This edition of the countryside magazine revels in the colours of autumn. Ellie Harrison visits Perthshire, where the woodlands are a kaleidoscope of colour by both day and night.
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Autumn, a season ablaze with colour.
Leaves light up woodlands like fireworks.
So pull on your walking boots, fill a flask
and head outdoors to enjoy one of nature's greatest displays.
I'm in Big Tree Country in Perthshire, where the
trees are a kaleidoscope of colour
both day and night.
John is cooking up a colourful autumnal pud with Nancy Birtwhistle,
the Bake Off queen who's just surrendered her crown.
Autumn berries, not Mary Berry!
And in Gloucestershire, tension mounts as Adam helps out with
one of the season's most vibrant spectacles...
..the red deer rut.
Right, he's just jumped up, and we just back off.
We can retreat out of the door. But he's all right, he's stopped now.
It's a bit nerve-racking!
'This is a celebration of the season.'
On today's programme, we are
going to be drawing from the colours
of nature's autumn palette, both the
expected and, as far as this apple is
concerned, apparently the unexpected.
'The shifting seasons are nature's timepiece, measuring the slow
'progress of the Earth's annual journey around the sun.
'Autumn first takes hold in the north, so I've come to
'Perthshire in Scotland, the land they call Big Tree Country.'
Vast tracts of land were given over to forest in the 18th century
by the Dukes of Atholl, transforming the landscape for posterity
and for profit. But I'm here for a spot of leaf peeping.
'Leaf peepers travel the globe in search of autumn's most vibrant
'Top of the leaf-peeping tree are the forests of New England
'and the maples of Japan.
'And this place, Faskally Woods,
'is rated as one of the best places in the world to see autumn colour.
'But Faskally's reputation has a rather unusual history.
'At the heart of Big Tree Country, Faskally was planted in the 19th
'century as a model woodland
'and served as a teaching ground for young foresters.
'Here they tested new ideas,
'planting a wide array of trees in a small area.
'The result was a vast range of species,
'all offering their own autumn colours.
'Mike Cheesewright was a student here in the 1960s and is showing me
'around his forest classroom.'
Tell me about what it was that first brought you here. When was that?
That was 1961, the Forestry Commission.
I was working at that time in a forest nursery near Norwich, and I
got a letter saying, "You're going to Pitlochry, to the forestry school."
I said, "Where's Pitlochry?!" ELLIE LAUGHS
So, what were you learning? You were here to learn what?
About forestry and the management of forests,
everything from planting the trees to managing them.
So some of the trees in this wood might have been planted by you!
Ooh, indeed, yes. Yes.
Each student was given a tenth-of- an-acre plot to clear the timber that
was on that plot and then to decide what was going to be planted there.
Why do you think autumn's such a big draw for people here?
If you go to Canada to look at the autumn colours there,
it's mile after mile after mile.
Here, every mile is different.
'Faskally isn't just a feast for the eyes, it's also a working woodland.
'But all the maintenance is carried out with preservation of autumn
'colour in mind.
'Charlie Taylor from Forest Enterprise Scotland is going
'to tell me how it's done.'
Why are we cleaning boots when we're going into a muddy forest?
-You've got very high standards here!
-We're starting a campaign
called Keep it Clean, which is really to try and get all our visitors and
the folk that work regularly in the forest to clean their boots, clean
their bike wheels, clean paws of their pets that come in the forest.
It's really to try and prevent or reduce the spread of disease,
because we've got some quite serious disease across the country now.
Right, I think we're pretty squeaky. Shall we grab our bits?
-Grab our gear and grab a saw. Here you go.
-And we'll head off down the hill.
Right, what's the plan, then?
Well, in this particular part of the forest, we want to perpetuate
the larch trees, so what we have to do
is we thin the trees at all stages.
And the larch, we need to thin them quite early on to space them out.
So it's a bit like spacing carrots in your garden.
So you've got ten or so here
and ultimately you'll end up with just the one?
Yeah, in the longer term.
-OK, so, time to gear up.
-All right, let's cut some trees!
-How close to the ground?
-Give yourself a bit of room.
That's it. Yeah, you're off now.
-So now, looking up...
-Yeah, this has got loads of room now.
-Yeah, that's off and running.
-And is it just these little ones that you take out?
We've got to think about the upper canopy,
create some space for these trees to get up into the light,
so we have to move some of the big trees, as well.
'Time to step things up a gear.'
There it goes.
-What a thud that makes when it lands!
-Yeah, it is fantastic.
'A valuable crop and a little more headroom for the next
'generation of larches.'
'With continued management, this woodland should provide a riot
'of colour to delight leaf peepers not just this autumn
'but for many seasons to come.'
Later on, I'll be finding out how these woods get even more
colourful after the sun goes down.
