Matt Baker and Clare Balding are in Devon exploring the unspoilt coastline of South Hams. Matt tries out canoeing and snorkelling in the beautiful Salcombe estuary.
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An unspoiled coast...
..fringed by rich, fertile farmland.
An estuary filled up by the tide and full of life.
This is South Hams, the most southerly sheltered part of Devon.
A place brimming with natural beauty and a dash of English eccentricity.
We are here at the first ever South Devon Crab Festival.
The locals here are very, very passionate
about the seafood they catch around these shores.
And it's not all serious because Matt and I
- well, it could be quite serious - will take on some of these locals
head-to-head in a crab-cracking competition.
If we're unsuccessful at that,
we're going to try and beat them at crab-pot rolling.
I'll get the pot.
I'll also take to the water
to get a different perspective on this stunning scenery
and discover a rather strange phenomenon.
-It's incredible, isn't it? It's like a Jacuzzi.
-A cold one!
Meanwhile, I'm on the South Hams border in search of
a real live bat cave.
The greater horseshoe bat is one of Britain's largest and rarest,
but I have a confession - they aren't my favourite creatures.
-And was anyone scared?
It was just me, wasn't it?
And with vast quantities of perfectly good food
being thrown away every day in the UK,
I'll be asking, "Can we change our wasteful ways?"
Also on Countryfile tonight...
James is catching a new Devon delicacy -
These don't look anything like eels to me.
I'd say that was a kind of elongated sardine.
And Adam's hoping for a premium price
when he takes his sheep to market.
60. 60 lambs. Lovely!
What a lovely morning for a lamb sale.
Nestled among the lush valleys of the South Hams,
by the creeks of the Salcombe Estuary, several miles
along the coast from Dartmouth, it's the county's most southern point.
But sheltered from the Atlantic blasts,
these are tranquil waters,
disturbed only by the frequent comings and goings
of the many boats which moor here.
This place boasts some of the warmest weather in Britain.
Once you've factored in the golden sandy beaches and seaside charm,
you can understand why it's a popular tourist destination.
But there's a lot more to Salcombe than meets the eye.
Underneath the waves
lies one of the most protected marine habitats in Britain,
home to all kinds of rare sea life.
But before I get to grips with that,
I'm exploring above the surface.
And I'm going in search of parts of the estuary
that most people who come here never get the chance to see.
With miles to explore, the Salcombe Estuary is made for canoeing.
My guide, instructor Dave Halsall, knows it like the back of his hand.
If you just get in the front of the boat, Matt, and I'll get in the back.
How often do you get out on this estuary, Dave?
I'm lucky enough to get out most days, actually.
And where are you navigating us to?
We're just going to have a look at little bits on the estuary,
there's no particular route we need to take.
We can just go where the wind takes us.
-It's a perfect day for it, Mike.
-It's beautiful, yeah.
'We're travelling from Kingsbridge in the north of the estuary
'back down to Salcombe. Joining us is a team from the National Trust,
'one of the biggest landowners around here.
'And, as warden Simon Hill explains,
'the Trust wants to get more people canoeing.'
Lots of people would associate the National Trust with stately homes
on-land, but you're encouraging people to get out on the water.
We very much want people to get out and explore
and have memorable experiences in the countryside, and it's not just
necessarily about getting out by feet. We own 700 miles of coastline
and what better way to get out and explore it by on a boat?
And how are you encouraging people to get out on the water?
We're doing that by having a canoe partnership on the Salcombe Estuary
with Dave here, but also more recently we built on that very much
to develop a canoe trail for the estuary.
From a short one-hour beginner trail, right through to something to
go along the length of the estuary, five hours, and explore everything.
'They reckon that by canoe you get to see things
'you might otherwise miss, and it's not long before we find one of them,
'which Dave likes to call... the phenomenon.'
-That's all this bubbling, fizzing water?
The rocks here are porous. They've got lots of little holes in them.
And when the tide goes out, air's sucked into the holes.
When the tide comes back in, it forces the air out of the holes
-and out of the rock and into the water.
-Oh, yeah. Look at the bubbles
coming up from the holes in the rocks. I can't believe it.
That fizzing sound's being amplified by the canoe, isn't it?
It comes straight up through the hull. It's fantastic.
How long does it bubble for, then?
It'll bubble for about three or four hours while there's water here.
-It's incredible, isn't it? It's like a Jacuzzi.
-A cold one!
'Well, I'm not jumping in just yet,
'especially when there's so much more of the estuary yet to explore.
'And not just the wonders of the natural world
'because there's history here, too.'
-What's this, then, Dave?
-It's a lime kiln.
-A lime kiln?
Why would these have been built right along the edge of the estuary?
Well, in the 1700s, the roads locally
would be just mud tracks, so you could bring in limestone and coal
quite easily by water, so boats used to come in.
Into here, put the coal and the limestone in the lime kiln,
burn it, and then at low tide the horse and cart could come round
and take out the fertiliser which was spread on the lands.
It supposedly made the fields sweeter.
There's quite a few of these all the way down the estuary?
Yeah, there's about 12. And in pretty similar condition to this.
-Very well preserved. I mean, obviously very well built.
