Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison are amongst the hills and valleys of Exmoor. At this time of year red deer are shedding their antlers, so Matt goes to see if he can find some.
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Exmoor National Park. A rich and diverse landscape.
Gentle hills, wooded valleys,
All straddling the counties of Devon and Somerset.
Gracing its remote moorlands, 3,000 red deer,
the largest wild herd in England.
Imagine finding these when you're out on a walk across the moor.
Well, spring is the time
that the magnificent stag starts to shed its antlers.
And I'm going to be out with an "antlerholic",
who's going to give me some top tips on finding the perfect pair.
I'll be training my gaze
on another of Exmoor's magnificent creatures - the peregrine falcon.
One man is taking falconry to a whole new level.
He's reviving this ancient and noble sport.
And just look at what he can do.
Tom's finding out about an animal that needs our help.
In Britain today, thousands of horses are being abandoned.
Others, like this one, are neglected.
But with animal charities running out of space,
who's going to look after them?
Well, maybe you could help.
And the last of the spring lambs are making an appearance
on Adam's farm.
There we go!
Obviously a little bit stuck, it's quite a big lamb!
Exmoor National Park.
267 square miles of very different landscapes,
shaped by people and nature over thousands of years.
At times, the scenery can be bleak, but it's always breathtaking.
The park sits across two counties.
Two-thirds in Somerset, and the rest in Devon.
Exmoor became a national park in 1954.
But in its dim and distant past, it was a royal forest
and a hunting ground.
Today, it's enjoyed by field sports enthusiasts, serious walkers,
and those who just wish to enjoy its beauty.
Home to the iconic Exmoor pony,
these fellas are the closest you can get to the wild horse
that once roamed Britain.
But I'm not here just to see the ponies.
I'm on the lookout for our largest wild land mammal - the red deer.
They may be large, but they can be elusive.
I'm hoping to catch a glimpse of them with Exmoor park ranger,
You look up on the side of the hill here,
you've got two lines of trees coming down.
Look to the far line and...?
-Yeah, got 'em.
-There - yes!
It seems to be a mixture of both stags and hinds at the moment.
Stags being the male deer and hinds being the female deer.
Exmoor National Park is a very diverse landscape and you've got
deep wooded coombs, you've got these expanses of open moorland.
And the deer really just adapt to wherever they are.
At this time of year, the stags shed their antlers.
With many miles of moorland,
how do you find an antler in a national park haystack?
Well, you need a man who knows his antlers from his elbows!
Terry Moule is a self-confessed "antlerholic".
He spends hours looking for a matching pair.
He's got some of his finest finds to show me.
-Terry, these are absolutely unbelievable! Aren't they?
How long have you been fascinated with antlers?
I've been collecting antlers ever since I was twelve years old.
Do you know, until you grab hold of them,
you've got no idea how heavy they are.
-I mean, that is some weight to have up on your head!
-Yes, it is.
So what's the story behind these, then?
Well, this stag is well known in the valley.
-This one actually shed its antlers on about the 14th of March.
And by August, he'll have a full set. Yeah.
-All the velvet will be starting rubbing off then.
-All ready for the rut.
-So, are you following them?
-Waiting for them to...?
-Yeah, I study them a lot.
Just imagine when it's on a stag like that.
-One comes off, so what he's doing, he's, oooh, he's like this.
So he isn't going to stay like that all day.
So either he goes down to his ground, he'll go in like that.
And off it comes.
And they drop off as simple as that?
And you might find them just like that.
How does it feel, Terry,
when you see a pair of antlers like that on the ground?
I mean, I've been collecting antlers all my life,
but when I first found my antler, oh, my heart was beating!
-Oh, you can't imagine what excitement it is.
If you're not keeping them in the car, Terry,
where do you keep all of these antlers, then?
I started off by filling my front room up, just a few to start with.
Then it got filled more.
Then we couldn't have no visitors,
because we couldn't open the sitting room door!
So it took me two days to put them all up the stairs and in my bedroom.
-And there they are today!
-How many antlers are in the room, then?!
The last time I counted, I had 600 pairs.
And probably about between 400 odd ones.
What's going on in the back seat here?
You'll have a job getting that out.
There must be a way of getting these out! Is there a special technique?!
Let me do it. You've got to push that one there.
And you try, somehow, to get it out that way. That's it.
Well, somehow... It got in there! There it is.
And this is my pride and joy.
-Don't tell me you keep these in the spare bedroom?!
-These are in the lounge, are they?
-These are in my lounge.
-When I watch my television.
-Yeah, this is the aerial?
-There he is!
Terry's antlers are literally prize specimens,
picking up a winning rosette in several local shows.
Later, I'll be finding out what antlers tell us
about the health of a herd.
But first, whilst we've been down here in Exmoor,
Tom's been up in the north of England,
investigating the growing problem of abandoned horses.
It's an idyllic scene here in the rural north east of England.
Horses grazing in the sunshine on open moors and green fields.
