Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison are in Derbyshire enjoying the contrasting landscapes of the Derwent Valley. Matt goes mountain biking in the hills, while Ellie follows the river.
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The Derwent Valley, a place of contrasts.
To the north, it cuts its way through high gritstone moorland,
quiet forests and the grand reservoirs of the Peak District.
To the south, flood meadows, pastures and a lost industry
dominate the Derbyshire landscape.
I'm using pedal power to explore the Upper Derwent Valley.
This whole area may look untouched,
but the whole landscape has changed over time,
with one thing in mind - getting as much water as possible
from here to the surrounding towns and villages.
I'm 20 miles south of Matt in the Lower Derwent Valley.
Here, the river flows past the hedges and fields of rolling rich farmland.
This is where the water picks up speed,
and it was by harnessing that energy
200 years ago that this 15-mile stretch of river became
an important part of the Industrial Revolution.
Now, the mills stand silent, except this one,
which doesn't produce cotton, but electricity.
And from water, water, everywhere, to none at all.
I'll be looking into the curious case of a river that simply disappears into thin air.
Tom is talking about disappearing profits.
Despite rising meat prices around the world,
British pig farmers are still losing an average of £7
on every animal they sell.
So, what can be done to turn round the fortunes
of the British pig industry. I'll be investigating.
And Adam's finding out how to make money from his own rare breed pigs.
Amazing! Absolutely fantastic.
Look at that.
With its rivers and woodlands,
the Derwent Valley is a haven for walkers, wildlife and, well, water.
The upper part of the valley is famed for its impressive waters,
which flow down to the industrial cotton mills of the Lower Derwent
that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution.
Whilst Ellie's exploring the Lower Derwent,
I'm on my bike to explore the upper part of the valley.
On my travels, I'll be taking in its three impressive reservoirs -
the Howden, Derwent and Ladybower -
that provide water to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leicester.
Between them, the reservoirs have a combined capacity
of just under 465 million litres of water.
That's a lot of cups of tea.
The Howden and Derwent dams were constructed between 1901 and 1916.
Just over a million tonnes of stone was brought in by railway
to build what were at the time the two largest masonry dams in the country.
Remnants of the old railway track can still be seen today.
But lying just down here is the abandoned site
of one of the strangest towns in the Peak District.
Strange because it was purely nomadic,
built for the workers on the dam and packed up
and shipped on to another project once building work was done.
Looks like the Edwardians were down with the flatpack concept
way before the Swedes.
Officially known as Birchinlee, it earned itself the nickname Tin Town,
thanks to its corrugated iron huts.
The town was laid out over two roads that you can still make out today.
They were lined with everything, from a grocer's to a tailor's.
I'm meeting ranger Dave Ashton to find out more about this unusual town.
So, Dave, we're standing in what would have been the high street of Tin Town.
-That's right, this is it.
-How many folk would have been here in its heyday?
In its peak, 1908, about a thousand.
These are a bunch of guys who in the past had been working on sites
like dams, railways and so on, as navvies.
They'd not been well looked after by their employers. They'd been living in pipes,
huts, caves, anything they could find.
Of course, with that came a death rate, illness and so on.
So when they were given permission to build these dams,
the Derwent Valley Water Board were told they had to provide suitable accommodation for their workforce.
And the engineers designed and built Birchinlee.
Sounds like a children's programme, Tin Town, but it was called that because of the little huts.
They were all made of corrugated iron, that wrinkly tin.
But each one was lined with wood and had a Derbyshire grate.
If you went in, you'd think you were in an Edwardian living room
in any suburb in Sheffield. They made them really cosy.
The folk of Tin Town had their own hospitals, school, an all-important pub
and a recreation room that doubled up as a dance hall. They had their own little Strictly.
How long were they here for?
Did they get to see this place filling up with water?
Some would have done. The first dam to finish was Howden,
that was finished in 1912.
But by the time Derwent was finished in 1916,
the Great War was on and it became a low-key thing.
A big gala opening of one, but things were happening that dwarfed
what was happening here, so it was a subdued opening for Derwent.
But it's not just their pioneering working conditions
that the reservoirs are known for.
During the Second World War, they were used for much more than storing water.
If I'd been here 70 years ago,
there would have been a Lancaster bomber so low over my head
the wind from its propeller would have parted my hair.
That's because the landscape provided
the perfect training ground for the legendary Dambusters.
The reservoirs and surrounding hills enabled pilots
to practise their dangerous low-level flying skills
in preparation for dropping the famous bouncing bomb.
Hardly surprising then, that the Dambusters film
was also shot on location here in 1954.
It's clear that man has influenced the landscape here,
and at the heart of everything is the water.
But to me, it still feels like being out in the wilderness.
But the water harnessed here in the Derwent Valley wasn't just
to keep Sheffield and the East Midlands in cups of tea.
It was also used to power the industrial textile mills
that this region is now famed for.
Just over 200 years ago, mills like this began to harness
the fast-flowing water of the Derwent to power cotton-producing factories.