-I love 'em. They're like little castles.
'The tide has turned
'and the water is beginning to drain from the estuary.
'Later on, I'll be discovering what secrets it'll reveal.'
But first, as part of our food and farming series,
John is tackling the problem of waste.
Over the last few weeks,
we've been investigating the threats facing our food supply
and the global food crisis that's looming on the horizon.
The startling reality is that, across the world, a third of all food
is wasted, and what we threw away in the UK is mind-boggling.
That's 16 million tonnes of it a year, enough to fill
Wembley Stadium, right to the tip of its magnificent arch 20 times.
But who do we think the culprits are?
Who's responsible for this shameful statistic?
Last year, I discovered that all across Britain
fields of perfectly good vegetables are being ploughed back into the soil
as they've failed to meet stringent supermarket specifications.
50% of this crop may not end up in the food chain
purely because it doesn't fit the very tight aesthetic parameters
that are demanded for supermarkets.
But, in fact, the majority of food waste is created not by retailers
but by you and me. In our individual homes up and down the country,
we throw out more than half of Britain's waste.
But have we got any idea just how much this is costing us?
According to the Countryfile survey we commissioned, no we don't.
We asked 1,000 households how much they think
they throw out each month.
9% said more than £20 worth,
with double that, 18%, saying they wasted between £10 and £20 worth.
But the vast majority, 53% of people,
said that they wasted less than £10 worth of food every month.
But official figures show that we actually throw out
over six times that - an average of £680 per house per year.
It really seems that most of us have no idea just how wasteful we are.
Absolutely. But it hasn't always been that way.
Before World War II,
we're talking about between 1% and 2%
of the food we were buying we wasted.
Then, by the 1980s,
we were looking at about 6%.
But now we're looking at as much as 25% of all the food we're buying.
I mean, that's an incredible leap.
Is it, do you think, because food is relatively cheap these days?
Absolutely. In terms of the proportion of our income,
we spend much less now, compared to how it used to be.
'To help us discover exactly what we're wasting,
'we've enlisted the help of Jane Davidson and her family.'
-What's the date today?
'As a busy mother of two, Jane does her main food shopping once a week.'
-That is 23rd July!
'We're asking her to clear out her fridge
'to find out which foods she buys ends up uneaten in the bin.
'But it's not just households who are the culprits.
'So, while Jane and the kids get to work,
'I've got another appointment to keep.
'The next biggest offender for food waste is the hospitality industry,
'which accounts for a quarter of the UK's total.
'To learn more, I'm catching up with a man whose organisation is trying
'to cut the amount of waste restaurants create.'
The average restaurant in the UK is producing 21 tonnes
of food waste every year -
the equivalent to three double-decker buses.
That seems incredible, why is it?
There's food waste being produced
from all parts of the process in the restaurant.
So, a lot of food goes off when it spoils as stock,
a lot of food's wasted in the preparation process,
and ending up in the bin.
And if you don't finish your meal then food's scraped into the bin.
And a lot of that ends up in landfill.
Well, here's some that won't end up in landfill.
-That looks delicious, thank you very much.
-Thanks very much.
The restaurant we're in today is taking action.
It's one of a small but growing minority of food outlets,
joining the Sustainable Restaurant Association in a bid to slash waste.
Time for a visit to the kitchen.
And, Jo, just how seriously are you taking waste?
We take waste pretty seriously
and it's something our customers are interested in.
There are all sorts of different things that we can do.
So, for example, the ends of the leeks, here,
we always use in the stock.
All the bones will also go into a stock.
We keep all our bread for breadcrumbs,
anything left over we can feed our staff,
so we all sit down and eat together.
And we can put extra things into the daily specials.
What else would you like to do?
Food waste goes in with our general waste,
so it would be great to know what else we can do there.
Let's take a quick look in their waste bin.
What do you make of that?
It's a lot better than many restaurants.
This is recycling here.
This is general waste - here's an opportunity to separate general waste
from some of the food waste in there.
That gives an opportunity to ensure
that food waste gets disposed of responsibly.
And what else can be done?
What about the size of portions, if people are leaving things?
We'd like to encourage those people to ask to take it home with them.
-A doggy bag?
-Exactly, a doggy bag. In the States
you wouldn't think twice about doing it.
We're a little bit embarrassed here about asking to do that.
Do think people are a bit embarrassed?
Yes, I would say they are embarrassed.
But we don't have a problem with it. We'd love to see them take it home.
-And the food, not just for the dog, maybe.
Back in Jane's kitchen, we're tackling the biggest contributor
to food waste -
individual households throughout the UK.
We've asked her to clean out her fridge
and throw away the food that she wouldn't now use.
Time to see the results.
Jane, you've rummaged through your fridge
and you are casting all these away. Why is that?
Because they're out of date,
what I would say is out of date, really.
-How typical is this?
Essentially, 25% of the stuff that we're throwing away
is fruit, vegetable and salads.
-Fruit's always a problem, isn't it?
Yeah, this says display until the 1st August, which is four days ago.
Display until is just for the shops.
You don't need to think about it at all, it's for stock control.
-So, these are still OK.
Now, what about these blueberries heading for the bin.
