Countryfile visits the Norfolk coast for a seasonal spectacle. Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury are at the RSPB bird reserve at Snettisham, while John Craven visits a Bristol farm.
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The flatlands of Norfolk's coastal plain,
with its glistening estuary and fertile fields
that stretch on to the horizon.
This vast and empty landscape can look bleak,
but for tens of thousands of tired and hungry migrants,
-it's a sanctuary.
-Yes, we're on the look out
for one of the UK's greatest wildlife spectacles,
when, hopefully, the skies will fill with flocks of beautiful geese.
-You feeling lucky?
And it isn't just geese that are thriving here. I'll be on the beach,
because it's the height of the seal pupping season.
So, with glorious views and wonderful wildlife,
why wouldn't you want to venture into the great outdoors?
Well, Tom will be discovering why our countryside
doesn't always seem so welcoming to ethnic minorities.
In your family and your community,
is there much appetite for getting into the countryside?
In my family and the community, the appetite is not great at all.
And on the farm, as the seasons change,
Adam's calves are ready to move on.
There's lots of jobs to do at this time of year, in the winter,
and one of them is weaning the calves, taking them away
from their mothers, cos they no longer rely on their mother's milk
and so they're off to the winter housing.
Come on, then.
Where the sky and water meet in one endless sweep.
This stretch of the coast is a winter haven for wildlife
and is dotted with nature reserves.
We're heading to Snettisham, to see the geese and the waders,
which are a real feature of this landscape at this time of year.
This area attracts an array of migrants all year round,
but I'm on the trail of one particular winter spectacle
and I'm told an early bird catches the worm, hence the dark start.
I'm on a hunt for pink-footed geese.
We'll be following them throughout the day
as they come off the estuary to feed on the fields
and then return to their roosts at dusk.
Helping us in our quest
is Autumnwatch cameraman Richard Taylor-Jones.
Long before dawn, he set out to film the huge flocks
as they left their night-time roosts on the estuary.
Wow! That's lovely!
They are all beginning to get up and go now
in small squadrons of maybe 300 or 400.
These geese sort of spent a good sort of ten hours, probably,
on the estuary, getting cold and hungry,
so it's not surprising that the moment there's a glimpse of light,
they want to be up in the air and off to feed.
And I'm hot on their trail, too.
My job is to find out which fields they'll be feeding on today.
The key to my mission is
local farmer and wildlife enthusiast David Lyles.
-Good morning, Julia.
-Alarm went off on time?
Oh, dear me, why are we here so early?
-Well, there's no mountains in Norfolk.
-I know that!
We've got the odd molehill and this is one of the best places
to watch the geese coming off the marsh
and, hopefully, they're going to fly through this valley
and the wind is strong enough to keep them fairly low this morning, so...
-And how confident are you?
And why are they heading in this direction?
Well, they're looking for food
and their primary food at this time of year is sugar beet.
And there are plenty of sugar beet fields in the area?
There are plenty of sugar beet.
About 70% of sugar beet in the UK is grown in this fertile region.
-So geese have a sweet tooth?
-They certainly do.
Back in September, they arrive and have this uncanny knack
of working out when the sugar beet factory's going to open.
-They've set their clocks?
-Yeah, they set their clocks.
The goose clock is for sugar. THEY LAUGH
Looking at the distance there,
-you can just see them coming over the top of the trees.
Thousands of them!
What a lovely sight!
-These are big gaggles coming through now.
-They certainly are.
Well, they've built up to probably their maximum point now.
Lovely shapes in the sky. It's a perfect sky for them, isn't it?
It was almost worth getting up early for, David.
Well, I'm pleased for that.
And how do the farmers feel about all of this?
As long as they stay on the sugar beet, they're quite happy.
The only time there's conflict is when, unfortunately,
they get disturbed from time to time and then they go on to other crops.
Crops of wheat, barley, where they're going to cause damage.
But if they stay on the sugar beet tops, after harvest, they're welcome.
With the sun up, and the last few geese flying by,
it's time to think about where they're heading.
Right, where are we?
-This is where we are. It's called Beacon Hill.
This is my farm. And these are some of the fields
that I looked at in the last couple of days,
where sugar beet harvesting is taking place and there's a chance
we might catch up with some of the geese we saw this morning.
The first field on our list
had thousands of geese grazing on it last week.
I have a feeling that they've finished working there and the farmer
could've even cleared the field or started to plough it,
-but it's worth just having a look.
-Just double checking.
-Just worth a look to see whether there was any.
-Yeah, just hopeful.
-Not a sausage.
No good, I think we'd better press on to the next one.
It's not long before we have a bit more luck.
-This is about as close as I think we're going to get.
They are skittish, aren't they?
-If you look over there, you'll see them just getting up.
