away.
So have any of you seen a UFO?
There was one occasion when it was about 4am,
I was probably a bit tired
and I saw a little green dot appear and disappear.
I was really confused for several days
as to what that could have been. It was a meteorite.
One night I was out in the garden and I could see all these things
moving round in the sky. I thought, "What the hell are they?"
What it was, it was a flock of pigeons
that the lights from the high street where shining up
and catching underneath their wings as they were going round.
I was looking up, "What the hell is that?"
The sky cleared, the bar cleared, the stars came out.
As did the men. This is a bit of a boys' night out.
Maybe women simply appreciate the view without the gizmos.
even computer imaging, it's all here.
This is one advantage, the poor visual observers can't see Saturn at all,
and yet look how clear it is on a computer screen.
But in a way, though, because this is computerised,
it doesn't seem real. Whereas if you look up and can see something, then it...
-Do you see what I mean? Or am I being a purist?
-You are being a purist!
You need to be elsewhere and amongst others!
After a starry night comes dawn, and the rain.
Close to Thetford Forest is Lynford arboretum, and I'm starting the day here listening to birdsong.
It seems that rain really is a big part of this area.
I've been to rainforests before, but never in the UK.
Now, a feature of spring and summer is the dawn chorus,
something that very few of us get to experience intentionally.
But I set the alarm early, it's 4.30am and I'm off to listen
to one of these musical wonders of the natural world.
I'm armed with a special parabolic microphone
that can pick out individual birdsong over great distances.
Luckily, I'm also armed with a forest ecologist who can explain exactly what I'm hearing.
First of all, what is the dawn chorus? Why are the birds so active at this early time in the morning?
Birds are up and they're wanting
to basically drive a stake into the ground and say, "This is mine,
"I'm here, this is my territory, keep out"
to all of the other birds of the same species.
So is it a case of the noisiest bird wins, or the most musical?
It's a combination of both. Studies have shown
that it's birds with both the brightest and loudest song,
but also, other species, it's the ones with the most clever song,
the most complex and involved and intricate song.
I can hear, somewhere along here, it sounds like it's in that tree.
Yeah, the sedge warbler, he's definitely chirping away quite loudly in this willow just here.
In this low bit of scrub on the edge of the meadow.
He's got a very complex series of calls, different phrases,
from those scratchy noises right through
to trilling and fluty warbling sort of sounds.
-Is it true that birds can have regional accents?
-Yes, yes, they do.
They gradually become more complicated, the sounds,
and regionally become different, more varied.
Some experts can tell which part of the country they're in
by just listening to the range of sounds that certain species make.
We've got something in this tree over here. Can you tell what that is?
Yes, he's a male chaffinch, probably our most common finch,
he'll turn up in anybody's garden or in the park.
He gives a very short trill and then a series of descending little sounds.
It's a very compact and quite a short call, it's not complex.
That's, I think, him at the top there. You can't really distinguish the colours in this light.
No, but if you saw him on a nice sunny day,
you'd see he has a nice, warm, peachy breast and a nice blue cap and a green rump.
Quite a handsome bird.
Well, we are in England after all.
I'm soaked through, but I've had a magical morning.
While I dry off from this very British weather,
it's intriguing to think that one of Thetford's most famous residents
would have been used to a very different climate.
Duleep Singh was the last Maharajah of the Punjab.
This fine statue of him stands by the river in Thetford, but how did he get here?
He became Maharajah at the age of five,
but the defeat of the Sikh Army by the British during the 1840s meant that he lost his kingdom.
The Maharajah was offered a deal by the British -
"Give up everything in the Punjab, live in exile in England,
"and we'll give you a hefty pension.
"Reject that, and you can live in poverty in the Punjab under British rule."
He didn't have much of a choice, did he?
He handed everything over, including the famous Koh-I-Noor diamond.
This isn't the real one,
this is a replica in the Ancient House Museum in Thetford,
which was set up by one of his sons.
