Matt Baker crunches through the leaves to find out about a new charter to protect woodlands, and Ellie Harrison meets Skomer's new seal pups.
Browse content similar to Autumn Special. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
The season lays out her earthy delights.
Leaves crunch underfoot and mellow sun ripples through russet tones.
Autumn has arrived.
We'll be exploring the wealth of riches this season unearths
and I'll be discovering new life on our shores.
-That's it. Go on.
Matt will be revelling in the wonder of our woodlands.
Do you see the way that looks a little bit like a surfboard?
-And where would you find a surfboard?
-At the beach.
-There you go.
And Adam's at a harvest worth its weight in gold.
That's probably worth £100.
Goodness me! That's just remarkable, isn't it?
MATT: As summer fades away across the land,
our trees and woodlands are exploding in a riot of colour.
It's the perfect time to head outdoors
to soak up the golden autumn sunshine before winter takes hold.
Autumn has always been my favourite time of year.
Growing up on our farm, our woodlands were a big part of my childhood.
I mean, what kid doesn't love kicking up leaves,
building dens and going on the best adventure?
Here in Oxfordshire,
a project is evolving that champions Britain's woodlands.
Yes. What kind of bird do you think this might have come from?
-Yeah, I think you're right.
Today, the Woodland Trust's Matt Larsen-Daw is inspiring these young autumn detectives.
Can anyone tell me what kind of tree this leaf comes from?
-An oak tree.
-It is an oak tree. Well done. So...
Well, Matt, it's always good to get out of the classroom when you're at school.
-But this looks like one of the best autumn lessons you could ever have.
They've got good weather and a beautiful woodland.
-And we think things like this are really, really important.
I mean, they learn more. They have a better time. It's great for their mental health.
But also, it's a way to ensure that they are actually more connected to woods and trees,
and if we don't instil that kind of wonder in them at
this age, they're not going to be interested when they get older,
they're not going to be the ones that stand up for trees,
-and that's what we really need in this country.
At this time of year,
there are a lot of treasures to find in our woodlands,
and one has a very special significance.
Well, the children are finding all sorts of great things here today,
and one of them ran up to me not so long ago
-and delivered this wonderful little globe.
Fascinating thing, isn't it?
These are fascinating, and when kids find these they normally assume
it's some kind of fruit, or maybe a nut, and what's really interesting,
and this often makes them drop it,
is that it's actually basically a wasp nest.
So this is an oak gall.
They've been used for centuries as a way of making ink,
and that's what the Magna Carta was written in.
-Is that right?
-That's what the Domesday Book is written in.
And, really importantly, it's what the Charter Of The Forest was written in, in 1217.
Written at a time when great swathes of our woodland was owned by the king,
people could find themselves on the wrong side of the law for collecting firewood,
hunting or grazing their animals in the royal forests.
The Forest Charter changed everything,
protecting the rights of common people and taking away the harsh penalties.
And if you read the Charter Of The Forest,
a lot of it is about the things that people actually needed
to be able to go and do in woodland, or with trees.
Like collecting firewood...
Collecting firewood, which was called estover in those days,
and pannage, so, collecting acorns, beech nuts, or letting their pigs graze on them.
And that's how they get through the winter. So, really important to people's livelihood.
On the 800th anniversary of the original,
with many of our forests more at risk than ever,
the Woodland Trust wanted a new charter, with relevance today.
So, we've actually created this new charter from stories that people have sent in
about why trees and woods are important to them.
We collected more than 60,000 over the course of about a year and a half.
What we wanted to do was give some principles which people can get behind
that allow them to stand up for trees before they're at risk.
-Hello, buddy. What have you got there?
-Have you got something exciting?
If the enthusiasm of these young explorers is anything to go by,
our woodlands should be in safe hands.
When I was your age, right,
the way I used to remember about beech was because you see the way
that looks a little bit like a surfboard?
-And where would you find a surfboard?
-At the beach.
-There you go.
-Who built this?
-Who did? You did?
Come and show us around.
Well, that does look cosy.
There's a massive storm coming. Watch out. Ready?