The flock have look-outs,
which warn the feeding geese of any dangers.
It doesn't look as if this lot are quite settled yet,
but at least I'm edging a little bit nearer.
Well, this is as close as we're going to get in a vehicle.
Hopefully, later on with Richard,
I will actually get to see a pink foot.
Now, Britain prides itself on its cultural diversity,
but head out into the countryside
and that diversity rapidly starts to disappear.
Tom's been finding out why.
Britain's green and pleasant land, free for everyone to enjoy.
But not everyone does.
Britain is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.
According to the census results published last week,
14% of our population is from an ethnic minority.
Our city streets are buzzing with different nationalities.
And yet, out here, it feels a bit like whites only.
It's estimated only 1% of visitors to the countryside
are black or Asian.
So why is that?
Pammy Johal has spent the last 18 years working
to get more minority groups into the great outdoors.
We last met Pammy on Countryfile in the year 2000.
I took a group of ten black women, Asian, African, Caribbean women,
and it was a beautiful day, taking them up Coniston Old Man,
and, um, there was probably about 20 other people out there
and everybody, everybody's heads turned,
cos they're just not used to seeing black people, you know,
Asian, African people up in the hills, you know, on the hillside.
12 years on, has anything changed?
Well, more people are getting out into the countryside,
but we still have a fair amount of work to do, you know.
There's still huge amounts of our community that just
-don't even know that THIS exists.
-Why does it matter?
Och, what do you mean, "Why does it matter?"
For heaven's sake, look out here and I said it years ago,
if I asked you, why do you do the work that you do in the country,
-why do you do it?
-Cos I enjoy it.
-And what else does it do to you?
-It gives me fun and health and all those kind of things.
So why shouldn't everybody in Britain have that opportunity?
Well, that's told me! Pammy decided to buck the trend.
She moved to the Scottish countryside
and felt so strongly about the issue that she started training people
from ethnic minorities to become countryside pioneers.
Don't be afraid to say you don't understand,
that's absolutely key, cos you know what we're like. We're pretty good
at going, "I don't want to look like a daft idiot here," right?
-I actually want to know my stuff,
cos when you go back out in the community, you're going to be good.
By the end of the training, Pammy hopes the group will take
their country know-how back to their friends and family.
-OK, the grid reference for the visitors' centre is 313...
-Perfect, great. That's great.
So why is this such an unusual sight? Let's catch up and find out.
Today, Bongayi is leading a big trip.
She first ventured out to the countryside
at the beginning of this year.
In your family, in your community,
is there much appetite for getting into the countryside?
The appetite is not great at all.
The majority of us, where we come from,
we do have the woodlands, we do have the countryside,
and we utilise it, but I think, people, when they come back here,
they tend to forget that it's still...
it's still something that they can still continue.
So why don't more black or Asian people use the countryside?
Everyone's got their reasons. It's hard to generalise.
But in her time working with different communities,
Pammy's noticed some common themes.
In the work you've done looking at access of ethnic minorities
to the countryside, what have you found are some of the blocks?
They're surprisingly very simple.
Not knowing that this place even exists.
Not having the confidence to drive on single-track roads,
not having the confidence to go to visitors' centres,
maybe not even having the language, the English language,
to be able to ask the right questions.
Transport, whether it's cost issues.
'So, although there are some cultural motives
'for many black and Asian people not visiting the countryside,
'most reasons could apply to us all.
'But I have to ask - is the countryside
'simply more unwelcoming to people who aren't white?'
Do you know what we've got here is we've got people that are different,
so, when we come out into the countryside,
yes, we definitely do get people looking and staring,
cos it's usually a group of us,
and those perceptions can be, people can perceive that -
that's from our group - and saying, "Oh, God, they're being racist!"
-Or it could be, actually, they're being curious.
So what we do, and you'll notice when out and about with us today,
is we laugh, we shout, we bawl, we talk to people.
And I think that breaking that barrier is what we're all about.
Pammy's not alone in running schemes like this.
In England and Wales, the Campaign for National Parks
has been training up its own champions
to encourage more black and Asian people to visit.
In ten years, Project Mosaic
has introduced over 9,000 new people to the countryside,
but the funding for the English scheme has now come to an end.
'Back in Scotland, has Pammy managed
'to convert her group of urbanites into nature lovers?'
And what did you think of today?
Today, it was a bit nippy...
-..as the Scottish would say.
But, um, I did enjoy...
I did really enjoy, um, the walks, um...
I've been trying to raise, like, an awareness
to my fellow Africans here to get out and about.
It's good for you, it's good for your health.
-And it's fun, too?
Are you sure you're not just saying that, because Pammy's here?
LAUGHTER Come on!
Pammy's tactics certainly seem to be working.
But there's more to be done.