But first, Matt is down south, in Kent, where the
trees are alive with their own colour of autumn.
'England's orchards are expecting their biggest harvest in more
'than 20 years.
'An estimated 160,000 tonnes of apples will be picked this autumn.'
The success - or not -
of an apple crop used to lie in the hands of the gods.
The wrong weather would determine the fate of the harvest.
But now, as British growers operate in an increasingly competitive
market, the latest in science
and technology plays a big part in success, too.
-So, James, here we are, then, what, a month into the harvest?
How is it looking this year?
It's looking very good for us at the moment, Matt.
The yields are very good,
we've had a wonderful summer that's grown the apples very
nicely for us and, as you can see, bright and vibrant colour.
'Jim Simpson is the managing director of Adrian Scripps,
'one of the country's top apple growers.
'Their orchards have been designed to produce as much
'fruit as possible.'
This is an apple called Kanzi.
What we're trying to do, like all farmers and growers,
-is maximise our productivity per hectare.
So we're planting a more intensive orchard with our trees closer
together so that we get more cropping wood and then more fruit.
This is known as the trellis technique.
So, James, why does it work so well as far as productivity's concerned?
We're trying to harvest sunlight and produce the very best apples
we can, a consistent quality.
So, the slightly narrower tree exposes the fruit
and keeps the fruit out into the sunlight,
and we can see the effect of that by looking at this apple.
So, this has sat in the sun...
and that's been covered by a leaf.
'Today, half of British-grown apples are produced using this
So it seems like the old-fashioned orchard with classic apple
trees is a thing of the past, but to make apple trees grow like this
takes a lot more than clever pruning.
'Our modern super-orchards were first developed here,
'at East Malling Research Station in Kent.
'Set up in 1913 to support local fruit growers, its work
'was to change the shape and size of orchards round the world.
'Every last detail of an apple tree was scrutinised to
'reveal its secrets,
'including digging underground tunnels to study the trees' roots.'
-You all right?
-Good to meet you.
-Is this the original underground lab?
It is, yes. Yes, and this is where we look at the root growth
and the root architecture of different fruit trees.
'Today, Dr Mark Else is following in the footsteps of the pioneering
'scientists who helped turn the humble apple
'tree into a high-performance machine.'
Back in the early days of this place,
what problems were scientists trying to solve, Mark?
Problems associated with growing fruit trees,
so that might have been trying to control the size of the tree,
trying to get the blossom to set,
understanding how to prune the trees to get maximum yields.
Pest and disease issues, of course, were still a big problem then.
'To solve these problems, scientists looked at how using different root
'systems or rootstocks could control different aspects of a fruit tree.'
This is the rootstock, with the root system going into the ground.
This is what's called the scion, the part of the tree that bears fruit.
-And you can see here, basically this is the graft union, so this
is where those two genetically different trees
were grafted together.
So we can get a good idea of how controlling this rootstock is
-by simply taking a walk down here, can't we?
-Is that fully grown?
-Yes, it is.
This is a very old tree. So, all these trees were planted at the
same time, and the scion, the apple variety, is the same in each case.
The only difference is the rootstock.
So you can see as you go down the row, then,
there's a very clear difference in terms of tree size and tree vigour.
Absolutely. And when you look at the girth of the actual trunk, as well,
-I mean, yeah, it's different all round.
-And that's the rootstock effect.
'East Malling's crowning glory was categorising the M9 or Malling 9,
'a rootstock ideal for commercial orchards.
'It was so successful that at one time more than 95% of apples
'grown in Europe had a direct connection to the M9.
'Unfortunately, nobody thought to register it.'
It was a nice idea,
what this place was doing, purely from creating a beautiful
apple tree for lots of people to get wonderful apples from,
but it hasn't been a moneymaker.
In those days, patenting wasn't considered to be important.
It was providing a service to the fruit industry.
And if that was created in today's day and age, I mean,
how much money would that have generated for this place
if you had've patented it?
Combined with the fact that it's a dwarfing rootstock
and so it also delivers huge savings in labour,
at today's prices the net additional benefit would be
around £8.2 billion.
-That's...! That is some price, isn't it?
'It's a mistake that they won't make again.
'East Malling continue their work to improve rootstocks
'as well as developing new tastes and aromas,
'producing and trialling the apples that we'll be eating in the future.'
Here we have lots of different types of apple that were bred
probably between 25, 30 years ago, and the idea at that time was
trying to predict what the consumer would prefer in 20, 30 years' time.
So there's a lot of genetic variability in these selections.
-Each tree, each apple has its own different characteristics.
-And can we just lunge in and just grab one and taste it?
I like that. What's this one called?
Well, because it isn't a commercial variety,
it doesn't have a name, it just has a number at the moment.
-Try this one.
Oh, it's pink inside! Well, that's a lot more fun.
