This episode of Countryfile comes from the Kent hills. Ellie Harrison follows in the footsteps of Octavia Hill, social reformer and founder of the National Trust.
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JOHN: 'West Kent. A beautiful corner of the Garden of England.
'Keeping watch over open countryside and woodland
'are the three Kentish Hills.
'I'm here to find out about the woman who safeguarded them years ago -
'the aptly named Octavia Hill.'
She was quite extraordinary - a passionate social reformer
who worked tirelessly to improve life in the slums of London.
But she also looked beyond the city to the countryside
and fought to preserve places
that everybody could enjoy and do their bit to protect.
A century after her death, I'll be discovering
how the National Trust is keeping her spirit alive,
and it involves a lot of hard work.
-'While John's exploring the hills,
'I'm at a house which brought out
the artistic side of Winston Churchill.
'Will it bring out mine?'
We've got Ellie here. Do you think that she's going to be any good?
CHILDREN: No! Yes!
'Tom's up in Derbyshire searching for a local pub.'
The heartbeat of many of our rural communities
is in danger of stopping.
Over half our villages are now drier than a good gin,
which an astonishing four rural pubs closing every week.
So, is there anything we can do to stop them calling time?
I'll be investigating.
And down on the farm, Adam's been set a humble challenge.
Look at these magnificent fellows. These are Dorset Horn rams.
And today, I'm sheep-shopping, but not for me -
for my farming friend, Kate Humble,
who's setting up her own flock of Dorset Horns.
And I just hope she likes the ones that I've found her.
West Kent - glorious swathes of dense green woodland.
Hard to believe we're just a stone's throw from the M25.
I'm on Ide Hill, one of three hills that had a special place
in one woman's heart,
a woman who believed in the life-enhancing virtues
of pure earth, clean air and blue sky.
At the turn of the 20th century,
Octavia Hill ran a successful campaign
to preserve and protect the natural landscape
in this small part of West Kent.
Octavia believed that everybody, particularly the poor,
should have access to the great outdoors.
In fact, it was thought that she coined the term
"the green belt".
JOHN: 'A hundred years after her death,
'I've come to nearby Toys Hill
'to learn about Octavia's life, her work and her legacy.'
She loved this place, she had a house nearby
and she's buried in a local churchyard.
But it was on the streets of London that she first made her mark.
Octavia was a pioneer of social housing,
setting up a housing association
after seeing the poverty and neglect
in slums run by unscrupulous Victorian landlords.
'But how did this protector of the poor end up also being
'a custodian of the countryside?'
Well, she just always emphasised that people who had grim conditions
needed beauty in the lives.
Back in the town, she emphasised anything from a window box on.
So, you know, the idea of beauty and colour
and nature were absolutely essential.
And then her horizons widened, really,
to take in the whole countryside.
It became a sort of crusade of her own, at this point,
to bring as much of the countryside as possible...
to sort of secure it for people's use.
So that's why she got involved with the formation
-of the National Trust, then?
-Yes, it was the formalisation
of an aspiration to make sure these places didn't get lost,
didn't get developed.
'Among the places Octavia first fought to preserve
'were parts of Toys Hill.
'She used donations to buy the land,
'including money left over from one of her housing projects.'
I got a letter here.
She says, "I propose to purchase, in the name of my fellow workers,
"an acre of land at Ide Hill,
"which we're hoping may be secured for the National Trust."
And then she says, rather sweetly,
"You will thus feel that you have each,
"in your measure, have helped to secure a bit of beautiful ground
"dedicated in perpetuity to English men, women and children,
"for their joy and refreshment."
And it sort of brings everything back together again.
Poor people in London, beautiful places outside London.
It's all there.
-And that was her philosophy?
'Octavia was a social reformer who wanted to protect
'special parts of Britain from development.
'She believed the countryside should be open to all.
'In fact, she took some of her tenants
'on rural outings from the slums.'
Times change, but still today, there are many people who,
for lots of different reasons,
find it tricky to get out into the countryside,
to places like Toys Hill.
But, in the spirit of Octavia,
the National Trust has now teamed up with the local housing association
in a new project,
and I'm told I can see it in action somewhere around here.
-You must be Brian.
-Hello, John. How are you?
-Tell me more about the scheme.
-Today, we've got a group of residents
from a housing association,
and Octavia Hill set up
one of the first housing associations in London,
so to celebrate the centenary,
we've gone to Orbit South, one of the housing associations
that has a number of properties around Kent.
So today, we've got people from Margate, from the Medway towns,
and also from the top of the county.
And they're kind of people who live in the middle of towns
who are not used to the countryside?
No, I think you'll find a number of the people here
have never been outside the immediate area where they live.
Certainly to come to a beautiful spot like this,
up at Toys Hill, is a really unique experience.
So, yes, it's very different.
'The volunteers today are clearing rhododendron -
'a plant which often out-competes our native species.
'I've teamed up with Claire and Spike.'
This is pretty hard work, Claire, isn't it?!
Have you ever done anything like this before?
Once, with my father, a long while ago.
I'm very long while ago in Joyden's Wood.
-Where do you come from?
-I come from Bexley.
I was born in the London Borough of Bexley, I grew up there...
and I don't get much chance to come out to the countryside,
because it's all restricted by the buses.
You can't get beyond the confines of London buses.
And I'm very fond of this type of thing
and as I say, I don't have any access to a car, and these places...