One way for minority groups to feel more at home in the countryside
is if they actually set up home in the countryside
and lived and worked here. So what's it like for the few that already do?
I'll be finding out later.
Today, Julia and I are exploring the North Norfolk coast,
a land where the winter light turns the familiar into fairytale.
This part of the country is special
for more than just beautiful scenery.
It's home to the very first Wildlife Trust reserve, Cley Marshes,
a place that became a blueprint for nature conservation
right across the British Isles.
And even in the 1970s, the reserve was attracting TV attention.
This is where it all began.
400 acres of bleak windswept marshes on the North Norfolk coast at Cley.
Fashion may have moved on a bit, but some things haven't changed.
This is one of the best places in the whole country
to come bird watching. It's full of freshwater marshes
and brackish pools that the birds absolutely love.
But all of this bleak beauty and perfect habitat
that brings the birds and the tourists is no accident.
It's down to a group of very special people
and I am on my way to meet a bit of a living legend in these parts.
Bernard Bishop was born and raised here.
He's the third generation of the Bishop family to be a warden on the marshes.
And it's no coincidence that his shed looks like a bird hide.
I'm pleased we didn't come on Monday.
-Now then, Bernard.
-How are you doing?
-Good to see you.
Nice to see you, too. This is a bonny shed, isn't it?
-It feels like it's seen a bit of history.
-It has seen a little bit.
This was the first hut that we had built here to sell tickets from
-and I turned it into my tinkering shed.
-Yeah, it is great.
Where I keep all my gear and bits and pieces and whatever we got.
Lots of people will find this quite hard to believe,
but a lot of shooting went on here, didn't it,
before it became a protected site?
This time of the year, and in the springtime,
people would come here and shoot everything that moved,
in the hope of shooting a rare bird
and there was a famous saying in those days and that was,
"What's missed is mystery and what's hit is history."
So how did this transition come about, then, from this place
being a shooting ground to it being a protected reserve?
-It changed in 1966 and shooting ceased on here.
That's really the only form of income that the trust had
and then the first thing that they actually started to sell
were these Christmas cards that we have here.
And these cards were produced and painted by JC Harrison.
-And there's a lovely spoonbill.
-Oh, my word, that is beautiful.
And these were the very first Christmas cards of any charity
to be sold, really, and they are unique.
-Look at those lovely bearded tits.
We'll need eagle eyes to spot some of these today,
but I couldn't be in better company to explore the reserve.
Bernard's connection to this landscape goes deeper than
a bit of watching, though, as his great-grandfather was
the very first warden on these marshes back in the 1920s.
And, after that, Bernard's father took over.
-For the past 40 years, the Cley Marshes have been
watched over by Billy Bishop, the trust warden.
It did everything it ought to do this year, except lay eggs.
-What a spot this is.
-What a spot.
-This is one of the places we have for the waders...
The water's quite high at the moment, cos we've got the wild fowl on here.
Yeah, I was going to say it's nice and quiet with nobody around,
-but, er, it's your family, isn't it?
-We have the family here.
Bernard's son Kelvin is now the fourth generation of the family
to work on the marshes. At this time of year,
he cuts reeds for thatching and, if he's lucky, he gets
a bit of help from the youngest members of the Bishop clan.
-We sort of start a couple of weeks before Christmas.
The middle of December and, weather dependent,
-we'll carry on till March time.
-And this is some of the finest reed?
This is some of the best reed in the country
we're cutting here at Cley Marshes
and, hopefully, 50 or 60 years on a reed.
One of Bernard's more unusual jobs throughout the year
is controlling the water levels.
Ply them down and you just bend these down, like so...
-Here it comes!
Some birds prefer a high water level, while some prefer it low.
By simply moving a couple of pipes,
he can drain water from one area to another,
keeping the birds and the birdwatchers happy,
hopefully for many years to come.
So, will the work and venue with a fifth generation of Bishops?
Do you see yourself following in your grandad's footsteps and working here?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
-A bridge designer, car designer, one of them.
-A car designer?
A car designer?! LAUGHTER
-Do you really?
-Well done, you, mate.
-A car designer.
-Right, Matt, we'll shut this off before we go.
And while we are making sure that everything is perfect for the birds over here,
Julia is in search of those pink-footed geese
who, hopefully by now, are tucking into a bit of a feast
in a field not too far away.
'I'm on the trail of some of Norfolk's winter migrants -
'the pink-footed geese.
'But I still haven't managed to get a close-up view.
'Wildlife cameraman, Richard Taylor-Jones,
'has been helping out and he's tracked them down
'to a sugar beet field, where they're busy feeding.'
-Richard has settled just on the other side
of this woodland, so the idea is to get in beside him
and not scare away the birds.
'It's vital the geese aren't disturbed
'as they need to refuel after a cold night on the estuary.'
