Matt Baker joins foragers scouring the coast of Cornwall for free food and Anita Rani makes an explosive entrance in her first show as she blasts 26,000 tonnes of rock.
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Sheltered coves and tumbling waves, sea spray and surf.
This is the glorious coastline of Cornwall.
And it's more than just a feast for the eyes,
because along this coastline, underneath the waves,
there is plenty of food to be had.
You've just got to know where to look.
And it's amazing what you can find with a bit of expert help.
Wow! Even from here, that perfume coming out of there.
-That's wild oregano.
-I mean, certainly the earlier machines...
Helen's going back to a day that changed the world.
Tomorrow, it will be 100 years since Britain joined the First World War.
Here at the Lost Gardens of Heligan,
they've turned the clock back to 1914, and I'll be finding out
what happened to the gardeners caught up in the conflict.
Tom asks if new towns can tackle an old problem.
Garden cities are back on the agenda
as a solution to our national housing shortage,
but what impact would these 21st-century towns have
on our countryside?
And Adam's helping his new bull to settle in.
Because he's much younger than they are,
and quite small in stature,
what he has to do is assert his authority,
and he's doing that with all those big bellows, deep grumbles.
Tropical green creeks... golden beaches...
and picturesque fishing villages.
This can only be Cornwall.
I'm going to be exploring the coast near Newquay in the north
and St Austell in the south, looking for food for a fabulous free lunch.
fishermen have eked out a living along this rugged coastline,
but now there's a new generation with a whole new approach.
Ian Donald forages for food beneath the waves,
and he does it by just holding his breath.
They call it freediving, and Ian is going to show me how.
So, Ian, what exactly is the concept of freediving?
Well, basically what we're doing is, we're holding our breath for,
-hopefully, an extended amount of time.
Enough time to be able to get down, you know, enjoy what's around us.
What really started me in a lot of this
was the fact that I could pick up my own sustainable, easily caught food,
delicious seafood, you know, right here.
The whole point, obviously, is to be holding your breath.
-I guess that's where we start.
We're going to get you to try holding your breath.
We're going to see how long you can do now,
-and then we'll see how long you can do after some training.
-In your own time.
No pressure, but I'm never going to make it as a freediver
if I can't hold my breath.
HE EXHALES Well done, that was good.
All right, so that's a baseline at around 40 seconds.
-Oh, that is pretty rubbish.
-Well, it's not that bad.
-I've had worse.
-How long can you hold yours for?
-About seven minutes.
-Do you practise in the bath?
Well, I'll have to do a lot better than that
if I'm going to go in the water.
Ian reckons, with a bit of training, he can double my time.
Slightly deeper than normal breath in.
Then full exhale. Just get rid of everything. Spit, spit, spit, spit.
Then into your chest, in that big, wide open mouth.
That's it. And hold and relax.
Just keep loose. Keep loose. That's it.
You're going to start feeling those contractions coming.
Just relax. Don't shake. Just relax, relax, relax. Loose, loose, loose.
-Do you want to know how long you did?
That is different. Yeah, go on.
Two minutes, one second.
Really? Did I?!
-There you go.
-Oh, man. Wow.
Before I hit the water, I need to get kitted out.
But first, I've got to figure out how to get the suit on.
So, you're going to have to pull it down now, so just... Right, head up.
That's it. Right...
-'I don't remember Spider-Man finding it in this difficult.'
-That's it, well done. Right...
-Good job we did all that breath-holding earlier.
The hooded suit and extra-long fins make me more efficient in the water.
Now to put my new-found skills to the test and go in search of lunch.
My first ever freedive, and I think I'm going to like this.
That felt great.
It's so liberating, I can't tell you, just swimming along the bottom
and the fish are coming up and having a little look.
There's a lot of life down here,
but we're looking for something we can eat.
The freediving mantra is take only what you need
and select animals of the right size and species.
-He's quite young.
-There won't be much meat in him either.
'Brown crab is delicious,
'but this little fella is too small to eat,
'so we're going to put him back.'
Now, this looks more promising. A full-grown lobster.
It looks like it's been in the wars,
but even with one claw, it'll put up a fight.
Got it. That's one claw for me and... Sorry, Ian.
It's not a banquet, that's for sure, but I did manage to grab a lobster.
Quite a feisty little thing, he was.
A lovely way to get your food, and cos you're face-to-face with it,
when you take it off the sea bed and you're going to eat it,
you have a lot more respect for your food that way.
You know exactly where it came from.
Well, I'm pretty pleased with my haul.
Later, I'll be scouring the shoreline for edible plants
to go with my freedived feast.
Now, new housing and where to put it
is one of the most controversial issues in the countryside,
So, could a new wave of garden cities be the answer? Here's Tom.
