In this Christmas special, Matt Baker, John Craven and Anita Rani are in Castleton in the Peak District, where the Christmas tree festival is in full swing.
Browse content similar to Christmas Special. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
MATT BAKER: There's a frosting on the tops.
An icy twinkle in the towns.
Christmas in the Peak District is magical.
Come and get your lovely roast chestnuts!
And nowhere more so than here, in Castleton,
where there's festive fun and Christmas cheer at every turn.
We'll be over for the chestnuts in just a moment.
And, I tell you what, there is a carol concert here
that you will not believe.
And, of course, we will be there soaking it all up
and possibly even singing along.
-Thank you so much.
Lovely. NOW it's Christmas.
And, as Castleton is famous for its Christmas tree festival,
I'll be finding out what makes
the perfect Christmas tree.
'Tis the season of goodwill,
and I'll be the farmer bringing the gift of food.
The gloves are off for Adam and Ellie down in Norfolk.
I've thrown down the festive gauntlet to Ellie.
Yes, we are going to be going head-to-head
in a special Yuletide race,
-and one of us is definitely going to be getting the bird.
So, settle in, put your feet up and enjoy Countryfile at Christmas.
I think yours are nicer than mine.
The Peak District really does Christmas in style.
And there aren't many places with such a warm Yuletide welcome
as Castleton, whose lights attract visitors from far and wide.
And they go in for Christmas trees in a big way.
Where most of us have a tree in the corner of the room,
here, villages and shopkeepers light every square inch with them.
The village sits in the High Peak of Derbyshire.
And the annual Christmas tree festival
has really put this place on the map.
We'll be finding out all about the festival,
soaking up the atmosphere
and getting ready for a spectacular finale.
The Christmas tree festival took off at the turn of the millennium.
The foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 hit this rural village hard,
tourists stayed away.
So traders decided to make their Christmas tree festival
bigger and better than ever before.
And it worked.
Castleton bounced back.
And I'm off to meet a farming couple who have weathered those times.
And, hopefully, there's a festive treat in store.
It takes a certain strength of character to farm sheep
on these hills in winter.
The peaks around Dunscar Farm have their first covering of snow.
QUAD BIKE APPROACHES
Down in the valley, Gary Glenister is busy with his hardy flock
in the run-up to Christmas.
Right, hello in there.
How are you? You're beautiful, aren't you?
There's no warmth in the winter sun, it's bitterly cold.
The best hot water bottle on any farm.
What's this dog called, Gary?
-This is Dex.
-Dex! Hello, Dex.
I presume this is here from the farm, is it, Gary?
It is, it's our own hay.
-Gary, you don't sound like a local lad.
I'm originally from South Bucks. I've been here 37 years.
-Right, how did you end up here then?
-Well, Janet, my wife,
she's from Castleton. She's from generations of farming stock.
I saw it and loved it and I've been here ever since.
So, what's the story with the sheep you've got in this field, then?
Well, these are mainly Mule,
looking to start lambing on the 1st of April.
And just now this time of year, it's general maintenance.
We're keeping an eye on them,
feeding them, making sure they're not lame.
Farming and farm animals
-don't acknowledge the fact that it's Christmas?
-No. To them,
every day is the same. As long as they are getting fed,
it's a seasonal thing, but it doesn't matter how much
you've partied the night before,
you've still got to get up and feed them.
On kind of Christmas morning, then, do you do presents
before you go out and feed them, or do you wait until you come back in?
We generally wait these days.
Obviously, when the children were younger, there was no waiting.
But now we tend to do our jobs
and then come in and start celebrating Christmas.
As an extra source of income,
Gary and his wife Janet offer bed-and-breakfast at the farmhouse.
Well, Christmas is a busy time here on the farm.
As well as tending to the flock, there's the visitors to look after.
Any room at the inn?
With Christmas visitors due any day,
Janet is rustling up a traditional favourite - a Bakewell pudding.
Janet, I'm still a little bit confused about
the difference between a Bakewell tart and a Bakewell pudding
-that we're making here.
-I don't think you're the only one!
The Bakewell tart has more spongy topping,
but this is completely flat and it's got puff pastry on the bottom,
whereas the Bakewell tarts have shortcrust on the bottom.
Glad we got that sorted.
Janet's not scrimping on the ingredients.
There's plenty of fresh eggs, butter and sugar going in.
And what could be more seasonal than a sprinkling of almonds?
How busy are you, then, over Christmas with the B & B
-side of things?
-Just after Christmas right through to the New Year,
-lots of people come out walking.
-I can imagine New Year walks.
-Yes. It's absolutely... It's idyllic.
It is. Well, we think so, but we're a bit biased, I suppose, aren't we?
Now, I'll just put those in and say about half an hour, 180,
and then they'll be ready.
Should be ready.
Oh, they are ready.
And here they are. The Bakewell puddings.
Ta-da! I tell you what, these are going to be perfect,
just what you need to warm the cockles
when you're deep underground.
All will be revealed very shortly.
Now, Christmas is a time not just for receiving but for giving.
Tom's meeting one farmer who is giving away food
and helping communities where they need it the most.