Try this one.
Oh, my word, that looks like a toffee apple.
Doesn't it? Look at that, it glints in the sunlight.
Oh, my word! Look at that inside! Mm!
That is incredibly juicy.
Oh, my word, it's like a cherry crossed with an apple.
That is absolutely delicious.
The thing is, that's packed full of antioxidants,
so in terms of health benefits to consumers, that's a very good apple.
It could also potentially help to extend the storage life
-because of these antioxidants in the apple.
So that's the purpose of these sort of selections, is to think
past taste and flavour but also
the added benefits of that sort of apple.
If you were the one who created this thing 30 years ago, you've nailed it!
It's absolutely beautiful!
'This apple of the future, the Redlove,
'will hopefully make its way into our fruit bowls early next year.'
Well, this week's programme is all about autumn colour, but if you would
like some countryside colour all year round, well,
why not bag yourself one of these?
Look, the Countryfile calendar for 2016,
sold in aid of Children in Need,
with this cheery little fella on the front, Happy Hedgehog.
Our Colours Of The Countryside calendar costs £9.50,
including free UK delivery.
You can buy yours either via our website...
..or by calling the order line.
To order by post, send your name, address and cheque to:
A minimum of £4 from the sale of every calendar will go to
Children in Need.
Now, last year's calendar was a record-breaker,
raising over £1.5 million, so this year, with your help
and that of the happy hedgehog, we hope to raise even more.
'Now, over in Devon, we heard about one rare breed
'making a colourful mark on the landscape.'
My favourite colour is probably bluey-grey.
It runs through the poultry and the sheep now, as well.
'Colour is important to Gillian Dixon.
'On the 93-acre farm she runs with her husband Ian, their menagerie
'of animals comes in many distinct tones, especially the sheep.'
We're an overgrown smallholding rather than a large commercial
farm, so we've got the opportunity to experiment with
We started off with Balwen, which are a small Welsh breed.
We have coloured Ryelands, which are a really attractive,
stocky little breed, but they've got a very interesting fleece,
some Zwartbles, which are a Dutch breed, and particularly
a project that I'm working on at the moment is lavender sheep.
This is Dilly, named after lavender dilly, and you can see
the markings that we're striving for to get a nice blaze,
blue, bluey-grey on the face.
She's got the characteristic pale grey round the eye.
And then you can see her fleece is this very unusual colour.
And if I part it...
you can see it's sort of more grey at the base.
There's very few sheep that have a blue face,
but none of them have this completely
'This unusual breed of lavender sheep
'came about by accident 20 years ago.'
It was the gene from these unusual lavender Jacobs that
led to the development of the lavender sheep.
Very rarely, a lavender-coloured Jacob will be born rather than
a black and white one.
The Jacob breed society doesn't recognise the lavender Jacobs,
so the gene's going to be lost, essentially, if that's the case.
So by using it in developing the lavender sheep, it's
a way of saving the gene
and preventing its extinction, essentially.
'There are fewer than 30 lavender ewes in the country, and with the
'autumn tupping season upon us,
'Gillian is looking to secure a future for this colourful breed.'
Come on, then.
'Well, we've got some Zwartble ewes running with this lavender ram lamb.
'He was born in January, February time.
'He was a twin, so he's not particularly big,
'so we're kind of hoping that he can actually reach the ewes.
'But he's definitely showing interest in the ewes.'
Hopefully he won't need a pedestal!
Next year, my understanding from the genetics is that all the lambs
will probably come out black.
Then, if we breed those back to lavender,
we should get 50-50 lavender and black.
We would keep the lavenders and go on with those.
So it's definitely a long-term project.
'Now, from rare flocks in Devon to unusual crops in Yorkshire.
'Autumn's harvest - at this time of year,
'there are colourful crops you expect to see.
'And some you don't.'
I'm on the outskirts of Pontefract
for something of a Countryfile exclusive.
I'm going to be helping uproot the first commercial
crop for nearly 50 years
'We know it as the sticky black stuff of childhood sweetshops,
'but that's not how the story starts.'
For thousands of years, in various parts of the world,
liquorice has been used as a medicine, to ease coughs,
colds and stomach complaints, and it's thought that in the
Middle Ages, Spanish monks brought
liquorice plants here to West Yorkshire.
'They thrived in Pontefract's sandy soil.
'But it wasn't until the 1750s, when an enterprising chemist added
'sugar to the crop,
'that the liquorice confectionery industry was born.'
Well, when I was a lad, John, all round where the eye can see
was just liquorice fields, nothing else but liquorice fields.
'Tom Dixon comes from a long line of liquorice farmers
'and remembers a time when the famous crops dominated Pontefract.'
-I mean, it was a huge industry, wasn't it?
-Oh, a massive industry.
