Brecon Beacons Countryfile


Brecon Beacons

The team explores the Brecon Beacons. Matt Baker discovers geocaching, a treasure hunt with a modern twist, and meets an artist whose canvas is the night sky.


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Transcript


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Wild skies,

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meandering waterways

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and windswept hillsides.

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The Brecon Beacons. Just look at this place.

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It's a landscape waiting to be explored

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and today is going to be full of digital discovery for me

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because I'm going geocaching, and if you've never heard of it before,

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think of it as a 21st century treasure hunt.

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-Got it.

-Have you?

-Yeah.

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How far in was that? How are you supposed to find that?

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Helen is taking a walk in the wild with a difference.

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One thing you have to... Just give him a little bit of a tug.

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They need to know who is boss.

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You can see we are off the road.

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Tom is asking why so many horses and riders are being injured

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and killed on our roads.

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I'm extremely lucky to be alive.

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Digby basically saved my life.

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If I was cycling up here that day, I would have been killed.

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And Adam is visiting a hospital

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where they are helping dogs with cancer.

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It's extraordinary seeing this human technology

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being used on dogs.

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And brilliant that they can find out whether the cancer

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has spread and then whether it is worth doing operations.

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Lush, steep valleys crowned with spectacular summits.

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Today we are visiting the unmistakable outlines

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of an ancient glacial landscape.

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Covering nearly 520 square miles of glorious Welsh valleys,

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the Brecon Beacons National Park

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stretches from Llandeilo in the west to Abergavenny in the east.

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Somewhere in these hills,

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hidden treasure is waiting to be discovered.

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And making sure that I don't get lost before I've even started,

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are the National Park's very own geocaching officers,

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Ilona Carati and Billy Morgan.

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They've set up simple trails around the Beacons,

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melding modern technology with an ancient landscape.

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Now, I've been billing this as a kind of

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21st-century treasure hunt.

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Ilona, is that fair?

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Yeah, it's exactly what you are doing.

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You are going out and you are finding caches, as they are called.

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You are using modern technology to do it with.

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And no two caches are the same,

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but almost all contain a logbook to record your discovery

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and often trinkets to exchange with fellow geocachers.

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But it's the technology that is the key to unlocking the landscape

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for the younger generation.

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Tell your child that you are going for a walk,

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the first things they'll say is, "How far?", or, "How long?"

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So what we'd find with geocaching is that you've got some piece

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of technology, usually that they are more familiar with than an adult,

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or they will be very quickly,

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and then they've suddenly walked

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three, four kilometres without even really thinking about it.

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Certainly in our purposes, that's amazing

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because we are working with children that are very physically inactive.

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So you can be quite extreme with it.

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You can hit mountaintops or some are right next to where you park.

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They are called cache and dashes.

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And that's quite handy, maybe, if you are differently abled.

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You might need somewhere that's got wheelchair access.

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Before I can get started, I need the tools of the trail

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and Billy has got just the thing,

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a hand-held navigational device similar to a car sat-nav.

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But we are heading strictly off-road.

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It's sending me this way.

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There we are.

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I am using this little electronic gizmo,

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but it's just as easy to go geocaching

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with a free app on your smartphone.

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79 metres. 79 metres to go.

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So this little device here, then,

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it's in conversation with satellites.

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-Yes.

-That's how it's working.

-It tracks a number of satellites,

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a minimum of three.

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So, for those with smartphones that want to go out,

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how many points around Britain are there?

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I'd say there's tens of thousands around Britain.

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Around 2.5 million worldwide,

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so really, anywhere you want to go you can find a geocache.

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Say, Siberia and the Sahara Desert, not so good,

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but the rest of the world, yeah.

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Once you get the bug, then, there's no stopping you.

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At what point do you put the device down and start searching?

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I mean, how accurate are these things?

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-It's generally, we say, it's about a radius of about ten metres.

-OK.

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The clue we give them is, "Look for a Bronze Age standing stone."

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-So we'll give you that clue.

-Ideal.

-Here it is.

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We are certainly in the right ballpark.

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In this particular instance,

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you're looking for a box, I would say, about that size.

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-Right.

-Bear in mind it's well hidden.

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This fence line would be quite an attractive place

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to put it, maybe.

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What about this post here?

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No.

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-Can you see it?

-No.

-No.

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-Ah. OK, that helps.

-That wouldn't be much fun.

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Was I right when I said I was being drawn to this area?

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You are definitely in the right area.

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Was it the post?

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Ah, well, we are not going to tell you exactly where.

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Have a good, good luck. Long, hard look.

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Ah!

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-I've found it.

-There you go.

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See, I said at the beginning

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this wonderful straining post would be it.

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So, "Congratulations. You've found geocache JT3.

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"Time standing still."

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This trail of geocaches holds more

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than just the thrill of discovery.

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Each one contains a little info

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about the history of its hiding place.

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In keeping with geocaching etiquette,

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I am recording my visit and swapping some knick-knacks.

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I just need to write my name in.

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Name and a date is nice

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because then the next person that comes along and finds it,

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it sort of provides a whole trail.

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So that's my first-ever geocache in the bag.

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Or box.

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Time to pop it back in its rightful place.

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Horses and their riders have been a common sight on our roads

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for centuries, but today, as more and more cars use those same roads,

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are they risking their lives more than ever?

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It's a picture postcard scene.

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Horses and riders enjoying the beautiful British countryside.

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But there is another more dangerous side to this popular pastime

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and that's here on our rural roads.

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-Whoa!

-BLEEP.

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-Get a bit

-BLEEP

-closer, you idiot!

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-Whoa!

-BLEEP.

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This is the danger,

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filmed by people on the country's highways and byways.

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BLEEP.

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Horse riders are some of the most vulnerable road users.

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BLEEP.

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On average, there is an incident involving horses

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every day in the UK.

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And that is something Gillian Singleton knows all about.

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She's been riding for more than 30 years.

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This is the safest route that we take.

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It basically cuts out the corner.

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Obviously, you can see we are off the road,

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which is our main aim,

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is to keep off the road and stay on the grass tracks.

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Two months ago she was knocked off her horse, Digby,

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while riding here in Snowdonia National Park

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with her sister-in-law Gwenda.

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Some of the photos you are about to see are distressing.

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It was past the green sign over there, which you can see.

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Maybe about 150 yards from here

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and the next thing, all I heard was, "Bang".

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Digby and Gillian had been hit by a car.

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Digby jumped up because Gill had fallen against the bank

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and not on to the concrete.

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And then the driver drove round,

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stopped and he said, "I didn't see you. The sun was in my eyes."

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You had some minor injuries,

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but you must think yourself incredibly lucky.

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I mean, a horse had fallen over, a car had hit it.

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Extremely lucky.

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Digby basically saved my life.

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If I was cycling up here that day, I would've been killed.

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And how were you at this time?

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I was trying to comprehend basically what had happened,

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then I just turned to go for Digby.

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I could see he was injured.

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He collapsed and he died basically within about five to ten minutes.

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Digby died from his injuries on the side of the road

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just minutes from home.

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I was so distraught. So distraught.

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Just overwhelmed with emotion.

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Even now, I can feel it in my voice.

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-Yeah.

-So distressing.

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-So, will you be riding up here again?

-Never. Never again.

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I'm too scared. I'm too nervous. I'm too anxious.

