Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison experience the mix of sandy beaches and remote heathland that make up much of the Suffolk coastline. Matt heads to the seaside town of Southwold.
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The Suffolk coast.
A breathtaking mix of sandy beaches, remote heathland and hidden secrets.
With summer just around the corner, it's the cue
for seaside towns like Southwold to start tarting things up a bit.
The famous beach huts get a lick of paint
and ice-cream inventors create new flavours.
I just hope they like the seaside themed one I've got in mind.
The quiet waterways, which flow to the sea along this coastline,
were once the M25 of their day.
And this would have been the lorry of its time.
Barges like this would sail up and down this stretch of river,
taking goods to the capital.
But when the factories closed down and the workers moved out,
the artists moved in.
I'm going to be meeting musicians and painters finding inspiration here.
Tom's looking at the environmental effects of a gardener's favourite.
This stuff, peat, is better than any rainforest
at protecting us against climate change.
So, how come we're still digging it up? I'll be investigating.
And Adam's celebrating new life on the farm.
But there's a cloud hanging over the Cotswolds.
Where I live is racehorse country
and lots of top racehorses are trained round here,
including Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Synchronised.
Sadly, his box now lies empty
because he suffered a fatal injury at the Grand National.
I'll be paying tribute to this fine racehorse.
The Suffolk coast -
a patchwork of fields, dotted with picturesque villages.
All eventually giving way to 50 miles
of some of the most desirable shoreline in the country.
A jewel in this east coast crown is Southwold.
A pretty special seaside town.
No kiss-me-quick hats here.
Rather the refined air you'd expect
from somewhere that's made its name as an expensive retreat
for the well-heeled and wealthy.
Sounds delightful, doesn't it? A lovely place to live.
Apparently, there's a right little gem of a property just along here.
Bags of character, far-reaching views
and buyers are dying to get hold of it.
But I've got the details.
And I booked myself an appointment with the estate agent.
So, Aidan, here we are, at beach hut 98B.
-That's the one.
-But look where it is!
-Steps up to the town.
You're right on the beach.
The outlook is stunning and it's Southwold.
What more do you want for your holiday?
-Yeah, I agree, the location is pretty special.
-Shall we have a look inside?
Most of the huts are sold with contents. They vary, of course.
Oh, right. That's quite a nice surprise, that. Very spacious.
Do come in.
-It's quite deceiving from the outside.
-They are TARDIS-like.
-Don't we always say that? You get the daybed.
There's usually a little Calor stove, as we've got here.
-Where's the nearest loo?
-Er, only about 100 yards in either direction.
100 yards, it's nothing, really, is it?!
Right. Well, here's you giving me the hard sell.
Actually, you don't have to, because you have a waiting list.
They go so quickly usually.
Very often they don't even come to the market, in fact.
They'll change hands within families -
-family groups, social groups.
-Lots of people are waiting for them.
-You'll get this
close to the asking price of 55,000?
Yeah. Three price bands, really, in the town.
-If you go to the prime location...
-Don't tell me, there's more.
There's more. Right up there, Gun Hill. Prime Southwold.
They've changed hands for 120,000.
For a shed this big?
What a bargain! Shall I get the contract?
Not just yet.
I might not be sold
but there's no denying the enduring appeal of these huts.
For some of Southwold's residents,
they've been a lifetime love affair
since their very earliest incarnations.
I'll tell you what, Jack, you were a bonny lad. How old were you here?
Well, I was one - 1919.
-A bit before your time.
-A little bit.
-That was of my mother and I in a bathing machine.
Was that on this beach somewhere?
Yes, it was down near the old pier. Um...
In the days when the bathing machine was taken down
to the edge of the sea by a horse.
These bathing machines were the forerunners of beach huts
and were designed to protect the modesty of changing swimmers.
As more relaxed attitudes brought in mixed bathing,
they began to be used for shelter and storage instead.
Eventually, they disappeared from the shoreline altogether,
evolving into the static huts on the promenade that we know today.
They haven't really changed that much, have they?
Is that part of the magic for you, then? How basic they are.
-Er, yes, it's just part of Southwold.
There's a lot of hassle and a lot of expense
in connection with a beach hut nowadays.
But once you get in that hut, when the sun is shining from the east,
into the hut, you enter another world.
Back in 1919, when Jack first visited Southwold,
there were only a handful of beach huts here.
It's a testament to their timeless charm that today
there are 300 of them and counting.
With summer fast approaching, proud owners like Ken Waters
are busy preparing for a season in the sun.
-Now, then, Ken, how are you doing?
-Are you well?
-Yes, indeed, thank you.
-What a bonny beach hut you've got here.
It's lovely, yeah. We've enjoyed this hut for many, many years.
-Is this annual maintenance, then?
-Well, it's about every other year.
It's pretty harsh. There were quite a few lost a few years ago.
We had a big storm which came up and swept about 12 of them away totally.
Some of them landed up in Dunwich. But, er, otherwise in bits.
-We were lucky.
-Here we are, we're painting this white and...
-You've got some black wood stain as well.
