02/10/2011 Countryfile


02/10/2011

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In the land of mountains, moorlands

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and lakes lies a valley of wide open spaces and fertile fields.

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This is the eastern corner of Cumbria. Its farming heart.

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I am in the Eden Valley.

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This place is sometimes called Cumbria's best-kept secret.

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But not any more. Thanks to the World Sheepdog Trials, people

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have flocked here from all over the globe to watch the experts at work.

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High above the valley in the fells, far away from the sheepdog trials,

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I'll be getting a taste of sheep farming at its most extreme.

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When the winds howl, the rains pour and the snow falls,

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life here can be pretty tough.

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So, just how is this piece of hi-tech kit going to help?

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I'll be finding out.

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While back at the sheepdog trials, just as the rain really gets going,

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Helen and I go head-to-head in a challenge of our own.

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We've got this in the bag.

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Farmer's daughter versus farmer's son.

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And I'll be taking a close look at radical new proposals

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to change our planning laws.

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They could lead to many more houses being built.

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Would that ruin some lovely parts of our countryside

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or revive many rural communities? That's what I'll be investigating.

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Also tonight, Adam's herd is facing another test for bovine TB.

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He doesn't want to lose any cattle, but one in particular is on his mind.

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Eric has got a real place in my heart now.

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If he got TB and had to be put down, that would bring a tear to my eye.

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The lush green slopes of the Eden Valley.

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A hidden jewel...

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set between the rocky peaks of its better-known neighbours,

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the Lake District and the Pennines.

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And at the heart of the valley is the 75,000 acre Lowther Estate.

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Today, the estate is host to the World Sheepdog Trials,

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an international event that will draw crowds of up to 40,000 people.

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It's the latest event in the estate's 800-year history.

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Once the Lowther Estate was so large,

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you could walk from the east coast to the west coast

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without ever leaving it.

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But by 1957, life wasn't so sweet.

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In a bid to avoid inheritance tax,

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the roof was stripped off this once magnificent castle.

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The building, left to rack and ruin.

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Now, thanks to a £9 million grant, it has been restored and the rest

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of the estate is not doing too bad either.

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I'm meeting estate manager Richard Price to discover

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how they are making this historic estate fit for the 21st century.

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Where is the money coming from for all of this work?

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The actual castle project is being put into a trust,

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the Lowther Castle Gardens Trust.

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And the money for that is coming from the public sector,

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large funding organisations like the North West Development Agency

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and things have moved forward very fast.

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And very proud of what is happening with that.

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It is very much the hub and the crown of the estate.

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And how much does having the World Sheepdog Trials here help?

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It means a lot for the local community.

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It brings a lot of income into the local community.

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While the World Sheepdog Trials are bringing 240 shepherds

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from around the world to Lowther,

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they do have plenty of their own sheep to look after.

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The estate runs 5,000 of these mule sheep.

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They have a hardy Swaledale mum and a lean, muscly,

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Blue-faced Leicester dad making them rugged for this environment,

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but ideal for the table.

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John Harrison is the estate's head shepherd.

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He's working hard behind the scenes to get

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the huge amounts of sheep ready, in the right place for the trials.

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So, John, are you tempted to have a go at the trials this year

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because you could? Former English national champion.

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Well, I mean, it would be nice to but I haven't

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competed for about 10 or 12 years now,

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so I've probably lost the edge.

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It would be nice to have a go, I must be honest.

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Sure. There are handlers coming from all over the world.

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I'm not sure what they'll make of the mules.

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It will be interesting to find out really.

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The interesting thing is, every handler

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gets a different set of sheep.

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This is a nightmare for you to keep things moving around?

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We have over 1,200 sheep to get ready for the trials in the next four days.

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Luckily, we have a good, strong committee

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and a lot of helpers to help as well.

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There is a lot of work involved,

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early mornings and late nights unfortunately.

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What does it mean to you as head shepherd to have the world trials?

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It's tremendous that it has come here.

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And also for the local environment.

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You know, with all the people coming in and the local community,

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it is fantastic for that as well.

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Back at the trials, the competition is well under way.

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I have arranged to meet up with Katy Cropper who won

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One Man And His Dog in 1990.

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'Well done, lass, that is what I call a good trial.'

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The first woman to do so.

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Katy, here is the BBC Television trophy.

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That is something to keep, isn't it?

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Wonderful, wait a minute.

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She now lives and works right on the doorstep in the Eden Valley.

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What a wonderful thing to have the World Sheepdog Trials here.

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Yes, it's gorgeous. This is God's country.

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As you can see, it's the most stunning, stunning scenery.

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The trial field looks fantastic.

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There is a tremendous feel to it.

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It couldn't be more perfect for the trial. It is not easy.

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Field number one is quite a tricky course.

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Some of those sheep are quite contrary.

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I actually did the course the night before the actual trial.

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How was it?

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Lovely. I think I should have won it!

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There are some right rough ground going from the shedding ring

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to the pen so you wouldn't be wanting to wear your Jimmy Choos

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because it really is quite rough.

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But for the dogs and the handlers, that win this,

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it is a big deal, isn't it, the World Championships?

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Fantastic!

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-And it can be quite lucrative.

-Oh, I'm sure.

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Depending on who the person is that wins with their dog,

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you never know, the dog will be worth a lot of money.

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We've got the best dogs and the best handlers from all over the world.

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But not the best of the weather.

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Heavy rain is affecting the trials.

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Later I'll be meeting a couple of the international competitors

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who have braved the Cumbrian climate.

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In just a couple of weeks' time, the Government's consultation

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on making radical changes to our planning rules comes to an end.

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The proposals couldn't be more controversial.

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But what difference will they really make? John has been to investigate.

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England's planning laws rose out of the ashes of World War II,

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to prevent a free-for-all in building.

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But fast-forward to today and they've created a bureaucracy

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with 1,300 pages of planning guidance,

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causing delays which cost the economy an estimated £3 billion every year.

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Now, the Government has decided it's time to speed up the whole planning process,

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in a bid to get more homes built and kick-start the economy.

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All those pages of guidance will be cut to just 52.

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But these proposals have exploded into a war of words

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between ministers and deeply concerned heritage groups.

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The protection for the green belt...

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I'm not a left-winger. I'm not a fanatical.

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..rather than replacing...

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What's causing the uproar is the Government's idea that

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councils should have a presumption in favour of what they call

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sustainable development. In other words,

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they should be more likely to approve new housing than turn it down.

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So, would these new laws ride roughshod over the countryside,

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or would they throw a vital lifeline to rural communities

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with an uncertain future?

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To try to shed some light on what the proposals could mean,

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we've picked two villages in Somerset with very different prospects for the future.

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First, East Coker in the south of the county,

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a quintessentially English village.

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-Good morning, John.

-Good morning, what a beautiful day.

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1,400 people live here including Martin Sowerbutts

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who is taking me on a visit to the local church.