The British landscape is a precious commodity
and many believe we should do everything possible
to protect it from development.
But having somewhere to live, a plot of land
and a home to call your own,
well, that's also a very precious commodity.
According to the latest statistics, we need to be building
around a quarter of a million homes a year to meet demand.
At the moment, though,
we're managing to construct less than half of that.
So, how are we going to make up for this shortfall?
The latest solution is an old idea, to build a wave of new garden cities,
and I've come to the world's first, Letchworth in Hertfordshire,
to meet the man championing the idea,
Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.
So, what's your plan for garden cities?
I think if we return to the old tradition, if you like,
of Ebenezer Howard, Raymond Unwin,
those great pioneers who built places like this.
Beautiful, green, settled communities
with the right amenities, the right transport links,
places where people want to bring up children,
where they want to grow old.
I think if we do that, with local support,
you can actually stop this endless aggravation around urban sprawl
build on a scale which also helps build the number of homes we need.
'The Deputy Prime Minister's initial plan
'is for three new garden cities, each with around 15,000 homes.
'But he says they'll only be built
'if local people propose and support them.'
Isn't there a danger, though, you'll replace, as you call it,
a rash of planning battles with, let's say, a handful,
three, four, five, really big ones, really iconic ones?
Well, that's why it's important that I'm saying
this will not go ahead unless there is local support.
It cannot be imposed from...you know, from the top, from the centre.
We're not going to just sort of drop a garden city
on top of a community that don't want it.
Garden cities were first proposed at the end of the 19th century
as an antidote to urban overcrowding.
The idea was to blend the very best of the town and the countryside
in a single community.
Letchworth came first, in 1903.
A step back in time with a little slide show of Letchworth.
This is Ebenezer Howard, the founder of the place,
the real godfather of the garden city movement in Britain.
After World War II, a fresh wave of so-called new towns were built,
32 in all, each inspired by garden city principles.
'The satellite town scheme
'is planned to reduce the congestion in London
'and give workers employment in pleasant surroundings.'
But who is going to want to build one now?
It's still early days,
but one place that has already expressed an interest
in learning more about the scheme is Bicester, in Oxfordshire.
Councillor Michael Gibbard is the lead member for planning.
So, what have you got in mind for Bicester?
We do have the existing Bicester.
We are now well under way with North West Bicester,
which is an eco-town.
We have housing where we are now.
We have South West Bicester, and Graven Hill.
But hang on.
This is a long-standing plan to expand Bicester
and give it 15,000 new greener homes.
Now the council want to call it a garden city.
So, what is going on?
And what is it you think entitles this to be called a garden city
rather than a bunch of new housing developments round a town?
We have the opportunity to reshape Bicester
to fully integrate these new areas
and to do it in an eco-friendly way...
Really? A garden city? Honestly?
In order to create that, we do need additional investment.
We would look for the Government in promoting garden city.
Does the change of title simply give you a way
of squeezing more money out of the Government?
If need be, I will do that, but it's a garden city by design.
So, being accepted as a garden city
may help Bicester unlock Government cash and support
for its housing expansion, but you don't have to go far
to discover what the impact of that expansion might be.
Wendlebury, a small rural village to the southwest of Bicester.
It's currently surrounded by green fields,
but that could be about to change.
Well, we've seen, haven't we,
from the developments that are going on, that the map is...
the road is coming all across this fantastic countryside over here.
'Julian Cordy heads up a protest group
'against one of the proposed Bicester development sites.'
-Hello. This must be campaign headquarters.
-Yes, it is indeed.
'The group is not against the housing.
'It's fighting a road that goes with it.'
-What am I looking at here?
-Well, this is a map of Wendlebury.
The big problem for us is this the proposed relief road.
It's proposed to come in right against our village over here,
within maybe 150 yards of houses, and it's there for no good reason.
Our big concern is the loss of our rural identity,
the potential impact of increased traffic coming through the village,
noise, and, really, losing our rural way of life
is a really big concern for us.
'To see how the area could be affected,
'Julian's taken me to one potential route for the planned road.'
Well, this is a lovely bit of countryside,
a footpath that a lot of the villagers use,
and this is actually the very site
where this proposed road may be going.
As you can see, it's fantastic countryside
and it's going to be under tonnes and tonnes of concrete.
Does this make you think that they're sort of...
they don't consider villages, they don't consider your feelings?
I don't think there's any doubt about that. They definitely do not.
Everything is tunnel vision, it's all about houses, houses, houses,
don't think about the villages,
don't listen to the impact, and it's not at all joined up.
The district council, to the county council,
to the Highways Agency, to the Environment Agency,
the whole thing is a complete muddle,
and we're the villages that are suffering as a result of it.
The Wendlebury protest
illustrates one of the biggest potential problems
for new garden cities - local opposition.