Here's some more rain. Ah!
Later I'll be seeing how the Woodland Trust's new charter for
trees, woods and people is being immortalised by a master craftsman.
ELLIE: This is the season of plentiful colour...
..and bountiful harvests.
After this year's spring sun and summer rains,
autumn is the time when Mother Earth offers the fruits of her labours,
when the fields, the hedgerows and the orchards
are full of crops that are ripe for the picking.
But we're not the only ones to benefit from nature's bounty.
Right now our wildlife is making the most of the seasonal offerings.
With winter just around the corner, this orchard provides
a veritable feast in preparation for the cold months ahead.
Here at Tewin Orchard Nature Reserve in Hertfordshire
it's the perfect place for wildlife to pile on the pounds,
including one of our most striking wild animals.
Badgers. They evoke strong feelings in many.
Some believe they threaten livelihoods as carriers of bovine TB,
but for one man they're a source of great joy.
They're incredibly shy and cautious creatures,
but this is one of the few places in the country where you can get within
a few feet of these nocturnal animals.
Not only that, they happen to have a badger champion living right next door.
Michael Clark is passionate about badgers.
In his 50-year career as an illustrator and designer,
he's worked for publications like Punch and Private Eye.
His intricate studies of badgers have offered
ground-breaking insights into their biology and behaviour, and for the
last 45 years he's been warden of the nature reserve next to his home.
-Hello. Come and sit down.
-What a creative space you're working in here.
-Nice to see you.
-Working on a fabulous piece of badgers.
-Yeah, I'm just drawing
the cubs that were born in our set at the nature reserve here.
Oh, fantastic. Have you always been interested in badgers?
Yeah, right from childhood.
That picture there shows me with a cub that was injured,
and we looked after it and put it back in the wild.
They called me Badger Boy, the farmers there.
That continued into adulthood?
That's right. When we came to live here, which is now a nature reserve,
the sett was a centrepiece for people to come and watch,
in the end, where we converted an old stable to become a hide.
So, it's been a long association with badgers here.
Why badgers rather than any other British mammal?
Well, they are amazingly present here, because we virtually live with them.
I go out and I see their tracks and trails every day.
They are one of the most characteristic of our wild mammals in the countryside.
They really are a delight to be with.
This Wildlife Trust reserve is one of a handful of historic orchards left in Hertfordshire -
a precious habitat, perfect for the badgers.
But they also receive a little extra encouragement, thanks to Michael.
So what have they got tonight? What's their food?
Well, this is a dog food, dog biscuit,
peanuts and some lovely birdseed that's got a taste of aniseed in it,
which really attracts the badgers.
Do they ever take advantage of all of this wonderful fruit?
Well, they do like the plums, particularly.
They eat the whole plum with the stone in it, but then they go
under the apples and find the invertebrates under them, and
eventually when the apples are really soft they'll eat the apples, too.
There's plenty of feasting going on at the moment.
With dusk fast approaching, it's time to settle into the hide.
Any disturbance, and the shy badgers will stay away.
The hide has become a favourite spot for badger watchers from all over the country.
-Got the best seats in the house.
-Yeah, we have.
But the key to successful badgers spotting is to wait and stay very, very quiet.
-About time, yeah.
-Just a flash of white across the back.
There we go. There is some movement just back there.
You can see it continually smelling, trying to scent what's going on.
It hasn't noticed the camera.
Look how cautious this one is.
There's one right in the middle out back, just going across.
Oh, yes. Well done. Well spotted.
-There we go, bouncing along.
Their favourite meal is earthworms,
comprising more than half their diet,
but, as omnivores, badgers will take advantage
of any additional food source like this.
They are feeding very happily.
-It's lovely, yeah.
-It's wonderful to see.
They are fattening up for autumn, putting on a lot of weight.
So, that's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
-Eight so far in the area.
Their acute senses of smell and hearing
warn them of potential danger,
so getting this close to wild badgers is truly extraordinary.
That was me. That was me. Oh, what have I done?!
-I moved my head too fast.
-They saw something out there.