It's the season of goodwill,
and donating to the food bank is one way we can help others
through difficult times.
Today, I'm delivering some festive supplies
donated by the Countryfile team.
There you go, little bit of weight for you. Is that all right?
-Thank you very much.
-You've got loads here.
With food inflation running at a four-year high,
food banks like this one in Stoke-on-Trent
are expecting very high demand,
especially as we run up to Christmas,
and they really want to be sure that the families that rely on them can
have a nice, groaning Christmas table.
Because it has to be stored,
most food given out by food banks is the packaged kind.
But what about fresh food?
One Staffordshire farmer thinks he's got the answer.
Rob Mercer is doing something really special to help tackle food poverty.
You're not just interested in the mechanics of farming,
you're interested in what happens to the food afterwards,
-the social side.
-Yeah, no, so very much.
Over the last 18 months, I've been spending time
looking at issues around food, healthy eating,
and trying to promote more people eating a better balanced diet.
Food poverty isn't just about people going hungry,
it's about what they're eating.
Rob wanted to help people get enough healthy food,
so he started Farm Fresh Revolution.
He buys fresh food from local farms out of his own pocket
and gives it away for free to local schoolchildren and their families
in areas where they need it the most.
What we actually do is we work with six schools currently.
We set up a grocery stall on a Friday afternoon at pick-up time,
and parents are basically able to come and help themselves
to sausages, chicken eggs, fruit and vegetables.
Well, I look forward to seeing it in action on our tour today.
Let's go round.
Today, Rob's going to be giving out food at a local school,
and I'm joining him on his rounds to collect it.
So, we're off to a local butcher shop now, who we've been supplying
free-range pigs to for the last sort of 15 years,
and we're going to pick up sausages from there.
This butcher's been here for more than 100 years,
and he's flat-out serving customers for Christmas.
-We'd better load some of these up, shall we?
Next, we're off to buy the eggs.
I can see tinsel.
Got a few in there!
-Thank you, Rob.
Back at base, and the volunteers are already busy packing,
and are ready for our delivery.
Rob's wife Sally runs this side of the operation.
So, the idea is we put the sausages,
chickens and eggs all in a bag, individual bags, ready,
because it makes it much easier when we get to do the delivery
-at the schools.
-A bit like a production line?
It is like a production line, yes.
Thousands of bags are packed here over the year,
and each one costs Rob and Sally around £6.
So, there we go.
All this produce direct from local farms going to nearby families.
Now all we need to do is get the van loaded up and get to the school.
Our special delivery is on its way to St Nathanial's Academy in
Stoke-on-Trent, in one of the most deprived parts of the county.
The pupils here have been learning all about farms and food.
So, could anybody else tell me what they like
about the fresh food from the farm?
I like the broccoli, the bananas, and the cauliflower.
I like the parsnips,
because my mum makes them really crispy and it melts in my mouth
-and it's really nice.
Rob and Sally are giving away food to 140 children
and their families in this school every fortnight.
Do you want to start getting your fruit and veg?
-If you want to start that end,
Rob will be giving the meat out and then work your way along.
The cauliflower soup we've got in today is really tasty.
We had some at lunchtime, it's really nice.
-We need it in this weather now as well.
Hi! How are you doing?
-There you go.
-Has it got satsumas?
-See you later.
I'm coming here to get some more veggies for ourselves and fruits
which I find a fantastic opportunity,
that we can get some fresh products which, one day,
they're really tasty and cooking with it is absolutely fantastic.
-There you go.
-I'll give one to my granddaughter when I get home.
It's bringing the community together.
The school have brought in this fantastic opportunity to get
some free fresh produce, vegetables, meat and it's just great.
Everybody's come along for the food and they're all joining in.
And it's just wonderful to be part of it.
Do you know, the best feedback comes from the kids,
cos you just see them all sort of crawling round the table
and they want to get the food, they want to get the fresh fruit.
For me, that's just brilliant.
My, my sister wants a banana.
There is one thing that occurs to me, though,
is that you're businessmen and women,
you're running a commercial farm,
how does it fit in this, giving food away?
As a sort of farmer, having a local business,
I think it's important to put back into the community and, actually,
that's just as important as trying to be commercially successful,
so it's trying to get that message across
to other people who are farming or running businesses in the community.
They really want to see something like this
happening on a national scale.
You can do whatever size you want.
One farmer with a smallholding can easily have one school
come to their farm for one day a year.
It doesn't have to be a big thing.
-You think it's doable?
-Absolutely, yes. Definitely.
It's nice to see you!
This season is so much about giving, and what Rob,
Sally and the whole team here are about is the spirit of Christmas.
But it's about more than just giving stuff away, it's about education.
Hopefully, the young people here will carry this message
about what you can do with fresh, local food throughout their lives.
Now, Adam and Ellie
are in the beautiful village of Banham in Norfolk,
where they're going head-to-head in a festive showdown unlike any other.
-Norfolk has played a big part
in shaping our experience of Christmas.
It's one of the biggest turkey producing regions of the UK,
and, chances are, come the big day,
it's turkey you'll be tucking into for Christmas dinner.
But that wasn't always the case.