And now this scheme's come through,
it looks like losing our home and everything we've worked for.
Post-war new towns attracted protests, but in more recent years,
even relatively modest plans for new rural housing
caused major controversy.
The Deputy Prime Minister, though, has a plan
to make garden cities more palatable for existing communities.
We could maybe give deductions on their council tax
for the period of time during which the garden city's being built.
We could possibly also say to those homes
where they think the price of their home will be affected,
we will guarantee the price of their home
by buying it, if you like, up front.
Wow, so if their home value is blighted by a nearby garden city,
you're saying the Government will step in and compensate them?
-We could. We could.
-Really? That would be a big bill.
Well, I actually don't think it will be as big as people think.
All I'm saying is, we're actively looking at things like that
to show that we will go the extra mile
to allay those concerns of people who feel that their property
or the price of their home might be affected.
-We don't want people to lose out.
-You buy them off?
This is something that we do anyway.
As a country where you have big infrastructure projects,
where people are affected, we make sure that they don't lose out,
and I think the same principle can and should apply to garden cities,
but to really give that belt and braces assurance
we are actively looking at those kind of things.
So, the Deputy Prime Minister is banking on local support
to make the new garden cities a reality
and, as we just heard, he's open to using public money
to win opinion round, but what would we get for that money?
I'll come back to this subject in a couple of weeks
to see whether present-day town and country
can ever sit happily together.
Back in Cornwall, the latest addition to the Countryfile team,
Anita Rani, is about to make a big entrance.
Stand by, Anita. In three, two, one.
Oh, my goodness!
28,000 tonnes of rock have just been blown up,
and this is the largest china clay pit in the world.
That was seriously impressive.
Over 500 acres in size and 450 feet deep.
Three million tonnes of clay are excavated from this mine every year.
But where does it all go?
Ivor Bowditch has worked here for nearly 50 years.
So, Ivor, we all know that a china cup makes the best cup of tea.
But what else is it used for?
Today, 50% goes into paper manufacturing.
It is the supplement which would have the higher...
The shiny, glossy magazine paper?
..quantity, and you would be looking at, probably, 25% by weight,
that Saturday or Sunday supplement is containing china clay.
A quarter of the weight of my weekend paper.
The poor old paperboy. But clay is more versatile than that.
It's also used in pharmaceuticals,
rubber, paint, plastics, cosmetics - the list goes on.
What happens to all the waste? Presumably it's not 100% clay.
Every tonne of china clay, we have up to nine tonnes of by-products.
This very plant here supplied aggregate to the Olympic Village.
So, next time I'm cycling through the Olympic Village,
I will think about this very pit.
But to understand the true scale of this pit,
I've got to get down there.
This pit has been continuously mined since 1830.
300,000 tonnes of china clay are mined here annually,
and the work goes on around the clock.
Meeting such big demand requires big toys.
If you stand by the wheel, it'll give you some indication of how big it is.
-There you go.
-£5,000 a tyre.
-Don't want to get a puncture, do you?
-Can I get up there?
-Off to have a go in a dump truck.
Carrying 65 tonnes in one load,
these monstrous trucks make light work of the huge quantities of clay.
OK, Chris, tip it.
About 65 tonnes just dumped.
-Easy as that.
-Easy as that.
I didn't think it could get any better, but now for the best bit.
Firing water at the rock is the easiest way
of separating out the valuable china clay.
Up she goes.
This water cannon fires out 14,000 litres of water a minute,
or the equivalent of eight
Olympic-sized swimming pools a day...
..and at a force that's enough to blast a 4x4 clean off its wheels.
Ivor, do you think I've got a job?
I think you're shaping up. You're doing a proper job,
as we would say in Cornwall.
This is brilliant.
But I think I should probably leave this to the professionals.
It's an impressive landscape -
a white gouge beneath a soft blue sky.
Local artist Jenny Beavan
takes inspiration form the landscape around her.
She uses a variety of natural materials
found in the Cornish landscape, not least the china clay.
Here is the china clay, which has been processed
-so it might be a bit...
-Ah, in powder form.
-..loose in this wind.
It's so fine, isn't it?
It's like talc.
One minute I'm blasting it,
next minute helping Jenny make art with it.
We're going to work with the idea of what water does.
Water flows as a whirl.
She doesn't just take inspiration from the natural world,
she also uses it.
-What's in here? Wild flowers?
Things that are seasonal.
So this is all local?
You just work with the earth, then, you really do.
They will go into the clay,
and they will eventually combust out
and they'll leave gaps so that the glaze can then fill.
I've travelled. I've worked in Japan and Finland and places
and I've seen bags of this china clay
I feel so proud and I think, "How many other people
"know that this comes from this small little area of England?"
So this is 100% Cornish art.
Everything is set but Jenny's left me the tricky bit.
