Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury explore the countryside where the North Downs rise up to create the Surrey Hills. With Katie Knapman, John Craven and Adam Henson.
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It's some of our most spectacular countryside.
Wooded hills and rolling fields stretched on into the distance.
Where the North Downs rise up to create the Surrey Hills,
the views are simply stunning.
And soon the world will be beating a path here.
Box Hill has been chosen as the venue
for the London 2012 Olympics cycle road race,
so I'm out for a bike ride with none other
than Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman. Good to see you, Chris.
-But what happens when all of the spectators turn up?
How do you protect a delicate landscape like this?
Well, I'll be finding it. Race you to the top!
While I'm in the saddle, Julia's in Surrey's Bushy Park,
with some tips for the Countryfile photographic competition.
I don't know about you, but I'm one of those photographers
that basically just points the camera and aims.
I don't really know what all buttons do. Today, that is going to change.
Come here, deer!
And John's in Europe to find out
if our neighbours are greener than we are.
This small town in Germany and all the surrounding villages aim
to be running on 100% renewable energy in two years' time.
Already, they're halfway there.
But can we ever match such a thing back home?
Especially now that some of the cash incentives have been cut.
I'll be investigating. And also on Countryfile tonight...
Adam's got his work cut out when he rescues a lost lamb.
If they've got the will to suckle, then they've got the will to live.
And Matt's got the arduous job of wine tasting.
-It smells a little bit chocolaty.
It's an idyllic piece of English countryside.
And one of our earliest tourist attractions.
Since the 1600s, Box Hill on Surrey's North Downs
was being written about as THE place to go
for unparalleled views and walks. Since then, little has changed.
But in just over a year's time, all of this will be
transformed into the venue for the 2012 Olympic cycling road race.
Believe it or not, this is Britain's answer to the Great Wall of China.
That's where the cycle route took riders in the last Olympics.
It may not quite look as impressive as the Great Wall of China,
but I'm guessing once you've cycled up and down this hill nine times,
it'll feel quite similar.
Nine circuits of the Box Hill loop is what male competitors will face
after a gruelling 70-mile cycle from The Mall in Central London
and back again.
In a moment, I'll be putting the course and myself to the test,
but first I want to see why this event is
causing organisers a headache of a different sort.
The London 2012 Olympics have billed themselves as our greenest ever.
But keeping this countryside pristine when the crowds descend
is going to be an Olympian task in itself.
Box Hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest,
one of the most important areas of chalk grassland in the country.
And it's down to Andrew Wright from The National Trust
to make sure that the Olympics and the wildlife can work in harmony.
How precious is the habitat here?
This is hallowed turf we're walking on. This is the ultimate.
If you were to look down and take a metre square, you could
probably find 200 different species in such a tiny area.
With well over 50,000 pairs of feet expected to descend on
Box Hill for the race, the challenge is protecting those species.
What were your thoughts when you heard that the Olympics
and the cyclists were going to be coming up and down this hill?
How can you fail to be excited by that?
That's going to be such an amazing spectacle.
We are absolutely behind it,
but these habitats have to be protected.
How can you do that then, realistically?
It's going to involve some kind of
managed areas for spectators to stand.
I don't think we can just let people walk where they want.
If you imagine the grass stems as the trees of the rainforest,
if you flattened all the trees, the rainforest would still be there,
but everything in the trees would be compromised.
It's the same with nature conservation on the Chalk Downland.
Certain insects roost in the grass tops.
So the trick will be to host an amazing race
-whilst protecting these habitats.
-For most of the spectators,
that will mean keeping their feet firmly on the road.
-Have you cycled the route yourself?
-I don't think I could make it!
Come on, you've seriously got to get yourself on a bike, man!
I break into a sweat driving it. MATT LAUGHS
-work up that sweat,
let's find out what's lurking amongst the undergrowth.
National Trust naturalist Matthew Oates
has managed to track down one of Box Hill's where inhabitants.
-Right, Matthew. Have you located the little beauty?
-I have indeed.
One of the best of the 50-odd rare plants that grow here on Box Hill.
And that is a Man Orchid.
If you look very closely, at the individual flowers,
there's a tiny little man dangling from the bottom of each flower.
Isn't that incredible?
Botanists get seriously worked up about this flower.
And here we have another of our special orchids,
-which is the Fragrant Orchid.
-Isn't that a beauty?
Oh, yeah. That's really strong, isn't it? Beautiful.
But it's not just the flowers that are important here
-when it comes to this precious habitat?
We've got something like 250 genuinely rare plants and animals
that live here. And our own special snail.
-Here we go. Check that out.
-Oh, my word!
-These are empty shells.
Just look at the size of that - the Roman snail,
which is a protected species. I can't handle a live one for you
because I actually need a licence to touch them.
-You wouldn't want to tread on one of these.
What else have you got in your bucket?
Well, I have a magic bucket full of moths.
Some of them are really spectacular. Check that fellow out.