Go on, then, guess, what did we used to have?
Before the turkey, it must have been the goose.
It was indeed. In days of old they used to walk large flocks of turkeys
and geese along the drovers' routes all the way to London,
about 100 miles, and it took them two months,
and they'd get there just in time for the Christmas markets.
They used to walk around 250,000 turkeys.
-And they could cope with that distance?
-They could, yes.
They used to put the geese through tar and grit to shod
their feet and, then, with turkeys, if their feet got sore,
-they used to build them little booties.
-Incredible, isn't it?
This practice gave rise to a famous wager.
Back in the early 1700s,
two lords bet each other 100 guineas that a flock of 100 geese would walk
to London faster than 100 turkeys.
-So, who won then?
-Well, the geese by two days.
Now, I've got a challenge for you.
-You're going to take some geese.
I'm going to take some turkeys.
We're going to relive that race and we're going to walk them
into the village here, into their individual pens.
Whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner.
A Christmas challenge!
-You're on. OK, so I'll see you at the finish line.
Team Turkey. Team Goose. See you there.
We're not walking anything like as far as London.
We'll be taking different routes from different farms,
about a mile and a bit each from the centre of Banham.
Now I've got to get me some turkeys.
And I know just the place.
The Peele family have farmed turkeys here in Norfolk since 1880.
They favour traditional breeds,
hopefully the sort that's good on their feet.
James Peele and his mother Pat are joining me on Team Turkey.
James, what an amazing Christmas scene.
So, these are Norfolk turkeys?
These are your true Norfolk Black turkeys.
You must be very proud.
Where I come from, the Cotswold Hills are famous for their wool,
but here it seems to be turkeys.
Oh, yes, East Anglia has always been known for its turkeys.
The most important turkey sales of the year used to happen
in the quaint Norfolk town of Attleborough.
Drovers and their birds would arrive from all over the country
to sell at the town's big turkey markets.
NEWSREEL: Memories of Christmas flash into one's mind
with all these future Christmas dinners parading before us.
Attleborough is the biggest sale of the year
and attracts buyers from all over the country.
There are 9,000 turkeys here,
and they were sold at the rate of 1,000 an hour.
Pretty fast for turkeys.
Now, I've driven geese before along the drovers' routes,
but never turkeys.
They seem like they could fly away.
They could be a little bit lively for us, yes!
Whilst Adam is talking turkey,
I'm going to make sure my goose isn't cooked.
I've headed to one of Norfolk's top goose farms,
where they've been rearing geese for Christmas for decades.
If anyone can help me in my mission, it's current owner Ed Hegarty.
You're the goose guy, Ed?
-I am the man. I'm the goose man.
-You are the goose man.
How do you fancy their chances in the race against turkeys?
It'll be interesting to see. It hasn't been done in a while.
These turkeys are leaner and fitter looking,
but I think we'll give them a good test for their money.
Think these geese will be all right racing in the rain,
-even if we get soggy?
-They're fine, look at them.
They're completely waterproof.
They'll swim it if you want, they're not bothered!
-They float, we don't!
-That's very true.
I've not really done much geese driving before
so I'm going to need all the advice you can give me.
Right, I've got my turkeys.
A dozen of the finest.
Maybe. We've got the hang of this!
You think, just wait for it!
Hang on a minute, we're being followed.
You're not coming.
Oh, dear, no! It's gone terribly wrong!
I tell you what, it'll take a long time to get to London.
This has all gone wrong!
I wonder how Ellie is getting on with her geese.
I bet they're a lot easier than turkeys.
Easy does it. Nice and gentle.
Just don't get in a flap.
This is going quite well.
It's easy. If you want them to go faster, press on the accelerator,
-get nearer to them.
-I don't want to stress them out, though.
To turn them, keep walking to the corner, keep going.
-There we go.
-Keep going, and just speed it up a bit.
-I don't want to lose you that way.
-It's OK, they're fine.
-This way, darlings.
-That's all right.
-What do I say to them?
-Do they like any chat?
-Just talk to them like children.
-Like old friends?
-Like old friends.
-This way, my friends.
-I never worry.
If one runs away, he'll always come back, like that one.
You don't belong here.
Now, if you just want to go round that way quickly, right round,
and we can turn them up the field.
Oh, are we going up the field now? That's hilarious,
look at the way they run!
So cute. Oh, uh-oh, taken off.
Uh-oh. What did I say?
It's not looking so great for my race with Adam.
Find out how we get on later in the show.
-Here in Castleton, in the heart of the Peak District,
the whole community gets involved in the Christmas celebrations.
Down there, the town is full of festive cheer,
and, up here on the hillside, at Treak Cliff Cavern,
they're creating their own bit of twinkle.
They're taking Castleton's most famous export,
this stuff, Blue John,
very sparkly, and turning it into Christmas decorations.
But this isn't delicate, dainty work.
Oh, no. For this, I'll be needing a chisel,
a chainsaw and a glamorous assistant.
-That's you, the glamorous assistant.
-Apparently it is, yes.
-Shall we go into the cave?
-Yes, let's go.
-Let's do it.
Local miner Gary Ridley is taking me underground to find the raw material
I need for my Christmas decoration.