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I'm afraid of cars.

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I'm afraid of cars.

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Gillian isn't alone. It's a nationwide problem.

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Riders across the country have launched campaigns

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and petitions calling for change.

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According to figures recently compiled

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by the British Horse Society,

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there have been 2,070 accidents and near misses involving horses

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on our roads in the last five years.

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That's more than one a day.

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And in the same period,

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36 riders have been killed

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and 181 horses have lost their lives.

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And the true figures could be a lot higher.

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Sarah Phillips is from the British Horse Society.

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We just think we are scratching at the surface

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because a lot of things go unreported.

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-People may have a near miss.

-Idiot!

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They won't know who to report it to.

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The police might not be involved,

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so a lot of them just slip under the radar.

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And why are these numbers increasing?

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There are more people using the roads.

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More horse riders on the road. There's more cars on the road.

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The population is growing.

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You get people, you know, in a rush every day

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and when horses and riders and cars come together,

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it doesn't always end well.

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I asked you to stop!

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And can even the best trained horse

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be spooked in the wrong circumstances?

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Yeah, absolutely. A horse is a flight animal.

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It will run away from a predator.

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That's evolved over many, many thousands of years

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and even the best trained and the gentlest, quietest animal,

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when you're hacking along,

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if it sees something in the hedge that startles it -

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it could be a bird,

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it could be a plastic bag -

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that makes the horse jump away from the danger

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and into the path of a car.

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What's the main cause of the rise in incidents?

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75% of reported incidents,

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the cause is because that car has got too close

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to the horse on the road.

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Back in Wales and Gillian is still scarred

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by the accident that killed Digby.

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She's just started riding again with her new horse, Mr Todd.

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The only way I'm going to get to know him properly

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is by having lessons.

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I need him to be an obedient horse,

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especially if I'm out on the road.

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The reason Gillian needs her horse to be reliable on the road

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is that legally they are not allowed on pavements or footpaths.

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In the Highway Code itself, there are few laws about horse riding

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but plenty of advice about clothing,

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being visible at night and controlling your horse.

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But what's the drivers' responsibility?

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Again, it's mainly advice.

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The Highway Code says you should take extra care on country roads

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and treat horses as a potential hazard.

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But there are laws about driving properly with other road users,

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which include riders.

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So are the existing laws sufficient or do we need new laws

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aimed specifically at protecting horses and riders?

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That's what I'll be finding out later.

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The Brecon Beacons National Park has some of the most beautiful

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and dramatic landscapes to be found anywhere in the British Isles.

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This part of Wales has been shaped by centuries of sheep farming,

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but as times have changed farmers have had to be inventive

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with ways of eking out a living.

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Here in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons,

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a local business has paired up with farmers

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to offer people a rather unusual way

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to get out and enjoy the landscape.

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I'm meeting Julia Blazer, whose company provides distinctive ways

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of enjoying the great outdoors.

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Today I will be sheep trekking.

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Where did this idea come from?

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Basically, I was looking at llama trekking and thinking,

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that's quite popular and thinking, "What's that all about?

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"Let's do it with something a bit more native."

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Why do people go sheep trekking? I mean, people do do this.

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Well, it's connection with nature.

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We get people who've got a bit of a thing about

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lovely sheep, cuddly sheep.

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We get families who want to do something a bit different.

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It's really nice but it's also you chat to people.

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You are looking out at the scenery. The scenery here is stunning.

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It's just a really fun thing to do.

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Let's go and meet the farmer and these sheep.

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Paul Matthews has been a sheep farmer in this unforgiving

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landscape for 35 years.

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His collaboration with Julia has taken farm diversification

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to a different level.

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Is that a turkey in there? You've got all sorts in here, haven't you?

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There's all sorts of animals, yeah.

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They've noticed us now.

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So are they quite happy to get into these harnesses?

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Some love it.

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Others need a little bit more persuasion.

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They will do quite a lot for food.

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Come on.

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Come on, boys.

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Jigsaw won't let me down.

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-Oh, have they all got names?

-Yes.

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That's the one advantage with the Jacobs. They are all different.

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The fact that these are trekkers means that they have been saved

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-from a cruel fate. Shall we just put it like that?

-Yeah.

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You're not supposed to talk about it.

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HE LAUGHS

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But it's a brutal truth, isn't it? They're happy.

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It is the brutal truth, yeah.

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Here you go. Now they are coming.

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Paul has chosen some calm companions from his flock.

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Jigsaw, Jagger, Jet and Jester will be coming trekking with us today.

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-This is mine, is it?

-No, no.

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This boy here is yours. This handsome boy here.

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-And he is called?

-He is called Jester.

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Come on, Jester.

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Let's go for a walk.

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-By the end of today, I'm sure you'll be bonding.

-Come on, Jester!

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Good boy. Come on, Jester. You've given

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me the dud one, I know you have! Come on. That's right.

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Ha-ha-ha!

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Here we go. This is how you do it.

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Just give him a little bit of a tug. They need to know who is boss.

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Come on then.

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'I'm not entirely sure who is walking who,

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'as we set off from the farm and start our climb into the hills.'

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Yeah.

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As we get further up the farm, you know,

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you'll be able to see all the views.

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-It's not just about trekking. It's about the walk.

-Yeah.

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'Our route is an ancient right of way across the farmland.'

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The road we're on now is an old drovers' road and this goes all

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the way to the mountain and in the spring,

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the farmers from the valleys would have brought their sheep all

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the way up on to the hill for summer grazing and then,

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in the autumn, they'd have brought them back down again.

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'What we're doing may look slightly strange, but we're following in the

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'footsteps of sheep farmers who have walked these trails for centuries.

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'Before road and rail reached the remote hill farms,

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'livestock was taken on foot to the market by drovers.

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'These men were hardy and highly skilled,

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'responsible not only for their valuable cargo,

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'but also large amounts of money, once the animals were sold.

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'The arrival of the railways in 1863 soon meant that livestock

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'could be moved from farm to market in a single day.

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'By 1950, the era of the drovers was over.

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'It's been a novel walk, but as we make our way back down,

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'I can really see why this innovative farm diversification

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'has been such a success.'

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I've got to be honest, I thought you guys were bonkers before I came

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here, but now, I accept that you are making the best of the Brecons.

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It's been a nice day out, hasn't it?

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The sun's shone, sheep for company, and everybody having a good time.

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Thank you. You've been the stars of the show.

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Now, a while ago, Ellie went to Worcestershire to meet

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a man who is passionate about the humble worm,

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a creature also praised by one of Ellie's own heroes.

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The 19th century naturalist Charles Darwin is best known for his

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Theory of Evolution,

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as set out in his book On The Origin Of Species, but what is less

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well known is his deep admiration for the humble earthworm.

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"It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have

0:17:590:18:03

"played so important a part in the history of the world as these

0:18:030:18:08

"lowly organised creatures."

0:18:080:18:10

But Darwin isn't the only person to recognise the attributes of

0:18:110:18:15

these humble invertebrates.

0:18:150:18:17

Ken Nelson is a farmer with a difference.

0:18:170:18:20

He farms worms.

0:18:200:18:22

Ken farms on a two-acre site in Worcestershire,

0:18:280:18:31

where he breeds worms for sale,

0:18:310:18:33

supplying gardeners looking to improve the quality of their

0:18:330:18:37

soil and fishermen out for the catch of the day.