At the turn of the century,
there were 17 factories producing sweets in this town.
And now there's only two.
And in the heyday of the liquorice industry,
just about everybody here would have been employed in it.
Oh, the majority of the girls from the town
and the surrounding villages was all employed in the liquorice factories.
All of them.
We used to call them stampers, liquorice stampers.
And you could tell a girl,
when you went out into Pontefract on the night, whether she was
a stamper, cos they were walking
round town like this, John.
-They couldn't ruddy stop!
-They couldn't stop stamping!
No, they were stamping all the time, they were knocking all the time.
And what about actually harvesting the liquorice?
That must have been hard work.
Oh, it was hard work, John, because there was no automation.
Everything was done by spades.
And they had to dig trenches down about six to seven feet.
It was really back-breaking work.
'But the industry became a victim of its own success.
'The crop was labour-intensive and slow to grow,
'so cheaper imported root began to take over.
'By the end of the 1960s,
'the liquorice fields of Pontefract were no more.
'But after nearly half a century,
'one farming family is bringing the sweet stuff back again.
'The Copleys took over this 120-acre farm in 2003,
'and they decided that, amongst the potatoes and the pumpkins,
'there was room for some local heritage, 50 liquorice plants.'
-Good to see you!
Now, this is the first time I've ever seen a liquorice plant.
Well, you and most of the population.
-Yes, it is a rather unique plant.
And why revive it, then, after 50 years?
Well, the majority of people that can remember it are 80-plus,
and if we didn't pick it up or somebody pick it up
and run with it, I do feel the whole history,
the story and the future of liquorice would be lost.
So this is living history now.
Yes. Yes, we've revived it,
and now we'll try and bring it back to Pontefract.
And, of course, with liquorice,
-it's not what's above the ground that's important, is it?
It's what's underneath, the roots.
And how far would the roots spread from each plant?
They will go down about four feet and up to 25 feet long.
You're really starting on a small scale. Can you see it becoming big?
I can see, if we get the product of designated origin,
-that could be a real turn-up for us.
-Like Melton Mowbray pies?
-You'd have Pontefract liquorice.
-Absolutely. That'd be amazing.
So we really want to put it back on the map.
Well, Heather, I know somebody who would really like to
-experiment with your liquorice in the kitchen.
-I can't wait to see.
-All the best with the harvest.
Thank you! Bye-bye!
'Nancy Birtwhistle shot to fame as last year's
'winner of The Great British Bake Off.'
-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
'As a Yorkshire lass, Nancy knows a bit about liquorice
'and an awful lot about baking.'
Nancy, I've brought you some liquorice.
-Did you know it was making a comeback in Yorkshire?
-And this is the fresh root.
-It is, straight from the ground, yeah.
Never seen it like this.
As I remember it, it was a dried stick, and we used to chew on it.
-Oh, yes! It lasted all day.
-And it lasted all day when you were playing.
And I think it was a penny a stick.
I didn't really like the taste of that,
-because it was very bitter, wasn't it?
-I did! I did like it. I did.
'A few seasonal berries will top our dish,
'but first to prepare the star of the show.
'Nancy wastes no time preparing a liquorice reduction using water,
'star anise and our freshly harvested roots.'
What we're going to make, what I've got an idea about,
-is a chocolate tart.
And chocolate and aniseed work very well together,
and there's absolutely no reason why chocolate
and liquorice shouldn't work deliciously well together.
Do you want to pour this liquor into that chocolate
and give it a gentle stir? And I'll do this.
-What, stir as I'm pouring it?
-So, this could be a big new thing, could it?
-If it works!
I mean, we're looking for new flavour combinations all the time, John.
It's a pity you can't have another go at Bake Off.
Well, I think this would win 'em over!
'It bakes gently for 50 minutes.
'And our autumn berries complement the chocolate tart flavoured
'with the oldest newcomer in town, Pontefract liquorice.'
-Here you go, then, John.
-Time for the taste test.
Time for the taste test.
-Let me cut you a slice.
-Ooh, yes. Now...
Yes, I can definitely taste the liquorice.
-You need a good dollop of it, don't you, into the chocolate?
I think you're on to a winner, Nancy.
A Hollywood handshake!
And if you'd like to try this at home, well,
Nancy's recipe is on our website.
-A bit more, I think. Don't you?
'I'm in Faskally Woods in Perthshire...
'..exploring one of the best places in the UK to see autumn colour.'
With a fresh nip in the air and the sun low in the sky, it is
undeniably autumn. But what is it that makes this season so colourful?
'BBC weatherman John Hammond is on hand to shed
'a bit of light on nature's blazing display.'
-All right, John?
-Welcome to my secret scientific cinema.
-What time does the movie start?
-Tickets, please! No, it's free.
Fantastic. So, you're going to tell me why autumn is so colourful.