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Here we are, John.

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If we go up the tower I can show you what we are talking about.

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Right up the top, there.

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'But we're not just heading up high to get a bird's-eye view

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'of this lovely village of 900 homes.'

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Many more to go?

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About halfway I should say, John.

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Martin wants to show me a development site for up to 3,700 houses

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which could be built right on their doorsteps.

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Well worth the climb! What a view!

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Fantastic, isn't it?

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So where exactly is this proposed development going to be?

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You see the brown field ahead of us, it will span across there,

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to the left, behind this tree.

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To the outskirts of Yeovil?

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It will join on to the outskirts of Yeovil

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and go right across to the houses on the horizon.

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It will look like, essentially, gravy pouring down from Yeovil

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into the Vale of East Coker.

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All the area they're going to build on is grade 1 agricultural land.

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The finest and most fertile available.

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It accounts for something less than 5% of all agricultural land in England.

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And to build on that, well, I think it's criminal.

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Although sites like green belts will still be protected,

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proposals to defend premium farmland like this have yet to be approved,

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leaving them at risk of development.

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Many see East Coker's case

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as the sort of battle that could take place right across the country,

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if the new changes go through.

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To give you some idea of the effect it'd have, I have a photograph here

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which gives a representation of what it would look like if this development went ahead.

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You can see all of the houses here would be covering that area there.

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'Although this artist's impression has been done for those opposed to the development,

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'it's undeniable that this many houses will have a dramatic impact.'

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So how far is this village going to take it?

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Well, we didn't want it, but we think in some ways we're a test case.

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With all the assets East Coker has got, the heritage, the farming,

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the quality of the land, if we can't actually make our case stick,

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then we think that nowhere in the country's going to be safe,

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particularly under the new planning framework.

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The Government says new planning guidelines will put power back in the hands of local people.

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Here, in South Somerset, they're not so sure about that.

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The woman who represents East Coker on the district council

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says her colleagues have little alternative but to do what the Government wants.

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My preference would have been to spread the houses amongst the villages,

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because I believe that protects the school,

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the shops and the pub

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and other community facilities,

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but what the Government wants is to have the development

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on the edge of towns with employment land

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and with retail provision within that area along with the houses,

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and so that is what the district council's had to put into their plan.

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What you're saying is, it's not really your local district plan,

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it's a plan that the Government is imposing on you.

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Certainly, if we don't have a local plan which goes this way,

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developers will be able to come along and say,

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we are going to develop here, or wherever,

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and we won't be able to refuse them

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because we haven't identified somewhere else more suitable for them to go.

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I certainly don't want it to be a free-for-all for developers.

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The council say the development would bring benefits to the area,

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but can't be specific until plans are finalised.

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So are existing businesses positive about the proposals?

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-Good morning.

-Hello there.

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-Could I have the local paper, please?

-No problem. That's 70 pence, please.

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I suppose you'll be glad when the new houses are put up, good for business?

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No, we don't think so, actually.

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We believe with the size of the estate it's going to be,

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they'll bring shops with them,

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possibly a mini supermarket, and we think it's going to draw customers away from us.

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'In East Coker, it's hard to find people in favour of the proposed development,

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'and that's the big concern about these possible planning changes,

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'that they simply won't take into account

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'the views of local people if they're against development.'

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But in other places, there are those who believe these plans could actually work in their favour.

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I'm on my way now to a village about 20 minutes away called Queen Camel,

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where the people there are wanting new houses.

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People power is working here,

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because the community is doing what it appears the Government wants them to do, namely, ask for more housing.

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Parish councillor Rosemary Heath Coleman helped put together a plan

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for the future of their village.

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We've been selected by the Government as a guinea pig

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for a neighbourhood development plan.

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How many affordable homes do you need here now?

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Well, that's still a question to be answered,

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but if I said to you 20-ish,

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we will build, I hope, according to the need.

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And that's the difference.

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Here, we're talking about a few affordable homes wanted

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by the community to help sustain their village, whereas in East Coker,

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they fear a whole new town will be forced onto their doorstep.

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While the children of Queen Camel enjoy playtime,

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the village has been given a £20,000 government grant to plan for the future.

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-You have got a lively school here.

-We certainly have.

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What difference do you think the neighbourhood plan is going to make?

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It will be good to have our numbers rising again.

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We have fallen over the last few years,

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though we've turned a corner now and we are beginning to increase again.

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So, the whole point of the neighbourhood plan

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is that it's going to allow people who can afford to live in the countryside

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to be here with their young children.

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Absolutely, that's what we want.

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You want a real mix in the countryside,

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not just lots of old people, young families, too.

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So is this what the new planning regulations will bring about,

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or is it more likely to be mass development of the kind feared by East Coker?

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Well, in fact, there may be a third way,

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that no-one's anticipating, as I'll be revealing later.

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It's grey and it's cold.

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I'm on my way to meet some hill farmers.

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Not these guys. They wouldn't know one end of a sheep from another!

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But what they're doing could make a real difference to the way hill farmers work.

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These guys aren't playing around with a kid's toy.

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This is £30,000 worth of military technology that's been adapted for civilian use.

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We'll find out more about that a bit later on.

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Meg! Meg!

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Here are a couple of farmers who stand to benefit.

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Father and son Chris and Richard Harrison.

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Unlike our men in black, they know all about sheep,

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and when I caught up with them, the sun was actually shining.

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I'm here to help bring these Swaledales down off the fells.

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It's the time of year when the lambs are weaned off their tired mums,

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and we couldn't do it without the help of a good working dog.

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Chris, I'm in awe of your dog. How easy was she to train?

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Meg, she was a natural, really.

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She more or less trained herself!

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From about eight months old, she used to run left, right, sit, stop,

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and you just had to add commands to it.

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So "get away" is go right?

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"Get away" is go to the right, "get by" is go to the left.

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OK.

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I'm doing well if I can get my dog to sit in one place for 30 seconds.

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Meg, get away!

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-She's not moving.

-Try again.

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Meg. Get away!

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You haven't got the right tone of voice.

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She's looking. She just listens to me, really.

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Meg, get away, Meg.

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Get away!

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I thought she was just out of range, but you're right, it is me!

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'I've got to crack this,

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'because I'm taking Matt on at the sheepdog trials later.

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'Chris reckons it's all in the name.'

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We tend to give dogs names with just one syllable.

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My dogs have been called Twig, Rock, Meg.

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It's for command reasons, really.

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When you shout, if it's just one sharp word, they can understand.

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So Meg's good. We had a Bob.

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But we also had a Mandy.

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Bob's a good name for a dog, but I'm not too sure about Mandy.

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-She was a nice dog, I'm not sure she was that efficient.

-I'm not doubting she was a nice dog!

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So if I'm going to beat Matt Baker, I need a woman's dog.

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I think so. You need a dog that will listen to a woman.

