15/04/2012 Countryfile


15/04/2012

Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to the South Pennines, where Yorkshire and Lancashire collide. It is also home to the Pennine Way, which runs through the backbone of England.


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The South Pennines, where old rivals Yorkshire and Lancashire collide.

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A vast landscape of sweeping moorlands and rugged hills.

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It's also home, of course, to the Pennine Way,

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but I'm not going to be walking all 268 miles of it,

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I'm just going to be doing the bottom section,

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but I think that's work enough in itself. I haven't got a penny on me

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so I'm going to have to earn my keep.

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But walking isn't the only way to enjoy this part of the world.

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I'm taking to two wheels for some extreme mountain biking

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so I might be doing a few endos, maybe a few wheelies,

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but I'm just a novice compared to this guy.

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Wind turbines may be controversial, but like them or loathe them,

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they're key to meeting our EU obligations on green energy,

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as Tom's been finding out.

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Those binding renewable energy targets mean we will be seeing

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a lot more turbines springing up across our landscape in the future.

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But where are they all going

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and what will this wind revolution do to our green and pleasant land?

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I'll be investigating.

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And Adam's farm is a hive of activity.

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When you're working with farm animals,

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you have to treat them with respect because they can be dangerous.

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But there's one creature that's about to arrive on the farm

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that I'm going to have to be very careful with.

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The Pennines, a mountainous landscape of uplands, valleys

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and brooding, wide, empty moors.

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It's often described as the rugged backbone of northern England.

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For years, this area has been a Mecca for hikers

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who travel here from far and wide

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to take on one of the most challenging walks in the world.

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The Pennine Way opened as an official walking route in 1965.

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268 miles long, it stretches from the top of the Peak District,

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through Yorkshire and into the Scottish border.

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Today, I'm exploring the southern end of it

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which falls into picturesque Bronte country.

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Few have managed to complete the whole walk.

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I'm not going to even attempt it, but one brave soul who did just that

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and wrote about it along the way was one of our national treasures,

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poet Simon Armitage.

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Then it's back to the work

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To the acid acres

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To wade through water-logged peat

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Trawling the breeze Carding the air

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For threads of sheep wool

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Snagged on the breeze.

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In 2010, Simon set off on a journey that was a lifetime's ambition

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and would test the strength of local hospitality.

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It was a bit of a gamble. I set off without any money in my pocket.

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To find out how he got on with that journey, I've arranged to meet him

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here at Ickornshaw Moor and we're retracing some of his last steps.

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It's a really hard walk.

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It's not in any way a glamorous walk or one of these new boutique walks.

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It's a difficult slog across pretty tough terrain.

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Why did you do it?

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Erm, well, the southern part of the Pennine Way goes through

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the village of Marsden where I was born and brought up.

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So it had always been part of my consciousness.

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There had always been this regular influx of hikers

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coming through the village as I was growing up.

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It was a bit odd cos when I showed my dad what I was taking,

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he said, "You don't need any of that stuff.

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"Just take a bin bag to pull over your head when it rains."

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-Strewth. That's optimistic!

-Well, books.

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-Obviously, some water.

-Some water. A good old-fashioned map. Very good.

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-A good old-fashioned map.

-Excellent for orienteering.

-Whistle.

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-Did you need it?

-I didn't, no.

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I did blow it a couple of times but only for fun.

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-A compass.

-What else have we got in there?

-Notebook.

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-Essential for a poet.

-Yeah, absolutely.

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-GPS unit.

-Ah!

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I thought I wouldn't need this and it had to come out on day two.

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I got lost in the Cheviots.

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You were glad of it then, I suppose?

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If I hadn't had it, the whole thing would have gone pear-shaped.

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One of the images that inspired Simon's poetry

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were the black huts dotted along this stretch of the landscape.

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They're thought to be old shooting huts.

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Above Ickornshaw, black huts

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Are raised against damp

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On footings of redbrick

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Landlocked chalets lashed to the bedrock

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With steel guy-ropes and telegraph wire

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Braced for Atlantic gales.

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It was poetry that financed Simon's 19-day journey

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along the Pennine Way.

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Having left home without any cash,

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he offered recitals in return for bed and board.

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Every night, I gave a reading and passed the cap around

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and just said to people, "Put in whatever you think I was worth."

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And I made my way on that.

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Just beneath us is the village of Cowling,

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where one particular couple remembers this weary,

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weather-beaten poet doing a reading in their sitting room.

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He'd done 20 miles from Malham

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and the last five miles was a lot of climbing

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and so he wasn't in the best condition at all.

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A bit sweaty.

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Well, he's back here today with a bit more vigour, more poetry

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and an audience ready and waiting.

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Hand-maidens, humble courtiers

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Yes-men in silver wigs

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They stoop low at the path's edge

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Bow to the military parade of boot and stick.

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I've got a feeling he's going to be there a bit longer

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than half-an-hour this time. But he has given me an idea

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of how I can pay my way through the landscape.

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I'm no poet, but I'm certainly no stranger to hard work.

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Further southwards, up in the hilly terrain above Todmorden,

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is a half-acre vegetable farm run by anthropologist Ben Campbell.

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Ben's spent more than 20 years studying rural communities in Nepal

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and has now introduced his own version of a Himalayan farm

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right here in the Pennines.

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I've offered to help him plant some potatoes in return for lunch.

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There's garlic, there's onions all around. Some of them from,

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in fact, the Himalayas, like these mustard greens that I grow.

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It makes a really lovely, tasty spinach.

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So, how is your Himalayan hill farm similar

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to one in the Himalayas and how is it different?

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I suppose what we're doing here they would call a "house garden".

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You can pop in and out for some veg, that sort of thing.

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The mountainside that they live on - my friends - it goes way up

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and they move with their animals up and down

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a much wider range of ecological diversity than what we have here.

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Although it can't rival the extreme Himalayan alpine climate,

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there's definitely a chill in the air today.

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So now I've worked up an appetite, I'm grateful for Ben's hearty

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Himalayan nettle and potato soup.

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Like Simon, I'm proud to say I've earned my keep along the way.

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How different!

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Now, like them or loathe them,

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there's likely to be a huge rise in the number of wind turbines

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in the British countryside over the next few years.

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But how many are we going to have

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and where are we going to put them all? Tom's been investigating.

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The power of the wind,

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a power that's being harnessed at an ever-increasing rate.

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About 70% of our wind farms are on-shore, like this one

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in the South Pennines, and there are more to come.

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Over the next eight years, the amount of energy produced

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by wind power is set to triple.

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That's because we've agreed to EU targets

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saying 15% of all our energy has to come from renewable sources

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like wind by 2020.

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There are already more than 3,500 turbines in the UK.

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Some of them, like here, say, in East Sussex,

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are just single developments.

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But others, like Scout Moor, say, here in Lancashire

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have 26 turbines already, making it the second-biggest in England.

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And guess what - they're planning more.

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For the big players, it's not all about being green.

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There's some serious money to be made, too.

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The profits from wind are encouraging huge investment.

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It's one reason why they want twice as many here.

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You've already got 26, why more here?

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Well, there's a number of reasons, actually.

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It's a very good high-wind location. We're stood here now...

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-I can feel it today.

-..with the breeze in our faces.

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There's a lot of excess space up here.

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If you put them all in the same place,

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you limit the need to proliferate a lot of smaller wind farms

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-around the landscape.

-But for the people who live around here,

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they might say, "We're getting all the pain ourselves."

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There's no doubt, you can't develop a wind farm without having some level

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of impact on the communities that surround it.