It was to give birth to a whole new way of working
and revolutionise the world.
It was local entrepreneur Richard Arkwright who made the breakthrough.
He developed the water frame,
a cotton-spinning machine powered by water, much like this one.
It replaced the hand of man with mechanical operation, and for the first time,
power was linked to large-scale mechanisation.
-How important were Arkwright's innovations?
This is how the Industrial Revolution started.
Arkwright invented mass production, if you like.
He completely changed the way people's lives worked.
We could produce so many goods that we could provide the world with a huge amount of spun cotton.
What was it about this part of the world that led to this kind of innovation?
The amount of water pouring off the Peak District.
So much of the water comes down through the Derwent
and they were able to harness that.
At Belper, you had 14 water wheels all working on the same site.
But eventually it moved away from this area. What happened?
They found that Lancashire had a better climate
because it's damper, so the cotton spins better.
But all the cotton was pouring into Liverpool,
so there was no point bringing it across the Pennines down in to Derbyshire.
Although the boom here was short-lived,
it transformed this valley for ever.
The banks of the River Derwent are peppered with the imposing shadows of its industrial past,
a reminder of the important role these mills played here
in the history of this valley.
Ten years ago, they received World Heritage status,
and although they hark back to former glories,
there's now an interesting link here with a modern form of water power.
Here at Masson, Arkwright's biggest cotton mill,
the old water wheels were replaced with turbines 80 years ago.
Now, these have been converted to power the site with hydro-electricity.
Some, like the countryside charity Friends of the Peak District, believe
hydro could be a viable option at smaller sites across the region.
We spent about three years
looking at about 150 sites,
mostly old mill sites in the park,
and found that about half had a reasonable potential for new hydro power.
Critics have argued that hydro can be damaging to a river's ecology.
A turbine, if not properly controlled,
could actually just be a fish mincing machine.
But there are lots of things you can do to stop the fish
going down there.
You can put screens there, so they're not diverted into there.
We are, as they say, reinventing the wheel to some extent.
But it just seems to be perfect.
It's right for the National Park, it's right for heritage
and done properly, right for the rivers and fish as well.
A few local hydro schemes are already in place, taking advantage not only
of the abundance of water here, but also an incentive scheme from the government
which offers cash-back for the energy you generate.
One man who has grabbed this opportunity with both hands
is retired dentist Bob Griffiths.
He's set about restoring this former corn mill and its 100-year-old turbine
to create his own mini hydro-electric plant.
-Hi, Bob, you're looking busy.
-We've been busy for two years, Ellie.
Two years, my goodness! What's been going on the last two years?
We moved in when the place was more or less derelict,
so we've been restoring it.
This is the roof. What's going on down there?
What you can see there is a big U-tube,
and attached to one end of it is the original turbine
that was put in about 100 years ago.
We took it out and restored it, so when the water comes in, it passes
through the turbine, out through the U-tube and down the river.
It's not only been quite a bit of work, but this can't have been cheap to set up.
The total cost of refurbishing everything here
to produce the hydro power has cost about £40,000.
So it's not cheap.
I'm keen to see it working. Can we have a look?
-Certainly can, yes.
ELLIE LAUGHS Oh, heavens!
First off, we have to close the sluice gates that allow the stream
to fill up and create enough water pressure for the turbine to move.
That will then turn the generator.
After which, fingers crossed, it'll be all systems go.
-Here we are, this is the control panel, where it all happens.
All we do to turn it on is press the second button.
-Would you like to press it?
-I would love to press it!
-It's that one there.
-Here we go.
You've now turned it on. If you wait a few seconds and press it twice more,
you'll see how much power you've started to produce.
-And how many...
-There we go.
-Unfortunately, it doesn't mean much to me.
What does that mean?
What that means is that it's making 14.2 kilowatts per hour,
24 hours a day, and that's enough power for about 25 houses per day.
That's amazing. You don't need that much power, so what's happening to it?
We feed all the power into the National Grid.
And for that, we receive an income from the energy company
between £25,000 and £35,000 a year.
Wow! So it'll start to pay itself back really quite quickly.
I'm hoping, fingers crossed, it will pay itself back within two years.
But we were fortunate as a lot of the infrastructure was here already.
It's making money, which is fantastic, but also there's a green element to it.
It's very good for the environment.
We save 65 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year
going into the atmosphere from this renewable energy source.
Bob has plans to reinstall a water wheel too.
So the mill can function much as it did over 100 years ago.
The restoration has also meant the water not used by the turbine
is now redirected into the once depleted River Wye.
Would you recommend, all the work you've put in, the scheme you've got, for other people?
-Do you think it's worthwhile?
-Absolutely. I would help anyone who wanted to do it.
We have lots of sites along the Wye
and the Derwent that are perfectly capable of being developed.
-Wow, there's an offer!
-I think that most people would do it
if they knew how great it was when we did it.
Well, it's certainly one retirement package with a difference.
According to the British Hydropower Association, Britain has
the potential for a further 2 gigawatts of untapped hydro capacity -
enough to power 2 million homes.