Best before 24th July. Two weeks ago, now.
There's a golden rule. There are three different types of date.
The first one is 'display until' or 'sell-by'.
That's purely for the shop.
It's stock control, we should never worry about it, we just ignore it.
The next one is 'best before'.
Now, that's only about the quality of the food.
So you can continue to eat it perfectly safely
after the best-before date.
Never eat past the use-by date,
-that's the most important thing.
-That's the golden rule,
'use by' is what you should take note of.
What about this spreadable butter stuff?
Well, butter is a best before, so, again, it's purely quality.
-We're only on the third, so, have a look at it.
If you're happy to eat it, because there's no safety issue,
-you can carry on.
-Food for thought, then.
-Yes, definitely. Good tips.
But is there a solution to the mountains of food waste?
Later, I'll be investigating what happens to the 16 million tonnes
of food we throw out every year
and asking how we can bring the amount of waste we create
under control and the consequences if we fail to act.
-This week I'm with Matt, exploring the southernmost tip of Devon.
Miles of glorious beaches, acre upon acre of beautiful countryside.
This place has one of the mildest climates in the UK,
making it perfect for a spot of sunbathing.
But it's not just sun-worshippers who love this part of South Devon,
it's also a surprising hit with the least sun-loving of all mammals -
Not just any bat.
This corner of South Devon is among the best areas in Europe
to see one of Britain's largest and rarest,
the greater horseshoe bat.
I'm on the furthest edge of the South Hams Conservation Area
at Berry Head.
And when this sun sets I'll be heading out
to see if I can catch a glimpse of some.
There's just one snag.
Just got to tell you something,
I would be game for any challenge, I'm up for anything,
but I have one major fear,
call it a phobia if you will,
and it's bats.
One flew into my room when I was little, went round and round by my head
and it made squeaking noises. I had to crawl to the door
and my father came and I wouldn't go back in until I knew it was gone.
That kind of phobia. So I might not handle this particularly well.
Unlike much of Britain's intensively farmed land,
the Devon countryside is still one of ancient pastures
and thick hedgerows.
In fact, there's around 33,000 miles of insect-rich hedges,
more than any other county in the UK.
They're perfect larders for the bats
Berry Head ranger, Chris Smallbones, has been tracking for years.
-What have you got there?
Just a couple of beetles and a nice harvestman spider, there.
It's amazing, looking closely at the hedgerow,
it's all moving, isn't it?
It is. This is all perfect for bugs.
-So, what sort of things would they eat?
-Well, I have a collection.
We have some beetles that the bats really like to feed on.
They are. The greater horseshoe bat is quite a large bat
and as you can see it needs large prey.
We've got these guys, here.
These are the may bug or cockchafers
and these are Geotropes beetles, or dor beetles.
Will they always come back to the same spot to feed every night?
Well, actually, I can show you. So I'll just get my map.
Because we're on a large headland, sticking out into the sea,
we're surrounded by water, they've only got one way to go.
So, this is like a bat motorway?
All this area's lovely little fields
and all these little lines are all lovely hedgerows.
It's important, because the bats know where to go as the feed is there.
But it's not just the hedges that bring in the bats.
These Red Devon grazing cattle haven't come here for the view,
they're here because the bats, as well as all the stuff
they can find in the hedgerows, absolutely love dung beetles
and for dung beetles, you need dung.
And there's plenty of that round here.
With the sun starting to set and my anxiety on the rise,
it's almost time to face my fears.
Chris has brought me to this disused limestone quarry.
So, Chris, how can you be sure that we'll see bats here tonight?
Well, just under here is where our bat cave is.
We can pretty much guarantee we're going to have bats
because we go in and survey them.
How many bats are we talking?
How many live here underneath us?
In the summertime, we have about 75, this year's count,
with 35 babies which, actually,
this year was one of our best baby counts.
But they leave them in a creche,
so all the babies are in together and they're keeping themselves warm
in the little creche that they've been left in, essentially.
In their bat creche, I love it!
I'm actually starting to quite like them.
There's very little light pollution in this spot.
New developments are planned with bats in mind.
You won't find bright porch lights round here.
So, we'll have to be equally careful,
we'll be switching to infra red lights very soon.
And we're about to be joined by 20 girl guides.
So, hands up, who's excited about tonight?
Who's scared of bats?
A few of you are still scared of bats, OK.
Why are you scared of bats?
Because, like, the flapping wings scares me a little.
Now, the big challenge is, one, that none of us will be frightened
cos we're going to be brave together.
The second thing is we have to be really, really quiet.
And we're going to go dark now,
we're going to switch the camera light off. And wait for the bats.
'Now, the moment of truth, how will my nerves hold up?
'The guides certainly seem up for it.'
They'll be out quite quick because yesterday it rained
so the bats probably wouldn't have been able to go out and fed.
Here they come.
You've got all this vegetation on the edge,
on the lip of the quarry, here.
And moths and insects will be coming out of those bushes.
They'll have a quick, if you like, snack,
on their way to their feeding areas.
So, they sort of...
circle around as if they're in a holding pattern
before they take off? You can see all these shapes darting across.
Oh, my word!
-Do they hunt on their own or in pairs?