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What's at the core of most people's unhappiness, do you think?

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I think pretty much at the top of the list is the visual impact

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and a real split there. People either love them or hate them.

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So if people say, "We don't like the look of them,"

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-can you do anything about that?

-It's very difficult.

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They have to have scale to capture the wind.

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The colour of them, you'll see from looking here today,

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they're an off-white colour.

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Unfortunately, the UK sky on average

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is a little bit grey as a backdrop

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so they're probably as good as they could be.

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There's certainly no easy way to hide them.

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But to get a better idea of the visual impact, I need to go higher.

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I've been given exclusive access to the top of the turbine.

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And at 60 metres up, it's not for the fainthearted.

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That's it. I've got all my protective and safety gear on now.

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I'm about to go up. But it's pretty tight in there so only I can go.

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So that means I've got to do some of my own camera work.

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So, I'll be taking this camera.

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With a bit of luck, we should be able to see a shot of the crew.

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Wave me goodbye and wish me luck. See you!

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I'm just going to squeeze in here with you.

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The engineers have turned this turbine off for our ascent,

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but with gusts today grazing 50mph

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I've a feeling it's going to be a bit breezy.

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Good news for the turbines, though.

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At full whack, one of these can produce enough power

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for 230 million cups of tea every year.

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I've just come out of the top of the lift.

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This is the first time I've ever been in the business end

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of a turbine, the heart of the beast, if you like.

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It is an incredible view from up here.

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I can see for miles to many of the surrounding cities.

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But that's just the problem

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cos it means that people for miles around can see me.

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For those that don't like turbines, that's not a great prospect.

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It's also one of the big issues for the people who say yea or nay

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to wind farms being built. Just a few weeks ago,

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the government announced big changes to our planning rules.

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According to some, it's the biggest shake-up for decades,

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with a presumption in favour of sustainable development

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like wind farms.

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It's up to local planners like Adrian Smith to weigh up our need

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for electricity versus the impact on our green and pleasant land.

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The value of a view is one of the hardest points to gauge.

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It's difficult to measure because it's a personal perception.

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There are professional ways of looking at it,

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in terms of effects on the landscape,

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but ultimately it comes down to a matter of judgement.

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What about the fact that there are some there already?

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-How important is that becoming?

-Once you've got an existing wind farm,

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you tend to get a cumulative effect when you get more and more of them.

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You start seeing the whole of the landscape in terms of wind turbines.

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I imagine people listening to this thinking,

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"Therefore, I've got to keep out the very first one

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"because after I've got the first turbines,

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"I'm then going to have many more to follow it."

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-Isn't that a risk?

-It is a risk but we have to take into account

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that the visual impact is only one of the issues that has to be considered.

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The new planning regulations make it clear that renewable energy

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is a priority, it should be delivered,

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but we do need to take into account the wider impact

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before we come to a final decision.

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And it's not just the big boys who are feeding wind

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into the energy mix. Smaller scale projects are springing up too.

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According to recent surveys,

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local planners tend to lean in favour of smaller schemes.

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Farmer Andy Payton installed two turbines at his farm a year ago.

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It reduces our costs, fixes our electricity costs,

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and hopefully, in the course of time, will provide an income.

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Obviously, they've got to be paid for first

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and it's a substantial investment.

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If you look around, people would say this is an unspoiled landscape.

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But then you look around and see

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an abundance of pylons, telephone masts.

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Everybody forgets about them - they fade into the subconscious.

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As time progresses, people will forget about them

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the same way they do with electricity pylons.

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The government are obviously pushing wind turbines, and rightly so

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in my opinion, cos if we don't do something,

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there's a very real danger of lights being turned off

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-in the not too distant future.

-To stop that happening,

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it looks like wind power will have to play its part.

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If we're to meet our renewable energy target,

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that's going to mean more than 600 new schemes

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appearing in our countryside over the next few years.

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So, how will we decide where they go

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and can we measure their real visual impact?

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I'll be finding out later.

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This part of the South Pennines is undeniably beautiful

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and I've taken to two wheels to explore it.

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And now I'm on my way to a special little place

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that's kept the locals topped up with pints of tea

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for the last 100 years.

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If you lived in Lancashire more than a century ago,

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there's a good chance you'd have worked in a cotton mill.

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The hours were long and hard and the conditions pretty grim.

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The only respite came when the factories closed

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on Saturday lunchtime for the weekend.

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So, come the weekend, what better than getting out into the countryside

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on your bike with a few little pit stops along the way?

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In the shadow of Pendle Hill, nestled in a hidden valley,

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stands the Clarion House.

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This modest tearoom, once one of many,

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is a small monument to the spread of socialism.

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It was set up in 1912 for workers who wanted to escape the grime

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by getting on their bikes and out into the fresh air.

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Can I have one of these pints of tea that I've heard so much about?

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-You can. I've just made a fresh brew.

-Have you?! Perfect timing.

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I'll take my gloves off cos I've been cycling.

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-Right. I'll come round and grab me tea.

-OK. Help yourself to sugar.

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-And it's proper tea as well!

-It's proper tea. No teabags here!

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-That's lovely. Will you show me round?

-I will. I'll come round.

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I like this banner that sums it all up. "Socialism, our hope."

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Well, that's what we're here for, really. It's an indication

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of the early socialist pioneers that thought about

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-building this place in such a beautiful spot.

-Yeah.

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This is what their philosophy was.

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Get out into the fresh air, fellowship

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and let's build a better world, really.

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-And this is the last house?

-There was a network of them

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all over Lancashire and Yorkshire

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and other parts of the North and this is the last one.

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A lot of them have been converted into residential houses

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or just fallen into disrepair.

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-Is it right that there's a bus that comes up here?

-There is.

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On a Sunday, from April till October,

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there's a bus that goes round all the Pendle villages

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and a lot of the older people who used to come as children,

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who can't manage the walking or biking any more,

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they come on the bus. They love it.

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-How many pints of tea do they get through?

-Oh, well...!

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-They're the big drinkers, when they come in.

-That's right.

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THEY LAUGH

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And they were very specific about where they put these houses.

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-Looking at this view...

-Isn't this what they come for, really?

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People sit outside and enjoy this beautiful part of the country.

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-These have seen some years, I imagine.

-They're like me, really!

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Don't be daft, man!

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It's surprising how quickly you get through a pint, isn't it?

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-Good tea.

-I'm going to be zipping into the bushes down the road!

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That's the trouble with cyclists.

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-Anyway, thank you very much indeed.

-OK. I'll just get your change.

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-No, no. Don't worry. I'll pay for yours as well.

-OK, thanks.

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-Come again!

-See you later.

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Earlier we heard that the energy produced from wind power

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is set to triple in the next decade, but is enough thought being put

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into the impact that that'll have on our countryside?

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Here's Tom.

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The wind of change is here

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and it's blowing in the direction of more wind power.

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To meet our EU target for renewable energy,

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we're going to see many more of these.

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But it'll come as no surprise that the look and location of turbines

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still stirs strong feelings in local communities.

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Here in the South Pennines,

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they have the second-biggest wind farm in England

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and plans are afoot to double the size of it.

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Which isn't what everyone wants to hear or see

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in places like Scout Moor.

0:18:340:18:36

When this wind farm was built four years ago,

0:18:370:18:40

Ann Metcalfe led the campaign against it.

0:18:400:18:43

From her farm, she can see 24 of the 26 turbines.

0:18:430:18:48

Why did you feel so passionate about it yourself?

0:18:480:18:52

Because I'm passionate about the place where I live.