It's beautiful. Really beautiful.
So, what is Blue John?
Blue John is a very rare form of fluorite
only found in this one hill, Treak Cliff Hill.
It's very pretty.
It's very good for ornaments and jewellery and things like that,
because of all the different patterns that we see running through
the different veins. Let's go and cut some out.
Our Blue John is coming from a real-life grotto
complete with Christmas tree.
Oh, wow, Gary, this is magical.
-Yes, we're all ready for Christmas now.
Is that where we're going, up there?
Yes, on that back wall.
Right, health and safety up.
OK, let's go.
Gary's special chainsaw cuts through the stone like butter.
I wonder if he uses it to carve his turkey on Christmas Day?
OK, so how do we get that out of there, now?
Er, we're going to use a bit of gentle persuasion, which means
a hammer and chisel - which you're going to do!
OK! Right, here we go.
-Oh, it's gone.
-I'm doing all the hard work here, Gary.
-You've done it.
-I've done it?
Yes. Take that out now.
-Wow! Look at the size of it!
If you just tip it over...
Oh, that's so heavy.
-Lovely to meet you, Gary, thank you so much,
this is a really great experience.
-See you later.
Back at the Treak Cliff workshop,
my block of Blue John is sliced down to size by jeweller John Turner...
..to reveal the beautiful patterns within.
Oh, well done!
And there you have it. The next thing is the 600,
which will take out the final lines from the grinding wheel,
and all it is, round in circles, or figure of eight,
and those lines will get so small, when it's buffed, they'll be hidden.
My chosen slice is sanded down.
Oh, it's getting very smooth.
A final polish.
And finished off with a hook.
There it is. My beautiful bit of Blue John,
but this dainty decoration is not destined for the gift shop.
This is going somewhere far more Christmassy.
-Thank you, John.
-Not a problem, Anita.
Down in Castleton,
the streets and shops are decked out for the village's famous
Christmas Tree Festival.
Everyone gets involved in this festive tradition,
which has been going for 50 years.
And at the epicentre is Saint Edmund's church.
It's magical in here.
Quirky and creative trees fill the aisles with themed
decorations reflecting every aspect of life in Castleton.
-Nice to see you.
Hello, how are you?
And you are responsible for this wonderful...
It looks like a work of art!
It took three days.
It's stunning. Whose vision is it?
-So, you're the aesthetic,
you're the vision and you're the build?
-This is good teamwork.
What have you got hanging in those vials?
We've got... It represents the conservation work that we've been doing all over the Peak District,
so that's the meadow seed from our wild flower meadows that
Hawthorn berries in that one.
And then the weird green one which is the sphagnum moss that they're
currently planting up on Kinder, just above us,
to restore the moorland.
-How are you doing?
-All right, thank you.
Tell me all about your tree.
Well, this is our WI tree with the WI colours,
and the colours I think were represented very similar to the Suffragettes' colours
with gold, purple and green.
Go forth Women's Institute.
More power to you!
And now for my final bit.
It started in the ground and now it's going to go up on a tree.
Here it is.
My little piece of Blue John turned into a Christmas bauble.
You can't get much more locally sourced, seasonal
or sparkly than this.
There we go.
-Whilst Anita's busy decorating her tree back in Castleton,
I've headed a few miles east to the National Trust's Longshaw Estate.
It's where many of Castleton's Christmas trees come from,
and because it's less than half an hour from the centre of Sheffield,
it's a popular rural getaway.
For many of us, Christmas simply wouldn't be Christmas without these,
Once they've been decorated with their lights and their baubles,
they've worked a certain magic on us
that's gone on for generations now.
Prince Albert made them fashionable during the Victorian era,
and nowadays we buy millions of trees in the run-up to Christmas.
It's one of the busiest times of year here on the Longshaw Estate.
But with so much choice, where do you begin?
To help me find the perfect tree, I'm meeting Mark Bull,
Longshaw's king of the conifers.
We sell four different types on the estate.
This particular one is the Nordmann fir.
These are probably the most popular.
A really nice shaped Christmas tree.
You can see the white underneath which gives it a really nice colour.
Not much smell though, is there?
Really good needle retention though, but not a lot of smell.
-I like that, needle retention.
-Good sales pitch, that!
But this is my particular favourite.
This is a Fraser fir.
Again, you can see the white underneath the needles,
and a nice shape again.
Bluey-coloured tinge, but this has got the smell.
Really scented tree.
-Mmm. That is the smell of Christmas, isn't it?
But how do you look after them when you get them in the house?
The important thing for looking after them for needle retention is
to keep them watered, and to keep them in a cool place.
A lot of people put them near the radiator, near a fire,
and they just dry up.
They're an outside plant, after all.
New varieties are increasingly popular, but for many of us,
when it comes to Christmas trees, there's one type we always remember.
So this is the traditional Norway spruce, John.
-Where it all started back in Queen Victoria's day.
Yes, and when I was about that big,
we used to go and buy our Norwegian spruce for Christmas.
-Had a wonderful smell.
-Yeah, they've got the smell.
-And a lovely shape.
And you've got quite a plantation of them here, haven't you?