0:18:370:18:39

-Hi, Ken.

-Hi.

0:18:410:18:42

I think this must be the first worm farm I've ever been to.

0:18:420:18:45

-Well, it's your lucky day!

-It is my lucky day.

-Sure.

0:18:450:18:49

What was the appeal for you with worms?

0:18:490:18:51

What made you think, "Yeah, yeah. They're going to be what I work with"?

0:18:510:18:54

Well, worms, they do a lot for the planet.

0:18:540:18:56

If you love the planet, you've got to love these guys.

0:18:560:18:59

'And they really do play an important role,

0:19:020:19:05

'breaking down dead organic matter in a process called decomposition.

0:19:050:19:10

'The process releases nutrients from dead plants and animals,

0:19:100:19:13

'making them available for living plants.'

0:19:130:19:16

What types of worms have you got here then?

0:19:170:19:20

Well, there's three types I use for composting.

0:19:200:19:23

This is what you call a Dendrobaena veneta.

0:19:230:19:25

-It's a big, chunky worm, that one, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:19:250:19:28

-It likes a lot of food waste.

-OK.

-Then Eisenia fetida.

0:19:280:19:31

That's called the brandling or the red worm.

0:19:310:19:34

-And the third one?

-Eisenia andrei.

0:19:340:19:38

A bit smaller than the Dendrobaena and this is what they call

0:19:380:19:41

-a tiger worm.

-It's got the stripes there.

-Yeah.

-All right.

0:19:410:19:45

'Ken doesn't just breed worms ideal for composting.

0:19:450:19:48

'His gardening clients are keen to get the right mix of

0:19:480:19:51

'creatures to produce the finest soil possible.'

0:19:510:19:54

What other types of worms are there?

0:19:540:19:56

There's the Lumbricus terres... I can't even...

0:19:560:19:59

They call them the lob worm.

0:19:590:20:00

-The lob worms.

-Or some people call them the nightcrawlers.

0:20:000:20:03

Oh, it's completely different!

0:20:030:20:06

-Wow!

-These are what you'd call the backbone of the planet.

0:20:060:20:10

Their function is to aerate the soil, keep the water from...

0:20:100:20:13

The drainage and stuff like that within the soil.

0:20:130:20:16

-The lob worms are the garden worms.

-Garden worm.

0:20:160:20:19

When you think about their function in the soil,

0:20:190:20:22

for both creating the soil structure and also just decomposing

0:20:220:20:25

everything, I guess it starts to blow your mind

0:20:250:20:28

a little bit about how important they are, how much we overlook them.

0:20:280:20:31

-Well, I didn't. I don't overlook them.

-You don't.

-I don't.

0:20:310:20:34

The rest of us do, unfortunately.

0:20:340:20:36

But it's one of those things, you need to be taught about it,

0:20:360:20:39

-isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:20:390:20:41

'Globally, there are about 3,000 species of earthworm.

0:20:420:20:46

'They can grow up to three metres in length,

0:20:460:20:49

'like the giant Gippsland earthworm from Australia.

0:20:490:20:52

'In the UK, there are 26 earthworm species,

0:20:530:20:57

'some of which Ken has here on his farm.'

0:20:570:21:00

So, all these tubs are full of worms, are they?

0:21:000:21:03

Well, they've got loads of worms in them. Quite a lot of worms.

0:21:030:21:06

Do you think you've got hundreds of thousands here? It's hard to say, isn't it?

0:21:060:21:09

Look, I could say you'd find 10,000 or more in a bin.

0:21:090:21:13

'And the great thing about farming worms is they don't need much

0:21:130:21:16

'looking after.'

0:21:160:21:17

-Food waste.

-In the top.

0:21:170:21:20

-In the top. And then the worms...

-That's remarkable.

0:21:200:21:24

-And you just top that up with organic matter...

-Waste, yeah.

0:21:240:21:27

-Shredded food waste, veg waste and shredded paper.

-A bit of paper.

0:21:270:21:32

'The dead matter the worms eat passes through their systems

0:21:320:21:36

'and produces an amazing by-product.'

0:21:360:21:38

This, the good stuff.

0:21:400:21:41

Worm cast, black gold, worm poo - whatever you want to call it.

0:21:410:21:44

And is it worm poo?

0:21:440:21:46

Well, yes, it is. Because it comes from a worm.

0:21:460:21:48

-And this is really the good stuff for gardeners.

-Yeah, 100%.

0:21:480:21:52

100% organic.

0:21:520:21:53

There's ways you can use it to make just fertiliser to put over

0:21:530:21:57

-the plants.

-If I was a gardener, I'd be all over this.

0:21:570:22:00

-Well...

-I've got terrible gardening fingers, unfortunately.

0:22:000:22:03

-Well, trial and error.

-Maybe I need more of this.

0:22:030:22:05

-That's what I need in my life.

-That's it. There you go.

0:22:050:22:08

The importance of worms can't be overstated, in decomposition,

0:22:120:22:16

in the structure of our soils.

0:22:160:22:18

It's unlikely they're going to become the nation's favourite

0:22:180:22:21

pet any time soon, but really we should cherish them and ask

0:22:210:22:25

ourselves - where would we be without them?

0:22:250:22:27

Horse riders are among the most vulnerable people on our roads.

0:22:400:22:43

And as Tom's been finding out, on average,

0:22:430:22:46

there's at least one incident a day involving a horse.

0:22:460:22:49

What the hell?!

0:22:490:22:51

So, is it time for a change?

0:22:510:22:52

Well, opinion is divided as to what changes to make.

0:22:540:22:58

Riders are calling for more protection,

0:22:580:23:00

but some drivers want horses banned from the roads altogether.

0:23:000:23:05

A recent AA poll revealed 17% of drivers thought horses should

0:23:070:23:11

be banned from the roads.

0:23:110:23:14

And 8% said they didn't know the right way to pass a horse and rider.

0:23:140:23:18

Not surprising then that 6% of drivers revealed they'd had

0:23:180:23:22

a near miss.

0:23:220:23:23

Clearly, some drivers need to learn more about what to do when they meet

0:23:230:23:29

horses on the road,

0:23:290:23:30

but riders too have responsibilities when they meet the tarmac.

0:23:300:23:35

And this is something Rachel Middleton,

0:23:390:23:41

a farmer who has been riding for 30 years, thinks is often lacking.

0:23:410:23:46

There are people that shouldn't be on the roads with their horses.

0:23:460:23:50

'She's been hit by a Transit van and knocked from her horse into

0:23:500:23:53

'the middle of the road,

0:23:530:23:55

'but she still believes it's all too easy to blame drivers.'

0:23:550:23:59

It's very difficult these days.

0:23:590:24:00

Cars have got faster, roads are busier, but you can work your

0:24:000:24:05

horse and prepare them enough to be safe on the roads.

0:24:050:24:10

How might riders be able to help drivers and themselves?

0:24:100:24:13

They need to make sure that they're riding in the right position on the

0:24:130:24:17

road, don't ride two abreast, and if your horse is getting

0:24:170:24:22

fractious and nervous, getting off is the best thing.

0:24:220:24:25

But riders might think, look, I've got the right to be here,

0:24:250:24:28

so others should work round me.

0:24:280:24:30

Everybody's got the right to be on the road.