0:18:520:18:56

I'm passionate about the moorland, the habitats,

0:18:560:18:58

the life that there is there

0:18:580:19:00

and I'm passionate about keeping it as it is, not in aspic

0:19:000:19:04

or anything like that, but for our future generations.

0:19:040:19:07

You need to listen to the people that live there,

0:19:070:19:10

the people it affects, the people that see it every day.

0:19:100:19:13

And of course, it's like anything else,

0:19:130:19:16

once they get the thin end of the wedge, they start,

0:19:160:19:19

then somebody else comes

0:19:190:19:20

and then the whole countryside is going to be covered in them.

0:19:200:19:23

The passion is very much still with you on this.

0:19:230:19:25

Why did it affect you so much?

0:19:250:19:27

The visual impact makes me churn up inside.

0:19:270:19:30

That phrase - "churn up inside" -

0:19:300:19:31

that's almost like a physical response.

0:19:310:19:34

It is. I think I'm extreme... It just makes me feel ill.

0:19:340:19:38

It makes me feel sick. I used to ride...

0:19:380:19:40

I used to ride over the moor every day. I actually... Sorry.

0:19:410:19:46

-That's OK.

-I actually find it very difficult to do now.

0:19:460:19:49

Because it affects you so deeply?

0:19:490:19:51

Yeah. Probably a very silly thing, but yes, it does.

0:19:510:19:55

The emotions are still raw and powerful.

0:19:570:20:01

But when considering objections,

0:20:010:20:03

planners tend to focus on hard facts and figures.

0:20:030:20:06

What if there was a way to put a value on a view?

0:20:060:20:10

Could it be used as part of the planning process?

0:20:100:20:13

And how on earth would you measure something so subjective?

0:20:130:20:17

At the University of Manchester, I'm going to meet Dr Deborah Talmi

0:20:180:20:21

who's an expert in measuring

0:20:210:20:23

-how we feel about what we see.

-You have to match up

0:20:230:20:27

what people say and how their body reacts in order to have

0:20:270:20:30

a real understanding of how people feel.

0:20:300:20:32

She's going to show me some photos of the countryside,

0:20:320:20:35

some with turbines and some without.

0:20:350:20:36

She wants me to say how they make me feel,

0:20:360:20:39

using an emotion scale, which is where these little guys come in.

0:20:390:20:43

The top goes from "bored" to "excited"

0:20:430:20:45

and the bottom from "positive" to "negative".

0:20:450:20:48

We've got a lovely rural scene here with a few hay bales.

0:20:490:20:53

I quite like it but it's not the most exciting thing I've ever seen

0:20:530:20:56

so I'll go for that. And as I say, feeling warm about it but not crazy.

0:20:560:21:00

This is a more active picture.

0:21:020:21:04

It looks like it's supposed to elicit a response.

0:21:040:21:07

It feels like I'm flying through them

0:21:070:21:09

which feels almost quite hazardous.

0:21:090:21:11

So I'll go right at the top for the maximum shock response, if you like,

0:21:110:21:17

and funnily enough,

0:21:170:21:19

slightly less contented, probably in the middle,

0:21:190:21:22

because there's something faintly alarming about that picture.

0:21:220:21:25

Deborah can also use physical response tests,

0:21:250:21:28

like monitoring how much I sweat or my changing body temperature.

0:21:280:21:32

It's the very early stages of research

0:21:320:21:35

but measuring my responses this way could help put a value on a view.

0:21:350:21:40

So how might you adapt this to something like the way

0:21:400:21:43

we view wind turbines?

0:21:430:21:45

I think we could show people images of wind turbines

0:21:450:21:48

and show them control images of man-made structures.

0:21:480:21:51

For example, radio towers or church towers.

0:21:510:21:54

And measure a few different aspects of the physiological reaction.

0:21:540:21:59

But we can also measure tiny little changes in their facial muscles

0:21:590:22:02

to indicate whether they're happy or unhappy.

0:22:020:22:06

So people produce tiny little smiles and tiny little frowns

0:22:060:22:10

and we can try to pick up on how happy they are with the images.

0:22:100:22:14

As we've found out, assessing the visual impact of all this alongside

0:22:170:22:22

all the other considerations is a difficult balancing act.

0:22:220:22:25

To triple the energy from wind,

0:22:250:22:27

it's predicted we'll see double the number of turbines.

0:22:270:22:30

Renewable UK represent the wind power industry.

0:22:300:22:34

Even these wind champions admit there are some hard choices.

0:22:340:22:38

So we're going to see at least twice as many turbines

0:22:380:22:42

across Britain in the next decade or so.

0:22:420:22:45

-Are you happy with that?

-I don't think we're overfull yet.

0:22:450:22:49

If you go to places like Denmark and Germany,

0:22:490:22:51

if we had the same amount of development per square mile

0:22:510:22:55

as they do, we would have three, four, even five times

0:22:550:22:58

as much as we do now. So I think it's not intrinsically unacceptable.

0:22:580:23:02

And those who find them ugly have just got to learn to love them?

0:23:020:23:05

Well, it's a democratic process that says that, actually,

0:23:050:23:09

it's a priority for this country to have onshore wind.

0:23:090:23:13

It's a good part of our mix.

0:23:130:23:15

To an extent, some people will find that's something they don't like.

0:23:150:23:20

-And it's tough?

-I don't like to use the word "tough"

0:23:200:23:23

but people will have to accept things that they don't like.

0:23:230:23:26

But is that fair cos those people might think we're already doing

0:23:260:23:28

our bit for climate change. "I don't mind a handful in my view,

0:23:280:23:31

"but I don't want that to open the door to tens, twenties of turbines?"

0:23:310:23:36

This is a balance that we've yet to fully bottom out

0:23:360:23:39

in terms of what is the full acceptable cumulative impact,

0:23:390:23:42

as we describe it, of multiple developments in an area.

0:23:420:23:45

But I think that's a debate we want to have

0:23:450:23:48

because the more we can do with onshore wind, it's the cheapest

0:23:480:23:51

mass deployable renewable energy there is out there

0:23:510:23:54

and obviously, it's something we'd do for the benefit of the country.

0:23:540:23:58

So, it seems turbines often attract more turbines.

0:23:580:24:01

Whether you blow hot or cold for wind energy,

0:24:010:24:04

expect some areas of the country to be increasingly dominated by it.

0:24:040:24:09

The South Pennines have proved to be an inspiration

0:24:140:24:17

for poets, writers and musicians.

0:24:170:24:20

But these days, there's a certain extreme mountain biker

0:24:200:24:23

who finds motivation here.

0:24:230:24:25

Chris Akrigg sees every boulder as a potential platform for a stunt.

0:24:250:24:29

12 months ago, it all went terribly wrong.

0:24:290:24:32

Later, I'll be meeting Chris and hearing about his amazing rescue.

0:24:330:24:37

Also coming up on Countryfile -

0:24:370:24:41

Ellie discovers that memories of the infamous Pendle witch trial live on.

0:24:410:24:45

Her mum says, "Kill John Robinson." And John Robinson went and died.

0:24:450:24:49

Adam's farm's buzzing to the sound of bees.

0:24:490:24:53

-Oh!

-Did you just get stung in a very sensitive place?

-Very close.

0:24:530:24:58

And is the weather going to be kind to us as well as the bees?

0:24:590:25:03

Find out with the Countryfile five-day forecast.

0:25:030:25:07

This week, we're exploring the South Pennines and Katie's here, too.

0:25:150:25:20

She's looking at why we need to learn to love a particular weed

0:25:200:25:23

that thrives here.