Wow! That is some of the finest camouflage I've ever seen.
Absolutely staggering. It's a hawk moth. There we go. Look at that.
-Turn him head-on and look at his face.
-Look at that.
They are just staggering. So beautiful.
Well, they certainly look at home in this unspoilt habitat.
The decision to run such a major sporting event through here
wasn't taken lightly.
So, Debbie, why have you chosen this site in particular?
It's absolutely beautiful. But it is pretty sensitive.
It is. We recognise that.
When we were looking for a venue, we came out to Box Hill
we thought this is an amazing opportunity
to do something that is perfect for an Olympic sport,
that is difficult technically and gives us the opportunity
to profile the British countryside.
Are you prepared for potentially 90,000 people?
We're working with the National Trust and Natural England
to ensure that we have specific roped-off areas.
So when the public do come, we will ensure that
we do control them and that we protect the countryside.
Well, exploring the wildlife is one thing,
but you can't come to an Olympic race circuit
without giving it a test run.
And who better to show me the ropes
than Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman?
-We could have met on the downhill bit.
-That wouldn't be very fun!
How much of the challenge is the landscape in races like this?
This is the course's main obstacle.
But it's not the obstacle, it's what they do with it.
-And the fact they tackle it nine times.
There's a lot of twists and turns on the way out, but this circuit
is the bit that's really going to make the difference in the race.
If you were going for gold again and you were faced with this course,
-what would you think?
-It's about positioning.
You really need to stay in the first 20 to 30 riders all day.
There's a lot of people going to want to attack
and this is the best place to do it - on these slopes.
Where did all these cars come from?
-We've been going at a pretty steady pace,
even stopping for traffic that's coming by,
but what speed will the riders be getting up to, going uphill?
You can see we're in our absolute lowest gears, just pootling up here.
The guys - say it take us nine minutes,
it'll take them about three to cover this.
Even considering this is a five-and-a-half hour race,
they'll come up here at a serious pace. A lot faster than us.
Unbelievable. Do you think this is a good example
-of what British cycling has to offer?
-It's a beautiful example
of what we can offer of the British countryside.
It's got a mix of everything. We've got bigger roads, technical,
lovely little country roads like this, and it's...
a fantastic battleground to sort out an Olympic gold medal.
Investors are having second thoughts about funding so-called solar parks
in the British countryside after the Government have reduced
the financial incentives for building them.
John has been to investigate.
When it comes to sources of renewable energy,
the rugged landscape of Cornwall seems to have it all.
It's got wind and waves and sunshine.
But a recent and controversial change of Government policy
could stop any surge in solar power here.
The scheme in question is the Feed-In Tariff.
It's basically cash for producing green electricity,
such as wind, solar and hydro-electric. It guarantees a set rate,
whether it's used by the producer or fed back into the grid.
Large-scale solar producers get more than 30p per kilowatt hour,
but in two months' time,
the Government is going to reduce that to less than 9p.
Here, in Cornwall,
there's been something of a solar gold rush,
with over 20 successful planning applications for solar farms.
That's more than in any other county in the UK.
But, they're going to have to be up and running by 1st August
to qualify for the high-paying tariffs.
And many of them just won't be ready in time.
These fields might beat the deadline and soon be transformed
into one of the country's first solar farms.
Even in weather like this, these panels will still produce power
because they work on the strength of light, rather than sunshine.
But, so far, there's only this demonstration panel.
-Are you going to make it, then?
-Yes, I think we are.
We are progressing, nervously, and we will be connected
and accredited in time for 31st July.
What about all the other entrepreneurs who won't be up and ready in time?
They've got recourse to say, "Excuse me, we took on board,
"delivering what you wanted."
"You've changed the goalposts, leaving us nowhere to go."
So, for some of those entrepreneurs left, from what we're hearing,
they're not going to be able to do it.
And, with the biggest subsidies being slashed by more than 70%,
potential entrepreneurs are being put off.
But it's not just private investors who have been hoping
to cash in on feed-in tarriffs. Cornwall Council have plans
to build a solar farm big enough to power Newquay airport.
But a cut in subsidies may well mean that this scheme
and many others like it never take off.
So, this is where the airport solar park would be.
Yeah, in these fields, we plan to build a five-megawatt solar park.
We know we can't get it completed by the 1st August,
the deadline they put in their review process,
but we know we can get it completed by the end of this year.
We have planning permission for this, and contractors in place.
Because the Government's had this change of heart,
what impact has that had?
It's been quite devastating, really, on the council's plans.
Not just on the council's plans for its own site here,
but on the plans of many other people to build
solar parks in Cornwall and, hence, on to our an economic plans.
Cornwall Council has already invested £250,000 in this project.
If it doesn't go ahead, that's money down the drain.
If the current tariff system is actually encouraging
the development of solar power, why change it?
Energy Minister Greg Barker says they simply can't afford
to carry on with the current system.
From the consultation that we undertook,
it's clear that the demand for solar subsidy
was massively outstripping the pot of money that we had secured.