There he is. I can make out his camera silhouette in the distance.
There they are. They're watching.
-That is such a big lens.
Don't worry about the lens, look at the geese. They're so close.
I've been talking all day about wanting to see a pink foot.
Do you know what? They've been this close and it's just been incredible.
-Just fantastic to watch, aren't they?
-It's not just the watching for me, I love that sound.
That sort of chuntering sound,
it's a lovely part of the winter landscape out here.
-They're a nice busy bird.
-They are very industrious, aren't they?
Working their way over the fields, looking for their breakfast.
We've got maybe four or five similar looking geese in Britain,
but the pink foots are so easy to tell,
cos they've got these just wonderful big pink feet. You can't go wrong.
-The identifying marks.
-Now, they don't breed in the UK, do they?
-Not at all, no.
These are very much winter, autumnal visitors.
During the spring and summer, they'll go off to Iceland and Greenland
and they'll have their chicks up there, raise their brood
and fly back here come autumn time.
-For such a big animal, they travel quite a lot, don't they?
It's a lot of body to move about,
but that's why they're here stuffing their faces out on the field,
it's to refuel.
Oh, what a sight. Later in the programme,
John's finding out how Children In Need spend the money
that you helped raise through sales of the Countryfile calendar.
Back to the pink feet for me.
'It's certainly taken a bit of running around, but I'm happy,
'because I've finally seen a goose with pink feet.'
Now, earlier, Tom was finding out why so few members
of the black and Asian communities are visiting the countryside.
So is it a different story for those living and working there?
Being in the great outdoors -
something many of us were brought up to value.
As we've already discovered, though,
only 1% of visitors out here are from ethnic minorities.
But just how few black or Asian people
live and work in the countryside?
We won't know today's exact numbers for a few years yet.
But the figures we do have, from a decade ago,
show that just 3% of black or Asian people live in rural areas
compared to 20% of white people.
It's believed that figure is on the rise,
but there's little doubt the countryside has a long way to go
to shed its all-white persona.
Why have so few ethnic minorities
made their lives in the countryside?
Tough year for growing maize, anyway, it's been so wet and cold.
Very wet, very cold. TOM LAUGHS
David Mwanaka arrived from Zimbabwe 21 years ago.
He's one of only a handful of black or Asian farmers in the UK.
He started farming, because he missed some of his home comforts.
When I came to the UK, there was no white maize in this country.
-I grew up eating this white maize.
-You missed it?
-I really missed it.
I came to a point of thinking,
"How long am I going to think someone is going to grow white maize for me?"
And then, from that point,
-I started experimenting growing white maize in my back garden.
-For something like six years.
'David found some land to grow his white maize just outside the M25.
'He's now settled into his rural life,
'but only after several visits from the police.'
Some people have had suspicions of you, haven't they?
Tell me the story of what happened.
The first time we were harvesting maize and, um...
the next moment is I see the police coming around and they say,
"We've been called, some locals think you are stealing maize from this field."
And I explained to them, I was just harvesting my crop.
I think the problem was
the locals had never seen any black person working the field,
so their assumption was we were stealing the crop.
It would seem to me a bit upsetting their first thought, judging really
-by your skin colour...
-..is that you're stealing.
Yes, but I would put it down to ignorance, not racism.
David believes it's not just
perceptions of people in the countryside that need to change,
but his own community could do more too.
When you look at your experience in the countryside,
do you think Britain is a racially integrated country?
Not much of the countryside, but of course in the inner cities, it is.
Maybe the problem is also us ethnic minorities are not
interested in going out into the countryside.
There's also the feeling that part of the country doesn't belong to us,
so we should never go out there.
Would you like to see a day when ethnic minorities were
comfortable in the countryside
and there were as many black people in the villages as there are in the towns?
Yes, hopefully one day it will happen.
It doesn't sound like you think it will be soon.
David's enthusiasm, coupled with a thick skin, are making him
successful in what is pretty much an all-white industry.
But are experiences like his putting other people off?
That's what Jabeer Butt's been finding out,
as part of his work for the Race Equality Foundation.
Jabeer, why are there few ethnic minorities living in the countryside?
Well, it's down to the way the patterns of migration took place.
So when minorities came to this country,
they inevitably ended up in city areas,
mainly to do with jobs.
What barriers face ethnic minorities when they think about living
and working in the countryside?
I think they are the usual ones,
it's not only getting a decent job, but it's also being able to ensure
that your family is properly supported, the schools are accepting,
that you can get the food you want, and other types of support you want,
I think that proves to be a challenge.
I think it's changing, however, and we've seen, for example,
even with food, the availability of it across the country has
changed dramatically in the last ten to 15 years.
Jabeer believes we will see some big changes
once the next census figures are published.
But, with so few black and Asian people visiting, let alone living
and working in the countryside, there is still a long way to go.
