Cambridgeshire Countryfile


Cambridgeshire

The team explore Cambridgeshire. Matt Baker finds out how Cambridge University students past and present are having an impact on the countryside.


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Transcript


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Broad, sweeping skies,

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which roll over mile upon mile of flat, arable land.

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Looking out over this broad,

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fertile landscape is the splendour of Cambridge.

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But how is this historic city and its world-renowned university

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connected to our Great British countryside?

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Well, I'll be finding out.

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Ellie's been discovering the World War II history of the Peak District.

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This was the standard armour-piercing shot

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used by British and American tanks.

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Crumbs. So not only did it have the power to fire something that heavy,

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but also that the armour was so thick,

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-it needed something like this?

-Exactly.

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Tom's hanging out in Wales.

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The Welsh Government is keen to make it easier for people

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to get outdoors and enjoy some of the health benefits that can bring,

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so they're considering bringing in Scottish-style open access.

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But not everybody thinks that is a good idea.

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And Adam's getting in the festive spirit.

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Now, JB here from the boyband JLS

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has got five number ones under his belt.

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But even though his farming business is now taking priority,

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he's still got his sights set on that elusive Christmas number one.

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But we're not talking the singles charts. We're talking turkeys.

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The flat, open Fens of Cambridgeshire,

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once one of the greatest wetlands in Europe.

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As we explore the county, we'll head north to see how the Great Fen

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is being restored as a wildlife habitat.

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But, first, I'm heading for the so-called Silicon Fen

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and a city where great minds have been hard at work for centuries.

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Cambridge.

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Beautiful old university, hundreds of cycling students

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and millions and millions of books.

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Eight million, in fact.

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Founded in 1209, Cambridge University

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is the second-oldest in the English-speaking world.

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So, what has it got to do with the countryside?

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Well, quite a bit, in fact.

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The university reaches out in many ways

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and this oasis in the middle of the city is one.

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The beautiful university botanic garden doubles as a science lab.

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At every turn, students are busy conducting all sorts of experiments.

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146.

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As well as 8,000 living plant specimens,

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there's a million dead ones,

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all kept in the university's herbarium, a kind of plant museum.

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This is just the most fascinating array of historical stuff, isn't it?

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It's absolutely brilliant.

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I've been granted a rare glimpse

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at one of the most important collections here.

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That of John Henslow,

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a botanist who lectured here in the early 1800s.

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Isn't this beautiful?

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-It's an original watercolour painted by John Stevens Henslow...

-Right.

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..of some fungi that he collected in the Gog Magog Hills

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which are just south of Cambridge.

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Now, you may not have heard of Henslow, but you will have heard

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of his star pupil, Charles Darwin, who came here to study in 1828.

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-So Darwin would have been looking and learning from...

-Absolutely.

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-..this very sheet?

-Yes, absolutely.

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And Henslow used to use illustrations in his lectures

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and this was quite new.

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Prior to that, we had used really sort of dry, dusty Latin textbooks.

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Henslow stepped aside to let the young Darwin

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take his place on the Beagle, the famous ship that

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embarked on a journey that changed science and made Darwin's name.

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Plants picked by Darwin on that trip

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are the centrepiece of the collection.

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So what is the key, then, Christine, in kind of drying, preserving,

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pressing a specimen like this to make it last for hundreds of years?

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The important thing is to dry it properly.

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So you would pick your specimen and place it

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between sheets of blotting paper and those sheets of blotting paper

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would then go into a wooden press, much like you have as a child.

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-And, importantly, there is a specimen right at the end which is...

-Yes.

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-..well, it's invaluable, isn't it, now?

-It is, yes.

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This is called sicyos villosus

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and it is in the squash or cucumber family of plants.

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This is probably the most famous cucumber in the world.

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That's a title.

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LAUGHTER

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When Darwin collected this,

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he made a note that it was injurious to other vegetation.

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You know when you grow squashes and cucumbers,

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-they are really rampant.

-Yes.

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And yet, decades later, it was world extinct.

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Now there is no other specimen of this in the world,

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so it is vitally important we preserve these for the future.

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If there is an emergency, a fire or a flood,

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the firemen are instructed to take the Darwin specimens first.

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This is a global heritage.

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We look after them here in Cambridge but they belong to everybody.

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Today, there's a new generation of Darwins

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and Henslows heading out into the world.

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Scientists of tomorrow learning new things today.

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-Could you take the, um, bottle for a minute?

-This bottle here?

-Yeah.

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Paivi Perhonen is on the outskirts of the city

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taking water samples from the River Cam.

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She's measuring the nutrient run-off from farmland.

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Nearby, Dr Andrew Tanentzap is using a hi-tech gadget

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to measure the growth of algae caused by the run-off.

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It is kind of like a giant flashlight.

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So it has got a bunch of different LEDs in here that it flashes onto

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the water and they algae that are living in that water

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then reflect back that light and,

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based on the type of light that is reflected back,

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we can actually estimate how much of that algae is living in the water.

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It's interesting from Paivi's perspective

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because she is a student, she's learning.

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But you are also discovering at the same time,

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so how important is it for you as a university

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-to be doing this kind of research?

-Exactly.

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So this type of research is really at the forefront

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of what the University of Cambridge is all about

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and it is trying to find ways, ultimately, to better society.

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And this research here is trying to look at how we can manage

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the natural environment in a way that is more sustainable.

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And maybe some new discovery will be made at the university that changes

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the world, just like former student Darwin did all those years ago.

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Now, while we are exploring Cambridgeshire, Tom is

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looking at whether the Scottish style of open access would work for Wales.

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Wales - home to majestic mountain ranges, sweeping valleys

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and a dramatic coastline.

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This stunning landscape seems to have something for everyone.

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Little wonder, then, it attracts 11 million visitors a year

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and has long been a magnet for hill walkers, cyclists

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and climbers alike, all looking to enjoy it in their own way.

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It is not a free-for-all, though.

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There are restrictions on what people can do

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and where they can do it.

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Wales is a country of more than 8,000 square miles,

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but only about a quarter is designated open land -

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areas where people are free to walk and ramble, but little else.

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There are also more than 20,000 miles of designated footpaths,

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bridleways and cycle tracks.

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Now, though, that could all change with plans to open up

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more of the countryside to a wider range of activities,

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allowing people to enjoy the outdoors

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in a way they already do in Scotland.

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In Scotland, there is

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what is known as responsible access to land for recreation.

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Simply put, you can go almost anywhere

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and do what you want, as long as you behave responsibly.

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So could that work for Wales?

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Well, this summer, the Welsh government published

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its green paper on countryside access reform

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and asked the people to say what they wanted.

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And more than 5,500 people, and quite a few groups,

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did just that.

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'Carl Sargeant is the Welsh Assembly Minister for Natural Resources.

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'It's his job to oversee any change,

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'whether it's full Scottish-style open access,

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'or changing the rules over the current rights of way.'

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What are you hoping to do to improve the access to the countryside

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for the people of Wales and its visitors?

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We think that opening access to areas is the right thing to do.

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The health and wellbeing agenda of this government

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is about inclusion, making more people have opportunities,

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and we see the countryside, rural areas,

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are giving people more opportunity.