Are you restricted with colours? Are there any council guidelines?
Not really. Some people have them candy-striped
and some people have them just in pastel colours.
Little children come along and they shout out
all the names as they come along, which is also very nice.
-What's the name of yours?
-It's called Watershed.
Which was my name being Waters and it is a shed.
And so, hearing these ridiculous prices, are you tempted to sell?
-Not a chance. No, no.
-I think the children wouldn't forgive me.
-They all come down.
-She's part of the family, then.
Yes, I think that's right.
Desperate times if we ever had to sell this.
I might not have been tempted into buying my own beach hut
but I've certainly bought into the simple pleasures
that owning one can bring. Beautiful views
and your own piece of the great British seaside.
What could be better?
Peat may be good for our gardens but, if we look after it,
it's even better at preventing climate change.
But are we doing everything we can? Tom's been to find out.
The uplands of Britain. Vast, open landscapes, starkly beautiful.
But that's not all which makes them remarkable.
It's the peat bogs and the vital job they do in locking away
billions and billions of tonnes of harmful greenhouse gases.
But only a fifth remain undamaged.
The rest, like this, are eroding and leaking carbon,
which is bad news, because this is our best,
though battered, shield against climate change.
The damage here in the South Pennines
is the legacy of the Industrial Revolution.
Smoke from nearby mill towns attacked the peat,
leaving it too acidic for anything to grow.
The scarring you can see is the end result.
These peatlands are now the battleground
in our fight against climate change.
A fight which is now joined by the very big guns.
It's a massive effort and it begins here - with helicopters.
And huge buckets of special fertiliser.
This stuff contains lime, which neutralises the acid in the soil,
the first step to bringing the bog plants back.
On the ground, close up, you can see just what these guys are up against.
And, here, what's happened here?
Well, this really is like a surface of the moon situation, isn't it?
There's probably been a fire in here at some stage
and the peat has disappeared completely.
We're right down to the mineral soil, the gritstone showing through.
This is what a lot of the Peak District
and the South Pennines would look like if we lost all of the peat.
It's got this destiny facing it if we don't do anything about it?
The areas that are bare peat that have lost vegetation off the top,
this is the end result - this is what will happen if we don't intervene.
After the acid soil has been sorted, the next step
is getting the moor back to being a big, soggy carbon store.
-A bit bouncy too. The earth moves beneath my feet.
But this is the key plant, is it? This little thing down here.
Er, sphagnum moss is what's known as a keystone species.
If we pick a little piece of it out,
you can see straight away that it holds massive amounts of water.
-That's part of the key.
-So, the survival and the health
of the whole peatland system depends on this tiny little plant here.
The whole of this peatland landscape has been built by this tiny plant
and one or two other bog-building plants, but mainly sphagnum.
Everything we can see around this landscape, all of this peat,
was built largely by this tiny plant.
Sphagnum is something of a miracle plant.
As it grows, the vegetation below dies but doesn't totally decay,
unlike most other plants.
This means the carbon is locked safely inside.
It grows slowly and spreads reluctantly
but Chris's team have hit on an ingenious solution.
I have to say it looks like a cross between mushy peas and fish eggs.
-In each one of these is a little bit of sphagnum, is it?
-There is, yeah.
The idea is you'll spread these from a helicopter,
they drop on the ground and it will be new life from above.
It will, yeah.
The battle's being fought on many other fronts too.
These are the North Yorkshire Moors.
Here, the land was drained to grow trees for timber.
The bogs dried out, but now they're beginning to turn the tide.
It may seem a little bit odd that they're actually
putting a digger down into the peat.
The whole idea here is to create barriers which hold back the water.
The wooden ones are over there and they've got one
made of peat and soil over here.
They form the same basic purpose.
They stop the water flooding down here, causing further erosion.
Instead, the water builds up, soaking into the surrounding bog,
and helping more peat to regenerate.
Look, it's working!
Despite all this effort, in other parts of the country,
they're still digging peat up,
leaving behind landscapes that look like this.
So, is all the repair work a waste of time?
One man thinks saving our peat bogs is still vital.
He's climate scientist Dr Fred Worrell.
So, what's happened to this landscape?
On a site like this, this has been extracted for peat.
People have dug it up for horticultural use mainly.
And to understand how much peat we've lost from a site like this,
there's about half a metre left here now on this site.
-It would have been seven metres above our head.
Yes. I know I'm short, but it would have been that much above my head.
-That's an extraordinary volume of lost earth, if you like.
What does that mean in terms of the carbon that was locked up here?
This site at the moment is actively losing it to the atmosphere.
-It's giving off greenhouse gas.
On a site like this, if we could restore it,
the amount of carbon we could then store would be equivalent
to about two million to almost three million car miles a year
per square kilometre, on a site this size.
Let me make sure I've got that straight.
-This is more than one square kilometre.
Probably two or three. You're saying, each square kilometre here,
because of what's happened to it, is losing in CO2,
the equivalent of nearly three million car kilometres.
-Car miles! That's an extraordinary amount.
