Sara Cox Into the Wild with Gordon Buchanan


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Sara Cox

Gordon Buchanan takes household names on a wildlife adventure. Gordon and Sara are in Dartmoor, famed for its rugged landscape and tough little wild ponies.


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I'm Gordon Buchanan.

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I've filmed the most amazing creatures on the planet.

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Wow.

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These are animals that have killed people.

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But for me, some of the best wildlife

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is right here on our doorstep.

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And I'd like some of our best-loved household names to experience it

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as I do.

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It's just awe-inspiring.

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-God, that was unbelievable!

-Yeah.

-Beautiful.

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Oh, what an experience.

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'I could spend weeks or even months tracking down these elusive creatures.

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'This time, I have just three days.

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'This could be the biggest challenge of my career.'

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I'm in Dartmoor,

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with someone you wouldn't normally associate with the natural world.

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'Sara Cox.

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'Television presenter, radio DJ and once-legendary party girl.'

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LAUGHTER

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But Sara's moved on from her ladette days.

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She grew up on a farm.

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She's crazy about horses

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and she has a real connection to the great outdoors.

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When it comes to wildlife, what's your knowledge or wildlife interest?

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I've got my robins... You know, "Booo!"

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..that come to our back garden, so I put food out for them.

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I've got some live mealworms that I kept in the fridge,

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because they're dormant in the fridge, aren't they, the mealworms?

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-And then they come alive...

-Oh, great.

-..when you put them

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on the bird table, but then I started to feel really bad,

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because they were like, "Ooh, this is nice! Where are we?

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"Ooh, it's lovely!" and then they're like "Argh!" as the robins land.

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So, you know, I love the birds in my garden and try and point

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stuff out to the kids, but I don't really know what I'm on about.

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I've been on holiday to Devon. I didn't know Dartmoor was in Devon.

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I didn't strictly know where I was when I arrived.

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Dartmoor is one of our national parks.

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A unique, historical landscape of 400 square miles.

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Over the next few days,

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we'll be travelling across its wildest parts.

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Today, we're on the lookout for bats and ponies.

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Tomorrow, it's dormice and badgers, if we're lucky.

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And I'd love to show Sara a beaver.

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My dad's a bee farmer,

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so I know a bit more about farming and about keeping animals.

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But with wildlife, not much. I think it's an age thing.

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Where now, I'm really taking more of an interest in the world around me

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and I was thinking maybe it is, like, your 20s

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for sort of growing up a bit and partying and your 30s are a bit of

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partying, but mainly parenting, and now I'm 40,

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-I kind of feel like I just want to learn stuff, which is weird.

-Yeah.

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-I mean, this space is amazing, isn't it? It's proper countryside.

-I know.

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But we've only got three days to track down these animals.

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So let's get cracking.

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-Right, Dartmoor. Do you know this part of the world?

-Nope.

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Good, me too, because this is like going to a foreign country for me.

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So here in Dartmoor, it's the largest area of

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-relatively wild land...

-Yes.

-..in southern England.

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I suppose for me, it's about picking a kind of relatively small area that

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we can cover in a few days that has the most amount of opportunities.

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I suppose one of the easiest animals to find... It's not a wild animal,

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but it lives wild... Dartmoor ponies.

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So you couldn't come to Dartmoor without looking for ponies.

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But badgers, all these little woodlands, there's going to be

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badgers roaming about here, which I would love to be able to show you.

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And beavers.

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-Amazing.

-Yeah.

-Are they building stuff all day, or is that just...in the cartoons?

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They... No, they will build stuff when it needs to be built, but they're always kind of busy.

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-They are busy, aren't they? Beavers are busy animals.

-They're "busy as a beaver".

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-Is that an expression?

-It is now.

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So, what's first?

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The first thing that we should do is set up our little camp.

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You always try and camp as close to the animals that

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you want to see as possible.

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-Oh, really?

-Yeah.

-OK.

-Let's get back in the car.

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I'm hoping it won't be long before we come across our first animal.

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They're Sara's favourite.

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And a fairly common sight on Dartmoor.

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I just love horses. I love riding so much, I love horses.

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I feel like it's just part of who I am. Like, when I'm not riding,

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I feel like there's a bit of the jigsaw missing.

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So I'm always looking out for ponies or for horses, really.

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-And I just like...

-There's one down there.

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I can't believe you spotted it!

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We're going off-road, because I want to get as close as we can.

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Ooh, look at those beautiful ponies.

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# Wolf mother, where you been?

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# You look so worn, so thin

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# You're a taker, devil's maker

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# Let me hear you sing, hey-aye, hey-aye. #

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Sara learned to ride when she was little.

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HORSES WHINNY

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It was just such a big part of my childhood,

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just pootling around on the little fat farm pony, you know?

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And I just feel like... I just love them.

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Around 1,500 ponies live here on Dartmoor.

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Over hundreds of years,

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they've adapted to survive in this wild place.

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And their grazing keeps the pasture healthy.

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There's something very joyous about horses.

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Just kind of like... I don't know, really majestic and kind of... noble beasts.

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But they're also semi-feral and a bit unpredictable.

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I think they've lost interest.

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This is as close as we're going to get. For the time being anyway.

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So, we're going to be camping somewhere sheltered, down there.

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OK, good.

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So our nearest neighbours are going to be these Dartmoor ponies.

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-That's really lovely.

-They won't eat you or anything.

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Wild camping is legal on most of Dartmoor.

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And I just hope we manage to get our tents up

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before it starts raining again.

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You've obviously got a glamorous side to you, but you're not like...

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Camping is not something that obviously terrifies you.

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-You're quite up for it.

-No. Yeah, I'm totally up for it.

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My heart is the beating heart of a tomboy, really.

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When I was growing up, it very much was.

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I still can't walk in high heels.

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I'm much more comfortable in wellies or riding boots or trainers.

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-This is beautiful.

-We'll be happy here.

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Right, this big one...

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..is the one that I'm...

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-You're carrying?

-I'll carry it, yeah.

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-Um...

-I can get my pillow.

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Yeah, you take your... LAUGHTER

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..little jazzy, festival...

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So has most of your camping experiences been at festivals?

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Yeah, kind of at festivals and then...

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-Sorry, just stereotyping you.

-Yeah, basically.

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Look how clean and clear it is. It's gorgeous.

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Even if there are one or two obstacles.

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There's quite a lot of cow muck here, isn't there?

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Do you want a big cowpat next to where you sleep? Are you bothered?

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I'm not. I don't really care, they don't really smell.

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-No, but you can stand on that.

-I'm a vegetarian anyway.

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Feed that one through from the bottom.

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If that goes in the eyelets.

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-I really love sleeping in tents.

-Because you're snug, aren't you?

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As long as you're warm enough. As long as you're warm and dry.

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But I don't think a tent is going to be much protection

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against another animal that could be prowling these moors.

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I hope that Sara doesn't scare easily.

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This area has the highest numbers of big cat sightings in the country.

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You must have heard stories about big cats being sighted?

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Yeah, but I don't think it's something that's going to eat you, though.

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-The Beast of Bodmin!

-Like a "Beast of Bodmin".

-That's not far from here.

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-LAUGHING:

-What, is he going to get a taxi from Bodmin and come here just to terrorise us?