0:24:300:24:32

It's just we should all be able to share.

0:24:320:24:36

-Is there a case for changes to the law?

-Who is going to enforce it?

0:24:360:24:40

The police are absolutely pushed to the limit already.

0:24:400:24:43

No, I think horse riders really have

0:24:430:24:47

got their own responsibility

0:24:470:24:50

to be far more courteous to other road users.

0:24:500:24:54

And show their thanks for the effort that people make to pass them

0:24:550:25:00

-courteously.

-It spreads good behaviour.

-Yeah.

0:25:000:25:02

Yeah, it's a knock-on effect of, you know, you've made an effort,

0:25:020:25:06

you've been thanked for it, so you'll repeat that.

0:25:060:25:09

Good behaviour is one thing, but the figures show we can't rely on

0:25:130:25:17

it, so should there be more regulation?

0:25:170:25:19

One of the commonest complaints from car drivers is that horse riders

0:25:210:25:25

don't have to take a test before they're allowed out on the road.

0:25:250:25:29

Well, I'm just about to start my first road safety awareness course.

0:25:290:25:33

Just like a cycling proficiency course,

0:25:340:25:37

it teaches riders the safest way to share the roads with other users.

0:25:370:25:41

Now, put your arm out. That's it. Don't look back when you indicate.

0:25:410:25:44

That's it.

0:25:440:25:46

But should a safety course be compulsory for all riders

0:25:460:25:49

before they use the roads?

0:25:490:25:51

We have over 4,000 people a year that actually do that course and we

0:25:520:25:55

would strongly recommend that anyone who wants to hack out on

0:25:550:25:58

a road does that riding and road safety course.

0:25:580:26:01

'Sarah Phillips from the British Horse Society is campaigning

0:26:010:26:04

'for a change.'

0:26:040:26:05

Should courses like that be compulsory?

0:26:050:26:07

When I drive, I have to take a driving test,

0:26:070:26:09

similar thing for a horse?

0:26:090:26:10

I don't think that day will ever come and I think people need

0:26:100:26:13

to take responsibility for themselves and their own safety.

0:26:130:26:16

So there's that balance between education and safety and

0:26:160:26:20

legislation and law.

0:26:200:26:21

What about, looking at the other side, stuff with the Highway Code?

0:26:210:26:24

Do you support changes in the Highway Code to make drivers

0:26:240:26:27

behave better around horses?

0:26:270:26:28

We would like more information and more guidance put into the

0:26:280:26:31

Highway Code.

0:26:310:26:32

You should always leave a minimum of two metres between the car and a

0:26:320:26:36

horse and that you should approach, drive past and pull away at

0:26:360:26:40

no more than 15mph.

0:26:400:26:43

'But what can riders do to help themselves right now?'

0:26:430:26:46

They should always wear high-vis when they're out hacking on

0:26:460:26:48

the road, they should put high-vis on their horses,

0:26:480:26:50

to make themselves a lot more visible to a car driver.

0:26:500:26:54

'But even police horses, with all their high-vis,

0:26:560:27:00

'aren't immune to accidents.

0:27:000:27:02

'PC Kerry Dawson is from the Greater Manchester Police.'

0:27:030:27:07

A couple of years ago, we had an incident with

0:27:070:27:10

a police horse who was involved in a collision on the road.

0:27:100:27:14

All the officers were wearing fluorescent coats, high-vis,

0:27:140:27:18

and we also have a lot of lights on as well.

0:27:180:27:21

-You could hardly be more visible.

-No.

0:27:210:27:23

With all of that on. And yet, you were still hit. The horse was hit.

0:27:230:27:26

That's right. That's right.

0:27:260:27:28

'And this prompted them to launch their campaign,

0:27:280:27:30

'Think Horse, Think 15,

0:27:300:27:33

'to raise driver awareness and encourage slower speeds.'

0:27:330:27:35

You think the core of this is education,

0:27:370:27:39

but do you have the power to prosecute drivers if you

0:27:390:27:42

-think they've behaved badly around a horse?

-Absolutely.

0:27:420:27:44

There's offences under the Road Traffic Act that police forces can

0:27:440:27:48

look into and use if the incident is serious enough in nature

0:27:480:27:53

to constitute an offence.

0:27:530:27:54

'Those offences include driving without due care and attention,

0:27:560:28:00

'or more seriously, causing death by dangerous driving,

0:28:000:28:03

'which means points on your licence, a hefty fine,

0:28:030:28:06

'or even a prison sentence.'

0:28:060:28:08

Idiot! I've got him on video!

0:28:120:28:13

'The fact remains that, on average, there is at least one incident

0:28:150:28:18

'a day and that's dangerous for riders, horses and drivers.

0:28:180:28:23

'So is it time we relied less on the carrot and used more of the

0:28:230:28:26

'stick when it comes to enforcement?'

0:28:260:28:29

Whether or not there is an appetite or a need for a change in the law,

0:28:290:28:34

legislation takes a while to enact, so in the meantime, maybe both

0:28:340:28:40

riders and drivers should just be a little more considerate and help

0:28:400:28:44

each other out on the road.

0:28:440:28:45

So, what do you think?

0:28:480:28:49

Is it just about common courtesy or do we need a change in the law?

0:28:490:28:53

Or should horses be banned from our roads?

0:28:530:28:56

You can get in touch with us via our website or contact us on Twitter.

0:28:560:29:00

I'm exploring the beautiful Brecon Beacons in a whole new way,

0:29:090:29:14

by getting to grips with geocaching.

0:29:140:29:16

Jordan and Joel are benefiting from the outreach projects run by

0:29:190:29:22

geocaching officers Ilona and Billy.

0:29:220:29:25

With the help of local housing charity, the Gwalia Trust, their

0:29:250:29:29

introduction to geocaching has had a positive effect on their lives.

0:29:290:29:33

My wife and I didn't have enough money to put down for

0:29:330:29:36

a first month's rent, and a bond on a place,

0:29:360:29:38

so we were technically made homeless.

0:29:380:29:41

Gwalia were there to help us to be able to find more housing.

0:29:410:29:44

And, Jordan, how did you first come across Gwalia?

0:29:440:29:46

Well, I got kicked out of my house when I was 16 by my mother

0:29:460:29:49

and I got housed in a place in Llandod,

0:29:490:29:52

but they've helped me a lot, like I didn't have a job or anything.

0:29:520:29:55

-Now, I've got a job. Just got a promotion.

-Great!

0:29:550:29:57

-Yeah, so it's all going good for me.

-Things are going good, yeah.

-Yeah, it's all going good.

0:29:570:30:01

-Before Gwalia, I'm guessing you'd never heard of geocaching.

-No.

0:30:010:30:05

When I realised you had to walk quite a distance,

0:30:050:30:07

I wasn't that happy! But I quite enjoyed it after.

0:30:070:30:09

I hated walking at the time, absolutely hated it.

0:30:090:30:12

-And now, I love it.

-Changing the context of what it is.

0:30:120:30:14

It's not a walk, you're going on an adventure.

0:30:140:30:18

-So, let's go and see if we can find it.

-OK.

0:30:180:30:21

'Our GPS is telling us that the next cache is within 100 metres

0:30:220:30:26

'and in this landscape, there's only one place it can be.'

0:30:260:30:29

It's got to be in here somewhere, a little bit of Tupperware.