So it's possible that here in Derbyshire in particular,
there could be a vibrant future along with a water-powered past.
Now, whilst sheep and cattle farmers
are making the most of rising meat prices,
Britain's pig farmers are still struggling.
Tom's been to find out why.
Over the last few months, we've been reporting on a new lease of life
for sheep and cattle farmers because of the global demand for meat.
But there's one animal that's still not making money.
All is not equal in the British farmyard. The farmers of cows and sheep
are finding they can get a good price at market,
but pig farmers are discovering that on average,
they're losing £7 per carcass.
So why is that?
I'm on a quest to find out why, in the last five years,
it's estimated the industry has lost over 600 commercial pig farmers.
And if things don't change, there may be many more to follow.
Here in Worcestershire, as in most counties across Britain,
the swine herd is in decline.
Last year, there were just over 14,000 pigs in the county,
but that was down nearly 50 per cent on the previous year.
'Liz and Tony May have been pig farmers here for nine years.
'But in the last 12 months they've almost reached breaking point.'
How bad did it get over the last year for you both?
Er, well, we got to a point at the beginning of the year,
we had to cut back on the amount of sows that we kept,
just to try and keep the cashflow going in the right direction.
Er, and then, you know, it got to a point in June
where we were close to going bust, to be honest.
The price of wheat has gone up so much in the last couple of years,
I think it's nearly doubled, and that's brought
the overall cost of feed up.
And also, we found that during the same time,
the prices the butchers are paying haven't gone up at all.
So we're looking at now, if you're finishing pigs on a commercial level,
we're looking at losing sort of £20 to £30 per pig.
-Per pig, you'd lose £20 to £30?
-We kind of got to the point
earlier on this year where were thinking
perhaps we ought to give up.
'But Tony and Liz have decided to stick with it.
'A decade ago, we saw a peak in pig prices, so what has happened?
'I asked industry expert Mick Sloyan to help shed some light
'on where things might be going wrong.'
Mick, the price for beef and lamb has been going up
for farmers in this country. How's it doing for pigs?
At the moment, it's going down.
We peaked at about the mid-150s, and in the last eight weeks
we've lost 10p, so we're down in the mid-140s at the moment.
-So that's £1.40 a kilo?
-That's right. That's what the farmer gets.
That seems pretty low.
It is, particularly when you look at the high cost of food at the moment.
But there's a global increase in the demand for pig meat,
-just like all meat, isn't there?
-Well, pig meat's the world's most popular meat.
It's about 42 per cent of all the meat eaten in the world is pig meat.
It's helped, I have to say, a lot by China.
You've got 1.3 billion people who love nothing better.
Generally, looking at the global market, that's partly what's driving
the increase in the prices of these other meats.
Why isn't it having the same effect on the pig meat here?
Well, the issue we've got is that we actually import most of our pig meat,
believe it or not. 60 per cent of everything we eat in this country
comes in from somewhere else. Mostly from the rest of Europe.
That's putting a huge pressure on our market.
Part of the reason we're importing so much pork
is that we simply don't produce as much as we used to.
8In the last decade, the British national herd has fallen
by half a million pigs,
and that's because hundreds of farmers have left the industry.
What's led to this drastic change? A big part of the problem is cost.
Though costs have risen for everyone across the livestock industry,
it's particularly tough for pig farmers,
because they have to spend so much on feed they buy in,
sometimes accounting for more than 50 per cent
of the cost of rearing a pig.
-This feed is pretty dear now, is it?
-It is currently 256 a ton.
So just as the wheat price for our bread has gone up,
the price of feed has gone up for your pigs, as well, yeah?
-Yeah. I mean, in the last year it's gone up over £100 a ton.
-That's a huge margin.
With pigs, most of what they eat comes from the bucket,
so you're always looking at buying in feed,
whereas with other animals you're looking at more grazing, I suppose.
So as the price of this stuff goes up,
you need the price of these guys to go up at market.
That would be ideal.
Unlike other animals, pigs don't naturally graze on grass,
which means farmers generally pay for most of their food.
But it's not just the price of feed that's causing problems.
To add salt to the wound, their European competitors
are somehow able to supply pork at cheaper rates.
At the present moment, we all have the same feed costs,
but we have higher costs associated with welfare production.
And that's what we're trying to see levelled up.
We did some work a year or two ago
which actually showed that two-thirds of all the pig meat that we import
would be illegal to produce here on the grounds of welfare.
This is the stall system that's banned here?
In continental Europe, once a sow gets pregnant, you can actually
put it in a small cage where it can only stand up and sit down.
-And that's it.
-Why does that enable them to produce more cheaply?
Well, because it lowers your costs.
You can get more pigs into a confined space,
you don't have to invest quite so much,
you can keep control of the animal,
you can feed it in such a way you actually get maximum productivity.
Additionally, they're not expending energy running about,
which helps keep the cost of feed down.
But there's another reason
why British pig farmers are at a disadvantage.
When it comes to exports,
the industry has had two major blows in the last ten years.