It couldn't look more picture perfect.
But for an increasing number of horses in Britain,
this seems to be more like the reality.
Tied up in a field of pretty rank grass. And look at the hazards here.
There's a car bumper, a rusting paint can with plenty of sharp edges,
even an old handbrake.
And look at the lovely industrial backdrop!
As the recession bites, the problem grows,
with the price of hay at an all-time high and costly vet bills,
many desperate owners just can't afford to keep them.
Last year alone, Cleveland Police had 2,000 complaints about horses,
from concerns over welfare to animals running free.
PC Mike Pilbeam gets called out to new cases daily.
The area that we're coming up to now is the last known
location of where these loose horses were.
Today, he's doing a routine check
in the middle of a housing estate in Middlesbrough.
Communal land here that used to be full of terraced housing
is now full of grazing horses.
-Why are these horses here?
-It's a very good question.
We've spoken to some local residents in the area.
The majority of them have owned horses for a while,
stating that they've had them through childhood
and everything else.
Others, unfortunately, it is a status symbol
and I've got kids as young as 13 that have purchased horses.
And unfortunately, wherever there's a bit of grass,
there's a horse on it nowadays.
The horses themselves are tethered, but their foals aren't.
Word soon gets out that we're here
and the owners come to see what's going on.
-How are you doing?
-I'm fine, yourself?
So are all of these horses here yours?
Yeah. I get a million phone calls a day about these horses, yeah?
-That there is a foal. You cannot tether a foal.
Nice to meet you.
Do you mind me asking, sir, why you have these horses?
-Well, we're gypsies.
-Say it again?
-We're gypsies, we have horses.
-They pull the bow-tops.
But do you feel it's all right keeping horses on grass like this?
-Are you happy with that?
-Yeah. Unless you want to give us a field!
Isn't there a danger it'll run away?
-No, because it won't leave its mother, will it?
Do you make a bit of money out of them,
do you trade them amongst the family or whatever?
If we want to sell them, we get money out of them.
-But we don't want to sell them.
-How much do you get for a foal?
That's our business, isn't it?!
It's thought this man has a number of horses in the area,
some kept in fields,
but many in similar conditions to what we see here.
Fly-grazing on council land. Essentially, eating for free.
He said he was a gypsy,
but is this exclusively an issue with gypsies and travellers around here?
No. We've got house owners that are keeping horses in gardens,
stabling them in small garden sheds and it's just not practical.
The situation on this estate is pretty extraordinary.
Within a mile and a half radius, there are around 250 horses,
many without adequate food or shelter.
So why are we finding so many animals in such poor circumstances?
Well, one of the reasons is that horses are so cheap now.
You can buy them for under a fiver.
In effect, that's ponies for pocket money prices.
At this auction, horses can go for a few pounds. That's if they sell.
100. 50 to start me.
Auctioneer Alistair Brown has noticed a dramatic fall
in the value of horses.
We had three that came in the ring and we had to sell
the three together, and they made £10 for the three.
£20, anybody at 20? Somebody bid me 10.
'Horses and ponies are making pittance.'
These are going to various places, but there are getting
fewer and fewer homes for these ponies to go to.
There's obviously others dispatched in various other ways.
One for the showroom here. 100.
For some, the horses are not even worth the petrol it costs
to take them to the auction.
As the problem escalates, animal charities are struggling to keep up.
The RSPCA is facing a national crisis, with around 600 horses
in their care at the moment, twice as many as they had last year.
Chanel, here, was found with this terrible skin condition,
but that's not the worst of it.
She was so thin, she had to be hoisted up
and still, her backend is really bony, you poor thing.
And Chanel is just one of the many horses taken in on a daily basis.
The RSPCA are working to rescue others.
Today, they're at a raid in Kent,
working with other welfare agencies, the police and local vets
who've discovered 30 horses grazing illegally on private land.
Inspections show many are in a bad way.
Nearly every horse in this field is underweight.
We'll be taking quite a few, because a lot of them
are really quite skinny, and have other issues -
nasal discharges and diarrhoea and bits and bobs going on.
The horses showing signs of neglect are taken for treatment,
but at a cost of around £5,000 to rehabilitate each one,
animal charities are facing a huge financial problem.
So what happens to those that aren't lucky enough to be rescued?
Undoubtedly, there is the prospect that horses are put to sleep
because people can't cope, and as sad as that is,
it's a truism that a horse cannot suffer if it's dead.
Therefore, there are people who are making the decision to have their
horses put to sleep, rather than abandon them to an uncertain future.
Although putting them to sleep sounds very harsh,
what things have you seen
that some of the severely neglected horses are going through?
A horse that is neglected usually suffers at this time of year.
They've been starving all through the winter, they are skin and bone.
When we're tucked up in bed with a duvet,
they're out there shivering their socks off.
They're usually very ill, they often have infectious diseases,
worms eating away at them.