So, had you fixed the price too high? For these big timers?
The scheme that we inherited from the last Labour government
massively underestimated the scope and appetite
for these big solar projects,
so that they were not included in the model projections.
What I've done is said, for this scheme, I'm going to have
a very clear focus, and that is to support solar for people at home.
This will be a great disappointment in Cornwall.
They were hoping for a big boom in solar energy.
They've had many applications for solar parks.
They thought it would bring £1 billion or so into the economy
and it looks as though you burst that bubble.
Well, you know, I regret the fact that we're having to make choices.
Ideally, I would like to be able to fund all the solar projects,
but that's not the world we live in.
Of course, feed-in tariffs aren't the only way
to support large-scale green energy developments.
But many of our European neighbours have been successfully using tariffs
to encourage solar schemes of all sizes.
I've come to Germany, where they're really keen on energy from the sun.
They've got more than 300 solar parks. This one is pretty typical.
It's got 77,000 panels,
producing enough electricity to power 1,500 homes.
Germany's plans to stop using nuclear power
have only hardened its resolve to harness natural, sustainable energy.
But it had already made a long-term commitment to renewables.
Feed-in tariffs here have been in place for more than 20 years.
At the moment, the Government in the UK is thinking
of cutting back on its financial support for big schemes like this.
-What do you think of that?
-I don't understand that.
After Fukushima, we should go even faster forward
towards 100% of renewable energy.
This is something that we cannot avoid anyway.
Sooner or later, every society,
every country, has to end up with 100%.
So why not do it now when it's not expensive?
This is also our vision and our mission,
to come to 100% renewable energy.
This solar park is regarded as medium-sized,
similar to the ones that were being planned in the UK.
But here in Germany, they're thinking really big.
In fact, its largest project is so vast, it can generate
as much solar energy as we do in the entire UK.
There are many days without sunshine,
so is it worth, with solar energy, such a huge investment?
The solar conditions in Germany and the UK are almost the same.
The same number of sunshine, about 1,000 hours each country,
and that is all factored in.
The feed-in tariff is made in a way
to cover the costs within the period of 20, 25 years.
Large-scale solar development could really help Britain
reach its renewable energy target of 15% by 2020.
At the moment, we're not even halfway there.
Later I'll be asking if people in countries like Germany
are simply more willing than we are to embrace the use of solar.
Well, a very big thank you for all the shots you've been sending in
for our photographic competition.
If you're desperate to get into our Countryfile calendar
and raise some money for Children In Need,
Julia has been to one of our royal parks to get some top tips.
Watery worlds. Wonderful wildlife.
Even the weather's putting on a show.
Bushey Park in London's suburbs is a great place to take
that winning photograph in our Countryfile competition.
The park was established by Henry VIII, for deer-stalking,
but under Queen Victoria, it was opened as a place of recreation for commoners like you and me.
And that's the great thing about parks -
they bring a bit of the countryside into the heart of even the biggest city.
Today I'll brush up on the skills to capture wildlife and water at its best -
two of the classes in our photographic competition.
Even if you're more suburbia than Serengeti,
the park is the place to get snapping.
With just over 1,000 acres of land,
Bushey is the second largest Royal Park in London.
Photographer Andy Hornsbury leads photographic safaris here,
so who better to help me with those Countryfile competition classes
of wildlife and watery worlds?
Parks are a great place to get inspiration
and, as these shots show, Bushey is brimming with life.
By the look of those clouds, we may even get some shots for our all-weathers category.
All right, Andy, think of me as a complete idiot. What are the basics?
Well, with all cameras, you'll always find in your camera a set of scene modes,
and what we're going to do is look at the camera,
and see what scene modes are available.
As you can see we've got landscape, night scenes, night portraits,
there's the sports one, very good for fast action.
You can see it just goes on and on, really.
So, we'll try and get some deer that are in a stationary position first,
so which scene do we go for?
The one were going to go for, funnily enough,
we're going to go for portrait mode.
That should give us nice portrait pictures of your deer
with a nice, soft background as well.
OK, so the first thing you do is check the background of your shot.
You don't want park railings or the road spoiling the view.
Strike a pose, Bambi, it's time for your close-up.
He looks quite dark, underneath the tree.
But, if we half-press, the camera should compensate.
At the moment, I've got a really nice shot of his bottom.
It tends to be, when you first start off with animals,
you tend to have a large collection of animal bottoms.
That's not bad at all. He's walked into the sun.
It's always best to leave a bit of room for cropping afterwards.
See the way you've got the colour of the deer's coat?
-Quite a nice picture, that.
-OK, for a first snap.
-Shall we try and get round them?
-Yeah, we'll try and move closer.
Andy's wildlife safari courses help people to get the best out of their cameras.
And it seems I'm not the only one starting at the bottom.
Hello, ladies, how we doing? I got some nice shots of a bottom, then.
I've got some here, in the distance. I've got one now, look.
-Oh, that's a lovely bottom.