(She's going to let me pour it on.)
I don't know if that's wise!
Easy does it.
This thick clay will hold it all together.
Are there any beauty properties... Will I live for ever
if I cover myself in it?
-Everyone who works around here looks a lot younger.
I'm figuring it's something to do with the clay.
Oh, my goodness!
This is just the start of the process.
Our piece will be left to dry for three months,
then it'll be fired and glazed
and maybe one day look like this,
taking its place alongside all of Jenny's inspired artwork.
There's something about this landscape
and the way the light's reflecting off the water.
It just looks beautiful. It's industrial and it's a wasteland
-but it's gorgeous.
What an absolute pleasure.
I've loved it.
What a better place to come and have my first ever ceramics lesson.
-This is pretty special.
In the spring, James Wong was in the countryside
looking at all the plants and flowers
bursting back to life.
A riot of life and colour
that we all know and love.
But there is one plant that's perhaps
captured our hearts more than any other -
the native bluebell, one of Britain's favourite wildflowers.
But there is more to this plant than meets the eye.
I've come to meet a scientist on a mission
to unlock the secrets of the bluebell.
-Good stuff. Good to meet you.
Originally from Germany, Doctor Vera Thoss
is a chemist at Bangor University.
She specialises in the study of plants
on a molecular level.
Vera, you're a chemist, not a botanist.
What's led you to study bluebells?
Because they've got interesting poisonous chemicals in them.
So you're not looking at them from the point of a plant,
you're looking at them from the point of, like,
-a cocktail of chemicals that's within theirselves?
We are trying to chemically take apart to look at the individuals.
What Vera is trying to do is explore the chemicals within bluebells
by breaking them down into their component parts.
To aid her research,
she is licensed to manage a wild colony of bluebells.
She is the only person in Wales with such a licence
and one of only a handful in the entire UK.
Much of Vera's work has looked into
how bluebell conservation can be improved.
Along the way, she has also explored
how bluebells spread to form those magical carpets.
What you've got is
Those flowers on here
will turn into seed capsules.
The seed will ripen in them.
It stays in them and at the end of the life, they fall down.
So you have got a little bit, just a short distance
away from where the flower was.
If that happens year in, year out,
if you've got a high density,
eventually you get a bluebell carpet.
But bluebells, like woodlands,
take decades or centuries to grow
because that spread continues.
This is why, where you see a bluebell carpet,
it's taken as an indicator of an ancient woodland.
It's amazing how these enormous things can start from
very small beginnings.
But her research into these flowers
goes far beyond increasing the number of bluebells.
Look at this! It's like some kind of blue landslide.
-Painting the mountains blue.
When you look at this as a geeky chemist,
you're not looking at it in terms of being beautiful,
you're more interested in the chemicals that go on inside.
About half of all medicines that we use today
come originally from plants, also from a biological source.
Bluebells are mostly described as poisonous.
But there are potential future medicines in there.
We know there is immuno-sugars in there.
Those immuno-sugars are potential anti-cancer drugs,
anti-TB drugs, so we still have to try to
tease them apart and see what are the individual ones,
what are their structure, what could they possibly do.
We're still scratching the surface
when it comes to the medicinal potential of the plant world.
But with around 300,000 plant species on Earth,
that's a lot of testing.
Medicine aside, Vera reckons there may be even more uses
How do you go from this
to finding out its potential future applications?
Well, the first thing we have to do
is look at the different components which are in the plant.
The oil, the carbohydrates,
the scent, the pigment.
What are they and how we can get them out.
And if you want...
we can maybe get the pigment out of these flowers.
First of all, though, we need to pick some.
It's not illegal to pick bluebells for your own use
but you would be breaking the law if you took the blubs.
And always get the landowner's permission
before you pick any wildflower.
How much do we need?
Oh. How much have you got?
That'll do. That will do. We can use those.
-Just to illustrate the principle.
Having collected a few handfuls,
the next step is to add some solvent,
in this case, methanol.
What we should begin to see after a few minutes
is that the bluebells will begin to go pale.
Right. So we've added the solvent to the flowers.
Pigment travelled into the solvent.
What we do is we leave it for a day,
take it back to the lab,
take off the flowers
and distil off the solvent.
What we are left with then
is something which looks like that.
Unbelievably, when you concentrate it down,
you get this really intense, almost like grape jelly kind of pigment.
So much darker than the flowers themselves.
So much darker than I ever imagined.
Vera is hoping to reveal
just how versatile bluebells can be.
But I've got an experiment of my own
that I'm keen to put to the test.
Just across the Menai Straits
lies Anglesey, home of an artist known for capturing
some of the most picturesque scenes of North Wales,
I'm hoping that she'll be able to use
this pigment in her latest creation,
a bluebell wood.