It is a picture of suffering which you cannot imagine,
unless you've been through it yourself.
The prospects for those animals are much worse to be neglected,
than they are to be put down.
In extreme cases, the outcomes are bleak.
It's hard to quantify the national situation,
but it's thought that at least 3,500 horses are left chained or tied up
without shelter at any one time.
The soaring number of abandoned and neglected horses
are stretching the charities to breaking point,
but far from throwing in the towel, they've come up with a plan,
and it needs your help.
I'll be finding out more about it later.
The wilds of Exmoor.
A place of bleak beauty
and one where natural resources have been exploited
and enjoyed for generations, as Ellie's been discovering.
-Do you mind if I pick a few bits and pieces?
-Yeah, that's fine.
I've come to a local herb farm, to gather some ingredients.
'The natural environment here is providing the materials
'for a cottage industry, making something you'd least expect.'
This borage is in flower now.
A bit of rosemary. That should liven things up.
Check out the haul I've got. Not bad, eh?
Believe it or not,
I'm going to turn these herbs into something we use everyday -
But this is no ordinary paper you'd write your shopping list on.
At this old wood mill,
Neil Hopkins makes top-quality paper using strictly traditional methods.
-Neil, how are you doing?
-I've brought the ingredients.
-I heard you were bringing something.
Can you really turn that into paper?
We certainly can. Very lovely smelling herbs.
I've also got this, but I'm very unsure about this - a pair of jeans.
This is actually a very good ingredient to put into paper.
It will make a lovely sheet of blue watercolour paper
that a watercolourist would be so happy to work on.
First, we pick the florets and pretty leaves from the herbs.
Then, in a matter of seconds,
these unloved denims have been torn and cut into pieces.
There goes my pair of jeans.
The jeans are shredded in the rag breaker
and turned into a jean soup,
which is added to a mix of cotton, linen and water.
Whoa. A grey, mushy pulp.
The next job is the hard work, which you ought to do.
-We've got to mix it around.
-With this oar?
-Yes, just an old canoe paddle.
-The paper we're going to produce,
how does that differ from the paper that most people ordinarily use?
We make a lot of papers for artists, and if they're selling paintings -
and some of them do sell paintings that are very valuable - over time,
if you make them on wood pulp, they will actually self-destruct.
We make a paper that is archival, and it will last 2,000 years.
Oh, OK. What's next?
Next is...those lovely flowers and herbs you got this morning.
-What do we do with these?
-Sprinkle a few over the top,
where we're going to make the sheet in a moment.
This is kind of artistic merit in the paper,
it doesn't change the construction of the paper particularly?
No, it doesn't. It could have an interesting effect
that some painter might want to work upon.
-Have I put too many in?
-That's about right, I think.
-It's quite a few.
-That'll be fine.
The next thing is making the paper, and to make the paper
you need a papermaking mould. It's just a mesh, it's a sieve.
Dip it underneath those flowers, and just bring it up in a smooth action.
That's it. Get it straight and bring it up.
-It's pretty heavy, isn't it?
-It's heavier than you think.
And then we need to move over here, because this table is a vacuum table,
and it will suck the water out of there.
Feels like a magic moment.
-There it is.
-Oh, that's lovely. Look at that.
-Put that to one side.
-It's really rather attractive already.
This is the last commercial hand paper mill in the country,
so Neil's keeping a tradition alive.
The paper is still too damp to handle,
so most of the remaining water is pressed out of it.
I'm looking forward to seeing this. The moment of truth.
-Lift the blanket.
Oh, wow, that's lovely, isn't it? Gosh, how pretty.
Can you touch it yet?
You can, and I think if you flip that sheet over,
I think you'll get a nice surprise when you see the other side.
Oh, yeah, isn't that pretty, with all the flowers coming through?
Ah, that's delightful.
Artist Jenny Hale has been using Neil's paper for many years.
-Mind if I join you?
-Yeah, do. Have a seat.
-What are you painting?
What a good spot for it, too.
It's fantastic, isn't it? Beautiful with the stream beside it.
That's Neil's paper.
What about Neil's paper, how is that for you as an artist?
It really makes the colours stand out.
The way he makes it makes the colours really sparkle.
-It's beautiful paper to work on.
-These pictures are gorgeous.
-I'm no artist, so I'm going to have a go at origami.
-I used to do that as a kid.
-Do you want a bit of my paper?
Yeah, if that's all right.
It will be a bit rustic, because it's quite thick, but...
I'm no master of it, I'll say that, but let's see what I can produce.
-You're nearly there, Jenny, that looks amazing.
-Oh, thank you.
I'm on the final stages of my origami.
Ta-da, it's a pot.
-Oh, it's lovely.
-It's all yours.
-It's really lovely, I love it.
-It's got a lovely bottom.
-You're welcome to it.
-It's beautiful, thank you.
Just across the border in Cornwall, Jules is on the coast in search of
an animal that lurks beneath the waves in the hundreds of thousands.