-Yeah, very nice!
OK, that's wildlife. What about water?
To get a great shot of moving water, it helps to know a bit about shutter speed.
And that's what we're tackling next.
Let's put our camera on a tripod. We're going to go for a slow shutter speed.
If we half-press the shutter button, on all cameras, we can see our shutter speed,
and in this case, it's five hundredths of a second.
-Yep, and it's very fast.
If you take a shot at 500,
we can see the water is frozen as individual droplets.
We've got an individual stream of water, which is really nice.
Obviously, the look we like to go for
is the lovely, milky waterfall look.
Unfortunately, the camera knows it's daytime,
so, basically what we do is, we use a filter.
This is a very big neutral density filter and all it is, really, it's just like sunglasses.
If we put that in front of the lens, the camera thinks it's night time
and then, if you half-press the shutter speed,
you'll see that the shutter speed is a 40th of a second.
So 1/40, as opposed to 1/500,
so that's really slowed down.
And if we take the shot, we can see we've got that nice,
milky flow of water, just like we get on a waterfall.
Changes the whole look of the picture.
Such a simple trick to get a great result.
This is my favourite tip so far from Andy.
If you don't have any fancy filters, use your sunglasses.
So, we've done Bambi's close-up in portrait.
I've just about got my head around shutter speeds
and, for our final assignment, action shots, using sport mode.
The nice thing about sport mode is, it captures fast-moving action,
so it'll freeze, and try and keep the shutter speed as fast as possible.
-That's what it's doing - adjusting the shutter speed and making it faster?
So, we're doing the opposite of using a filter to slow things down.
Yes, we're trying to freeze action, so, birds in flight,
birds landing in the water, this is the mode, really, for us.
And we've got a fantastic little scene,
because we've got a lovely swan family here.
Cute little babies and everything!
We've got the two little bambinos, two beautiful little cygnets together.
Look, that could be a postcard. As ever, they're moving away.
Because that's what wildlife does.
And, if you fancy your chances in our competition,
then John will be along later with all the details of how to enter.
Later in the programme,
Adam's getting one of his ewes ready for the show ring.
It's a bit like a rodeo really, they just have to learn that they can't get away.
Katie's caught a bug.
-This is what we call the swollen thighed beetle.
-What a great name.
And we'll have the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.
Earlier, John was investigating whether or not
any of the UK's large-scale solar projects would ever get built.
But what about smaller domestic projects?
Is there any incentive for us to invest in solar energy?
I've found that we're lagging behind our European neighbours
when it comes to the large-scale use of renewable energy.
I've been in Germany discovering that with support from their government, big firms are investing
in massive solar farms to capture power from the sun.
But what about the people themselves? Are Germans simply more open to the use
of alternative energy than we are?
This may seem like a typical leafy suburb,
but take a closer look at many of the roofs
and they tell a different story.
In the Woerrstadt District of West Germany,
Markus Conrad is the mayor.
It's home to 21,000 people, and they have ambitious plans to be running
on 100% renewables within the next two years.
When you achieve this target,
it will certainly put Woerrstadt on the map, won't it?
-You think many other towns might follow your lead?
I think we have in Germany, 100, 150 towns, villages,
that have the same targets, the same opinion,
the same enthusiasm to get such...
..such, such a change.
These days, Germany and the UK actually have very similar
incentives for small scale solar power.
But in Germany, they have 70 times more households with solar panels
than we do. So is this down to a difference in attitude?
Harald Schrauth lives with his wife and three children.
The solar panels on his roof not only supply all their electricity,
but also make money, because he can sell power back to the grid.
Lots of your neighbours have panels as well.
Why is this area so enthusiastic about solar energy?
Because they do not like to use nuclear power,
they want to have less CO2 in the air.
And it's better for the world, I think,
and they can earn money, after it's paid by itself.
It's a good idea for everyone, I think.
In Germany, there seems to be both the will and the incentives to go green.
Back in the UK, adopting renewables has been a much slower process.
But in Cornwall, Wadebridge is now aiming for the title
of Britain's first solar-powered town.
Their target is rather lower than Vershtat in Germany -
it's to be running on 30% renewable energy by 2015.
So the family home now has its own solar panels, how are they working?
Absolutely fantastic, it's so exciting to have them up there.
Knowing that we're generating our own electricity for the house,
and just seeing the scale move backwards to say
that we're generating more electricity than we're using,
there's nothing more exciting than seeing that happen.
-And what made you join in?
-It's a win-win situation.
Why wouldn't we want to get involved?
We're fortunate that we had a bob or two to invest in these,
of course, we will be making back the money within eight years, so it will pay for itself.
But knowing what we're doing is part of a community,
we're all united in just generating more renewable energy for the town.
The good news is that small projects,
like individual homes, won't have their feed-in tariff reduced,
but there's still a catch.
Some community schemes, like the one in Wadebridge,
could become victims of their own success,
because if they get too large, their tariffs will be cut.