0:25:230:25:24

They're often considered a pesky blight,

0:25:260:25:28

an evil threat to well-manicured lawns across the land.

0:25:280:25:31

But many would argue that the much-maligned dandelion

0:25:310:25:35

has powerful properties way above its weed-like status.

0:25:350:25:38

For a start, what you may consider to be the bane of your lawn's existence

0:25:390:25:44

is actually a vital source of food for a very rare little bird

0:25:440:25:48

that certainly packs a powerful punch here in the Pennines.

0:25:480:25:51

The twite, otherwise known as the Pennine finch.

0:25:510:25:55

But intensive farming practices

0:25:550:25:58

and the loss of dandelion-rich hay meadows

0:25:580:26:01

has made it more difficult for the birds to find their favourite food.

0:26:010:26:04

But the RSPB is working on a project with Natural England

0:26:040:26:08

to restore the meadows.

0:26:080:26:10

Charlotte Wakeman is preparing dinner here at Seed Central.

0:26:100:26:13

So, what's on the menu?

0:26:150:26:17

Well, this is a mixture of dandelion seeds,

0:26:170:26:20

common sorrel,

0:26:200:26:22

autumn hawkbit and also a tiny bit of yellow rattle

0:26:220:26:26

because the bird only eats seeds

0:26:260:26:28

and it absolutely loves dandelions.

0:26:280:26:30

We might like croissants, but it loves dandelions.

0:26:300:26:32

We have lost a lot of our meadows

0:26:320:26:35

and this particular project not only helps the twite

0:26:350:26:39

but it also helps butterflies, bees, pollinating insects and everything.

0:26:390:26:43

So it's a win-win situation, really.

0:26:430:26:45

Twite used to breed in 12 counties in England,

0:26:470:26:50

but in the past 14 years, their numbers have declined by 90%.

0:26:500:26:54

These days, they only breed in the South Pennines,

0:26:540:26:57

rich in the rough moorland and gorse that the birds love.

0:26:570:27:00

Farmers like Rachel are changing the way they farm to provide

0:27:000:27:04

the essential seed supplies needed to help recover twite numbers.

0:27:040:27:08

These are the hay meadows.

0:27:080:27:09

They don't look much like hay meadows now,

0:27:090:27:11

but the twite tend to nest just at the side of the moorland over there.

0:27:110:27:17

They will feed off the seeds here. From the field point of view,

0:27:170:27:21

our sheep will be lambing in here. They will then go to the moorland

0:27:210:27:25

and we won't see them again until summer time.

0:27:250:27:27

In the meantime, this field will be left alone to grow,

0:27:270:27:30

for the various different seeds to be there for the twite.

0:27:300:27:33

At the end of July, we'll be able to come in here

0:27:330:27:35

with our tractors, mow the fields,

0:27:350:27:37

allow the seed to regenerate back into the ground

0:27:370:27:40

and then the cycle will begin again.

0:27:400:27:43

The project has been running for two years and already

0:27:430:27:46

69 football pitches' worth of meadow have been replanted in the area.

0:27:460:27:50

Let's hope the humble dandelion can restore the fortunes

0:27:500:27:53

of the seed-eating twite.

0:27:530:27:55

But it's not just wildlife that appreciate the nutritional value

0:27:570:28:00

of this much-maligned plant.

0:28:000:28:03

'The birds eat the seeds up on the moorland, but at ground level,

0:28:030:28:06

'and in your own back garden, dandelions can be free food.

0:28:060:28:10

'Wild food expert Chris Bax reckons the dandelion

0:28:100:28:13

'could give any trendy expensive superfood a run for its money.

0:28:130:28:17

'But you do need to know what you're doing.'

0:28:170:28:20

-Hello, Chris.

-Hi, how are you doing?

0:28:200:28:22

-I'm fine.

-Good.

-What are you cooking up for us?

0:28:220:28:24

I thought we'd make some dandelion flower bhajis.

0:28:240:28:27

Sounds very good.

0:28:270:28:29

'Essentially, they're onion bhajis but with dandelions.'

0:28:290:28:33

Here we go, then, Katie. Let's make some batter up for the bhajis.

0:28:330:28:36

Couldn't be simpler.

0:28:360:28:38

'Chris uses chickpea flour,

0:28:380:28:40

'bicarbonate of soda, a pinch of salt...'

0:28:400:28:43

Always need a bit of salt.

0:28:430:28:44

'..and cumin seeds to make the basic batter.'

0:28:440:28:47

-How hot do you like it?

-Oh, let's make it spicy.

-OK.

0:28:470:28:51

So we'll put a bit of chilli powder in.

0:28:510:28:55

'A few onion seeds, a bit of water, and mix to a gloopy consistency,

0:28:550:28:59

'then gently stir in the key ingredient.'

0:28:590:29:02

Are dandelions actually going to be good for you?

0:29:020:29:05

They've been used as a spring tonic for many years

0:29:050:29:08

-cos they help flush out the system cos they're a diuretic.

-Great.

0:29:080:29:12

But they're also full of potassium

0:29:120:29:14

so they actually replace the potassium that you lose.

0:29:140:29:17

'As well as being high in potassium,

0:29:170:29:19

'dandelions have been used to treat digestive disorders,

0:29:190:29:23

'arthritis and eczema.

0:29:230:29:24

'Serve with a wild garlic raita,

0:29:240:29:28

'and this is one medicine I don't think I'll mind taking.'

0:29:280:29:32

-The moment of truth.

-I'm going to have one too.

0:29:320:29:34

-Is it good? You can see the dandelion in there.

-Mmm.

0:29:360:29:38

-Mmm!

-Gorgeous, eh?

-Mmm!

0:29:380:29:42

I've just eaten a dandelion! THEY LAUGH

0:29:420:29:45

'OK, so the bhajis may be new to my palate, but I'm overwhelmed

0:29:460:29:50

'with a wave of nostalgia as Chris brews up his next delight -

0:29:500:29:54

'dandelion and burdock.'

0:29:540:29:56

-What is this?

-That's your pestle and mortar, OK?

0:29:560:29:59

And we need to bash up our roots.

0:29:590:30:01

'Place clean and chopped dandelion and burdock roots

0:30:010:30:04

'in a pestle and mortar -

0:30:040:30:05

'I don't think it has to be giant-sized -

0:30:050:30:08

'and bash together with some ginger.'

0:30:080:30:10

-These roots need to bubble away in the water for about 20 minutes.

-OK.

0:30:100:30:14

'And whilst my potion bubbles away,

0:30:140:30:16

'I'm going to taste some that Chris has already brewed up and cooled.'

0:30:160:30:21

It's not bad. It's not bad at all.

0:30:210:30:22

I don't know what I was thinking it was going to taste like!

0:30:220:30:25

It's actually quite nice.

0:30:250:30:27

'Strain, and stir in some sugar until dissolved.'

0:30:270:30:31

-Thank you very much, Chris.

-It's a pleasure, an absolute pleasure.

0:30:310:30:34

-I love the bhajis and I'm going to take this bottle with me.

-Enjoy.

0:30:340:30:37

-Thank you. A taste of childhood.

-Bye.

-Bye!

0:30:370:30:40

We may remember it fondly as a childhood classic

0:30:400:30:42

but dandelion and burdock has been taken as a tincture for many years.

0:30:420:30:46

This stuff was a firm favourite

0:30:470:30:49

in many of the temperance bars in the area.

0:30:490:30:52

The bars were initially set up to stop the textile workers

0:30:520:30:56

from drinking too much alcohol.