Now, it used to be a staple food in this part of the world,
but for decades, it was largely absent from the great British menu -
until recently, when it's made a striking comeback.
And this is it, the Cornish sardine. Or pilchard.
This silvery little fish has attracted a newcomer to this
part of the coast, a chef, but his story begins halfway round the world.
Sanjay Kumar grew up in Bengal, where he first began cooking.
He's followed his taste buds ever since,
until he made roots here in Cornwall.
What was it about cooking that got you started?
To be honest, my father is a really, really bad cook,
and that kind of showed to me and my brother, who is also a chef,
that if we don't pick up this skill for life now,
we'll die hungry of starvation!
And both of us are chefs in our lives, so that proves it all.
-You started in Bengal?
-Yes, it's a long journey,
but it all relates to fish.
Bengalis are called fish and rice people.
Look at this beautiful sardine here.
This is an amazing fish, easy to cook
-and really delicious.
-Well, I have a slight confession to make.
There are two types of people in this world -
there are those who love fish in all its forms
and there are those who don't. Guess which camp I'm in.
I was half expecting this was going to happen, but trust me,
I'm going to try my level best.
-Right, mate. This could be a turning point.
-Don't let me down.
To make the sardines easier for me to swallow,
Sanjay is going to spice things up a bit.
Basically, taking some Cornish sardines
and then dusting it with some garam masala spice.
Garam in India means hot, and it kind of gives you
that warmth inside which keeps you going through the winter days.
Sanjay's serving me the sardines in a wrap,
with a rhubarb and tomato chutney.
One of my big problems is the smell of fish,
but actually this, to be fair, doesn't smell fishy at all.
How fresh and local can it get than this?
Just roll it nicely, like a cigar.
We give a cheer to Cornwall, to fish, tin and copper.
To fish, tin and copper, and my very first sardine.
And first bite. What do you think?
That's actually really nice.
What have I been missing out on?
I've got an idea of how to say thanks to the chef.
Later, I'll be taking him on a little adventure.
But first, I'm intrigued to discover
how the pilchard came to be known as the Cornish sardine.
Records of a pilchard fishery here go back to 1555.
Exporting to the continent, catches steadily grew.
16,000 tonnes were hauled in 1871 alone, before the industry crashed.
Bigger boats meant that a far greater variety of fish could be caught
further out to sea.
The poor old pilchard was largely forgotten, until one man had an idea.
It used to be known as a pilchard.
The image of pilchard is tins, tomato sauce.
The image of a sardine is sunshine, barbecues, etc.
It was changing the name to Cornish sardines
that changed the perception of what it was.
How are we doing in terms of this revival? In terms of tonnage?
In 1998, the landings were about seven tonnes a year coming in here.
The landings are now 2,200 tonnes.
We've done the research with the Marine Stewardship Council
to find out what the size of the stock is.
You're talking 600,000 tonnes.
What we're taking is very sustainable
and we've got a lot of room to grow yet.
Skipper Stefan Glinsky is on the trail of the Cornish sardine,
and this evening, I've arranged for Sanjay and I to join him.
How did you do that? How did you manage to rustle up such a boat?
A little bit of a treat.
We head off into the fading sun -
the perfect time of day for catching sardines.
-Sanjay, the sardine spotter.
-Seen any yet?
There's something happening here.
Suddenly, the skipper gives the order.
-Can you turn the light off?
-Turn it off.
And the net is set in darkness.
At the moment of fishing, we had to turn all of our camera lights off,
so we couldn't really show you what was happening.
The light would have frightened the fish away,
but now they're in the net.
I must be honest, I have never seen anything
quite as dramatic in terms of fishing as this before.
As it comes up, it reveals the world to us,
a different world which we don't know what's inside the sea.
But tonight, the sea isn't full of sardines.
What have we caught, Stefan?
Sprats. Whitebait, small ones.
-No sardines, but I guess that's the luck of fishing, is it?
Fortunately, Sanjay has a recipe that will work with whitebait, too -
The acid in the lime juice cooks the flesh,
while coriander and chilli add bite.
Think of all the beautiful things in life
and just pop it in your mouth. That's it.
Think of job satisfaction, think of world peace.
Do you know what, mate, I have to say, I never thought I'd do that.
Well done, Sanjay. We've had a good night's fishing, haven't we?
Here we are, back in port. Well done.
This was really good fun.
I'm also in the south-west, exploring Exmoor.
The National Park has around 3,000 wild red deer.
At this time of year, the stags are shedding their antlers,
but what do they tell us about the animal that produced them?
Well, that's where Charles Harding comes in.
He's a deerstalker and warden for the National Trust.
I'm sure it will come as a major surprise to many people
that this is just the growth of what, a few months?
That's right, three months.
These points, do they give an indication of age?
Yes, that antler there now is a mature stag
and he's got what we call brow, bay, tray and then two atop.
But the bigger stags, they have more points on the top.
Anything from this up is a mature stag.