0:30:290:30:33

Do you think it's there?

0:30:340:30:37

-You look like you're calving a cow!

-He's going to get pulled down now!

0:30:370:30:41

Jordan down the rabbit hole.

0:30:410:30:44

-I've got it.

-Have you?

0:30:440:30:45

-Yeah.

-How far in was that? How were we supposed to find that?

0:30:450:30:49

Congratulations. Hurray!

0:30:490:30:51

-Right, come on, boys. We need to sign this then.

-Yeah.

0:30:510:30:53

"Found it eventually, due to Jordan's long arm."

0:30:530:30:56

Legend! AKA Legend!

0:30:580:31:01

-I am an absolute living legend!

-THEY LAUGH

0:31:010:31:04

'Speaking of geocaching legends,

0:31:110:31:13

'I'm meeting Darren Day up on the breathtaking Twyn y Gaer.'

0:31:130:31:17

-Here he is.

-Pleased to meet you.

-Are you all right?

0:31:170:31:19

-Yeah, not too bad at all, thanks.

-My word! What a waypoint this is!

0:31:190:31:23

-Stunning.

-You stay there, let me take everybody round,

0:31:230:31:26

cos you get a full 360.

0:31:260:31:28

Look at this place. All right, lads? Working hard.

0:31:280:31:31

Just look at the landscape! It's absolutely beautiful.

0:31:310:31:35

And, Darren, have you been up this high before?

0:31:350:31:37

I've got to admit, not as far as this,

0:31:370:31:39

no, so it's a first for me today as well.

0:31:390:31:42

'Darren has not only travelled far and wide in search of geo gold,

0:31:430:31:47

'he's regularly out on the hills with his family,

0:31:470:31:50

'checking and maintaining caches across south Wales.'

0:31:500:31:53

I've found just over 2,500 and I've placed around 100.

0:31:530:31:56

I'm a volunteer reviewer.

0:31:560:31:58

Basically, anyone who wants to place a cache in south Wales, I get

0:31:580:32:01

it sent to me online and I do various checks to make sure

0:32:010:32:04

-it meets the guidelines and I'll publish them from there.

-OK.

0:32:040:32:07

-And so how far and wide have you gone with it?

-Bulgaria.

0:32:070:32:10

-Liechtenstein.

-Have you?

-Most of Europe, I've covered.

0:32:100:32:12

-And most of the UK as well.

-Really?

0:32:120:32:15

I'm hopefully doing a trip to Everest Base Camp in two

0:32:150:32:18

-years' time.

-You're not!

0:32:180:32:19

Doing a trek there, yeah, so hopefully I can find some out there.

0:32:190:32:22

Has it got like little plastic toys...?

0:32:220:32:24

Hopefully not. Hopefully a size people can find.

0:32:240:32:26

'Inspired by Darren's enthusiasm,

0:32:280:32:30

'it's high time I try and seek out my first solo geocache.'

0:32:300:32:33

8m, 6m. It's got to be here, hasn't it?

0:32:350:32:40

Getting good at this now, I think.

0:32:400:32:43

Um... I'd hide it under there. Yeah, I've got it! I've got it!

0:32:430:32:48

It's square, it feels very much like the Countryfile calendar for

0:32:480:32:53

Children In Need!

0:32:530:32:54

Right, I'm going to pop that back in there for the next lucky geocacher.

0:32:540:32:58

And if you haven't got your hands on one yet, here's a much easier way.

0:32:580:33:03

Come on, John. Give them the details.

0:33:030:33:06

It costs £9.50, including free UK delivery.

0:33:060:33:10

You can go to our website,

0:33:100:33:11

where you'll find a link to the order page.

0:33:110:33:14

Or you can phone the order line on...

0:33:140:33:16

If you prefer to order by post, then send your name, address

0:33:250:33:28

and a cheque to...

0:33:280:33:31

A minimum of £4 from the sale of each calendar will be donated

0:33:420:33:46

to BBC Children In Need.

0:33:460:33:48

A few weeks ago,

0:33:530:33:54

we asked you to send us your favourite photographs of autumn.

0:33:540:33:58

Here are just a few of them.

0:33:580:33:59

Working dogs are an essential part of farm life.

0:34:370:34:40

Whether it's rounding up cattle or sheep,

0:34:400:34:42

or just having a close companion for those long days working alone,

0:34:420:34:46

dogs truly are a farmer's best friend.

0:34:460:34:48

Down on his farm, Adam's rarely without one.

0:34:510:34:54

I've been around dogs all my life.

0:34:540:34:56

As a kid, I always remember having one in the house and then

0:34:560:34:58

when we were out on the farm, working with the livestock,

0:34:580:35:01

there were plenty of sheepdogs around.

0:35:010:35:03

It's hard to imagine life without one, really.

0:35:030:35:06

Fetch.

0:35:090:35:11

Sadly, every dog has its day.

0:35:140:35:15

A life spent working the fields comes to

0:35:150:35:18

a close and the farm is quieter without them.

0:35:180:35:22

Some of you might remember Dolly, my Hungarian Vizsla.

0:35:220:35:27

The children absolutely adore her. She's a gorgeous, very loyal dog.

0:35:270:35:31

A few weeks ago, Dolly developed a serious cancer.

0:35:330:35:36

She was operated on, but never fully recovered,

0:35:360:35:39

so we had to have her put to sleep.

0:35:390:35:42

We'll really miss her.

0:35:420:35:44

Dolly was a gorgeous dog and a wonderful family pet,

0:35:470:35:49

so it was a very tough decision to have her put down,

0:35:490:35:52

but we couldn't bear to see her suffer.

0:35:520:35:55

But when a cure is readily available and as long as the dog is fit

0:35:550:35:58

enough, some dog owners are prepared to give it a go.

0:35:580:36:01

Where is it then, Boo?

0:36:010:36:03

Treating cancer in dogs is notoriously difficult.

0:36:030:36:07

It's a highly skilled procedure, but new techniques and

0:36:070:36:09

technology are giving more and more dogs an improved chance of life.

0:36:090:36:13

I've travelled to Hayling Island in Hampshire to meet farm manager

0:36:160:36:20

Ann Rogers, who decided to risk surgery on her Collie cross Monty.

0:36:200:36:24

-So, this is Monty, the black and white one?

-Yes, that's Monty.

0:36:270:36:30

So, what was wrong with Monty?

0:36:300:36:32

He had a little lump on his leg, on his wrist.

0:36:320:36:36

-A little lump.

-How did you find that?

0:36:360:36:38

A friend of mine was round for Christmas dinner

0:36:380:36:40

and he was sat on her lap.

0:36:400:36:42

-She was just stroking him.

-What had to be done?

0:36:420:36:45

I wanted to know what the lump was, so I went to my local vet.

0:36:450:36:50

They examined him and suggested a couple of routes that we could go.

0:36:500:36:54

Crikey! How could they get rid of it?

0:36:540:36:56

When they decided it was a tumour, they said they couldn't

0:36:560:36:59

really do anything, apart from take his leg off.

0:36:590:37:02

-Goodness me!

-Yes.

-And you decided against that.

0:37:020:37:05

Yes. Yeah, as he was so young.

0:37:050:37:07

-And how important is he to you in your life?

-Yeah, very important.