-I think I moved my head.
-No, it's just a fox coming or something.
-But that's... You see how shy they are.
-Anyway - coming back.
-The peanuts are too attractive.
If that had been a human coming down, a poacher or something,
they would not be back, probably, for an hour.
The strong smell of a human...
Do you know how many there are in this clan?
Somebody counted 14.
-At one time, yeah.
To see eight out together like this is very special.
It is. Oh, I'm glad. I'm so glad.
At the end of this season, when the temperatures drop,
these badgers will spend a lot more time underground and eat a lot less,
so the weight will just fall off them.
That's why it's so important that they eat as much as possible now.
And that's why it's heart-warming for me to see them enjoy all that autumn has to offer.
This is the season of change,
when the colours of our landscape transform.
For Olivia Lomenech Gill, it's an inspirational time.
She's woven her creative magic to conjure up the artworks for the
much-anticipated illustrated edition of JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
Growing up in this rural setting, Olivia has always drawn upon the countryside around her,
whether it's the everyday or the extraordinary.
I live here in north Northumberland,
just on the edge of the national park in the Cheviots,
and I work as an artist and an illustrator and printmaker.
This is very much a reference book, a textbook.
It's really like compiling a dictionary of beasts.
There is no narrative at all.
There's quite a lot of creatures which I read as, sort of,
reimaginings of real creatures,
so, I felt I was suddenly stepping into the world of fantasy,
but as a very literal artist I draw from life wherever possible,
and I find it really hard to make things up.
So that was a quite interesting challenge.
I think my first starting point was really to go straight to
the early Renaissance zoology books.
I'd like to think that the etchings in this modern bestiary
somehow make a little nod to the early printed books
of the people who were studying the quite mad zoology of the time.
Every chance I had to draw from a real life creature,
I, sort of, seized with both hands.
We have a really good shellfish company in Berwick.
They left me a crab and I had him sat on my studio table for a day.
And it's just when you start looking, really,
at how complex they are as a life form...
The really ancient nature of them... They're sort of prehistoric.
The more you look and the more you familiarise yourself with something,
the more it becomes extraordinary,
and I always had written in the front of my sketchbook,
I think it's a Confucius expression, which is,
"The wise man marvels at the commonplace."
I was very much inspired by a trip to Coquet Island.
Because we know Paul, the RSPB warden,
I was able to go out in the boat to look at the island,
which is just off the coast at Amble.
It's purely a bird reserve.
You've got the staithes where they used to tie up the old coal boats.
The cormorants are literally posed on those posts every day
with their wings drying,
and they have these postures which are just very, very sculptural.
In fact, the cormorant was partly the inspiration
for the creature that features on the cover of the book,
which is called the Occamy.
Where we live, we are very lucky,
because we have, most days of the year, quite extraordinary light.
We're busy watching about 200 seals in front of us now.
One of the things I've noticed going in towards them
is that the landscape straight away is becoming more dramatic.
Coquet is really special because it's a place that nobody can land,
and it's a very small island, and it's quite flat.
But it gave me the idea for the isolation that one experiences,
I think, on any island,
but also the idea of possibly hiding a creature such as
the Hebridean Black Dragon.
And this I depicted as part of an island landscape,
a bit bigger than Coquet Island,
partly based, probably, on the Cuillin Mountains in Skye,
and I liked the idea.
I put a fishing boat just passing the island.
The idea that the dragon could be there,
invisible or possibly visible, and acknowledged,
and the idea that there are these things hiding in the landscape
that we might not always be aware of.
I would say a third of the Beasts book involves etching.
I like the way that the alchemy of printmaking somehow matches
the magical properties of some of the beasts in the book.
Coming out of that project,
I do find that I'm glad more now to examine what is around me
in terms of the wildlife that we are lucky enough to be surrounded by,
and I hope to do many more works based on, possibly not fantastic beasts, but real ones.
MATT: Earlier, I heard how 800 years after the original Forest Charter was created,
the Woodland Trust has devised a modern version to help protect our trees.