0:30:560:30:58

'This place has been using the same secret dandelion and burdock recipe

0:31:020:31:06

'for over 100 years,

0:31:060:31:08

'developed as a tonic to purify the blood

0:31:080:31:10

'and detoxify the waterworks.

0:31:100:31:13

'But surely it's time for a change?' Good afternoon.

0:31:130:31:15

'I wonder if I can market our foraged potion?'

0:31:150:31:18

-Cheers.

-The first attempt.

0:31:180:31:19

First attempt. Let me know what you think.

0:31:190:31:22

Well, that's very earthy. And it's pretty good for your first attempt.

0:31:260:31:31

He thinks it's OK.

0:31:310:31:33

So forget the bad press and spare a thought for the unassuming dandelion.

0:31:330:31:36

They may be a blot on your landscape,

0:31:360:31:39

but up in the Pennines, they embrace them.

0:31:390:31:42

Well, if you can't beat them, you may as well eat them.

0:31:420:31:45

BLEATING

0:31:500:31:52

At this time of year,

0:31:520:31:53

there are plenty of exciting new arrivals on Adam's farm

0:31:530:31:56

but he's about to receive a delivery that's really creating a buzz.

0:31:560:32:00

The recent warm weather has been absolutely glorious

0:32:090:32:12

but for my spring barley that was planted about three weeks ago,

0:32:120:32:15

it's starting to suffer.

0:32:150:32:17

What it needs is moisture.

0:32:170:32:19

But one of my other crops

0:32:190:32:21

that's had absolutely spectacular growth is my oilseed rape.

0:32:210:32:26

Over the last month, it's grown about two foot.

0:32:260:32:30

It's really romped away.

0:32:300:32:33

And if we can get some rain on it,

0:32:330:32:34

potentially this could be a bumper crop.

0:32:340:32:37

It won't be long now before over a million acres of land

0:32:400:32:43

right across the country will turn bright yellow,

0:32:430:32:45

transforming the landscape.

0:32:450:32:47

What we're after when we harvest this crop is lots of rapeseed.

0:32:490:32:53

And those are little tiny black seeds that are then crushed

0:32:530:32:56

and the oil is extracted to make margarine and cooking oil.

0:32:560:33:00

Each of these flowers forms a pod

0:33:000:33:03

and inside the pod are the little seeds that we're after.

0:33:030:33:06

So the key to a high-yielding crop is good pollination.

0:33:060:33:10

And to help, I've employed some workers. Thousands of them.

0:33:110:33:15

'I've invited local beekeeper Chris

0:33:160:33:18

'to put his bees on my farm for the next few weeks.

0:33:180:33:22

'Hopefully, they'll help pollinate my oilseed rape.

0:33:220:33:25

'I'm a bit apprehensive, though, cos whilst I like bees,

0:33:250:33:27

'they don't like me.'

0:33:270:33:28

-How are you?

-Very well, Adam.

-Good to see you.

0:33:280:33:31

Are your bees nice and secure? Cos I'm very allergic to bee stings.

0:33:310:33:34

Yes, at the moment you should be absolutely fine.

0:33:340:33:36

-They're all locked away, no problem at all.

-Great.

0:33:360:33:39

-Is this a good spot for them?

-It is a good spot for them.

0:33:390:33:41

We're slightly down in a gully so it should miss the wind a little bit

0:33:410:33:44

and we're south-facing, which the bees seem to like.

0:33:440:33:47

Oilseed rape needs insects to pollinate the flowers

0:33:470:33:49

-and the bees will help with that, won't they?

-They will indeed.

0:33:490:33:53

What you'll be looking at is an 8% to 10% increase in your yield.

0:33:530:33:57

What it will give you is a better seed set in each pod.

0:33:570:34:00

It will give you a shorter flowering period,

0:34:000:34:02

so when you actually come to crop, it'll all be ripe and ready to go.

0:34:020:34:05

Wonderful. And how many have you got with you today?

0:34:050:34:08

I've got ten hives here at the moment.

0:34:080:34:10

How many bees will that add up to?

0:34:100:34:13

-You're looking at around about 15,000 to 20,000 in each hive.

-Goodness me.

0:34:130:34:17

So we're going to have 200,000 bees flying around?

0:34:170:34:19

And slowly getting more and more by each week as well.

0:34:190:34:22

By the time the oilseed rape is finished,

0:34:220:34:24

I would think there would be something in the region

0:34:240:34:27

-of about 50,000 to 60,000 in each box.

-Goodness me.

0:34:270:34:29

I'll let you unload them

0:34:290:34:30

but I'll put on a bee suit and go and stand about a mile away!

0:34:300:34:33

Yeah, no problem at all.

0:34:330:34:34

I make a sharp exit

0:34:370:34:39

whilst James gets to work setting up the beehives.

0:34:390:34:42

It's a great deal for both of us.

0:34:420:34:44

My crop gets well pollinated and James gets the honey.

0:34:440:34:48

It's quite exciting having all these bees.

0:34:510:34:54

Despite being allergic to them, I'm not really scared of them,

0:34:540:34:58

I just swell up if I get stung.

0:34:580:35:01

You seem to be very brave, James, working with no gloves.

0:35:030:35:08

I think, just over the years, I've just got used to it, you know?

0:35:080:35:12

Tough hands, I suppose. JAMES STRAINS

0:35:120:35:14

It sounds like they're quite heavy.

0:35:140:35:16

I would usually come and get stuck in and give you a hand,

0:35:160:35:19

but, obviously, with the bees, it's a bit dodgy.

0:35:190:35:21

-JAMES LAUGHS

-I love honey.

0:35:210:35:24

HE STRAINS

0:35:240:35:26

-Beautiful. All done.

-Great. So what's the plan now, then?

0:35:280:35:33

I think if we leave them for half an hour,

0:35:330:35:35

just to settle down from being bumped around a bit on the journey up here,

0:35:350:35:38

then it's let them out and start work, I think.

0:35:380:35:42

-OK. I'll meet you round the other side.

-OK.

0:35:420:35:46

-We going to have a bit of lunch and then come back.

-No problem.

0:35:460:35:50

Half an hour later and the bees are more settled. Or so James says.

0:35:510:35:55

Hopefully, we can go and release them.

0:35:570:35:59

If you want to stay here -

0:35:590:36:00

I'd say it's probably the best thing for you -

0:36:000:36:02

I'll go down and open them up and see what comes.

0:36:020:36:04

-I'll watch you at your work.

-Thanks.

0:36:040:36:06

-You ready, Adam?

-Yeah.

-The grand entrance.

0:36:080:36:13

I hope they don't let us down.

0:36:130:36:14

Well, these are all the foraging bees coming out now.

0:36:160:36:19

They'll orientate themselves to that hive...

0:36:190:36:21

..and then give it sort of half an hour and they'll be off to work.

0:36:220:36:26

-So when you open them up, do they get a bit angry?

-Yeah, a little bit.

0:36:260:36:30

I've got a few bees buzzing round me at the moment,

0:36:300:36:33

but it's nothing too much, to be honest with you.

0:36:330:36:36

Did you just get stung in a very sensitive place?

0:36:370:36:40

Very close to being stung in a sensitive place!

0:36:400:36:43

On the inside of the leg.

0:36:430:36:44

But it was through the jeans so it didn't hurt too much.

0:36:440:36:47

So what have you got there?

0:36:560:36:58

Just to let people know that there's bees working,

0:36:580:37:00

and if anyone is allergic to them, it just gives them a heads-up

0:37:000:37:05

-and probably tells them to move on a little bit.

-Yeah.

0:37:050:37:08

I reckon there's one last thing.