0:37:070:37:12

I spend a lot of time on my own in the day. He's a pet and a companion.

0:37:120:37:17

-So, with you from dawn till dusk, really.

-Basically, yes.

0:37:170:37:20

He helps out, checking round the farm.

0:37:200:37:22

The fields, the horses' fields. We've got about 100 acres.

0:37:220:37:25

-And is that why you invested in having the operation?

-Yes.

0:37:250:37:30

Yes, because they come out with me and I wanted him to stay as

0:37:300:37:34

active as he could be, for as long.

0:37:340:37:36

'Monty was successfully treated at a specialist veterinary

0:37:370:37:40

'practice in Guildford.

0:37:400:37:43

'I'm heading there to meet TV super vet Noel Fitzpatrick,

0:37:430:37:46

'the man behind this new hospital,

0:37:460:37:48

'designed specifically to treat animals with cancer.'

0:37:480:37:51

-Who have we got here?

-This is Archie and he's got a tumour in his jaw.

0:37:570:38:02

You can see it right there. It's actually bursting through his gum.

0:38:020:38:07

-Just there, can you see that?

-Oh, yeah. Oh, horrible.

0:38:070:38:10

-Yeah.

-And is cancer becoming more prevalent in dogs?

0:38:100:38:14

I think it's always been there, but the hard statistical fact is

0:38:140:38:19

that half of all dogs over ten are going to die of cancer.

0:38:190:38:24

We can cure some cancers and we can palliate most cancers,

0:38:240:38:28

so you can have a great quality of life, so the thing that people

0:38:280:38:31

used to say, which is nothing can be done - that's no longer true.

0:38:310:38:35

So, once you've spotted it, get to the vet.

0:38:350:38:38

Then, what treatments can be done?

0:38:380:38:39

Basically, dogs nowadays can have all of the treatments that

0:38:390:38:42

humans can have and that's a game changer.

0:38:420:38:44

You can have everything from surgery, through radiation,

0:38:440:38:47

through chemotherapy, through antibody directed therapy, through

0:38:470:38:50

up-regulating your own immune system, to kill your cancer,

0:38:500:38:54

whether you're a human or a dog.

0:38:540:38:56

So, I suppose the very difficult thing is then for the owner

0:38:560:38:58

to make a decision of how much they want to put the dog through

0:38:580:39:01

or how much the vet thinks the dog can cope with.

0:39:010:39:03

In every case,

0:39:030:39:04

the only thing that we can absolutely do with confidence is

0:39:040:39:08

promise a family that we will give them hope,

0:39:080:39:12

but not in the absence of the reality of their situation, and that

0:39:120:39:16

includes financial and that includes the moral implications of

0:39:160:39:19

what we're putting the animal through, and I feel very,

0:39:190:39:22

very strongly that it's not enough to be able to do something -

0:39:220:39:24

it has to be the right thing to do.

0:39:240:39:26

What's Archie's next step?

0:39:260:39:27

Archie's next step is he's going to see my colleague, Nick,

0:39:270:39:30

and Nick is going to cut that tumour out of there and it won't come back.

0:39:300:39:33

-We can cure this dog.

-Brilliant. Good luck, Archie.

0:39:330:39:35

-Thank you very much. Nice to see you.

-Lovely to see you.

0:39:350:39:38

Take care. Bye-bye.

0:39:380:39:40

Labradoodle Fudge has been referred here from a practice in Cardiff.

0:39:430:39:48

He's here with his owner Andrew to find out if the cancer in his

0:39:480:39:51

leg has spread to other parts of his body.

0:39:510:39:53

Professor Nick Bacon is the vet in charge of this case.

0:39:560:39:59

Fudge is sedated, before having a scan.

0:40:040:40:06

So, if the CT scan finds cancerous lumps in Fudge's lungs,

0:40:100:40:14

then that'll be a different course of action.

0:40:140:40:17

Very different.

0:40:170:40:18

So, now the problem's no longer the cancer in the elbow,

0:40:180:40:21

it's in the chest as well.

0:40:210:40:23

So, we'll then look at ways to make sure that Fudge feels good

0:40:230:40:27

-for as long as possible.

-Yeah.

0:40:270:40:29

-And that's probably not doing surgery on the elbow.

-Yeah. OK.

0:40:290:40:34

So, this is the sort of scanner you could use on people?

0:40:340:40:37

Absolutely, exactly the same. This is actually a human table.

0:40:370:40:42

You'd lie on this and be pushed through the cylinder.

0:40:420:40:46

What the CT does, it takes very, very thin slices, very thin X-rays,

0:40:460:40:50

every two or three millimetres,

0:40:500:40:52

and then we can reconstruct that in three different dimensions,

0:40:520:40:56

so we can actually then look inside organs.

0:40:560:40:59

An X-ray is very flat. You can look at it one way or the other way.

0:40:590:41:03

So it allows us to find much smaller things, much faster.

0:41:030:41:07

And it's extraordinary seeing this human technology being used on dogs.

0:41:090:41:15

And brilliant that they can find out so much detail from the

0:41:150:41:18

inside of the animal, whether the cancer

0:41:180:41:21

has spread and then whether it's worth doing operations.

0:41:210:41:23

It gives the owner a choice,

0:41:230:41:26

which is now a lot more advanced than it's ever been before.

0:41:260:41:30

'Before technology made this level of diagnosis possible,

0:41:360:41:39

'most dogs would have been given a slim chance of survival.'

0:41:390:41:43

-Afternoon.

-Hello.

-Is it Lola?

-Yes, it is.

0:41:430:41:46

-Hi there. How is she doing?

-Doing very well, thank you.

0:41:460:41:49

'Another dog to benefit is Labrador Lola,

0:41:490:41:52

'a working gun dog that Nick operated on earlier this year.

0:41:520:41:56

'She's coming in with her owner Sharon for one last check-up.'

0:41:560:41:59

There's always a strong bond between owners and their dogs,

0:42:000:42:03

but with a working dog, there's a lot more to it, isn't there?

0:42:030:42:07

Yes, it's the time and effort you've put in to training it and

0:42:070:42:10

getting it ready.

0:42:100:42:11

My husband works her probably three times

0:42:110:42:14

a week during the season and I think because she was such

0:42:140:42:17

a young dog, you know, we just felt, what do you do?

0:42:170:42:20

You can't just throw all of that away.

0:42:200:42:22

And also, you want to give the dog the best chance of survival.

0:42:220:42:25

I think it might be a different discussion if your dog's

0:42:250:42:28

eight or ten, but this was a three-and-a-half-year-old Lab.

0:42:280:42:31

How did your friends and family feel when they knew you were going

0:42:310:42:34

to put the dog through surgery?

0:42:340:42:36

I think people were a little bit shocked, but she was a three-and-a-half-year-old dog.

0:42:360:42:40

She was very young. Trained well.

0:42:400:42:43

And it just seemed such a waste to do anything else.

0:42:430:42:45

So we felt we just had to give her the fairest chance and see

0:42:450:42:48

where it took us.

0:42:480:42:50

And take her in for surgery. So, yes, that's what we did.

0:42:500:42:53

And the result is a good one, Nick. Must be quite rewarding.

0:42:530:42:56

Very rewarding.