Tomorrow the brand-new charter will be revealed,
and it's going to go on display next to the original charter,
and the Woodland Trust are asking people to sign the charter online.
And so, with a promise to plant a tree for every name added to the list,
I want to do my bit.
-Come round here. Put a little bit round the side.
-Hey, I can't see!
Get your boots in there. Give it a good stamp.
And all the care and attention doesn't end here,
because these trees will get continual health checks,
and I think the next health check's going to be in about six months' time.
But when are we going to know when six months' time is?
-What about the Countryfile calendar?
-What, sold in aid of Children In Need?
And it just so happens that I've got a pen here,
so, while I mark up where six months is,
here's John with all the details of how you can get your hands on one of these.
-You've found a worm, have you?
-Well, everything's got to live somewhere.
JOHN: It costs £9.50, including free UK delivery.
You can go to our website, where you'll find a link to the order page.
Or you can phone the order line on...
If you prefer to order by post, then send your name,
address and a cheque to...
A minimum of £4.50 from the sale of each calendar
will be donated to BBC Children In Need.
ELLIE: There's something magical about autumn.
As our countryside prepares for the descent into the long winter,
Mother Nature puts on the most amazing spectacle.
But it's not only the trees getting involved.
There's one flower that's blooming at this time of year,
which is literally worth its weight in gold...
..and Adam's in the Delamere Forest in the heart of Cheshire to discover this treasure.
I love the autumn. It's such a vibrant time of year.
And as most plants are starting to shut down for the winter,
these little gems are just coming into flower and poking their heads through.
and what's remarkable is that they produce the most expensive spice in the world - saffron.
Our love affair with saffron goes back a long way.
It's been cultivated all around the world and has been used in cookery for more than 3,500 years.
To find out more about this wonderful spice,
Peter Gould is showing me his blooming marvellous crop.
-Oh, hi, Adam. How are you doing?
It's really lovely to see these beautiful flowers at this time of year.
Yeah, these are our crocus flowers,
so these are our saffron-producing flowers.
And they are just starting to get going now.
And why are they flowering at this time of year?
So, they are an autumn plant, and they basically...
They stay dormant in summer and then they are waiting for a drop
in temperature and longer darkness in the day. Once we get that, they
will start shooting up and then they will start producing their flowers.
And where does the saffron come from?
So, if we look at this particular flower,
we have the female reproductive part here, which is the red part,
and that's the part we're interested in.
And is it right that, by weight, then, it's more expensive than gold?
Yes. It's because of the amount of labour that goes into
picking them and producing them that it costs so much money.
So, in this jar here we've got probably 1,000 flowers that have been picked and processed,
and that's probably worth £100.
Goodness me. That's just remarkable, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
-I might just pop this in my pocket. PETER LAUGHS
During the Middle Ages, England was a major saffron producer,
but by the turn of the 17th century the crop started to decline,
and the spice eventually disappeared from our fields altogether.
Pete is determined to revive this ancient tradition,
but what happened to our saffron industry?
Pete's brother Doug, a joint partner in the business, has some answers.
-Good to see you.
-Good to see you.
-My word, you're doing really well.
-I know, I know. Hard at it since the sun came up this morning.
Beautiful. So, what happened to our saffron industry?
Well, it used to be quite a big industry back in the Middle Ages, notably in Saffron Walden.
But unfortunately what happened is it doesn't like sitting in water,
and it got waterlogged, and there was flooding, and it got corm rot,
and then ever since then it's kind of died out.
So we're really trying to, sort of, bring a resurgence back into the industry.
So, who are your competitors, then?
Well, 90% of the production, it comes from Iran.
There's other producers in Spain and Greece and other parts of the world, but it's mainly Iran.
I guess the problem with saffron and competition is,
because it's such an expensive spice,
it gets mixed with a lot of material to bulk up the weight,
so there have even been cases of things like horsehair being added in,
tobacco, which has been stained with food colouring.
So the difference with ours, I guess, is that you know it's completely pure.
It's 100% pure red strands.
During the autumn, flowers emerge daily,
and the harvesters need to pick them while they're their peak.