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Why not just call for full access, Scottish-style?

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Well, it's too early to say yet. We may do that.

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I think Scotland's rules are for Scotland,

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and we'll have the appropriateness here for Wales.

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We'll just go through the consultation.

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We just need to work through that and see what works best for Wales.

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I think the issue, from me,

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about presumption of the right to roam is really an important one.

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You favour that idea, you like that idea,

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instinctively, from what's happening in Scotland?

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Well, I think it just feels right, and we can control a lot of that

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with bylaws and other actions if we need to,

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but what we need to do is work through that process.

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I would pre-empt that consultation, but what I'm really keen on

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and what the first minister is keen on is opening access.

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In Wales, as in England,

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access to the countryside is complicated.

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It's governed by different legislation,

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including the Countryside and Right Of Way Act,

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or CROW, as it's known,

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and it's CROW which is responsible for much of the current access.

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Like this, which has been designated as open land for walking,

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meaning I can wander at will.

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But it only grants a right of way on foot -

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it doesn't permit activities like cycling or horse riding,

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unless that existing right of access has been already granted,

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allowing activities not normally permitted by CROW.

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If that's not complicated enough,

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landowners can dedicate any area permanently to walking,

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or maybe other, more adrenaline-fuelled activities.

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In Northern Ireland, it is different again.

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There are between 100 and 200 miles of rights of way,

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and the CROW Act doesn't apply.

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Confusing, isn't it?

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That's why many groups are in favour of change

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and some see the green paper as a chance for a radical overhaul

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and to deliver something similar to the Scottish system.

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Ramblers' organisations have campaigned

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for many of the rights we now enjoy, so it's not surprising

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they are lobbying for sweeping changes in Wales.

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'Angela Charlton is from Ramblers Cymru.'

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So, if you look over to your left,

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imagine the top of that is open access.

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-Yep.

-And look over to your right, and imagine that is open access.

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We have places in North Wales where, actually, they don't join up.

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-It doesn't make sense.

-You can't bridge the two.

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-You can't.

-So, what is it you'd like to see happen?

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We'd like to see a similar approach with Scottish-style access,

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where you do have that right to roam,

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but also the responsibilities to be able to do that,

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so that it's very clear for everybody,

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it's not complicated,

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but the important thing is that we maintain our rights of way.

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But Scotland is a much bigger country than Wales,

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with more wilderness.

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Is there a danger if you apply the same open access here,

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it could be overwhelmed?

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Oh, no, I don't think that is the case.

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If we look back to when we first introduced open access,

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there was a real concern then that all of a sudden,

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thousands of people were going to dash out into the countryside,

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and that hasn't happened.

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You say that people should know how to behave -

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a lot of them don't, and they do irresponsible things.

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I think that is why it's important

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that we have a code that's well promoted

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and getting it into schools is something we would advocate for,

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so that it's actually part of our culture,

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that we grow up knowing and understanding

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the environment we are walking in and how to behave in it.

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While it is easy to see the recreational benefits

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open access to the countryside should bring,

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it could come at a price.

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And that's leading many to question

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whether Scottish-style open access is really right for Wales.

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Later on, I will be meeting those who believe such sweeping reforms

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could damage their business, and asking if there is another way.

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Vast, open landscapes.

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Huge skies.

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And horizons that seem to stretch on for ever.

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These are the Cambridgeshire Fens.

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For hundreds of years, great swathes of this fenland

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were given over to arable farming,

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but now they are undergoing a dramatic restoration.

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There is a wren ticking away somewhere.

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Can you hear it? That?

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BIRDS WARBLE

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Kevan Wolstencroft has walked here for 50 years

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and has witnessed first-hand

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how the Great Fen project is transforming this landscape.

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The Great Fen project started off, I guess, as a kind of dream.

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Five years ago, I was standing on the corner

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which is now where the hide is sitting

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and see just total arable crops -

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corn crops, sugar beet, potatoes...

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Look at it now.

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You can see lapwings, carrion crows, rooks, jackdaws,

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all flying over and...

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Red kite.

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Really, a red kite, there.

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The wildlife here depends on this changing environment to thrive.

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Fenland is a very rare habitat in the UK now.

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The are small fragments that remain, and so vulnerable

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that it's really important to act now

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and create these kind of areas for wildlife to move into.

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Josh Hellon from the Wildlife Trust

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is helping monitor the progress of the Great Fen project.

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The total area we're hoping to restore is 9,000 acres.

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What we are doing here is very experimental.

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We are creating fenland almost from scratch.

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It's been centuries since this was wetland in its natural state,

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but water is now being gradually reintroduced.

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First, to prepare the soil, the land here is being grazed.

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The hope is that this hard work will see once-common species

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come back to the Fen.

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And so far, it seems to be working.

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We've just seen a large flock of lapwing.

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The changes in the birdlife in the area

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are probably the most obvious changes,

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apart from how the landscape has changed.

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You see new species coming in every year,

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which is one of the exciting things about working on the project.

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The team here use camera traps and bird surveys

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to monitor the success of the scheme.

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An otter feeding on an eel.

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That's just out the back of this office.

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It's important to keep track of the changes,

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as this ambitious restoration is planned to continue for 50 years.

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A project of this scale is mind-boggling.

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For me, starting at the beginning, it's wonderful,

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because that data will be used when I am long dead and gone,

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people will be saying, "Oh, yeah, that's what we started with."

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Well, I'll be one of the guys who started it. It's great.

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Short-eared owl, over there.

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What a beautiful bird - it's come all the way from Scandinavia

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just to spend its winter here on the Great Fen in Cambridgeshire.

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It's the sort of bird that makes your day.

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A while back, Ellie visited the Peak District.

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On this Remembrance Sunday,

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we thought it fitting to show the film.

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This is Langsett Reservoir on the edge of the Peaks.

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It may look serene now, but rewind to the beginning of World War II,

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and things were very different.

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'Historian Mike Kirby is here to let me in on the secret history.'

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So, Mike, why is the history of this area so special?

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Well, during World War II, the dam itself was used

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as one of the training routes for the Dambusters raid

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and after that, Churchill got worried

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that the Germans would attack these dams in a reprisal raid,

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because if one or two of these dams had been breached,

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then that would have flooded the entire Don valley

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and taken out most of the important industry in Sheffield.

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It is well known that the bouncing bomb

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was invented by Barnes Wallis, but what isn't as well known

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is that he had to invent a defence

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against his own ingenious bouncing weapon

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to protect our reservoirs against reprisal attacks.

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His solution was a giant steel net.

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So, Mike, what did this giant fence really look like?

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It was called a catenary defensive system.

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It was actually a steel curtain of cables

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stretched from one side of the reservoir to the other.

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These were suspended on 325-foot steel lattice masts

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and every 75 feet, there was another vertical steel cable

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being held taut by a concrete weight.

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So it's like a giant tennis net. But how tall would it have been?

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Exactly like a giant tennis net. 325 feet high.

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-I can't imagine that. So that's...

-Something like a 30-storey building.

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-That's unimaginably big!

-It's enormous.

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And they would have suspected something like a bouncing bomb

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and then caught it in the net.

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Exactly, and it would stop a German aircraft in mid-flight.