0:42:560:42:57

For Sharon and for Lola, obviously, there's a close bond,

0:42:570:43:00

a working bond and for some people it's their company on

0:43:000:43:04

a quiet night, or for some people the pet's seen them through huge

0:43:040:43:09

emotional turmoil and so it's more, for most people, more than a pet.

0:43:090:43:13

It's a member of the family.

0:43:130:43:14

We all want the best for our dogs,

0:43:190:43:20

and advances in technology are giving us more and more options.

0:43:200:43:24

It's good news for Fudge - his cancer hasn't spread,

0:43:260:43:28

and Nick is confident he can save his leg.

0:43:280:43:31

Archie, too, is making a great recovery following his operation.

0:43:330:43:36

Two dogs happily on the mend - both with a second bite at life.

0:43:360:43:41

'Meandering through the stunning landscape of the Brecon Beacons,

0:43:520:43:55

'the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal hugs the south-eastern edge of

0:43:550:43:59

'the National Park.'

0:43:590:44:00

The 200-year-old Mon and Brec Canal is

0:44:020:44:04

a hidden gem of the Brecon Beacons,

0:44:040:44:06

but this peaceful waterway is about to undergo some much-needed TLC,

0:44:060:44:11

and we've been invited along on the first day of the works to

0:44:110:44:15

help out with a wildlife rescue.

0:44:150:44:17

'Opened in 1799, this waterway was originally used to move coal,

0:44:190:44:24

'lime and agricultural products from the countryside to the

0:44:240:44:27

'industrial towns of south Wales.

0:44:270:44:29

'The Canal and River Trust takes care of 2,000 miles of waterways

0:44:310:44:35

'in England and Wales.

0:44:350:44:36

'Kevin Philips is heading up this project.'

0:44:360:44:39

Kevin, tell me a little bit about this canal.

0:44:390:44:42

What are you doing to it, and why does it need doing?

0:44:420:44:44

Well, basically, this section of canal here is the longest

0:44:440:44:47

lock-free elevated pound, so it's 25 miles long

0:44:470:44:50

without any restrictions,

0:44:500:44:52

and because it's elevated the canal is quite prone to leakages,

0:44:520:44:56

so this is a section that we've identified that has some seepages

0:44:560:44:59

and leakages, so we're basically putting in a concrete liner.

0:44:590:45:03

'A leak has the potential to be a disaster.

0:45:050:45:09

'A major collapse of the canal in 1994 caused mass flooding of

0:45:090:45:13

'the village Talybont-on-Usk.

0:45:130:45:15

'These canals are important wildlife corridors, supporting lots of

0:45:170:45:21

'different species.

0:45:210:45:23

'So the repair work can't start until the fish have been removed.

0:45:230:45:26

'Mark Robinson is an ecologist.

0:45:280:45:30

'He's here to make sure they're rescued safely.'

0:45:300:45:32

The canals are teeming with wildlife,

0:45:350:45:36

and the fish are just part of it, and we've got things like...

0:45:360:45:40

There was a kingfisher flying up earlier,

0:45:400:45:42

and they'll be feeding on the fish, and you get the herons flying over.

0:45:420:45:46

You'll see the herons coming around, thinking,

0:45:460:45:49

"Is there a meal here for me?"

0:45:490:45:50

But how do you get the fish out?

0:45:500:45:52

Well, it's quite a simple process.

0:45:530:45:55

We have a couple of guys who come along who are electro-fishermen,

0:45:550:45:59

and they put a current, electricity, into the water,

0:45:590:46:02

but it just stuns them so we can scoop them up with a net.

0:46:020:46:05

You can see just below us we've got a dam that's been put in,

0:46:050:46:08

so that we can actually drain this section of canal,

0:46:080:46:10

and what we simply do is we take the fish from here and we just

0:46:100:46:14

put them the other side of the dam.

0:46:140:46:15

Well, it would be wrong to be here and not lend a hand, so...

0:46:150:46:18

-Are you going to get in the water, are you?

-Why wouldn't I?

0:46:180:46:21

-Absolutely, that'll be good.

-Brilliant!

0:46:210:46:23

'Cousins James and Josh Kirk are specialist electro-fishermen.'

0:46:230:46:28

It's not that easy to be graceful in this, is it?

0:46:280:46:31

'I'm joining them in the water,

0:46:310:46:33

'so I've been kitted up in all the essential protective gear.'

0:46:330:46:36

Am I going to feel this electric current?

0:46:380:46:40

You won't because you're in a rubberised suit,

0:46:400:46:42

-but if you didn't have, you would.

-Oh.

0:46:420:46:45

But not enough to kill you or cause you any harm.

0:46:450:46:47

Well, that's reassuring.

0:46:470:46:48

If you imagine a little mini-forcefield coming from these

0:46:510:46:54

anodes, what we're doing is we'll be pushing the fish in front of us.

0:46:540:46:58

It's mad, isn't it? They literally just sort of pop up.

0:46:580:47:01

It stops all the muscles in the fish from moving,

0:47:010:47:03

so, obviously, doing that, they can't swim away.

0:47:030:47:07

It's really important, I mean, if we didn't do this, you know,

0:47:070:47:10

the stocks of the canals would certainly dwindle over time.

0:47:100:47:13

'It's not just me learning something new today -

0:47:130:47:15

'these local schoolchildren

0:47:150:47:17

'have come to see this unusual process in action.'

0:47:170:47:19

Hello there, how you doing? Are you all right, can you hear me OK?

0:47:190:47:23

-KIDS: Yeah!

-That's good.

0:47:230:47:25

So today we're going to do some electro-fishing,

0:47:250:47:28

and that means we're going to put a small electrical current in

0:47:280:47:31

the water, and it'll slowly stun the fish and give us enough time

0:47:310:47:34

to net them and put them in these blue bins.

0:47:340:47:37

Once we've got them in these blue bins, we're then going to put them

0:47:370:47:40

the other side of those planks.

0:47:400:47:42

If you see any fish, I want to hear lots of screaming and shouting, OK?

0:47:420:47:45

-Are we ready?

-KIDS: Yes.

0:47:450:47:47

-Are we ready?!

-KIDS: Yeah!

0:47:470:47:49

That's the one.

0:47:490:47:51

-There's one there, two there!

-Where?

0:47:510:47:53

-Josh is on it.

-Josh is on it.

0:47:560:47:58

Look, there's another one, there, there.

0:47:580:48:01

There's an absolute school of them here!

0:48:010:48:04

No!

0:48:090:48:11

I don't want to hurt them.

0:48:110:48:13

Whoa! Ooh, something's bashing me on the leg.

0:48:140:48:17

Yeah, that'll be an eel, more than likely.

0:48:170:48:20

What's the biggest thing you've caught?

0:48:200:48:22

We've had pike in the canals before, up to 30, about 35lb, which is,

0:48:220:48:26

you know, it's a massive fish, you're talking three foot in length.

0:48:260:48:30

There's loads!

0:48:300:48:31

I'm a rookie.

0:48:320:48:34

You've done this before, haven't you?

0:48:340:48:36

Oh, my word, they are literally everywhere.

0:48:360:48:39

Fish coming through!

0:48:400:48:41

'No prize catches for us today, but hundreds of fish have been

0:48:440:48:47

'rescued and moved to a safe stretch of water.'

0:48:470:48:50

There they go!

0:48:550:48:57

Well, that looks pretty successful, no floaters, means that all the fish

0:48:570:49:00

are happy, swimming off underneath those leaves into their new home.