It's backbreaking work, but every picker has a spine-saving technique.
Some shuffle along on their bottoms,
while others kneel.
There's normally no excuse to lie down on the job, but when you're
harvesting saffron flowers, anything goes.
The next process is just as time-consuming.
The saffron itself needs to be carefully extracted.
So that's the flowers picked. What's next?
So we're onto the next stage now which is the processing element.
This is literally where we're taking the flowers and carefully
removing the red filaments, which are the saffron strands itself,
and then it's ready for drying.
Yeah, so basically we take this now and we dry it at a low temperature
and then it goes in our glass jars and then it matures over the next couple of months.
-So, matures like a wine?
-Yeah, yeah. So if you tried it just after picking,
it wouldn't really have much flavour or aroma.
You need those couple of months
just to really develop those qualities of the saffron.
As we've heard, saffron isn't cheap,
but luckily you don't need to use much.
Professional chef Ellis Barry is a fan of local food
and regularly uses saffron from this farm.
-Ellis, hi, good to see you.
-Adam, hi, how are you doing?
-Really well, thanks.
Thanks for joining us on such a windy day in the middle of a field.
-Great British barbecue weather!
-What are you cooking, then?
-I've got some wild sea bass,
I've got home-grown vegetables, and we're using Cheshire saffron for a saffron sauce.
So a nice little pinch into the sauce itself, and that will
make it go into a nice golden colour.
You get really floral and honey-like flavours, and it's very versatile.
You know, it goes well with pretty much anything.
Great in stews, great as a sauce on here, but also I use it in desserts.
Not only is it local, it's actually a great product.
You know, it's up there with the best saffrons in the world, I'd say.
-And is it worth it's weight in gold?
-I think so. It definitely is.
But you don't have to use a lot, you know?
It's literally a pinch and a pinch goes a long way.
Those smells are coming off there...
-When's it ready to eat?
-Give me a minute or two and we'll be laughing.
-Or you'll be laughing.
Ellis adds the finishing touches, and the dish is ready to taste.
Right, the moment of truth.
Mmm, that is full of flavour.
You can taste that sort of honey, the sweetness.
Yeah, it's a big flavour, you know? It's very rounded.
It almost finishes the dish off.
That's beautiful. Well it's lovely to think you've got this autumn crocus,
a beautiful flower, producing this rich, red saffron.
A beautiful colour, beautiful plate of food. You can't beat it.
-Let's have a bit more.
-It's all yours.
ELLIE: Just off the Pembrokeshire coast lies Skomer Island.
It's beautiful, wild and remote.
A perfect combination for wildlife.
But as autumn takes hold,
this exposed dot of land bears the brunt of the elements.
Hardly an ideal time to raise young.
Yet this is the season when Atlantic grey seals give birth to their pups.
From the relative comfort of this boat,
it's really hard to imagine how harsh this environment can be.
At its worst, huge winds and crashing waves
batter the shore, and for a newborn seal pup,
it's a matter of life and death.
Keeping a close eye on the pups are wardens Ed Stubbins and Bee Bucher.
For nine months of the year, Skomer Island is their home and their office.
Autumn's the time for one of their biggest tasks - the annual seal count.
Today, they're surveying one of the most popular seal hot spots on the island.
-Bee, Ed, hello.
So, Bee, we are in peak pupping season now, are we?
Yeah, absolutely. It's really busy.
So, end of September, beginning of October is extremely busy.
We've got 180 pups at the minute.
Wow. And how are their numbers doing here on Skomer?
They are doing really well. They're not just stable,
but there is a slow overall trend upward.
Given that their numbers seem to be doing OK,
why do you need to continue with this monitoring?
Well, you need to monitor for a long time so that you know what is normal,
and then you can pick up when it's not normal any more.
And of course then they are like indicators of the marine environment.
So, if the seals are doing badly, then probably the sea is doing badly as well.
As long as they are doing well, we can kind of assume that the seas are doing well as well.
That's good. Now, to monitor them you have to actually get down onto the beach which, well,
there's no steps on Skomer - it's going to be a bit of a challenge getting close to them.