-They hunt on their own.
Oh, wow! That was really close.
'They're so quick it's a struggle
'to glimpse them. In their own environment, they aren't half
'as threatening as I'd imagined.'
Wow, did you see that one?
-And was anyone scared?
-It was just me, wasn't it?
'Actually, truth be told,
'I quite enjoyed it. It's magical watching their nocturnal dance.
'And the girls seemed to agree.'
Later on this week's programme...
will Adam get a good price at the sheep auction?
One, now. 61, now. All away at 63.20.
So, I'd have hoped we'd get a bit more than that.
'Have I got what it takes to become a crabber?'
Any time today would be helpful.
Yes, all right.
'And, find out what the weather has in store for the week ahead
'with the Countryfile forecast.'
While Matt and I have been exploring the South Hams,
James has been further along the Devon coast
at Teignmouth, finding out how
a little-loved fish is making its way onto restaurant plates.
The seas around Devon are absolutely packed with marine life.
Unsurprisingly, they eat a lot of seafood down here.
But the fish I'm having for lunch
is not something you would expect on a menu.
The shallow seas here are perfect for catching sand eels.
There's enough demand for them to drum up business for local fishermen.
But that's mostly to sell to anglers as bait.
Some people think that sand eels are right for human consumption
and I've managed to track down a chef who has promised to cook me some up, if I can catch them first.
'Award-winning chef Tim Bouget is on a one-man mission to rebrand sand eels as a gourmet food.'
Trevor, good to meet you.
'And to get the ingredients for lunch, I have enlisted the help of fisherman Trevor Hall.
'The eels live on a sandbank not far from shore.
'To catch them, Trevor and his team drag their net between two boats
'and they've got to get the job done before the tide turns.'
You say they live up to a foot under the sand. Does this scoop up the sand?
No. We take the ones swimming in the sea. They'll come out of the sand on the incoming tide.
-You just pick the occasional one?
-As opposed to the whole lot in one go?
-How much were you expecting to get?
-Hopefully, we will be up to 20 stone, I hope.
-So how sustainable is it?
-We feel they're very sustainable.
We only take what we need. We don't take any other fish.
'The fish stocks certainly seem healthy
'and Trevor's team can fill their net in just a matter of a few minutes.'
-How's that for a catch?
-Yes, very happy.
-These don't look like eels to me.
I'd say that was an elongated sardine.
And these are different sizes. Some are tiny. Some are enormous.
This is called a lance. The longer green ones. The others are sand eels.
-These are sand eels.
-They're not just different ages?
-No, just different species.
'Despite the name, sand eels are not eels at all.
'They are actually small fish
'and Trevor's catch sells for £4 a kilo.'
-So where are these destined?
-Some will go for food and some will be for angling baits.
-What's your proportion?
-Angling baits is probably 99%.
It's incredible. It's quite a new thing people are eating?
Yeah, it seems to be picking up as the years are going on.
-Have you eaten them?
-Only the once.
-How many years have you been fishing for them?
-Fishing for 20 years. We got about 20 stone today and you've eaten them once?
'Eels in hand, I've headed across the harbour to the picture-perfect village of Shaldon,
'where lunch awaits.
'I'm still missing some vital ingredients, but I won't have to go far to find them,
'because around here they've their own way of doing things.'
Everyone around here seems to know each other and where would a Shaldon foodie go for exotic fruit?
A neighbour's garden, of course.
-I've come to forage in your back garden.
-Come on, Lucy!
-Come on, there's a good girl.
Look at this, this is a spectacular fig tree.
-Yes. She's lovely.
-How long have you had this?
We think it's about 50 years old. We're not sure. This one here...
'Figs are not your typical English fruit.
'They normally grow in warmer climates, like the Mediterranean.
'But basking here in the South Devon son, Wenna Curry's tree is doing just fine.'
-You can feel how soft and full of yum it is.
-"Full of yum". I like that.
I get a bit too enthusiastic, fruit picking,
but there is one prize-winning one up there.
'These figs look and smell great and now I've got everything I need for lunch.
'All that's left is to borrow a venue with a seaside view and Tim has done us proud.'
Wow! This is amazing!
I've heard of beach huts, but you've got a kitchen and a bed.
-Fantastic. What have you got?
-A collection of things.
-Let's have a look.
I've got everything you ordered. Sand eels, sea lettuce, figs.
-A whole smorgasbord.
-Absolutely beautiful. Look at that.
'And the menu's sounding pretty good.'
I'll make a salad with the figs and we've got eels and we we'll do the eels in two ways.
We'll pickle them and do a lovely fried dish.
What is the texture like? It looks like a white fish as opposed to an oily one.
-Is it like giant whitebait?
-Yeah, I prefer calling them little sea bass, really.
It has a backbone through the eel, but it's so fine.
You get a slight crunch, but you'll get more of a crunch from the breadcrumbs.
-This might be a silly question. Why sand eels? They'll hardly be on a restaurant supplier's list.
But they are on our doorstep, they're very sustainable.
They're competitively priced, so there's a nice, natural circle.
If they're so good, why does no one eat them?
I think it's our best-kept secret, really.
'But eels aren't the only thing on my mind.'