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It's incredible that a structure would have started from here,

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spanned all the way across the reservoir,

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to what looks like the horizon from here.

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Yes, all the way across to the other side of the reservoir.

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'But this landscape has more to reveal.'

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What has almost been forgotten is that this quiet rural community

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was taken over by American GIs in 1942

0:20:080:20:12

and used as a tank training ground.

0:20:120:20:14

So, Mike, why was this area so good for tanks?

0:20:160:20:19

Well, geography, really - it's open moorland

0:20:190:20:22

stretching for quite a few miles down to the south

0:20:220:20:26

and it's perfect for training tank drivers and tank gunners

0:20:260:20:32

in live fire skills.

0:20:320:20:33

This open moorland was one of only 12 places across the country

0:20:330:20:37

deemed suitable by the military for tank training.

0:20:370:20:41

Mike has some explosive evidence to show me.

0:20:410:20:44

EXPLOSIONS

0:20:440:20:46

At the beginning of the war, British tanks were shooting this.

0:20:460:20:50

You found this out here, on the moor?

0:20:500:20:52

Yeah, there are loads of those out there.

0:20:520:20:54

That's a two-pounder, solid armour-piercing shot

0:20:540:20:57

and at the beginning of the war, that was perfectly adequate

0:20:570:21:01

for penetrating enemy tanks.

0:21:010:21:04

-Perfectly sure it's safe?

-Absolutely safe.

0:21:040:21:07

Wow - that's pretty weighty, isn't it?

0:21:070:21:09

Yeah - by the end of the war, we'd moved up several grades

0:21:090:21:13

and tanks had got thicker armour and what we needed then...

0:21:130:21:17

-Oh, my word! Look at the difference.

-..was this.

0:21:170:21:19

This was the standard armour-piercing shot

0:21:190:21:22

used by British and American tanks.

0:21:220:21:24

This is a 75 millimetre, solid armour-piercing shot.

0:21:240:21:29

Crumbs. So, not only did it have the power to fire something that heavy,

0:21:290:21:33

but also the armour was so thick, it needed something this size.

0:21:330:21:35

-Exactly. And even this was thought inadequate.

-Really?

0:21:350:21:38

In Normandy, these things were bouncing off the front

0:21:380:21:42

-of some of the German heavy tanks.

-Oh, I can barely lift it.

0:21:420:21:44

-If you feel the weight of that...

-Good grief.

0:21:440:21:46

And that was travelling at something like 2,000 feet per second.

0:21:460:21:50

How can that be bouncing off anything?

0:21:500:21:53

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant,

0:21:530:21:55

Langsett's role in the war won't be forgotten.

0:21:550:21:57

'People from around the village are keen to tell their stories

0:21:570:22:01

'of their experiences during the war.

0:22:010:22:03

'83-year-old Ramon Higgins is one of them.'

0:22:030:22:07

What are some of your memories

0:22:070:22:08

about the time that the soldiers were here?

0:22:080:22:10

Oh, I were about 14 - nearly ready for leaving school -

0:22:100:22:14

when all this happened,

0:22:140:22:16

and I were int' yard

0:22:160:22:18

and I saw a plane coming over

0:22:180:22:20

and it was on fire.

0:22:200:22:22

It was one of them planes that Germany set off without a pilot.

0:22:220:22:26

And it landed on the moors.

0:22:260:22:28

We went looking for it, but, you see, it was occupied -

0:22:280:22:32

the police were here, round it, saying to everybody,

0:22:320:22:36

"Keep away, keep away!"

0:22:360:22:37

But we knew that it had come.

0:22:370:22:39

-But we couldn't get any nearer it at all.

-Wow.

0:22:390:22:42

But we knew it had dropped there and that's what they told us.

0:22:420:22:46

It was a plane without a pilot.

0:22:460:22:47

'Ramon's memories of the V1 German bomber are precious,

0:22:490:22:53

'and now, thanks to the efforts of Mike and local rangers,

0:22:530:22:56

'they've been recorded, so future generations

0:22:560:22:58

'can now listen to his and other locals' tales

0:22:580:23:01

'of how the Peak District did its bit

0:23:010:23:03

'to help win the Second World War.'

0:23:030:23:06

Earlier, we heard how sweeping land reforms could change the way

0:23:110:23:14

we enjoy the Welsh countryside.

0:23:140:23:16

But is access all areas the right way forward?

0:23:160:23:20

Here's Tom.

0:23:200:23:21

The Welsh landscape is a playground for many,

0:23:240:23:27

but it's also a living landscape, home to around 17,000 working farms.

0:23:270:23:33

So any land reform has to consider the needs

0:23:350:23:37

of business as well as recreation, and that's a tricky balance.

0:23:370:23:41

The Welsh government is considering a new law for Wales

0:23:430:23:47

that could allow access to almost all land -

0:23:470:23:50

something similar to the Scottish system.

0:23:500:23:53

In Scotland, the law guarantees

0:23:530:23:56

a statutory right of responsible access

0:23:560:23:59

to land and inland waters for recreation -

0:23:590:24:02

in broad terms, that means

0:24:020:24:03

you can go where you want and do what you like,

0:24:030:24:06

so long as you behave yourself.

0:24:060:24:08

But opponents say what works in Scotland

0:24:100:24:12

won't necessarily work here in Wales.

0:24:120:24:15

They're different countries -

0:24:150:24:16

it would be like comparing thistles and leeks.

0:24:160:24:20

Not only is Scotland bigger, it has more wild, remote places,

0:24:200:24:25

whereas here in Wales, quite a lot of people

0:24:250:24:29

live quite close to the countryside.

0:24:290:24:31

Opponents say there is a danger

0:24:310:24:33

this country could simply be overwhelmed.

0:24:330:24:35

While Scottish reform essentially put into law what was already

0:24:370:24:41

happening in practice, there have been tensions

0:24:410:24:44

since the legislation was passed in 2003.

0:24:440:24:47

Wild camping, where people can pitch a tent anywhere they like,

0:24:470:24:51

has caused problems in popular areas,

0:24:510:24:54

like Loch Lomond.

0:24:540:24:55

It's not just the numbers of people, but their behaviour, too.

0:24:550:24:59

Trees have been chopped down, litter scattered,

0:24:590:25:02

and tents just abandoned.

0:25:020:25:03

Now, some Scottish local authorities are introducing bylaws

0:25:050:25:09

to restrict activities in certain locations -

0:25:090:25:12

in effect, partially reversing the open access legislation.

0:25:120:25:16

Wales is nearly four times smaller than Scotland,

0:25:180:25:22

and there are those who fear that opening up the countryside

0:25:220:25:25

to all would be disastrous.

0:25:250:25:28

John Davies runs a 500-acre farm in Breconshire,

0:25:280:25:31

rearing beef cattle and sheep.

0:25:310:25:33

His land is crisscrossed by footpaths and bridleways,

0:25:350:25:38

allowing people across his property,

0:25:380:25:40

'but he is against any further rights to roam.'

0:25:400:25:45

This is a business that we're in and this is a factory floor.

0:25:450:25:48

This is my factory floor, you know?

0:25:480:25:49

I could not operate my business

0:25:490:25:51

if people were allowed to go... every field and everything.