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No, but then, I think in the last sort of ten years,

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there've been numerous sightings of big cats in this area.

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When the Dangerous Animals Act came into force almost 40 years ago,

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big cats needed a licence.

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And the theory goes, many were just released into the wild.

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Is pegging your favourite part? You seem to have just completely commandeered all the pegs.

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SARAH LAUGHS "Um, yeah, I'll do the pegging."

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If big cats do exist here, they have everything they need to

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survive, given the size of Dartmoor and the number of grazing animals.

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There are photographs of horses from this area with kind of

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scratch marks on them.

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Quite suspicious-looking sheep carcasses that have been eaten.

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So far though, the evidence has been inconclusive.

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So, look at that.

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This is like somebody has taken this picture and they've said,

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-"Ah, that's a big cat!"

-That's a fake, isn't it?

-Yeah, yeah.

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But for every person that genuinely thinks that they've seen

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something, I bet there's going to be ten people that think,

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"Oh, yeah! I'm going to take a picture of my domestic cat or my dog

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"and try and pass it off as a big cat."

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OK, so this one is... This is quite interesting.

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Can you see that?

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This is a guy that was taking a sunset shot.

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And when he got home and looked on his computer...

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..that was sitting on one of the tors. It looks like a puma.

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But it's got that intense stare that cats have.

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It's too far away to tell if it's cuddly toy or not.

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-Do you want it to be true?

-I kind of do want it to be true.

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So with that in mind, I'm going to get my camera traps.

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'I've often used camera traps to film elusive big cats

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'and almost always, I've been successful. But do they exist here?

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'Who knows?'

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Anything that comes through, it will trigger this motion sensor

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-and it will record a clip of it.

-Do I need to test that?

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Do you want me going past? Cat-style?

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I'll tell you what, I need... I'm going to put it... Can you pull

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these bits of grass, so the image is kind of roundabout there?

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So if you pull those out

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and I'll run down and get some stones from the river.

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I'd be quite happy with a rabbit.

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That'd be wild enough for me.

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Or a hare.

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Um...

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It'd be quite fun to see what actually is pottering around

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while we're asleep.

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Um... And it's going to be a bit of an anti-climax

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if there's nothing going on.

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You going to be the cat?

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Yeah, definitely.

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That's going to work. That is going to work.

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I'm absolutely feeling it. It's going to happen.

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This is a little thing that I do.

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Give it a little kiss! THEY LAUGH

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That's creepy.

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I do it a lot with different pieces of equipment.

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SARA LAUGHS

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It's getting dark.

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So I'll leave the camera traps to do their thing, while Sara and I head

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off to a top-secret location and one of our most mysterious animals.

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-So, um, are we going to bat country, then?

-Bat country.

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-We must be guaranteed a bat?

-We're guaranteed that we are going to see a bat.

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You've got to guarantee that. Yeah. Going to see a man about a bat.

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Greater horseshoe bats have declined by whopping 90% in recent decades.

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This part of Devon is one of the few areas where they're found

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in any number.

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And that's why they're a protected species.

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It's a criminal offence to disturb them.

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So, guaranteed, this is the most fun that you will have at sunset

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in Dartmoor. SARA LAUGHS

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-Really? Are we going to see some bat action?

-Er, yeah.

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-Inside this building...

-Yeah?

-..is the largest indoor

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roost of greater horseshoe bats in Europe.

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'There are over a thousand bat species worldwide.

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'And 18 of them are in the UK.

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'Although we have permission to be here, it would disturb them'

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if we went in. But night-vision cameras film the bats continuously.

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At sunset, almost bang on, they'll start to come out.

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So we'll have 2,000 bats kind of wheeling about our head.

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Oh, my gosh!

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So the biggest bat that we have in this country.

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And the wings...

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-The wings are 16 inches.

-Whoa! That's quite big, isn't it?

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I was thinking like diddy ones that look a bit like swallow sizes.

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-No, 16 inches.

-Oh, my God!

-2,000.

-2,000 of them.

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'Did I mention that Sara doesn't like flappy things?'

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-This used to be a pigsty.

-OK.

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And then they had started roosting in there, but then it was

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renovated to suit the bats, to provide a safe place for them.

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The other thing that bats need,

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-they need somewhere to hibernate in the winter.

-Get away!

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Do bats hibernate?

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Yeah, when you start getting cold weather and frost,

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insects stop flying about, insects start dying off,

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and so there's nothing for the bats to eat.

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So their survival strategy is just to conserve as much

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energy as possible.

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-Do all bats hang upside down?

-Yup.

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So they give birth upside down, they feed their young upside down.

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-They do not give birth upside down!

-Yeah, they have sex upside down!

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-Do they really?

-Yeah.

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The male's got this kind of specially adapted penis that

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kind of is like a big hook. So they're upside down, it comes..

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-Oh, it sounds lovely.

-Yes, very peculiar.

-Very Mills & Boon(!)

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'Like all bats, they make a high-pitched call as they fly.

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'And use the returning echoes to build up a sonic

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'map of their surroundings.

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'It's called echo location.'

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You won't have one of these. You don't have a bat detector, do you?

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-Is that an actual thing?

-It is an actual thing.

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We can't hear the frequency of the bats' echo location.

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-It's too high.

-It's kind of beyond our audible range.

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But with this, what this does is it tunes in to their range.

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There you go. Go in there.

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BEEPING ON DETECTOR

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-Can you hear it?

-Oh, my God!

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HIGHER PITCHED SOUNDS

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So that's their echo location.

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'When it's dark enough, they'll come out to feed.

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'They can eat up to 3,000 insects in a single night.

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'The only way to see us is with these night vision cameras.'

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I'm quite worried that I'll like just freak out and run.

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'But I'm excited.

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'These bats are really rare and it's a sight few of us

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'will ever actually see.'

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As long as they're not going to hit me.

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They won't hit you, I promise.

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-If a bat hits me, you give me £100.

-Define "hit".

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OK, well, that won't happen. You might get a...

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-Argh!

-You might feel a waft. SHE GASPS

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But I doubt it.

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They come this way. Stop worrying.

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You're not going to move off from me, are you? Seriously, Gordon.

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-No, no. I promise.

-Don't leave my side, please.

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Argh!

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Ha!

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What they're doing at this time is just having a look,

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so that's like one of the bravest bats cos he's thought,

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"Right, OK, it's still a bit light, there might be birds of prey about,

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"there might be other predators, but I'm kind of brave

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"enough to come out and just see what the light levels are."

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-So when they go back in, they will literally be...

-Telling the others.

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-Telling the others. At the moment...

-Weird people.

-Yeah.

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There's a woman clinging to a man, just out in the courtyard.

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They're coming out at a real rate now, aren't they?

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The braver the bat, the faster it can start feeding.

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The ones that disappear over the roof,

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they don't have to travel that far.

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They can probably just start feeding as soon as they get up over

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this patch of forest.

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So you can imagine them flying at that speed, echo locating,

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sending out that kind of warbling sound, that will

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bounce off a moth, bounce back at them,

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for enough time for them to adjust their flight and catch them.

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Every animal kind of takes a calculated risk,

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so these bats, "OK, tonight might be my last night on Earth

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"because I might come out too early and a sparrowhawk nobbles me

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"or I might run into a tawny owl and get nailed that way."

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Tony owl?