The real diamond is part of the Crown Jewels.
Duleep Singh was the first Sikh to live in England.
He brought an estate at Elveden near Thetford and became a favourite of Queen Victoria.
He converted to Christianity and enjoyed the privileged life of an English country gent.
There's no doubt that he took to East Anglia, he took to Thetford.
After all, his roots lay in the countryside.
The Punjab, which was his kingdom,
is an agrarian community.
He hosted many royal shooting parties here,
he still holds a record for the greatest number of grouse shot in one day.
It seems that he fitted in very well into a rigid Victorian society.
He was affectionately known as the Black Prince, and although he was a bit of an enigma,
the fact that he was Christian,
the fact he was a philanthropist, a benefactor, meant that he had a very good reputation.
Was he ever allowed back to the Punjab?
He was never allowed to go back to his own kingdom, Punjab.
So he did try to go back?
He tried, and towards the end of his life,
we see him leading agitations against the government to say,
"Look, can I be restored to my kingdom?
"Can the promises made to me as part of the treaty be kept?"
Unfortunately, they were all broken.
His allowance was reduced, he was deprived of all of his assets.
But he remains a very potent figure for the Sikhs.
He was our last ruler, so whilst he doesn't have any spiritual significance,
as a cultural and historical figure he's unmatched.
At the end of his life,
Duleep Singh was living in Paris, his health broken, virtually penniless.
He died in 1893 at the age of 55 and his body was brought back to England
to be buried here in the churchyard at Elveden.
The final resting place of the last Maharajah of the Punjab.
I'm on a journey in the heart of East Anglia.
I began in Tibenham and travelled to Knettishall.
I then went into the canopy of the Thetford forest.
Now I've travelled to a place called Grime's Graves.
This grassy, lunar landscape is actually evidence of an ancient industrial site,
consisting of over 400 shafts, pits, quarries and spoil dumps.
Set in the distinctive Beckland Heath landscape, Grime's Graves
is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain.
The area was once known as Grimm's Graves, or The Devil's Holes.
It wasn't until one was excavated in 1870 that they discovered
they dated back more than 5,000 years, to late Neolithic times.
What the prehistoric miners were looking for was the fine-quality, jet-black flint floor stone,
which occurs some nine metres below surface level.
Digging with red deer antler picks, they sank shafts
from which radiated gallery tunnels, following the seams.
John Lord, a master flintknapper, is going to show me how this prized stone was worked.
So, there are different types of flint, obviously?
It differs in where it is in the chalk strata.
You get the upper flints,
they're usually rather small, irregular nodules
and not much use for a great deal.
A bit further down, you get larger, very regular-shaped nodules and then, lower than that,
you get lenticular boulders, sometimes metres across, as you find here in parts of Grime's Graves.
So, how would they have then started working a piece of flint like this?
They pick an area that's got either a natural fracture or a concavity,
and they'd start working it into a rough out, depending on what they were making.
If you want me to show you this, do you want to pop a pair of these on?
Eye protection. I'm sure they didn't have these,
but I'm sure they had this weather,
and they would have been out whatever.
-Wow. Oh, look at that!
It's amazing how easily it shatters.
Does that mean that it's not very strong?
It's incredibly strong.
The surface of the flint is harder than steel.
Any cutting edge that you produce will last a lot longer than steel.
And in late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age times, what would they have made out of flint?
What would they have used it for?
Axes, knives, scrapers, really general tools.
Can I have a go at breaking it?
-Whack it with the round edge, about there.
Not much good in wetting the spot, because it's already wet!
-So, quite hard?
Yeah? That's amazing. It shatters like glass.
If you warmed it up, it's got the components, it would turn to glass.
So, how did you learn how to do this?
I'm still learning, really.
I've been doing it for 35 years, but I think I started really learning this when I worked here.
There were so many people interested in the site,
and exactly what went on. I was answering questions, or trying to answer questions.