Janet. What a great place to be creative in!
Isn't it just.
I'm painting bluebells at the moment.
My painting's more about colour and form
rather than the detail of the flowers
-but I adore flowers so this is a great place to be.
In terms of capturing the hue of something,
I've got a little surprise for you.
I've got this pigment here,
which, believe it or not,
is a pure extract from the bluebells that you are taking
images of right now.
I'm wondering - I'm no artist -
whether you can paint with this.
I'm led to believe you can.
-Shall we have a go?
Absolutely. Let's have a go.
Wow. It really is quite strong purple, isn't it?
-An Indian ink kind of colour.
If I add white paint to it, let's see what happens.
That's quite a good purple.
That's real bluebell!
You're painting bluebells using bluebells!
The other interesting thing about this pigment,
is...it doesn't have a fixative in it,
so we don't know exactly how long
it'll keep its colour for.
So...the flowers in this painting
may be as fleeting as the real flowers
that you're taking pictures of!
OK. The bluebells are here for three weeks.
The painting might just be here for three weeks!
Yeah! It looks great as it is! We'll see what happens.
This may have been just a bit of fun,
but there is no denying that Janet has really captured
the beauty of these bluebells.
It never ceases to amaze me
about how even the most familiar plants
can still harbour this enormous range
of unknown properties.
Maybe one day we'll unlock the secrets
behind this fantastic little flower.
Earlier on, I learned to freedive and bagged myself a lobster
in the clear waters off Newquay.
Now I'm on the south coast,
looking for a seaside side dish.
There's plenty of foodie things to be found along the Cornish coast,
without even getting your feet wet.
Local wild food expert Tom Hunt
is going to help me put together a tasty side dish or two.
Tom, how are you doing?
Nice to see you.
You've obviously been very busy here.
Where do you get all this stuff from?
This has been all over.
I've been everywhere from my home this morning,
which is on the estuary, right round the coast
and a bit of the fields.
This time of year is a great time of year for foraging.
There's heaps of stuff - everything from flowers,
shoots, roots, berries, nuts.
It's just a great way of living.
It's a great lifestyle.
Has it ever gone wrong for you? Have you ever eaten the wrong stuff?
-You must have done! Come on!
I get asked that question quite a lot.
It's an important point because
certainly at this time of year,
there's a hemlock water dropwort,
which is the most dangerous plant in the whole of the Northern Hemisphere.
It's fully in bloom and if you were to eat some of that,
you wouldn't get much past about three hours
before we'd wave you goodbye into the next world.
It's pretty potent stuff.
That's why I always tell people
get handbooks, cross-reference on the internet
and get yourself on a course.
That's how we can just incorporate the wild
into our everyday lives.
When it comes to wild food,
the saying is what grows together goes together.
Tom thinks we can get some great things
to go with my lobster right here on this beach.
We're going to start with quite a potent plant.
This is actually black mustard.
It's in flower at the moment.
-Pop that in your mouth.
-All of it?
-Yeah. Whole thing.
It's pretty potent. Tell me what you think.
-Do I chew it?
Yeah. I'm definitely getting that mustard straightaway.
Now it's getting spicy.
Now it's getting... Yeah, now it's hot.
Yeah, that fills your whole mouth.
I tell you what, I was having a few problems equalising earlier on
but that's clearing my sinuses beautifully!
It's pretty potent stuff.
This is the reason that English mustard
is the strongest mustard of all
because we've got so much black mustard.
Tom's introducing me to some basic plants
I can seek for myself.
There's an incredible range of things to choose
just metres from the sea.
And in no time at all,
we've got ourselves a feast.
Look at this. Some beautiful stuff as well.
On a plate, I mean, you know...
It just looks delightful.
Well, it looks good. Have a smell.
Rub one of the leaves.
You've got to mash it up a touch.
Even from here that perfume coming out of there.
That's wild oregano.
It's actually quite rare. We're quite lucky.
That's the first spot I've found of that in quite a while.
Foraging may be subject to local bylaws
so check for permission before you go gathering.
Above all, use common sense.
Don't damage plants or habitat
and don't eat anything if you're in any doubt.
What about this stuff? That looks quite interesting.
You must eat in posh restaurants.
I don't, to be honest with you.
I'm not, honestly! I hardly ever do, but go on.
-This is one that most...
-Should I know what that is?
..most people, I would say, would recognise that one.
I love that stuff.
Hopefully, that lobster's going to taste
absolutely exquisite with a little bit of whatever we decide
to put next to it.
It beats popping to the local shops.
Or one of those posh restaurants.
We've easily got enough to make a proper fish supper.
Later, I'll be putting my culinary skills to the test
by cooking up that free-food lunch.
On Countryfile, we travel far and wide
to cover every corner of the UK.
it's just nice to have a little time in familiar surroundings.