And the velvet, then, give us an idea of the purpose of the velvet.
When the new antler is growing, that velvet is protecting
lots and lots of little blood vessels
that are all going up the new antler as it's growing.
It's growing at such a pace that it can be two inches a week
to start with, until it really gets going, and all that blood
is pushing up nutrients and calcium, to make that antler.
And how do the antlers of the red deer down here in the south
-compare to the rest of Britain?
I'll just show you, this is a combination here.
-Look at the size of them.
-This is one of our red deer stags here.
And then this, this stag here is the same age as that one there,
but this one was from the Highlands of Scotland.
-Wow. Is that purely food, then?
A little bit of breeding, but if you were to catch this stag up,
bring him down here, he would produce a head like that.
-And that's purely just down to the grazing?
Just a good food supply.
Talking of diets,
later on I'm going to be on a farm that is rearing red deer for venison
and finding out why it's making its way back onto dinner plates.
First, here's what else is coming up on tonight's programme.
It's Adam to the rescue, down on the farm.
All I need to do is twist its head down one way
and down the other, and then it'll slip out.
That's it. Freedom!
And for farmers and everyone else
we'll have the Countryfile weather for the week ahead.
It's one of the delights of the countryside,
seeing healthy horses happily grazing in lush, rolling pasture.
But, as we heard earlier, the UK is witnessing an escalating crisis.
We've got far more horses and ponies than we have homes for.
Many horses are abandoned as owners are unwilling or unable
to find enough money to give them a decent life,
or even to find the hundreds of pounds it costs
to have them destroyed by a vet.
To try to curb their problems,
Cleveland Constabulary and the British Horse Society
have set up a field hospital with a difference.
I'm back on that estate where we saw those sorry looking horses earlier,
but here they're really trying to get to grips with the problem.
I've never seen anything like this before,
because this is the first mobile clinic in the middle of the city,
where they're trying to tackle the problem of overpopulation in horses.
What we have here is a sort of MOT centre.
Not only are they giving advice and medical treatment,
they're tagging the horses and taking some rather
painful-looking measures to deal with the problem of overpopulation.
Chipping and snipping, if you like.
Officer Mike Pilbeam, who I met earlier,
was instrumental in setting this up.
Predominantly we're castrating the horses.
We've also micro-chipped them as well.
The purpose of the micro-chipping
is so we're able to identify the horses,
and the castration is for the purposes of trying
to keep the horse numbers down in the future.
So, do you think this is a critical stage
in controlling the number of horses around here?
I believe so. I mean, we'll have to repeat this again,
but hopefully it'll help try and curb
the horse numbers we have in the area.
But what about the abandoned and neglected horses
the RSPCA simply has to take into its care?
I've already heard that welfare charities are being pushed to
the limit by the huge number of animals they're having to home.
What they need now is a bit of help to look after them,
so they're launching a fresh campaign,
appealing for foster homes for horses.
'Like this little chap, whose name is Elf.'
Little Elf is a yearling and he's ready to go to our new foster home.
Well, let's get him on as we talk about it.
So, tell me why this fostering scheme is so important to you.
Well, because we have so many youngsters at the moment
in RSPCA care, we need to find people that are prepared
to take them on from as young as six months
up to about three or four years old to give them a fresh start in life,
to give them plenty of handling, because we just haven't got
the space to keep them until they're that age.
It's in that critical period before they're really desirable
-as riding ponies, is that the point?
Elf has been nursed back to health here by the RSPCA,
but youngsters like him can't be ridden whilst they're still growing,
so it's tricky to find them homes.
Foster mum Nicola, here, is taking him on
as a mate for her Cob, Roly.
By giving Elf a home, it lessens the burden on the RSPCA,
meaning they can dedicate their time
to giving specialist care to new arrivals.
Look at you. There's a good lad.
-There you go, Nicola, a new acquisition.
-Yes, a new one.
-What do you reckon?
Yeah, a sweetie, aren't you?
So, why are you so keen on the fostering scheme?
Well, the best thing about it is it's company for my old horse.
It's nice for me not to have to commit to another horse
for another 30 years - this way we can help a little one on its way.
Horses like to be together, not on their own?
No, it's not fair to leave them on their own,
they're herd animals, so they enjoy the company of other horses.
It's all right, Elf,
you've got a nice new field waiting for you here.
A new home and a new friend.
So, Nicola, how does the precise choreography of this work?
First stage is to put him into his new paddock,
let him get used to that for 10 minutes,
probably have a run around and explore.
Then we'll get my cob and pop him into this paddock
so they can have a fence between them,
just make sure they get on OK.
Just like us going out on an evening,
you like to say hello first before...
Good lad, there we go. Good boy.
Come on. There we are.
'For Elf, it's a new beginning in safe surroundings.'
He'll hang out with his new mate, Roly,
for the next couple of years until he's old enough to be ridden.
Hopefully then the RSPCA will be able to find him a home for life.