The UK's peatlands store the same amount of carbon as the forests
of Britain, France and Germany put together.
The problem is that at the moment,
we simply don't seem to be able to do without our peat.
Or can we? I'll be finding out later.
The Suffolk coastline reveals some glorious stretches
of unspoilt heathland and marsh.
And the reed banks on the River Alder
are a haven for all kinds of interesting bird life.
Occasionally, an even more striking shape
can be spotted gliding through the reeds.
Thames sailing barges were once a common sight along these waters,
as they ferried cargo down to London.
I'm going to catch a lift on this one,
to find out just what they would have carried.
'The Cygnet is the oldest working Thames sailing barge in the UK.
'It's a wet old day
'but skipper Des Kalichevsky is letting me lend a hand.'
-This is called the haliade?
-Yes. We can pull it up.
It's fairly easy, just hand over hand.
Ta-da! Off we go.
So, Des, what sort of thing would these boats have been used for?
Well, this particular one belonged to a farmer
and it was taking his wheat
to the flour mills and barley to the maltings.
-Is that what we can see over there, that building?
-That's Snape Maltings.
Were these the ideal vessels for the sort of waters that we're in?
Well, they were.
Flat bottom, shallow draft, they could sit on the mud
-and get up these narrow rivers and creeks.
And sailed by just two men.
Here we go, then.
100 years ago, barges like this would've been queuing up at high tide
to get to the maltings here at Snape, and that's right where I'm heading.
Des, what an elegant way to travel. Thank you so much.
That was really good, thank you.
Time to explore!
Snape was once the largest maltings in the UK,
employing nearly 100 workers.
Barley was germinated and kiln-dried on huge drying floors like this
to produce malt, which was then turned into beer,
whisky and malt vinegar.
Production finally ceased here in the mid-'60s.
For 83-year-old Pat Lord,
who was evacuated to Snape during the war, the memories are still fresh.
-Look at these photos. What are these?
-I'm just admiring them. There's the maltings.
-And here's you.
I was ten, my brother was seven.
Eventually when we got to know some people here and the night-watchman.
We were allowed to go round with him at night to stoke the fires up
for heating the floors for the barley and everything.
-A bit of a playground for you?
-What was it like inside?
Very steamy and you got all the floors laid out with malt.
If we were lucky, we got a little tin of barley and we could go round
to the engine room and they'd roast it for us
-and then it was like chewing toffee.
It was great. Really exciting.
You know, it was...
There's just something about this place that just gets you.
It's very much part of my life and I love every stick and stone of it.
Well, Pat's not the only one still enamoured with these old buildings.
Malt hasn't been produced here for nearly 50 years, but the malthouses
here are Snape are now thriving in a completely different way.
The clue to why can often be heard
coming out of those old bluffs up there.
Once production had ceased here,
the renowned composer Benjamin Britten, who lived locally,
suggested one of the huge malthouses be converted into a concert hall.
It was opened in 1967 and is now at the heart
of an internationally recognised centre for music.
These bricks that were once heated by kilns now contribute to
the great acoustics that help make this place so popular with musicians.
Benjamin Britten's legacy continues with new generations
of experimental composers such as the Aldeburgh Young Musicians.
Apparently students here often take their lead from the landscape.
Things like the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds
is a common source of inspiration for these young composers.
It's not just musicians benefiting from this stimulating location.
The family run maltings complex also houses shops, workshops
and local art.
These dramatic oil paintings are inspired by the landscape
surrounding the site. And with the reed beds now bathed in sunshine,
I'm seeking out the woman behind those works - artist Emma Green.
-Good to see you. What a lovely spot.
-Now this, I'm guessing, is for me?
-That's for you.
I am a bit scared. OK, let's take my coat off.
Don't be intimidated by the blank canvas.
There's a very big blank canvas there.
-So, we're going to put the horizon line in quite low.
Round about here.
That's going to be the base of that reed bed there.
-Oh, I see. The shadowy bit.
-Go for it.
-See, in my mind, I'm Monet.
So long as I don't paint, I will always be Monet,
but now I'm having this whole illusion ruined.
Does having these big, wide, open skies help?
It's distinctive because it's so flat,
so the skies really take full reign.
It's always changing, but so's the landscape below.
Especially here. It's tidal.
So, in certain weathers, it's hard to tell where the land ends
and the sky begins sometimes.
-Just cover it, Ellie.
-We'll deal with it after.
If it was up to me doing the sky,
there would just be a big yellow sun in the corner and a big blue sky.
'Well, Suffolk has inspired some famous landscape artists
'over the years.
'I'm not sure I'm quite up there with Gainsborough or Constable,
'but it's a start!'
-What do you think, Emma?
-I think you've done incredibly well.
You've got some of the feel of this watery, fluid landscape.
The sky's been incredible today.
Every time you looked at it, it's been different,
so I think you've coped with that really well.
Whilst I've been exploring the artistic side of the Suffolk coast,
Jules has been delving into its secrets.
Orford Ness is a spit of shingle ten miles long,
separated from the mainland by only a few hundred yards.