0:25:510:25:54

This field here has a bridleway going through it.

0:25:540:25:58

Now, I can't have a bull in this field.

0:25:580:26:01

I have to be careful

0:26:010:26:02

if I have cows and calves freshly calved in this field.

0:26:020:26:04

I can plan for that. I know that that is a risk.

0:26:040:26:07

So, what do you think about extending access

0:26:070:26:10

and allowing full public access, like they've got in Scotland?

0:26:100:26:13

We have 1.1 million acres of open access here already in Wales

0:26:130:26:19

and we don't see a massive rise in the number of people using it,

0:26:190:26:23

so we need to improve what we have at the present time, I would say.

0:26:230:26:26

When you say "improve" what is here currently,

0:26:260:26:29

what do you mean?

0:26:290:26:30

Would you actually want to restrict some parts?

0:26:300:26:32

Well, I would like to change certain parts

0:26:320:26:34

which go close to slurry pits, go close to working farms, yes.

0:26:340:26:37

You are talking about wanting to close some paths, are you?

0:26:370:26:40

Divert, yes, yes, divert. You know, from danger.

0:26:400:26:43

But when I hear you talk about both changing or closing existing paths

0:26:430:26:48

and not wanting open access, it ends up casting you a bit

0:26:480:26:51

as the classic "get off my land" farmer.

0:26:510:26:53

I don't think I've mentioned closing any paths, have I, Tom?

0:26:530:26:56

We are talking about working together in a workable way, here,

0:26:560:26:59

and delivering what the general public want

0:26:590:27:01

and what our industry needs.

0:27:010:27:03

But for those campaigning for change,

0:27:050:27:08

simplifying the current system isn't enough.

0:27:080:27:11

They want meaningful moves to give them

0:27:110:27:14

better access to the countryside.

0:27:140:27:16

So, is there another way - one where people are free

0:27:180:27:21

to enjoy their countryside hobbies

0:27:210:27:24

without damaging the livelihoods of others?

0:27:240:27:27

-When did you last go climbing, Tom?

-Well, that is good question.

0:27:310:27:34

'Elfyn Jones from the British Mountaineering Council

0:27:340:27:37

'thinks access in Wales is currently pretty good,

0:27:370:27:40

'but there are still some weak spots.'

0:27:400:27:42

So, what problems do you have with access as organised at the moment?

0:27:420:27:46

Access on the whole in Wales is really good,

0:27:460:27:50

but there are certain places where we just haven't got

0:27:500:27:55

secured access, and, in particular, access to the sea cliffs.

0:27:550:28:00

We do, at the moment, negotiate with individual landowners,

0:28:000:28:04

but that is all down to the goodwill of that landowner.

0:28:040:28:07

If that land ownership changes,

0:28:070:28:09

that access is not secured in perpetuity.

0:28:090:28:12

We think it should be as of right to the people of Wales

0:28:120:28:15

to be able to use those sites for recreation.

0:28:150:28:18

So certain designated places to which you would have access

0:28:180:28:21

-as a matter of right.

-Absolutely, yes, yes.

0:28:210:28:24

Right, we have more of this cliff to do.

0:28:240:28:26

It won't get climbed with us talking, will it?

0:28:260:28:28

So while most people are in favour of overhauling the current system,

0:28:320:28:37

if only to make it clearer,

0:28:370:28:38

there is little agreement about the need for radical reform.

0:28:380:28:43

Any change to the rules around access here

0:28:430:28:46

won't happen until after the Welsh Assembly elections in May,

0:28:460:28:50

and then it will be up to the new government

0:28:500:28:53

if they want to change who can go where in their country.

0:28:530:28:57

The sweeping farmland of Cambridgeshire -

0:29:080:29:11

well known for its arable and sugar beet,

0:29:110:29:13

but it does have some livestock, too.

0:29:130:29:16

Not much, though.

0:29:160:29:18

This is one of just five dairy herds left in the county.

0:29:180:29:21

It belongs to Cambridge University

0:29:210:29:23

and is used to help train student vets.

0:29:230:29:27

Come on. Well, today,

0:29:270:29:29

I'm joining the trainee vets with one of their animal-handling sessions.

0:29:290:29:32

They do everything here from guinea pigs to horses,

0:29:320:29:35

but today's patients

0:29:350:29:37

are the Holstein Friesians from the dairy.

0:29:370:29:39

WHISTLING Come on.

0:29:410:29:43

This lady is about to see her world turned upside down,

0:29:460:29:49

thanks to a piece of kit called a rollover crush.

0:29:490:29:52

The crush makes it easy to examine her underside and hooves.

0:29:550:29:58

Put the rope in the hook.

0:29:580:30:00

And, as you can see, she's calm, it's not bothering her.

0:30:000:30:04

We are going to measure from...

0:30:040:30:05

Vet and lecturer Paul Wood is taking the class.

0:30:050:30:09

We want our students to be confident with some of these routine tasks

0:30:090:30:12

so that when they graduate and go out onto farms,

0:30:120:30:15

they can say to the farmer,

0:30:150:30:17

"Let's have a little look at what's going on.

0:30:170:30:19

"Where are they walking? What are the turning points?

0:30:190:30:21

"Are there any areas where she is having extra pressure on her feet?

0:30:210:30:25

"What are your farm tracks like?"

0:30:250:30:27

That one animal can open up a lot more questions

0:30:270:30:29

about what's going on on the farm.

0:30:290:30:32

Had either of you ever been on a farm

0:30:320:30:33

before you started on this veterinary course?

0:30:330:30:35

I did a little bit, but not a very commercial farm,

0:30:350:30:39

so it wasn't...

0:30:390:30:40

They didn't have anything like this.

0:30:400:30:42

So do you envisage doing larger animals or smaller animals

0:30:420:30:46

when you qualify?

0:30:460:30:47

I'm undecided at the moment - I quite enjoy everything.

0:30:470:30:49

So I am going to see, the next couple of years, what I enjoy.

0:30:490:30:52

But you can see how, you know,

0:30:520:30:54

what an advantage this is to have animals,

0:30:540:30:56

to get so close to them.

0:30:560:30:58

It's nice to get hands-on experience

0:30:580:31:00

and be able to actually feel it and see it.

0:31:000:31:02

-Yeah, of course.

-Put it into practice.

0:31:020:31:04

In another cow shed nearby,

0:31:070:31:08

students are getting to grips with some smaller patients.

0:31:080:31:12

We do run it as a working farm

0:31:140:31:15

and then our students can be aware of all the processes

0:31:150:31:18

that are going on in a working farm -

0:31:180:31:20

they're aware of all the dangers, all the potential hazards, but we...

0:31:200:31:23

Because we keep the animals ourselves

0:31:230:31:25

and we are involved in it, then we can use them

0:31:250:31:28

for different teaching tasks, different training tasks,

0:31:280:31:31

as well as making sure that we are involved in their health.

0:31:310:31:34

Handling live animals builds the students' confidence -

0:31:360:31:39

there's a certain knack to handling young animals, though.

0:31:390:31:43

One thing you can do now, if you've got a leg in front of her leg,

0:31:430:31:46

-and then your other leg in front of her chest...