Yes, all different sizes for different people's needs, I guess.
Some have got small houses, some have got big houses.
Churches, we supply, schools, so, yes.
But the big difference with the trees here in the plantation,
is that you can actually dig them up with their roots and take them away?
Yes, absolutely. This is where it all started back in the mid-'70s,
and since then, the business has grown and we sell
over 1,500 trees a year now.
Goodness me. So that's quite a bit of money.
-What do you do with it?
-Oh, it's fantastic. The money goes back towards the estate.
Lots of different projects,
really essential for the wildlife of the estate,
and keeping the estate looking like it does.
At 1,600 acres, the Longshaw Estate takes a lot of looking after.
It's open all year round, but Christmas is a peak time.
Chris Milner is a ranger here,
getting ready for the throng of visitors
looking to stretch their legs over the festive season.
-Good way of keeping warm on a cold winter's day?
-Certainly is, yes.
it's not just Christmas trees that you're planting here?
No, no, this is an oak tree, John.
We're sort of replacing some of the old woodland that would have been
scattered along the edges around Longshaw hundreds of years ago.
And this dusting of snow has transformed the place.
It has, hasn't it? Yeah, yeah.
But a lot of people are hoping it's going to be just like this for their
-They certainly will, yes.
We get very busy at Christmas time.
Don't let me stop you now, filling this in.
-Maybe I could kick a few bits in for you?!
Yeah! Squash it down...
There we go, yeah.
Saplings like these need protecting from hungry animals.
All this snow means their normal food is harder to forage.
A tasty new tree is an easy target.
The festive conditions have brought plenty of walkers to Longshaw today.
And look at this. What more Christmassy scene
could you hope for?
Well, this is a sight I haven't seen for some time, Chris -
a frozen lake with snow on top of it.
It's the right weather for it, even the ducks are walking on the ice.
If you go back to the 1940s and the '60s, when we had some really hard
winters, people used to come out ice-skating.
There'd be lots of people here enjoying the skating.
What's the history of the place, then?
It used to be owned by the Duke of Rutland, but the Duke died in 1927,
and his family parcelled up the estate to be sold off,
but at the time, there were big campaigns for access to the countryside,
so the local rambling clubs and groups
got together and raised funds,
and with the help of Sheffield City Council and a loan,
they bought the main bit of the Longshaw Estate.
-So they actually did it?
-Yes, they did.
-The people bought the estate?
People have been coming here for generations with their grandparents
and parents - have a stroll round, visit the tea room,
see the wildlife that's here.
So, stand by for a pretty busy time in the next few days, then?
Yes, Boxing Day is our busiest day.
There'll be hundreds of people out here walking off their Christmas pud
and getting a breath of fresh air.
-Well, let's get ahead of them, shall we?
-A couple of days ahead!
CHOIR HUMS THE HOLLY AND THE IVY
-Before my geese race with Adam's turkeys later,
I've taken time to seek out one of the oldest symbols of Christmas.
From the Druids, to the Romans, to the Christians,
holly has been used to decorate our homes and spread goodwill
at this time of year for centuries.
Just like the carol proclaims,
the Holly certainly does wear the crown
in this most festive of forests here
on the Norfolk Broads, and for good reason.
This is a holly farm that's been nurtured by the same family
for more than half a century.
Stuart Boardman planted the first forest in the 1930s.
It was his son Peter who really made the business grow.
Today, Peter's nephew Nick Coller
has taken over the mantle of Holly King,
and Christmas is the time to reap the rewards of a year's hard work.
It feels really Christmassy in this forest of holly, doesn't it?
Yes, it is very nice with all the red berries
and the different colours of holly which we've got.
We've obviously got variegated holly here,
we've got green holly, we've got English holly, Dutch holly.
-We've even got some hollies from America.
How many varieties do you think you've got in total?
Well, I would say we've definitely got over 110.
These bright berries that add such a touch of colour to our Christmas
decorations also attract other admirers.
I've seen a few branches cryptically moving, there are birds around -
is that causing you any problems, because they're after the berries?
Yes, they are. The birds are very avid feeders of the berries.
As they ripen, they're on them,
so we have to try and keep a move ahead of them
before the birds can eat them.
-Will you still leave a few then for the birds?
Some years we have up to seven tonnes of holly berries just left
on the trees for them to feed on,
so they're very keen and love living in the holly orchards.
Well, if it's a race against time with the birds,
-we'd better crack on, shall we?
-Yes, good idea.
Nick harvests only the finest holly.
That means looking out for trees with the best berries.
This looks like the classic holly that we all know and love.
Yes, this is the English holly, Ilex aquifolium.
What's the tip, just take a few fronds down?
Yes, that's it, and just get a nice
length of about 18" long, if you can.
Something like that, that's great.
-And then drop it down?
How about a bit of variegated?
Yes, we've got Golden King here.
This is a lovely cropper this year.
It's got LOADS of berries!
The florists will thank me for that piece.
it's the berries that weigh the most.
-We're selling by weight?
-Yes, we are.
-Get the heavy ones!
-Get the best bits.
-We've got Christmas to buy for.