I've been really encouraged and inspired by what I've heard
from David and the newly converted outdoor enthusiasts here.
But, whilst challenges remain, things are changing.
The question is, how much longer will we have to wait
before we all feel the countryside belongs to us?
All along the Norfolk coast,
there's a wealth of wildlife waiting to be discovered.
Earlier, we went in search of some of the birds that flock every winter.
But now, I'm on the lookout for a very different beast.
This is a seasonal one that isn't difficult to find here,
although I'm told it should be approached with caution.
This exposed peninsula of salt marsh, shingle
and golden sand is Blakeney Point.
At this time of year,
it's one great big maternity ward for a colony of grey seals.
All these new mums and pups need someone to keep an eye on them
and that is Edward Stubbings' job.
-How are you doing?
These seals are three miles away at the end of this beach,
so not many people come across them. Just as well,
as these mums don't react well to people or dogs.
Originally came with more of a bird-based background,
and have been working with seals more and more
as the seal population has increased.
-So learning on the job?
-Learning on the job and learning very quickly.
Ten years ago, just 50 seal pups were born here.
But this season, they are expecting ten times that number.
Twice a week, Eddie comes to these windswept sands
to count how many more pups have been born.
With such a rapidly expanding colony,
it's vital that Eddie keeps an eye on things.
-Here we go.
-Look at them all! What a spectacle!
Yes, some have got mum with them, some haven't.
Where do you start when it comes to counting?
We are going to be on the top of the dunes.
We are not going to approach the seals.
-Unless we get blown into them.
We'll walk alongside each other along the top of the dunes,
both with a clicker.
You will be counting on the right, I'll be counting on the left.
Are you sure that's all right for you?
-You've got more than I have.
-You've got about three.
It'll be a good baptism by fire.
You don't click the clicker until you're level with the pup,
then you walk on and don't click the next pup until you're level with it.
With the cold swell of the North Sea pushing up the beach,
we get clicking.
-So, from here, we've got one, two, three, four...
-I'm counting that one next to mum, there.
-I can see another two, three.
-Four, five, six.
As I continue to click away, it's not hard to believe that
around 40% of the world's population of grey seals breed in the UK.
-So, one, two...
-Three. OK, here we go.
How old do you think that one is there?
That one is probably just three days old, tops. Yes.
Why are they all here?
Taking it back to the 20th century,
there were certain laws that were passed to protect seals
and from that point onwards, they did start increasing.
Then, they started working their way down the east coast
and then, around the millennium, they hit Blakeney.
Since then, they've just flourished.
Presumably, if the colony keeps expanding,
there is a danger that seals and humans will clash.
Yes, absolutely. We're already seeing the evidence of it
and the seals are spreading out across the whole reserve.
It's becoming harder to manage.
The team don't advise people to walk here during breeding season
as the seals are easily disturbed.
There are organised trips for enthusiasts.
Time to tot up our numbers and see how many new arrivals there are.
548 add 45 is 593.
593 pups on this beach.
Well, there's either something in the Norfolk air or something in the Norfolk water,
but it is working, whatever it is.
The number of pups being born is up on this time last year.
To keep track of the colony, Eddie plans to photo-ID some of the mums.
-Is it easy to identify them?
-It's not easy.
Especially not here, when there are so many cows on one beach.
But there are a few things you can look for.
The side of the neck, there seems to be distinctive markings on the neck.
If you have any with marks or scars, then take a photo of that area.
Next year, Eddie hopes to take on
some more experienced volunteers for this project.
But for now, he'll have to make do with me.
I'm meant to be taking pictures of adult females,
but the pups are so cute, I can't help myself.
And there are lots to take photos of.
Then, Eddie spots one he recognises.
So that's the hope of the photo ID programme,
to be able to trace females like this one, year on year.
Yes, it'll teach us more about the colony
and build up a picture of the cows that are pupping here.
Being with the seals has been wonderful.
But what if you don't have wildlife close at hand?
John has been discovering how, with a little help from Children In Need,
even the busiest city can enjoy a bit of country life.
Bristol, the biggest city in the South West.
Here, you'll find a lively mix of locals, students and tourists,
all vying for space in a city of nearly half a million people.
It's the last place I expected to have to wear my country wellies.
But here's a clue.
Away from all the hustle and bustle,
tucked in between a housing estate and the M5 motorway,
there's this green oasis, where the countryside comes right into suburbia.
Lawrence Weston community farm was set up to give urban people
a taste of rural life.
I'm here to learn about one particular scheme that is
funded by Children In Need.
But first, let's discover what daily life is like on this unusual farm.
-You are all the volunteers, are you?
Obviously no shortage.
-Which is Jo?
-How are you?
-Nice to meet you.
What have you got lined up for the volunteers today?