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-MOBSTER ACCENT:

-Hey, Tony Owl!

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Tony Owl, Mafioso, Italian owls, they're so vicious.

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I whipped myself open to a bat frenzy beforehand.

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I just didn't quite know how intense it was going to be,

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pinging out at like four or five at a time at one point,

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which was pretty cool, but that was enough for me.

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And so, when we get back to our little camp,

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all these thousands of bats will be flying about, filling their bellies.

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Yeah. Bless them, little things. I do wish them well.

0:19:250:19:30

Good luck, bats!

0:19:300:19:32

-Farewell, bats!

-Let's go.

0:19:330:19:35

-Yeah. And I want to see if any...

-Big cats.

0:19:350:19:39

I'm not staying in that tent if there's a cat.

0:19:390:19:41

'It's almost 8am and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some sunshine.'

0:20:020:20:09

It's beautiful!

0:20:090:20:12

-Are you all right?

-Coffee?

0:20:120:20:14

Oh, lovely, ta, darling.

0:20:140:20:16

You're welcome.

0:20:160:20:18

-Did you sleep OK?

-Yeah. It was good. You know what? I slept brilliantly.

0:20:180:20:22

I'm worried that you might have sparked some like new

0:20:220:20:25

thing in me now where I just want to be a nomad and that

0:20:250:20:28

and like just live like this, but in North London, and my children will

0:20:280:20:31

have to come and knock on the tent every morning and go,

0:20:310:20:34

"Come and feed us now and get us to school."

0:20:340:20:38

-Speaking of which, are you hungry?

-Yeah, I am. What have you got?

0:20:380:20:42

Do you want...? I could do some eggs.

0:20:420:20:45

'At times, it can be really grim looking for wildlife

0:20:450:20:48

'when the weather's bad.

0:20:480:20:49

'It's why I always have a good breakfast to set me

0:20:490:20:52

'up for the day ahead.'

0:20:520:20:54

-They look delicious, actually.

-Do you like smoked salmon?

0:20:540:20:57

I do, yes.

0:20:570:20:59

I've brought these little candles for last night.

0:20:590:21:02

The midges would have been bothering us,

0:21:020:21:06

so this candle would have kept them at bay, but..

0:21:060:21:09

As it was, we just had whisky

0:21:090:21:11

and hot chocolate under an umbrella really quickly and went, "Night!"

0:21:110:21:15

-Here we go.

-Would you like salt and pepper?

-Yeah.

0:21:150:21:19

Oh, I just presumed this was your make-up and concealer

0:21:220:21:25

when I saw these little pots.

0:21:250:21:27

The other one, that's what's in there.

0:21:270:21:29

If the egg doesn't fill me up, the pepper will! Big chunks!

0:21:290:21:33

'I think I spoke too soon about the weather though.'

0:21:380:21:42

God, it's really rainy, isn't it?

0:21:420:21:46

I missed the window of dry weather to pack away the tent.

0:21:470:21:51

I'm amazed at how well Sara is coping with this

0:21:510:21:54

because I think when I planned this little trip, I had kind of blue

0:21:540:21:59

skies and perfect weather in mind

0:21:590:22:01

and it's kind of been far from that, but she's just super chirpy.

0:22:010:22:06

She's still up for it, still having fun,

0:22:060:22:08

so I think that's a result in itself.

0:22:080:22:11

'The rain finally stops and we're heading off to

0:22:160:22:18

'Fingle Woods on the northern edge of Dartmoor.

0:22:180:22:21

'It's where we've got the best chance of finding dormice

0:22:210:22:24

'and badgers and I think I did promise Sara I'd find her a badger.'

0:22:240:22:28

I love a cattle grid. My dad's got a cattle grid at the end of his farm.

0:22:300:22:35

-Really? Has he got a hedgehog kind of recovery system in it?

-No.

0:22:350:22:38

Why?

0:22:380:22:40

Because with cattle grids,

0:22:400:22:41

there's a problem with hedgehogs kind of crossing them

0:22:410:22:44

and falling between the bars and then they just die in there.

0:22:440:22:47

The hedgehog friendly cattle grid has two little ramps at either

0:22:470:22:51

end, so if they fall in, they can just walk up the ramp.

0:22:510:22:55

No, what he's actually got is tiny rope ladders.

0:22:550:22:59

For the hedgehogs.

0:22:590:23:02

So they can get back up.

0:23:020:23:04

There's not a lot of hedgehogs actually

0:23:040:23:07

because the cows eat them all.

0:23:070:23:08

-Yeah?

-Yeah. That's what we've found.

0:23:080:23:10

'Fingle Woods date back to at least 1600

0:23:250:23:28

'and are now owned by the National Trust and Woodland Trust.

0:23:280:23:31

'There's an astonishing diversity of wildlife here

0:23:350:23:39

'and that's what makes them so special.'

0:23:390:23:42

-Oh.

-Lead on, Macduff.

-Is that a spa Jacuzzi I hear?

0:23:450:23:48

-Yeah, just head for the Jacuzzi.

-It's dry.

0:23:480:23:52

If it's dry, I'm happy.

0:23:520:23:55

If it's wet, I'm happy, but I'm happier if it's dry.

0:23:550:23:58

Here we are. I'm just at one with nature. I'm loving this place.

0:24:090:24:12

'After last night's bats, I want to show Sara something more cute

0:24:160:24:20

'and cuddly. With its woods and hedgerows,

0:24:200:24:25

'this is a prime stomping ground for dormice.'

0:24:250:24:28

If we go through the woods here, we'll look for signs of dormice,

0:24:280:24:32

so what we're looking for is the food that they've eaten.

0:24:320:24:35

-If we start looking on the ground for cherry stones...

-Yeah.

0:24:350:24:41

..that might have been gnawed away.

0:24:410:24:44

Dormice are really like meticulous, tidy little eaters, so you find

0:24:480:24:53

nuts and these stones with perfect circular little holes in them.

0:24:530:24:58

There's one there, I can see.

0:24:580:25:00

'The name may come from the French word "dormir", which means to sleep.

0:25:000:25:06

'And dormice do spend three quarters of their lives snoozing.

0:25:060:25:10

'The most likely place we'll find them is up a tree.'

0:25:100:25:14

-See if..

-How high up do they go then?

0:25:140:25:16

Dormice...

0:25:160:25:18

Some dormice can spend their entire lives in the trees,

0:25:180:25:22

in a cherry tree like this,

0:25:220:25:24

so they'll come out of their little nest at night time

0:25:240:25:27

and then they'll start clambering up, so like for a little

0:25:270:25:32

critter, that's like us scaling the Empire State building.

0:25:320:25:35

Are we going to see any of these things, Gordon?

0:25:350:25:37

-We will.

-Are we going to put a little camera trap thing?

0:25:370:25:40

No, we're going to meet a nice man, Matt, from the Woodland Trust

0:25:400:25:43

and he's going to kind of hopefully show us one

0:25:430:25:47

because they are protected, so there's a project to try

0:25:470:25:51

and encourage dormice to breed and to give them not just habitat,

0:25:510:25:57

but to give them sort of actual places that they can sleep

0:25:570:26:00

and so the Woodland Trust has got this project, putting up nest boxes.

0:26:000:26:04

-They're not for birds, they're for little mice.

-Little mice.

0:26:040:26:08

Cute.