What happened over there across the water
arguably had a profound effect on the course of British history.
This intriguing landscape is now owned by the National Trust.
To find out more about it,
I'm heading across the water into the Ness's striking interior.
'Guiding me in is Duncan Kent.'
-Duncan, how you doing?
-How are you?
-Very well thank you.
-That's for you.
-It's full of secrets. A bit mysterious.
Duncan, when we think of the National Trust, we tend to think
of grand country houses and teacakes and all the rest of it.
Yeah, that's true. The National Trust has a much wider approach
to heritage and conservation.
So, this is a particularly important site, both for nature conservation
but also for the range of military testing that was done here.
-It was a secret experimental site.
-As a military historian,
this is a fascinating story. When does it start?
The Royal Flying Corps formed 1911, got themselves organised
and were looking for somewhere as a base to do experimental work.
So, trying to learn how to use a plane as a weapon.
By 1915, it then embarked upon a huge amount of activity,
doing experimental work on all sorts of military aviation.
So, from the design of aircraft, to aeronautics and aerobatics,
through the design of bombs, all of those kind of things.
How would you define the national importance of this site?
The early development of military aviation, crucial to that.
There isn't anywhere like this in the world, I would say.
By 1917, more than 600 people were stationed at Orford Ness.
A clandestine community had been quietly assembled,
undertaking work that carried on into World War Two,
when Bert Smith became one of their number.
So, looking across this landscape now,
clearly a lot of the old buildings have gone.
What did it look like back in 1942?
-There would've been a hanger there...
..which contained a lot of German aircraft and engines,
and we technical people
set up German-British aircraft as targets.
We would attack a German aircraft
with British airborne guns on the ground.
So, presumably you were looking
for the weak spots in the enemy's systems?
Absolutely, and we worked solidly
because what we did protected
a lot of the British and American airforce crew.
Despite the work that went on here, Orford Ness was never bombed
and its secrets were never uncovered by the enemy.
Many believe that the barren landscape and remoteness
of this location was enough to allay suspicions
that anything of any consequence could happen here.
When you walk around here,
it's easy to see how you'd reach that sort of conclusion.
I mean, take this building over my shoulder.
On the surface, yes, it's dilapidated,
but it still doesn't look anything special.
But what if I told you that the events that happened in there
not only kept us in the war but arguably helped us win it?
You might think twice about it.
It was in this small brick building on this remote Suffolk island
that a team of young scientists,
led by Sir Robert Watson-Watt, proved that radar worked.
It was a pivotal moment without which we wouldn't have won
the Battle of Britain, and the outcome of the whole war
might've been very different.
This tiny spit of Suffolk coast had helped shape
the outcome of two world wars, but its role was far from over.
As the Cold War dawned,
this landscape was about to hide some much darker secrets.
So, is this where the bombs were wheeled in?
-Yeah, they come in this way.
-My goodness me.
-It's clearly seen better days, hasn't it?
-It certainly has.
Jim Drane was an engineer working in this laboratory,
where Britain's fledgling nuclear arsenal was quietly developed.
I would be involved in actually fitting the various sensors
onto the weapon and then assisting with the testing.
But just to be clear, the bombs that you worked on here,
they weren't fully armed with their nuclear cores, where they?
-You would say that, wouldn't you?
-I would, yeah.
But how were the bombs brought here?
They came by van, I understand,
and just one police escort.
Nothing over the top.
The bomb arrived in a van with a copper,
presumably just driving through the night?
Well, I think that's the British way and it seems it worked, didn't it?
That's the main thing. If you draw attention to something,
-you'll get problems.
-What about your family?
-Could you talk about what you were doing at home?
So, for years, your family had no idea
what you were doing here, day in day out?
No. That's tended to carry on after I finished here!
When at last relations between East and West thawed,
the military finally packed up and left,
letting nature reclaim Orford Ness.
But this tiny shingle spit,
just ten miles long, holds a unique place in our past.
As much as the people who worked here, it's the location
and character of this landscape which have kept its secrets safe
and which have shaped the history not only of Suffolk
or even our own country, but life far beyond these shores.
Still to come on tonight's Countryfile...
Ellie's leaving treasure in the woods.
Adam's welcoming new life onto the farm.
She's got good, strong black points.
Black ears, eyes and nose, and on her feet. She's perfect, really.
And we'll have the five-day Countryfile weather forecast.
As we've already heard, the UK's peat bogs are suffering.
They've been damaged by decades of industrial pollution,
agriculture and forestry.
The harmful greenhouse gases they've been locking away
since the ice age 10,000 years ago are leaking into the atmosphere,
adding to the problems of climate change.
So, why are we digging them up?
The simple answer is, we love peat.
There's a huge demand from gardeners.
Two-thirds of all the peat dug up in the UK
winds up in people's gardens and greenhouses.
Here at Chat Moss near Manchester,
they've been meeting that demand since the 1960s.
The man behind the company doing the digging is Bernard Burns.
Here's what's perplexing me.
We've been to a lot of places
where people are spending thousands and thousands of pounds
building peat up by the millimetre
and here you're digging it out by the many, many tonnes.