-Yeah.

0:31:460:31:49

Just in front of her chest, so it's in front of her,

0:31:490:31:51

you can kind of let go of her with your hands

0:31:510:31:53

and then you got two hands free.

0:31:530:31:55

And the thing is, Paul, it's so important, isn't it?

0:31:550:31:57

Even just the handling here,

0:31:570:31:59

just so that the animal is nice and relaxed

0:31:590:32:01

as soon as this qualified vet turned up at the farm

0:32:010:32:04

at the end of the day.

0:32:040:32:05

We want to make sure that all of our students know the best way

0:32:050:32:08

to approach animals, to keep themselves safe,

0:32:080:32:11

keep the animals safe and, also, it's good for farmers to see

0:32:110:32:14

that that's something that the vets feel is important, you know?

0:32:140:32:17

-Not stressing their animals.

-Yeah.

0:32:170:32:19

Good, well, I think you've got the all-clear, my dear.

0:32:190:32:22

These are vital lessons that the young vets are learning,

0:32:220:32:26

and there's lots of hard study ahead,

0:32:260:32:29

but as far as classrooms go, this isn't a bad one.

0:32:290:32:32

Now, back in June, we told you

0:32:380:32:40

about the Tree Of The Year competition 2015.

0:32:400:32:43

It's run by the Woodland Trust

0:32:430:32:45

and the aim is to find each of our home nations' favourite trees.

0:32:450:32:48

Well, the nominations were made, the votes were cast and counted,

0:32:480:32:52

and this lot are hanging on my every word,

0:32:520:32:54

because we can now reveal the winners.

0:32:540:32:57

As one of the country's largest and oldest fruit trees,

0:33:010:33:04

you've chosen the Cubbington pear tree in Warwickshire

0:33:040:33:07

as England's Tree Of The Year.

0:33:070:33:09

Scotland's winner is the historic Suffragette Oak,

0:33:110:33:14

planted in Glasgow in 1918

0:33:140:33:16

in commemoration of the fight for the right for women to vote.

0:33:160:33:20

Survival at the Cutting Edge has won the Welsh vote.

0:33:220:33:24

This beautiful tree proudly stands in what used to be farmland,

0:33:240:33:28

but is now the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

0:33:280:33:32

The Peace Tree has been crowned Northern Ireland's winner.

0:33:330:33:37

Planted in remembrance of the First World War,

0:33:370:33:39

it is now an important focal point

0:33:390:33:41

for generations of veterans.

0:33:410:33:42

These four special trees

0:33:440:33:46

will now go up against the very best

0:33:460:33:48

in a Europe-wide contest.

0:33:480:33:50

Christmas is still a few weeks off.

0:34:010:34:03

But for some farmers,

0:34:040:34:06

the preparations are already underway,

0:34:060:34:10

as Adam discovered when he went looking for a festive favourite.

0:34:100:34:14

I'm talking turkeys - big business.

0:34:150:34:17

Now, the majority of them are reared indoors,

0:34:170:34:20

but as the demand for free-range has grown,

0:34:200:34:22

more and more farmers are keeping them outdoors

0:34:220:34:24

and they have moved away from the standard white bird

0:34:240:34:27

to the more traditional bronze turkey.

0:34:270:34:29

I've come to Chelmsford in Essex to meet turkey farmer Paul Kelly.

0:34:320:34:36

'He might be breeding more traditional birds,

0:34:370:34:39

'but to meet the massive demand for his turkeys at Christmas,

0:34:390:34:42

'the farm's facilities are about as hi-tech as they can get.'

0:34:420:34:46

So this is a massive hatchery where you incubate turkey eggs.

0:34:490:34:53

Yes - we can do 220,000 eggs a week here.

0:34:530:34:56

Incredible! So, when do you have to start thinking about Christmas?

0:34:560:34:59

I never stop thinking about Christmas. It consumes me.

0:34:590:35:03

We start our production, egg production, in April,

0:35:030:35:05

put the eggs in the machines here,

0:35:050:35:07

it's 28 days to incubate them,

0:35:070:35:09

so we get the first chicks at the end of May.

0:35:090:35:11

And what sort of numbers are we talking about?

0:35:110:35:13

How many turkey chicks leave this place?

0:35:130:35:15

We're all about producing for Christmas Day,

0:35:150:35:17

so it's in June, July, August, 1.3 million chicks.

0:35:170:35:20

-A lot of turkeys.

-It is a lot of turkeys, isn't it?

0:35:200:35:22

-Can I have a look inside?

-Of course.

0:35:220:35:24

There's 10,000 eggs in this machine at the moment.

0:35:260:35:28

These hatch in ten days' time.

0:35:280:35:30

And how does it work, then?

0:35:300:35:31

Every hour, the machine automatically turns them

0:35:310:35:34

through 90 degrees

0:35:340:35:35

and that's to stop the embryo sticking to the shell membrane.

0:35:350:35:38

-Like a hen would turn the eggs in a nest?

-Exactly, in a nest.

0:35:380:35:40

It's just replicating nature.

0:35:400:35:41

And the turkeys that hatched out of here in May, June time

0:35:410:35:44

-are now a fair size.

-They certainly are.

0:35:440:35:46

-Can we go and see them?

-Of course we can.

0:35:460:35:48

Of the hundreds of thousands of turkeys hatched here,

0:35:530:35:56

the majority will be reared outdoors using free-range techniques.

0:35:560:36:00

Not just on Paul's farm, but on farms up and down the country.

0:36:000:36:04

This is a lovely sight, Paul. How many turkeys have you got in here?

0:36:090:36:12

There's 1,600 in this flock and that's in eight acres.

0:36:120:36:15

It sounds like a lot, but there seems like plenty of room.

0:36:150:36:18

Yeah, when you say 1,600, people think,

0:36:180:36:20

"Oh, that's an enormous flock," but once you actually get amongst it

0:36:200:36:23

and see the space they've got, it's not at all.

0:36:230:36:25

Why do you choose this system, why free-range?

0:36:250:36:28

Cos I love it. It's just a great way of growing turkeys.

0:36:280:36:30

You get these slow-growing breeds, they grow into maturity

0:36:300:36:33

and that's what has the single biggest impact on flavour.

0:36:330:36:35

Cos they're walking around, getting under the trees,

0:36:350:36:38

-into their feeders and drinkers?

-That's right,

0:36:380:36:40

and eating lots of nettles - they love nettles.

0:36:400:36:42

So this system wouldn't suit your standard white turkey?

0:36:420:36:46

Uh, no, these are very much specialist breeds

0:36:460:36:48

for the free-range market.

0:36:480:36:50

-Shall we take a closer look at them?

-Yeah.

0:36:500:36:52

Why would it be more difficult to keep whites out here?

0:36:540:36:57

It would be more difficult to keep whites out here,

0:36:570:37:00

because to do that, you'd have to put them out here in late August.

0:37:000:37:03

Then when they go into September, they're not fully feathered

0:37:030:37:06

when you start to get the rain,

0:37:060:37:07

so they wouldn't be able to cope with the elements,

0:37:070:37:09

whereas the slower-growing breeds, you put them in June,

0:37:090:37:12

they can cope with all the wind and rain.