I thought, I'd better find out how it's done before I start telling anybody.
Can you see that taper now?
It's going to go into a haft, and the wedge shape will hold it there.
So, the wooden handle effectively?
-So, we've now got the workings of a Neolithic axe?
Do you think you could fell some trees with that?
This will penetrate and cut timber down. If you can haft it comfortably, certainly.
That was absolutely fascinating, thank you very much.
And in the rain!
I've left Grime's Graves behind, and I'm heading further south,
to the town of Newmarket, and its world-famous racetrack.
This is the home of one of Britain's top racehorse trainers,
and I've been given exclusive access to follow the day in the life of a thoroughbred.
And what's more, today is no ordinary day - it's race day.
-You must be Linda.
Hi, Linda, I'm Ben. Nice to meet you. Who's this very handsome boy?
-This is Marosh.
He is, very. He's very nice.
So, early in the morning, this is his big race day. Do you know what time he's actually racing?
He's running at 5.45.
So, he's got the whole day ahead of him.
So, what's the first thing this morning?
He's going on to the walker in a moment,
and he's going to have an exercise on there for half an hour.
So, he has a groom now, before he goes on.
And then, after that, he'll spend the day relaxing before this afternoon.
-So, how old is Marosh?
And is that the age of most racehorses?
Yes, they begin their career at two
and they can go on for a good few years.
Is your heart in your mouth when you watch them racing? Do you get nervous?
It is, because you're really rooting for them, and obviously you do so much work with them every day,
and it's so good to see them do well.
It's really good to watch them progress.
-Does he know where we're going now?
-Do they enjoy it?
-Yeah, he loves his exercise.
He's anxious to get going, isn't he?
He loves it on there.
So, the idea of this, this is just a fast walking pace?
They'll get a nice brisk walk on here.
-He looks quite frisky.
-He is quite frisky.
Obviously, he's a colt so he can be quite playful,
quite boisterous, but that's all part of who he is and that's obviously a good thing in a racehorse.
Marosh's race-day is set to a strict schedule.
Following his morning exercise on the walker, he's put back into his freshly mucked-out stable.
At lunch, he has a special mix feed, fresh water then, in the afternoon, a good rest.
Finally, he's groomed, tacked up, and given some finishing touches
to make sure he's looking his best before he's put into the trailer for the short drive to Newmarket races.
There we have it, Marosh is safely in the horsebox.
He's been groomed, he's had a nice relaxing day, and now, the really hard stuff begins.
We're off to the 5.45 at Newmarket.
Race-day is the measure of all the hard work and preparation a stable puts in.
All these horses are bred to be winners,
and the showcase for British thoroughbred breeding is the National Stud.
It's reckoned one in four people living in Newmarket is involved in the racing business.
Just outside the town is the National Stud, dedicated to breeding thoroughbreds.
And perhaps its most famous stallion was the great Derby winner Mill Reef.
As part of its educational brief, the stud is open to the public.
So, was the National Stud actually set up to breed racehorses?
Not originally, no.
It was originally set up in 1916,
when a chap called Colonel Hall Walker,
who later became Lord Wavertree,
gifted his horses to the government,
with the idea of breeding and producing horses for the army.
Obviously, that need became less and less as time passed by and we've evolved into what we are now.
Horse racing is an elitist sport, you've got to be pretty wealthy to get really involved in it,
so is the National Stud trying to do anything to make it more accessible?
Yes, that's the whole raison d'etre actually, of the National Stud,
is about raising awareness and educating people.
One of the means of doing that is our owner breeders' clubs.
The most recent one is the Blakeney Club,
which is open to anybody to join for £1,500 and it's a five-year club.
They own their own mares, the mares have foals,
one of the foals per year may be retained
to go into training as a two-year-old, and the others are sold.
So they have the experience of being involved with the purchase of mares,
the covering and mating plans of mares, the racing of the two-year-old,
and then the selling of all the bloodstock at the end of the five years.