Hopefully, yes. Now, let me ask you a question.
What do eggs, aubergines and flamingos have in common?
You've got me on that one.
They're all things we use to forecast the weather.
No, only kidding. We use seaweed, of course.
They all contain the same pigments that we see in autumn leaves.
So, for example, yellow leaves, they contain xanthophyll,
and it's xanthophyll that you get in egg yolk.
-OK? Orange leaves, well, they contain...
But, actually, flamingos, though they're pink, contain carotene,
because flamingos eat shrimps,
and it's the carotene within shrimps which contains the orange pigment.
And last but not least, the aubergines.
Now, that contains anthocyanin, and so does red cabbage, for example, and
-it's the anthocyanin in the red leaves that you get in autumn.
It's the proportion of all these different pigments which determine
what colour the leaves are for the various species in autumn.
-So, how do we end up seeing these colours in the leaves?
Well, let me show you using my little projector here.
Now, normally, of course, leaves are what colour?
Green, yes, and it's the green, which is chlorophyll, which helps to
photosynthesise the energy coming from the sunshine, and that's what
charges the tree through the year and energises it and allows it to grow.
But actually, what you might not know
is that hidden beneath the chlorophyll are
the yellows and the oranges, and what happens later on in the summer
is that the sunshine tends to kill off the chlorophyll as the days
get shorter and it reveals those yellows and oranges,
hence the beautiful autumn colours you get in September and October.
What about the reds that we see?
Ah! Now, something rather different happens here.
We tend to get sugars building up in the leaves,
and those sugars are converted to anthocyanin,
and it's the anthocyanin which produces the beautiful
reds of the maple and the Virginia creeper, for example.
You're the weatherman, so you can tell me -
how does the weather relate to the show that we get?
Well, of course, through the spring and summer,
what we need is moisture to provide the nutrients for those trees,
so ideally a wet late spring, early summer.
But then, later on in the summer,
what we really need is lots of sunshine.
That actually helps to kill off the chlorophyll
and reveal the yellows and the oranges.
Warm days, cool nights through the autumn are ideal, and that allows
also the sugars to build up in the leaves to produce those red
-pigments, as well.
-And how has it been here, where we are now?
Well, actually, here in Perthshire, I would say we are in position A.
It's been ideal through the year.
Other parts of the country, we've had a lot of variety,
but there's been no disaster, no prolonged drought, no sharp frost.
So wherever you are, I think
-the display will be pretty good this autumn.
-And we're in the sweet spot right now.
-We really are.
-Thank you, John.
Have your aubergines, make yourself a moussaka.
-Hope you enjoyed the show.
-I did, thank you!
We'd love to see the autumn colours that you've
captured from your part of the
world, so tweet us your photos.
Or send them in via our website...
'From crimson red and buttery gold to deep racing greens,
'the landscape of East Sussex is awash with autumn colour.
'And it's an abundant time of year for those who know
'the secrets of harvesting the full spectrum of woodland treasures.
'The natural world is full of so many mysteries and secrets,
'and some of that, really,
'is revealed in our chemical processes of working with colour.
'As a forager, Fergus Drennan explores the landscape to make
'the most of wild resources.
'For the past two years,
'he's worked together with artist James Woods to produce
'a one-off book, a wild-food guide
'made entirely from foraged materials.'
At the start of the book,
the initial content's about how to make materials, so how to make a
book, which is kind of ironic,
how to make a book from a book made by hand.
'And to make pages for a book about foraging, you need mushrooms.
'Yes, that's right, mushrooms!'
When you're making paper with mushrooms,
it's such a kind of spontaneous exploration.
There aren't that kind of baggage of rules to work with.
It's really like playing,
but playing outside as, you know, we've done for millennia,
and that's when I think you really learn and you really connect
with a place, because you're enjoying it, you're having fun.
-I'll let you know if it hurts!
Get nearer the tree, if you can.
'You can actually use fungi for making paints, for dyeing wool,
'for getting a whole range of natural colours.'
'When foraging, it is important to always ask the landowner's
'permission and respect the Countryside Code.'
You know, there's the law on foraging
and how much you can take or whatever,
but, you know, very often, something like that is just so pretty,
it's so beautiful, that you just want to admire it and just leave it.
So although we're going to leave this mushroom here,
with this one you can make a yellow dye.
If you mix that with rusted iron, you can turn it into a green dye.
So you could illustrate this beautiful
picture of a mushroom here with the colour of the mushroom itself,
so using the mushroom itself to paint the mushroom.
-On a piece of mushroom!
'Different times of year give you different colours within
'the same range of mushrooms.
'You could look into mixing pulps together, so you can mix a white
'pulp with a brown pulp,
'and in theory there's an unlimited amount of papers you could get.