What we would like to do is to essentially put a large number
of panels, which are essentially owned by people that don't
want to have them on their own roofs, or cannot afford them, in one place,
and sadly, the government doesn't seem to want to help us.
So, do you think there should now be another review about how
-communities can actually benefit from medium-sized solar schemes?
In fact, the government IS looking into the way renewable energy
projects are supported.
But will that help places like Wadebridge catch up
with the communities I have seen in Germany?
The Energy Minister thinks it will.
There was no way of differentiating between the scheme
that was owned by what sounds like a great community initiative
in Wadebridge and solar park developed by some City speculators
on a greenfield site. No way of differentiating at all.
I hope as part of the comprehensive review of the solar industry,
which will be taking place over the rest of the year
and I will announce next April, will allow me to be more nuanced
in the way that I can offer support to different groups.
I do want to support community groups.
The drastic cutback in tariffs for large solar schemes
will be a setback for Britain's plans to get more green energy.
It is bad news for investors and raises the question,
will we ever catch up with countries like Germany?
It's been tapping into solar power for years, with massive state
and private investment.
Here, the sun is only just rising on such ambitions.
To London now, where the 2012 Olympics aims to be the greenest ever.
But just what does that mean for the plants and animals at the heart of the stadium?
Katy has been given a rare look behind the scenes to check out its green credentials.
Summer of 2005. It was the news the whole country wanted to hear.
The 30th Olympiad in 2012...
..awarded to the City of London.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
London was to host the Olympic Games for an historic third time.
Since then, this little corner of the capital has been transformed.
Right now, everyone is busy planning that one event next year,
when hundreds of thousands of people will come here to watch
the 30th Olympiad.
But what will happen to this landscape when the sportsmen
and women are long gone?
The idea is to leave behind a glorious swathe of countryside in the city.
To find out how that can be done,
I have come to a nature reserve in the Lee Valley Park.
These reed beds once filtered water as part of the East London waterworks.
They've been transformed into a haven for wildlife
and it's here that some of the species disturbed by the building of the stadium have been re-homed.
Dawn, what is so special about this place?
The site we're standing in used to be a waterworks
providing clean water for London. As you can see, it's come a long way
since its days as a waterworks,
and there's a wealth of different habitats and wildlife here now.
Wonderful. You've given me this net, so I can have a dip here.
What we're interested in finding today is smooth newts.
We had over 300 smooth newts relocated here
from the Olympic Park, along with over 300 common lizards
and around 100 common toads. They were brought here while the construction is going on.
-It's not suitable for them to be there. They needed a new home.
-What's in here?
-Lovely. A smooth newt, also known as a common newt.
-I like that.
The WaterWorks reserve shows just what can be done with the right planning.
But even before construction started,
the stadium site wasn't exactly a green oasis.
I'll need to take a closer look behind the scenes.
Time to see if the Olympic eco plans are shaping up.
Rower James Cracknell is no stranger to the Olympics,
having twice won gold.
But this time, he's got a new role.
So, James, you are a Sustainability Ambassador for these Olympics.
A very fine title, what does it mean?
You can't justify the Olympics and the Paralympics coming here
for four weeks of amazing sport, it has to run deeper than that.
The bigger effect has got to be what the games brings to society as a whole in this country,
and it has to sort of inspire people to make a change,
whether it be to live more healthily, to be more active
or to change their diet, to think about the energy that they're using.
What about the fact that these Olympics are meant to be the greenest Olympics ever?
That started right from when the park was constructed.
The soil on site, it was incredibly polluted from years of industry,
it's been cleaned on site. That has cut down on road traffic.
Animals that were here, they have a much more landscaped area to come back to.
-Great. You've got a big job to do!
One of the team who'll have to deliver that vision is Parklands Project Manager John Hopkins.
It's his job to encourage nature into the park.
What we're doing is creating perfect conditions, ideal conditions for newts and toads
and frogs and things like that to come back into the park.
This is a park for people and for wildlife.
So, are you seeing any signs of life coming back here?
We certainly are, already. If you look over there, there's a couple of stoops
where cormorants have taken residence.
There are fish that are coming up into the fish refuges.
We have a pair of black caps that are already
breeding in the wetlands that we have created.
Rain stopped play for much of the wildlife today, but in amongst
the wetlands, woodlands, bat boxes, bird boxes, Kingfisher banks,
otter holes and frog ponds, there is plenty to draw in the wildlife.
Nigel Dunnett has been painstakingly planning a wild flower meadow
-to encircle the park's centrepiece. Hello, Nigel.
-Can I give you a hand?
It's taken months of experimental planting in sites around the UK
to make sure this meadow will flower on 27th July next year.
-This year, he's sewing for a practice run.
-We've thought hard about the colours, and in fact,
we've made these as gold meadows. Olympic gold meadows...
Olympic gold meadows. I like it. That's so good.
These are designed to attract lots of insects, butterflies, bees.
A lot of pollinators into these very dense urban areas
where all the life is gone, really.