0:49:000:49:04

Confident they're all OK, guys?

0:49:060:49:08

'I've been soaking up the soaring peaks and dramatic valleys of

0:49:190:49:22

'the Brecon Beacons National Park,

0:49:220:49:24

'exploring this stunning landscape by going geocaching.

0:49:240:49:27

'But the fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down.

0:49:290:49:32

'With virtually no light pollution, when it gets dark here,

0:49:370:49:40

'it gets really dark - so much so that in 2012 the entire

0:49:400:49:44

'National Park was recognised as an international dark sky reserve,

0:49:440:49:49

'the perfect canvas for acclaimed local artist Michael Bosanko.'

0:49:490:49:52

The reason we're out here in the dark is because Michael uses

0:49:550:49:58

lights as his paintbrushes.

0:49:580:50:00

'With little more than simple torches, and using

0:50:030:50:06

'long exposure photography, Michael creates stunning works of art.'

0:50:060:50:10

-Right, Michael, are we set?

-Yeah, looking good, mate.

0:50:150:50:18

Studio's looking good.

0:50:180:50:19

Erm, right, let's have a little look through here,

0:50:190:50:21

cos you've got some images, haven't you?

0:50:210:50:23

The kind of thing that we're aiming for.

0:50:230:50:26

-Right, let's pull a few up to show you. This one...

-Oh, wow!

0:50:260:50:29

That is tremendous!

0:50:290:50:32

Gosh! And so how have you got the perspective?

0:50:320:50:34

So, I've actually just, like, used real three-dimensional space,

0:50:340:50:39

and just strapped loads of torches together

0:50:390:50:42

and used them like paintbrushes.

0:50:420:50:44

Can you go back to the computer, then,

0:50:440:50:46

or are you just having to do it all by remembering where you've been?

0:50:460:50:50

Yeah, I just remember it, really.

0:50:500:50:52

It's like effectively painting with a blindfold on.

0:50:520:50:55

'I'm blown away by Michael's talent,

0:50:550:50:58

'and the technique that he's perfected over the last 12 years.'

0:50:580:51:02

Oh, that's great. How many goes did you have at that?

0:51:020:51:05

That was my second attempt, and that was a 20-minute exposure, that one.

0:51:050:51:10

-So, er, if you get it wrong you've got to start again.

-Yeah.

0:51:100:51:12

No editing in my game, no editing.

0:51:120:51:14

It's mind-blowing how you do this!

0:51:140:51:16

'It was while photographing the moon that Michael literally

0:51:180:51:20

'stumbled on the process that would become his trademark.'

0:51:200:51:25

And, er, I kicked the tripod, cos I'm clumsy, and, erm...

0:51:250:51:28

The moon in the image created, like, a streak across the sensor,

0:51:290:51:33

and I'm thinking, I'll just put two and two together,

0:51:330:51:37

if the moon can do that, I can do that with torches.

0:51:370:51:40

'To create these colourful masterpieces,

0:51:400:51:42

'Michael requires an extensive palette.'

0:51:420:51:45

-How many torches do you have in your collection?

-Hmm...

0:51:460:51:49

-Erm, I have, like, two rooms full.

-Jesus!

0:51:490:51:51

It's easier to say how many rooms full of torches do I have,

0:51:510:51:54

so, yeah, it's quite a lot.

0:51:540:51:56

Do you have a room just for batteries?

0:51:560:51:58

-Er, yeah!

-THEY LAUGH

0:51:580:52:00

That's shot on the Brecon Beacons, not far from here, so...

0:52:000:52:03

-Yeah.

-But many of them are.

0:52:030:52:05

It's such a wonderful landscape, it's perfect for what I do.

0:52:050:52:08

'Michael frequently draws inspiration from

0:52:100:52:13

'the landscape of the Brecon Beacons,

0:52:130:52:15

'and now he's going to draw for us.'

0:52:150:52:17

Now, of course, in order for this to work,

0:52:170:52:19

we need it to be pitch-black, so we've got to turn off these

0:52:190:52:22

big lights that we've been using to set up the scene.

0:52:220:52:24

But in order for you to see what we're doing at home,

0:52:240:52:27

we have got these super-sensitive cameras to film on,

0:52:270:52:31

so I will hand that over now to you, Piers, good.

0:52:310:52:35

And, erm, when you're ready, team, turn off the lights.

0:52:350:52:39

HE LAUGHS Wow.

0:52:400:52:43

Now that is dark.

0:52:430:52:44

You can see why it's a dark sky reserve.

0:52:450:52:48

My word, look at the stars, they're out tonight! Perfect backdrop.

0:52:480:52:52

-Putting the branches in there, yeah?

-Yeah.

0:53:030:53:05

I guess if you've got one of these cameras at home,

0:53:070:53:10

really all you need is the camera tripod and some coloured lights,

0:53:100:53:13

and you can create some wonderful stuff!

0:53:130:53:16

Yeah. What I sometimes tell people to do is, er,

0:53:160:53:19

if they've got a tin of sweets, not to throw the wrappers away,

0:53:190:53:24

but to, erm, just tape them on the ends of torches.

0:53:240:53:27

-You know those colourful wrappers?

-Oh, yeah.

0:53:270:53:30

They're just very cheap and easy to adapt.

0:53:300:53:34

'And after a few minutes of dancing in the dark, he's finished.'

0:53:360:53:40

OK, let's have the lights back on, please, if we can.

0:53:400:53:43

-Oh, look at that! Are you pleased?

-Oh, yeah, very pleased, yeah.

0:53:440:53:49

I love the way you've got the kind of,

0:53:490:53:51

the roots coming down through here and the light through the bracken,

0:53:510:53:54

and then that kind of smokiness around the bracken at the back.

0:53:540:53:58

Yeah, I'm really pleased with that. Really, really pleased, yeah.

0:53:580:54:01

Very effective as well, the stars you've put on.

0:54:010:54:03

So here we've got, like, four different light tools there,

0:54:030:54:06

all these different effects.

0:54:060:54:07

This is one of my favourite light tools to work with,

0:54:070:54:10

kind of creating this very eerie, ghostly, smoky kind of effect.

0:54:100:54:15

-Yeah, very pleased.

-A very artistic way to end the programme, thank you.

0:54:150:54:19

You're welcome.

0:54:190:54:20

Now, from all the technology here in the Brecon Beacons,

0:54:200:54:23

next week we're going to be seeing how robotics is changing the face of

0:54:230:54:26

agriculture in Lincolnshire, but, erm, Michael,

0:54:260:54:29

if you give me that torch, I'll just say goodbye to everyone.

0:54:290:54:32

Lights, please!

0:54:320:54:33

So, from all of us in the Brecon Beacons, bye-bye!

0:54:370:54:40

The Countryfile team explores the Brecon Beacons.

Matt Baker discovers geocaching, a treasure hunt with a modern twist, and meets an artist whose canvas is the night sky.

Helen Skelton is sheep trekking across the landscape and taking part in a rather muddy fish rescue.

Ellie Harrison is in Worcestershire to meet a farmer with a difference. Ken Nelson has a two acre worm farm, and Adam Henson finds out about a cancer cure for man's best friend.

Tom Heap asks how safe horses and riders really are on country roads and if more should be done to protect them.


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