0:37:120:37:14

Is it very much a niche market, or are you saying,

0:37:140:37:16

"This is better than the whites"?

0:37:160:37:18

Absolutely not.

0:37:180:37:19

What we're doing, we're producing turkeys for those lucky few

0:37:190:37:22

that can afford 60 quid on a turkey at Christmas.

0:37:220:37:25

Yes, they do have more flavour,

0:37:250:37:26

but the British turkey industry has done an amazing job

0:37:260:37:29

of putting really good-quality turkeys on the plates

0:37:290:37:32

for people at Christmas that they can afford.

0:37:320:37:35

All this talk of turkeys is making me look forward to Christmas -

0:37:350:37:37

-I'm quite excited now.

-That's good news, it's been a day well spent.

0:37:370:37:41

One of the farmers rearing Paul's turkeys has more experience

0:37:430:37:47

topping the singles charts than he does rearing poultry.

0:37:470:37:50

Last winter, JB from former boy band JLS visited my farm

0:37:510:37:56

just as he was starting out.

0:37:560:37:58

Do you think where I am I'd be able to have cows,

0:37:580:38:00

or would I need a larger plot?

0:38:000:38:02

It might be worth just getting a few steers, a few castrated males,

0:38:020:38:06

and see how you go.

0:38:060:38:07

OK, maybe I'll start with some small ones,

0:38:070:38:09

cos if it's going to be this cold,

0:38:090:38:11

I don't know if I'm going to get on with it!

0:38:110:38:14

I think I might have put him off cows,

0:38:140:38:16

but he's been quick to realise

0:38:160:38:17

the potential of rearing a few of Paul's turkeys.

0:38:170:38:20

I'm meeting him on his farm in Kent to see how he's getting on.

0:38:200:38:24

-JB, great to see you again.

-Hello, Adam. Welcome back.

-Thank you.

0:38:270:38:30

Now, when we were back at my place, it was freezing.

0:38:300:38:33

-What was it, just over a year ago?

-Yes.

0:38:330:38:35

And here we are now in the rain!

0:38:350:38:37

I know, we haven't picked the best day for it, have we?

0:38:370:38:39

-All this bad weather hasn't put you off being a farmer?

-You know what?

0:38:390:38:42

I think it's a bit of a guilty pleasure to be out here in the rain.

0:38:420:38:46

As long as it's not too cold, I can handle it.

0:38:460:38:48

So what's been going on?

0:38:480:38:49

Loads has been going on. We've had some new additions to the farm.

0:38:490:38:52

We've got a big flock of turkeys in,

0:38:520:38:53

-so we should go and check those guys out.

-Yeah, let's have a look.

0:38:530:38:56

JB's birds don't look their best in the wet,

0:39:000:39:03

but when the weather takes a turn for the worse,

0:39:030:39:05

this hardy outdoor breed is perfect.

0:39:050:39:07

How many turkeys have you got?

0:39:100:39:12

This year, we've got 170 turkeys.

0:39:120:39:14

Last year, we sold about 85.

0:39:140:39:17

We didn't do too much heavy promotion,

0:39:170:39:18

so I'm hoping that this year we'll do double that.

0:39:180:39:21

-JB Turkeys!

-There you go!

0:39:210:39:23

They're looking really well, despite the wet. Are you pleased with them?

0:39:230:39:26

Yeah, I'm really pleased and, to be honest,

0:39:260:39:28

I think they're going to be really big this year.

0:39:280:39:30

And as a farmer, here we are, we're thinking about Christmas

0:39:300:39:33

a long way before most people start thinking about it.

0:39:330:39:35

You've got to plan ahead.

0:39:350:39:36

To be honest, I'm usually good with Christmas,

0:39:360:39:39

so I like to get my Christmas shopping done early.

0:39:390:39:42

But it's not just turkeys that JB's planning to sell this Christmas.

0:39:430:39:46

I'm pleased to see you got into pigs.

0:39:490:39:51

Yeah, well, we started with one pig,

0:39:510:39:55

-one Tamworth, aptly named Ginger.

-THEY CHORTLE

0:39:550:39:58

-Now we've got about 50 here on site.

-Goodness me. How many breeding sows?

0:39:580:40:03

We've got about six breeding sows.

0:40:030:40:05

Six sows can produce a lot of piglets.

0:40:050:40:07

It can, we recently had a litter which had ten in it,

0:40:070:40:10

which is the biggest that we've had on the farm.

0:40:100:40:12

So six sows breeding twice a year, ten piglets per litter -

0:40:120:40:16

that's 120 pigs every year!

0:40:160:40:18

It's a lot to move, as well.

0:40:180:40:20

What do you do with them all?

0:40:200:40:22

Well, we tend to do sausage and bacon

0:40:220:40:24

-and we like to sell that alongside the turkeys at Christmas.

-Yeah.

0:40:240:40:28

But throughout the year, we get people who just request half a pig

0:40:280:40:31

or a quarter of a pig and we just sort of cut it down, break it down.

0:40:310:40:35

Pigs make a lot more mess than turkeys.

0:40:350:40:38

A lot more mess. They're very destructive, but they're fun.

0:40:380:40:41

We've had a lot to learn over the last couple of years,

0:40:410:40:44

but it's been great.

0:40:440:40:45

It's great to see you've got the turkeys,

0:40:450:40:47

brilliant to see you've got the pigs, too.

0:40:470:40:49

One thing - when you came to the farm,

0:40:490:40:51

you had a few chickens from me.

0:40:510:40:52

-Yes.

-How are they getting on?

-Ooh, erm, Fantastic Mr Fox got those.

0:40:520:40:56

-Oh, no!

-Yeah, I know.

0:40:560:40:58

Have you replaced them?

0:40:580:41:00

We have, yes. We've got five chickens in at the moment.

0:41:000:41:02

-Great, so you've got a few fresh farm eggs for the house?

-Absolutely.

0:41:020:41:05

-And plenty of bacon to go with those eggs.

-There you go.

0:41:050:41:08

I don't think there's a farmer in the country

0:41:100:41:12

who hasn't lost a hen to a fox,

0:41:120:41:14

so JB's in good company.

0:41:140:41:15

And I'm sure his turkeys...

0:41:170:41:20

and pigs...

0:41:200:41:21

will be both be smash hits this Christmas.

0:41:210:41:23

Earlier, we heard how Cambridgeshire's Great Fen

0:41:310:41:34

is being restored as a haven for wildlife.

0:41:340:41:37

Well, the work has given new urgency

0:41:370:41:39

to the recovery of something special from the peat.

0:41:390:41:42

Joe has been along to help out.

0:41:430:41:45

In a distant corner of the fen, digging is well underway.

0:41:490:41:52

The team know what they're looking for,

0:41:520:41:54

but it's been hidden for 75 years.

0:41:540:41:57

I'm getting my wellies on, because they're letting me join

0:41:590:42:01

the archaeologists for this very important excavation,

0:42:010:42:04

and this being fenland, I'm expecting a fair bit of mud.

0:42:040:42:07

They're looking for this plane.

0:42:090:42:12

It's a Mark Ia Spitfire, number X4593.

0:42:120:42:16

It crashed here just weeks after the end of the Battle of Britain.