0:37:080:37:10

-We need to taste a bit of honey, don't we?

-Yeah, I think we do.

0:37:100:37:12

-Have you got some?

-Yeah.

0:37:120:37:14

See if you like this.

0:37:140:37:16

This is honey the bees made last year from oilseed rape.

0:37:160:37:20

-See if you like it. There's a spoon here.

-Yeah.

0:37:200:37:23

Mmm.

0:37:280:37:30

-A very distinct flavour.

-It is, yeah.

0:37:300:37:32

You will get different flavours

0:37:320:37:33

from different crops the bees have been feeding on.

0:37:330:37:36

I like it. I do enjoy honey.

0:37:360:37:38

How do you know whether the bees are doing a good job?

0:37:380:37:40

Well, there's a couple of ways.

0:37:400:37:42

One, you'll see my hives getting taller,

0:37:420:37:44

where I keep adding supers to them.

0:37:440:37:46

That means they keep filling them up and they're full of honey.

0:37:460:37:49

Another way is sort of comparing this crop of oilseed rape here

0:37:490:37:53

to your crop a couple of miles away,

0:37:530:37:56

and you can see which one has done better.

0:37:560:37:58

-Hopefully, they'll do their work.

-Let's hope so.

0:37:580:38:01

Let's have another dip of that honey.

0:38:010:38:03

It'll be fascinating to find out

0:38:060:38:08

if the bees make a difference to my rapeseed.

0:38:080:38:12

The bees aren't the only recent delivery on the farm.

0:38:120:38:15

Lambing is in full flow.

0:38:150:38:16

BLEATING

0:38:160:38:18

These are my more primitive and hill breeds.

0:38:180:38:20

They are very, very hardy and wonderful mothers.

0:38:200:38:23

We let them lamb out in this little paddock

0:38:230:38:26

but we keep an eye on them, come round them two or three times a day.

0:38:260:38:30

They have tiny little lambs and hardly ever need any help.

0:38:300:38:33

We've got the Herdwicks here with the white faces.

0:38:330:38:36

And then these brown ones that look like deer are Castlemilk Moorits.

0:38:360:38:40

Looks like we've got some newborns in the corner here.

0:38:400:38:43

That was born yesterday. This was yesterday's too.

0:38:430:38:47

It's already been marked up. I'll see if I can catch it.

0:38:470:38:49

Come on, missus, let's get a little look at your lamb.

0:38:500:38:53

The little Herdwick lambs are so sweet,

0:38:590:39:03

and their wool is really wiry and thick.

0:39:030:39:08

And so that's why this is the only breed that can really survive

0:39:080:39:12

the harsh conditions of the Lakeland fells.

0:39:120:39:15

A great mother, there.

0:39:160:39:18

An amazing bond there between the ewe and the lamb.

0:39:230:39:26

She sniffed it over to make sure it's OK

0:39:260:39:29

and now she's walking it away from us to keep it safe.

0:39:290:39:32

A really lovely sight.

0:39:330:39:35

With the sheep tended to,

0:39:370:39:38

it's time to turn my attention to a crop my livestock rely on.

0:39:380:39:42

Sometimes we take grass for granted, but not today.

0:39:420:39:46

We think about our soil quite often with our arable crops,

0:39:470:39:50

but less so, really, in our grass.

0:39:500:39:52

Cos there's grass growing on top of the soil all the time,

0:39:520:39:55

unless you reseed, you don't really churn it up.

0:39:550:39:57

And what's happened over the years in these permanent pasture fields

0:39:570:40:01

is that the soil has become compacted.

0:40:010:40:03

And so what we're doing with this sward slitter,

0:40:030:40:05

it's spiking the ground and shattering the soil beneath it

0:40:050:40:09

so the worms can get through the soil

0:40:090:40:11

and the roots can then forage for nutrients

0:40:110:40:14

and hopefully make the grass grow better.

0:40:140:40:17

Just coming up to the end of the run here. Spin it round.

0:40:170:40:22

These modern-day tractors have got amazing technology on board.

0:40:230:40:26

It's got a computer and it's run by satellite navigation -

0:40:260:40:30

it knows exactly where it is in the field.

0:40:300:40:32

We've plugged into the computer the width of the machine we're towing

0:40:320:40:36

and it works out the most efficient way of covering the whole field,

0:40:360:40:40

without overlapping any, and without missing any.

0:40:400:40:43

And it's self-steering as well. It's doing it on its own.

0:40:430:40:47

And I just sit here, hands-free.

0:40:470:40:49

And then, out of the blue, something that's heaven sent.

0:40:540:40:57

RAIN PATTERS

0:40:570:40:59

Well, the weather's turned and it's finally started raining,

0:40:590:41:03

which isn't great for bees, but for my crops, it's great news,

0:41:030:41:07

and not a moment too soon.

0:41:070:41:09

Next week, I'm off to meet a very famous neighbour...

0:41:100:41:13

of the four-legged kind.

0:41:130:41:15

CROW CAWS

0:41:170:41:19

Evil, magic, and demonic rituals.

0:41:220:41:26

The story of the Pendle witch trials here in the Pennines

0:41:260:41:28

has the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster.

0:41:280:41:31

But it isn't just fantasy,

0:41:320:41:34

it's a harrowing account of real-life events

0:41:340:41:37

that happened here exactly 400 years ago,

0:41:370:41:40

in what would become the most famous witch trials in English history.

0:41:400:41:45

John Bulcock.

0:41:470:41:49

Alice Nutter.

0:41:490:41:51

Anne Whittle, but Chattox is what they call me.

0:41:510:41:54

Jane Bulcock.

0:41:540:41:57

Those are the names of some of the accused,

0:41:580:42:00

all locals from Pendle,

0:42:000:42:02

who were rounded up and charged with being witches.

0:42:020:42:05

We may not believe in witches any more but what they represent

0:42:100:42:13

still invokes a sense of fear in some of us.

0:42:130:42:17

And 400 years ago, the kingdom was rife with suspicion about them.

0:42:170:42:22

The year was 1612 and King James I was ruler of England and Ireland.

0:42:240:42:29

A Protestant king, he had been raised with a fear of Catholicism

0:42:290:42:33

and all those practising the old ways.

0:42:330:42:35

There was a widespread fear of witchcraft,

0:42:350:42:38

and in an effort to stamp it out, he had written Daemonologie,

0:42:380:42:42

a bible for witch-hunters,

0:42:420:42:43

which ordered the execution of any known witches.

0:42:430:42:47

'To find out how a major witch-hunt came to happen in Pendle,

0:42:470:42:50

'I'm meeting up with a man who knows all about the area's dark past.'

0:42:500:42:54

Simon, we're sat underneath the brooding Pendle Hill

0:42:540:42:57

that sets our scene.

0:42:570:42:59

What was it about this area that attracted witch-hunting?

0:42:590:43:02

Well, Lancashire at that period of time was a very isolated county

0:43:020:43:06

and it was also a very, very strong Catholic county

0:43:060:43:10

and viewed with some suspicion by the king himself.

0:43:100:43:13

The actual witches really lived

0:43:130:43:15

beneath the shadow of Pendle Hill in isolation, away from occupied areas.

0:43:150:43:20

Did he have some fear...?

0:43:200:43:22

Was there a connection with Catholics and witches?

0:43:220:43:25

Well, there was certainly a feeling

0:43:250:43:27

towards Catholicism and witches being somehow connected,

0:43:270:43:32

being feared, if you will, being feared.

0:43:320:43:34

So what was it that led to the Pendle witch trials?