In 2001, we had a dramatic outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
most people will remember. The result of that
was that a lot of our customers outside Europe banned our product.
So we had to get back into those markets and persuade them
that in fact we were producing a safe and wholesome product.
The trouble was,
in 2007, we had another outbreak of foot-and-mouth, and that really put
that whole timetable back a good number of years.
We're nearly there with countries like China,
but we still have a little bit to go before we get there.
The fact is, if we're going to make the most
of the global demand for pork and reverse the trend for more imports,
our industry needs to become more competitive.
How do we do that? That's what I'll be trying to find out later.
I've left the reservoirs of the Upper Derwent Valley behind me
to head across the Snake Pass.
It opened as a toll road through the Pennines
between Sheffield and Glossop in 1821.
Although it does snake its way through the high peaks,
the Snake Pass actually refers
to the serpents on the Dukes of Devonshire crest,
major landowners in these parts.
Sounds a bit more exciting than the A57, doesn't it?
Earlier, I saw Tin Town, where the workers on the dam once lived.
I'm heading to the centre of the village of Bamford,
which also has a link to the reservoirs.
But this place has a much more sinister connection to the water.
When the village of Derwent was flooded to create the reservoir,
the dead from the submerged churchyard were buried here,
But getting buried in these parts has always had its difficulties.
In days gone by, mourners had to trek miles along
what was known as a corpse road to get to the nearest church.
I'm meeting heritage buff Ken Smith at Chapelgate,
an old packhorse route steeped in history.
Ken, I'd never heard of corpse roads before today,
but they're not just particular to this part of the world?
No, they're not. There are corpse roads all over the country.
Wherever there are outlying communities
that are remote from their mother church,
then there were routes from those communities to that church,
to take the dead.
There's a route from Edale, three miles, uphill,
down the other side to Castleton church - that's the mother church.
These are foot routes - I mean, those are quite steep hills.
You're not going to get a cart up there easily.
But it's not unusual for folk to get stranded in them
in the snows, you know, you could even have people die
carrying the dead to the burial place.
'Can you imagine carrying a coffin up one of those hills?
'Especially as the surface of these high peaks isn't the most stable.'
-This area here, it's really lumpy and bumpy, isn't it?
These are the landslips, it's a geological phenomenon.
If you can just see, against the crest of the hill,
just below, that slight line.
Those are the ramparts to a prehistoric hill fort,
that's Mam Tor.
And it's called the Shivering Mountain by some,
because it's made of interleaving layers of grits and shale,
which are always on the move.
'It's a challenging landscape - part of the reason why
'it's so popular for outdoor pursuits.
'But aspects of it are still very much managed.'
It's not just the paragliders flying around today.
There's a helicopter over here, what's going on?
Yes, that's to re-vegetage the bare moorlands on the top.
Because the bare moors, the carbon that's locked up in the peat
is escaping into the atmosphere,
so the whole process of re-vegetation
means that we lock in the carbon
and the only way to get the cut seedlings up on to the tops
is to use a helicopter.
-Right. Well, it beats going up those old tracks!
-It certainly does.
And the scars in the landscape are the old sledge routes,
where peat was taken from the top
to the farms at the bottom for winter fuel.
'Today, this ancient highway that cuts through the rugged landscape
'is a Mecca for mountain bikers and fell runners.
'Later, I'll be going up there
'to get down and dirty with the best of them.'
Earlier, we heard how pig farmers
are still struggling to turn a profit
despite the huge rise in the global demand for meat.
But as Tom's been finding out,
there is still hope for a brighter future for the industry.
I've discovered that unlike their colleagues in cattle or sheep,
pig farmers in Britain are finding it hard to make money.
These days, a staggering 60 per cent
of the pork in this country is imported.
That's partly because feed costs are rising so steeply,
but that should be the same for farmers across Europe,
so how come when it comes to pigs, our continental competitors
are still able to undercut us?
'They're currently saving money by working to lower welfare standards,
'but by 2013 their rules will be brought more into line with ours.'
They're suffering quite badly, as we are, in terms of poor profitability.
And if they have to make
the kind of investments we've done, I don't think they'll do it.
Certainly not all of them.
That'll mean that we'll have less production in the rest of Europe,
and hopefully, that might lead to some higher prices
for producers in this country.
'Not only will there be a fairer system across Europe,
'but it's also hoped we can put the export problems of the past behind us
'and make the most of the growing global market.'
If we can find growing markets in the rest of the world and particularly in South-East Asia,
where they're prepared to pay,
and at the moment, they pay more for pigs than we do, believe it or not,
in this country, then those are the markets we need to target.
But simply increasing exports won't solve the problems.
To really start making money, production costs need to come down.
Some believe the way to do that is to create bigger farms.
Feed is the biggest single cost in rearing pigs.
In this barn they've got about enough to feed 150 sows for a year.
We're on Needwood Farm in Staffordshire,
and Martin Barker is the managing director of the business here.
Martin, how are you managing to drive costs down a bit?
Well, because we're large and basically an integrated farmer,
-we can grow what we consume.