Tell me about this beach hut.
It's bigger than my apartment and a lot posher than my apartment.
These are special huts. Underfloor heating, state-of-the-art technology, great kitchens.
Rumour has it that we're talking a quarter of a million pounds for this beach hut.
-It's quite special.
-I won't be moving in any time soon!
'But it is a fitting setting for our special lunch,
'which is just about ready.'
-Try it with the fig sauce.
-OK. Fish and figs.
We'll see if it's a marriage made in heaven.
-That's pretty good.
-It's not bad.
-To be honest, I had my doubts.
That's fantastic. It's sweet and sour.
-A little bit zesty, lemon.
-It's like a fruity sweet-and-sour sauce.
People pay a fortune for cod, which is not as sophisticated or interesting and not as sustainable.
So that's the cooked one, James. Let's try these.
This is the cured salad.
I feel quite vulgar going in with my fingers on a salad like this, but...
That's possibly even nicer.
I've got to say pickled eels isn't a great seller, but that's fantastic.
'Add cider champagne
'and this delicious meal of nearly all fresh local produce is going to go down a treat.'
-What shall we toast to, sand eels?
-Sand eels, I think.
-To sand eels.
-'Back in Salcombe, we're following the retreating tide towards the sea.
'As the low water beckons, the estuary's secrets are beginning to be revealed.'
What's the story here, Dave?
This is the wreck of the Iverna, which used to be a racing yacht.
And why is she in this state now, then?
-She finished her racing days and then she was used on the estuary as a houseboat.
She sprung a leak, unfortunately, and was beached and stripped of her valuable timber.
-How good was she?
-She was fast. In her heyday, she won all the races.
So she was the top boat of the day.
She used to race against the King's boat
and the Kaiser's boat, anyone else who had one.
-People with money would have a racing yacht. She would beat them all.
-Oh, wow! Look at that sail!
-Oh, my word.
-A lot of sail area.
-Can you see the man?
-There's somebody up there! Yeah. That's incredible, isn't it?
-And this is one when she was beached.
Yes. She was lovely, wasn't she?
Such a shame to see her like that and then look back at what's left. Basically, just there for the fish.
And the Iverna is not alone.
There are traces of seven more wrecks in this one ship's graveyard.
Everyone has its own story to tell. But all have been left to rot
and be slowly carried away on the tides.
Now, as John has been discovering, we throw away huge amounts of perfectly good food in this country,
so is there any way we can change that?
Earlier, I learned how it's our own households up and down the country
that are the main culprits when it comes to wasting food,
with an estimated quarter of all the food we buy ending up in the bin.
But the problems extend across the board, from homes to schools, to restaurants to supermarkets.
As pressure grows on our food resources, it seems to me
there are two things we have to do about waste.
Crack down on it, but also make use of whatever's left.
At the moment, almost 40% of all the food we waste ends up in landfill sites,
where it slowly breaks down, giving off around 20% of the UK's greenhouse-gas methane emissions.
Not only that, we're running out of landfill sites
and one of the answers is to have more of these - anaerobic digesters.
This one is on a farm in Staffordshire
and turns food waste into electricity for around 1,300 houses.
Anaerobic digesters are the Government's preferred method
of treating food waste, and the benefits seem obvious.
Food goes in and electricity or gas comes out.
In fact, the Government is so keen on them, it wants to expand plants like this
to handle 5 million tonnes of food a year -
a third of the UK's total waste.
How many of these anaerobic digesters are there at the moment operating?
There are about 60 to 70. If we're going to get near
tackling the 16 million tonnes of food waste
which the Government recently identified for UK producers,
then we'll have to see more of them come online quickly.
And there must be a catch?
So, contracts for food waste tend to be quite short term,
and the payback for a plant is going to be longer than that.
We need longer-term contracts from local authorities
and waste producers to really bring the industry forward.
And why aren't councils doing that?
Some of them have been hesitant about cost.
The examples where councils segregate waste
have seen that they can do it at the same cost as normal waste collection,
and they save an awful lot on landfill.
Anaerobic digestion seems to be popular with everyone from policy-makers to environmentalists,
but a word of caution is being added.
And that is that our priority must be feeding people with as little waste as possible
before we turn to feeding machines like this.
I'm visiting a place that is doing just that
and which gives a stark illustration of just how wasteful our society has become.
Shelves stacked high with food.
It looks like a supermarket warehouse to me.
We are in a way, but we're just a charity that redistributes food rather than sells it.
What about this - long-life orange juice - how did you come by these?
This is a great example of supply and demand.
The manufacturer of that
has to keep the supermarket happy by having enough of that stock in.
We get a cold snap, you and I drink a little less - there is a surplus.
Fareshare say it is cheaper for retailers to send food to them than to use landfill,
and it's redistributed to many charities.
The latest consignment. What have we got? Fresh fruit and veg.
-It's always exciting. You never know what you're going to get.
-How much food per day do you take in?
In total last year, we distributed 3,600 tonnes.
That averages 35,500 people being fed a day.
-And well fed, by the look of it.
-Yeah, it's good quality.
-Strawberries here. Asparagus, even!
But is this all stuff that is now past its sell-by date?