'Once the paper's been made,
'it's time to transform plant extracts
'into paint, pigments and dyes.'
One of the interesting things about wood sorrel,
apart from the fact it makes a wonderful salad ingredient,
it's the oxalic acid in there which gives it its flavour.
But from a kind of artistic point of view,
when you're working with colours extracted from berries or things,
if you add acid you can get a whole different range of colours.
Usually, you'd think autumn colours would be your oranges and your
browns, but realistically, when it comes to dyeing
and paint making, the colours you can get are really vibrant.
You can get blues, pinks, reds.
Dried and powdered nettle leaf.
Blood-red webcap mushroom.
Weld leaves and flowers.
Sea buckthorn berries.
My mission in life is to just find really playful,
wonderful ways to connect and value the natural world,
and working with colours as well as forest food is just one really
fantastic way to do that.
'There is one colourful event in nature's calendar that's
'a true autumn spectacle.'
'Deep in the woodlands, tensions and testosterone levels are rising.'
'It's rutting season, and Adam's helping out at a deer farm in the
'Cotswolds, where the stags are
'about to have the shock of their lives.'
'I've been a farmer my whole life, and I've worked with some
'pretty dangerous animals, but today's a first for me.
'Deer are one of the least domesticated livestock,
'and generally they need little looking after, which is great...
'until they need handling.
'At this time of year, the stags are fuelled with aggression,
'and for our safety and theirs we plan to remove their antlers.
'Something tells me this isn't going to be easy.
'Richard Ward manages this herd and is on hand to tell me more.'
-So, an exciting day today.
Today is the beginning of the rut as far as we're concerned,
and especially as regards the stags are concerned.
The rut being the time
-when the stags go in and start mating with the hinds.
And so what's the process, then, to get him in with his ladies?
We need to remove his antlers before he can go in with his ladies.
The reason is that he's going to have 30 ladies to cope with but he knows
that his next-door neighbour's got another 30 to cope with,
and although he's got his 30, he'd far rather be with the other 30.
ADAM LAUGHS So it's best to remove his antlers.
Secondly, we have one or two footpaths that run through
the deer paddocks.
-That's another reason why we need to remove his antlers.
-Bambi is a home-bred, reared-in-my-garden stag!
He's very, very friendly,
which is why he is allowing us to get quite close to him today.
Normally, any other time of the year,
we could go up and cuddle him and he would be fine, but today he's got
other things on his mind, and thus we need to be a little bit careful.
So we're going to administer something that will knock him
out and allow us to remove his antlers.
While that's taking place, we'll make sure he's fit for purpose.
Once we've removed his antlers, we'll put him in the back
of a trailer behind the quad bike and take him to his respective wives.
-Oh, there we go. So, that's gone in now, has it?
So now we wait a few minutes for the drugs to take effect,
and eventually he will just go to sleep.
'Just ten minutes later, with a little bit of persuasion,
'Bambi nods off.'
Just putting a towel over his eye
so that he doesn't get any of the shavings in his eye.
-So no blood or nerves in the antler?
Antler's the fastest-growing bone material we know of.
-I mean, look there. Nothing at all.
Right, let's try and do the other side.
-That's a serious antler, isn't it?
-Do you want his head the other way?
-Let him down.
-Oh, he's standing up.
'For a moment, I thought he was waking up,
'but in no time he settles back down and the second antler is removed.
'And believe it or not, this is just 12 months' growth.'
That's quite a weight there. Incredible.
'Growing up to an inch a day during peak season,
'cutting the antlers back is an annual task.'
So he's ready to go, is he?
He is. Let's get him loaded on the trailer and take him to his wives.
-Watch that. OK?
-How heavy is he?
-He's about 200, 250 kilos.
-It's a fair weight, a quarter of a tonne.
'A short trip to a neighbouring field,
'where Bambi will soon have the pick of the ladies.
'The antidote is administered,
'and immediately he starts to come round.'
So, his hinds are waiting for him just over there.
He'll wake up fairly quickly now.
And either they will come to him or he will go to them,
but it won't take long.
Quite exciting. More exciting for him or you?
Erm, I think probably for him. ADAM LAUGHS
Well, it's a very quick process.
I thought it would be more stressful than it is, actually.
No, very stress-free.
He knows that he has to go through this before he's allowed to be
-with his ladies, so he's quite used to it.
'That was relatively straightforward,
'but I've been told the next
'stag could be a bit of a handful, so we need to keep our distance.
'And that's why we need Dave with his dart gun.'
So, the deer are now in this handling system, but they need to be
darted, so Dave is going to shoot the dart into the deer, hopefully.
So, where do you aim at, Dave?
I'm going to aim for the top of the front shoulder towards
the neck there. As long as it goes into a muscle.
Well, it was a good shot, Dave. He didn't even flinch when it went in.