And that fact of being able to grow what the pigs eat,
how crucial is that?
It's very crucial, especially with the volatility in the grain market.
£100 a ton one year, £200 the next.
Our costs don't vary that much, maybe 10 per cent fuel increase.
What it costs to grow and the value of it are two different things.
Is that the only way to drive costs down?
There's lots of ways, to be honest.
'At a time when most farmers are struggling to make ends meet,
'Midland Pig Producers
'is making a substantial investment in the future.
'This farm is already pretty big, with an average of 5,000 pigs,
'but the company plans a new farm at Foston in Derbyshire,
'which could be five times bigger.'
Does a big unit enable you to do things you couldn't do
if you just had a handful of pigs?
Definitely, for example, we'll have our own feed meal on site,
and to generate the electricity, we'll do that with a generator
run on methane that's produced from the peat.
You couldn't do that without enough pigs to create the methane.
'But others believe this isn't the best way forward.
'Helen Browning is an organic pig farmer in Wiltshire.
'As far as she's concerned, bigger isn't necessarily better.'
The way we've tried to survive over the years
is not by getting bigger,
we've got a reasonable size herd of about 250 sows,
but we also grow the grain, we also keep dairy,
we also keep beef cattle.
So something works for us all the time,
we don't have all our eggs in one basket.
We've also diversified by getting involved in selling our products.
And I think that sometimes it's not just about scale,
particularly scale on concrete.
I think that could be a bit of a death knell for a lot of farmers.
One of the issues that the public often think about this
is that when it comes to livestock, that big units are bad.
Is it people like you who are spreading that idea?
I think that big units are...
You can have a large farming estate
with lots of different animals on it, and that is not bad.
What I and the Soil Association are concerned about
is having a lot of animals in one airspace, on concrete.
That's a very different thing.
Whilst the welfare that Foston's proposing may be very good,
I think when you get those size of units,
when they come under financial pressure, which they will do,
the pressure won't go away, then if they do go wrong,
from a welfare point of view,
they can go wrong in a very big way.
'But that's not the view from Midland Pig Producers.
'They feel these concerns about large farms are unfounded.'
Is being big the only way for pig farming to survive?
It's not the only way. There are small producers
supplying local butchers in the niche market, it's quite profitable.
The new farm people say we'll put small farms out of business.
It's just the opposite.
We need to get more efficient to stay in business.
Whatever the solution, the fact remains
there is a huge global demand for pork.
What our farmers need to do is find ways
of tapping back into that market.
These piglets seem to have quite an appetite for my shoe leather
and they do look great out here
and at Midland Pigs, as well,
they look clean and healthy.
Altogether, it does give me some hope that done right,
there is a future for British pig farming.
Later on Countryfile,
I'll be back in the saddle for a mountain biking challenge.
I tell you what, it's a lot easier on the way down
than it is on the way up.
Adam's getting a kick out of milking.
And of course, we'll have the Countryfile weather forecast
for the week ahead.
Right across the Derwent Valley in the Peak District,
Matt and I have been discovering
how water is the lifeblood of this region,
enabling this spectacular landscape to thrive.
But here in beautiful Lathkill Dale, all is not as it should be.
Flowing alongside me are the clear waters of the River Lathkill
and to me, it all looks pretty good.
But there's a problem.
Because a mile or so upstream this is what you see,
or rather, don't see, because the river has disappeared.
I should be knee-deep in water,
but nearly half of its six-and-a-half-mile course is dry
and has been since the summer. But why?
Well, to answer that,
we need to understand how the river should work.
You may not realise, but rivers can flow underground, as well,
so when it rains up in the hills,
some of the water is absorbed by rocks
and goes into groundwater streams.
Usually, there's enough water to re-emerge as springs
to form the river, but here, clearly, something is going awry.
Across the Midlands,
it's been the driest 12 months since records began in 1910,
leaving a number of rivers at dangerously low levels.
For the Lathkill, though, it's getting worse.
Historically, what's happened to this river?
Well, it's dried up for about 100 years,
but it's getting much worse, currently.
The river dries up earlier, dries up more quickly
and a longer length of river is affected each year.
What impact does this have on the local ecology?
Birds and mammals are quite capable of moving to wet areas.
The fish, however,
get isolated with receding water, so we have to help them.
Every year, the Environment Agency
has to rescue the population of brown trout,
moving them downstream from isolated puddles,
so they can return to spawn when it refills.
This year, though, the water still isn't back.
That's bad news for the trout
and for local fishermen like Richard Ward,
who's been fishing here for over 40 years.
It used to be fantastic.
It was full of water, full of ranunculus
which was full of insects,
full of fish, full of life.
What's so good about fishing here?
Well, the trout are wonderful - the brown trout.
They were talked about in The Compleat Angler Fifth Edition.
Charles Cotton describes them as the finest and reddest trouts
in all England, and they are. They're amazing.
The water's pretty special, too, isn't it?
Well, when you've got the water, yes, cos it's limestone spring fed.
If we could have the water back,
the Lathkill would be fantastic all over again.