We've already got a stunning selection,
but there's an unusual one still to add to our bounty.
These are standout, aren't they, the yellow berries?
-Yes, it's a lovely yellow berry, this one.
-I love these.
I don't think I've ever seen one like this before.
No, they're not very common.
Unfortunately, it's not terribly popular with the florists.
Oh, I'd definitely go for this.
And whatever colour of berry you prefer,
when you decorate your home with holly,
it's a reminder of our connection
with nature at Christmas time.
MATT: We're celebrating Christmas in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Since ancient times,
the village of Castleton and the surrounding hills
have rung with local voices
celebrating yuletide in their own distinctive way.
If December in the Peak District isn't Christmassy enough,
this village has its own carols.
They're centuries-old and sung nowhere else in the world.
And for the last 40 years,
the Castleton carol concert hall has been the George pub.
Castleton is not alone, though.
Many Derbyshire villages have their own carols.
Some were specific to them,
others were variations on familiar favourites.
Castleton has 12 distinctive carols.
The keepers of the flame are Brian Woodall and folk song collector,
Professor Ian Russell.
I just love carols, I think carols are absolutely brilliant,
I think they're extraordinary
and the one thing that people don't realise
when they hear for the 99th time
O Little Town of Bethlehem,
that in fact, there are carols
from different parts of England just waiting
to be sung in some circumstances.
In other circumstances, like Castleton,
like here, they ARE being sung, which is brilliant.
Tradition is there would be little parties of carol singers
going around the village and then going around the surrounding farms
-up in the hills.
And you're singing against the wind and the rain,
so you have to make, make yourself felt to, um...
-..to be heard.
So when we're, when we're singing in here, it is very, very robust.
-And if you're doing it right, it rocks you back on your heels.
-Everyone sings louder than everybody else!
That's a great sentiment!
# Oh, the rising of the sun... #
Each Christmas, enthusiasts arrive
at The George from all over the country
to sing these old carols and capture them on camera.
So 200 years ago,
the only carols that you heard around here were our local carols,
because the hymn book carols,
the usual carols that everyone sings nowadays hadn't been compiled.
Was there somebody who, who was the ultimate creator of these carols,
-Oh, ordinary tradesmen.
-Shoemakers, blacksmiths, miners.
-Ordinary chaps, but clever.
They were good musicians, they were good poets, they...
They put these words together
long before the modern carols came along.
Some of Castleton's carols can be traced back to medieval times.
These carols had a particular importance to the lead miners,
who, for centuries, hollowed the surrounding hills
looking for galena, the valuable lead ore.
The miners were great supporters of the carols,
especially on Christmas Eve.
They decorated some of their best lead ore, the galena,
put a candle on it,
and then sang carols all around it in memory of all the generations of
lead miners who'd gone before them,
till the candle went out.
I've been singing nearly 60 years
and I remember the old timers who I sang with,
and I do it for them, you know,
to keep their memories alive as well.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Now, earlier, I threw down the festive gauntlet to Ellie.
I've challenged her to a race with a difference.
She's got a flock of geese.
I've got a flock of turkeys.
And we're going to drive our flocks on foot to the Norfolk village of
Banham. First over the finish line is the winner.
I've only just left the turkey farm and these birds are off.
In the wrong direction!
My flock is behaving impeccably.
There you go, then, that was good.
-Here we go, see?
Every one of them.
He hopped over my stick!
Now, I know we're, you know, getting close to the road now,
what's the chances of sticking them in the back of a trailer?
We could just nip along a bit, couldn't we?
Oh, yeah, we could do that.
I dare say that's within the rules.
I think I'm making up the rules, so that would be fine!
There's no such thing as cheating in this game.
I'll go along with you, you're the boss!
Don't tell Adam, but I am, shall we say, taking a short cut.
He'll never know.
Right, Adam Henson, what have you got?
If we've got any chance of winning,
these birds have got to get on board. But there's always one.
General hazards of droving, when your turkey goes in a ditch.
Come on, turkey-lurkey.
And it's not just the turkeys holding me up.
-Stuck in the ditch now.
OK, we're there.
It's not easy, this droving, you know.
Come on, turkey.
I'm stopping half a mile from Banham,
then I'll make out I've walked the whole way.
Now, our plan is to stop just short of the village.
Ellie will think we've romped home.
Where are we going to put the rosette, then, when we win?
I don't know, it's up to you.
Come on, then, this is not... This is not race-ready attitude.
This is not the spirit I was looking for.
There's turkeys on the loose out there!
You need to show them who's boss.
Come on, you beauties, we've got this in the bag.
They're going along really well.
Don't seem fazed by it at all.
We're downhill at the moment, anyway.
We've only just begun, we're already losing them in a ditch.
Come on, come on, come on, people.
Go on, then, boys, round the puddle.
-See, the geese would've just ploughed straight through that puddle, wouldn't they?
Get those nice orange feet.
There we go.
That's it, look, we've almost got a bit of a trot on now.
That's where your turkey trot comes from, you see!
And just when I'm in sight of the finish line...
Oh, my goodness, we're going to lose this race because of traffic.
Right, let's go for it. Come on then, girls.