We've got a lot of different jobs on today.
The first job of the day is to go around and check all the animals,
feed the animals. We've got sheep, goats, chickens.
-That's the first thing we need to do, so here's your gloves, John.
-These are for you, and off we go.
-Off we go.
Helen, Katie and Pete, do you want to come with us,
we're going to get the bear out.
-Get the bear out?
-Yes. We're going to get the bear out.
I thought this was a community farm, not a wildlife park.
It is a community farm, but we have a bear with a difference.
Oh, right, let's have a look.
Goodness me! That's a Kunekune pig, isn't it?
-It is a Kunekune pig, yeah.
-A very large one.
-That's why he's called a bear, is it?
-That's why he's called the Bear.
The children love Bear, he's a local celebrity.
But he looks pretty fierce, doesn't he?
He does, but he's a big cuddly bear, he's very friendly.
And probably quite hungry.
-Let's go, John.
-Food here. Entice him with his food.
-Yes, entice him with his food, and we'll walk behind.
-Come on, boy.
-Just put his food down.
-Just put it down? There you are.
Breakfast time. For a bear that's really a pig.
They aren't afraid to start them young round here.
Although volunteers of all ages are welcome, these little ones
are known as the farm tots.
-Are you regular visitors here, your family?
-Yes, we are.
-They obviously love it here.
What kind of purpose do you think it serves, a farm like this?
Oh, wow, it's brilliant for the community.
It just teaches the kids about the animals
because you can get up really close to them,
that's what they love. They help herd the sheep, then they feed the goats
and we get the guinea pigs out, so they just really enjoy that.
It's hard to believe that 25 years ago this area was actually a rubbish tip.
That was until local people got together and turned it into a farm.
Now, it's a vital part of this community,
giving local children new opportunities that otherwise they might never have.
There is another project here that I'm really keen to see.
It's called Farm Hands and it's sponsored by Children In Need.
Thanks to that funding,
projects like this can offer city kids a chance to get hands-on farmyard experience.
-Hello, farm hands.
I was going to help you muck out, but I see you've done it already.
Aren't I lucky?
-So what else do you do apart from mucking out?
And do planting.
What kind of things do you learn when you are a farm hand?
Well, we learn the five freedoms - love, water, food,
care and all the stuff animals really need to do.
-And do you like being with the animals?
-What's the best bit?
Ooh, let's see. The mucking out.
-You actually like mucking out, do you?
-It's nice to have a farm next door?
-Do you come here quite a lot?
-Are you proud to be a farm hand?
-Yes. Really proud.
If you'd like to help community farms like this one, or thousands of other projects
right across the United Kingdom that are supported by Children In Need,
one way to do it is to buy our calendar.
-Isn't it, farm hands?
It costs £9, and at least £4 goes to Children In Need.
You can order a copy right now either on our website...
or call our order line on...
Calls cost up to 5p a minute for most landlines
and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.
To order by post, send your name, address, and a cheque to...
Please make cheques payable to BBC Countryfile Calendar.
On a very different farm across in the Cotswolds,
the changing seasons bring their own challenges to family life.
For Adam, work out in the field varies from month to month.
Now that autumn has passed, he's in a reflective mood.
It's almost the end of another farming year,
and the autumn seemed to come and go so quickly.
As a farmer, we're often rushing around,
but it's lovely sometimes just to stand and take in
the wonderful scenery that we work in,
and autumn has got to be one of my favourites
with that lovely soft light reflecting on all those autumn colours.
And some amazing mushrooms we get down this valley.
But now, the leaves have all gone, and the trees are bare
and winter is on us.
Luckily, we have a natural stream that cuts this valley in half.
During the hot summer months,
this offers a cool retreat for many of my livestock,
especially the Highlands with their long shaggy coats.
As well as the fresh cool water, the waterside edges provide
lots of lush greenery for the animals to eat.
But as soon as winter comes, it all changes.
This is the Windrush that runs into the Thames,
and what was a small trickle during the summer months
has now become a bit of a torrent. The water level has really risen.
This is a really lovely spot on the farm
where this waterfall gushes over the wall here. During summer,
it's an archway of leaves.
All the bushes and trees just surround it.
And then the winter comes,
the leaves fall off and it opens up to the light
and the water starts to flow faster as the rain comes.
The cattle still enjoy coming down to the stream in the winter
to get a drink because it never freezes.
They're quite brave, they'll plough through the mud
and plunge around in the water. There's one doing it there now.
Of course, the dogs love to play in the stream as well.
But not all my animals get to stay outside in winter.
I like to bring some of my vulnerable young stock in.
These are my White Park cattle.
Some believe they were introduced to the country by the Romans.
Then, when the Romans left Britain,
they left some of the animals behind and the White Parks ended up
isolated in some of the parklands, the Royal parklands,
where the kings and knights used to hunt them
on horseback with dogs and spears.