Well, one man who might be able to help is hydrogeologist
Professor John Gunn. He's been commissioned by Natural England
to investigate if and how flow could be restored here.
And he thinks he may have the answer.
-How you doing?
-Very good, thank you.
Can I assume that these buildings
-are something to do with the disappearing river?
This is the remains of an 18th-century lead mine
and underneath here is the drainage level which is a sough,
a Peak District term
and that is where we're going to find some of the water.
So, down there, I'm afraid, you have to go.
-Oh, really? Hence your outfit, I'm guessing.
-Hence my outfit.
This dale was extensively mined in the 18th and 19th centuries.
These shafts would have been used
to ferry valuable lead up from the mines below.
Now, I'm the precious cargo heading the other way. Wish me luck.
Phew! My word, John, that's quite an entrance.
-Yes, well done indeed.
-Welcome to Lathkill Dale Sough.
-Thank you. What's a sough?
So, a sough was a drainage level that the lead miners constructed.
This one started about 1743.
So, right up on the top was where the pump was.
They used to pump the water up from depth
and let it flow away down this level here.
That allowed them to go deep and follow the lead.
-So, is this the water that should be running up in the Lathkill?
This is the lower bit of the Lathkill.
Further up, it's suffering because of a completely different sough -
the Magpie Sough.
We've got, if you like, a double whammy.
We've got one sough that's taking the upper flow
and what little bit is left is being captured by this sough.
So, where does this water go now?
There are some springs down there - the bubble springs
and that's where I think the water's going to come out.
But somehow, we've got to try and find out
and one way we might do that is putting a dye into the water.
'John's placed his fluorometer downstream on the river
'which can detect traces of this harmless dye,
'to tell us if that's where the water is flowing
'and how long it takes to get there.'
It's bright orange.
It's bright orange there, but when you put it in,
you'll see something rather special.
Oh, my goodness! That is '80s green.
I'm sure I had some socks that colour back in the '80s.
I had some shoes that colour!
'It'll take a day or so for the dye to flow through,
'so I'll be relying on John for the results.'
Is there anything that can be done
to make sure it flows most of the year?
The only way we could get the Lathkill permanently
back on the surface would be to block the Magpie Sough
which is the main impactor on the system
and we'll also have to seal the bed of the river.
Unfortunately, it's a big job.
It's not a simple solution
and neither is getting out. But a few days later,
the results proved John right.
The dye emerged 12 hours later at the springs further down the river,
confirming the underground stream
bypasses the dry stretch of the River Lathkill.
It's not just the dry weather that's to blame
for this particular disappearing river.
The old lead mines have had a major impact, too.
So, are sites like this old, dried-up weir head enough to
prompt drastic action underground,
or should we just go with the flow?
Now, just like the farmer Tom met earlier,
Adam's also trying to find a way of making money from his pigs.
But first, there are a few jobs on the farm that need taken care of.
Couple of weeks ago, I had some devastating news.
Three of my White Park cattle were struck down with TB
and two of them were suckling calves, so I had to make a decision.
Do I slaughter the calves and get rid of them or do I hand-rear them?
Cos they didn't have TB.
And I decided, because they were so lovely,
that I'd give them a chance and hand-rear them so now,
I'm feeding them on a bottle
and that's where this lovely lady comes in. She's the milk bar.
Apple's one of my Gloucesters and has her own calf that she's suckling,
but she's got plenty of milk to share.
I need to hand-milk her for the White Park calves.
They don't always take well to a new mother
and this one can be temperamental.
Animals will pretty much do anything for food
so hopefully, she'll stay nice and still while I milk her.
When you're milking a cow,
if you stick your head in their hip like this,
if they're about to kick you,
you can feel it in your head before the foot hits you,
so I'll be able to jump backwards if she's about to hit me.
There's a good girl.
As I said, rather temperamental.
Enjoy your breakfast. Stop trying to kick me.
There we go. That should be enough. Take it down and feed them.
Come on, then, babies.
Here we go.
They get a couple of litres, morning and night.
Look at that!
There, that's you done, you lovely girl.
Right, you stay there while I do your half-brother.
Right, come on, then, little fella.
They've taken to the bottle really quickly.
This one slightly more nervous.
We're feeding them some hard palated food and hay and this milk.
Really pleased with them.
You're lovely, aren't you?
Now I've sorted those two young scamps,
it's time to deal with another.
At this time of year, my rams are getting frisky
and my next job is to take one in particular to meet the girls.
-Yeah, got him.
This is a new Suffolk ram lamb that we've got.
He's a lamb - he was only born in January.
He's absolutely tremendous.
He's huge and this is the time of year
when we're turning the rams out with the ewes
and so that we know which ones they've mated,
we mark their chest with a paint.
So, let's rub this on his chest.
Sometimes, the rams will wear a harness and have a chalk in it,
but for a ram lamb like this that's never been out with ewes before,
the harness can be a bit restrictive for him, so we just use this paste.