No. No, he didn't. Every animal
reacts differently to the darting situation.
He looks fairly wound up there, actually, doesn't he?
He's very, very wound up, I think,
through being brought into this small enclosure.
-He's full of adrenaline.
-What a handsome-looking fella, isn't he?
-He is, isn't he?
'We wait and wait.
'But this stag is determined to fight the drugs.
'It's a good 15 minutes before he succumbs.'
So, this stag has now gone down, but there's a chance
he might jump back up again, so we're just hanging back a bit.
Dart's nice and clean.
Look out. Look out. Just retreat.
Give him a few more minutes.
So, the stag has jumped back up on his feet
and needs a bit of a top-up, so Dave's just going to lance him with
this now just to give him a little bit more drug to make him sleepy.
Here we are, Dave.
Right, he's just jumped up. I'll just back off.
We can retreat out of the door, but he's all right, he's stopped now.
A bit nerve-racking!
'Thankfully, the second dose starts
'to take effect in a matter of minutes.'
Come on, fella, lie down, and you'll
wake up amongst some beautiful hinds.
So, the team are now moving in just to make sure he's fully asleep
and to remove his antlers.
-That's what we want, a nice, clean cut, no jagged edges.
'The guys work incredibly quickly,
'and in no time at all both antlers are removed.'
Although people might think this looks cruel,
the animal has been darted with a sedative and is just asleep.
Cutting off antlers doesn't hurt. It's like clipping your toenails.
And it's essential that it's done so that the deer don't
hurt each other or hurt the people working with them.
And this happens on deer farms all over the country.
'The stag is now ready to be taken to his ladies.'
-That's the wormer, is it?
-No, that's the antidote. That's the revival.
Oh, that's the revival! That's the antidote.
'With the antidote already given, there's no time to hang around.'
He's almost too long for the trailer!
-Good. Let him be.
-There's a good boy.
-He'll be up in a minute. There we go!
-Well, he was up quick, Richard.
He knows what he's here for, and that'll help wake him up, no doubt!
-And how long does the rut go on for?
-Towards the end of November.
Otherwise, the calves will be born too late
and won't have much of a chance of surviving the following winter.
'We're going to give this chap a bit of space to recover.
'And we'll see how Bambi, the first and friendlier stag, is getting on.'
Bambi's woken up. Looking for his wives already.
And all this roaring, is that to sort of warn off other stags?
No, that's to let all his hinds know that he's about
and he's ready for them. ADAM LAUGHS
"I'm here and present"!
What better autumn statement could you have than
a stag at the beginning of the rut?
'I'm in Kent, looking at the changing face of England's orchards.'
Modern science has breathed life into the roots of these bursting
orchards, and here on this farm, the latest technology
is ensuring that the perfect apple makes its way into your fruit bowl.
MUSIC: The Robots by the Balanescu Quartet
'The fruit harvested here is still hand-picked the old-fashioned way.'
These apples were picked this morning.
These were in the orchard two or three hours ago
and now they're in our cold store.
'But the machinery used to store the apples is far from traditional.'
-This is the very latest, state-of-the-art technology.
So, what we're doing here is we're storing apples at five and one,
so 5% CO2, 1% oxygen, and we bring the gas regime down.
The apple will become stressed at some point,
the colour of the skin will change. You and I won't see it, Matt.
We just won't physically be able to see it, but that sensor will see it.
-When the fruit is stressed,
we just back the regime off a little bit so the apple's comfortable.
-They're fast asleep.
So, the stressed state, then,
is that what prolongs how long you can store it for?
It prolongs how long we can store it for.
Now, obviously, apples only grow at a certain time, so this really
is the key to the business, isn't it, how long you can store them for?
This is absolutely the key.
Consumers want to eat apples 12 months of the year.
We can grow them and harvest them.
If we can extend the storage life with these processes,
then we can deliver them 12 months of the year to the consumer.
'This equipment ensures the apples are kept in perfect
'condition for a long winter nap.
'Once they reach the pack house, yet more gadgetry sifts,
'sorts and scrutinises the fruits.
'These are the most advanced fruit-grading
'machines in the country.
'The level of detail this technology is capable of is just extraordinary.'
Well, this is mightily impressive, for starters,
but just talk us through what's happening here, James.
What we've got here is a robot that scans the bin when it arrives
so it knows the size of the bin, and then it's filling this
flotation tank to move the apples forward
and on to the sorting process.
It's the ultimate kind of apple bobbing tray, this!
And then on this first sorting table,
this is the only part of the process that has a human element.
I was going to say, there's a human, for goodness' sake! There's a human!
She's just making sure that every leaf is removed.
And then we're flowing into what we call our "first clean tank".
What we're trying to do with this section of the machine is
to separate the fruit out
so that we can look at each individual apple before we move
under these brushes and then through and under the cameras.