0:26:080:26:09

Has he got any badgers we can look at?

0:26:090:26:12

'I'm not sure how committed Sara is to waiting

0:26:140:26:17

'patiently for wildlife to show up.'

0:26:170:26:19

You ain't going to find me a dormouse.

0:26:230:26:26

More likely find me a unicorn

0:26:260:26:28

than a dormouse and they aren't going to come out, are they?

0:26:280:26:32

I think there's a man who has got a box of them though.

0:26:320:26:35

I hope he's got a crate of badgers and beavers as well.

0:26:350:26:40

And an otter. Then we can go to the pub then.

0:26:400:26:43

'It doesn't really help that the creatures on my list

0:26:470:26:49

'are mainly nocturnal.

0:26:490:26:52

'And it's started raining again.'

0:26:520:26:55

-Can we go and see a dormouse then?

-Let's find Matt.

0:26:550:26:58

-There's been a bit of a build up to this dormouse.

-Matt?

0:26:580:27:02

'Wildlife expert Matt Parkins is one of the few people

0:27:020:27:05

'in the country legally allowed

0:27:050:27:07

'to handle these lovely little critters.'

0:27:070:27:09

So, levels of excitement,

0:27:090:27:12

-obviously never having seen a dormouse before..

-Yes.

0:27:120:27:15

-I mean, I'm nudging at a strong 6.5.

-That's good. I'm happy with that.

0:27:150:27:19

If a unicorn's a ten.

0:27:190:27:21

-It's a strong 6.5.

-This way.

0:27:210:27:23

-We'll creep up to this box.

-She's not very good at that.

0:27:230:27:27

Was that directed at me? "If we're quiet" bit.

0:27:270:27:31

I'll gently take the box off the tree..

0:27:310:27:34

I feel kind of bad for them.

0:27:340:27:36

Will there be mums and babies? Oh, not this time of year.

0:27:360:27:38

No, there could be cos the babies stay

0:27:380:27:41

with their mums for like ten weeks.

0:27:410:27:43

And then to stop them running away, we capture them in this bag.

0:27:430:27:48

-Oh, wow!

-Oh, my gosh!

0:27:480:27:50

Look at that!

0:27:500:27:52

So, we've got one here.

0:27:520:27:54

Oh, look, look, look.

0:27:540:27:56

Got one there. Very, very lively.

0:27:560:27:58

Will they nip you?

0:27:580:28:01

Dormouse are relatively friendly and they don't tend to bite.

0:28:010:28:05

Oh, my gosh!

0:28:050:28:06

'It's Matt's job to monitor the dormice

0:28:060:28:08

'and keep an eye on their numbers.'

0:28:080:28:10

I need to put the scales on the bag there.

0:28:120:28:15

And you can tell me how heavy that one is.

0:28:150:28:17

I'll hold it and you do the... Oh, my goodness! It's really light.

0:28:170:28:21

So it's like 20. Is it 20 grams?

0:28:210:28:24

What you need to do is actually work out whether it's male or female.

0:28:240:28:29

-Is that a female?

-So that one's actually a female.

0:28:290:28:32

-Mm-hm.

-So, you are expert already.

-There we go.

0:28:320:28:35

And interestingly, there's a little white tip on the tail as well.

0:28:350:28:38

-You see its little...

-Look at its little face!

0:28:380:28:40

-..front feet.

-There we go.

-Ooh!

-Don't move, anybody.

0:28:400:28:45

Stay still. Behind...

0:28:450:28:47

Argh!

0:28:490:28:50

-I didn't. I stayed still.

-Try not to move your feet.

0:28:500:28:53

I didn't move my feet. It just made me jump. I'm so sorry.

0:28:530:28:56

-Behind me.

-Yeah.

-Oh, there it is. Right there, look.

-Where is it?

0:28:560:29:00

Right between my feet, under my boot. I'm not going to move.

0:29:000:29:03

-I'm so sorry.

-You said it was just things that flap.

0:29:080:29:11

Dormice don't flap.

0:29:110:29:12

I really like rodents as well, but it just made me jump.

0:29:120:29:15

-So that's the one.

-Hi, sweetie.

0:29:150:29:17

If you'd squashed one, you'd have been off the job.

0:29:170:29:20

I think I would have had to send you home.

0:29:200:29:22

-The dormice police knocking at my door.

-Thank you.

0:29:220:29:26

Thanks so much, Matt. That was super cool. That was exciting.

0:29:260:29:31

'There's another animal that lives alongside the dormice,

0:29:310:29:34

'but they're a lot more elusive.'

0:29:340:29:38

So I think maybe head up under here cos there's lots of tracks coming...

0:29:380:29:42

-Little trails coming down out of the woods, onto the path.

-OK.

0:29:420:29:46

Don't fall.

0:29:460:29:47

Badger tracking!

0:29:470:29:49

Here, badgy, badgy!

0:29:490:29:52

It's dark, isn't it?

0:29:520:29:53

Yeah.

0:29:530:29:56

So, look for holes in the ground.

0:29:560:29:59

How big are badger-sized holes?

0:29:590:30:03

About the size of a badger,

0:30:030:30:04

but, yeah, there wouldn't be just one hole, there'll be several.

0:30:040:30:07

So, will it be at the foot of a tree or something?

0:30:070:30:10

No, quite often in a raised mound of earth

0:30:100:30:13

because some of these sets are used for generations and generations.

0:30:130:30:17

Hang on!

0:30:270:30:29

Look! Bingo! bingo!

0:30:290:30:31

Wow!

0:30:310:30:33

'Just what we're looking for - a badger's set.'

0:30:330:30:37

It's kind of magical.

0:30:370:30:39

This is definitely, I think, a main set.

0:30:390:30:41

'Badgers have a really good sense of smell

0:30:410:30:44

'and they won't come out if they know we're are around.'

0:30:440:30:47

We want to be downwind from them. Hang on, let me do the old...

0:30:470:30:50

No, there's, like...

0:30:520:30:53

Yeah, there you go. See how the needles are blowing towards you.

0:30:530:30:57

-That's clever.

-So, we want to sit that side of the set.

-OK.

0:30:570:31:02

I'll just double-check. Yeah.

0:31:030:31:05

-Yeah, you happy now?

-Yeah.

0:31:050:31:07

I'll set the camera traps up, you're on peanut detail.

0:31:140:31:17

'I don't normally put food out for animals,

0:31:180:31:21

'but it's raining, it's late in the day

0:31:210:31:24

'and this might be our only chance of seeing them.'

0:31:240:31:27

-Peanut butter.

-Yeah.

0:31:280:31:29

-Stick.

-Of course.

0:31:290:31:31

On the prominent bark, so, like, that log, on stones.

0:31:310:31:36

Just dot it around. A good dollop.

0:31:360:31:39

-Like a good, big teaspoon?

-Yeah.

0:31:390:31:41

-And then you can start to scatter the nuts around.

-OK.

0:31:410:31:44

Oh, it's lovely. Lovely stuff.

0:31:460:31:47

Here we go.

0:31:490:31:50

It's like I am the Delia Smith of the badger world.

0:31:530:31:57

To be honest, if I was a badger I'd be suspicious of this.

0:31:590:32:03

I'd be like, "Who's left all this peanut butter everywhere?