We're using a ram lamb
because in modern-day sheep farming,
the genetics is improving all the time
and so, with a younger sheep, in theory,
he should have tip-top genetics and put that through into his lambs
that'll grow like stink and produce fantastic lamb meat.
We start with orange and then change the colour every ten days.
-Go on, that way.
-Over there, mate.
From this, we can work out when the ewes will give birth in the spring.
Looks like he's more interested in my motor at the moment.
It's amazing when you turn a ram in with the ewes
and the ewes are always instantly really interested
and there'll be a number in there that are probably in season today.
He's running over now, really excited.
For a ram lamb that's never been out with ewes before,
40's a good, sensible number.
As he gets older and more mature, in a year or two's time,
he should be able to deal with 70 or 80 ewes,
but that's plenty to get him started.
Shy, Mike, isn't he?
He is a bit slow, isn't he? Slow learner.
-There you go.
-That's all your paint rubbed off.
Nice orange one.
While he carries on with the other 39,
I've got hungry pigs to feed.
I've got about 15 sows on the farm of various different breeds
and they're doing all right,
but commercial pig farmers are suffering a bit at the moment.
'As we heard from Tom earlier, if you keep pigs,
'making a profit is a bit of a struggle
'and here on my farm, it's no different.'
We feed these nuts and then we top it up with a bit of apple pulp
to help save a bit of money.
But for my pigs, really, to make a decent margin,
we have to find a niche market with a bit of a premium
and these Tamworth piglets and the little Iron Age ones over there
make great sausages.
Most of my pigs go down the road to my butcher,
who makes fantastic bangers.
But I'm always open to new ideas.
I'm going to see a neighbour who's also a small-scale pig farmer
but she's bucking the trend by making her pigs pay.
-So, how's the summer been?
-We've had a very busy summer.
'Sarah Righton has recently had
'a butcher's cutting room built on her farm,
'so I've come to have a look. But before I do,
'she's showing me her wonderfully named pigs.'
Here are some of our Glamrock weaners.
Glamrocks? What are they?
Glamrocks are 50% Gloucester Old Spot
crossed with a Hamrock boar,
which is a half-Hampshire, half-Duroc, which is a bit leaner.
We get the best of both worlds.
Bit more meat, bit leaner. Still enough fat for good crackling.
Little Glamrocks. Let me drive some out. Here, pigs!
Come on, then. Let's have a look at you.
Aren't they great! Look at them.
Now, I'm struggling to make money out of my pigs,
partly because of the cost of food.
-The commercial people are really struggling, aren't they?
If we have to sell pigs on the open market,
we lose money on it like everybody else does.
More so, because our cost of production is higher
because we've smaller numbers, we're very...
We're not intensive by any means.
But if we can make it into sausages, bacon,
pork joints in the shop, then that's where we make our mark-up.
It's been worse, so we've put a cutting room in now,
we do everything ourselves.
It's made the difference to our business.
It'll be interesting to see your cutting room. I can see
the butcher looking through the window.
-He's ready to make sausages.
-Goodness me! It's state of the art, isn't it?
-We're really pleased.
We've got a very happy butcher working here now.
What's in your sausages, or is it a secret?
If I told you I'd have to kill you!
Basically, it's our Glamrock pork shoulder, mainly.
We've also got some smoked bacon in here.
And we'll add some seasonings and rusk.
Also we've got some nice local mustard
to go in for our breakfast banger.
Lovely. It is all about adding value.
You can't really compete with the wholesalers and supermarkets?
No, we can't. Now we've got this facility, we can up our game a bit.
I've often got spare pigs, porkers,
so if you need some extras I can sell you some of those.
That could work very well.
Maybe you could make sausages and things for us too?
That'd be fantastic.
'Not only that,
'but Sarah's sausage factory only runs three or four days a week.
'So we could use it the rest of the time.'
Very expertly done.
Now this is the magical bit, I never know how you do this.
'Even though I'm standing right next to him,
'I still haven't got a clue how he's doing it.'
Look at this! The man's a master.
Amazing. Absolutely fantastic.
Look at that.
With the pig industry in such a state,
it's important that small-scale producers like me
add value to their pork.
Ventures like Sarah's got there is exactly what it's all about.
I just hope I can make my pigs pay again.
Next week, with farming officially the most dangerous job in the country,
I'll be seeing what we can do to change that.
'I've been using pedal power
'to explore the Upper Derwent Valley, from its wooded reservoirs
'to its jagged landscape at Chapel Gate in Derbyshire.
'It's not the surface you'd drive your car over,
'but mountain bikers, and seemingly the sheep, love a bit of rough.'
As I've been finding out, this place is full of evidence of the way
that locals have tried to conquer this challenging landscape.
What I'm riding along at the moment is an old packhorse trail.
But following in the hoof prints of those rugged ponies today
are mountain bikers and their tyre tracks.
'This is perfect terrain for some extreme off-roading.
'I've been told a struggle to the top is part of the fun!'
I think I'm in the wrong gear.
'Over the years, flash flooding has eroded the track,
'but it's recently had a £50,000 face-lift.