How do we get down there?
-Um, so, we're just going to pop down a slope onto the beach.
But we've got to be really careful, because we're going to be going over sea bird burrows
-which we don't want to collapse.
-That's a true conservationist, Ed.
You're not worried about us, don't worry about us, make sure you don't stand on a burrow.
Definitely. It's all about the birds and the wildlife here.
-Quite right, too. OK, so head up this way?
-OK, let's give it a go.
Most of the spots are pretty difficult to access, and at the mercy of the tides.
-Careful, careful here to stay really close to these rocks.
So, there's only a small window of opportunity to do the count before the tide turns.
It's easy to spot the pups in their newborn white coat,
but don't be fooled by the cute and fluffy appearance -
even the youngest pups can be feisty.
Oh, right. We're here.
A good attitude to have if you want to survive.
The first few weeks of a seal pup's life are critical.
It's a time that they need to build up condition.
The mother's milk contains 50% fat,
allowing them to stack on up to two kilograms a day,
and that's important because, in just three short weeks,
they are weaned, they moult and they are on their own,
out in the ocean hunting and fending for themselves.
So, it's no surprise not all of them make it.
Around one in five pups die before they are weaned.
That can be down to natural mortality, predators or bad weather.
But Ed and Bee will record every pup they find, dead or alive.
This one looks really small.
-He doesn't seem happy to see us.
-That's a shame.
As part of the survey, the pups get a colourful mark to help identify them.
A moment's discomfort, but it's vital work.
Grey seals are among the rarest on the planet,
but almost half of the world population
is found in the British Isles.
Extra laws were introduced in 1970 to protect seals.
Since then, numbers have more than doubled,
and seal rockeries like Skomer have played a large part in that recovery.
So, we're going to do this one yellow red.
Looks at me.
-Red on the right?
-Red on the right definitely, Ed?
-Red on the right, yeah, that's it.
Closer. That's it.
Got a bit of wind. Is that all right?
And then get a little bit closer.
Leave a gap, and get a little bit closer with the can.
That's it. Perfect.
Give it another bit more with the yellow, yeah. Perfect.
-I feel like that's art, there.
Each tag is unique, ensuring the pups don't get counted twice.
Notes and photos are taken and the information is entered into a national database.
The Skomer survey has been going for more than 30 years,
making it one of the longest running studies of grey seals in the world,
and one of the most comprehensive.
Pups here are surveyed from birth until weaning,
so it offers a highly accurate picture of survival rates and breeding success.
So, it seems like quite a strange time to pup, in the autumn,
-when the weather starts to get a bit choppy and the swell and the winds pick up.
Why do you think they do it now?
I think it's because when they, when this species evolved,
they evolved in places where there was a lot of ice in winter,
so seal pups on ice would be really well camouflaged.
But the species expanded and now they're down here.
But even still, given that the weather can get a bit wild,
I presume some pups are lost to that wild weather.
Yeah, they are. Some die in strong storms,
and when you watch them, it's absolutely heartbreaking.
They get literally smacked against the cliff faces and the next morning
you come down and there's nothing left.
And they're such hardy creatures, absolutely incredible.
So, very, very often they survive and you can see the mums, how good they are.
They are in the water with their pups.
They push them back up to the beach, they crawl under them
and let them ride on their backs so they can have a break, because, of course, they need to breathe air.
With the tide on the turn, it's time to leave the seals in peace.
For the next few weeks,
Ed and Bee will be returning each day to record more new arrivals.
Sadly, in a cruel turn of events,
the survey was cut short just days after our visit.
You may find some of the following images distressing.
Exposed to the worst of the elements,
Skomer was hit by Storm Ophelia, closely followed by Storm Brian.
Buildings were badly damaged as the wind and waves pounded the island,
and, tragically, the storms took a huge toll on the seals.
Of 180 pups that had been counted to date,
only 33 were spotted in the aftermath.
Autumn can be both beautiful and brutal.
What nature gives, it can also take away.
The Welsh Wildlife Trust is now raising funds to counter the effects of the storms,
but only time will tell if the Skomer population will make a good recovery.