This week, Adam's doing just that,
spending the day at home on his farm.
-Cheers. See you later.
-See you later.
It's eight o'clock in the morning and I've been up for about an hour,
checking through e-mails and planning the week ahead.
Now I'm going to spend a day doing what I enjoy most
and that's getting out and about on the farm.
Although it's generally a quiet time of year now,
there still seems to be a lot going on on the farm. Everyone is busy.
But at least the sun is shining.
The first job I've got to do is turn one of my new bulls out
with the cows.
A few months ago, I had the great pleasure
of going up to the Queen's estate in Scotland, to Balmoral,
to see her wonderful herd of Highland cattle.
I met up with he farm manager, there, Docky.
Being a good Scotsman, he soon persuaded me
to buy one of his bulls.
-I want him.
Thank you very much.
Here he is. One of the lads has got him tied up for me
so I'll lead him out to his cows.
He likes having his neck scratched.
Archie, like any new arrival onto the farm,
had to be quarantined, to make sure he wasn't carrying any
nasty diseases or infections.
I'm pleased to say this little fella
got a clean bill of health
so he's ready to finally meet his new lady friends.
He's certainly asserting his authority,
sounding very manly.
I'm quite worried about him.
Because he's much younger than they are,
and quite small in stature,
what he has to do is assert his authority
and he's doing that with all those big bellows,
He's just checking out there's not another bull in the field.
The girls are actually very impressed.
They look like they're a bit nervous of him.
Now he knows there's no-one to fight with,
he's got something else on his mind.
Best to leave Archie to it
and take stock of some of our other beasts.
Just checking on some of my young bulls we've got here.
Belted Galloway, White Park,
and then this silvery Highland,
He's Eric's son, my old Highland bull.
Unfortunately, he broke his horn off when he was younger.
He's still looking good.
We check around all the livestock at least once a day.
It's something I enjoy doing.
There's a group of sheep down here under the trees in the shade.
I'll drive round and get them all up.
It's important to see
all the animals up on their feet, walking about,
to make sure they're happy and healthy.
Come by, sheep. And again. Come on.
They all look well so I'll check around the perimeter
and make sure the water trough is full, then this field's done.
It's all looking good for the animals I've seen so far.
But at this time of year it's our arable land,
which is really on my mind.
This is a field of our winter wheat.
We grow about 350 acres of wheat.
That makes up about a third of our cropable area.
It's a very important crop to us.
We invest a huge amount of money and time and energy in it.
Martin, our arable manager, is here just checking it over.
This crop looks tremendous.
There's hardly any disease in it at all.
It's really good. Really pleased with it.
We're going to check and see how the nitrogen is going on in the plant
so we get good proteins.
We've been monitoring this now for two weeks.
Hopefully, we've still got plenty in the plant.
-You just squeeze some sap out...
You should just run in there.
We are looking for it to go purple pretty quick.
If you had low nitrogen, that would mean low proteins
and this would get rejected from bread-making and go into animal feed.
-That's it, yes.
-This is perfect, isn't it? That's really good.
Well done, you. Let's hope for a bumper harvest.
The crops are looking excellent.
A little later, I will be taking delivery of a new piece of kit
which I hope is going to make this year's harvest a breeze.
But before that, there are some sheep that need a bit of attention.
So these are some lambs that Becka is treating for lameness.
A few weeks ago, we had an expert
come to the farm and advise us not to trim
our sheep any more with foot trimmers,
so we have avoided doing that.
We now spray their feet with this anti-biotic, antiseptic spray.
Then we will be putting a vaccine programme in place
and we have put in lime around the gateways. Hopefully,
in time, we will get on top of the problem. How are they looking, Becka?
Really well, actually, they are growing really well at the moment.
-Their feet are getting a lot better.
It is so difficult trying to keep the sheep's feet clean
in a situation like this in the pens, where they get mucky.
There is a risk of cross infection
so the lower the incidence of foot rot in the flock,
the less chance there is of that. Well done. Catch up with you later.
We are slowly getting on top of the feet problems
but I am finding it quite difficult not trimming their feet, it is
something I have done for ever.
When their toenails get long, the temptation is to trim them back.
But the advice is, leave them be. It goes against the grain a bit.
It is time to meet Martin again, to check out our brand-new beast.
An enormous combine ideal for the bumper harvest
we are really hoping for.
Goodness me, Martin, boys and their toys.
-You have been treating me again, haven't you?
So this cutter bar which cuts the wheat in the field, how long is that?
That is 30 feet this time.
-I think that is the biggest we have ever had on this farm.
-It is, yes.
The header goes on the front of the combine and it cuts the crop
that then goes into the guts of the machine for threshing.
-She cost us, what, 250,000?
-So put that on finance over five years.