No, this is all within date. Everything that we pass out is fit for retail.
It's within date and fit for human consumption.
-I suppose that makes things even more scandalous.
That it's actually fit to eat and yet it's been thrown away!
While schemes like this are great, they hardly touch the sides
of the 16 million tonnes of food we waste each year.
And with world demand for food expected to increase by 50%
by the middle of the century, we simply have to waste less.
As increased demand drives prices up, ultimately it may be cost
rather than conscience that forces us to change our wasteful ways.
To find out more about food waste and other countryside issues,
tune into Farming Today on Radio 4 every weekday morning at 5.45.
Still to come on Countryfile -
can Clare and I beat the locals in our crab-cracking challenge?
-Don't do it like that.
-Oh, shut up!
And will there be a nip in the air in the week ahead?
Find out with the Countryfile forecast.
But first, summer is a busy time on the farm
and Adam is having a break from the harvest
to take some of his ewes to a prestigious sheep sale.
But will he get the price that he's hoping for?
I love summer. It's a time of year
when we can start reaping the rewards of all our hard work. Harvest is underway,
and plenty of my animals are in good shape for market.
We've got around 2,000 sheep on the farm at the moment, and I really enjoy sheep farming.
It's an exciting part of the business, and quite important to us. The price of lamb is quite high,
and I'd usually sell quite a few of these lambs for meat,
but I'm going to try my hand at selling them as breeding females.
We picked out the very best females and I'll take them to Honeybourne sale.
So I'm just going to get them loaded up.
We've got a healthy flock and I'm feeling positive about these ewe lambs.
But selling my sheep is always a nervous time, as you never know what they'll fetch at auction.
The price of sheep has soared recently.
That's partly because New Zealand lamb is going into China,
and there's a big demand for UK lamb into Europe.
And that's great news for sheep farmers and great news for me,
particularly with these 60 lambs in the back to sell.
60, 60 lambs. Lovely. What a lovely morning for a lamb sale.
Honeybourne sheep sale goes back to the 1800s.
The sale field is owned by Edward Righton.
There's been an auction here stretching back to him great-grandfather's time,
so I'm keen to meet Edward to find out what makes this traditional sheep sale so special.
-Very nice to meet you.
-It's a real annual get-together,
and when I was young, farmers brought their year's production here.
This was their main cheque and livelihood for the year.
Some ridges have been occupied by the same farming families at this sale for several generations.
Do you think it will carry on? Will you let the field out to them?
If farmers' fortunes are good and they want to support it, I'm happy for it to carry on.
It's not long now until the buyers arrive,
but before they cast their eyes over my ewe lambs, I need to sort them into size and breed.
We've got Charollais, which are these ones with the slightly more tanny face.
And we've got Texels, like these white-faced lambs.
And the buyers want to be looking at a pen of even lambs,
and so we're going to take the Texels out
and sell the Charollais on their own.
Tom Greener, one of the auctioneers, has kindly offered to give me a hand.
It's great to get some of his expert advice.
The worst lamb will always bring a pen down.
The best one doesn't bring it up. So if you have got a good one...
What sort of money do you think we might make for these?
-The Texels will be good money. We'll see £80 to £85 on them.
Anywhere between 70 and 80 and I'll be happy.
-The Charollais, these'll be £55, £60, this pen.
-I'd be more than happy than that.
A couple of years ago, I was getting roughly half that price.
The atmosphere here is buzzing.
Sheep are literally arriving by the lorry-load.
Sad as it may sound, I just love all these great big lorries unloading these lambs.
There's about 400 on here.
When I was a kid, I used to mess around in the living room with pillows
and pretend I was loading and unloading sheep. It's just fantastic.
I'm small, in comparison to these big boys.
As the bell rings, it signals the start of the auction, and Tom gets things underway.
ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for turning out today. We'll get underway.
The first lot - what are they going to be?
-70 bid. 70 bid there.
2? At 72, 72. 72.
I have. 3, I have. At 73. At 3, at 3, at 3...
At 73, sold, you've got them, at £73.50. And on we go.
So, the first lot sold for £73.50 per lamb.
A fair price. This gives me high hopes.
But there's no time to hang around. The horse and cart moves along from pen to pen
with the auctioneers selling the lambs.
On this side, all the buyers are jostling for space trying to outbid each other,
winking and nodding and a flick of the hand, and they'll be buying these lambs.
61... And a half one? 61...
These are Charollais lambs. They look a bit like mine.
-So, I would hope we would get a bit more than that.
Right, it's my Texel sheep next. £70-£80 would be a fair price.
Texel ewe lambs. Look at them, they are good, strong ewe lambs.
What are they going to be? 85?
-I am really pleased with how my lambs look.
-These are ewe lambs?
-All ewe lambs, yeah.
75. Come on, start me.
-The starting price dropped a bit to get the bidding going.
-Half six...half seven.
-There's lots of interest.
-80 half, 80 half, 80 half.
-86. 86. 86...
-This is sounding really good.
-Before I know it, the hammer goes down.
-At 93. 93, 93. Sold. Away at 93.
That's good. I'm very, very happy with that.
My second lot of Texels go for £87.50. Another good result.