How can that be right?
Well, peat's no different from coal,
gas, oil, all the fossil fuels.
In fact, if anything, it's more replaceable than any of those
because nothing that you're looking at
-is any older than 10,000 years old.
-But it is a bit different.
We're just using it in our gardens for something that's not a necessity.
It's not a vital energy to keep us warm and lit. It's a luxury.
Well, you're going to be putting something on your garden.
Anything you put on your garden's got carbon in it.
Despite being in peat for a profit,
Bernard's amongst the first to call for a ban.
When the Government thought that tungsten lightbulbs were bad,
they banned it.
When the Government thought CFCs in aerosols were bad, they banned it.
When they thought lead in petrol was bad, they banned it.
If the environmental imperative is so obvious,
why don't they do exactly the same thing here?
I can make a profit without peat if the Government banned peat.
If there was no peat within the country,
everybody would have to give it up and we'd find a solution.
-And would you like that?
-I'd like them to ban it.
If they don't, I'd like them to tax it.
The Government wants companies like Bernard's
to get out of peat production by 2030.
The keyword here though is "want". There's no legal pressure to do so.
In the meantime, extraction will carry on.
But there is an alternative,
and it's thanks to the rubbish we all chuck away.
Well, could this be the answer?
Every day, we throw mountains of waste
out of our kitchens and gardens,
and increasingly, this stuff is being processed
to make a peat-free compost.
1,600 tonnes of rubbish gets dumped here every week,
straight from our dinner plates and gardens to the conveyor belt.
But it helps if we do our home recycling properly.
Coming through here should be
green garden waste and then food waste from the kitchen.
That's all that really should be coming through now.
-But as you can see, there's elements of plastic.
And they're also pulling out things like glass bottles,
-metal, et cetera.
Things that residents, consumers
are putting the wrong things into the wrong bins, in essence.
It's a fairly unique site as it's an in-vessel site.
So, we can handle food waste. Not every composting site can do that.
It's amazing what people put into kitchen and garden waste.
There we go, a nice toy fire station there.
Absolutely, it never ceases to amaze us what we will find in here.
What have we got?
A magazine, a cushion, even a shoe here.
You know what? The Generation Game just isn't what it used to be.
Once the rubbish has been picked through
it winds up here, a vast maturing shed
where huge piles of assorted waste are left to rot.
It's hot, damp, and a bit like being on the set of a sci-fi movie.
But this is fact, not fiction, and it could mean a future without peat.
The proof of the pudding.
Oh, that looks nice.
There you go, that's a really nice open product
that can be used as a soil improver in this instance.
And you're convinced that this can grow plants as well as peat?
We know from all the trials that we've done
that this can grow plants as well as peat.
We've proven that fact over the number of years
that we've had it in the market. Eight weeks ago
this was in somebody's back garden as a growing plant,
and now it's something that can go back to the garden centre
and be used again.
The quality of the alternative products
on the market today does vary
and production-wise we're still some years away
from being totally peat-free.
That means sites like Chat Moss
could still be worked to meet consumer demand.
But all is not lost.
On other parts of this site, peat dams and plastic piling
are locking in the water, bringing this bog back to life.
We've seen a lot of other peat environments in this programme,
and, to be honest, they've been looking pretty sad.
They're not looking good. But here, it gives hope for the future.
It does, it gives a huge amount of hope
that we can restore these really badly degraded sites.
It is possible,
it just takes a lot of hard work and a lot of money to be able to do it
but we can save them.
Chris's work shows even a landscape as desolate as this can recover.
What I've seen in making this film is the incredible fragility of peat,
its value as a carbon store,
and the massive efforts that some people are making to protect it.
Even the man in charge of peat digging
thinks that there should be a ban.
But one thing to remember, this isn't all about them.
We also have a choice whether we use peat in our gardens.
Farming's never been a nine-to-five job
and for Adam, spring is an especially hectic time of year.
His newborn lambs are keeping him busy,
and so are his rare-breed cattle.
His herd of White Parks are his pride and joy
but one of his cows is having some problems.
These are White Park cattle
and I think they're stunning to look at
with their white bodies, their black noses, black eyes and black ears.
And there's a train of thought
that they were introduced to the country by the Romans
and they would have pulled the carts and the plough,
and then they were left behind when the Romans went home,
and they were isolated in the parklands of Britain
and they say that the Kings and Lords
used to hunt the bulls on horseback with spears and dogs.
It would have been terrifying.
And today they can't really compete with the big Continental beef breeds,
they're not had enough, but their meat is delicious,
and I'm really fond of them.
While the majority of the herd are in good health
and enjoying the freedom of the spring pastures,
I'm concerned about one of the cows and her newly born calf
so I need to get them into the handling pens.
Go on, in you go, go on!
The calf is only suckling on three of the four teats
and one of the teats is quite swollen and red,
so I'm worried that it might have an infection in it known as mastitis.
On the good teat here you can see the milk is very white and clean.