0:32:030:32:08

"I am staying in tonight, some weirdos about!"

0:32:080:32:10

And they wouldn't be wrong.

0:32:100:32:13

-Got the peanuts there?

-Yeah.

-Stop eating them!

0:32:130:32:17

Take a couple of big handfuls.

0:32:170:32:20

Like you are sowing.

0:32:200:32:23

Like a swing?

0:32:240:32:26

No, just scatter them around in any way you see fit.

0:32:260:32:30

The one issue, I suppose, with any badger set

0:32:300:32:33

is that there are holes all over the place, so you never know.

0:32:330:32:37

When I'm in a situation like this...

0:32:370:32:38

In a situation like this, I'm always really desperate to see the animal,

0:32:380:32:42

but, for Sara, I really want her to see a badger, I really do!

0:32:420:32:46

I could be minutes away from my first ever live badger experience!

0:32:460:32:50

I feel pretty...

0:32:510:32:54

Or I could be looking at a few hours of cold disappointment.

0:32:540:33:01

Oh, here he is.

0:33:040:33:05

The nut man of Dartmoor.

0:33:060:33:08

'We retreat to a safe distance and wait until it gets dark.

0:33:110:33:15

'The only way we'll see the badgers now is with night vision goggles.'

0:33:170:33:21

You take these.

0:33:220:33:23

Other way round!

0:33:230:33:25

So, can you see where the set is?

0:33:300:33:32

If they're completely relaxed they'll have, like, a whole family

0:33:320:33:36

moving about over the set area and grooming.

0:33:360:33:40

A badger's number-one favourite pastime is grooming

0:33:400:33:44

because underground in the set they pick up

0:33:440:33:48

parasites and ticks and lice.

0:33:480:33:50

Come on Mr and Mrs Badger!

0:34:060:34:09

Some badger sets can have up to 50 exits.

0:34:190:34:23

I just hope we've chosen the right one.

0:34:230:34:26

The are not, like, 30 badgers over the side of the hill right now

0:34:290:34:33

having a barbecue, giving each other piggybacks?

0:34:330:34:37

I doubt it. But you never know.

0:34:370:34:39

And the other side wasn't an option because...

0:34:390:34:41

Because it can't be downhill?

0:34:410:34:43

..the wind direction.

0:34:430:34:45

Lovely perfume would be wafting towards the badgers

0:34:450:34:48

and they won't like that.

0:34:480:34:49

I have got a box set I could be getting on with, you know?

0:34:560:34:59

Hang on!

0:35:020:35:03

I thought I saw something.

0:35:050:35:07

No.

0:35:080:35:09

False alarm.

0:35:100:35:13

'That was a rat, not a badger.

0:35:130:35:16

Wildlife can be so unpredictable.'

0:35:160:35:19

-Are they just taking a while to come out?

-Hopefully.

0:35:190:35:23

'I'm well used to waiting in the cold and rain and seeing nothing,

0:35:240:35:27

'but Sara is a novice at this.'

0:35:270:35:30

Oh, God! That's not good!

0:35:300:35:33

The first yawn!

0:35:330:35:35

At 9.25pm!

0:35:350:35:37

'And just when I think it can't get any worse...'

0:35:390:35:43

-Is it raining?

-I think so.

0:35:450:35:48

That's unusual(!)

0:35:480:35:49

-Hey, hey, hey!

-What?

0:35:540:35:56

-A badger!

-Shut up!

-No, there is.

0:35:560:35:58

Look, look!

0:35:580:36:00

-Shut up!

-Yeah, there was.

0:36:000:36:02

It ran up the bank.

0:36:020:36:03

-I saw a badger.

-Do you think more will come now?

0:36:070:36:10

It is hard to say because it actually ran off.

0:36:100:36:14

Maybe it's gone to tell its friends about the peanuts.

0:36:160:36:19

OK, come on, show yourself again!

0:36:190:36:23

I can't believe I missed it.

0:36:230:36:24

'Come on, you badgers!

0:36:260:36:28

'You're making me look bad in front of Sara.'

0:36:280:36:31

-I'm bloody cold.

-Are you?

0:36:320:36:34

Just because I'm damp and sitting still.

0:36:350:36:37

I have got, like, "Twitcher's Neck" or something it's probably called.

0:36:390:36:44

-Badger's Bum!

-I've got Badger's Bum.

0:36:450:36:48

"Night-Watch Neck".

0:36:500:36:51

'OK, so we've been here a sum total of one hour and 27 minutes.

0:36:540:36:59

'I caught a glimpse of one, but it was too quick for Sara.'

0:37:010:37:04

I hate to say it, Gords, I just think we should go.

0:37:060:37:09

-I am so cold.

-OK.

0:37:100:37:13

-We're done.

-Yeah.

0:37:160:37:18

We're done here.

0:37:180:37:19

I'm a Northerner so I'm used to rain,

0:37:220:37:24

but this has taken the biscuit.

0:37:240:37:26

The biscuit, the plate and the doily

0:37:260:37:29

has all been taken by the weather today.

0:37:290:37:31

I've been dripped on, drizzled on,

0:37:310:37:33

showered on, rained on,

0:37:330:37:37

pitter-pattered on.

0:37:370:37:39

It's just been horrible.

0:37:390:37:40

I kind of got a sense when she got into her tent

0:37:400:37:43

that she is, like, "Argh..."

0:37:430:37:45

She's not having fun any more

0:37:450:37:47

and that, for me, kind of feels like a failure.

0:37:470:37:51

Tomorrow is beaver day and I'm not convinced now...

0:37:510:37:58

..about seeing anything...

0:37:590:38:01

..if I'm honest.

0:38:030:38:04

I think more than ever before,

0:38:040:38:06

with any single species in any part of the world,

0:38:060:38:09

I'm feeling kind of feeling a huge amount of pressure

0:38:090:38:14

to show Sara these animals.

0:38:140:38:17

'It's 7.00am and it's still raining.

0:38:270:38:33

'I really hope it turns out to be a better day than yesterday.'

0:38:330:38:37

I thought I might get up and you'd actually just decided

0:38:380:38:42

to walk back to London, you'd had had enough.

0:38:420:38:44

I do worry that my reputation isn't holding up too well.

0:38:440:38:48

'She was really disenchanted last night.

0:38:480:38:51

'I was losing her fast!

0:38:510:38:53

'So the fact that I still have her with me, on day three,'

0:38:530:38:59

after two very rainy days, two very rainy nights,

0:38:590:39:03

maybe that's what I've got to cling on to - that Sara is still here.

0:39:030:39:09

Oh! The first thing I feel is that drizzle.

0:39:120:39:16

I'm kind of worried that there might be loads of, like,

0:39:270:39:30

little woodland creatures stuck in that peanut butter.

0:39:300:39:33

"I'll just go and find an acorn...", and, "Argh!"

0:39:330:39:36

-Like quicksand?

-Yeah!

0:39:360:39:39

And then the badger comes along, "Oh, peanut butter!",

0:39:390:39:41

-And dormouse stuck in it.

-Yeah!

-"My favourite!"

0:39:410:39:44

If this habitat is as teeming with wildlife as you keep alleging...

0:39:440:39:49

It is teeming world with wildlife, like, oak tree...

0:39:490:39:52

It just hides, doesn't it?