Yeah. Spike, tell me why you're on this scheme.
It's invaluable. Most people wouldn't have the chance
to do this sort of thing.
They're stuck in their houses,
never seen outside of their own environments...
It's pretty hard work, though, isn't it?
-That's what makes it so rewarding.
-Chopping back rhododendrons
-is not easy, isn't it?
-When's the tea break, Spike?
-Now you've said the magic words!
'A project with Octavia Hill at its heart.
'But what about the National Trust - has it stayed true
'to the principles of its very principled founder?'
When Octavia and friends started the Trust,
it was all about acquiring land so that everybody could enjoy it.
-Is that still the Trust's belief today?
-It certainly is.
I think, if you went back a couple of years,
a lot of people would have said, "The National Trust?
"That's about stately homes and buildings."
But then, quite recently, the Trust decided to make getting outdoors
and closer to nature one of its key three priorities.
And to me, that means it suddenly got back on the map again.
The legacy of Octavia Hill lives on here for all to see
in the West Kent countryside,
in a landscape which she loved, helped to preserve
and which, she'd be pleased to know, still encourages community spirit.
And talking of community spirit, the village pub has always been
the place where country people could get together,
an important focal point of rural life.
But now there are fewer and fewer of them, as Tom reports.
Our villages are a part of British life embedded in our lives,
our history and our culture.
They help define the landscape of Britain.
And at the heart of those villages are the pubs.
There you go.
For more than 1,000 years,
these places have been at the centre of our communities,
and we come here - in all weathers -
to toast a variety of special occasions,
like sporting success
or maybe wetting the baby's head.
Or perhaps just to celebrate the end of a hard day's work.
But our pubs are disappearing.
In the last decade alone, we have lost nearly 10,000 of them,
and in rural areas, four close every week.
More than half of our villages are now dry.
In the Derbyshire village of Bamford, the local watering holes
seem to have gone into an almost terminal decline.
There used to be three thriving pubs here,
but in the last few years everything has changed.
This was once one of the busiest pubs
in the whole of the Hope Valley in Derbyshire,
but you'd struggle to get a pint there today.
Then there's the Derwent, which at one time,
would have been packed with local revellers.
You can almost hear the ghosts of good times,
the clink of glasses, a bit of happy banter.
It now seems they've called time for the last time.
Thankfully in Bamford there is still one pub pulling the pints.
The Anglers Rest has been serving its community for decades.
Over the last couple of years though it's had a succession of landlords
and now it's struggling to survive.
Losing a pub is a blow to any community,
but the impact is far worse in a village.
Especially when it's the only one left.
So what was this place like in its heyday?
I came here 23 years ago and the village was vibrant.
It had a really great social centre.
The pub was privately owned, the family that ran it had dances,
fabulous food and every night there would be 60 to 150 people in here.
It's interesting how key a pub is to a village, isn't it?
It's essential to these villages.
The whole community can revolve around the pub.
One local who knows just how important a pub is to Bamford
is the former landlord of the Derwent, David Ryan.
So why does he think village pubs are struggling?
One of the biggest reasons is possibly the cheap booze
that's coming out through the supermarkets.
I know one beer company that said the supermarkets
are putting it out at ridiculous prices just to get people in.
A lot of people have pointed the finger at breweries
and pub companies in recent years
and said they are partly to blame for the decline of rural pubs.
Do you think that's fair?
I wouldn't on the part of the brewers.
The pub companies?
The pub companies are probably the ones
who have been a bit greedy with their rents and suchlike.
In general, landlords can either lease or rent their premises
from a brewery or Pub Company, a Pub Co,
and then they have to buy their stock from them.
Or they can own the freehold, leaving them free to shop around.
Both ways have their pros and cons, but the Pub Cos in particular
have been criticised for not doing their bit to save the rural pub.
So is that fair?
Bridget Simmons is the chief executive
of the British Beer and Pub Association,
a body which represents brewers and pub companies.
A lot of country pubs are closing, are the people who own them,
that you are present, part of the problem or the solution?
Very much part of the solution.
It's in no company 's interests that the pubs they own are closing.
We were closing 52 a week,
we're now only closing about 12 a week so the number has improved.
So you're doing badly, but not as badly as you were?
Yes, but there are so many more reasons why pubs are closing.
Beer taxation has gone up by 42% in the last four years.
No business can cope with a 42% increase in beer taxation.
You could reduce VAT,
a lot of European countries do that in service industries.
You could support the pub through business rates,
so if they diversify and run meals-on-wheels, a shop.
You could have reduced business rates.
At the end of the day though,
local people have to continue to go to the pub.
It's no good saying you want to support your local pub,
if you never visit it.
Brewers and pub companies are certainly not the only ones
taking a slice of the landlords' profits.
The fact is, when you order a pint,
you're not just buying barley, hops, yeast and water,
you're also paying for a hefty chunk of overheads and tax.
The overheads usually come in at 60%.
Then there's more than 30% in tax, leaving the landlord with just 8%.
That's less than 25p on a £3 pint.
Add to that a huge fall in the sale of beer and alcohol
outside the home and you can see why
so many of our rural pubs are on the rocks.
Whatever the reasons, if this pub, The Anglers Rest, closes,
Bamford will join the long list of villages
without their own watering hole.
But there's a group of locals here
who won't let that happen without a fight.
They are hoping to buy or lease the pub for themselves.
What makes you all think you can run this place
better than the people who are here already?
I think one of the lacking things for years has been
how you market this place.
It's in a fabulous area of the country in Bamford,
there's a big area for walking, hiking, biking
and you have to appeal to lots of visitor groups
besides hoping that local people will support your pub as well.
The pub's owner, Admiral Taverns, told us
it would like to sell the pub to the local community for £300,000.
That's more than the locals are prepared to pay.
But they've gone away to think it over.
Of course, The Anglers Rest is not the only village pub
whose future is now hanging in the balance.
If closures continue at their currant rate
we could soon be lamenting the sad loss of a great part of our culture.
So is there a way to save the village pub?
Well, later on I'll be having a swift half in a local
that's doing just that.
I'm exploring an area known as the Three Hills of Kent.
I'm heading to Toys Hill, to the stately pile of Chartwell Manor
which was home to a rather famous resident.
This manor house was the family home of one of our greatest statesman,
Sir Winston Churchill.
When he wasn't leading us in war from Downing Street,
he was here in his beloved Chartwell Manor.
Churchill bought the place in 1922 and spent the rest of his life here.
He once said, "A day away from Chartwell, is a day wasted."
Although the house itself
is somewhat of an architectural ugly duckling,
it was the far-reaching views that possessed Churchill
and persuaded him to buy the house.
Everything is set out as it was in its heyday
and the hillside gardens reflect Churchill's love
of the landscape and nature.
For just over 40 years Chartwell played an important part of his life
because it was here that he was a dad, a husband and a gardener.
Not just a head of state.
But what is less well-known is that he was also a keen painter.
I'm going to find out more about his love of art
from studio steward Helen Moulsley.
Good gracious, I had no idea he was a painter,
but really quite prolific.
Yes, he painted over 535 paintings.
He took it up when he was 40 years old
and then painted for another 45 years.
Almost to the end of his life.
We know so much about him as a statesman, a public figure,
but very little about this private side of him.
He suffered from depression at various points throughout his life.
It was a coping mechanism for him and what he called "my black dog".
But he didn't only paint when he was depressed.
He painted all the time, once he started.
It does surprise me to see so much colour especially because
he had depression, but there's some real brightness there.
There's a story around these two paintings here of the swimming pool.
He loved swimming as well. Compulsory swimming for visitors.
One was painted by Winston,
one was painted by Sir William Nicholson
who was a professional painter and he was one of the people
who taught him to paint.
Nicholson told him to paint more slowly,
to tone down his colours and make more use of pastel.
And we can see Nicholson did that, but if you look around,
Winston didn't take that advice too much to heart
because he did go for these bright, strong colours.
Churchill said "I cannot pretend to feel partial about colours.
"I rejoice with the brilliant ones
"and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns".
He never sold any of his paintings,
he thought they weren't up to standard.
However, in 1947 he anonymously submitted three paintings
to the Royal Academy, all of which were accepted.
Not bad for an amateur.
And the views at Chartwell continue to provide inspiration.
Hannah McVeigh runs art classes with the local school
to reproduce the landscapes Churchill was so fond of.
Most artists put their signature on the bottom of a painting.
Churchill, for some reason, didn't do it.
In this painting, for example,
can you see a little man down the bottom?
That is Churchill.
He painted himself in.
I'm going to be asking you to decide how you want to sign your paintings.
We've got Ellie here as well
and she'll be having a go as well.
So do you think that she's going to be any good?
'No?! I'll show those doubting infants!'
Look at this. Some stiff competition!
It's the Countryfile logo!
'Other signatures include a Lego brick -
'that little chap's obviously going to be an architect -
'and a football. Self-explanatory, really.'
-What is that supposed to be?
'Maybe the kids WERE right to doubt my artistic talents.
'Seems slightly ironic that my interpretation of the place
'where Churchill sought solace looks more like a battle scene.'
We're putting these all on this Merricote, which was a Wendy house,
basically, built by Churchill for his daughter Mary. Very sweet.
It's kind of...like a studio, I suppose.
You can clearly see Justin Bieber,
signature on this one. It's Bieber fever!
We're a Belieber here on Countryfile. Very good!
Don't you think this one actually looks like Churchill's? Very good.
This one right here. Any guesses?
There's my signature. What do you reckon?
-Is it a boomerang?
Countryfile! Well done.
Do you think that Ellie's is as good as Churchill's?
ALL: No-o-o! Ye-e-a-h!
'Well, I seem to have won the kids over
'but I won't be submitting anything to the Royal Academy
'While Ellie continues her walk across the Kent hills,
'I've travelled South to a place where for years
'planting pine trees has been something of a passion.'
Back in the 19th century, a member of the local Kent aristocracy
decided to create a pleasure garden here at Bedgebury,
with trees from all over the world.
Over the years, that collection has grown and grown,
until now there are about 12,000 trees
on this 320-acre site.
'I'm going to discover what they're doing to protect and preserve
'one of our most important, but often overlooked and maligned
'species of tree.'
This place is called a pinetum, a collection of cone-bearing trees.
That's conifers to you and me,
so spruces, pines, larches, cedars, firs -
you'll find them all here
in spectacular shapes and sizes and all shades of green.
'But it's more than just a splendid collection of trees.
'This place is also about conservation.'
Dan, how are you?
'Assistant Curator Dan Luscombe is a plant hunter.
'He travels the world collecting samples, some from trees
'that are among the rarest on the planet.'
50% of the world's conifer species
are threatened with extinction
through deforestation, man's activities,
and more importantly these days, climate change.
So Bedgebury is a safe haven
for many of these rare and endangered conifers.
'Dan and the team went to Chile in 2009.
'They recorded the trip on video.
'Among the samples they collected
'were seeds from monkey puzzle trees.'
The locals around here tend to use a shotgun,
but unfortunately we don't have one of those to hand at the moment,
so let's give it a go.
'Three years on, those seeds have grown into saplings.
'In fact, they've grown so much, they need bigger pots.'
Then just fill in. Now, a lot of people, when they think of conifers,
think of Leylandii and regimented rows of pine forest.
So they're not everybody's favourite tree,
so why should we care about them?
Well, they sustain the world's lungs.
The Northern Boreal Forest right the way across Canada
and northern Europe, there's billions of acres of conifers there
which provide the oxygen that we breathe.
Our short-sightedness of saying, conifers are just Christmas trees
or, like you say, Leylandii,
but in their natural habitat they are a major, major, important tree.
'Although Dan travels to the remotest of regions,
'he also collect samples from the pinetum's own trees,
'and due to the sheer size of some of them,
'he usually needs ropes and climbing gear.'
Because you've got me with you today,
we're not going to go shinning up. We've got a cherry-picker.
ENGINE STARTS UP
-So, here we go for a bird's-eye view of the pinetum.
And when you're climbing the trees, what in detail are you looking for?
If we're collecting seeds, we're looking for ripe cones.
We need to collect quite a lot of them from these trees.
-Which one are we looking at now?
-We're going up this Deodar cedar.
Where does that come from? Never heard of that before.
It's from eastern Asia. Sort of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Woop! That's a bit of wind, I think. We must be about 30 metres high now.
Pine trees as far as the eye can see.
Yep. Absolutely fantastic.
As we've got to the very top now, Dan, of this Deodar cedar,
I notice a cone on the utmost branch.
Should we try and get that as well?
Because this is something you'd never normally get.
Not from the top. Excellent.
-How about that?
'It may look spectacular now
'but 25 years ago the view was very different.
'The great storm of October 1987 wreaked havoc across the pinetum.
'Two and a half decades on, it's well and truly on the mend.
'But there's another threat around the corner -
'a tiny insect that's infesting one of the timber industries
'most important type of tree.'
It's being killed off by a rather nasty beetle
called Dendroctonus micans or the great spruce bark beetle.
-Can we see any signs of it here?
-It's a bit hit and miss.
-There we've got some of the beetles.
-Couple of them, by the look of things.
They look to be dead. Oh, no, that one's moving.
Yeah. They're a bit sluggish,
they don't seem to move very quickly.
These sort of insignificant little creatures
are doing a tremendous amount of damage.
Well, they're affecting one of our major timber trees,
which is the spruce.
'This insect may be bad, but a few miles from the pinetum,
'there's another pest, the Asian longhorn beetle.
'It's thought to have come in on imported timber
'and it's attacking our trees.'
It has a long life-cycle so we're actually clear-felling,
taking out all the trees that it could attack,
and that range of trees is all maples, willows, prunes,
all cherries, horse chestnuts.
-Just within the area it's been spotted?
So if anyone should spot one of these black and white striped beetles
-what should they do?
-Well, if they can, catch it.
It will nip but it doesn't actually hurt too much.
But put it into a jar or a container
and give the Forestry Commission a ring.
We do not want that out into the British landscape.
It would devastate our forests.
'So conifer conservation is certainly no walk in the park,
'but it's not just about protecting all these pines, firs and cedars.'
Now, remember this cone I plucked
from the Deodar cedar tree a little while ago?
Well, I've been asked to take it to somebody
who's going to record it for posterity.
'Pearl Bostock runs the Bedgebury Florilegium,
'a group of artists who create detailed historic records
'of the samples taken from pinetum trees.'
Well, I see you and your colleagues are drawing these conifers here.
-We are indeed.
-Will this help? Another one from a top of a tree?
-My goodness! That's wonderful.
-Isn't that lovely?
And how long will it take you to paint this?
It can be anything from start to completion from 30 to 100 hours
-depending on the species that we're working on.
-It must need an awful lot of patience.
I mean, it might sound like heresy,
but why don't you simply take a photograph of it?
Because there is nothing like the human brain to be able
to really study what we have in front of us. There's details...
Photographs, however wonderful they are these days
and how accurate they would appear, they're actually 2D.
And we need to look at the 3D object that's in front of us
to be able to translate what is going on in the growth pattern.
Well, I wouldn't know where to start
when it comes to drawing something like this cone.
Right, would you like me to show you a simple way of starting?
Yeah. Well, it's here.
-So, you want me to copy these, then?
-That would be a good idea.
Well, the first one, I notice you've put some dots on, haven't you?
Yes, which is extremely important
because that gives us the measurement and the size of the cone
that we have in front of us.
-So now connect the dots...
-Connect your dots in an egg shape.
As free as you like. You can just do... Well done, that's lovely.
That is pathetic! THEY LAUGH
-It's a good start.
-How long do you say it takes you?
30 hours to do one? It would take me 30 days!
So, in the meanwhile, this is what's on the rest of the programme.
'Ellie goes in search of a different kind of perfect picture...
Oh, this is far better. Here we go!
'..Adam's helping out with the shopping...
She's a lovely, clean, pink-faced sheep.
'..and we'll have the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.'
'The traditional pub may well be at the centre of British rural life
'but as we heard earlier, over half our villages are now without one.
'So how do we stop even more pubs calling time?
'I've discovered the very heart of our villages
'is in danger of drying out.'
'An astonishing four rural pubs are closing every week.'
But for some, the glass is definitely half full.
In this village, they're swimming against the tide of pub closures,
but they're surviving by being a bit radical.
'Janet Gosling is the landlady of The Sycamore Inn
'in the Derbyshire village of Parwich.'
You've got a very cosy, welcoming, pub here,
but I was told something different about this and I don't see it.
Well, we sell obviously the beers and wines and spirits,
but we also sell things like this.
-In a pub?
-I'm not getting it!
No. We sell all sorts. If you come through, I'll show you.
-Do you want me to take that for you?
-That's quite heavy.
'Not only is this the only pub in the village,
'it's the only store.'
-There's a sign. Wow, you've got everything in here!
There's everything anybody could want.
Why have you got a shop here in a pub?
All the locals were worried there wasn't a shop in the village
and I'd got this room which used to be the dining room for the pub.
But we converted it into a small shop.
Is there anything I can help out with at the start of the day?
You can put the bread on the shelf, thank you.
-Stack that lot?
-Yeah, thank you.
Better get my jacket off, get down to business.
'This shop sells everything, from the usual milk and bread
'to puncture repair kits.
'It also provides other services - bookings for the village hall,
'prescription and laundry collection
'and their own unique range of sandwiches.'
-Can I have two road-kill specials, please?
-A road-kill special?
You'll have to help me out. Is that a bit of badger in a bap?
That's the one!
-Two egg sandwiches. No problem.
I can see I'm going to have trouble with you!
'The Sycamore Inn is a one-stop shop for pretty much everything.'
It's not just a shop.
Janet's got the pub to run as well, and it's getting near lunchtime.
-Steak pie, there. Will that be for you, sir?
-And a toastie there.
-Thanks very much.
-And I managed not to empty it into your lap!
I think that has to count as an achievement!
'And these aren't the only grateful customers.'
So, tell me, as I gently do this,
why is a local pub so important to you?
Wind down after a day's work.
We have a banter, we have a laugh and a joke and a couple of pints,
and hopefully, we go home the better for it!
How often do you find villages with no pubs?
Very, very often. The decline's been very dramatic. Really noticeable.
We walk and we cycle
and certainly these last two years, there's been a real downturn.
It's so important to have places like this here.
Really, really important.
'But there is a price to pay for The Sycamore's success.'
-How many hours a week do you reckon?
-Lots! Lots and lots and lots!
-Go on, put a figure on it for me.
-80 to 90.
80 to 90?! Most people...
-We're open 80 to 90 hours a week.
-Most people work a 40-hour week.
-You're double that.
'On top of Janet's hours, she relies on volunteers to keep it running
'and needs enough customers to make it all worthwhile.'
So, how much do you depend on locals coming in every night
and putting in a good show?
Oh, we definitely need the locals. We need everybody.
We need a wide range of people.
We need the locals, holiday-makers,
the walkers, the tourists, the children.
And it's nice to see a wide variety of people.
Is it a bit of a battle to keep those numbers up on all fronts?
Yeah, you have to always be working hard at it, yeah.
Well, after a bit of hard work, I've worked up a bit of a thirst,
but this hospitality isn't just for me.
I'm meeting a chap from The Pub Is The Hub,
and they're set up to help places just like this.
-John, here you go. Cheers.
-Hello, Tom. Welcome. Nice to see you.
Thank you. What a beautiful evening for it.
'The charity Pub Is The Hub was set up more than a decade ago
'to provide support for communities struggling
'to keep their locals going,
'and The Sycamore here has followed their formula.'
With the development of supermarkets,
with the changing customer profile of what people want these days,
it's for ever a huge challenge of how they can keep going
and how they can make a profit,
and that's why we try to encourage them,
if they're good people, to diversify.
Do you think that's the key -
taking on a number of different roles?
Oh, certainly. They have to have a range of income streams today.
You can't just rely particularly on your drink,
which is declining, food, which is very competitive.
You've got to try to add other services
that perhaps will attract people in the community
who maybe have not used the pub before, but will visit it
because it has a range of products in its little shop.
-And the clue's in the name, really. The Pub Is The Hub.
For a good pub to be successful as a pub,
but you also, the hero is the licensee that runs it.
And Janet is the hero, or rather heroine, around here.
Hello, welcome to the shop.
Thanks to her efforts, The Sycamore Inn is still going strong,
but is this the answer for Bamford, where, as we heard earlier,
the community is desperately trying to save their last village pub?
-What can I get you to drink?
-Double hop, I think.
A double hop, I can do one of those what about you, ladies?
I'll have the same.
What you've done here is brilliant,
because you have used the space you've got in a great way.
A little group in the side room, earlier on.
You've got the shop, and you're still in the centre of the village,
and you're still open.
But, do you have someone who is willing
to work 80 hours plus a week, like Janet is?
It is a bit of a vocation, it's a calling.
There are people with quite a lot of time.
You know, there are people who would invest money,
but there are also people who might not have the money,
but would be willing to invest the time.
Creating a one-stop shop might work for Bamford,
but is relying on volunteers, and heroic publicans,
really the way to save our village pubs?
Well, it's just gone 11:15, and Janet and I
are coming to the end of a fairly long day,
and we've heard a lot of arguments today,
passionate about why country pubs should survive.
But in the end, they'll only do well
with not only passion, but a bit of money.
So, to rewrite an old phrase, your country pub needs you.
I'm on a journey around the three hills of West Kent,
a patchwork of countryside spared from the jaws of development
by the great Octavia Hill, co-founder of the National Trust.
Unlike many parts of the country,
Kent still has its fair share of village pubs to quench your thirst.
No crop is more closely associated with Kent than the hop,
and the area has a long tradition of brewing quality, amber nectar.
The ale made locally was so popular that in the 1880s
a train line was specifically built to carry the beer to London.
The local brew even made it overseas.
Following the D-Day landings, Westram ales were sneakily exported
to troops in Normandy, inside the auxiliary fuel tanks of Spitfires.
They were dubbed "modification triple X depth charges,"
to get them officially approved for flights.
I'm off to a brewery that sits in the shadow of Mariners Hill,
that brews a beer so local it rarely even leaves the county.
Robert Wicks' passion for keeping his ethically-made beer local
means you won't find much of it for sale outside Kent.
Look at this! What's being brewed in here?
-We are brewing Spirit of Kent today.
-What makes it such a Kentish beer?
-Well, it's the fact that we put in nine different Kent hops in.
All the Kent hops are bred in Kent, grown in Kent,
and they've all been bred over the last 80 years.
And what about even the water, isn't that local?
The water comes from Westwood farm, which is a greensand aquifer,
and is piped here to the brewery.
-This is exclusively a Kent beer, isn't it?
-It is. Absolutely.
So, would you like to start the process?
Oh, yeah, go on then, what do I need to do?
-What you need to do is open the knife plate, which is there.
-Yeah, if you reach across, and just pull.
-There you go.
-Ooh! Something is happening.
-And then we'll just open this up.
We are now starting the process
of mixing the grain with the hot water, to make what we call a mash.
-It's exactly the same as your breakfast porridge.
-Oh, really, OK?
-It's two of water, to one of grain.
We leave it to steep for an hour, and during that hour,
the enzymes inside the barley convert the starch into sugar.
And we need the sugar to make beer.
Let's go down and have a look at the hops.
Look at this room. What are these?
This is the fermentation room, and these are the hops we'll use.
-If you just take one of the flowers out.
If you break it open, and look inside,
-you can see all the seeds there.
They're not seeds, they are lupulin glands,
and it's those glands that have got the resins.
That's what we want to make the bitterness in the beer,
but also to add the flavour, and aroma.
'The nine different hops are added
'at nine points in the process, and some of them are pretty fruity.'
And then there's yeast. Where do you get the yeast from?
Well, the yeast that we use came
from the Old Black Eagle Brewery, which closed in 1965.
But in 1959, the head brewer deposited
at the National Collection Of Yeast Cultures,
and so we went back to the collection,
we re-cultured the yeast,
and that's the yeast we've been using for the last eight years.
I never even knew such a place existed.
-They keep hold of lots of yeast.
-Oh, thousands of different yeast strains.
The crown jewels of a brewery, is it's yeast,
because with the water, and the yeast,
or the liquor as we call it, and the yeast,
is the most important factor to make the flavour.
It's then left to ferment for seven days.
And unlike most other beers, it's then matured for two weeks.
This helps the flavours blend, to produce a perfect pint.
Well, after all that walking, it would be rude not to.
Farming is a lifestyle as well as a job,
and it takes a certain type of dedication.
Shepherding is just one of the many roles that Adam
has to be skilled at. He's got around 2,000 sheep,
and this week shearing is taking top priority down the farm.
Good girl, pal. Steady.
This is my commercial flock,
and we're just moving them onto some fresh pasture.
The lambs are getting quite big now,
they'll be ready for market in a month's time.
They're relying on their mothers for milk,
there's a lovely set of twins suckling over there,
but they're grazing a lot of grass, too.
Shearing starts in Devon earlier in the year,
then it comes up to the Midlands,
then finishes up in Yorkshire and Scotland,
where the climate's a bit colder.
And shearing's going quite well for us,
although we're having to catch the sheep in between the storms,
because you can't shear wet sheep.
And to combat the weather,
I've been keeping some of my rare breed rams
in the shed to keep them dry, so they can be shorn today.
This is a Norfolk Horn. One of our rare breeds.
And these rams are just over a year old,
so this is the first time they've been shorn.
And it should be the best fleece they ever produce,
because it still has the lamb's wool in it.
But because they have never been shorn before,
and they're sort of half-grown testosterone-filled boys,
they can be quite hard to shear. They can be quite wriggly sometimes.
The price of wool has gone up quite well in the last couple of years.
There is a lack of sheep in Australia and New Zealand
and in the UK and wool is trendy again.
More people are using it in woollen carpets and in clothing.
Next up is a member of my flock that has cost me
a fair bit more than the value of her fleece.
Last summer, my dog Maude found her in the stream.
The poor thing could barely see.
So I took her back to the farm and after a bit of TLC
from me and my son Alfie, she pulled through.
And this is Laurel, that little lamb, 14 months on.
-Looking pretty good, Mike, isn't she?
Kicks a bit, though.
On a farm, particularly with the kids,
we always end up with a few pets.
And Laurel here has grown into quite a nice ewe.
She's in good condition, she looks pretty smart.
We'll keep her in the flock now.
She'll go to the ram this autumn and be lambing next spring.
I reckon Alfie will be pretty pleased with her.
Some of our rare breed fleeces can fetch a premium
and are great for spinners and weavers.
Frances Taylor is a big fan and she runs spinning courses.
Now, that looks like a home-made top you have got there. It's beautiful!
-It is a bit.
-What's in there?
Well, it's got lots of fibres in it,
brown chow dog hair, little coloured bits are silk,
dyed silk with some mohair as well,
and some black Welsh lamb.
-Goodness. Amazing what you can do.
-It is amazing.
This is from my little lad's pet lamb. A Romney shearling ewe.
-It's the first time she's been shorn.
-What do you think of that?
Hold it up to the light, spread open the staple
and have a look at the conformation
of both the crimp and the fleece itself.
With a ewe, that has had maybe twins or lambs,
you'll often see a break in the fleece.
It's always about here.
That tells me it's not a sound fleece.
And I wouldn't like to spin that
because when you comb it through, it breaks.
Here, we have a lovely fleece.
Good measurement and if you twang it, it will ring.
-A good fleece will ring. Yeah, it is. It is a very good test.
-I like that very much. That's a nice fleece.
I'd go for that one any time.
-That's about a fiver for that one, is that OK?
-That is brilliant.
Thank you very much.
That's a good price for a good fleece.
After all that money I spent on the pet lamb, a fiver in the bank.
-Yes, absolutely. Good. I reckon that's a deal.
-Come on, darling.
I've got quite a few sheep on the farm
and it's an important part of our business,
but people now are getting into sheep farming on a smaller scale.
Kate Humble, who just happens to be a friend of mine,
is interested in buying a few sheep for her small holding at home.
And never one to turn down a chance of meeting up with Kate
and spending some of her money, I'm heading down to Wiltshire,
to look at some Dorset horns.
'Choosing the right breed is essential
'so Kate has brought her tenant farmer Tim Stephens.
'He's the man who is going to be looking after her sheep
'back in Wales.
'I've arranged for us to meet up with Jim Dufosee,
'he's been farming Dorset horns for 30 years
'and is an expert when it comes to this breed.'
-Good to see you.
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to see you.
-What a wonderful spot.
-Lovely, isn't it?
-It's absolutely fantastic. And what wonderful sheep.
-These are the Dorsets?
-These are the Dorsets, yes.
When somebody sees a horned sheep, they think it's a ram.
-Right, of course.
-Instantly, it's a ram,
because it's got horns and the girls don't have horns.
Well, the girls do have horns.
Tim and I are basically setting up a small holding within the farm
to showcase different breeds that are suitable for people
who might want to keep a few animals, but not commercially.
They seem very happy out grazing on this bank,
-but you're a bit higher up, aren't you?
-We are about 850 feet. What are you here?
-We're about 700.
Very exposed, obviously. No hedges. Very little protection.
-And they seem lovely and docile, don't they?
Are they quite a docile breed?
I think they are close to being the most docile breed,
or dozy, which ever way you'd like to put it!
They don't look to get out, they are happy if there's grass here.
They don't see the need to walk all the way over there
to eat grass over there when it's here.
-Shall we look at ones you've got for sale?
-Let's have a look, shall we?
'The unusual thing about Dorset horns
'is that they are one of the few breeds
'that can lamb at any time of year
'and Jim has got some that will be lambing in autumn,
'Unlike most sheep, that lamb in the spring.'
These are the in-lamb ewes we picked out for you.
-They're all scanned to lamb in September.
The number of dots is the number of lambs in the sheep.
You've got three twins there and a single.
The father of the lambs inside these ewes is the big one
in the middle with the impressive horns.
-He's a tremendous looking ram, isn't he?
Shall we jump in and have a look?
You decide whether you like them or you don't like them, that's fine.
I'll leave you to it
and then there's no embarrassment on any account.
-Thanks, Jim. OK.
-Let's jump in.
Shall we check over the basics - teeth and udders?
-Two teeth in the first year of life...
And then four teeth when they're two,
six teeth when they're three.
So she looks like she is three. Check the udder of this one.
Don't want any lumps and bumps in there. Nice, soft udder.
-Very good. All right, Kate? Powerful, aren't they?
-They are strong!
I don't know where this "docile" word came from!
Should be able to put three fingers in between the two horns.
-I can do four. But I've got small...
I've got very small hands, so four fingers.
-Go on, Tim, you do your proper farmer's hands.
-Yeah, that's it.
And very importantly, they should have pink pigment
in their nose, lips and eyes.
And she is a lovely clean, pink-faced sheep.
-But they're a good, chunky sheep, aren't they?
-They are. Really good.
These ewes would compete with a commercial ewe, and that ram,
that's the father of the lambs, he is tremendous!
-Are you going to take them all?
-Well, I think so.
It is a good handle-able number. Enough to give it a proper trial.
I think that's very sensible. You might even get showing them soon.
-If you're judging!
-I better get a red rosette!
Well, it's a given.
-I'd better go and do the dirty deed with the cheque-book.
'And with that decision made, it's time to load them up.'
Yeah, what a lovely little flock.
Next week, I'll be introducing
my new belted Galloway stock bull to the farm.
In a moment, I'm going to be using these
and some sophisticated gadgetry
to try and capture a photo of some mobile wildlife.
But before that, the weather.
It has been a bit of a challenge in the last few weeks.
What has it got in store for us this week? Let's find out.
We've been exploring the landscape around the three Kentish hills,
Ide Hill, Mariners Hill and Toys Hill.
Following in the footsteps of Octavia Hill,
the woman fought hard to preserve and protect them from urban sprawl.
I've nearly come to the end of my journey,
but there is just time for me to meet a local lad,
a photographer who shares one of my interests
in getting up close to some flighty animals at night time.
Jake Everitt is a countryside warden with a passion for moths -
and anything with wings, really.
-Jake, I've got you these.
-Ready for our moth trapping session.
-So this is a good time of year for trapping moths?
We have the biggest variety of moths around at the moment,
so it's a really good time to trap.
This light is not the standard household bulb?
This one's called a mercury vapour bulb.
It's a lot brighter than our household bulb
and gives off a lot of UV light.
What is it about this bulb that they go for?
Moths basically think that this is the moon,
so they orient themselves by keeping the moon up in the sky.
So they come to the bulb, thinking it's the moon.
When they reach the bulb, they think it's the sunlight and try and hide.
I'm ashamed to say I once tried dipping socks
into a sweet, sticky liquid.
-Yeah, that works.
-The old-fashioned way!
-I didn't get a lot, I'll be honest.
-Nah, it's your socks!
As well as being mad about moths, Jake has also taken
some amazing photographs of other wildlife.
And if we catch anything in our trap tonight,
he can hopefully give me some tips.
12 hours later, and it's time to see what we've got.
-You're all set up!
-Yep, all set up and ready to go.
-Out of the wind.
-It was a bit howling last night.
-It was a bit strong.
-So, bearing that in mind, how did we get on?
We got a few moths for us to look at.
This one is called a small elephant hawk moth.
I've definitely seen bigger than that.
-Separate species, but very similar colouring.
You know what, I know a bad workman and all that,
but I'm more familiar with my camera phone because I use it all the time.
-How about these, are they any good?
Really good for things that are small.
Oh, this is far better. Here we go.
-This one is quite a pretty one.
That one is called lesser swallow prominent.
-Lovely. Let's do that one on a different background.
We've caught some beautiful moths here -
I just hope my photos do them justice.
-OK, we've uploaded mine.
-Let's have a look at these gems.
That's the small elephant hawk moth.
You just about got the eye in focus there, it throws the rest of it out.
-I lost most of the moth.
-It was a bit windy, to be honest.
-That's fine, that's what it was!
-And there's another one.
That's all right, cos you get a bit of the detail at the front here.
That looks pretty good, I reckon.
Now let's see how the masters do it. Let's see your shots.
-And give us some tips along the way.
this is a kind of quirky photo,
this is called a canary-shouldered thorn,
so just trying to get the head in focus
rather than leave the wings out of focus.
-It's like a cartoon character, isn't it?
-It's an interesting looking moth.
That is a different angle.
-That's just looking head-on to it, rather than side-on.
This is where I think it is really important
to get the eyes in focus
and the abdomen and everything else you can leave out of focus,
but draw your eye to the eyes of the animal.
It's really cool.
The other thing, with dragonflies in particular,
is keeping shadow off them.
So always try to approach them head-on.
Absolutely. Jake, these photos are amazing.
-You could enter our photographic competition.
With its theme, a walk on the wild side.
If we've inspired you to get snapping
then remember we're after pictures of wildlife,
wild landscapes and wild weather.
The best 12 will make up the Countryfile calendar for 2013
sold in aid of Children In Need.
If you take the winning photo, as chosen by our viewers,
you'll get £1,000 worth of photography equipment
and the judges' favourite will get £500 worth.
You still have two weeks left to enter the competition.
It closes on Sunday 22nd of July.
All the details about how to enter are on our website,
including the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.
-I normally say all that!
-My turn, this time. John, what do you make
of this photo of my elephant hawk moth?
-That is pretty good.
-Yes, for a beginner.
-For the competition?
-Well, I'm sad to say you're not allowed to enter, Ellie.
-Good practice anyway.
-Well, that's it from the Kentish hills.
Next week we'll be in Snowdonia,
where Julia will be putting her mountain skills to the test
and I'll be exploring a landscape known as the Celtic rainforest.
-So until then, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Countryfile comes from a beautiful corner of the Garden of England, the Kent hills. Ellie Harrison follows in the footsteps of Octavia Hill, social reformer and founder of the National Trust. John Craven finds out more about this remarkable woman, who fell in love with the Kent countryside and fought to preserve it.
High in the canopy, John also discovers what is being done to protect and preserve one of the unsung stars of the plant world - conifers. With her feet firmly on the ground, Ellie samples the perfect pint with the help of some Kentish hops, while Tom Heap investigates the fate of our village pubs; they have been at the heart of rural life for centuries but in the last few decades they have gone into an almost terminal decline. So, is there anything we can do to stop the rot?
And down on the farm, Adam has been set a challenge. He is out to find some rare Dorset horn sheep for a celebrity friend! Will he persuade Kate Humble to part with her money?