If I get hold of the swollen teat
the milk is very yellow
and if that was mastitis, it would be clotted and lumpy
with some blood in it probably,
but actually, this is OK.
It's very runny, and this is probably just colostrum,
the first milk that the cow produces,
and the calf hasn't suckled on that quarter,
it's got enough milk out of the other three teats.
Because this one's a bit swollen and sore,
she's probably been kicking him off.
I'm pleased it's not mastitis, so what I'll do
is I'll just milk a little bit of this out now
to relieve the pressure off the teat
and hopefully the calf will get onto it, so it should be fine.
While she's safely secured,
I'm taking the opportunity to catch her calf.
She needs ear tagging, so I've got Mike to help out.
This is a really lovely little White Park,
she's got good, strong black points.
Black ears, eyes and nose,
and on her feet. She's perfect, really.
So, this little calf has to have two tags,
a plastic one in one ear and a metal one in the other.
Then it gets a passport, and all cattle have got a passport
that stays with them for the rest of their lives
and that's their identification, just like our passports.
Mike's going to put the metal tag in now,
and that carries its individual number,
700315, like a little earring.
Then the plastic tag is just so we can see it from a distance, really.
There we go, perfect.
And it's time to reunite mother and daughter.
My ewes are also mothering their offspring,
and we need to keep a close eye on them too.
In this field we've got all our rare-breed ewes.
We've got about 65 of them with their lambs.
They all gave birth at about the same time, so the lambs are a similar age,
and they're all looking very well
apart from there is one little Cotswold lamb that's quite lame,
so I've got the dog with me and John's just come into the field,
so we'll see if we can catch it and see what's wrong with it.
Come on, then.
'You'd think a lamb with a limp would be easy to catch.
'But with a dodgy back, I fail miserably.'
Come! Come! Here!
'So, John has a go next.'
Well done, brilliant!
'Well, he's younger and fitter than me.'
-It's quite sore, isn't it?
Might just take that scab off.
It's difficult to know what's caused it.
It might have been a thorn or something that's caused an infection,
and I'll just put a bit of this antiseptic spray on.
It'll help clear it up.
Just give it a quick jab
with some antibiotics into the muscle in its neck.
There you go, little one. Give it a rub. There.
There you go, let's take it back to its mum.
The lamb is calling to the ewe, and she's coming racing back now,
so John will let it go.
Whilst it's all about springtime and newborns on the farm here
there's still a bit of a grey cloud hanging over the district.
I'm surrounded by racehorse trainers
and one of them is very famous, Jonjo O'Neill,
and at the Grand National a couple of weeks ago, his very best horse died.
Synchronised, ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy,
was the bookies favourite
after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier in the year.
He calls them forward once again.
This time they're off and running in the 2012 Grand National.
But there's always risks during any race,
and Synchronised had a fall and had to be put down.
I was absolutely gutted when I heard the news about Synchronised,
because just over two weeks ago, I went over to see Jonjo
to do a deal about a Jacob sheep.
And whilst I was there, I got a sneak preview of Synchronised,
just before he went off to the Grand National.
Jonjo trains about 90 racehorses,
but on that day back at the beginning of April,
it was Synchronised that I really wanted to see.
So, here he is, Synchronised.
What a lovely fellow.
Can you get him out?
-Get him out.
Come on, old chum.
What's he like? Is he quiet?
He's really quiet. He's a lovely natured horse, really.
Well, I saw him in the Gold Cup
and the way he weaved and AP McCoy got him through to win the race,
it was extraordinary, wasn't it?
It was, great race to watch, wasn't it?
These horses we dream about in the game.
They are normal horses for a few seasons,
and then all of a sudden,
they just come good, you know.
And it's just time and maturing and all the rest of it,
and him enjoying racing, which is even more important, you know?
-He's so quiet.
-He's a lovely nature.
Think how fiery he gets when he's on the racecourse,
and here he is, quiet as a lamb.
He saves it all for the racecourse, puts it all together.
He's a great character.
Just a few days before the Grand National
Synchronised, with his distinctive white face,
was looking every inch the champion
as he trained alongside the other horses.
But with all the training in the world,
there's always a danger when it comes to horse racing.
It's never easy for the yard when they lose a horse.
So, I've come back to meet Jonjo, to find out
how he and the team are coping.
Well, I'm sorry to be here in the circumstances,
but how's the feeling in the yard?
It's very low, really.
Obviously he was a super horse
and when that happens, everybody is really upset about it,
and it goes right through the yard, you know.
It's like losing part of your family, really, isn't it?
But life goes on
and we've got to pull ourselves together and crack on
because we've got lots of other nice horses,
and the show goes on, so that's it.
And what happened, then, Jonjo?
Well, he started off and he was jumping brilliantly
all the way down the first five fences down to Beeches,
and he went knuckled over landing at Beeches
and then he got up and went off and he jumped another four fences
and he broke his leg when he was loose, you know, so...
It can happen anywhere.
And AP got unseated before the start of the race.
Would you have done anything different?
No. That was just the horse's well-being, really.