They have this lovely black nose, black eyes and black ears.
Sadly, I've lost a few to TB over the last few years.
Recently I had a TB test and lost two more.
One that was a calf that I bottle-fed last year
when its mother had to be slaughtered because of TB.
And another one was Kylie,
who was one of my White Park oxen that I'd trained for a film.
It was so sad.
We've separated these calves from their mothers.
They no longer need the mother's milk,
we'll be feeding them on silage and cattle nuts now.
They are about six months old. There are three females
and a young bull calf that we'll sell to another White Park breeding herd.
Just got to get them loaded into the trailer
and off to the shed. Go on then, babies.
Go on, there's good babies. Go on.
Many of my barns lie empty during summer and autumn.
They're completely lifeless until winter arrives
when we need to use every inch of them.
Right, this is their winter home.
Whoa! Steady, steady.
There we go, they'll just mix in with the other calves now.
We've got Belted Galloways, Highlands and Gloucesters.
They might miss their mums for a day or two, but they'll soon settle down.
They'll stay in these yards now for the winter
and we'll turn them out on the grass in the spring.
We'll feed them on the silage and then bed them down
with wheat straw and give them cattle nuts.
That's what the guys are doing next door. I can hear them.
So I'll give them a hand.
In my dad's day, three of us would have done this by hand.
But thanks to this machine, we hardly need to get our hands dirty.
The rotating blades propel the straw out of the front,
carpeting the barn floor. Well, and the animals.
With a quick makeover and some cattle nuts,
it's soon transformed into a lovely home.
Very different now.
My hardy Highland cattle spend all year outside whatever the weather.
But they still need a bit of TLC.
Just like the other winter housing,
this old barn provides shelter at this time of year.
And this fresh bale of silage will certainly keep my Highlands happy.
At this time of year, the grass is nearly all gone
and what is left has a really low nutrient value,
so I'm dropping this bale of silage for the Highlands.
Silage is grass that we've cut in summer
and then it was wrapped into plastic and basically
pickles it and retains its high sugars and proteins.
Very good for the cattle in winter.
They're keen on it, some are running down the hill to get to it.
Others have started feeding on it here.
The Highlands are lovely animals, very hardy.
They'll survive, come rain, sleet or snow in winter.
They've got these great big thick coats,
but I'm a bit soft on them really,
they've got a shelter if it gets really bad.
But it's not just my long-haired animals
that can cope with life in the great outdoors.
Just bedding down these pigs.
Pigs have got hair on their bodies, but very thick skin as well,
and that's what keeps them nice and warm.
We just have these shelters for them to get out of the rain.
Bed them down with a bit of straw.
Pigs like being outdoors, but this wet weather
and the rain has just been horrible, turning the place in the quagmire.
It's so muddy.
There's one sow gone in there already
and she'll pick the straw up with her mouth and move it around to make a bed.
They'll eat a bit of straw too. Now the boar's gone in.
You can hear her talking to him. They grumble away to one another.
They're quite chatty, really.
Our animals keep us busy, as do our arable fields.
We've got a variety of crops growing in 1,000 acres.
When the seasons change,
we're often faced with new challenges.
Arable farming and growing crops is very dependent on the weather,
and this year has been incredibly difficult.
We had a very wet harvest that affected
the quality of the grain, but also the yield.
We have a rotation. It goes oil-seed rape, then wheat, then barley.
So there's wheat growing in here now
but last year the crop in here looked very different.
Last autumn, we planted oil-seed rape in this field.
As soon as the spring arrived, it began to grow at a phenomenal rate.
It's the fastest-growing crop on the farm.
By the middle of May, over the course of a couple of weeks,
it started to flower and transform this whole landscape.
When the flowers faded,
we sprayed the crop to protect the valuable seedpods.
As they died back and the seeds swelled, I kept a close eye on it
to make sure the seed pods were progressing like they should.
After a very wet summer, it eventually dried out
and turned golden. When conditions were right,
it was all hands to the deck to get the crop harvested.
The combine worked overtime to clear the field before the rain came.
As the combine swept across the crop in a cloud of dust,
it churned its way up and down the field,
leaving nothing but the bare stalks behind.
But as soon as the oil-seed rape was in the shed,
there was no time to waste.
We had to put this field back to good use,
so it was cultivated and planted again.
And now we've got wheat growing in here
and I'm just praying for a good growing season,
with plenty of sunshine and a bumper harvest for 2013.
Next week, I'm gearing up for Christmas,
and it's all about the festive birds.
But for now, I'm taking shelter, like the rest of my animals.
Big skies and bird-filled fields and marshes.
Snettisham RSPB reserve here in Norfolk is a birder's paradise,
and very soon Julia and I will be meeting up
hopefully to witness a very impressive flypast.