Elf and his new friend, Roly, seem pretty happy dining together,
so happy endings are available
in this overall story of neglected horses.
And if you want to help out with fostering a horse,
there are full details on our website.
It's a tense day down on the farm as, once again,
Adam's cattle are being tested for TB.
But first, he's got to deal with a lamb
that's got herself into a tight spot.
This isn't really what I was expecting.
Dolly, who's a gun dog, but also a family pet,
is stalking in on a lamb, there.
She's actually gone on point and she spotted it before I did.
It looks like a little lamb that's got its head stuck in a fence.
Well done, Dolly.
It's a Norfolk Horn, and they grow these little horns,
and it's just big enough at the moment to work like a fishhook.
It's pushed through the square of the netting
and now it can't get itself back out.
So, what I need to do is twist its head down one way,
and down other and then it'll slip out.
That's it. Freedom!
'It's important to check over the flock every day.
'Two weeks ago, I spotted a lame lamb that had an infected foot.'
-Quite sore, isn't it?
'We treated the foot and injected her with antibiotics.'
And now that little Cotswold lamb is doing really well.
It's running around and it's not lame at all.
And if we hadn't treated it, it would have been lame for some time,
so it's quite a success story, really.
There's lots to do, better get on.
We're right at the end of lambing, now,
we've only got two or three left to lamb,
and this ewe has given birth to triplets, three lovely little lambs.
It's the first time she's given birth,
and she's a good mum, she's licking them dry,
but they're screaming a bit - they're obviously quite hungry.
So, what I'm going to do is just tip her up and suckle them on,
so they get a belly full of colostrum,
the first milk she produces, it's very important they get that.
So, there's the colostrum.
There, he's suckling away.
There's a ewe over there that's making quite a din.
She's obviously in the middle of giving birth,
so I think this one's all right now.
I'd better go and check her out.
There you go, missus.
She's making a lot of noise, this ewe, which is quite unusual.
They usually lamb in quiet.
There it is.
There we go.
Obviously a little bit stuck, it's quite a big lamb.
Just get it breathing.
One little trick is to get a stiff piece of straw
and just tickle the lamb's nose
and then it makes it sneeze like that.
And in sneezing it goes, "Achoo!" and it has a big intake of breath
that fills its lungs, and then they start to work.
Now it's head is up and it's breathing.
Good little mum, aren't you? We'll leave her to it.
'While, my sheep seem to be in good health.
'It's a big day on the farm for my cattle -
'it's the first stage of our TB test.'
The vet clips the hair on the animal's neck
and then gives it an inoculum of bovine and avian TB,
and then he'll come back in three days' time and measure the skin,
and if there is a swelling
he'll be able to determine whether that's a TB reactor or not.
And we've had a lot of trouble with TB over the last few years.
'Last autumn, yet again we went down with TB.'
It's an absolute travesty, complete disaster.
'Two of my precious White Parks had to be slaughtered.
'We passed a test 60 days ago, and if we pass this one
'we're in the clear, so I'm really hoping for some good news.'
Usually, at this time of year,
when the cattle have been indoors over the winter,
they generally come out clear, so I've got my fingers crossed,
I'm touching a lot of wood, hoping that this one will be a clear test.
'Next up are my White Parks.'
'And finally it's my Highlands' turn,
'and with Eric the bull's new offspring we're taking extra care.'
Through the gate, go on.
Go on, take your babies, go on.
Hup, hup, hup!
Have to be quite careful with the little calves,
so I've left them out of this pen for now so they don't get squashed.
But the poor things have been soggy from the day they were born,
I don't think they've seen any sunshine yet.
'The Highlands are such good mothers they hate
'being separated from their young.'
They have a very thick skin, these Highlands, very tough,
and this is the last of Eric's wives to give birth,
and she's only a few days off calving.
What she ought to be doing is lying in a field relaxing,
taking it easy, and not being stressed at all.
So, putting her through this handling system is the very last thing
I should be doing as a cattle owner, but we have to do it, it's the law.
'And I've got an anxious wait before the results of the testing
'in a few days' time.
'Around 26,000 cattle were slaughtered
'to TB in England just last year alone.
'So, it is important that us farmers support one another.'
I'm heading to a farm in South Wales,
where the farmer has Longhorn cattle, which are wonderful,
old, traditional British breed, and in his latest TB test,
17 of his cattle have reacted positive,
which means they have to go for slaughter.
Dai Bevan has been farming Longhorn cattle for 26 years,
and they're his passion.
He's built his herd up to become a prize-winning one.
This year, everything that's in the shed here is going.
As a breed, I'm sure you remember in the '70s, '80s,
you couldn't get cattle like this.
You know, they were scraggy old things,
and the Longhorns improved so much over the last 20 years.
I love feeding.
My greatest pleasure is to go up and down the shed
with a bucket throwing cake at things.
And when something comes to the barrier to eat, that is the most...