0:39:520:39:54

I didn't even see the frog, did I? I wasn't quick enough.

0:39:540:39:57

I love a frog, as well. Go and get us a frog!

0:39:570:39:59

I'll set you challenge now.

0:39:590:40:00

Could you get me a frog in, like, four minutes?

0:40:000:40:03

Gordon Buchanan, one frog, four minutes!

0:40:030:40:07

Time starts now!

0:40:070:40:09

-Almost 30 seconds gone.

-Come on.

0:40:150:40:17

Look at you, disturbing all the habitat for a challenge.

0:40:170:40:21

Two and a half minutes.

0:40:210:40:23

-To find this frog.

-Where is the nearest pet shop?

0:40:230:40:26

-Come on, frogs.

-I'm really rooting for you here, Gords.

-Come on.

0:40:280:40:31

You've got two minutes, that's a long time to find a frog.

0:40:310:40:34

-This isn't where you went for a pee, is it?

-No. I went the other side.

0:40:340:40:38

Ssh! Ladies don't pee in the undergrowth.

0:40:380:40:41

As if!

0:40:420:40:43

60 seconds? Is he going to do it? The crowd are on their feet.

0:40:430:40:47

Come on, froggy. Where are you?

0:40:480:40:51

Will he succeed?

0:40:510:40:53

Or will his reputation be in tatters?

0:40:530:40:56

Says me, with a massive Velcro roller in me fringe!

0:40:560:40:59

Looking like a...

0:40:590:41:01

moose.

0:41:010:41:03

30 seconds.

0:41:030:41:04

Come on, froggy.

0:41:060:41:08

The great Gordon Buchanan frog spot challenge.

0:41:100:41:13

Five,

0:41:160:41:17

four,

0:41:170:41:18

three,

0:41:180:41:19

two, one.

0:41:190:41:21

MELODIC CHIMES

0:41:210:41:23

Such a happy sound but marking such a sad event.

0:41:230:41:28

Right.

0:41:300:41:31

Set it for 24 hours, I'm going to find you a beaver.

0:41:310:41:35

SARA CHUCKLES

0:41:350:41:36

You've got 12 hours to get me a beaver. Go.

0:41:380:41:43

Ironically, me ringtone is "I've Had The Time Of My Life".

0:41:430:41:48

From Dirty Dancing.

0:41:480:41:50

Slight exaggeration.

0:41:500:41:52

-How this trip's gone.

-Right.

0:41:520:41:55

I know this is not the original challenge

0:41:550:41:57

but I'm going to give it another few minutes.

0:41:570:42:01

-For a frog?

-Froggy watching.

0:42:010:42:03

Gordon refuses to give up.

0:42:030:42:05

Nine hours later, Gordon is still searching for a frog.

0:42:050:42:08

-Yes!

-Shut up!

-Yes!

-No. I don't believe you.

-Yes!

-Aah!

0:42:110:42:14

I thought you were winding me up. Hello! What sort is he then?

0:42:150:42:19

-He's a common frog.

-Oh. He's nice.

0:42:190:42:22

They're not constantly swimming about in the water.

0:42:220:42:25

The reason I, kind of, looked in all that vegetation is

0:42:250:42:28

that's where the frog would be...hunting.

0:42:280:42:33

-Get that, and you'll see how beautiful its eyes are.

-Oh, my gosh!

0:42:330:42:38

-Unless...

-Argh!

0:42:380:42:39

Made her scream again!

0:42:390:42:42

It glanced off my eye.

0:42:430:42:46

This frog. It's, kind of, way past the mating season.

0:42:460:42:49

-There will be lots of froglets...

-Is that what they're called?

0:42:490:42:52

Froglets, yeah. Baby frogs.

0:42:520:42:55

That... You'd be...

0:42:550:42:56

"Actually, I'm not going to kiss it and see if it turns into a prince"

0:42:560:42:59

because I think it's quite attractive.

0:42:590:43:02

-Now, ladies.

-As it is.

-I'm already married. Sorry, froggy.

0:43:020:43:05

-Shall we let him go?

-Yeah. Let him go.

0:43:050:43:07

I'm going to put it back where I found it,

0:43:070:43:10

as you should always do.

0:43:100:43:12

Off he goes.

0:43:120:43:14

I was actually very pleased that he managed to catch that frog.

0:43:140:43:17

Like he was an actual eight-year-old.

0:43:170:43:20

Well done. You caught a frog.

0:43:200:43:21

It was fun.

0:43:210:43:23

I am interested in wildlife, it's more interesting when there is some.

0:43:230:43:27

Not here to look glamorous, people. I mean, I know I do, accidentally.

0:43:270:43:32

For me, it's not just about looking for wildlife

0:43:320:43:35

but experiencing nature every way I can.

0:43:350:43:38

-So, I'm going to go for a swim.

-Are you really?

-Yeah.

0:43:380:43:42

I haven't had a shower for a couple of days.

0:43:420:43:45

You see, I'm just warming up and I just feel dry

0:43:450:43:49

for the first time in, like, 48 hours.

0:43:490:43:51

No doubt, you're feeling the same.

0:43:510:43:53

You're feeling warm and dry for the first time.

0:43:530:43:56

So, now, you're going to get wet and cold on purpose?

0:43:560:43:59

Whoo! Ooh! Aah!

0:44:050:44:06

-How is it?

-It's boiling.

0:44:060:44:08

-It's actually...

-Is it not that bad?

-Startlingly cold.

-Is it?

0:44:080:44:14

It's a bit chilly.

0:44:140:44:16

Crocodile!

0:44:160:44:18

Imagine if he just got pulled under now, like shark style.

0:44:230:44:27

-It's a bit, sort of, Rambo movie.

-Really?

0:44:380:44:41

It's not the vibe I'm getting.

0:44:410:44:44

I'm thinking more Mr Bean goes wildlife.

0:44:440:44:46

The thing with Gordon, you see,

0:44:500:44:52

he's such a lovable character cos he's genuinely passionate about,

0:44:520:44:57

you know, everything from, right,

0:44:570:44:59

a hole that's been chewed in a cherry pip to, like,

0:44:590:45:03

living with polar bears.

0:45:030:45:05

So it's the whole spectrum of nature and wildlife that he just loves.

0:45:050:45:12

So, you've got to hand it to him. He's a complete barmcake.

0:45:120:45:16

But that he means it. He's dedicated in his madness.

0:45:160:45:21

Anything?

0:45:210:45:22

MUFFLED SPEECH

0:45:220:45:23

-Huh?

-I'm really cold now.

-Yeah. I bet.

0:45:230:45:27

Did you see anything?

0:45:270:45:29

There's lots of little minnows.

0:45:310:45:33

I can't really talk to you without looking at your nipples

0:45:330:45:36

and it's making me uncomfortable.

0:45:360:45:37

Do you want me to get a couple of Elastoplast.

0:45:370:45:40

-You won't see anything interesting.

-OK.

0:45:400:45:43

-One, two...

-Come on, young 'un. Do you feel invigorated?

0:45:440:45:47

I feel invigorated.

0:45:470:45:48

You see, an otter would be just up and away.

0:45:490:45:52

Thank you, darling.

0:45:540:45:55

Before we look for beavers, there's just time to check the footage

0:45:580:46:02

from our big cat camera traps.

0:46:020:46:04

Who knows? We may just be lucky.

0:46:050:46:09

What if we suddenly hit it

0:46:090:46:11

-and there's a big male puma staring at us.

-Be amazing, wouldn't it?

0:46:110:46:15

Shiny, shiny puma.

0:46:150:46:18

Yeah. No wildcats.

0:46:190:46:21

Sadly, no pumas.

0:46:220:46:25

But we were lucky with the other camera we set up by the river.

0:46:250:46:28

-Oh!

-Ah! Little wagtail. Look at it.

0:46:300:46:35

Out doing it's little waggy taily thing. Coming for its close-up.

0:46:350:46:38

-That's good. I somewhat feel I've redeemed myself.

-Yeah.

0:46:380:46:44

And, as for the camera on the badger set. We didn't see a badger.

0:46:460:46:51

But we did spot something.

0:46:510:46:54

-Oh! Look at him.

-Aah!

-Squirrel.

0:46:540:46:57

That for me is a result. Because we got something. We did get something.

0:47:000:47:05

-It wasn't at all what we were expecting.

-The wagtail was the best.

0:47:050:47:09

-Yeah.

-I'll always look know what a wagtail is now.

0:47:090:47:11

That's what I'll take away from this.

0:47:110:47:13

You get different species, by the way. They all look the same.

0:47:130:47:16

You've got pied wagtail, a grey wagtail, yellow wagtail.

0:47:160:47:19

-Right.

-Let's go. Let's go beaver.

-Let's pack up and find these beaver.

0:47:200:47:24

# Upside, inside out, living the beaver loca! #

0:47:310:47:36

Who's your favourite movie star?

0:47:370:47:40

-Oh...

-Sigourney Beaver?

0:47:400:47:41

We're heading towards the northern edge of Dartmoor

0:47:450:47:48

to another top-secret location.

0:47:480:47:51

-# Then I saw her face, now I'm a be-beaver. #

-Right, Sara.

0:47:530:47:58

-You are a genius.

-So many of them.

-Um, costume change.

0:47:580:48:04

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:48:040:48:05

You big into waders? Size...14?

0:48:050:48:10

Why are we putting these on, by the way. I've not even questioned it.

0:48:100:48:13

I've just put them on.

0:48:130:48:14

Don't want to be hampered by our inability to...

0:48:140:48:16

Ooh. Hamper?

0:48:160:48:18

You want to go where beaver go, you've got to get like a beaver.

0:48:190:48:23

Ha-ha!

0:48:230:48:25

-Ooh. They are quite warm, actually, aren't they?

-Yeah. They are.

0:48:250:48:28

We're getting to that age, anyway,

0:48:280:48:30

where we'll start wearing elasticated waists.

0:48:300:48:33

Soon, all our clothes'll be like this.

0:48:330:48:36

Speak for yourself, dear.

0:48:360:48:38

Let's find some beaver.

0:48:380:48:40

-# I've been waiting...

-For a girl like you.

0:48:400:48:43

# To come into... #

0:48:430:48:45

-Can you do a comedy, like... You know, one of them?

-A heel click?

-Oh!

0:48:450:48:50

Perfect.

0:48:520:48:53

Beavers were once widespread

0:48:550:48:57

but were hunted to extinction in the 1500s.

0:48:570:49:00

Over the last few years,

0:49:010:49:02

there have been several schemes to reintroduce them.

0:49:020:49:06

In 2011, the Devon Wildlife Trust

0:49:080:49:11

released a male and female into this dedicated beaver area.

0:49:110:49:15

Yeah. This is a, kind of...

0:49:160:49:19

a trial with beavers in a, kind of, wild...environment.

0:49:190:49:23

To see what impact they have on the spread of vegetation,

0:49:230:49:27

but also, kind of, what they do to the flow of water.

0:49:270:49:29

So, this, is called V-notch.

0:49:290:49:32

-It measures the quantity of water that is flowing into the site.

-OK.

0:49:320:49:36

And also the quality of the water.

0:49:360:49:38

But to get correct readings with quality and quantity,

0:49:380:49:42

they have to keep this free.

0:49:420:49:45

But the beavers, they hear running water and they want to block it up.

0:49:450:49:48

As a job, you're, sort of,

0:49:480:49:51

helping this research project by clearing out the V-notch.

0:49:510:49:54

-The fence has been put around to stop the beavers...

-Who is? I am?

0:49:540:49:58

Yeah. You want to do it just, kind of, hop over...

0:49:580:50:01

-Whoa!

-Right. Good job.

0:50:010:50:05

And get as much of it out as you can.

0:50:050:50:07

"What did you do today, darling?" "Oh! I cleaned out a V-notch."

0:50:090:50:14

-I hope I've not plucked my waders.

-That would be disastrous.

0:50:140:50:17

OK. Up! Nine stone? Are you serious?

0:50:170:50:21

Ha! I do like you Gordon, cos you could have just let me go then.

0:50:220:50:26

Look at that now.

0:50:280:50:29

We're getting close to potential beaver o'clock, Sara.

0:50:290:50:33

-Cool.

-We are. We are.

0:50:330:50:35

At just under seven acres, this site is massive.

0:50:360:50:40

And there are signs of beavers everywhere.

0:50:420:50:45

Even if there's no guarantee that we'll see one.

0:50:450:50:48

Oh! Look, look, look!

0:50:480:50:50

-What is that?

-That's their lodge.

0:50:510:50:54

Yeah.

0:50:540:50:56

That's their home.

0:50:560:50:58

So they've piled up mud, chewed off all these branches

0:50:580:51:03

-and created a beaver lodge.

-A lot of stuff's going on here.

-Yeah.

0:51:030:51:06

-But, you see, it was really well disguised.

-Yeah.

0:51:060:51:10

You can tell something's made that.

0:51:100:51:12

It's not just fallen in that cluster of mud and sticks.

0:51:120:51:16

So, the entrance will be underground.

0:51:170:51:20

-So, for example, if you're...

-Under the water?

0:51:200:51:23

..a bear or wolf coming along and you spy a beaver

0:51:230:51:26

going into its hole, it could dig you out,

0:51:260:51:29

whereas, if your entrance is underwater,

0:51:290:51:31

you can get into your home without anyone seeing you.

0:51:310:51:34

-You know, they are, kind of, nature's engineers.

-Yeah.

0:51:340:51:37

It's a bit James Bond-esque, isn't it?

0:51:370:51:40

-Underground lair.

-Yeah.

0:51:400:51:41

Right, let's go for a wander.

0:51:410:51:44

'Beavers are a vital missing link in the UK's ecosystem.'

0:51:440:51:48

I mean, for a little animal to do all this stuff...

0:51:480:51:52

-Yeah, it's amazing.

-It is.

0:51:520:51:54

You wouldn't get these flowers, you wouldn't get the insects

0:51:540:51:56

that feed on these flowers, you wouldn't get, you know,

0:51:560:51:59

the bats that feed on the insect.

0:51:590:52:00

It is phenomenal what they do.

0:52:000:52:02

'The beavers have created a whole new habitat

0:52:030:52:06

'by damming parts of the water flow.'

0:52:060:52:08

To talk about beavers as being kind of destructive,

0:52:090:52:12

they're not creating some kind of desert.

0:52:120:52:15

They're totally enriching the wild environment.