Well, there's a mad dog over there.
Goodness, don't worry about it, turkeys.
He's on a lead. I understand people going for a walk with a dog,
but not for a walk with your turkeys.
Not something you see every day.
I'm so proud of this. They've done amazingly well, so far.
I don't want to speak too soon, because we're just in the heart of
-the village, yeah.
-With the sun shining.
-They've seen an easy escape route over there.
-Come on, then.
Look at that, Claire, look - a pot of gold.
A rainbow. Is that landing on your farm, do you think?
Right, shall we up the pace? We can see the finish line.
-Let's go for it, girls. Come on, then.
-Come on, then!
Let's show those turkeys what we're about, girls.
-Look, we're getting close to the church.
We're making good ground, I reckon.
I wonder how Ellie's getting on.
I see no turkeys.
So tell me, what does Adam look like again,
cos I can't see anyone here who looks like him.
And just like in the story, we've winged it and won.
-Look at that.
Let's radio Ellie, see how she's getting on.
That's right. Come on, then.
Ellie, are you there? It's Adam here.
How's it all going? It's been a really stressful race.
Well, the turkeys are just loving it. They're pottling along, they're very happy.
-How are the geese?
-They're not in a hurry then, the turkeys, no?
No, no, not in a hurry?
They've got a bit of a pace on, yeah - we're letting them relax.
-We're not stressing them out.
-No, no, no.
We might have to run the last 100 metres to beat you.
What? There's everything to play for, so stick with it,
stick with it. I mean, it's going to be a photo finish.
How far away from Banham are you?
I can barely even see it.
I mean, I can't even see the church.
Good luck, I'll see you at the finish line.
OK, see you later.
Let's get the mulled wine out!
All right, let's go for it.
I think she's probably in Suffolk, not Norfolk!
They're getting excited!
Look, they're near the finish line.
They can feel the rosette.
Right, well, coming into the village, there's the church.
I think the village green is just around the corner,
which is the finishing point. I know we've got a 20mph speed limit.
Well, let's just get a bit of a pace on, shall we?
-Come on then.
-I think I can hear something,
-a commotion down that track over there.
-Hark! What yonder?
Hey, good boys!
She's there! She's there, what?
That's ridic... Did you just drop yours straight off into the pen?
That's it, that's it. That's it.
This way, then.
Ten out of ten for the pen.
The geese have it. The geese have it!
Well, I... I'd made a rosette!
-"Winner Team Turkey"
That was so ambitious.
Has anyone got a marker pen? We just need to...
Thankfully, I did make you one as well.
Yes, well-deserved! Well-deserved!
-Come on, Team Turkey.
-Come on, then.
-Come on, Team Goose.
-It's even more lovely to be the victory team.
Stick that on top of your Christmas tree, Team Goose.
Congratulations, and here we are, James,
you can have this as a consolation prize.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.
And you, thank you very much.
From the gaggle of geese and turkeys in Norfolk...
..to sheep in the beautiful peaks,
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without animals.
With robins on icy perches,
and mountain hares snuggled down in their winter coats...
..it's time for hardy breeds...
..and thick fleeces.
However, there is one little face
I wasn't really expecting to find in my Christmas menagerie,
cos you associate them more with new beginnings in spring than Saint Nick
and frosty mornings.
It's a lamb! Hello there, Chris.
-This is Molly.
-There you go.
I've come to Totley Hall Farm, on the edge of the Peak District,
to meet farmer Chris Pocock
and some of his extra special festive friends.
-How old's Molly?
-Molly's about a week old now.
-A week old?
-A Christmas lamb.
I'm slightly confused.
Well, yes, it's a bit unusual for this time of year.
The Poll Dorset breed of sheep are the only UK breed that will naturally lamb throughout the year.
But there must be another reason to breed them at Christmas time.
Well, we do have a secondary reason, yes,
we've got diversification on the farm,
and that is to do nativity plays.
A real lamb in a nativity play?
That's right. A bit unusual, but great fun.
Chris, could this possibly be the cutest film I've ever shot for
-It's got to be, hasn't it?
-It's a cuteness overload.
A live nativity -
what could be more festive?
And what could be more apt than a stable to
-That's it, very good, yeah.
Hey! Fantastic, there we go.
That's Molly safely back with mum.
Let's meet some of the other stars of the show.
A Christmas cow.
-Yep, she's about...
You're very friendly.
And of course, a Christmas donkey.
Oh, my goodness me, where's Spirit from?
-Here you go.
So Spirit is actually an ex-Blackpool donkey,
and it's kind of semi-retirement for him.
He's gone from a six-month summer season on the beach
to a one-month winter season in a stable.
Now we've met the animals, it's time for the real stars to arrive.
Children from across the Peaks and Sheffield have been taking part in
the nativity plays here for the last 15 years.
These are the budding young cast members for 2017.
45 aspiring Marys and Josephs all under four foot,
what could possibly go wrong?
Are you all ready for this nativity?
Yes, they are!
What you need, everybody...
What you need is costumes.
..and lacy wings.
-I feel like
-need an outfit.
OK, off you go.
Hang on, transformation.
No longer a little devil,
but an angel!