Well, look at them, they're a wonderful breed,
and I will, I will miss them.
I feel as if part of me has died, because, um...
When you've had stock, um...
Until you know what stock is...
You know, there's a cow there, she's on the point of calving,
and I hope that she calves before she's shot.
She's not going today, but she's inconclusive.
But I'm hoping that she will calve, because, you know,
she is on the point of calving.
I don't know whether I'm in shock
or it's just anger that's keeping me going,
but until I come into this shed and there's nothing here,
I don't think it's going to fully hit me.
It sounds like they might be here, so, I mean,
I think it's something I don't want to see,
but I'll leave you to it, and best of luck.
As a farmer, I'm used to life and death on the farm,
but I really don't want to see this.
The slaughtermen are here now, and Dai wants to lead the cattle
out of the shed on a halter, because they know him
and they trust him, and then the slaughtermen will do their work.
And Dai has spent so much time over the last 30 years building up
a wonderful herd of Longhorns, and they mean so much to him.
It really sends a shiver down my spine.
Later that night, Dai's inconclusive pregnant cow did calve,
and I really hope she survives
to give Dai the chance to rebuild his herd.
But, thankfully, for me it was great news.
My herd passed their TB test, so, for now, life's back to normal.
Next week, I'm off to buy a Gloucester Old Spot sow
and her piglets as a new addition to the farm.
'I've been up on the heath and moorland of Exmoor
'searching for Britain's largest land mammal - the red deer.
'Earlier, I was lucky to see some and, as it's late spring,
'the stags are shedding their antlers.'
Throughout history, deer have been a good resource.
Their skins for clothes and textiles,
their bones and antlers for making tools,
and, of course, their meat for food.
'It was the meat of choice for the nobility in medieval times.
'Nowadays, it's more readily available
'for the likes of you and me.
'Helping to put venison on our plate is red deer farmer Peter Herman.'
How many have you got now, then, in the herd?
About 140, altogether.
And why did you start with deer farming?
Because you were actually born on this farm.
I was born on this farm. I milked cows for 30 years.
I got worn out and the buildings were worn out,
and I'd always had a passion for wildlife,
which included deer, and my wife said, "What do you fancy doing?"
I said, "Well, deer farming,"
so we went and looked at a local deer farm.
Of course, that was it, once I saw the deer,
the interaction between them and their owners, it's great.
I notice, obviously, you've got quite high fencing.
Yeah, six-foot fence, yeah.
They don't tend to go over a fence,
but they would find a hole.
Do you find that the wild ones around here are quite inquisitive?
Yes, they are. We do get visitors,
usually in October when the rut is on.
It's a fantastic meat, it really is.
Compared with other meats, it comes up trumps on calories,
fat, iron and protein.
Peter supplies his meat locally.
One of his customers is a pub just a few miles from his farm.
Owner and chef Joanna Oldman is preparing
a mouth-watering venison steak.
It's pan-fried first to seal in its juices,
and then popped in the oven for about four minutes.
Is this a special occasion meat, do you find from your customers?
I think it possibly is,
and it's a shame, because it is so good, and it's so diverse.
You can do so many different things with it.
People perhaps just don't know enough about it,
or maybe they're slightly afraid of it.
I mean, today, for instance, we've made a venison cottage pie.
We've made venison bourguignon.
Anything that you use with beef, you can use venison.
'Time's up! The steak's done.'
A very important thing when cooking any piece of meat
is to rest it as long as you possibly can.
'Whilst it's resting, I'm up for tasting the bourguignon.'
-That is lovely.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
'Next, it's the cottage pie.'
Oh, that's amazing.
'And finally, I get to sample the king of cuts, the steak.'
In we go.
It's absolutely brilliant.
What a day. I've seen wild red deer out on these glorious moors,
up close on the farm,
and even tasted the meat that was once reserved for royalty.
Now, in a moment, Ellie will be trying her hand
at the medieval art of falconry from horseback.
Before that, let's see what's going to be happening
with the weather this week.
With a rich mix of moorland,
woodland, valleys and farmland,
Devon is a county where historically,
wildlife has always flourished.
In medieval times, raptors like this peregrine falcon
would have been a common sight in the British countryside.
The nobility captured birds like falcons and hawks
and trained them to hunt game birds.
These days, getting a glimpse of one of these magnificent creatures
in the wild is a rare treat.
What precious few remain risk being targeted
by those who see birds of prey as competition.
This is a picture of a rare goshawk found dead near Exeter last year.
It was deliberately poisoned along with three other goshawks,
but with only 20 breeding pairs in the whole county,
it represents a really significant loss.
'Josh Marshall is a Wildlife Crime Officer.'
'It's his job to try and catch people attacking birds of prey.'
Who are these people, then, doing all this?
With birds of prey, the national picture would suggest that,
with goshawks you've got gamekeepers
or people associated with the shooting fraternity
that may want to poison the birds.
Not saying that they all do -
-there's some really reputable shoots out there as well.
And peregrine falcons, again -
the national picture would suggest that they are targeted
primarily by pigeon fanciers,
but also falconers that are a bit unscrupulous
and want to take wild birds for their stock.
What can you do to combat the problem?
What we've done this year in response to last year is,
we've got these motion-activated covert cameras now,
which we've placed on certain nest sites within Devon,
hopefully to catch these people who are thinking about
committing these dreadful acts.
'Today at a secret location,
'Josh is checking a goshawk nest and a camera.'
Got your ladder.
Ellie, goshawks are really sensitive and prone to disturbance,
-so we need to keep that to a minimum on the visit.
So I'm going to leave you here while I go up
and service the batteries on the camera.
-OK. I'll wait for you here, then.
-See you in a bit.
We've actually had to have special permission just to get this far,
let alone going up to the nest,
so I'll leave Josh to that one.
It's a pretty cold day today,
so he's going to have to be really quick.
He's got to get in there, service the camera and back out again,
because we don't want the eggs,
or the chicks if they've hatched already,
to get cold.
I think something's wrong.
Well, unfortunately, the camera's gone.
Yeah. The good news is that the birds are still there.
The female was there when I was there,
and it doesn't appear that there's been
any attempt on the nest or anything.
Some cameras are wireless,
so they'll e-mail the images back to computers
back at the police station, so potentially we could have
the image of them taking the camera there.
So technology is actually a step ahead.
You can't just take the camera and get away with it?
-That's right. You'll get done for theft as well.
-Well, there you go.
With the help of technology and policemen like Josh,
perhaps one day rare birds of prey
can prosper just as they did centuries ago.
In medieval times, the sport of falconry was big business.
A bird of prey was a status symbol that said power and wealth.
So today, where we might have a flashy watch
or a piece of jewellery, back then, it was all about the bird.
'The wide open space of Putsborough sands'
'provides the perfect arena to meet Jonathan Marshall,'
'a falconer who's keeping the tradition alive...'
'and going one step further.'
Wow. What handsome-looking animals you have here.
-So who's this?
-Thank you very much.
This is Quinn, a little male peregrine falcon.
-He's a cracker. He's a beautiful bird.
I bred him myself. Very special.
And the hood's on just so he's not spooked?
We're just going to fly him shortly,
and so he doesn't waste all his energy, we hood him first,
and so when I do fly him, he's all revved up, ready to go.
Amazing. So you bred this one?
Yeah, I bred this one. Had him since he was an egg.
He was a very good-looking egg, but he's
even better-looking as an adult.
-And what about this horse?
-Well, this is one of my best horses.
His name's Tulio, and he's a Lusitano.
He's an ex-bullfighting horse from Portugal.
So falconry is a sport, but how come you've brought horses into that?
Well, originally, falconry was practised from horseback,
because, of course, in years gone by,
they didn't have Land Rovers, so they needed
to get from A to B somehow,
and horses at that time were very much part of everyday life.
And this particular breed of horse -
in fact, all of the Spanish horses -
were exceptionally good for falconry,
because they're quick on their feet, very agile and very manoeuvrable.
These horses were about the best and still are.
I'm looking forward to this, Jonathan.
-I'll go over there and see you in action.
What incredibly neat, tight riding.
'Jonathan swings the lure above his head
'to tempt the falcon into diving for a catch.'
The speed of that peregrine!
It flew right through the horse's legs.
Oh, through the legs again. That's amazing.
'Seeing horse and bird move
'so gracefully under Jonathan's direction is like
'watching a carefully choreographed ballet.'
It's a beautiful scene.
'Finally, Jonathan lets the falcon take the lure.'
I have never seen horsemanship like it. That was amazing.
Jonathan, how would you even begin to start training to do this?
Well, rather than explain it, why don't I just show you?
-Yes, good thinking.
-You have a go.
-Get a glove.
-There you go.
'Jonathan brings out his second bird, the Harris hawk.'
Oh, here we go.
What a beautiful animal.
One, two, three...
But I must admit, I'm a little bit nervous
about doing this on horseback.
-There you go.
-Thank you very much.
Stick that one on there.
Raise your hand up nice and high.
Here we go.
Your best falconer's whistle.
Oh, wow. That was awesome.
Jonathan, what an experience.
-Thank you so much.
Well, that's it from Exmoor this week.
Next week we'll be in Dumfries - oh!
In Dumfries and Galloway, where we'll be revealing
the amount raised with your help
from the sale of the Countryfile calendar for 2012.
And we'll be launching this year's photographic competition.
See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison are amongst the rolling hills and wooded valleys of Exmoor. At this time of year red deer are shedding their antlers, so Matt goes to see if he can find some, while Ellie gets to try her hand at falconry with a Harris Hawk.
Tom Heap is in the north of England investigating the growing problem of abandoned and neglected horses. Meanwhile, Adam Henson goes to meet a farmer who is losing half his Longhorn cattle to TB.