'And if I can catch him up, I'm going to chat to project manager
'and keen mountain biker Wayne Bexton.
'He's very proud of his drains.'
We're halfway up now, Wayne, up this little peak.
This is the key, is it, to a good track?
Absolutely. This is what we've put in place to try and get rid
of the water as quickly as possible when it hits the surface.
So we've put these pitched cross drains in, which are a throwback
to some of the structures they put in on the original packhorse routes.
Up here we get so much water that it's imperative
we get rid of it as quickly as we can.
You've resurfaced bits as well, yeah?
In between each pitch drain, we've put down some stone surfacing,
and we've also tried to seed it to allow some grass growth on there.
How popular is this place with mountain bikers?
Hugely popular. Bit of a Mecca for mountain bikers.
it forms part of a number of circuits in the Peak District.
-But everyone does head here for the Chapel Gate descent.
'Well, what goes up must come down. And this is the daddy of them all.
'If this has inspired you to get out and about, the BBC has got together
'with a range of partners who offer activities across the UK.
'Just go to our website and click on Things To Do.'
Oh, lovely stuff! Brilliant. I tell you what,
it's a lot easier on the way down than it is on the way up.
'In a moment, I'll be swapping two wheels for three
'for the latest on my rickshaw ride
'from Edinburgh to London, raising money for Children in Need.'
But first, here's the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.
Derbyshire's Derwent Valley,
where water flows through the limestone and gritstone
of the Peak District hills into the reservoirs of the Upper Derwent.
Matt has been exploring this area by bike.
It may be the perfect way to appreciate this landscape, but it's
also given him some useful training for his toughest challenge yet.
'The British countryside is
'the backdrop to my marathon rickshaw ride.
'The challenge is to cycle a gruelling 484 miles.
'I started in Edinburgh, my goal is to reach London in just eight days.'
The thought of doing 80 miles in a day is awful. This is awful.
'For weeks I've been in training.
'Relying on pedal power has proved really tough.'
Well done! Whoo!
'The rickshaw weighs 24 times more than a regular bicycle, so when
'the endless hills kick in,
'I have to summon up every ounce of strength.'
We're actually going slower than walking pace!
'If I'm going to make it, it's going to take everything I've got,
'but it's all for a good cause - Children In Need.'
'This stretch is going to be the toughest.
'It's pretty much uphill all the way.
'There's little chance for me, or my convoy, to admire the view.'
I feel like I'm getting a lot more at one with the rickshaw,
because my first day I was just battling it.
80% of what I was doing yesterday was wasted energy.
Because it's not like a normal bike.
'I've got to put in around ten hours of cycling a day,
'whatever the weather.'
The downhill bits are just so delightful, I cannot tell you.
Hi, mate, all right?
'At my next pit stop, I've arranged to meet someone else
'who's doing their bit for Children In Need.'
-Hello, Sarah. Is that you behind the camera?
-Yes, it is.
-How are you doing?
-There we are. How are you?
-How are you?
-I'm a bit sweaty.
I wouldn't get too close! How's it been going for you?
-Have you got some shots of me?
-Going like this!
I've got something for you, actually, we could trade photos.
-Have you seen what I've brought all the way up that hill?
-There we are, do you recognise that?
-I do. I've seen it quite a lot!
That is brilliant, there you go.
How pleased were you when you found out it was going to be
-on the front of the Countryfile calendar?
It's Tiverton Canal in Devon.
It's the only one in the West Country with a horse-drawn barge.
The light is perfect.
I took about 200 that afternoon, it was one of the last I took.
-Just happened to be right.
-The picture's beautiful
and I know that phrase very well - "pulling power".
-Especially round here.
-That should be my little motto from here on.
It does suit the front of our calendar absolutely perfect.
If you'd like to get your hands on one,
here's John with all the details.
The calendar costs £9,
and a minimum of £4 from each sale will go to Children in Need.
You can order it right now on our website...
Or you can call the order line on 0844 811 7044.
You can also order by post. Send your name, address and cheque to...
Please make your cheques payable to BBC Countryfile Calendar.
If you can text or donate, it would be much appreciated.
All you have to do is text the word "Matt" to 70705
and texts will cost you £5 plus your standard network charge.
The £5 goes straight to Children in Need.
If you want terms and conditions, you can find them at...
Now that is it for now.
Next week we're going to be on Cranborne Chase,
once a playground for royalty, now a precious protected landscape.
But from the hills of Hawick, for now, from myself and Sarah,
see you next week.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison are in Derbyshire enjoying the contrasting landscapes of the Derwent Valley. Matt is in the north, mountain biking through the rugged mountains and lush forests of the Peak District.
Twenty miles to the south, Ellie discovers how the River Derwent helped to fuel the industrial revolution - before finding out that, these days, water power is being harnessed to create electricity.
Tom Heap is on the other side of the Midlands investigating why British pig farmers are struggling to make a living, despite the growing global demand for meat.
Meanwhile, on his farm, Adam Henson is trying to find ways of making money from his own rare breed pigs.