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Insert your own punchline there!

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Well, Meg doesn't listen to a word I say,

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so I'm hoping Jack will pay more attention.

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I doubt it very much. He doesn't listen to me very much.

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Thank you.

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How old is Jack?

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-He's just turned two.

-So he's a bit more mischievous?

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He is a little bit, yes. He's a young dog but he's still learning, just as I am.

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Bye.

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Bye.

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-Say his name.

-Jack, bye.

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Bye. Go on, they're looking!

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Bye, Jack.

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Well, Richard's bound to do better.

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He's had more practice than me.

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But I am trying.

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Maybe I'll be more use down on the farm.

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'Things can get tricky when you stand in the wrong place.'

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That was my own fault. I knew that!

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'And noisy.'

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THEY BLEAT

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Remember, though, this is the first time these lambs will have been without Mum.

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They really sound like they're saying, "Mum!"

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You're going to be fine.

0:19:180:19:20

You're going to love it out there.

0:19:200:19:22

These lambs will stay on low ground, grazing and growing up.

0:19:220:19:25

Their mums are back off up the fells to winter on high ground.

0:19:250:19:30

And I mean high ground.

0:19:320:19:35

Near 2,000 feet.

0:19:350:19:37

With the kind of winters they get round these parts, that's harsh.

0:19:370:19:41

Remember these two?

0:19:430:19:46

Well, they reckon their fancy flying machine could be the answer to our hill farmers' prayers.

0:19:460:19:51

When the snow gets deep and the tractors won't budge,

0:19:540:19:57

then this bit of kit comes into its own.

0:19:570:20:00

It's designed to fly over hard-to-get-to terrain.

0:20:000:20:05

Just the job when your sheep are thousands of feet up.

0:20:050:20:09

A special camera underneath streams live video pictures back to a laptop,

0:20:090:20:13

but the cute bit is, you can tell this flying shepherd exactly where to go.

0:20:130:20:18

Can you get it to fly from A to B?

0:20:180:20:19

I can indeed. I can demonstrate that now.

0:20:190:20:22

I can set some waypoints up here.

0:20:220:20:23

Then what it will do, if I now set this waypoint active,

0:20:230:20:27

what it will do now is fly between the three waypoints that I've set.

0:20:270:20:31

-You can now see on the camera it's turning to the right.

-Oh, wow!

0:20:310:20:37

The craft flies right over Chris the farmer's flock.

0:20:380:20:40

The tiny white dots you can just about see are his sheep.

0:20:400:20:45

-Can you send the camera over our heads?

-Yeah, that's very easy to do.

0:20:450:20:49

You grab the centre of the orbit we're currently on.

0:20:490:20:51

-Set it active, and there we are.

-Oh!

0:20:510:20:55

We're quite small, aren't we?

0:20:580:21:00

We are. With this current camera, we will look very small.

0:21:000:21:04

We can see there are people there.

0:21:040:21:05

The technology was developed to be used in war zones like Afghanistan,

0:21:050:21:11

so the Cumbrian hillside shouldn't be a problem.

0:21:110:21:13

But what does our farmer Chris think of it?

0:21:130:21:16

The cost of this is probably out of the way

0:21:160:21:19

for the hill farmer, but maybe a contractor who has one of these,

0:21:190:21:23

and say there's the Commons or the Lakeland fells where there's vast, open spaces,

0:21:230:21:28

where you can't get to with a quad bike,

0:21:280:21:30

maybe the commoners could get together

0:21:300:21:32

on a day when they're going to gather the Commons and get the contractor in,

0:21:320:21:36

send him out to have a look to see where the sheep are at,

0:21:360:21:38

so they could save time by going to certain areas on the moors and Commons.

0:21:380:21:43

-So just hire one?

-Just hire one for the day.

0:21:430:21:45

This is a prototype, but it's already attracting the interest of outfits like the mountain rescue.

0:21:450:21:52

It would make a difference in terms of getting people off the mountains?

0:21:520:21:56

Absolutely, yeah.

0:21:560:21:57

You could imagine a scenario where somebody's thrown a quad bike over.

0:21:570:22:01

At the minute, the option is you put runners,

0:22:010:22:03

fast-running guys will go up the hill and follow the track and see where the guy is.

0:22:030:22:07

Well, we just throw this in the air, let it go hunt him down,

0:22:070:22:10

and then we can go in with a vehicle ready to rescue the guy.

0:22:100:22:14

After about 20 minutes aloft,

0:22:160:22:18

the craft is ready to land all by itself.

0:22:180:22:22

Ouch!

0:22:230:22:25

-Quite a robust little thing, isn't it?

-Heavy landing.

0:22:260:22:30

So, I think we all agree it's got a future,

0:22:300:22:32

but does that mean the end of the working dog?

0:22:320:22:35

I don't think so.

0:22:350:22:37

I don't think it makes you worry about early retirement just yet.

0:22:370:22:41

You're all right, Meg.

0:22:410:22:43

There'll be a few dogs back at the fourth World Sheepdog trials

0:22:430:22:46

that'll be pleased to know that.

0:22:460:22:48

At the Lowther Estate, behind the scenes,

0:22:540:22:56

the competition is in full swing.

0:22:560:22:59

Growing up on a sheep farm, sheepdogs have always been a big part of my life.

0:23:040:23:08

It's a real treat for me to be here.

0:23:080:23:10

I trained my first one when I was 14.

0:23:100:23:12

This is where all the handlers hang out before they nip off to the post.

0:23:120:23:17

This is Karin and Lyn, how did you get on out there,

0:23:170:23:21

-as you're from Norway?

-I was pleased with the run,

0:23:210:23:24

pleased with the dog, but it won't be enough.

0:23:240:23:26

Right. It's a long way to come, isn't it,

0:23:260:23:28

for one shot?

0:23:280:23:30

Is the sheepdog trialling world quite similar in Norway, as to what you're experiencing here?

0:23:300:23:35

It's nearly the same, the same type of courses,

0:23:350:23:37

the sheep are a bit more heavy.

0:23:370:23:39

-Yeah.

-Same rules but the sport is not as big as over here.

0:23:390:23:44

There are handlers from America,

0:23:470:23:50

from the Faroe Islands, and even Japan and Brazil.

0:23:500:23:53

This is the Brazilian team over here.

0:23:530:23:56

-Good to see you, how are you?

-Nice.

0:23:560:23:57

Now, it's going very well for one particular member of your team.

0:23:570:24:01

We could expect to do well, but maybe not that well.

0:24:010:24:05

Right. And what do you make of Cumbria?

0:24:050:24:07

The farm area and stuff, it's pretty.

0:24:070:24:10

And the environment, we enjoy ourselves very much in the world trials.

0:24:100:24:15

And you're the breeder of the dog that currently has the second highest score in the world.

0:24:150:24:20

Yes, shouldn't have sold it!