0:52:150:52:19

Classic beaver activities is strip the bark.

0:52:190:52:22

Oh, and is it eating it? Or is it using it to build stuff?

0:52:220:52:24

Eating the bark.

0:52:240:52:26

What they'll do, you know, for the wintertime,

0:52:260:52:28

is drag food up to the lodge

0:52:280:52:31

-and...

-They don't hibernate, do they?

0:52:310:52:33

No, they've got storage food, so they can feed through the winter.

0:52:330:52:37

'I am willing a beaver to show up.

0:52:370:52:40

'After the badger no-show, we can't have a beaver no-show.'

0:52:400:52:43

'Definitely don't want to leave Sara disappointed.

0:52:440:52:48

'And I'm just hoping that the beavers'

0:52:480:52:52

are going to be, kind of,

0:52:520:52:55

the cherry on a slightly soggy cake.

0:52:550:52:57

Oh, it is cold.

0:52:570:52:58

So, this is not something that would be encouraged.

0:52:580:53:01

This is something that not everyone gets a chance to do,

0:53:010:53:04

is wade to a beaver pond.

0:53:040:53:07

So, this in itself is a treat.

0:53:070:53:09

Does it feel like a treat?

0:53:090:53:11

Feels like my waders are leaking a bit.

0:53:110:53:13

It's just the cold water.

0:53:130:53:15

-Is it?

-Yeah.

0:53:150:53:16

OK, so I'm going to do the splits.

0:53:170:53:19

This is definitely different from Radio 2,

0:53:270:53:29

from what I'm normally doing.

0:53:290:53:31

You've got a good, intrepid story there.

0:53:310:53:34

"When I was wading through a beaver pond..."

0:53:340:53:36

I really don't want you to fall over.

0:53:360:53:39

No, I mean...

0:53:390:53:41

I'm straight back to my luxury Winnebago

0:53:410:53:43

if I go over in this.

0:53:430:53:44

I've not actually got a luxury Winnebago.

0:53:440:53:46

-SHE GASPS

-There's a beaver there.

0:53:460:53:48

Right there.

0:53:510:53:53

Wow.

0:53:530:53:55

Stay really still.

0:53:550:53:56

Oh, my goodness.

0:53:580:54:00

Isn't that something?

0:54:000:54:02

Oh, my goodness.

0:54:060:54:07

I have never been so close to a beaver in my life.

0:54:110:54:14

It's big, isn't it?

0:54:180:54:19

-Yeah.

-That's the adult male?

0:54:190:54:21

All of them...

0:54:210:54:23

Do you see how the eyes, the ears...

0:54:290:54:32

-You're not worried, are you?

-No.

0:54:320:54:34

You haven't screamed yet.

0:54:340:54:36

There.

0:54:400:54:42

When he comes up again, you'll see that the nostrils,

0:54:440:54:46

the eyes and the ears are on this same line.

0:54:460:54:51

-So, it can pop up.

-Yeah, so it can keep its entire body

0:54:510:54:53

under the water, but all the important senses can come above,

0:54:530:54:59

so it can smell, it can see and it can hear

0:54:590:55:02

without having to reveal itself.

0:55:020:55:04

Phew.

0:55:060:55:08

I'm so, so happy.

0:55:080:55:10

It's amazing.

0:55:110:55:13

I couldn't believe my eyes.

0:55:130:55:15

I was just like...

0:55:150:55:16

I'm welling up.

0:55:180:55:19

Brilliant, eh?

0:55:200:55:23

If it comes here, what do we do? Just stay still?

0:55:230:55:25

Just stay nice and still.

0:55:250:55:27

Oh, look, there it is.

0:55:270:55:28

Hiya.

0:55:300:55:31

We obviously wanted to show Sara a beaver

0:55:320:55:35

and I would have taken a glimpse, so I could just say,

0:55:350:55:39

"Oh, there you go, there's a beaver."

0:55:390:55:42

But to actually be sharing this experience, like,

0:55:420:55:45

something that I've never experienced or had before,

0:55:450:55:50

it's like just mind-blowing.

0:55:500:55:53

I will never forget this.

0:55:540:55:56

He just was gliding along.

0:56:010:56:03

I'm so relieved.

0:56:050:56:07

I've never been in a beaver pond with a beaver.

0:56:070:56:11

I've never been so close to a beaver,

0:56:110:56:13

so this is like the number one beaver sighting of my life

0:56:130:56:17

and I'm sharing it with Sara.

0:56:170:56:19

The lovely Sara Cox.

0:56:190:56:21

It's brilliant.

0:56:210:56:22

-What an amazing way to end.

-I know, brilliant.

0:56:220:56:25

-God, that was unbelievable.

-Yeah, it was brilliant.

0:56:280:56:31

-I'm so happy.

-Really? OK.

0:56:310:56:33

I feel slightly overwhelmed by that,

0:56:330:56:35

coming to the end of our wildlife weekend

0:56:350:56:39

and I don't think I've turned you into, like, a wildlife watcher,

0:56:390:56:44

or a twitcher,

0:56:440:56:46

but I think, you know, you can look at the wild world

0:56:460:56:51

in a different way.

0:56:510:56:54

Well...

0:56:540:56:55

I'm going to know what a wagtail is when I see a wagtail.

0:56:560:56:59

I don't think I'll ever have an experience like that

0:57:010:57:03

of bats flying out and towards me again.

0:57:030:57:06

-Badger... I'll have to come back and do the badgers.

-Yeah.

0:57:080:57:12

The dormice.

0:57:120:57:13

The frog.

0:57:140:57:16

You know what? We've laughed a lot.

0:57:160:57:18

We've done well cos we've had rotten luck with the weather.

0:57:180:57:21

It's been fab, it's been really great.

0:57:210:57:23

We've had an encounter, mind-blowing.

0:57:230:57:27

Unless it gets out and does a tango with us...

0:57:270:57:29

I don't think that's going to happen.

0:57:290:57:31

-..we're not going to improve on that.

-No.

0:57:310:57:33

Just leave him to it cos he's given us such a big gift, hasn't he?

0:57:330:57:36

By giving us a little swim past.

0:57:360:57:38

Have you got your phone?

0:57:380:57:40

What did I say?

0:57:400:57:41

I had 12 hours, I forgot. I said I wasn't making any promises,

0:57:410:57:44

but I've achieved the mission

0:57:440:57:47

with an hour and 20 minutes to spare.

0:57:470:57:50

Yeah.

0:57:500:57:51

Thank the lord.

0:57:510:57:52

I can now turn off the beaver alarm because we got the beaver.

0:57:520:57:56

I would put that as one of my top five wildlife encounters.

0:57:570:58:02

-Brilliant.

-Really?

-Yeah, I do.

-I'm genuinely really flattered

0:58:020:58:06

cos you've had a lot.

0:58:060:58:07

-BOTH:

-Two, one...

0:58:070:58:10

You're still better.

0:58:110:58:12

Gordon and Sara are in Dartmoor, famed for its rugged landscape and tough little wild ponies. But they discover that it has a lot more to offer as they witness a secret colony of rare horseshoe bats leaving the roost at night, and Sara has an encounter with a frisky dormouse.

The rain is relentless and threatens to dampen Sara's enthusiasm during a badger stakeout. But will their search for a beaver prove to be worth all the discomfort?