0:42:160:42:20

Spitfires played a central role in that battle,

0:42:200:42:23

repelling waves of attacks by the German fighters

0:42:230:42:26

and bombers throughout the summer of 1940.

0:42:260:42:28

It was one of the most important victories of the Second World War

0:42:310:42:34

and a first major defeat to be inflicted upon Nazi Germany.

0:42:340:42:38

Therefore, the RAF's aircraft and the nearly 3,000 men who flew them

0:42:380:42:43

became British heroes.

0:42:430:42:45

The Battle of Britain was won, but the war was far from over.

0:42:470:42:50

-The RAF still needed pilots.

-BELL RINGS

0:42:500:42:53

Harold Penketh was just 20 when he joined up,

0:42:530:42:56

leaving a comfortable job in insurance

0:42:560:42:58

to train as a Spitfire pilot.

0:42:580:43:00

He had barely 13 hours' flying time when, on a routine training flight,

0:43:010:43:06

his aeroplane fell from the sky and crashed into the fen.

0:43:060:43:10

Harold was killed instantly.

0:43:100:43:11

Children on nearby farms saw it happen.

0:43:130:43:16

Maxey Stacey was just ten years old.

0:43:160:43:18

We saw these planes up in the sky

0:43:200:43:23

and they were darting and diving about, and then, all of a sudden,

0:43:230:43:29

we heard a revving sound and it dipped straight down

0:43:290:43:34

and it spiralled to the ground.

0:43:340:43:36

When it disappeared behind the trees,

0:43:360:43:39

it wasn't long before there was a thud

0:43:390:43:43

when it hit the ground.

0:43:430:43:45

-Did you realise at the time a young man had lost his life?

-Yes, I did.

0:43:450:43:49

-And it brought quite a lump to your throat.

-Yeah.

0:43:490:43:53

Harold's body was recovered at the time,

0:43:540:43:57

but the crashed Spitfire was abandoned.

0:43:570:44:00

Archaeologist Stephen Macaulay is in charge of the operation

0:44:000:44:03

to dig it out.

0:44:030:44:05

75 years ago, when Harold Penketh's plane crashed into the ground,

0:44:050:44:09

rather than exploding on impact -

0:44:090:44:10

which is what you get on a harder soil, chalk,

0:44:100:44:12

or something like that -

0:44:120:44:14

the plane has ploughed straight through the soil,

0:44:140:44:16

through the peat, and has lodged itself in the clay

0:44:160:44:19

which is sitting three, four, five metres beneath our feet

0:44:190:44:23

and so something like that means that the preservation

0:44:230:44:26

can be very good, but getting to it is an issue.

0:44:260:44:28

And in a fitting touch,

0:44:300:44:32

modern-day service personnel are helping uncover the past.

0:44:320:44:36

They're part of Operation Nightingale,

0:44:360:44:38

a project to help rehabilitate injured servicemen and women.

0:44:380:44:41

Like former RAF helicopter engineer Anouska Osborne,

0:44:450:44:48

who was injured in Afghanistan

0:44:480:44:50

and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

0:44:500:44:54

Anouska has a good working knowledge of Spitfires

0:44:540:44:57

and is using this expertise to help identify parts of the wreckage.

0:44:570:45:01

We have a nice little structure here,

0:45:020:45:05

which just fits on the aircraft with the aerial attaching on top,

0:45:050:45:08

and then the cable goes from the front to the back.

0:45:080:45:11

-Oh!

-Then that is what his communications would be.

0:45:110:45:14

But there are more human reminders of the tragedy.

0:45:160:45:19

This is Harold's leather flying helmet,

0:45:210:45:24

claimed by the fen on that fateful day 75 years ago.

0:45:240:45:27

It's an unexpected find, and it's left a deep impression on the team.

0:45:300:45:35

What was it like for you, seeing that bit of the helmet?

0:45:370:45:40

Because I wasn't really expecting that,

0:45:400:45:42

-that seemed a very personal artefact to come out.

-It was.

0:45:420:45:45

It was a bit gut-wrenching, really,

0:45:450:45:46

because, obviously, you know that he passed away.

0:45:460:45:49

So everybody was kicked out of here while I did that.

0:45:490:45:52

-Right.

-A bit of respect to him, really.

0:45:520:45:53

-Really? So you had a sort of personal moment with him?

-Yeah.

0:45:530:45:56

You're a service person in the armed forces, he was as well,

0:45:560:45:58

-and there's that connection, I suppose, isn't there?

-There is.

0:45:580:46:01

He was only 20 years old when he passed away

0:46:010:46:03

and he was the last of his line as well -

0:46:030:46:05

his brother passed away a few years before that,

0:46:050:46:07

so his mother and father, basically, they lost both their sons.

0:46:070:46:11

The respect for Harold

0:46:110:46:13

is shared by all on the Operation Nightingale team.

0:46:130:46:16

Veteran Chris Headon is another former serviceman

0:46:160:46:19

working here at the dig.

0:46:190:46:21

He was injured while serving with the Royal Logistics Corps.

0:46:210:46:24

This Operation Nightingale, the legacy of it for you,

0:46:240:46:27

is it improved self-esteem, is it helping your recovery?

0:46:270:46:30

It does help, it does help.

0:46:300:46:31

I have good days and bad days

0:46:310:46:33

and I can't guarantee what I'll feel like tomorrow morning,

0:46:330:46:38

but being here,

0:46:380:46:40

staying in RAF Wittering,

0:46:400:46:43

will urge me to get out of bed tomorrow morning,

0:46:430:46:45

cos I'm with my brothers and my sisters

0:46:450:46:47

and I feel a part of something.

0:46:470:46:49

Back at the dig, there's a buzz of excitement.

0:46:510:46:54

The team have hit something large and metallic.

0:46:540:46:57

Could it be the propeller from Harold's Spitfire?

0:46:590:47:02

Only the merest tip is poking up through the clay.

0:47:020:47:05

All you've got here is the cone of the engine and the propeller.

0:47:070:47:10

-That's the propeller there.

-Wow, OK.

0:47:100:47:12

So we're on the absolute cusp of it.

0:47:120:47:15

This is the moment you're getting very excited about, yeah.

0:47:150:47:17

As you can see, we're getting quite excited.

0:47:170:47:20

But just as the team make the breakthrough,

0:47:220:47:25

work is brought to a sudden halt.

0:47:250:47:27

Events have just taken an unexpected turn.

0:47:300:47:32

They think they've found some human remains, a fragment of bone,

0:47:320:47:35

which means this is now a very different dig.

0:47:350:47:38

Everything has to stop and the police

0:47:380:47:39

and the coroner have to be involved.

0:47:390:47:41

These could be the last of trainee pilot Harold Penketh's remains.

0:47:440:47:48

It's a given the team here pause to reflect

0:47:510:47:54

and adds poignancy to the moment a Spitfire flies past.

0:47:540:47:58

We have excavated this site

0:48:100:48:12

on the location of one individual's sacrifice, and, in doing so,

0:48:120:48:15

we wish to honour him.

0:48:150:48:17

Let us remember for a moment,

0:48:170:48:19

Pilot Officer Harold Penketh.