The National Stud also runs government-funded diploma courses,
which are free to young people from all backgrounds
who are wanting to take up a career in the racing industry.
What kind of things are you learning?
We're learning about the care of the mare and foal,
how to look after sick foals, or ill foals.
And the problems we have getting mares and foals sometimes.
Would you have been able to do this course if you had to pay for it?
It would have been quite difficult,
cos it would have cost quite a bit, with accommodation and food.
So what's your ambition,
once you've got the Diploma? And you're going to get it, aren't you?
I'm going to get it! I'm hoping to go travelling across the world
and experience how studs are run in Australia and New Zealand.
The stud has a line-up of six top-class stallions,
and owners of mares pay competitive rates to have them mated,
hoping for winners like this.
Because gestation lasts for 340 days, owners have a long wait before they see the results.
Right now, it's foaling time. This little filly was born six weeks ago.
She was one of the first. Since then, there have been another 40, and there could be 50 more to come.
Can you tell at this early age, this one is just a few weeks old, whether it's got potential?
You can always tell if you've a nice foal when they're born
and then you hope...
you hope everybody else, when they go to the sales,
will see they have potential.
Over the years of working with these animals, you do get to instantly recognise if it's a nice foal.
Would you put your money on this one or not?
This foal here is by a first-season sire called Starcraft.
He was an exceptional racehorse. Hopefully, this has every chance
and will be, hopefully, as good as his dad one day.
Do you ever have a bet on a foal that you've seen delivered here?
Every mare I've foaled, I've followed their offspring
and I always like to keep track of which trainer they go to,
their names and like to watch them on the racecourse.
If there's one or two I always was very fond of, I normally support them when they go to the races.
You make a profit from it then?
No, no! The biggest tip is not to back them.
And, who knows, maybe in a few years' time, this young colt could be a star of the turf.
Today, I'm hoping the star of the turf will be Marosh.
We're arriving at the famous Newmarket racecourse for his big race. The 5.45.
Marosh's trainer is already here.
First of all, what makes a good racehorse?
Pedigree, conformation... size of the engine.
Here he comes, in fact, with Linda.
Looking a bit frisky today.
Yes, he's a bit friskier than he was this morning.
This morning, he wasn't subdued at all,
but he was very quiet and very relaxed,
but he's definitely a little bit more on his toes,
which is a good sign.
-You're happy with that?
What do you think his chances are today?
I'd say he's got a very good chance. If we were second, I'd be delighted.
Third, I'd be a smidgen disappointed,
fourth, very disappointed, fifth, I'll be home before he gets home.
-This is the saddle?
-This is the saddle.
Not much of it. It's teeny. That's just extraordinary, isn't it?
Yes, that's a fair-sized saddle, actually, compared to what some of them use.
It's very important, the weight of the jockey, the saddle and the horse, is that right?
It adds up to the weight on the race card, which is nine stone three, I think. Yes, this is a weight cloth.
A chamois to stop the saddle from slipping and a number cloth.
With the saddle fitted, the remainder of the nine stone three is our jockey for the day.
You're confident today?
-Yes, very much so.
-Is there much rivalry between you jockeys?
Um... Yeah, we're all mates, but at the end of the day,
when we come out here, it's about winning.
No inches asked and no inches given.
It's just part and parcel of the job. It's the way it goes.
-I'm going to put some money on you. Please win.
-I'll do my best.
I don't think any of the newcomers are going to lead. I doubt that.
If Johnson wants to go on, just sit right on its quarters all the way.
Yeah, I'm going to quarter-up to him pretty much from the word go.
Beautiful. I don't mind if you lead all the way.
You know he's as straight as a die. He knows his job. Good, OK.
The time's come to part with some of my hard-earned cash on the lovely Marosh.
Hello. Can I please put £5 on Marosh?
£5 on Number 2.