0:24:200:24:22

This is a lovely touch, you have your crook in this.

0:24:240:24:27

Actually, I brought this for my wife.

0:24:270:24:29

-While you've been here?

-Yes.

0:24:290:24:31

Oh, isn't that lovely?

0:24:310:24:33

She gave me the visa to come by myself so I have to bring something back.

0:24:330:24:37

You keep smiling and wish the team all the very best.

0:24:370:24:40

Hopefully your score will remain in the top two. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

0:24:400:24:44

Now, the second part of John's investigation.

0:24:440:24:46

Earlier, we heard a tale of two villages.

0:24:550:24:57

East Coker, which is facing the prospect of thousands of new houses forced on it,

0:24:570:25:02

and Queen Camel, where the community's driving a project

0:25:020:25:06

to build 20 affordable homes. Two very different examples

0:25:060:25:09

of the way Westminster

0:25:090:25:12

would like to free up the planning laws.

0:25:120:25:14

The Government says that its proposed changes to planning

0:25:140:25:17

are aimed at making more land available for housing,

0:25:170:25:20

and so boosting the economy in the process.

0:25:200:25:23

But already there's a lot of land that's been given the go-ahead

0:25:230:25:26

for housing, but where nothing is happening.

0:25:260:25:29

Not only are there enough brownfield sites out there

0:25:290:25:34

to build around 750,000 homes,

0:25:340:25:36

up to half of which may be in the countryside,

0:25:360:25:39

there are also countless rural sites that have been bought, but not developed.

0:25:390:25:43

This is a rather nice place for a walk, isn't it?

0:25:430:25:47

It is lovely at the moment.

0:25:470:25:48

Did you know that they have, back in 2009,

0:25:480:25:51

obtained consent for 1,200 homes?

0:25:510:25:54

To be built on these fields?

0:25:540:25:55

Quite a significant part of it would be built on.

0:25:550:25:59

So why are there no houses here then?

0:25:590:26:02

It's difficult to know - lots of developers will have land

0:26:020:26:06

that they have planning permission on, but won't necessarily be building.

0:26:060:26:10

There may be many reasons - generally developers will hold on to land bank stock.

0:26:100:26:16

So how big is this land bank at the moment?

0:26:160:26:19

There is some talk that there is probably enough consent

0:26:190:26:22

for something like 700,000 homes throughout the UK.

0:26:220:26:26

So that's about two or three years' supply

0:26:260:26:28

of new homes that are not being built.

0:26:280:26:31

That's right.

0:26:310:26:32

So if firms can't afford to build on land that's already earmarked for housing,

0:26:350:26:39

what difference will relaxing the planning laws really make?

0:26:390:26:43

Local building contractor David Pinckney thinks the changes could be just enough

0:26:430:26:48

to kick-start the house-building industry again.

0:26:480:26:51

I think the principle behind it is very sound.

0:26:510:26:53

Anything that cuts down and simplifies the planning process

0:26:530:26:58

is certainly going to help contribute to more development opportunities.

0:26:580:27:04

It will be interesting to see how that works in practice.

0:27:040:27:07

Do you think this idea of speeding up the planning process

0:27:070:27:10

will create more jobs in the building industry?

0:27:100:27:12

I think it will in the long term, yes.

0:27:120:27:15

If we can speed up the process and encourage development,

0:27:150:27:19

it will certainly lead to significant jobs of projects such as this.

0:27:190:27:23

We're able to create over 1.5 permanent jobs for every home we build.

0:27:230:27:27

If we are able to meet the demand that's required, certainly in rural communities,

0:27:270:27:32

we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry.

0:27:320:27:35

But even if more houses are built, will those who need them most be able to afford them?

0:27:350:27:40

I'm going to meet a couple where houses in their village

0:27:400:27:44

are way out of their price bracket.

0:27:440:27:46

How do you feel about a situation where young people

0:27:460:27:50

just can't afford to live in the places where they were brought up?

0:27:500:27:53

I think it's quite bad, really.

0:27:530:27:57

When you're brought up somewhere, you really enjoy it as a kid,

0:27:570:28:01

got memories and stuff there.

0:28:010:28:02

And when you can't live and have your own child live that life,

0:28:020:28:05

it's quite sad, really.

0:28:050:28:09

House prices here are just out of your reach, are they?

0:28:090:28:12

Yeah, completely. They're way out.

0:28:120:28:14

'But there is hope for Chris and Katie and baby Jack

0:28:140:28:18

'because they live in Queen Camel,

0:28:180:28:20

'where, as we heard earlier, there are now hopes of building around 20 affordable homes.'

0:28:200:28:24

And the new houses that are being planned here,

0:28:240:28:28

I think there'll be an opportunity to part-buy and part-rent.

0:28:280:28:33

-That's right.

-That will get you a bit more stability.

-Yeah.

0:28:330:28:36

Then you can own so much of the house as well.

0:28:360:28:38

So, will you be very disappointed if you don't get one of these houses?

0:28:380:28:43

-I would be, yes, very disappointed.

-Definitely.

0:28:430:28:46

From what I've seen, it appears whilst these changes

0:28:490:28:52

have the potential to give communities like Queen Camel

0:28:520:28:56

a new lease of life,

0:28:560:28:57

a combination of vague language and putting more power

0:28:570:29:00

in the hands of developers

0:29:000:29:02

may also leave it open to abuse.

0:29:020:29:05

It seems inevitable that the new planning regulations

0:29:050:29:08

will take some protection away from rural areas

0:29:080:29:11

but only when we see it work in practice will we know the true impact

0:29:110:29:15

on the countryside.

0:29:150:29:18

Shortly on Countryfile,

0:29:220:29:24

Helen's on the hunt for buried treasure deep underground.

0:29:240:29:27

It's really quite gorgeous, isn't it?

0:29:270:29:30

At the Sheepdog Trials, we go head-to-head in the show ring.

0:29:300:29:34

Steady!

0:29:340:29:35

But, it's the rain that's winning.

0:29:350:29:38

And, what about the weather for the week ahead?

0:29:380:29:40

The Countryfile forecast will reveal all.

0:29:400:29:43

As well as its rain, Cumbria is rightly famous for its sheep.

0:29:570:30:01

But that's not the only kind of farming around here.

0:30:020:30:05

Business is booming for a new brood of farmers,

0:30:070:30:11

supplying one of the biggest free-range egg producers in the country.

0:30:110:30:15

Katie's been to find out more.

0:30:150:30:17

14.5 million eggs come through this packing plant every year.

0:30:190:30:24

Most of them come from farms that are less than 30 miles away.

0:30:240:30:28

It's a huge hi-tech operation.

0:30:280:30:30

But in this story, it's not the egg, but the chicken that comes first.

0:30:300:30:35

That's because all the eggs come from free-range chickens.

0:30:360:30:40

But just what does it take to be free range?

0:30:400:30:44

Well, these beauties must be free to roam,

0:30:440:30:47

with at least an acre for every 800 hens.

0:30:470:30:49

Like these girls in here.

0:30:510:30:53

There aren't any cages,

0:30:530:30:55

just water, food and a lot of room to move around.

0:30:550:30:58

It might look a little bit packed

0:30:580:31:01

but they do have the option to go outside.

0:31:010:31:04

They just don't always choose to do that.

0:31:040:31:06

That's because of nurture, rather than nature.

0:31:060:31:09

The chicken is a descendent of the Red Junglefowl,

0:31:090:31:13

originally from northeast India and southern China.

0:31:130:31:16

They are happiest in the protective cover the jungle provides.

0:31:160:31:20

So, that's where these come in.

0:31:200:31:22

-Should I hold the tree?

-I'll hold it, how about that?

0:31:230:31:26

We are essentially trying to create a jungle, is that right?

0:31:260:31:29

Not exactly a jungle but yes, the principle of a jungle.

0:31:290:31:34

And why are you doing that?

0:31:340:31:35

It's to improve the welfare of the hens.

0:31:350:31:38

To try and de-stress them a little bit.

0:31:380:31:41

Have you found any results yet, are these chickens enjoying having more trees to roam around?

0:31:410:31:48

There doesn't seem to be a lot of feather pecking going on,

0:31:480:31:51

which is a sign that they are not stressed, are contented and generally quite happy.

0:31:510:31:57

Feather pecking being they peck each other.

0:31:570:31:59

They peck the feathers out of each other.

0:31:590:32:01

It's not something we've got a problem with.

0:32:010:32:04

This isn't just a scheme dreamt up by Patricia,

0:32:060:32:09

free-range egg producers across Cumbria

0:32:090:32:11

are planting trees to provide happier habitats for their hens.

0:32:110:32:15

It's backed up by scientists and big egg buyers, too.

0:32:150:32:20

Joy Clachan is a farmer and a scientist.

0:32:220:32:24

Her research is part of a nationwide study

0:32:240:32:27

backed by one of the biggest purchasers of free-range eggs, McDonald's.

0:32:270:32:31

Our research found they feel at home in this environment.

0:32:310:32:34

It provides everything they need,

0:32:340:32:36

the shade, the shelter, the protection.

0:32:360:32:39

As you can see, the birds absolutely love it

0:32:390:32:42

and express so much natural behaviour.

0:32:420:32:44

And is it not - sorry to sound cynical -

0:32:440:32:47

a PR exercise for McDonald's?

0:32:470:32:48

Not at all, no. For us, it's about proving

0:32:480:32:53

that commitment to improving animal welfare.

0:32:530:32:56

Working in collaboration with our suppliers and their producers.

0:32:560:33:00

The egg explosion in Cumbria is a triumph that came from adversity.

0:33:020:33:05

The county was one of the worst hit by the outbreak of foot and mouth ten years ago.

0:33:070:33:13

It forced many livestock farmers, like Patricia, into a rethink.

0:33:130:33:17

We decided we needed to think about other options

0:33:170:33:21

so we didn't have all our eggs in one basket

0:33:210:33:23

and we decided to look into another means of farming,

0:33:230:33:29

and this was what we decided on.

0:33:290:33:31

-How many hens do you have now?

-10,500.

0:33:310:33:34

-And you started with?

-4,000 in the first year.

0:33:340:33:37

And we liked it so much that we decided to expand.

0:33:370:33:41

Once collected, the eggs from Patricia and 37 other farms

0:33:410:33:44

from all over Cumbria come through here.

0:33:440:33:48

It's a hi-tech operation. Owner Dave Brass is giving me a guided tour.

0:33:510:33:55

This is where the eggs come in.

0:33:550:33:57

This machine takes a picture of the eggs,

0:33:570:34:00

it also senses which way round the egg is,

0:34:000:34:02

because we want to put the eggs into the egg box point down.

0:34:020:34:05

Do any eggs ever break? It's going very fast, this machine.

0:34:050:34:09

In half a million eggs a day, we lose maybe a couple of dozen.

0:34:090:34:13

Next piece of equipment is a crack detector.

0:34:130:34:17

There are a lot of little hammers in there,

0:34:170:34:20

and they hit the eggshell very gently and listen to the echo.

0:34:200:34:23

Now, the machine, the computer, knows where every faulty egg is and every good egg is.

0:34:230:34:27

This is the bee's knees, state-of-the-art machinery.

0:34:270:34:30

We use car-building robots to put eggs in boxes.

0:34:300:34:33

If all eggs in this country were produced in a free-range way,

0:34:330:34:36

would there be enough eggs for the whole country?

0:34:360:34:39

In theory, yes.

0:34:390:34:40

You got to remember that free range takes land,

0:34:400:34:43

and an area the size of Dorset would be required for all of that.

0:34:430:34:47

So it's fitting that within the rest of agriculture in the UK.

0:34:470:34:51

While the egg-packing technology may be thoroughly modern,

0:34:510:34:54

it's thanks to ancient, Asian ancestors,

0:34:540:34:57

that the egg producers of Cumbria are giving their hens

0:34:570:35:00

a free-range future.

0:35:000:35:03

It's TB testing time again on Adam's farm.

0:35:080:35:11

It's a moment all cattle farmers dread,

0:35:110:35:14

but will Adam get the all clear this time?

0:35:140:35:17

Today is a big day for us on the farm.

0:35:220:35:26

We're TB testing.

0:35:260:35:28

We've gone clear now for 10 months,

0:35:280:35:30

and today is our routine six-monthly test.

0:35:300:35:35

And usually, when the cattle have been out at grass all summer,

0:35:350:35:38

we go down with TB again, so, I don't feel that optimistic, to be honest.

0:35:380:35:43

And I've got good reason to worry.

0:35:460:35:49

I've lost more than 70 cattle to this disease in the past 10 years.

0:35:490:35:53

These are my beautiful White Park cattle,

0:35:580:36:00

the herd was really depleted because of TB.

0:36:000:36:03

We were down to three cows.

0:36:030:36:05

So I went to Devon and bought seven new White Park heifers.

0:36:050:36:08

They've all calved now and it looks like a really lovely herd, I'm really proud of them.

0:36:080:36:14

But I heard some very worrying news the other day.

0:36:140:36:17

The farmer in Devon where I got the cattle from had his routine TB test.

0:36:170:36:21

He hadn't had TB for two years, he had 20 reactors.

0:36:210:36:24

20 animals that had to be slaughtered.

0:36:240:36:27

So today, this herd, I'm very, very nervous about.

0:36:270:36:31

Although the cattle were tested before leaving Devon,

0:36:310:36:35

you can never be 100% sure they're disease-free.

0:36:350:36:38

Cattle are creatures of routine, and on TB testing days,

0:36:380:36:42

we're stirring them up, moving them around,

0:36:420:36:44

there's bulls around that get upset, they start roaring at one another.

0:36:440:36:49

And the cows are already worried about their calves.

0:36:490:36:53

And I feel pretty stirred up as well.

0:36:530:36:55

Not an easy day.

0:36:550:36:57

White Parks are classed as a minority breed,

0:36:590:37:01

and I've worked hard to help conserve them.

0:37:010:37:05

Losing any would be a disaster.

0:37:050:37:08

So, as the vet arrives, it's time to start the test.

0:37:100:37:13

And then, straightaway...

0:37:150:37:18

Reactor?

0:37:210:37:24

This is one of the cows that we bought from the farm

0:37:240:37:27

down in Devon, and she's a reactor.

0:37:270:37:29

First cow of the test, and she's reacted.

0:37:290:37:32

It's an absolute travesty. Complete disaster.

0:37:320:37:36

'This one isn't looking good either.'

0:37:380:37:41

-It's another one, Adam.

-It's another one?

0:37:430:37:47

That's a new one too, isn't it?

0:37:470:37:49

-Yeah.

-Oh, no!

0:37:490:37:53

You try and try and build up your herd again,

0:37:530:37:57

and you've got to buy in cattle if your herd is almost depleted.

0:37:570:38:00

We've always bred our own replacements.

0:38:000:38:02

And what have we done?

0:38:020:38:04

We've either given them TB when they got here

0:38:040:38:08

or we've re-infected our herd.

0:38:080:38:10

This is something my dad has seen many times before,

0:38:100:38:13

and it doesn't get any easier.

0:38:130:38:15

Today, this is just a total disaster,

0:38:150:38:17

I mean, to get two so far, out of the new heifers, is just awful.

0:38:170:38:24

-And I just don't know how we're going to go on.

-HE SIGHS

0:38:260:38:31

I feel terribly guilty, I may have reintroduced TB to my farm.

0:38:380:38:42

What can you do?

0:38:420:38:44

To make matters worse, these two White Parks are suckling calves

0:38:440:38:48

and that leaves me with a bit of a dilemma.

0:38:480:38:51

It's a tricky situation with the calves, because they haven't got TB,

0:38:510:38:54

and we can decide to keep them on the farm and rear them

0:38:540:38:58

or we can have them slaughtered,

0:38:580:39:00

because they may be at risk of carrying it.

0:39:000:39:03

And I can't make my mind up at the moment,

0:39:030:39:06

I'm afraid I can't think straight.

0:39:060:39:09

So now, these animals that have reacted to TB have to be tagged

0:39:120:39:17

and they take a sample of skin from their ear which is the DNA of that animal,

0:39:170:39:20

to stop any higgery-jiggery-pokery with the tags,

0:39:200:39:24

to make sure that the animal that's got TB goes to slaughter.

0:39:240:39:28

All looks well for the rest of my White Parks,

0:39:320:39:35

until one of my original herd gets tested.

0:39:350:39:38

This is one of our home-bred cows.

0:39:380:39:41

A heifer who's running with the bull now.

0:39:410:39:43

Reactor.

0:39:460:39:47

-Another one?

-Yeah.

0:39:480:39:50

She hasn't been with the visiting cows for very long,

0:39:520:39:56

only the last couple of weeks.

0:39:560:39:59

And strangely, it makes me feel a bit better that we had it anyway,

0:39:590:40:04

so we haven't introduced it to the farm by bringing cattle with us,

0:40:040:40:07

it's just on the farm and it seems like it's here to stay.

0:40:070:40:11

But we've lost another White Park.

0:40:130:40:16

All right.

0:40:160:40:18

Watch the calf. Mind the calf!

0:40:190:40:24

The vet doesn't find any more reactors among the rest of my cattle,

0:40:240:40:27

but there are a couple that are borderline.

0:40:270:40:30

This animal has got lumps, but they're not big enough

0:40:340:40:36

to make it a reactor, it's what's known as an inconclusive.

0:40:360:40:39

And so she will have to be tested again in 60 days,

0:40:390:40:43

-but like the rest of the herd will be.

-Yeah.

0:40:430:40:46

All that's left now are the last few of my highlands.

0:40:460:40:51

It's not often I have favourites,

0:40:510:40:54

but Eric has got a real place in my heart now.

0:40:540:40:56

If he got TB and had to be put down, that would bring a tear to my eye.

0:40:560:41:01

And thankfully, it's good news for Eric.

0:41:030:41:06

Yes!

0:41:080:41:09

I'm not alone when it comes to the terrible effects of this disease.

0:41:110:41:15

Last year, around 25,000 cattle were slaughtered

0:41:150:41:18

due to bovine TB in England.

0:41:180:41:20

It cost us taxpayers around £90 million.

0:41:200:41:23

The Government is currently deliberating on whether

0:41:230:41:26

to sanction a badger cull in England to control the disease.

0:41:260:41:30

'A solution, whatever it might be, can't come soon enough for me.'

0:41:300:41:34

Right, so that's it, the test is over,

0:41:340:41:37

we've got three reactors that will have to be slaughtered,

0:41:370:41:41

and two are what are known as inconclusives.

0:41:410:41:43

They'll have to be tested again before a decision

0:41:430:41:46

can be made on them. So, it's a real shame.

0:41:460:41:51

I was really hoping that we were shot of it now.

0:41:510:41:54

We've gone 10 months clear of TB and the animals have been

0:41:540:41:57

out at grass grazing all summer, and they've got it again.

0:41:570:42:03

So we go on this continual circle.

0:42:030:42:06

After some time away from the animals,

0:42:080:42:11

I've had a chance to think about the reality of the results

0:42:110:42:13

and I've decided what to do with my White Park calves.

0:42:130:42:16

I've isolated these three cows that reacted to the TB test.

0:42:160:42:21

They have to be isolated to stop the risk of them

0:42:210:42:23

spreading TB to the other cattle that are healthy,

0:42:230:42:26

and they'll be slaughtered in 7 to 10 days' time.

0:42:260:42:29

One of the dilemmas I've got now is that these two cows have got

0:42:290:42:32

two calves that they're suckling, and there's a risk that these calves

0:42:320:42:36

might have TB, so do I just decide to put them down, to slaughter them?

0:42:360:42:40

Or do I rear them by hand-feeding them bottled milk

0:42:400:42:44

and have them in a loose box to stop the risk of spreading TB to many of my other cattle?

0:42:440:42:48

And they're such lovely little calves,

0:42:480:42:51

I think I've got to give them a chance and I hope

0:42:510:42:53

the outcome is positive,

0:42:530:42:55

that these calves will survive and get through the next TB test

0:42:550:42:59

and I will be able to return them to the herd as healthy animals.

0:42:590:43:03

Next week, I'll be visiting the shortlisted farms

0:43:040:43:07

for this year's Farmer Of The Year

0:43:070:43:10

as part of Radio Four's annual Food And Farming Awards.

0:43:100:43:12

This is the high country, the roof of England.

0:43:200:43:23

Where craggy mountains meet vast open moorland.

0:43:230:43:29

And where market towns touch the clouds.

0:43:290:43:32

Like this one. Alston is one of England's highest,

0:43:320:43:36

we're 1,000 feet up and more than 15 miles from the next town.

0:43:360:43:40

If it's remoteness you want, you've got it.

0:43:400:43:43

There's been a settlement here since Roman times,

0:43:430:43:45

those boys on day trips

0:43:450:43:48

from Hadrian's Wall knew they were on to something.

0:43:480:43:51

Because the area around Alston is loaded.

0:43:510:43:55

It's not so much a case of there's gold in them there hills,

0:43:550:43:59

as zinc and silver and most important of all, lead.

0:43:590:44:03

Lead is what put the area on the map.

0:44:030:44:06

Mines sprung up all over the place, and if you know where to look,

0:44:060:44:10

you can read its history in the hillsides.

0:44:100:44:14

Even just looking at this bit of the landscape,

0:44:140:44:16

you can tell that it's quite a heavily mined area, can't you?

0:44:160:44:19

Yes, this whole top end of the valley

0:44:190:44:21

is scarred, even where there are bits that have been grassed over.

0:44:210:44:24

Right the way up to the top and around the corner,

0:44:240:44:27

it's all lead workings going back 300 years or more,

0:44:270:44:31

and you can see the landscape hasn't recovered.

0:44:310:44:33

All that brown waste, it's all waste heaps there, and the place

0:44:330:44:37

is practically hollow with the amount of lead that's been taken out.

0:44:370:44:40

Miners flocked to the area, the population exploded,

0:44:430:44:47

but there was nowhere for them to live.

0:44:470:44:50

Solution - build homes, lots of them.

0:44:500:44:53

These were wonderful houses by the standards of the day.

0:44:530:44:57

Although it was just one room up, one room down,

0:44:570:44:59

for a family of up to 10 or 11,

0:44:590:45:01

it was much better than anything the workers had been used to,

0:45:010:45:04

and they had outhouses at the back and toilets,

0:45:040:45:07

and they had large gardens in the front

0:45:070:45:09

where they were encouraged to produce their own vegetables,

0:45:090:45:13

just for the sake of getting fresh air and exercise after

0:45:130:45:16

being cooped up in the mine all day in the pitch black and the dust.

0:45:160:45:20

They could come and be out in the sunshine, would you believe, and be healthy.

0:45:200:45:24

Even so, a miner's life expectancy was just 45 years of age,

0:45:240:45:29

and most of that would have been spent underground.

0:45:290:45:33

To find out what life was like down there,

0:45:330:45:36

I'm joining a team of local mine explorers.

0:45:360:45:39

Alistair, it's a lovely, sunny day, yet we're going underground. Is it going to be worth it?

0:45:390:45:43

It certainly will be, there's a lot to see down there,

0:45:430:45:46

so, once we're kitted up, we can make our way in.

0:45:460:45:49

OK. Boiler suit on, helmet on, are we ready, team?

0:45:490:45:53

Lead the way, Alistair.

0:45:530:45:55

These old mines can be dangerous, so it pays to have experts guide you,

0:45:570:46:02

but once you're in, a whole new world opens up.

0:46:020:46:07

There are beautiful dry stone tunnels.

0:46:070:46:11

You can still see the rails used to wheel out the lead ore.

0:46:110:46:16

Here and there, pit props hold up the roof.

0:46:160:46:19

But mostly, it's narrow passages, blasted out of the hard rock,

0:46:190:46:25

flooded and dark.

0:46:250:46:27

But shine a light, and the space glitters.

0:46:270:46:33

The miners weren't down here for the views though.

0:46:390:46:42

They were working eight-hour shifts in pairs.

0:46:420:46:46

It was hard graft and slow going.

0:46:460:46:49

Alastair, these are everywhere. Are these sort of drill marks?

0:46:500:46:54

Yes, the miners would've drilled in here by hand in this part of the mine.

0:46:540:47:00

Once the drill hole was complete, they'd put gunpowder into the hole,

0:47:000:47:04

pack it with clay, and then put a fuse in.

0:47:040:47:08

When the rock was blasted, it blasted this piece of rock away,

0:47:080:47:12

and leaves the drill hole there.

0:47:120:47:14

They'd blast about two foot a day.

0:47:160:47:19

It could take years to reach the veins of lead ore,

0:47:190:47:22

but if they struck it rich they'd work around the clock,

0:47:220:47:25

and all they had to work by was candlelight.

0:47:250:47:29

-You can see on the wall there, can you see the dollop of clay?

-Yes.

0:47:290:47:35

That's what the miners would've used for their candles.

0:47:350:47:38

They'd put the clay on the wall and then stick a candle in as a holder,

0:47:380:47:41

and that allowed them to work hands free and see what they were doing.

0:47:410:47:44

So the candle was their only form of light?

0:47:440:47:47

Only form of light, yes. One candle per miner.

0:47:470:47:50

What's this bit? It's totally different, isn't it?

0:47:550:47:58

This is known as a horse whim chamber,

0:47:580:48:01

and when the mines were working there's a shaft on the far side there

0:48:010:48:05

that goes down to lower levels, and there would be a pony walking round in here,

0:48:050:48:10

driving a winching system that would haul material up and down the whimsey shaft.

0:48:100:48:14

Is this machinery? Was that often used?

0:48:140:48:17

Yes, this is the remains of the actual winching system.

0:48:170:48:22

So that stuff is potentially 300 years old?

0:48:220:48:25

Yep, yep. Original timber and materials there.

0:48:250:48:28

A time capsule, albeit a little rusty and rotten now.

0:48:300:48:35

We've been going nearly an hour

0:48:370:48:39

and still no sign of the galena, the valuable lead ore that kept so many miners busy.

0:48:390:48:45

But it is there, you just need a keen eye.

0:48:450:48:49

So this is it, is it? This is what they were looking for?

0:48:490:48:52

I've got a sample here. That's the actual galena itself

0:48:520:48:56

so you can see when it's first exposed it's quite shiny.

0:48:560:48:59

It's really quite gorgeous, isn't it?

0:48:590:49:01

It does have a certain percentage of silver within it as well,

0:49:010:49:05

which helped make the mines profitable in the area.

0:49:050:49:08

There's still plenty of lead ore here, it just became uneconomic to mine it.

0:49:080:49:14

Cheaper foreign lead put paid to our home-grown industry at the start of the 20th century.

0:49:140:49:20

An industry which had flourished since Roman times had gone.

0:49:200:49:25

You could spend hours down there and you might get lost

0:49:270:49:30

but you definitely wouldn't get bored.

0:49:300:49:32

Shortly, I'm going to be sharpening my shepherding skills with the help of a few experts,

0:49:320:49:36

and fingers crossed it'll be enough to beat Matt in the sheepdog trials.

0:49:360:49:41

But, before that, here's the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.

0:49:410:49:45

.

0:51:500:51:57

This is the North Country, where the Pennines rub up against the Lake District.

0:52:110:52:17

Hidden between the two is the Eden Valley,

0:52:170:52:19

my home and host to this year's World Sheepdog Championships.

0:52:190:52:24

I'm here to take on Matt in a sheepdog championship of our own.

0:52:240:52:28

Matt is very proud of his farming heritage, but so am I,

0:52:280:52:32

and I know he likes to think of himself as a bit of a dab hand when it comes to handling sheep.

0:52:320:52:37

I, however, have no experience handling sheep.

0:52:370:52:40

That's why I'm calling on you, Mark. You're my guru for this,

0:52:400:52:44

because I'm throwing down the gauntlet to Baker on my home turf so I've got to win.

0:52:440:52:50

-We'll do our best.

-Come on!

0:52:500:52:51

I've enlisted the help of local farmer Mark Elliott.

0:52:510:52:56

Together with his trusty dog Spot, he's one of this year's hot favourites.

0:52:560:53:00

-To get him to come over, I say, "that'll do"?

-"That'll do, Spot", yes.

0:53:000:53:04

That'll do, Spot.

0:53:040:53:05

Be a bit more assertive.

0:53:050:53:07

-That'll do, Spot!

-That'll do, Spot. Spot! That'll do.

0:53:070:53:11

That'll do, Spot.

0:53:110:53:12

-That'll do, Spot.

-Good lad.

0:53:120:53:14

-He's not really listening to me, is he?

-No!

0:53:140:53:17

'One word from me...and Spot does just what he wants!'

0:53:170:53:21

How do I get him to go right?

0:53:210:53:23

-The basic ones - for the right hand side it's "way".

-Way.

0:53:230:53:26

-And for the left it's "come bye".

-OK.

0:53:260:53:27

Come bye.

0:53:300:53:32

That'll do. That'll do.

0:53:320:53:35

Come bye. Come bye.

0:53:380:53:42

-Sit!

-Ask him for the way.

-Way!

0:53:420:53:45

'Hmm, this could take some doing.

0:53:450:53:47

'Luckily, Mark's going to be right by my side for the showdown.'

0:53:470:53:51

-Lie down, lie down!

-That's it!

0:53:510:53:55

Spot, that'll do.

0:53:570:53:59

Right, let battle commence. May the best presenter win and never mind the weather.

0:54:010:54:08

-Come on, Spot. Here we go.

-How are you doing, Helen? All right?

0:54:080:54:12

-I'm very good.

-You're fully trained up then, I understand?

-I'm good. Well, I say that.

0:54:120:54:17

-You've had a lot of training, I hear?

-Well, not with this dog unfortunately.

0:54:170:54:21

My dog Meg is no longer with me so I borrowed Tim from a good friend of mine, Gus Dermody,

0:54:210:54:26

and not only have I borrowed his dog, I've borrowed his outfit as well

0:54:260:54:30

-because the weather has taken a turn for the worst.

-So Gus is a judge...

0:54:300:54:34

You're literally in the judge's pocket?

0:54:340:54:36

-Yes, absolutely. Actually, can I borrow your crook as well?

-Yes, you can have that.

0:54:360:54:40

-I'm fully kitted out now.

-Right, well we're ready for this. Aren't we, Mark?

-Yes.

0:54:400:54:44

-Right.

-Spot is poised.

0:54:440:54:45

Will Spot listen to you, do you think? Because I've got no idea about Tim.

0:54:450:54:49

Apparently Spot isn't too familiar to the female voice.

0:54:490:54:53

-Right.

-So Mark's going to walk with me and echo what I say.

0:54:530:54:56

-You're just going to talk like that.

-No problem.

-OK!

0:54:560:54:59

But there is a problem because we'll be lucky if the dogs can hear anything we say over this weather.

0:54:590:55:05

I'm hoping I've got beginner's luck.

0:55:050:55:08

An expert in the field, Matt's first to take on the course.

0:55:080:55:12

Pretty wide around the pen here.

0:55:120:55:15

-Tim!

-You've got to keep them flowing all the time.

-Lie down.

0:55:150:55:19

'It sounds simple - get five sheep through a gate and into a pen -

0:55:190:55:23

'but these girls are stubborn customers.'

0:55:230:55:25

-So through the obstacle, bearing right, and now they need to head for the pen.

-Lie down. Lie down!

0:55:250:55:31

-Yep, he's got them in the pen.

-Oh, well done!

0:55:310:55:34

Yay! Good boy.

0:55:340:55:38

-What a good lad!

-Steady!

0:55:380:55:40

Not a bad start for Helen and Spot.

0:55:400:55:43

-Oh, we've gone wrong.

-Way. Way.

-That's not too bad. The dog's going the wrong side.

0:55:440:55:50

-He's keen, isn't he?

-Come bye, you.

0:55:500:55:52

Good control there, keeping the ship nice and calm.

0:55:520:55:55

-Lie down.

-Lie down.

0:55:550:55:58

Go on.

0:55:580:56:00

Lie down, lie down.

0:56:000:56:03

-Oh! It's a clean pen.

-It's a very good pen.

0:56:030:56:05

-Well, I thought that was impressive.

-Very.

-Very good.

0:56:080:56:11

-I certainly was impressed.

-My word! Helen, what are you doing on this field?

0:56:110:56:16

You should be up there, competing!

0:56:160:56:18

I think it's fair to say I had a very good teacher who chipped in now and again.

0:56:180:56:23

-OK!

-To be honest, we could have left Spot to his own devices.

0:56:230:56:27

-He was quite happy out there on his own.

-Brilliant.

0:56:270:56:29

He thoroughly enjoyed it. Look, the sheep are sticking around. They want to know who's won.

0:56:290:56:34

Gus, what's the result?

0:56:340:56:35

Really, you were level pegging, but on a technicality you got it

0:56:350:56:39

because Helen went and moved from the post, from the pen when you set the dog off.

0:56:390:56:44

-What?!

-Yep, unfortunately for you...

0:56:440:56:46

That's a made-up rule, I didn't even know about it!

0:56:460:56:50

Thanks ever so much. That's all we've got time for this week.

0:56:500:56:53

Con-gratu-lations!

0:56:530:56:55

Next week we're going to be in the Mawddach estuary in Wales

0:56:550:56:59

and we'll be revealing your favourite entry of the Countryfile photographic competition.

0:56:590:57:04

But, from Helen's neck of the woods, it's come by for now. See you.

0:57:040:57:07

You looked so cool until that gag.

0:57:070:57:10

It's undermined the victory!

0:57:100:57:12

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:190:57:22

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0:57:220:57:25

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