He was full of himself and he's a great little character, you know,
and he ducked from the line, really,
and that just shows you how bright and alert he was.
He just took to one side and AP went the other way,
but that was typical of his character.
Do you think the Grand National at Aintree should be changed in any way?
Well, they have done a great job in changing a lot of the jumps
and made them a lot easier,
but listen, they'll look into it again
and hopefully, if they can make more improvements, they will do,
because everybody in the game
wants the race to be properly organised
and they're doing everything they possibly can.
As a farmer, I suppose I have to become reasonably tough
about life and death on the farm.
-Is it the same in racing?
-Yes, it is.
We've had horses... We had one last year that just went into his box
and just lay down and dropped dead, so it happens.
It's not what you look forward to happening, obviously,
but these things happen in life.
Best of luck in the future, and thanks for seeing me again,
and hopefully you've got a few more winners in the yard here.
Let's hope so.
Onwards and upwards, please God.
Next week, I'll be sharing a proud moment with my favourite bull, Eric.
The rolling fields and stunning woodlands of Suffolk
have been a source of adventure and discovery for generations.
But are children today
seeing as much of the British countryside as perhaps they should?
With the spreading influence of gadgets, computer games
and over-protective parents,
today's generation of children
are spending more time indoors than any other,
and could be affected by what's coined nature deficit disorder.
Now, I've come to the village of Middleton to do my small bit
towards putting that right.
I've arranged for these primary school kids
to discover just what the great outdoors has to offer.
Sorry to interrupt. Hello, everybody. How are you doing?
Who wants to come outside
and do some outdoor activities instead of maths?
Of course! Come on, let's get coats and boots.
Nature deficit disorder isn't exactly a medical diagnosis,
but rather a metaphor
for how many children are losing touch with nature.
It seems classic pursuits like tree climbing
and den building may be in terminal decline.
Recent research commissioned by the National trust revealed that
fewer than 10% of kids today play in wild places,
down from 50% just a generation ago.
So, in a bid to encourage children and families to get more adventurous,
the National Trust have put together a list of fun activities entitled
50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4,
and we're going to try and tick off some of these today.
First up, we're skimming stones on the beach here at Dunwich Heath
and the list includes loads of simple pleasures,
instantly recognisable to most adults from their childhoods.
Next up, number seven on the list.
Not a lot of wind, so you've got a challenge today. Are you ready?
-Got your line? Say, three, two, one, go.
-Three, two, one, go.
Yeah! We've done it!
The kids seem pretty set,
so I'm finding out more about the campaign from Justin Scully.
-Justin, how are you doing?
-How are you?
-Good, thank you.
So, tell me about the aim of the campaign.
We've launched a campaign to encourage kids to get off the sofa
and outdoors and enjoy nature and the outdoors.
But is there actual evidence behind kids staying indoors more?
Yes, we've commissioned a report
that says on average, kids spend 60% less time outdoors
than their parents did.
As a parent too, I feel that there's so much information out there
that we're perhaps a bit more fearful.
The dangers were always there, but we're much more aware of them now
so it's difficult from a parent's point of view letting go a bit.
Again, that's something we found from the survey, was,
there's three times more hospital admissions
from falling out of bed than there are from falling out of a tree.
We don't need to be chasing them round the beach to do this.
-They're perfectly happy.
-Running on their own.
Indeed, they're running around, having a great time.
The 50 things won't all be familiar to parents and grandparents.
Number 49 on the list is the rather modern activity of geo-caching.
Geo-caching is a technology based treasure hunt
and caches are small items that are hidden somewhere in the landscape
and you use a GPS device like this or a phone app to try and find them.
How are we doing?
-Good, good, let's keep going.
Is it there?
Oh, well done. What's inside? Let's have a look.
Trinkets and treasures.
'Caches can contain all sorts of things
'left by previous intrepid explorers.'
What we have to do is leave our own treasure.
John Craven. How about that?
-Did you see him?
-That is cool.
Let's hide it again so that the other people can't find it.
It's all about developing that sense of adventure,
something key to our next activity,
Oh, there's a little worm.
Isn't that a red one? Cool!
Oh, wow, look at the size of that caterpillar,
and an earwig.
And a ladybird, that's amazing.
'Jessica Cormack runs activity days here at Dunwich Heath.'
This is amazing!
What do they get out of this kind of activity
-when you see kids doing this kind of thing?
A lot of the children
haven't been bug hunting before in their lives.
We find a lot these days are scared of ladybirds,
they don't know what a ladybird will do to them,
they'll get one on their hand
and they're like, will it sting us, will it kill us, will it bite us?
You get a lot of children from inner-city London,
a lot have never been to the seaside, so a lot of kids,
9, 10, 11-year-olds they live half an hour away from the beach
and have never been to the sea.
Seems like these kids haven't had their fill of nature just yet.
So, we've come down the road
to the RSPB reserve at Minsmere, where their Wildwood adventure
has trees to climb and dens to be built.
A lot of big decisions going on here, which tree,
taking the best bits of wood.
-I'm going to make one of my own.
Oh, you shouldn't...!