And really increase the biodiversity on site.
-Like coming to a beautiful meadow.
-Yes, we want people's jaws to drop
-when they come and see this..
-Oh, my goodness me!
Along with all of its other goals, this Olympics is
at the heart of a campaign to get the nation back to nature.
Meet The Species is an Olympic project that aims to get us
out and about discovering the birds, butterflies,
bugs and plants that make up our native flora and fauna.
Just try to get really into those grass and plants
and see what you can find.
These volunteers are hard at work recording
species on the WaterWorks Reserve.
-So, what is the idea behind this project?
-Meet the Species
is all about trying to get people
to get out and find as many species as they can.
So, we've created a list of 2012 species to set the challenge.
Over the next year, we're hoping to tick all of those species off the list.
I think you have got a little bit of a leaf hopper.
Listen to that weather, it's like we're in a tropical rainforest!
We're not going to find too much more than insects on a day like today.
You guys have all been out here for a few hours now, what have you found?
What I'm excited about his we've ticked some off our list for 2012.
Have a look at this. This is
what we call the Swollen-thighed Beetle.
-What a great name.
-It can be found in your back yard.
As can this Blue-tailed Damselfly.
The second one off the list today.
Just goes to show whatever the weather, there's always something
to find, a reminder to us all that there's precious life in all kinds of unlikely places.
Still to come on Countryfile...
Will my taste buds be up to the challenge of tasting some fine Surrey wine?
Yeah. Hey, masterclass!
And we'll have the Countryfile forecast.
But first, on Adam's farm, the lambs are growing up fast,
but there's still the odd one who needs an extra helping hand.
The animals are all out and about on their summer pasture now.
They're spread around the farm, so I have to keep a watchful eye on them.
We check round all our livestock every day just to make sure there aren't any problems.
We also need to check they've got plenty of grass to eat,
that they've got water. In this field, there's a stream, so that's no problem.
And check the perimeter fences, make sure nothing has got its head stuck, or is getting out.
That's a lovely sight over there, a ewe with two good strong lambs
nestled in right next to her, good mother.
There's a lamb down there on its own. When you've a sheep, or lamb
on its own, it's never a good sign, it doesn't look very healthy. Here!
See if I can catch it.
Hold up. Hold it up!
That will do.
Wet, soggy lamb now.
It's really skinny.
And it's got a problem with its eyes, which is why it jumped
into the stream, it needs some antibiotics and some eye cream.
It needs drying off, so I'll take it back to the farm and sort it out.
It's so skinny, it must have lost its mum.
When lambs are accidentally separated from their mothers,
the ewe can forget about them, especially if she still has other lambs suckling from her.
I've got some milk for it, see if it will take a bit of that.
Still reasonably lively.
Sometimes, when they've been suckling off a ewe,
they will not take a rubber teat,
but actually, this one is so hungry, he's taken to it straightaway.
It's a really good sign.
If they've got the will to suckle, then they've got the will to live.
Hungry, aren't you? What you want is for a ewe
to look after her lambs on her own, and they just survive out on grass.
I've got an antibiotic injection for it.
It'll stop any infections it's got and also help its eyes,
and I'll give it 1ml for the next three or four days.
I think you're a pet lamb now!
With the rest of the lambs out in the fields, the barns where they were born are all empty.
They need to be cleaned out, so we can store grain at harvest time.
It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
Nothing is wasted on the farm, all the farmyard manure is used as fertiliser on the fields,
so I'm going to take this down and tip it on the muck heap where it will rot down.
A lot of people would think of farmyard manure as just a heap of
rubbishy old muck, but in fact, this stuff has real value to us.
It's full of nutrients that we can spread on the field -
phosphates, nitrogens, pot ashes that we would otherwise have to buy in in a bag form.
So this stays here, rotting down for a little while, then after harvest, we spread it on the fields.
You may look at this heap thinking there's a lot here, but actually, it won't go very far.
I could really do with ten times more animals to have a lot more of this muck.
There's a lot going on on the farm at this time of year.
The sun is shining, so we've got contractors working the fields. They're making haylage,
which is more moist than hay, and makes excellent horse feed.
While the lads are hard at work in the fields, I've got rosettes on my mind.
For a lot of farmers, summertime means show time, and they will have been thinking
about it six, or eight months in advance, preparing cattle and sheep ready for the shows of the summer.
And we've got a couple of little White Face Dartmoors in here which we think we might take to a show
and sell maybe in July, August time, so I'm just going to sort them out and do a bit of training.
I think I've got it right, I think they're all Dartmoors in there.
Choosing stock for showing is pretty critical because you really
want to use showing and selling as an advert for your flock.
That's a lovely sheep.
That's another lovely sheep. We'll probably keep those two,
maybe something like that is a very nice Dartmoor,
the judges will be checking teeth. She's got a good mouth.
So what we have to do if they're going to be in the show ring is halter train them.
So the halter goes on.
Tighten it up.
the animals from the left.