0:43:340:43:36

Well, this all took place on the 18th March 1612,

0:43:360:43:40

when young Alison Device had a walk along the foothills of Pendle

0:43:400:43:44

and had the misfortune of meeting a peddler from Halifax called John Law.

0:43:440:43:48

She begged, "Just a few pins, sir. Just a few pins."

0:43:480:43:51

"Be away with you."

0:43:510:43:52

All of a sudden, this large black dog came from nowhere

0:43:520:43:56

and sat next to Alison and the dog talked.

0:43:560:43:59

"Alison, shall I lame him for you?" "Lame him!"

0:43:590:44:01

All of a sudden, Law fell to the floor and found, to his horror,

0:44:010:44:04

he was completely paralysed on his left side.

0:44:040:44:07

Left arm, left leg - completely useless.

0:44:070:44:09

-So nowadays, that would be a stroke?

-That's quite correct.

0:44:090:44:12

But in those days, it was witchcraft.

0:44:120:44:14

Full of contrition,

0:44:150:44:16

Alison Device confessed to having cursed the peddler.

0:44:160:44:20

The incident opened a can of worms

0:44:200:44:22

which led to the arrest of all her family,

0:44:220:44:24

who were also accused of being witches.

0:44:240:44:27

Along with others, they were taken to the court at Lancaster Castle,

0:44:270:44:32

which today still serves as a working court.

0:44:320:44:35

It is amazing to think

0:44:360:44:38

that those trials took place 400 years ago in this building,

0:44:380:44:42

and it's in the court where things took a shocking turn.

0:44:420:44:45

The accused were brought before the magistrate

0:44:450:44:48

and charged with several counts of witchcraft.

0:44:480:44:51

Some of them denied those charges,

0:44:510:44:53

but it was when nine-year-old Jennet Device,

0:44:530:44:56

Alison's younger sister,

0:44:560:44:57

was brought into the court that their fates became sealed.

0:44:570:44:59

It's said that young Jennet Device stood on a desk

0:45:010:45:04

and calmly denounced her whole family

0:45:040:45:06

and others that she knew to be witches.

0:45:060:45:09

And it was this single testimony that led to ten convictions.

0:45:090:45:13

The trial lasted just two days and led to a public execution,

0:45:140:45:19

possibly with young Jennet Device watching from the crowd.

0:45:190:45:22

The Pendle witch trials were significant

0:45:220:45:25

because this was the first known case

0:45:250:45:27

in which a child had been a star witness in court.

0:45:270:45:29

'Today we can only wonder

0:45:290:45:31

'what led young Jennet to turn in her whole family.'

0:45:310:45:34

I think she was looked after by the local magistrates,

0:45:340:45:38

given special privileges, and as a result,

0:45:380:45:41

she incriminated her grandmother, her mother, her brother, and sister.

0:45:410:45:45

She was essentially bribed, really.

0:45:450:45:48

I think she was really well looked after by the local magistrates

0:45:480:45:51

-who wanted to curry favour with the king.

-Right, I see.

0:45:510:45:53

And what sort of things were they accused of doing?

0:45:530:45:56

Of making clay effigies of people,

0:45:560:45:59

of crumbling them and people dying mysteriously.

0:45:590:46:02

Also, items were taken from this very churchyard, such as human teeth.

0:46:020:46:06

They didn't realise what they were doing was a state capital offence.

0:46:060:46:10

Coming from this part of the world, out in the wilderness

0:46:100:46:13

and then being thrown into a court in Lancaster

0:46:130:46:15

would have been like going to New York.

0:46:150:46:17

'So was the outcome of the Pendle witch trials

0:46:170:46:20

'one of the greatest miscarriages of justice?

0:46:200:46:23

'Local playwright Richard MacSween certainly thinks so.

0:46:240:46:27

'His recent production, Devilish Practices, is based on the trials.'

0:46:270:46:31

Me Mam is a witch, because I've seen a brown dog, what she calls Ball,

0:46:320:46:36

come to our house. And one time Ball asked me mam,

0:46:360:46:39

he asked it even though he's a dog, what she wants doing.

0:46:390:46:43

Mam says kill John Robinson and John Robinson went and died.

0:46:430:46:47

'I've caught up with Richard and his cast during rehearsals.'

0:46:470:46:50

Richard, how do you go about writing a play on this subject?

0:46:500:46:53

What have you got to go on?

0:46:530:46:55

You have to start, I think, with the account we have of the trial,

0:46:550:46:58

which was produced by somebody called Thomas Potts.

0:46:580:47:00

Thomas Potts was the clerk of the court

0:47:000:47:02

and he wrote down his account of it, which is something we can use.

0:47:020:47:07

The trouble with it is it's totally unreliable.

0:47:070:47:09

He wrote it under the instructions of the judges of the trial

0:47:090:47:13

in order to explain what a wonderful and fair justice system they had

0:47:130:47:17

so it had its own agenda.

0:47:170:47:19

-He heard what he wanted.

-Thomas Potts.

0:47:190:47:22

Stole our voices, made us say what he wanted us to say.

0:47:220:47:26

And blackened our names.

0:47:260:47:28

We've got pressure coming from two angles - from the local magistrate,

0:47:280:47:31

and the other pressure is coming from neighbours,

0:47:310:47:34

ordinary people who are under great economic pressure.

0:47:340:47:37

People are very poor at this time, there's a lot of begging going on,

0:47:370:47:41

people are really at subsistence level,

0:47:410:47:44

and they are going round pestering their neighbours, perhaps,

0:47:440:47:47

who are getting upset, who then start making allegations.

0:47:470:47:51

My baby died. The second one.

0:47:510:47:54

My child went sick. Was it them?

0:47:540:47:57

Well, it must be. There's no other reason.

0:47:570:48:00

ALL: Them.

0:48:000:48:02

I think it's a mistake if people look back and just say,

0:48:020:48:04

"Weren't they silly superstitious people back then?"

0:48:040:48:07

There were superstitions then,

0:48:070:48:09

there are still lots of illogical kinds of behaviour now,

0:48:090:48:12

so, I mean, I hope we learn from it and move on.

0:48:120:48:14

In a moment, Matt will be putting his balancing skills to the test

0:48:200:48:23

when he has a go at extreme mountain biking,

0:48:230:48:26

but if you're thinking of heading out on two wheels,

0:48:260:48:28

you'll want to know the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.

0:48:280:48:32

.

0:49:500:49:57

Brooding moors and impressive rocky outcrops -

0:50:110:50:14

the Pennines landscape provide a challenging backdrop

0:50:140:50:17

for any walker or cyclist.

0:50:170:50:19

And I'm off to meet a guy who likes to embrace the landscape

0:50:190:50:22

whatever the weather with full force.

0:50:220:50:25

Extreme sports fans amongst you will recognise the name Chris Akrigg -

0:50:270:50:32

a six-time National Bike Trial champion

0:50:320:50:35

and all-round superhuman

0:50:350:50:36

in the world of professional mountain biking.

0:50:360:50:39

Yorkshire-born and bred,

0:50:390:50:41

Chris likes nothing more than thrashing around at breakneck speed

0:50:410:50:44

and generally white-knuckling his way around the Pennines.

0:50:440:50:47

So, Chris, we're moving from the flatter land,

0:50:490:50:51

something I'm very comfortable and confident with,

0:50:510:50:54

to something that you're obviously very, very at home with.

0:50:540:50:58

This gritstone crag, it looks unbelievable.

0:50:580:51:00

This is where we want to be. A bit more fun. A little bit more exciting.