Wow, this is good.
These kids have loved it and the odd brush
with nature's wild side is all part of the experience.
Didn't you get stung by a stinger?
-Yes, I did.
-But it's OK now, is probably not hurting now, is it?
-No, not really.
-There you go.
-Good den, girls.
What was your favourite thing about the day?
I think building this den.
-I really enjoyed it.
Did you have a good time or would you rather have been indoors?
It's nice to get off the TV and get outside and play.
You can find the full list of activities on our website.
So, we've managed to tick off seven of our list of 50 things to do today,
and if you're planning on getting out and about
and trying these kinds of activities, you'll want to know
what the weather forecast has in store for the week ahead.
Today we're in Suffolk,
where Ellie and I have been discovering
some of the hidden gems along the coastline and the countryside
of Britain's most easterly county.
The fertile land here is dominated by farming.
Its tapestry of fields,
part of what defines this rural landscape.
Most of the farms here have one thing in common.
They use these fertile flat lands for crop-growing arable farming,
which makes this one here in Redenham a rarity
as it's one of only a handful of dairy farms left in the area
and a few years ago,
you wouldn't have laid odds on it being here at all.
A decade ago, milk prices plummeted,
just as foot-and-mouth disease swept our countryside.
For the Strachan family,
a generations-old way of life was threatened.
What saved them was the family rallying together
and adding value to their milk
by using it to make yoghurts, cream, and ice creams.
So, how bad did things get, then?
How close did the farm come to closure?
Well, pretty close, really. There were three things.
We either sold the cows,
we expanded drastically and invested a lot of money in the farm...
-..or we went into the diversification.
-And we chose the diversification.
And James, you were quite far away at the time, were you in Canada?
Yes, I was in Canada. I had a good opportunity for a job.
Katherine was developing her career.
-A long way away from farming.
A long, long way from farming.
-But you decided to come back.
You all got round and said you'd make this work.
The Strachans scaled back from more than 200 cattle to a manageable 80.
And although milk still provides the bulk of their business,
the plan to expand into other areas has secured a future for them
and the farm that's been in their family for more than 35 years.
One of the big moneymakers these days is the family's own ice cream,
and the flavours are created here
in the farmhouse kitchen by mum, Collette,
and I am very intrigued to find out
what she thinks of my new innovation.
-I knew you were going to be showing me some of your flavours.
-I thought I'd bring one of my own.
The Southwold Pier bag is a bit of a clue.
Stand by for the seaside sensation that is
-rock and choc.
-It's mint rock.
-Do you think that would work?
-How do you want to do this?
I thought you were going to help me out!
It turns out all I've got to do is bash it.
While I'm hammering out Baker's rock and choc ice cream,
Collette's cooking up her new salted caramel flavour
which will be delighting the Suffolk crowds.
I really think it's going to work - quite excited about this.
I might be up against an ice-cream queen,
but I'm pretty convinced that my first foray
into the world of frozen food is going to be a summer sizzler.
Right, that's me done, then, Collette.
Obviously you're close behind.
Well, I'm glad you didn't pick something
that's going to take a long time!
Now we've created our recipes,
in my case crushed rock and chocolate,
they go to the dairy, where they're added to an ice-cream base mix
made with the farm's milk.
In just a couple of hours they'll be favoured, frozen,
and I'll be unleashing them on an unsuspected public
to see if rock and choc can win over the Southwold sightseers.
Oh, look at this! The rock and choc has arrived. Fresh from the dairy.
Look at that.
Doesn't that look delightful?
Here we go.
How's it going to taste?
Get a stick of rock in there, plenty of chocolate.
I tell you what, that says British seaside town to me.
Let's go a-taste testing.
-Right, are you hungry?
Cos it's quite amazing. There you are.
-What do you think of that flavour?
That's exactly what I was after.
-Give him your honest opinion.
That one's terrible.
-Sorry about that.
-Don't be sorry, just be honest.
Anyway, we don't have to use that anyway!
With the future of rock and choc hanging in the balance,
it's down to an ice-cream connoisseur
to deliver the final verdict.
Ellie, how are you?
I am well, how are you? Oh, wow!
You are the deciding factor in this taste test.
Rock and choc has been very popular with the kids.
I shall give it a fair go, fair hearing.
In the nicest way, it's only because
perfectly good chocolate gets ruined
by the flavour of toothpaste, in my mind.
I'm not a big minty fan.
That's it from the Suffolk coast.
Next week, it won't be ice cream we're tasting.
It'll be fine English wine as we visit Derbyshire's oldest vineyard.
And I shall be investigating
-a mysterious find in Bakewell Churchyard, see you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison experience the bracing mix of sandy beaches and remote heathland that make up much of the Suffolk coastline. Matt heads to the seaside town of Southwold to help spruce up the famous beach huts. Ellie is further inland, exploring the old industrial waterways which now inspire a host of artists. Tom Heap is on the opposite side of the country, finding out why we are still digging up one of our greatest natural defences against climate change, peat. Meanwhile, Adam Henson pays tribute to an extraordinary race horse.