-Under the cameras?
-Under the cameras.
-Right, lead the way!
-So, is this the camera?
-And under this piece of equipment, we're shining infrared light.
We monitor the wavelength in and we measure the wavelength
out of the apple and the difference.
We can then tell you whether that apple is good inside
or whether it's rotten inside or discoloured
so we can take those apples out of the system altogether.
Then we have to look at the external quality of the apple,
the size and the shape and the colour,
as well as any marks or any blemishes that are on the fruit.
And that's being done in this machine here.
Under here we have cameras taking between 16
-and 20 pictures of every apple...
-At that speed?!
20 pictures per second of each individual apple.
We can then decide whether that's a class one or a class two apple,
-and we can see that on the screen.
-I've just caught a glimpse of that.
So, is this a line of apples or is this one apple?
This is one apple. And you can see the marks on those apples have been
identified by the software.
-And so it goes into a certain pack or grade.
And just a reminder, then,
how many apples are actually coming from the orchards out there?
Well, we'll bring 120 to 130 million apples into this facility
and run them over this machine.
-It's mind-blowing, isn't it?
Yes, it takes a little while to get your head around it.
I mean, when you look down, you just see how uniform they are, don't you?
Yeah, very much, and here we've got one that we've taken out.
There's not enough colour on that fruit for any of our customer packs.
But are you making a rod for your own back here
from a consumer's perspective? I mean, I like a characterful apple.
-I don't mind that my apples aren't uniform.
But, you know, if consumers get used to getting a pack of six apples
and every single one looks the same, are you creating an issue there
when things aren't quite right?
From our perspective, we can grow a really good-quality apple.
And a good-quality apple, graded uniformly,
like we're doing here, makes our whole process quicker,
more efficient, so we can deliver to the consumer at a much more
economic price, let's say.
I think this is the most impressive robotics
and technology that I've ever seen in agriculture.
It's right at the forefront. This is cutting-edge.
'With the arrival of autumn, nature opens her treasure
'chest of colour, festooning the landscape in gold and ruby hues.
'I'm in Faskally Woods in the heart of Perthshire's Big Tree Country,
'a place that's world-famous
'for the beauty of the turning leaves.'
As if nature's fireworks weren't dramatic enough on their own,
these woods play host to a seasonal event that's even more spectacular.
By night, Faskally is transformed into an enchanted forest,
the trees surrounding its loch illuminated by displays
of coloured lights, all set to music.
'Karen is one of the trustees.'
-So, how long has it taken to get to this stage, then?
We've been preparing since the day it finished last year, to be honest.
What's the idea behind it all?
It was originally to get people out of the cities
and towns into the forest.
We had about 2,000 people, I think it was, in 2002,
and this year we're expecting over 55,000.
Wouldn't this work at any time of year? Why do you do it in autumn?
The leaves look so much better, the colours look better in the autumn.
-I can't wait for it to get dark now!
'The paler leaves create a better
'canvas for reflecting the light show.
'But before it gets dark, I'm heading out onto the loch to check
'one of the centrepieces for tonight's display.'
Ahhh! A rowing boat!
'Dave is the man with the oars.'
OK, this is Ellie. We are ready for you to give it a try.
It's definitely working! It looks amazing!
Look at that!
-SHE LAUGHS DELIGHTEDLY
-That looks awesome.
That really does look good.
'With the fountains in good working order,
'it's back to dry land for me to prepare for the big switch-on.'
Look, I've been allowed backstage.
This is the nerve centre for the whole operation.
The generator's whirring away,
creating enough power for more than 700 lights.
And although it's still daylight, this is when the lights go on,
to have them warmed up and ready for the big show.
And guess who's been invited for the switch-on!
Ah, I was expecting a big, red button! Where do I press?
You just do a single mouse click on that big Go button there.
OK, ready, steady, three, two, one...
MUSIC: The Gospel Of John Hurt by Alt-J
'As darkness falls, the Enchanted Forest works its magic
'and transforms these woods into another world.'
Well, I certainly didn't think that natural autumn colour could be
improved upon, but this is something quite remarkable.
It's so atmospheric
and a great way to end our celebration of autumn colour.
Join us next week, when we'll be
exploring North Wales.
See you then. Bye-bye.
This edition of the countryside magazine revels in the colours of autumn.
Ellie Harrison visits Perthshire, known as big tree country, where the woodlands are a kaleidoscope of colour by both day and night.
Matt Baker is in the orchards of Kent to look at the changing face of the UK apple industry. Autumn is the start of rutting season, and Adam Henson gives a red stag the surprise of his life.
Meanwhile, John Craven cooks up a colourful autumnal pudding with 2014 Great British Bake Off winner Nancy Birtwhistle.