Right, let's see what the Charollais make.
It's harder to guess what the larger Charollais will fetch.
-They're not as popular as the Texels.
That's £88.50 a lamb for these Charollais. That's good.
Let's see what the last ones make. Up next, the small Charollais. Tom thought these would fetch less.
-67, 67, 67... Sold! Away they go at £67.
-They all sold well.
I'm going to catch up with one of the buyers to find out what his plans are for the lambs.
-Where will they be going now?
-Down to South Wales now.
They'll be bred on until next year. I'll sell them at market.
-So you will run them on at your farm and try and make a bit on them next year?
-They won't end up for meat. They'll go for breeding?
One and a half...32, 32.
The sale will carry on for hours. But my work here's done.
I just picked up my sale ticket from the office and I'm delighted with how they went.
The top pen sold very well. These ones, not quite so good.
But the overall average was about £85 a lamb.
So I'm taking home best part of five grand. A good day's work.
While my livestock sales have been a success, my crops haven't fared so well.
My winter barley is down 20% from last year.
This week, we're harvesting the oilseed rape, and I'm praying for better results.
The oilseed rape was planted this time last year
and just over a fortnight ago, we sprayed it off with a weedkiller.
It not only kills the weeds but it kills off the rape too, so it's all even and brown and dry
to make easy work for the combine.
It's a far cry from what it looked like in the spring, when it was bright yellow and in flower.
The combine is cutting off the plants that go up into a massive crushing mechanism.
It then bashes the crop to hopefully extract all the oilseed.
And there's the black oilseed. That's what we're after.
I sell this to a neighbour who crushes it and from it gets the rape oil
that you can use for frying, or to replace olive oil, really. It's lovely stuff.
It's a mammoth task, harvesting these crops.
The team work in shifts to keep the combine moving. It's my turn to take over in the cab.
Just setting the cutter knife going.
It was always my dream as a boy to be the combine driver
and when I was a lad, I was never allowed to.
There were tractor drivers on the farm, it was their pride and joy
looking after the combine and driving it. And as I got older,
I was eventually allowed the job of driving the combine.
Oh, look, there goes a deer fawn. You can see it jumping around.
This oilseed rape crop makes a wonderful canopy.
It's like a little forest, and you get lots of wildlife.
You get foxes and rabbits and pheasants and all sorts in here.
The tractor is just coming up alongside now to unload,
so I need to put out the unloading auger,
and once the spout is over the trailer,
I will press this button and start unloading.
That's it now.
And you want to unload on the move because it saves time,
and while the sun is shining, we really want to make the most of it.
This trailer carries about 12.5 tonne of rape.
I'll climb in and show it to you. Here it is. The lovely rapeseed.
It's amazing the job the combine makes. It's a really lovely sample.
And this trailer has got about £3,500 worth in it. Pretty valuable.
The price is high at the moment.
And for us, this is the culmination of a year's hard work all coming together.
It's pretty satisfying, I can tell you.
My canoe journey in Salcombe is nearing its end.
But as we reach the mouth of the estuary, the going is getting tougher.
The tide is going out so it's pushing us along this way,
but we are padding into the wind,
and the water looks choppier, so it just seems a little bit more frantic here.
We're headed for the beach to go snorkelling.
The sea-life here is so rare that the estuary is one of only two marine environments
in the whole of the UK to be given legal protection
as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Here to tell me why, is marine conservationist, Nigel Mortimer.
OK, before dive, give us an idea of why the marine life around here is so special.
It's a very special estuary.
In fact, in some ways it's not an estuary at all.
There's no river flowing into it, so it's a very sheltered marine inlet.
The diversity of habitats and wildlife here is something special.
Well, you're suited up.
I'll get the wetsuit on and we'll get in there and have a good look.
Nigel wants to show me something called seagrass.
At first glance, it doesn't look anything special
but it's actually quite rare.
Around here, though, there's tons of it.
Well, Nigel, as its name suggests, seagrass is a grass.
It looks similar to grass but why is it so special?
All the other vegetation in the sea is all seaweeds.
This is a flowering plant from the land that's made its way back into the sea again.
It's got roots, leaves and it's actually got flowers.
What's incredible about it is it gives a whole lot of cover
for a lot of animals to thrive in.
But seagrass is under threat. Over the past 60 years,
huge swathes of it have been lost across the north-east Atlantic.
100 years ago, there would have been ten times as much.
It was hit by a wasting disease thought to be pollution related,
-so we're keen to protect what we do have now.
-Is it still in decline today?
Locally, we believe that, if anything, it's starting to grow back a little bit
but around the coast,
it's under some threat just from human activities.
There's plenty more to see here, though, besides the grass.
I'll only get to glimpse a fraction of it today
but along the length of the estuary, a dazzling array
of colourful creatures is hiding beneath the waves.
Now, if you've been inspired by our snorkelling
and are keen to get out into the great outdoors,
log on to our website and click on "things to do".
The BBC has teamed up with a range of organisations that offer
some fantastic activities
so I'm sure you'll find something that'll whet your appetite.
But don't rush off just yet, because whatever you've got planned,
you'll need the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.
Today, Matt and I have been exploring the sprawling
tidal estuaries of South Hams.