0:48:190:48:22

When digging resumes, the team finds Harold's silver cigarette case,

0:48:380:48:43

clearly engraved with his initials, HEP.

0:48:430:48:45

Once the dig's complete, they leave a small marker.

0:48:470:48:51

The crash site will be eventually filled back in.

0:48:510:48:53

And there will be a permanent memorial close to the site

0:48:570:49:00

where young Harold lost his life.

0:49:000:49:02

I'm just getting set, cos I'm about to go for a run

0:49:090:49:11

with the Cambridge University Cross-Country Running Club.

0:49:110:49:15

But before I do, I would like to remind you that there is still time

0:49:150:49:18

to get your hands on the Countryfile Calendar for 2016.

0:49:180:49:22

It's called Colours of the Countryside and this is why -

0:49:220:49:25

just look at some of those beautiful images.

0:49:250:49:29

And here is how you can get your hands on one.

0:49:290:49:32

The calendar costs £9.50, including free UK delivery.

0:49:350:49:40

You can buy yours either via our website at...

0:49:400:49:43

..or by calling the order line on...

0:49:450:49:48

To order by post, send your name,

0:49:570:49:59

address and cheque to...

0:49:590:50:00

A minimum of £4 from the sale of every calendar

0:50:130:50:16

will go to BBC Children in Need.

0:50:160:50:18

Last year's calendar was a record breaker, raising over £1.5 million,

0:50:180:50:23

so with your help, this year we hope to do even better.

0:50:230:50:26

This week, we've been enjoying Cambridgeshire.

0:50:360:50:38

We've seen how its world-famous university has shaped

0:50:380:50:41

and continues to shape the world around us

0:50:410:50:44

through its teaching and research.

0:50:440:50:46

But the students here take it all in their stride.

0:50:460:50:49

We've all heard of the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race.

0:50:550:50:58

Well, let me tell you,

0:50:580:50:59

the annual cross-country battle is just as competitive.

0:50:590:51:03

In fact, on the men's side, it's 62-62 at the moment.

0:51:030:51:06

-Hiya, Joan.

-Hi.

-Are you all right?

0:51:060:51:08

Just about, they're a bit fast for me.

0:51:080:51:11

-These days!

-I'm joining them for some final preparations.

0:51:110:51:14

I'm delighted that they're in such fine fettle.

0:51:140:51:16

They are indeed.

0:51:160:51:17

Yeah.

0:51:170:51:18

Dr Joan Lasenby helped set up the Women's Hare & Hounds running team

0:51:200:51:24

when she was a student here in the '70s.

0:51:240:51:26

Now, she's a senior lecturer and club president.

0:51:260:51:29

Where does the name "Hare & Hounds" come from?

0:51:290:51:32

In the early days, before the varsity match as well,

0:51:320:51:35

what people used to do is have one or two pioneers, they were called,

0:51:350:51:39

who would go out and lay a trail.

0:51:390:51:42

They were the hares and they would lay the paper trail, or flour,

0:51:420:51:46

so it was washed away by the rain

0:51:460:51:48

and the hounds would run around,

0:51:480:51:51

so in the early days, it was a recreation.

0:51:510:51:54

Lots of people listening to you talk now and seeing these runners

0:51:540:51:58

doing what they're doing will just have flashbacks

0:51:580:52:01

to being at school, horrendous cross-country runs

0:52:010:52:04

and this just goes up a level when you're at university

0:52:040:52:06

and up even more when you're at Cambridge!

0:52:060:52:08

Yeah, I think cross-country running,

0:52:080:52:10

-you either love it or you hate it, basically.

-Yeah.

0:52:100:52:13

I think a lot of runners are very obsessive about running,

0:52:130:52:16

and these guys are. The competitive aspect is huge here, as well.

0:52:160:52:21

Almost every sport...

0:52:210:52:22

You see the boat race and the rugby, but most sports have a varsity match

0:52:220:52:27

and that's the most important match of the whole year.

0:52:270:52:30

The Cambridge men's team are level-pegging

0:52:320:52:34

with bitter rivals Oxford University.

0:52:340:52:37

Both teams are on 62 wins each,

0:52:370:52:39

so this year's contest is more fierce than usual.

0:52:390:52:42

How are you feeling, then, about this big race?

0:52:430:52:46

We're hoping we're going to train hard,

0:52:460:52:48

we're going to give it our best shot against the other place.

0:52:480:52:52

-You can't even say it, can you?

-No.

0:52:520:52:55

The O word. Yeah, but it's this thing -

0:52:550:52:57

people don't realise that this grudge match has gone on for so long.

0:52:570:53:02

Everybody knows about the boat race, but the cross-country run...

0:53:020:53:05

You have to remember,

0:53:050:53:07

you're running around a course the guys have run since early 1900.

0:53:070:53:10

It's been going on since 1880.

0:53:100:53:12

That drive that that must instil in you,

0:53:120:53:15

when you're coming down that final straight

0:53:150:53:18

and it's neck and neck,

0:53:180:53:20

-every ounce of energy that you've got left in you...

-Oh, yes.

0:53:200:53:24

-Yes.

-There's a reason we're out an hour a day, every day.

0:53:240:53:28

-Yeah.

-Come rain, come shine.

0:53:280:53:30

It must be a good stress relief, as well, with all of your studies.

0:53:300:53:33

It's essential. People quite often say to me,

0:53:330:53:35

"How do you manage to fit the running in with the work?"

0:53:350:53:37

My answer is, "I wouldn't manage the work without the running."

0:53:370:53:40

Great, well, I think we're going to go for a little pootle around.

0:53:400:53:43

I know you've got a race tomorrow, as well, in the big build-up,

0:53:430:53:46

so I don't want to tire you out, all right?

0:53:460:53:48

So I think you should just take it nice and steady.

0:53:480:53:50

All right? Just think of tomorrow.

0:53:500:53:52

We don't want any heroes here.

0:53:520:53:54

HE CHUCKLES

0:53:540:53:55

MUSIC: Chariots Of Fire by Vangelis

0:53:550:53:58

The big race is in just a few weeks' time,

0:54:040:54:06

and even skipping through the nettles and thistles,

0:54:060:54:09

this lot seem pretty fast.

0:54:090:54:11

Right, you better say goodbye, everyone.

0:54:140:54:15

-ALL:

-Bye!

0:54:150:54:17

Because that is all we've got time for for this week.

0:54:170:54:19

Next week, Ellie is going to be in Somerset,

0:54:190:54:21

in the market town of Frome, discovering the food revolution.

0:54:210:54:25

Mmm! Oh, wow!

0:54:260:54:29

That is so lush! You're not having any.

0:54:290:54:31

Ah, what a shame. They're just too far away to catch up.

0:54:330:54:36

Well, we can join Ellie next week.

0:54:360:54:37

The team explore Cambridgeshire. Matt Baker finds out how Cambridge University students past and present are reaching out from the city and having an impact on the countryside in their study and play. Joe Crowley looks at how the restoration of the Great Fen has meant the race is on to dig out a Spitfire which crashed 75 years ago. Ellie Harrison is in the Peak District discovering the part it played in WWII. And Adam Henson meets JB from JLS, pop star turned turkey farmer.


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