Festive costumes on, it's time for some of our cast
to meet the animals.
-Who can tell me what this is?
And what noise does a cow make?
Very good. What's the cow's name?
-Does anybody know?
You're all so super-smart.
A quick transformation, and we're ready to go.
Even Chris gets into character.
And then...it's showtime!
Right then, children, we're ready to start our story.
And our story started a long time ago
in a little town called Nazareth.
And there's even a small part for yours truly.
How about being the star?
Do you think I could be the star?
I think I'll manage it.
Here's Mary on her Christmas donkey.
And little Molly the lamb with the shepherds.
Even Rosie, the Christmas cow, is in on the action.
Finally, it's my time to shine.
This way, Kings.
Never mind three wise men, I've got a whole dynasty of kings to lead.
# Moor and mountain... #
I love that I'm in another nativity!
-Did you enjoy that?
Do you feel ready for Christmas now?
All Christmassy? Yes, we do. We do!
Well, that was the most fun nativity I've ever been involved in.
Now, whilst we'll all have to wait and see
if we've been good enough for presents this year,
what we really want to know is will the weather be naughty or nice
for the festive week ahead? Here's the Countryfile forecast.
MATT: 'Tis the season to be jolly
and we're getting in the festive mood here at Castleton,
in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without carols,
and as the Countryfile team love a good old singsong,
we've found an absolute cracker of a carol concert.
It's happening in here, inside this cave.
Apparently, hundreds are turning up.
I just wish I'd made some more of these.
The vast Peak Cavern is open all year round, but at Christmas,
this huge natural amphitheatre
comes into its own.
Right now, things are gearing up for
tonight's special Scout carol concert.
There's plenty still to be done,
so I'm helping cave owner John Harrison.
The stage is certainly set.
-Yep. Yeah, we've been hard at work this week, getting everything ready, so...
-Just got a tree to put up and then I think it's all systems go.
You can't go far in Castleton without seeing a decorated tree.
But the ones here in the cave are something else.
Five whopping 20-foot firs,
forming the perfect backdrop.
And yep, there's still one that needs putting up.
That's this side. I know.
Let me put...
I love putting Christmas trees up.
This is doing it on an epic scale.
Yeah, that's it. There you go, that's good.
Three, two, one, go.
-Job done, team.
Almost looks straight, as well.
As night falls, the Christmas cavern comes alive.
I mean, you look very much like you're in the zone right now.
And the job of lighting the way to the cave
falls to the younger scouts -
the beavers and cubs, who are placing lanterns every 20 paces.
Are you all team lantern?
-You are, you are.
-Who's in charge?
You? Good. OK, right, lead the way.
Let's go. Let's go, let's go, let's go.
13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 18, 19, 20.
three, four, five, six...
the Castleton Silver Band is warming up...
..whilst the older scouts set up to sell hot chocolate and mince pies.
And maybe even my Bakewell pudding.
The majority of this tonight is all about the beavers, cubs and scouts,
-A real fundraiser.
So how many tickets have you sold for tonight?
Just over 400, which is great. It's more than we usually sell.
-We've advertised it a lot further afield this year, so...
-We'll try and get some more people in and it's as
you say, a fundraiser for them.
-Yeah. So you've got teas, hot chocolates...
Bakewell puddings as well.
-This is my offering. It's not amazing,
but it's the best I could do. I was on a sheep farm first thing
-They do look good. It's not bad for a sheep farm.
-There you go! Where shall I put them? Over there?
-I'm sure they'll like them on there.
-They'll sell them over there, no problem.
Can I squeeze through? I'm sorry, everyone, I've got some Bakewell puddings here.
So, the band is tuned up.
The audience are all here.
Now all we need are my fellow presenters.
I think we're all... Are we all set?
And what do you know?
Look who's here? Just in time!
-Tom, all right?
-Good to see you.
-There you go.
-Thank you for that.
-You all right?
-Matt. Thank you so much. Yeah, I'm good.
-Good. Hiya, John.
-Thank you, Matt.
-There you go.
-Nice song sheet.
-We're all sorted, we are all set,
and that is almost all we've got time for
from our Countryfile Christmas
because this wonderful cave carol concert is about to begin.
But before we all start singing,
everybody who is sheltered here in the Peak District would like to wish
you all at home a very... ALL: Merry Christmas.
Here we go. Jingle bells!
# Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh
# Over fields we go laughing all the way... #
# Bells on bobtails ring making spirits bright
# What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight, oh!
# Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way
# Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey!
# Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way
# Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. #
In this special Christmas programme, Matt, John and Anita are in Castleton in the Peak District, where the celebrated Christmas tree festival is in full swing. Matt helps get things ready for a big carol concert in the world-famous Peak Cavern. At the nearby Longshaw Estate, John looks for a Christmas tree at one of the biggest Christmas tree sales in the country. And Anita visits a farm that puts on its very own Nativity play, complete with newborn Christmas lambs. Meanwhile in Norfolk, Adam challenges Ellie to a race with a difference, her flock of geese racing against his flock of turkeys. And in Staffordshire, Tom meets the farmer who hands out food parcels containing his own produce to help those in need this Christmas.