Yes, please. So that's 9 to 2?
Four-and-a-half to one. If it wins, I'll pay you 5-1.
Yes, will you? Can I shake on that, a gentleman's agreement?
5-1 on Marosh.
I began my Norfolk journey high in the sky above Tibenham Airfield.
I travelled along the Peddar's Way before going ape up in the trees of Thetford Forest.
I then went to Lynford and on to the Neolithic site of Grime's Graves
before arriving at my final destination, Newmarket.
Newmarket is known as the historic home of horseracing.
It has two racecourses and 50 miles of gallop turf.
Typically, there are over 2,500 racehorses training in this area.
But for me, it's all about one horse.
We've followed Marosh throughout the day and he's about to compete in his big race,
Right, I have put my bet on.
-How much have you put on?
-Each way or on the nose?
-I don't know.
I got the worst odds, I got 9-2, but then he promised me 5-1. But I assume I just put it on winning.
Apparently, I take home about £27 if I win.
That would buy you fish and chips and a nice bottle of wine.
-You must be Tom.
-I am, indeed.
You're one of the owners of Marosh?
I am, yes.
You look very... Everyone is relaxed. I think I'm the only one that has got nerves today.
We're probably more used to it than you, in fairness.
I was nervous when he ran in France because it's a long way to go
if he had underperformed. Here, it's only just down the road.
He's run before. We're hopeful, but there's a horse that's really quite well fancied in the race.
Perhaps if we were that horse, I'd be more nervous because we'd be expected to win.
You're the underdogs and therefore the pressure isn't on you?
We're still second in the betting, so fingers crossed we can come second.
What would it mean to you if Marosh did win?
It would be very nice, to be honest.
With the youngsters, it's always, I think, an extra little buzz
that you've actually bought when they're a yearling,
that you've found something that's quite nice and you watch them grow up
at the stables, whereas perhaps with an older horse,
a lot of what they do on the racetrack has already been there before.
It's not unexpected.
Perhaps an element of surprise and added buzz with a young one.
We're off. Here we go.
Wearing orange and blue and the number two is our horse, Marosh.
-Social Grace on the right through the first furlong.
The favourite's leading and we're third.
-We're closing up now.
Furlong and a half complete, it's The Hermitage, Joe Fanning controlling the pace here.
Marosh, Shane Kelly in the blue and orange striding on.
Social Grace pushed along...
The finish line is just here.
-Where is he?
-He's just up there.
Come on! Here they come!
Social Grace begins to run on from Audacity Of Hope, Marosh and Rosedale.
The Hermitage has quickened a couple of lengths clear.
Social Grace is back in third. The Hermitage is extending.
Roaring away. Joe Fanning steals a peek. No dangers for The Hermitage...
Ohhhh! Fourth place for Marosh.
And we can blame you for cursing him.
Are you disappointed by that?
Yes, there may possibly be an explanation,
the ground may not have been right for him, it might have been a false pace, we don't know.
-I think we should see what the jockey says.
That's a bit disappointing.
So, I think everyone's a bit disappointed, really.
Fourth, but we'll go and find out how the jockey found it.
The conditions are pretty quick.
It was all happening a bit too fast for him.
Because of the downhill into the dip,
he didn't handle that well because he wasn't travelling that well.
The conditions were just against him.
He's a horse for the future, I'd say, more so than actually now.
Do think so? So there is a bright light?
Absolutely. The ground was just a little bit too lively for him.
-Thank you very much.
And thank you guys for letting me follow you throughout the day.
-Sorry it wasn't as happy an ending as we hoped, but, hey, he lives to run another day.
-Thanks very much.
He's having a deserved bath.
Well, I began this journey soaring thousands of feet above the East Anglia countryside
and I've ended it with my feet firmly on the ground here at the famous racecourse in Newmarket.
Sadly, Marosh was not a winner and it looks like my million will have to wait for another day.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd