Countryfile heads to the north Cornwall coast. Matt Baker explores its secret glens and historic ruins on a quest to find out about Cornwall's ancient mythological past.
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The North Cornwall coast -
dramatic, imposing, and majestic - but look a little closer,
and you'll find mystical legendary qualities like nowhere else.
Legends don't come much bigger or more magical than King Arthur,
said to be born right here at Tintagel Castle.
But this is a fortress whose past had to be re-examined
after a huge fire exposed a lot of secrets.
And I'll be finding out about the truth behind this historic place.
James is in Cornwall too,
putting his life in the hands of a cliff rescue team.
How are you with heights?
I'm rubbish with heights. I'm good with plants,
-very little else.
-You're good with plants, not heights.
Julia's in East Sussex,
on a farm with an unusual approach to agriculture.
I think this looks like a rather magnificent cow-dung ice cream cone.
Meanwhile, Tom's heading to the Orkney Islands.
In our search for clean energy, we've looked to the sun and the wind,
but what about the sea?
It's been claimed that we could get a fifth of Britain's electricity
from tidal power, using machines like this.
But as the price for harnessing it too high? I'll be finding out.
And on his farm, Adam is planning a bit of DIY.
These are all my rare-breed rams.
And this one here is a Manx Loaghtan from the Isle of Man,
with a wonderful head on him, but he's got a few problems.
I have to sort him out with my saw.
North Cornwall, situated on Britain's Atlantic coast -
a landscape of dramatic shorelines, spectacular cliffs -
a Mecca for British holidaymakers.
Journey further inland and you'll discover
the wild and rugged terrain of Bodmin Moor.
There's a lot more to Cornwall than just ice creams,
tasty pasties and cream teas.
I'm going to be exploring its secret glens and historical ruins
on my own quest into Cornwall's ancient mythological past.
Steeped in legend and folklore,
it's a land where granite formations
are thought to be the work of giants.
And ancient stone circles are really Cornish people turn to stone.
This is said to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur.
Stories of Merlin and Arthur's gallant knights
have been told around firesides for centuries.
And where better to start my quest
than in one of Cornwall's most sacred places?
This is St Nectan's Glen, and legend has it
that King Arthur's knights were blessed here,
probably in this very spot,
before setting out on their search for the Holy Grail.
Throughout the ages, it's been a sacred site of worship.
And here in the depths of the forest,
it really does feel like we're in a magical place.
'I'm meeting the custodian, who goes by the name of Loz.
'I want to find out from him where fact meets fiction.'
So, Loz, did King Arthur's knights come here? For real?
Well, why not?
To quest the Grail, you have to be pure.
So they came here to be purified in the waters of the waterfall.
St Nectan is a very intriguing name. Who was he?
St Nectan was a gentleman that lived here in the sixth century.
He built a chapel up at the top of the waterfall
where people could come and worship.
He would take his silver bell and walk down the river every evening,
and ring it to warn shipping off the rocks
at Rocky Valley, where many, many shipwrecks had occurred.
And he surely saved thousands of lives.
These days, it's widened out a lot from the Christian community.
Certainly has. We get pagans, Buddhists, Muslims.
-All to purify themselves?
-All to purify.
Man has been drawn to places like this for purification reasons
for thousands and thousands of years.
'And purification for Loz means having a proper dip.
'He tells me he swims here most days.
'It looks a little bit cold for my liking!'
The magic and mystery of the glen has provided creative inspiration
for artists and writers like Thomas Hardy and Lord Alfred Tennyson.
Internationally renowned fantasy artist Peter Pracownik
has designed album covers for Hawkwind and Fairport Convention.
Today, it's the mysteries of the glen that inspire Peter's work.
It's the perfect place to fire the imagination
for the greatest fantasy quest of all - The Hobbit.
It's very Hobbit-like here. It's very Middle Earth.
It's shut off from reality, the hustle and bustle of daily life.
And what is it about this style of art with the unicorns,
with the fairies, that does it for you?
It's your innermost fantasy, it's your dream world.
Man will always create image from nature, whatever form it is.
And this place has something so special.
Peter, you're incredibly successful with this.
Just give us an idea of what your latest project is.
I've been working on The Hobbit.
I did an oracle, or some would say a tarot deck,
but basically it's an oracle.
Very intrigued by the world of tarot cards.
I mean, I don't really understand them,
so you'll have to just talk me through what the idea is.
OK, well, the Queen of Cups.
This is about the energy of the light upon the water.
Being at one with the world.
This next one, it's Balin, Balin out of The Hobbit.
This card, it means challenge.
This third one is Gollum and Bilbo having a conversation.
In a rock pool.
And this one is called the Wheel of Fortune.
So we've got being at one with nature, we've got a challenge,
and we've got two people having a conversation in a rock pool.
I'm sensing one of them is me, and one of them is Loz.
And I'm about to go and take a dip.
I think you should, I think you should, definitely. Good one. Yes.
Get in, Loz!
My word. Well, I tell you what, I've certainly got purified calves.
My word! Good lad!
While we're experiencing the healing powers
of the waters down here in Cornwall,
Tom is right at the other end of the country,
finding out if tidal power really can satisfy our needs
when it comes to renewable energy.
Right! I'm getting out.
The awesome force of the sea has both threatened
and protected Britain for centuries.
We are an island nation, which once claimed to rule the waves.
Now rather than power OVER the ocean,
we're interested in power FROM the ocean.
And when you look at the energy in the seas,
that seems like a no-brainer.
We get just over 5% of our electricity from the wind and sun.
But at the moment, only a thousandth of a percent comes from the sea.
But a new report from the National Oceanography Centre
says our tides alone could generate 20%, that's one fifth,
of the electricity that Britain needs.
And here, in a far-flung corner of our islands,
they're taking the steps to make that happen.
This bay is a lab bench for marine energy.
Because when it comes to getting power from our seas,
you have to test them against the elements.
And those elements rarely come tougher than here in Orkney.
What are we actually overlooking here?
We are here at the wave test site.
'At Orkney's European Marine Energy Centre,
'companies from across the world
'are trialling weird and wonderful inventions
'aimed at harnessing Scotland's wild seas.'
In terms of tidal, why Orkney?
There are some excellent tidal resources here in Orkney.
Very strong tidal races.
We see the tide flowing at a peak of about four metres per second
on our tidal test site,
so that's the equivalent of driving a car at about ten miles an hour.
And that means that it's really putting these machines
through their paces.
And if they can get them to work here in Orkney,
then they should work anywhere in the world.
There is no mistaking the power of the sea here,
but what's really exciting engineers is not just the waves themselves,
but the tides that lie beneath.
The great thing about tidal power is that it is predictable.
This table here gives me the high and low tides throughout 2013,
and they could make one today for 3013.
So the energy is always there for the taking,
and the simplest way to do that is to stick a propeller
beneath the waves and let the tide do the work.
The race is on to design the best tidal turbine.
And everyone from ScottishPower to Kawasaki is getting in on the act.
The work that's going on here in Orkney right now is cutting edge.
It's incredibly exciting,
and we're really leading the world in terms of this industry.
'But it's not just the big guns who can see the potential
'in this fledging industry.' Morning.
'Local Orkney boy Barry Johnston has been road-testing
'a series of prototypes of a floating,
'slightly James Bond-esque tidal turbine.
'Today, it's being hauled out to sea,
'so it's my chance to take a closer look.'
It's obviously being towed at the moment, but the physics
are just the same as if we were sitting in a six-knot current.
You get a real feeling of the power there is available from the water.
It looks a bit like a sort of gently moving bomb submarine.
This is actually a prototype machine,
so this is only a 250 kW prototype.
Our larger scale commercial one will be 2,000 kW.
So much bigger, much more powerful machine.
And 2,000 kW will power about how many homes?
Roughly about maybe 1,800.
-That's not bad.
-Yeah, it's not bad.
And the idea is that we have it in large farms,
so we have multiple devices in one area.
Why tidal rather than wind or solar?
Tidal, obviously it's predictable, that's the main thing.
So we can predict years in advance when we're going to produce energy.
So energy companies like that.
Unlike wind, it's variable, but tidal we can predict it.
Orkney's docks are creaking under the weight of new designs.
But in energy terms, the power that single turbines like this
will provide is still just a drop in the ocean.
We would need around 20,000 of the 1 MW turbines
currently on the market to supply 20% of the UK's electricity.
That's not only incredibly expensive, it's also not very practical.
The range and scale of technology being tested here is really exciting.
But if tidal is going to satisfy big chunks of our energy demand,
it's going to need to think even bigger than this.
Enter the barrage.
There are a few tidal barrages on the continent,
but over here, the debate over a similar scheme in the Severn Estuary
has been raging for years.
In simple terms, a barrage works by blocking the path of the tide,
increasing the level on one side,
which forces water through the turbines, generating power.
If we want to get a fifth of our electricity from the tides
then barrages will have to play a crucial role.
Nicholas Yates researched the National Oceanography Centre's
report on the potential of tidal power.
How important are barrages, these fixed structures,
if you like, in reaching that 20% of electricity?
Well, the 20% figure in the paper is based on 15% from tidal range,
which is based on six estuaries,
plus 5% from a tidal stream estimate,
which is where we make use of the velocity of the water
in places like the Pentland Firth to drive a turbine.
So a lot of the things that we've seen,
including the ones up in Orkney, are good, their tidal stream.
But if we want to take this big chunk out of our electricity demand,
we've got to be thinking of these barrages or lagoons?
Well, that's correct.
That could mean barrages or similar schemes not just here on the Severn,
but in up to six estuaries, giving us clean power from the sea.
But it's not quite that simple.
That means big structures in the sea visible from the land.
And that always sets the sparks flying, as I'll be finding out later.
While Matt's embarked on his mystical quest,
I've been exploring the wild and windswept landscape of Bodmin Moor.
Its craggy outcrops, bottomless bogs and dense mists
have inspired the tales of Wilkie Collins and Daphne du Maurier.
And according to some, the Bodmin Beast could be lurking close by.
I stopped off at one of its most amazing geological formations,
Legend has it that the Cheesewring
is the result of a rock-throwing contest
between the saints and some Cornish giants.
Christianity had only just arrived in Cornwall,
and the local giants weren't best pleased. They proposed a contest.
If they were to win, the saints would have to leave,
but if the Saints were to win,
the giants would have to convert to Christianity.
Legend being legend, of course, the saints did win,
and Christianity looked set to stay.
It's a great story, but what I'm most intrigued by is not a giant at all.
In fact, it's tiny. And it lives right over there.
Cornwall's rich mining history has earned it World Heritage status,
putting it on a par with the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China.
It was a story of boom and bust.
The explosion of the copper mining industry
brought work for local people, but it also brought noise,
mining contamination and pollution.
The mining industry left behind it
thousands of tonnes of waste rock and slag.
And there's something very tiny that I've come to see that lives in it.
This derelict mine is full of poisonous heavy metal deposits.
It might sound pretty dangerous,
but it provides the perfect habitat for one of Britain's rarest mosses.
In fact, it's one of the only places on the planet
that you can find Cornish path moss.
And OK, that may not sound very rock 'n' roll.
But if you are a geeky botanist like me,
it is like all your Christmases coming at once.
I've come to meet a man who is an even bigger geek about moss than me!
Des Callaghan has a PhD in brylogy.
That's mosses, to you and me.
He is a consultant on sites like this.
He's one of Britain's only Cornish path moss experts.
So, Des, what's so special about Cornish path moss?
All plants only need a tiny amount of copper to survive.
When it gets too high, it becomes toxic to plants,
as it becomes toxic to humans.
But a small number of species have evolved an ability
to live on very high copper deposits.
So the amount of copper in the soil in your back garden
would be roundabout 100 parts per million, something like that.
Here, it's about 7,000 parts per million.
It thrives on toxic waste?
-That makes it like the extremophiles, those algae that
live inside the craters of live volcanoes and stuff like that.
-Exactly, yes, that's right.
-In the Cornish countryside!
Exactly, yes, yes. And that's what makes it so special.
So I'm really looking forward to this. Where can we find it?
-It's over this way.
-OK, shall we head on down?
So this penned-off area here is a likely spot for moss hunting.
This is one of the few areas where the moss is known from.
But we're talking about something 2mm high,
and unfortunately today we have a covering of snow of 5cm.
What are our chances today?
-They're very slim.
-But we can give it a go.
It is totally crazy. It's like going to Mars.
Ah! This looks like it, maybe.
We'll need to take a closer look at this particular spot here.
What particular spot?! There's nothing there!
Well, that looks rather like the thing we're after,
-just at the end of my fingertip.
-Wow, that's small.
So I'm going to stick my eye right into it, magnify 10 times.
What am I supposed to see? What's the distinguishing characteristics?
You'll see it has a spiky appearance to it.
The tiny leaves are held slightly away from the stems.
-Kind of like lots of pineapple tops?
-That's a good description of it.
-This is it!
-Let me take a look, just to confirm it.
-No! It's mine!
Go on, you tell me, you tell me.
Yes, that's definitely the one.
That is truly amazing.
Whoever discovered this deserves a Nobel Prize.
I can't believe we were actually able to find it.
That Des guy is like some kind of moss-finding superhero.
You know, we may grumble about our climate in the UK,
but we've got brilliant weather if you are a moss or a liverwort,
and all you need to explore this fascinating alternate universe
is a hand lens like this.
Whilst Matt and I are exploring the delights of North Cornwall
in the bitterly cold winter, back in the autumn Julia was
in East Sussex, finding out more about a very unusual way of farming.
Welcome to Tablehurst Community Farm,
where the dung delivered regularly by these beautiful ladies
is highly prized.
Here, it's all about biodynamics,
a type of spiritual farming that works in harmony with the Earth.
This enigmatic landscape has inspired poets
and artists for centuries, but there is something else
in the air here that arouses a desire to work closely
with Mother Nature.
Perhaps not quite this closely.
Biodynamic farmers don't use artificial fertilisers.
Instead, they make their own concoctions,
mixed using natural substances to their own recipe.
Why are you collecting your lovely cow dung?
Well, because we're a biodynamic farm, and at this time of year
we need to collect it because we do various things with it.
All right. Biodynamic farm, explain the concept.
The concept of a biodynamic farm is that one's not just working with
everyday physical substance, but also the forces working in nature.
That sounds a bit cuckoo perhaps, but if you think of a compass
and why it points north, if you start looking inside that needle
to understand it, you're never going to understand,
it's only when you realise that there's a magnetic field
round the whole Earth that you can understand why it points north.
And to understand a plant or animal, actually you can't just look inside
that with a microscope either,
you have to take into account that there's a whole cosmos out there
with the sun and the moon and the planets and the stars and the zodiac.
So you're working very closely with Mother Nature
-and you believe strongly in the forces of Mother Nature.
-We do, yes.
And those forces are in our food, if it's good food,
-and not if it's done the wrong way.
And how much of this stuff do you need?
-For this farm, about two buckets like that.
Well, I'd better get my shovel and keep helping you, then, hadn't I?
As compared to trailer loads.
That's not bad.
This spiritual science might sound a bit New Age,
but it all began in 1924,
when farmers asked philosopher Rudolf Steiner to find out
if chemical fertilisers were adversely affecting
their soil conditions and health of their livestock.
He thought they were.
That meant no to chemicals and yes to biodynamic farming.
Which is where the cow dung comes back in again.
-Right, bucket of cow horns and a bucket of cow dung.
So, we're going to fill these up with manure.
-And then the horn will be left in the ground over winter
and when you dig it up in the spring, this manure will have a completely
different consistency. But it's not just that, there's more to it.
I think the fact that it's in the earth over winter means
it's had those forces that I was telling you about from the cosmos
and everything, which go into the earth
and are concentrated here in these horns, in the manure.
Which will make this manure a very special substance.
I think this looks like a rather magnificent cow-dung ice cream cone.
'With the cow horns filled to the brim with the lovely,
'wholesome poo, the next job is to bury them.'
-So this is the burial mound.
You can see them here, how they've been laid in.
I mean, if you put it like this,
the water will get in and it will go soggy and putrid
instead of going to beautiful hummus,
so we actually put them down like this.
-The water doesn't collect in them.
And how many of these horns full of dung are you going to bury?
Well, we'll actually do about...
We're about a 500-acre farm
and we give some to some local people as well, so we do about 400.
-That's quite a lot.
-It's quite a lot.
-It's a lot of work.
It's taken us ages to do this many.
It's not really that much work.
When you consider what it does for the farm,
we spray the whole farm twice a year with this.
'The horns have to stay in the ground for six months
'for the cosmic magic to happen
'and turn it into something far more sweet-smelling.'
And next year,
-this is what you're going to get.
-The finished product.
You can see it's very different. It's black, it's hummus-like.
-Smells earthy and beautiful.
-Wonderful, doesn't it?
-Yeah. That's what all the hard work was for.
-That's what it's all for.
'Just when I thought the hard work was over, I was wrong.'
So that ball of manure is going in this bucket full of water.
-It is, yes.
-That's not a lot.
-It's not a lot.
Because it's not just the substance that we're dealing with,
it's the forces in the substance. We are going to stir this for an hour.
-Well, you might be!
-There's a specific way that we do it.
-Shall I show you?
-Yes, please do.
So, we start at the outside
and what you have to do is get a vortex in there.
It starts getting a kind of order in there and then,
when you have got a lovely vortex like that, you change the direction.
And there you can see it creates a kind of confusion in there,
which will get all the oxygen in.
Also, I think it somehow imprints the memory into the water
of the substance, so that when you spray it over the fields...
There will be some people watching at home now
and they're going to say, "He's just a bit bonkers."
I mean, I'm not going to try and argue with everybody.
One has to do what one sees works and what one feels is right.
Well, you've got...
58 minutes to go!
Whether or not you think this is nuts,
this farm has been biodynamically run for the last 40 years.
And it doesn't seem to be doing too badly on it.
Tintagel Castle, perched on the cliff tops
of North Cornwall's fabulous 60-mile Atlantic coast.
The castle is a spectacular sight
and provides a mystic home to knights, romance and legends.
Anyone for a spot of magic?
Well, apparently this is where Merlin used to live,
in this very cave.
It's a bit blustery, but there's a nice view out the kitchen window.
I'm determined to get to the bottom of the legend of King Arthur
so I've come to the perfect area, his supposed birthplace.
'Matt Ward from English Heritage is the man I need to talk to.
'He's the manager here
'and his greatest passion is the history of the castle.'
-What a place to work!
-It's not a bad view from our office.
That's what we always think.
-Legend has it that King Arthur was born here.
Obviously you're going to go along with this.
The legend saying he was born here came from Geoffrey of Monmouth.
He was writing a book in 1136 called The History Of The Kings Of Britain -
what he was trying to do was piece together
early accounts of British monarchy that didn't exist,
so the legend of King Arthur,
he was always said to have been born on a fortress, on a headland
with a narrow entrance, and in Geoffrey's wisdom,
in 1136 he came here and said, "God, he must have been born here."
But there's a question over the original purpose of this spot.
Up until the '80s, archaeologists believed that the castle was built
on the site of an ancient monastery.
It took an act of nature to reveal that it was actually
the setting for something much more surprising.
What happened in 1983, it was a dry summer and somehow a fire started,
burned for months and months.
It uncovered another 100 buildings they didn't know were there
and more bits of pottery than anywhere in England put together,
so at that period of history, the Dark Ages,
you're talking about 5th, 6th, 7th century,
it's the busiest trading port with the Mediterranean in the country,
so all of a sudden, overnight, the site couldn't have been a monastery.
'So, it turned out it was a trading port, not a monastery at all.
'The fire might have uncovered this amazing secret, but Matt
'and his team are determined to be ready if it ever happens again.
'They've got an ingenious fire-prevention strategy.'
-Should be running for a sense of urgency, lads.
-Here we go.
-So, Tango's in charge of the pump.
-I'll be in charge of the hose.
-You've got this well here.
The well here, it's medieval so it's...
We're using medieval water.
-That all right?
-Right, we need to go over here, Matt, quick.
The castle's on fire, run!
Watch your footing.
Here we go.
Here it comes.
Standing b... Oh, yes! Whoo-hoo!
There's some power in that.
I'm getting height, look.
There it goes. That's good.
They say that the water and electricity don't mix,
but soon our oceans could be powering our homes.
I've already experienced the tides on one potential source of power,
the Severn Estuary.
Now, Tom's gone back there to find out more.
We've had plenty of tasters on Countryfile
of the thrilling power of the Severn Estuary.
The energy that creates this tidal surge
could one day be put to a more practical use,
with a barrage generating 5% of the UK's electricity.
That's if it ever gets built. It's highly controversial and very costly.
Such a big project requires a lot of modelling and testing.
And that's where these engineering labs at the University of Cardiff
played a key part. After all, with a cost in excess of 25 billion
and a huge environmental impact,
you don't really want to get it wrong.
Bettina Bockelmann-Evans and her colleagues have been modelling
the latest barrage proposal from Hafren Power.
What am I looking at here, Bettina?
A physical model of the Severn Estuary.
This is Cardiff western line for the ideal barrage location.
I can see as it goes up and down,
you can see the force of water coming through the holes there.
Yes, that's the simulation of the turbines.
There would be 1,026 going across, they are two-way turbines.
So they would produce energy with the incoming tide
and the outgoing tide.
How much energy is that?
The same as three to four nuclear power plants would produce.
The government has already rejected one barrage scheme here
back in 2010, and opposition is still fierce.
This gives you a clue about why it's such a hot topic.
The Severn Estuary, a mud larder for birds.
And all these species...
come here to dine.
The RSPB is one of the organisations currently backing the anti-campaign.
You can't really see the far side there,
England's away in the distance in the mist.
But what you'd see is 10 miles of concrete steel across...
As head of conservation for Wales, Sean Christian has been vetting the plans.
What's the kind of wildlife that thrives here?
This is a highly designated protected area
for whole range of bird species.
There are eight species that are here in internationally important numbers.
Why does a barrage actually affect the birds that use this estuary?
A barrage holds back a head of water,
then releases it through the turbine,
but that head of water increases the levels of water upstream of the barrage.
All that lovely mudflat that you see out there where the birds feed,
that will be submerged.
Is there a way to do barrage which doesn't give you this problem?
That's what we'd like to know.
The critical thing is the RSPB is aware that climate change is
the biggest problem that we face as human beings and also for nature.
So we absolutely have to back proposals for renewable energy.
The RSPB is not against any proposal per se,
but you have to be able to do it without destroying
wonderful places like that, without trashing the estuary.
The concerns aren't just over birds.
Other bodies fear the turbines will kill fish
and that changing the flow of the river
will affect sediments crucial to the whole ecosystem.
So planners have gone back to the drawing board
and come up with a more environmentally friendly scheme.
That's what they're testing here in Cardiff.
Do you believe this model will have less impact on the environment
than the previous design?
It will definitely have a lot less impact.
There will be less change to the inter-tidal mudflat areas.
So the wading birds will still have more area to feed on.
The velocities are much less with the turbines.
The fish are less likely to get hit by the blades?
The blades turn much slower
and because it's lower,
they have more chance to get through those turbines.
It is a unique opportunity for the UK to use this energy resource.
Hafren Power claims its new design will address the environmental concerns,
including the issue of flooding.
But those keeping a close eye on the proposals,
including the RSPB and the government,
want to know more before deciding whether to back the project.
But it's not just about the environment,
it's also about the cash.
Money is starting to flow in the direction of tidal power.
Both the EU and the Crown Estate have pledged many millions of pounds
towards UK tidal projects.
A big chunk of that work is happening here in Orkney.
This new pier is being built specifically to service
the needs of the marine energy business.
But even when tidal power is up and running, it is operating
in some of the toughest environments in the sea.
That's always going to be pricey.
For now, that means more cash up front than for most other renewables.
And investors need to take a greater gamble on their return -
a tall order in today's financial climate.
The water will be up here in a few hours.
Tidal power is a green energy you can set your watch by.
But when it comes to big projects, it has problems in common with
other renewable sources - high cost and local environmental impact.
When it comes to our clean energy future,
there are very few easy answers.
Rare-breed livestock have been taking refuge on Adam's farm
since the '70s. His collection of unusual rams are his pride and joy.
But one of his favourites is having a few problems.
These are all my rams. There's about 50 of them.
They are rare and traditional breeds we've got on the farm here.
They suit the different climates and areas of the British Isles.
So whether it's down in the warm valleys or up in the cold mountains,
there's a breed to suit.
So if you look at them, there's a little North Ronaldsay here,
the Soay, small primitive breeds
that are ancient and very hardy
that would survive on the Scottish Highlands and Islands around the country.
Then the Jacob here, an amazing-looking sheep.
There is one with magnificent horns over here.
Look at this.
These were the parkland sheep of the UK,
and people could look from the grand houses out onto the parkland
at these fantastic-looking sheep.
Not only do they look lovely, the lamb, the meat, tastes great.
Then we've got the hill breeds, the White-faced Dartmoor here,
and then the hardiest British breed there is, the Herdwick.
The Herdwick is the only breed... Whoa, he's strong!
..that will survive on top of the Lakeland fells.
It's amazing fleece. If I can tip him up...
There we are, mate.
This fleece is thick and coarse.
And really, the Lakeland fells look the way they do
because they are grazed by these sheep.
People have managed landscapes for centuries.
It's thanks to the grazing animals
that this countryside looks as beautiful as it does.
Another of my favourite rare breeds is a Manx Loaghtan.
They are known for the rich brown wool and impressive horns.
But one of mine is having problems with his,
so I need to catch him to get a closer look.
The horns of the Manx Loaghtan,
there are either two, four, or sometimes six horns,
and on these four-horn sheep, they're very strong, upright ones,
very good at protecting themselves against dogs and wolves, by using them like a sword
and then the side horns are slightly weaker
and this one has been broken in the first six months of its life.
It's started to grow into his face, so I've got to cut that off.
I'm going to hold him still.
The horn is alive and full of blood and nerve endings at the base,
but then is cold and dead at the top end here.
So hopefully, I can this just saw this off
without causing him too much discomfort.
There we go.
So that's the tip of his horn. That'll sort him out nicely.
I also farm lambs for the table
and I'm hoping the remainder of last year's are ready for market.
I'm just weighing these lambs...
in the scales here.
I want them to be around 40 to 42 kilos,
as an ideal weight for lamb for the table, with a good covering of meat.
But this lamb is only around 35 kilos, he's still a bit lean,
so he's got a few weeks to go.
Over the last 10 years, sheep farming has had a pretty tough time of it.
But my lambs that were born in 2011, I was selling some of them
this time last year and the price was very good.
Last February, I sold over 180 lambs at Cirencester market.
This is my first pen of lambs. There's quite a lot of interest.
The price is rocketing up, it's quite good.
I'm hoping for 75 quid.
At 76, they go.
Well, they've gone for 76 quid per lamb.
Trade was even better than I'd hoped for and profit was good too.
I really felt sheep farming was back on track.
But disappointingly, this year's prices have dropped again and I'm not sure why.
So I've arranged to meet up with Alan Jones, a marketing coordinator.
He helps some of us farmers in the Cotswolds get a premium price for our lambs.
So he should have all the answers.
-Good morning, Adam.
-Thanks for coming out.
-Good to see you.
How many lambs are you dealing with a year?
Approximately 35,000 prime lambs.
Goodness me! The price has dropped quite significantly.
Last year I was getting between £70 and £80. Now, where's the price?
-So we're a long way off where we were this time last year.
I think predominantly the lambs had a bad season.
They've had rain on the backs 75% of their life,
they've not really grown. Lambs that should have come out in August and July
are now moved up the year and they're all coming into a bottleneck
and there's a flood of lambs available in and around the months
that you don't really want a flood of lambs available
because there are other markets taking into account
-with Christmas in the middle of all that.
-So a glut of lamb, reduced retail trade,
-prices dropped 20%?
-We've got a way to go before we see the other side of it.
That's a worry.
Life as a farmer is a busy one and you never know what's around the corner.
My Gloucestershire old spot boar is having problems.
So here he is.
This is my Gloucestershire old spot stock boar,
so he's the one that mates with the females to produce all the piglets.
He's a bit grumpy and a bit sore.
If I just stand you up, mate.
Go on, stand up. Up you get.
Up you get!
As you can see, he's taking all the weight on his front feet.
His back, or his back legs, are hurting.
It's really quite sore, he spends a lot of his time lying down.
I've had the vet, we've treated him with anti-inflammatories to try
and reduce any swelling to see if that's helped. It helped a bit.
But what I need now is another approach.
And I've got a friend who might be able to help me out.
I've called in Sarah Stafford. She's an animal physiotherapist.
Her treatment has worked magic on my animals in the past.
Here he is, Sarah.
I don't know how he's looking in comparison to when you last saw him.
-How long ago was that?
-It was about 10 days ago,
and he was very humped in his back.
It is looking a lot leveller, it's not right,
but the other day, this was up another two or three inches higher.
So he's still a bit arched.
He's carrying the weight on his front feet, not his back legs.
The front end is pulling himself along and you can see
just every so often when he moves, the right hind isn't right.
There's two places in his back where I found a lot of spasm in there,
and on the diagonal a lot of spasm,
so I worked one side from one and one the other.
I think that's what happened, he must have had a real twist.
Can you feel it?
Yes, you can feel there is a block there, and a block there, in the muscle.
I am pleased, it is coming better.
We're beginning to get things moving again,
which is the only way he's got to do.
He has got to build those muscles by working,
-but if he's in spasm, he can't.
-Thanks very much, Sarah.
-I've got a dodgy back. Do you do people?
-No, I gave them up.
I'll give you a ring in 10 days and let you know how he's getting on.
-I'll leave you to it. Thank you.
Magical and mystical it may be,
but the North Cornwall coastline can be a dangerous place.
Each year, the Coastguard deals with more than 23,000 incidents.
Last year, there were more than 335 call-outs in North Cornwall alone.
But it's not just people that come a cropper along this stretch of coastline,
as one hairy visitor found out last summer.
In the peak holiday season,
lots of Cornish beaches are no-go zones for dogs.
But the coastal path makes perfect dog-walking territory.
The only problem is when the pooch doesn't know when to pause.
Meet Ted, 11 stones of shaggy, bounding energy,
with absolutely no sense of danger when it comes to cliffs.
So, Lee, this is Ted. Absolutely adorable. Is he in Newfoundland?
-He is, yes.
-They're famous for rescuing people.
-But in this case, he needed rescuing.
So what happened?
Well, we were away in Bude in August,
-just doing a cliff walk, weren't we?
The last day of the holiday. I don't know whether he'd seen something,
but, yes, straight over the edge of a cliff.
Tell me what happened to Ted.
Dad didn't know, but Ted just took one more step and he just ran.
Oh, no! What happened when he went over the edge?
Did you know how steep the cliff was?
No, because he was able to land on a bit of the cliff.
On a little ledge?
Ted actually fell 150 feet, but apart from a bloody nose,
he was unscathed.
We panicked first, didn't we?
But then Mum ran up to the coffee shop and got them
to ring the Coastguard and then they came out.
I think there were about 14 of them that had to go down and rescue him
and stick him in a big bag.
Two actually did the abseiling and the rest were on the pulley system.
As they came to pulling him up the cliff with the other two guys,
it took all the men to pull him up.
-You don't know how much you need these guys until you need them.
He may as well have been human from way they treated him,
-it was absolutely fantastic.
-Has he learned his lesson?
Yes, I think so. Because he's grown up a bit now.
I think he thought he was a flying duck.
Ted had a very lucky escape, but what's even more amazing is
the lads who rescued him are all volunteers.
Dotted around the great British coastline
are more than 3,500 volunteer coastguards.
Here in north Cornwall, there are five coastguard rescue teams.
Even on a brisk winter's day - and this is definitely one of those -
they don't need much encouragement to come out and start practising.
And I got special permission to make that call.
Hello, Coastguard, please.
All the volunteers also have full-time jobs.
Everything from lawyers and mechanics
to sail makers and sculptors.
But when they get that call, they down tools
and quite literally come to the rescue.
Of course, if they're going to do a practice rescue,
they need a willing victim.
I knew I was going to get roped into something today,
and when I say roped in, I'm not kidding.
The cliffs and coves of Cornwall attract nearly 5,000,000 tourists
every year, and that keeps the Coastguard very busy.
Call-outs range from broken limbs
and lost dogs to getting stranded on the beach.
That's what we're practising today. And guess who's stranded.
Now, I'm actually terrified of heights.
But with the tide coming in, the only way is up.
How are you going to rescue me from a certain fate of drowning?
-That harness down there, that's what we'll be using.
-Which end is up?
This end up.
-And you would step into those.
-OK, I see that.
-You just step into it like you would...
-Like a pair of trousers.
-And I guess it clips on halfway around?
One straight into there, like so.
Lucky for me, Tommy Cleave and his crew know what they're doing.
-How are you with heights?
-I am rubbish with heights.
-I'm good with plants, little else.
-Good with plants, not with heights.
I feel very like an uncoordinated version of Mission Impossible here.
-Cliff-top have control, up.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but once I realised I'm not
going to drop to my doom, I've even got time for a quick pun.
There's an awful lot of hanging around on Countryfile shoots.
Yes, I didn't say it was going to be a good one.
How often do get called out on stuff like this?
We get called out about 20 times a year.
Across North Cornwall, there were 335 shouts last year.
Gosh, so it's a real service that is in high demand.
-It's really important.
-Yes, it's quite a busy sector,
with all the holiday traffic, etc.
-What makes you want to come out here and do this?
-Look at it, it's great.
We're just here to help someone out who's having a bad day.
There's a lot of training involved,
-but what else do you get to do this with?
-So how was saving Ted?
-Ted was a bit of a different rescue because of the size of the dog.
-But we had to have two cliff men.
-Look at this.
-There we go.
Who would think it would take that many people to winch us up? Oh!
I'm alive! Glad to be up on two feet and holding myself up.
I can tell you what - it feels like that cliff is a lot taller
when you're hanging off the side than when you're down the bottom.
Take me away!
Any advice for dog walkers on cliffs?
Yeah - basically, keep dogs on leads, away from cliffs! Correct footwear.
I mean, we enjoy doing this,
but we don't want to be out every day of the year.
'Good advice for Ted and his kind. But he's not daft.
'Look who found the steps from the beach!' You slackers!
-You took the easy way up!
-I feel your pain, Ted.
-We're rescue survivors together. Let go and get a cream tea.
Well, it's a good thing that they rescued James from that cliff,
cos very shortly I'm going to need a wrestling partner.
First, let's see what the weather is going to be throwing at us
in the week ahead with the Countryfile forecast.
We're exploring North Cornwall.
I'm in Tintagel, situated high above the rugged cliffs
and crashing waves. It's a glimpse of ancient historic Britain.
Go on, go on, go on. Ooh! Goodness me. Right.
It's time for a spot of wrestling.
Or "rasslin'", as it's known around these parts.
And these lads certainly look like they mean business. He's gone!
It's Cornwall's national sport. It's bred champions for decades.
There's even historic international rivalry, with matches
between Bretons and Britons.
-Into the recreation ground at Newquay
march six of the strongest men in Cornwall.
In their hands may hang the reputation of the Duchy.
The cream of Cornish wrestlers, they were to meet a team from Brittany,
who had come to Newquay, complete with traditional costumes.
There are tournaments held all over Cornwall,
and these are two of the champions, John and Richard.
Mike Cawley is a stalwart of the Cornish wrestling fraternity.
In fact, he's founded a dynasty.
Because he's the dad of these two chaps.
What is the history behind the sport?
The history of wrestling was Celtic war practice.
We're here at Tintagel Castle today.
When Arthur was born here, his father would have sent out
messengers out all over the county, maybe up into Devon as well,
and there would have been a big tournament here.
-Prize money maybe of a year's wages.
-Just to celebrate the birth?
To celebrate the birth. Cos there was nothing else.
No other sports. And when I say a purse,
it would have been a big purse of gold.
Wrestlers could earn big money then, right throughout history?
It was just like pop stars now, and football stars.
-Was that the case back in your day, Mike?
'Well, there's no putting it off. It's time for me to have a go.
'But first, I need to get kitted up.'
-The main essential is the wearing of a loose canvas jacket
by which the wrestlers catch each other.
So long as it's caught anywhere above the waist, it's fair.
But a throw does not become a fall
until both shoulders and one hip touch the ground.
-First move we're going to do on you is a fore hip.
So you shake hands with Richard.
Take his jacket round his neck like he's doing with you. Round the neck.
-That's the sky!
-Slight disorientation there.
Yeah, the sky is still where it was. Right, you do that to him.
So shake hands, get the jacket.
-Drop that to there, yeah.
Oh, there's the body slam!
-It's actually called an "under heave".
'And just as I'm getting to grips with some of the moves,
'my Countryfile opponent arrives. Perfect timing.'
Look who's here! James!
-This all looks way too manly. What's going on here?
-How was your rescue?
-Yeah, a lot of fun. A lot of fun.
-James, just try that.
-What have you been up to?
-I've been rescued from the top of a cliff.
It doesn't help that this is actually sail material,
so the chances are you may...
-So it's not very flexible.
Just imagine you're in the harness.
-Grab hold of that there.
-And then just...
-And over he goes!
-That is a dirty, dirty trick.
It's known as a back, that, James.
-There we are!
-Which basically means that you've lost the match.
-Thanks very much. Thanks for giving m e a chance, as well.
-It's all over.
That's all we've got time for for this week.
Next week, Adam turns all foodie,
as he sources all the ingredients that are round about his house
and he's going to try and make a pizza for the whole family.
So whatever you do, don't miss that. Bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Countryfile heads to the north Cornwall coast. Matt Baker explores its secret glens and historic ruins on a quest to find out about Cornwall's ancient mythological past. James Wong meets the volunteer cliff rescuers looking after us and our best friends. Meanwhile, Julia is on a farm in East Sussex which has a holistic approach to agriculture. Tom Heap is at the other end of the country on the Orkney Islands, finding out whether tidal power could satisfy our need for new forms of renewable energy. Down on the farm, Adam has got his hands full rounding up all his lambs ready for market.