She has got to cover some acres.
How many acres are we going to be cutting?
It's got to cut at least 1,500 acres a year.
It's capable of maize, grass, seed, sunflowers, everything.
Tell me about these, tracks like you get on a tank.
Yes, we put tracks on this one this time.
The weight of the combine is over 20 tonnes, that is
without any grain in the tank. So that we can get up the hills easier.
Brilliant. It is really smart.
I can't wait to see it working in the fields.
-Won't be long.
-Catch up with you later.
Come on then.
It is six o'clock now.
Just doing the evening feed, the animals indoors get fed twice a day.
This is Meredith, my lovely White Park bull I bought recently.
He'll be going out with the cows soon.
It's been a good day on the farm, the crops are looking good,
the lambs are all sorted
and Archie, my new Highland bull, settled in well.
Just a few things to sort out in the office and then home for tea.
Imagine a summer 100 years ago.
Crops ripening in the fields,
the sun beating down on farmers making hay.
Here, the gardeners of the Heligan estate were busy cutting,
pruning and tending vegetables.
But that idyllic summer would soon be shattered.
For a conflict like none before was coming.
Exactly 100 years ago tomorrow,
Britain declared war on Germany as part of the First World War
and nothing would ever be the same again.
It would cost millions of lives,
a whole generation of young men would be wiped out.
12 Heligan gardeners went to war but not all of them came home.
To find out more about the lost heroes,
I am meeting Heligan historian Peter Lavis.
So what do we know about the 12 men who went to World War I from here?
We have got the Heligan estate labour book here
which dates from April 1914
and it gives, under each day, the jobs that the men were allocated.
We have got a family called the Paynters.
We have got Richard Paynter, Frederick Paynter
and William Paynter. William was the father, he was a stonemason.
Richard was one of his sons, he was the carpenter here.
Here we have Fred, and there it is written, "Left to enlist".
-We know that 12 went. How many came back?
-Only three. Nine perished.
75%. It is a big proportion.
Hearing that Britain had joined the war, they would never have
known how significant that was going to be, would they?
I think a lot of young lads thought it was an adventure
and didn't realise the implications of what they were going to fight in.
Why do you think it is important to pay tribute to these men,
and why do you think it is important to get the gardens back to how
-We pay tribute to these men because they gave their lives.
With the help of the families, we are
slowly putting those stories back together which means that
the men are coming back to life in people's memories.
There are echoes of those old gardeners at every turn.
Here and there are vegetable beds they laid out,
trees they planted and even old buildings
they would have used are just as they were back in 1914.
The gardens have undergone massive restoration.
They have been returned to their original splendour
and the methods and techniques would be familiar still
to the gardeners of 100 years ago.
Nicola Bradley is their modern-day equivalent,
keeping alive those old traditions.
-You look busy there.
I am, yes, just putting on some kale to go out in the winter brassica bed.
How close is this to how it would have been in 1914?
Pretty much as close as it could be, really.
They are so atmospheric, these buildings.
You can almost feel the gardeners of time gone by.
Let's get this kale on the next stage of its journey
so that we can enjoy it.
Will just pop them in this cold frame here
and we will make sure we put a net over them later.
-Keep the pigeons off.
-Are birds a bit of an issue?
They are a nightmare, yes.
Of course, they would have had the same problem back in 1914,
they would have had pigeons.
But I think they would probably have had a lot of pigeon pie
-back then as well.
I can imagine people ask you about why you do things in a certain way.
As far as we are concerned, it is a good way to garden.
It is very labour intensive, obviously.
People look at us like we're crazy sometimes
but we have got amazing soil and we can grow parsnips,
you know, that long, because we have got beautiful rich topsoil
and because we dug it that way.
Is there anything that they did in 1914 that you wouldn't do now?
They did use, believe it or not, cucumber straighteners.
Nicola, take me to the cucumber straightener.
A sentence I never thought I would say!
Completely derelict 25 years ago, the beautiful greenhouses
have been fully restored to their former glory.
-This is a cucumber straightener.
You have got to attach it to a relatively small cucumber.
Back then, it was a matter of pride, you know, in the produce you produce.
Also, probably quite high expectations of your employer.
It said something about them, the produce that was on their table.
If it wasn't perfect, the guests would go away
and probably gossip about that. So it was very much a matter of pride.
-What are the little boxes?
-They are basically natural predators.
They would have been spraying really horrible stuff like nicotine
and arsenic as pest control. Hideous chemicals.
Didn't that poison the plants?
Well, some of it would have gone into the plants, yes.
-Perfectly straight cucumbers with a side helping of arsenic!
The summer that the First World War broke out was perfect.
The conditions were ideal for growing crops.
In the fields,
the gardeners of Heligan would have been harvesting hay.