0:51:000:51:04

And when you arrive somewhere like this,

0:51:040:51:06

are you just constantly looking at it, analysing it,

0:51:060:51:09

thinking, "What can I do here?"

0:51:090:51:10

Yeah, I think it's just something that's been programmed into me.

0:51:100:51:13

No matter where I am, if I'm out shopping, driving the car,

0:51:130:51:16

out walking the dog past stuff like this,

0:51:160:51:17

I'm just constantly looking for the next obstacle,

0:51:170:51:20

-the next big thing, really.

-Obviously now you're all over the internet

0:51:200:51:23

doing this incredible stuff,

0:51:230:51:24

you must be very proud to put Yorkshire on the world map?

0:51:240:51:28

Absolutely. It's such a unique landscape.

0:51:280:51:31

It does stand out against other videos.

0:51:310:51:34

OK, well, I'm sure you can teach me

0:51:340:51:35

a few little tricks over some of the easier stuff.

0:51:350:51:38

We'll maybe start with the pebbles and then go over a few stones

0:51:380:51:41

-and then see where we get to from there.

-Excellent. Let's go.

0:51:410:51:43

So what you want to do, you're trying to get your front wheel up

0:51:530:51:56

and then transfer your weight from your back to your front.

0:51:560:52:00

So you're almost like doing an endo.

0:52:000:52:02

Oh, yeah, you're flying up.

0:52:040:52:06

-Go on.

-Oh, he's there!

0:52:080:52:09

Go on, then, Chris, let's have a look and see how the expert does it.

0:52:110:52:15

-Oh, look at that!

-Just about made it.

0:52:190:52:22

Madness. It didn't even look like you had an obstacle there.

0:52:230:52:27

'Well, I've quite a way to go before I'm at Chris' level.

0:52:270:52:30

'Yorkshire truly is his playground.

0:52:300:52:32

'Every rock and crag has stunt potential.

0:52:320:52:35

'But even a six-times champion takes a tumble sometimes.'

0:52:350:52:39

-So this is the spot. The rock of doom.

-Right.

0:52:410:52:44

And what were you aiming to do here, then? And what happened?

0:52:440:52:47

I was basically trying to jump from this rock there onto that one

0:52:470:52:50

and then just ride round the back of it, out of shot.

0:52:500:52:53

And obviously, with the backdrop, which you can't see today,

0:52:530:52:56

it would have been an amazing end to a little video that we were making.

0:52:560:53:01

-You've got the footage, then?

-Yeah.

-Let's have a look.

0:53:010:53:03

-So I did have a couple of early attempts.

-Yeah.

0:53:030:53:08

You're checking it out there, then.

0:53:080:53:10

-I'd been here, as well, a couple of times.

-It's a massive jump.

0:53:100:53:14

-Oh, my word!

-There's plenty of grass, which I was lucky to land on.

0:53:140:53:18

And this is the actual... This is the crash.

0:53:180:53:22

Oh, my goodness me!

0:53:220:53:25

-And then you just tumble all the way down.

-Yeah.

0:53:250:53:27

-< You all right, Chris?

-Ambulance!

0:53:270:53:29

Thankfully, Chris wasn't alone. His mate was with him filming.

0:53:290:53:33

It's not good.

0:53:340:53:37

I think this is going to be the start of a long...

0:53:370:53:40

..painful road, but, you know...

0:53:440:53:46

I reached a limit, I think.

0:53:480:53:49

Done.

0:53:520:53:53

The Yorkshire air ambulance was straight on to the rescue

0:54:000:54:03

but this was one performance on camera Chris wasn't expecting.

0:54:030:54:07

The BBC Helicopter Heroes show that follows the air ambulance

0:54:070:54:09

captured his ordeal on their cameras.

0:54:090:54:11

What happened?

0:54:120:54:13

'It was immediately obvious that Chris' leg was not just broken.

0:54:130:54:17

'His whole femur was shattered.'

0:54:170:54:19

OK, mate, take a deep breath for me.

0:54:190:54:22

-That give you any pain? Any pain here in your ribs?

-No.

0:54:220:54:25

No pain here in your chest?

0:54:250:54:26

'Paramedic Daz feared segments of bone

0:54:260:54:28

'could cause severe internal bleeding.

0:54:280:54:31

'The swift actions of the air ambulance got Chris to hospital,

0:54:310:54:34

'and after some heavy-duty pinning and some slow and steady physio,

0:54:340:54:38

'Chris is well on the road to recovery.'

0:54:380:54:41

How do you feel when you look back at that now?

0:54:410:54:44

Initially, when I saw the footage -

0:54:440:54:45

-obviously it's going to bring a little bit of emotion back.

-Yeah.

0:54:450:54:48

But now, you know, it's nearly a year ago now and I'm back on my bike

0:54:480:54:52

and I don't feel anything for it.

0:54:520:54:55

I'm not going to jump back on and try it again.

0:54:550:54:57

-I've put that one to bed quite early, really.

-Yeah.

0:54:570:55:00

You don't fancy having a go, then? MATT LAUGHS

0:55:000:55:03

I think that's just a little bit too wide,

0:55:030:55:05

that gap, for me, at the moment.

0:55:050:55:08

It's nearly a year to the day since these guys came to Chris' rescue.

0:55:150:55:18

And since they're in the area on a training exercise,

0:55:180:55:20

it's the perfect opportunity for a catch-up.

0:55:200:55:23

-Daz, how are you doing? All right?

-How are you?

0:55:250:55:28

I've been up here with a mate of yours today

0:55:280:55:30

and I'm sure you're going to be pleased

0:55:300:55:32

to see him back on his feet, or even back on his bike.

0:55:320:55:35

-Here he comes.

-How are you doing?

0:55:350:55:37

I recognise that face. And that leg.

0:55:370:55:39

-How are you doing, you OK?

-Amazing.

-Better circumstances this time.

0:55:390:55:44

Yeah, you're stood up and riding your bike,

0:55:440:55:47

which is amazing to see, really.

0:55:470:55:49

-What do you remember of Daz?

-Not so much, really.

0:55:490:55:51

I remember him slipping down the bank to come and meet me at the bottom

0:55:510:55:56

and all the way through, a really good sense of humour

0:55:560:55:59

and kept morale pretty high all the way through, actually.

0:55:590:56:02

I might have a bit of something for you, mate. Just hang on one second.

0:56:020:56:05

-A do-it-yourself leg injury kit.

-THEY LAUGH

0:56:050:56:10

Don't use it all at once, will you?

0:56:100:56:12

Brilliant. Chris, all the very best, mate. Good luck with the recovery.

0:56:120:56:16

Hope it goes well. I'm sure it will. Cheers, lads.

0:56:160:56:19

-Nice to meet you.

-I'll leave you to catch up.

0:56:190:56:20

Well, that's all we've got time for from the South Pennines.

0:56:200:56:23

Next week, Ellie will be in Hampshire,

0:56:230:56:25

taking a trip down memory lane

0:56:250:56:27

of some of our favourite Countryfile journeys. Hope you can join us then.

0:56:270:56:31

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:56:530:56:56

Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to the South Pennines, where old rivals Yorkshire and Lancashire collide. It is also home to the Pennine Way, which runs through the backbone of England. Ellie takes in part of the Pennine Way with local poet Simon Armitage. Meanwhile, Matt uses two wheels for some extreme mountain biking.

Elsewhere, Tom Heap investigates the controversy surrounding onshore wind turbines. Down on the farm, Adam is taking delivery of thousands of new workers. He is hoping the honey bee will help pollinate his fields of oil seed rape.


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