Our final stop it brings us to the picture-postcard village of South Pool.
In a few hours' time, this peaceful village will be buzzing with people paying homage
to one of the area's finest residents, the south Devon crab.
It even has its own festival.
They land over 2,000 tonnes a year of these critters in south Devon
but two-thirds of them head back overseas to France and Spain.
So, the locals have come up with an ingenious plan to up the profile
of what they believe is the best crab in the world,
the first South Devon Crab Festival.
Later, Matt and I will be going head to head with the locals
in a bit of a crabby contest.
So, I'm heading out with one of the local crab fisherman, Phil Cardew.
His family have been fishing these waters for generations.
Is there a theory, Phil, about why the crab is so good here?
There are big areas here which are dedicated solely to static gear -
crab pots - untouched by trawlers.
The crabs get a good chance to breed and rest.
Why do you think it is that you struggle to sell crab to people in this country,
that they don't prepare it themselves?
They might order it at a restaurant but rarely cook it at home.
I think a lot of people are fazed by the fact of cooking a crab.
They get it live, they need to have at live to cook it.
They have to kill it, prepare it themselves,
whereas on the continent, people are brought up with it and they love their shellfish.
Phil's checking on a string of crab pots laid on the seabed the day before.
While he assesses the night's bounty, I'm baiting the new pots.
-Any time today would be helpful.
-Yes, all right(!)
The pressure is on, he'll need about eight of these barrels to earn himself a decent day's wages.
But it's not just a numbers game.
The young crabs go straight back.
-Too small, yeah. Two small. Female.
Do you think you understand crab? Appreciate their characteristics?
Yeah, I'm very much like a crab.
You've got to think like a crab to catch a crab.
So, thanks to Phil, I've got my crab.
Time to head to the festival for the next step.
Matt's on his way to help me take on the locals in the inaugural McCrab Challenge.
I'm going to need some practice, so while my crab's boiling away for later,
I'm getting some tips from crab processor Trevor Bartlett on the art of crab-cracking.
So, Trevor, what are we doing?
I'm going to show you how easy it is to pick the crabmeat out of the crab.
Obviously, in the competition, we want to make sure you can do it as quickly as anybody else.
So pick up your crab, hold it in your left hand and take the claws away first of all.
So, just move the claw away from the mouth, and up.
-Nice and easy, there we go. Bang down and push. Push.
-There we go.
So, we've got 12 dead men's fingers on each of the...
and all we've got to do is scrape all the dead men's fingers away.
And the real challenge is not just doing it fast,
it's getting as much meat as possible.
Oh, I ruined it! I had that really nicely.
It's OK. Every crab's got two claws, so there's a second chance.
Doesn't exactly bode well. Let's hope Matt's on form today.
-How are we doing? What's going on?
-What's going on here?
-We've thrown ourselves into a situation.
-I didn't realise it was fancy dress.
-No, this is Sue.
-She looks lovely, she looks great.
-I will shake your claw.
-Nice to see you.
-We've got to crack some crabs -
-they look a bit like this - against some people who are really good at it.
-But I've heard you're good at everything.
-Have you been practising?
-Yeah, but...a bit.
You're really good at everything so I'm leaning on you.
This team is a one-man team, and it's you.
On your marks, get set...go!
-So what are we doing?
-Yeah, just pull those around.
-Look at the size of those!
We're up against locals Rob and Jeff.
Jeff's a crab fishermen and Rob is a crab processor
so it's fair to say they've got a head start.
-I wouldn't do it like that.
-Oh, shut up!
These things here are called devil's something-or-others. Fingers!
And take them off, because they're not good, they're bitter.
And just crack it... Ooh!
I wouldn't stand that close if I were you, sir.
Oh, great God! Let's get that one on there.
If you do it all in one, it's really...
and then it's like a cocktail thingy. My God, look at this.
-Oh, wow! Look at that.
-I don't think we're doing that badly.
-ALL: Five, four, three, two, one.
-This is so random!
THEY ALL CHEER
All I've done is just smashed a crab up.
-Look at that!
-What's that shell doing in there? Extra weight.
'Speaking of which, moment of truth. First up, the local lads.'
-Oh, 1744, that's good.
And these guys...
We've won! Did we win?!
-It's a wonderful trophy, this.
It almost feels criminal to take it away from the village.
-You can have it for the first week.
-And then we'll swap. Wonderful.
What a wonderful note to finish the programme on.
Next week, Adam and his dad Joe are taking a trip up to North Ronaldsay
for a special edition of the programme looking back
at all the rare breeds that are such a feature of his farm.
Adam first went there as a lad so it's a trip down memory lane.
-Join them if you can.
-See you then, bye-bye.
-Crab salad to celebrate?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Matt Baker and Clare Balding are in Devon exploring the unspoilt coastline of South Hams. Matt tries out canoeing and snorkelling in the beautiful Salcombe estuary. Clare goes in search of the Greater Horseshoe bat, before meeting up with Matt for a crab cracking competition.
Meanwhile, John Craven investigates the vast amounts of perfectly good food that we all throw away every week. And Adam is hoping for a good price when he takes his sheep to market.