They really don't like it to start with.
They just have to learn that they can't get away.
We'll do about 10 or 20 minutes of this every day for a week,
then give her a fresher course closer to the time.
Steady... Good girl. It's a bit like a rodeo really.
They just have to learn that they can't get away. Steady, steady!
In the show ring, they have to be wonderfully behaved,
walk around nice and carefully in a circle for the judge
to watch, then you have a head up, and all this head down,
and stopping and starting won't show her off very well at all.
You need to tame them.
She's getting better already and she's only been on it about a minute.
I reckon we've got a winner in the making here.
Look at this! There's a good girl.
'Leading sheep around on a halter is one thing, but a much bigger challenge awaits me.
'I need to move our Highland bull Eric away from the cows, and he might not like the idea.'
I've just caught Eric and his cows in this alleyway,
one of the cows has calved and the other one is going to calve soon, and I don't want him mating
with them yet because the gestation period of a cow is nine months.
I want these cows calving in May, June time.
So I'm going to take him out and put him with a couple of steers.
First, I've got to catch him.
Just let him get his nose in there.
He likes his grub. The good thing about Eric is that he's been shown,
so I should be able to get this halter on him and take him to the field where I've got the steers.
But he might not want to leave his wives.
It's not an easy task getting hold of a beast this size.
I know Eric well, but bulls can be unpredictable, so I have to be careful.
Got a halter on him.
Bulls have rings in their noses, which is the brakes.
I've just got to get hold of his nose.
There's a good boy. Woah.
There's a good fella.
Right, I've got him.
With a bull of this kind of size - he weighs somewhere in the region of 900 kilos and he's obviously
far more powerful than I am - you need to train them from when they are calves to put a halter on them
and have to have mutual respect for one another, so he would have been halter trained as a baby,
I know he's been round the show circuit because I bought him
at a show and sale
where he came second in his class, so he's pretty well behaved.
At the moment, anyway.
Eric will join three steers - bulls that have been castrated,
so he'll easily be the dominant male in his new home.
I'm going to slip the halter off, he might shake his head around a bit
but I'll hold on to his ring to control him, then he can go and meet his new mates.
Back to his wives in a couple of months.
Loosen the halter off.
Away he goes. There's a good boy.
What a lovely boy you are.
That's it. Go and see your new friends.
It's fantastic having a lovely quiet bull.
He'll just assert his authority instantly because he's full of testosterone and they're not.
They won't mess with him.
Next time, I'm looking to buy some White Park cattle.
Now that the farm is clear of TB, I want to start building up my herd again.
If you fancy entering our Countryfile photographic competition,
now is the time to grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper,
because here's John with all the details of how to grab that title of Best In Show.
Remember, the winning photos will feature in our Countryfile calendar sold in aid of Children In Need.
There are 12 different classes you can enter photos in...
The best photo in each class will be put to the viewers' vote.
The person who takes the winning photo will be declared Best In Show,
and gets to choose from a range of the latest photographic equipment to the value of £1,000.
Whoever takes the judges' favourite photo will get to choose equipment to the value of £500.
Our competition isn't open to professionals.
Your entries mustn't have been offered for sale or won other competitions.
That's because we want something original.
You can enter up to four photos, which must be taken in the UK.
Please write your name, address and daytime
and evening phone number on the back of each photo,
with a note of which class you want it to be judged in.
Each photo can only be entered in one class.
Then all you've to do is send your entries to...
The full terms and conditions are on our website,
as well as details of the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.
Please write to us enclosing a stamped-addressed envelope
if you want a copy of the rules. The closing date
isn't until Friday 12th August.
And sorry, but we can't return any entries.
Surrey has a tradition for producing wine that dates back to Roman times,
and Julia has been finding out why these very English vineyards
are now attracting the attention of the French.
First, here's the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.
With vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see,
you could be forgiven for thinking
I'm on the slopes of the Champagne region in France.
Mais non, mon ami!
I'm actually in Surrey, just over the way from Matt on Box Hill,
exploring an English vineyard. Now there was a time when English wine
struggled to make its mark, with a less than sparkling reputation,
but that's no longer the case.
Right now, I'm told our home-grown grapes can challenge
some of the best of our continental cousins.
At least when it comes to fizz. And this isn't the first time
our vineyards have wowed the world.
I'm at Painshill Park, where a restoration project has brought back
to life one of the most successful vineyards of the 18th century.
You don't expect to come across this off a roundabout on the A3.
It was one of the best in the country in its heyday.
The vineyard and the gardens that surround it
were the vision of Charles Hamilton,
a chap who, like many young aristocrats,
spent time in his youth on a Grand Tour of Europe.
And like many, he sampled his fair share of grape and grain
on his travels. On his return,
he created this rather grand meandering garden
with the feature vineyard, inspired by his times abroad.
It must have been one heck of a gap year.
Mike Gove, of the Painshill Trust, reveals more.
-Hamilton was truly inspired by his European travels, wasn't he?