We hope to return next spring to see for ourselves.
Everyone will be hoping for better weather in the week ahead,
so, let's find out with the Countryfile Forecast.
MATT: Across the land, autumn is unfurling
and we've been exploring its wealth of treasures.
While Ellie's be meeting some new arrivals on Skomer...
..I've been hearing about the new Charter For Trees, Woods And People.
-There you go. So now we know...
-Shake my hand, my friend.
So many different kinds of tree in this wood.
The charter has been shaped by thousands and thousands of different
people's ideas, and whittled down to a final ten,
which will be engrained in oak and stand proud in our landscape as a lasting legacy.
And, in keeping with the theme of woodland,
each of the ten principal poles will be carved with words and images
which represent our special relationship with trees.
These poles will be placed around the UK
to immortalise the ideas of the new charter.
Creating these towering totems is woodcarver and sculptor, Simon Clements,
with a helping hand from Brian Hempstead.
-Now then, lads, how are we doing?
-You all right?
-Yeah, I'm fine, thanks.
-Nice to see you, Simon.
My word, this looks tremendous, what you are doing here.
It smells gorgeous in here, as well.
Yeah? We don't really notice it any more. We've been doing it for a while.
-Right. But it's green oak?
-Yes, green oak from Windsor.
They come to us with the bark on. We strip the bark off.
They then get rounded out,
then we start carving once we've got a nice working surface.
Yeah, it's so tactile, isn't it? Just standing here you can't help but...
-Well, people do, don't they?
-And what's the story with this one, then?
Cos you can see all these different images,
there's words on here, and the chain of strapping around it?
This is the champion pole.
-This is the pole that ties all the others together.
And the chain symbolises the way trees tie the environment together.
They lock the earth, they lock the water into the earth,
and they have the same effect on the air.
So, this one's almost finished, then?
Yes, almost done. We have a few little details left to do.
We've got some stag beetles to carve on this side.
I don't know whether you want to get involved in that?
Oh, I would love to, yeah.
We'd love it if you could. The next thing we've got to do, though,
is roll the pole.
Each pole weighs a tonne and a half,
so, turning them needs to be done carefully by hand
to line-up the design for carving.
A pinch more. That'll do.
The champion pole will stand proud at Lincoln Castle,
where the new charter will take pride of place
alongside the original.
-OK, I think we're about ready to start with the chisels.
-Let's get carving.
You only want to go in a couple of millimetres.
-Would you go deeper?
-No, that's fine.
It goes in nice, doesn't it, when it's fresh?
It does. It's very easy to cut.
It's already feeling very therapeutic.
You can come and help me with the other 11.
We are using a V tool now, and what we're doing is we're drawing a line.
You've lost me for the rest of the day now.
Do you know though, it's that thing, because the whole sentiment of this
charter is that connection between people, between trees,
the woodlands that are around them.
And for you now, as a woodcarver, to be a big part of this, it must be quite a good feeling?
-A strong connection?
-It is. It's a special stuff, this, wood.
As a species, we're hard-wired to this material.
This is the material we used first.
You know, before we used bone, before we used stone or metals, We used wood.
And you watch people when they're walking through the streets or walking past trees.
They'll just stroke them as they go past,
and I do think we all have this, almost an innate connection with this material.
It's magic, though, to have your mark on this thing.
I mean, I feel incredibly proud to have, you know,
done my little stag beetle there.
Yeah, sort of half a stag beetle.
Yeah, the stag beetle with no legs that looks like a bottle opener.
That's the one. I'll remember that.
Well, that's all we've got time for for this week.
Next week, to mark Remembrance Sunday,
we'll be discovering the so-called "Idle Women",
and the all-important part they played in World War II.
Hope you can join us then.
The team gets out to explore all that Autumn has to offer. Matt Baker crunches through the leaves to find out about a new charter to protect woodlands. Ellie Harrison meets Skomer's new arrivals - seal pups! John Craven cooks Autumn treats over an outdoor fire, and Adam Henson discovers a harvest worth its weight in gold.