To get a sense of how different that process was, I am turning
the clock back with the help of David Jones and Bumble, his horse.
Up until the First World War,
most of the jobs on the farm would have been done by horses.
They worked the hay pole, they ploughed,
they did pretty much all the jobs on the farm.
100 years ago, hay making was time consuming and labour intensive.
From scything the hay to cocking it for drying
required many man-hours and lots of elbow grease.
Today, we are trying our hand at some of those old methods.
I feel a little bit naive because when I see
pictures of my grandad doing this, exact thing in the fields,
I think, how romantic,
he was probably there enjoying the sunshine, moseying along.
But actually, you can't switch off.
It was hard work and relatively dangerous as well.
-This time I am going to concentrate and get it right.
-Do you want the reins as well?
-Do you trust me?
-He probably won't listen to you.
-Not many men do.
Bumbles. Come on, fella. Bumble.
-There you are.
-Off he goes. Go on, Bumble. Walk on. Walk on.
It's so heavy!
Hey, look at you!
-Thank you, Bumble.
I am in Cornwall, where I have been foraging above
and beneath the waves for the ingredients for a seaside feast.
So far, I have caught a lobster with my bare hands
and plucked an array of herbs and sea vegetables from the shoreline.
All that is left is to cook it.
Simon Stallard runs a beach restaurant
and is a dab hand with foraged food.
There is a vision of a man who likes to be prepared. Simon, how are you?
Hi, Matt, how are you doing?
-Good to see you.
-Welcome to Porthcurnick.
-Look at all these goody stuff that I have for you here.
-That comes from Thom. This here is the result of my freedive.
It's a lobster, as you can see, with just the one claw.
-Maybe a bit more practice?
-I think so!
-Can you do something with that?
-Yes, yes, we will get him on the grill.
What's it like for you to be out here cooking with
the sound of the water coming in, knowing that all of this stuff
has just been foraged from a matter of miles?
I don't think it gets any better, really.
I gave up my life living and working in London kitchens to come and
actually just cook and work around these waters with this produce.
We try to cook as much as we can over wood, coconut coals.
Just really about that sort of flavour, realness,
certainly unpretentious style of cooking, really.
'Simon has brought along the king of sustainable Cornish seafood,
'the spider crab.'
Look at the size of that one. That's huge.
'There are loads of them in our seas but we usually export them abroad.'
The majority, I think about 80%, goes to Spain.
The Spanish value it as much as lobster.
Unfortunately we don't seem to see the same value.
'Speaking of lobster, Mine is done.'
Look at that!
-I think you should just have a bit of your fruits.
-Just to try it.
-Yeah, just get straight in.
-Here we go.
That tastes absolutely beautiful.
The spider crab is cooked.
Now for the delicate task of getting at the meat,
which it turns out is anything but delicate.
My basket of leaves has given Simon food for thought.
I see that as my lemon juice, this here has lovely saltiness to it.
Just shredded down.
So I have got my saltiness, these can go in, we'll just roll them up.
My foraged sea beet is blanched
and is filled with the other ingredients.
In goes the spider crab, my lobster and all my hand-picked herbs.
The bite-sized parcels are then seared on the griddle.
Does it bring a different perspective to it that this
is all free?
It always tastes sweeter when it doesn't cost anything.
Looks like these fabulous cooking smells have attracted
a few scavengers.
This looks very productive.
Would you believe it, just in time! Here they come. Hungry bellies.
-Nice to see you all.
-What have you got for us?
Well, this is an absolute delight. This is basically my day in a bite.
So we have got sea beet all round the outside.
Inside there you have got spider crab,
you have got hand-foraged and grabbed one-armed lobster.
-By my good self!
That is delicious. Really nice.
That is just perfect.
I might just lie down here on this beach
and just listen to the waves and fall fast asleep.
That is all we have got time for from Countryfile this week,
from the Cornish coast.
Next week the whole team will be in the Cotswolds,
where it is no-holds-barred.
Look at this.
-Did we say no mercy?
Come on! Oh!
-That is not like you, to be competitive.
-Anyway, who wins?
-Find out next week. That is it from us. Goodbye.
Matt Baker joins the foragers scouring the coast of Cornwall for free food. But he's going to have to take to the waves if he wants spider crab, and that means freediving - something he's never done before.
Anita Rani makes an explosive entrance in her first Countryfile as she blasts 26,000 tonnes of rock in the world's biggest china clay quarry. Helen Skelton tells the story of the gardeners from Heligan who went to France to fight in World War I. And she steps back in time with the modern-day gardeners turning the clock back a hundred years in honour of their early forebears.
Adam is like a big kid with a new toy when he takes the keys of a massive new combine harvester. And Tom investigates whether deputy prime minister Nick Clegg's plans to bring back garden cities could have a detrimental impact on our countryside.