In 1738, when he bought Painshill,
he started in 1740 planting has vineyard.
In the early days, he wasn't too successful in his wine-growing,
so he sought help from David Gineste, a Frenchman,
and an experienced wine grower.
-He was here for nine years, almost.
-So he actually came?
He came here, yes,
to give advice and to help re-plant the vineyards in many respects.
And eventually, he produced a product that was good enough
-to fool the French, didn't he?
It's said that the French Ambassador thought that the wine he was tasting
was champagne, and said it was one of the finest champagnes he'd tasted.
Despite fooling a Frenchman into thinking his English wine was champagne,
the fashion for home-grown fizz didn't catch on
and Charles Hamilton's vision didn't last long.
And that's when vineyards, the rest of the park
and indeed the English wine industry fell to rack and ruin.
After the Second World War in 1945, a couple of chaps called Hyams and Barrington Brock
started experimenting with grape varieties
in their own garden,
and that sparked a revival in the British wine industry.
A few decades later, and it's all a very different story.
Now, English vineyards are producing wines that are recognised worldwide.
That's my cue to leave one of England's oldest vineyards and go to one of our largest.
Just a few weeks ago, an English rose
beat wine rivals from across the globe to become the only pink wine
to win a gold medal in the International Wine Challenge.
And the grapes came from here.
The English wine revival is in full swing,
but why have we got it so right now?
-Vineyard manager Sue Osgood spills the secrets. Sue, hello.
So, tell me, what's the secret of your great grapes?
I think picking them at the right time, enough sunshine to make them
sweet enough to make good wine, and a good winemaker as well.
If you had to define the difference between English sparkling wine
and champagne... what would you say?
The difference for us
is I think there's more fruit flavours in our wine.
There's less in champagne.
They're very dry usually, slightly more acidic, I'd say, than ours.
And it seems the French are developing a taste
for our sparkling wine too.
With land in the Champagne region becoming increasingly scarce,
they're looking to vineyards like this in Surrey as an alternative.
So what is it about this part of the country that lends itself
to such a fruity drop of fizz?
I'm off to meet a man for whom wine is a way of life.
And there's nothing he doesn't know about posh plonk.
We're just like Champagne here.
Champagne vineyards, northern France.
King of sparklers, let's be honest. But here,
everything is very, very similar.
You've got the same climate, look around us, chilly, northerly.
OK, the soil's just the same.
The famous chalk soils in Champagne dip under the Channel,
emerge in the south of England, here we are,
the White Cliffs of Dover, and the grapes are the same.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier. Bingo.
Same winemaking methods, so, yeah.
For me, English sparkling wine is the ultimate champagne look-alike.
After decades of trying, English winemakers have finally matched
grape production to our climate. Look at this,
a sniff of free booze and Baker is here like a flash.
Time for John to educate our palates.
But what flavours should we be looking for to appreciate
-our fizz more? First up, the French champagne.
-Go on, the first thing about it?
-OK, I'll go with that.
-You're in the right sort of family.
-With a little taste,
a little smell above that, above the fruit.
-Smells a little bit chocolatey.
-No, nearly right.
What it is, is can you find a yeasty overtone lying over it?
Which comes from the way champagne is made
-and English sparkling wine's made.
-It hits you here, doesn't it?
A lot of people get warm bread or a baker's oven.
-That sort of feel to it.
-I tell you what, honestly,
once you're on that wavelength, you really enjoy it more.
-'Next, the English fizz.'
-OK, taste that.
-Shall I tell you what I can smell?
-Yeah, the same.
Ah, now, that's lighter, more... that's definitely more...
An anorak in the making here.
Can I say this to you without horrifying you? More elderflower.
Yeah, exactly. Lemony, but in the same family.
'With more and more British bubbles making their way onto
'supermarket shelves, it seems English wine is finally on the map.'
-I tell you what, put that on ice
and you can have that in a few months.
As long as I can do more than smell it. Very frustrating!
Well, if that has tickled your taste buds,
and you want to find out more about what you've seen,
-log on to our website.
-Next week, we'll be in Wiltshire,
and I've been promised stirring tales of naked highwaymen.
It's not you, is it? You're not playing dress-up again?
-You'll have to find out next week.
-See you, bye-bye.
Really?! How naked are we talking about?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Matt Baker and Julia Bradbury explore the countryside where the North Downs rise up to create the Surrey Hills. Julia heads to one of the county's vineyards to learn about English wines, and she discovers why they are taking on the French when it comes to quality.
Matt is at Box Hill, which has been chosen as a venue for the 2012 Olympics. He takes to the saddle with Chris Boardman to find out why its winding roads make a perfect race track.
While Matt is on his bike, Katie Knapman is behind the scenes at the Olympic park where all the stops are being pulled out to keep the wildlife happy.
Elsewhere, John Craven investigates solar power and, down on the farm, Adam Henson is busy keeping a watchful eye on all his young lambs out in the fields.