But conditions, including the weather, have to be absolutely right
and things are feeling pretty perfect at the moment.
But, if the weather is important to your plans in the week ahead,
let's find out what it's got in store with the Countryfile forecast.
Julia and I have been exploring the stark beauty
of the North Norfolk coastline.
While I've been getting lost in the reeds with a local legend,
Julia's been on the trail of pink-footed geese.
(There they are. They're watching.)
Now we're back at the Snettisham Reserve,
where hopefully it's my turn to catch a glimpse
of the pink-footed seasonal spectacular,
when thousands of geese return, en masse, to roost for the night.
The weather's on our side. But there's no guarantee they'll fly back here this evening.
They might choose a different roost or could even stay out all night
feeding under the moonlight.
But, if they do come back, it'll be around dusk.
And that gives me time to find out about some very different birds.
The tens of thousands of waders that feed on the estuary.
While geese go for sugar beet, waders go for worms and shellfish.
Jim, good to see you.
You're digging up and seeing what's on the menu for some of these birds?
-Yeah, let's see what we can find down here, really.
-Oh, hang on!
-Here we go.
-Here we go. There we go. Look at that.
-That's a ragworm.
-What bird would be after that?
Anything with a bill long enough to get down there and get them,
..redshank would probably go for them as well if it's not too far under the surface.
You get things like Grey Plover and Dunlin feeding on the surface.
So they're looking. The Dunlin are going along picking away
at little snails on the surface.
Plover might be looking, taking a few steps,
having a go at something and then going after something else.
The number of birds that you get here in The Wash,
you can get anything up to 400,000-plus at peak times.
The winter waders and wildfowl share so much food, it must be available...
-..on these mudflats.
Where there are such massive numbers of birds, there are bound to be birdwatchers.
And our very own bird-watching cameraman, Richard,
has got here just in time for the grand finale.
I find myself back where I started today.
I've got some lovely stuff of the knot out on the mud there.
But what we're waiting for is the geese to come back off the fields.
And the idea of coming back here to the estuary is safety.
There are no predators out there, so they can spend the night
free from worry and get a good night's sleep.
All we've got to do now is watch and wait.
There's something missing.
It's OK, Matt, I've been following my pink-footed chums all day.
And there's no way I'm going to miss them coming home for the night.
-Come under my blanket!
-Aha! This is great!
-I've got mince pies.
-Brilliant, thank you.
-And a nice hot cup of tea.
-Have you got coffee as well?
-Yeah. I've got tea, you've got coffee. Cheers, love.
-The scene is set.
-Bring on the geese.
Here we go, they're just appearing over the bank now.
Great long strings of them,
skeins of geese, they're called.
Beautiful shifting lines in the sky.
And they're going to go right over Matt and Julia's head.
-Here they come. Oh, here they come!
-Oh, look at that!
-That is a fair number.
This is lovely. Just as they're dropping down to the mud,
some of them are turning completely on their sides.
It's called whiffling.
The idea is that they're trying to reduce their flight speed as quickly as possible
so they can just drop out of the sky down to the roost.
Lines in the sky. Look at that. That's absolutely mesmerising.
-And I love the way they merge.
The flocks merge into one another and create these beautiful patterns. Oh!
Absolutely brilliant. Look at that! Come on in, come on in.
I have to say the day started superbly just because of the sound.
It was so amazing to hear the geese.
Up they fly, straight overheard there.
And then getting so close to them at the farmer's field
was something I really, really didn't expect.
And now we've got a glorious sunset.
And geese in their thousands just landing out there to roost. What a fantastic day.
As these pink-footed geese come in to land, it seems an appropriate way to end the programme.
That's it for this week. Next week we'll be in Warwickshire,
behind the scenes of a country Christmas.
We will. We're going to be at Ragley Hall, helping them
-to celebrate the season. See you then. Bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Countryfile visits the Norfolk coast for a seasonal spectacle. Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury are at the RSPB bird reserve at Snettisham finding out why this stretch of coast is so popular with tens of thousands of over-wintering birds. They are joined by Autumnwatch colleague Richard Taylor-Jones, who is helping to capture all that bird life on camera. Matt also meets up with the family keeping the first ever Wildlife Trust reserve at Cley Marshes in good order.
Meanwhile, Julia takes a walk on the wild side to photograph Norfolk's seals. The number of seals born on local beaches has doubled so far this season. No-one is sure why they are so successful there, and it is hoped that identifying individuals will help experts understand more.
John Craven is at a Bristol city farm discovering just how Children in Need spend the money that is raised by projects like the Countryfile calendar. Tom Heap investigates whether enough is being done to keep the countryside open to ethnic minorities, while Adam catches up with the changing seasons down on the farm.