Countryfile is in County Durham, and Matt is on his old home turf, showing how to make panackelty, a traditional north eastern dish.
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Hills, moorland, crashing waterfalls and beautiful coastline,
County Durham has got the lot.
Now, this is the place that I was born,
but I'm not here to talk about its scenery.
Today I'm here for one thing - panackelty.
'It's a dish well-known in these parts
'and I'll be showing how it's made.'
-And there you have it.
-Is it you, Lucy? Right.
Ellie takes the plunge at the stunning Low Force waterfall.
Tom's looking at a messy problem in our countryside.
This is really shocking. It's like an avalanche of rubbish
across this slope here.
And Adam's meeting the farmers who think grass-fed beef is best.
Right, come on, let's have a little taste.
Really smooth flavour. Very nice.
The shimmering North Sea...
..with flashes of gorse in bloom...
..and a monument to mining past...
..this is Easington Colliery in County Durham.
Easington Colliery is a former mining community
that sits right on the Durham Coast.
There's a dish around these parts that has a special place
in locals' hearts.
It's made of potatoes, onions,
vegetables and, originally,
any cheap meat you could get your hands on.
It's called panackelty,
known elsewhere in the north-east as pan haggerty.
It's a cheap and cheerful dish, cooked in quantity,
shared with neighbours...
..a hearty meal to come home to after a day at the coalface.
It's still popular today, even though the mine has long gone.
Well, that was the winding shaft for the pit.
Over to my right-hand side, that's where all the spoil heaps
were and, of course, the miners used to live just there.
Now, I know that for a fact cos I used to deliver their milk.
The pit closed in 1993.
Since then, the site has undergone quite a transformation.
It's now a nature reserve, where Angela Surtees is a volunteer.
Do you know, anybody coming down here today that didn't know of the
area's past would never believe that there was a pit here, would they?
No, absolutely not.
It's still locally referred to as the former pit site.
In 2001, the Turning the Tide project actually came and developed
the site and thousands of tonnes of colliery spoil was removed.
The site was profiled and turned into what you can see today
with the grasslands,
the trees and copses.
And last year there was a celebration of the local dish here.
So where was the panackelty festival, then?
It was actually over on the mown grassed area over there.
-We had two tepees.
And inside the tepees we had local chef Bill Smithson
and he cooked three variations of the dish panackelty
and the locals came and tested and voted on their favourite.
Bill, a former MasterChef regional finalist,
will be cooking panackelty for us later.
First, though, I need to get the ingredients together.
Any good panackelty starts with potato and onion,
and I know exactly where to find them.
Well, this place goes on and on and on.
SHE CHUCKLES Doesn't it? How many greenhouses
-have you got here?
-I've no idea!
-I've never counted them.
Allotments play a big part in local life,
each proud plot passed down from generation to generation.
Carol Ingram used to help her grandad here.
We've got pictures of me when I was very small
-and I first started coming to the garden.
-This is you, is it?
-So your earliest memories, then, I guess, are of this place.
This gentleman here was known to everybody as Grandad Nelson,
who had a garden up the village and he was the only man in
Easington that grew grapes and every child what went past his garden
got a bunch of black grapes and that, I think,
was my first experience of fruit.
The first taste of veg, too, often came from the allotment,
but it wasn't all grown for eating.
Prize specimens could win big prizes at shows
and growing methods are closely guarded secrets.
Even Carol is giving nothing away.
And so this is what it's all about, then,
the quality of the soil is absolutely wonderful.
So how long has this stuff been in these beds?
A very long time.
Basically, you take the stuff out, sieve it,
-add other stuff and put it back.
-What other stuff do you put in?
-Yeah, I won't be saying that, like.
This is all... It's top secret.
No, this is why it gets really serious because even know
there's a very tightknit community around here...
Yeah, there's nobody lets you know, at all.
The leeks look great
but what I really need are some spuds and onions,
so I'm off to meet another champion grower, former miner Derek Rivers.
-Derek, where are you?
-I'm in here. Come in.
-How you doing?
-All right, mate.
-You all right?
-All right, aye, champion.
Good to see you.
Now, they tell me that you've got some potatoes in storage.
-I have, yes, in here.
-Can I have some? Is that all right?
-I've got some out for you.
-Oh, perfect. All ready to go.
-You'll need big ones for slicing.
-Whoa, look at that.
That's a beauty, that.
Yeah, we're making panackelty.
What's your recipe? Do you have one?
-Do you have a favourite panackelty recipe?
-Generally use corned beef, onions, bacon and sliced potatoes.
-Yeah, have you got any onions?
-Yes, any amount.
MATT CHUCKLES I'm saying that, I can see them!
Can I have some, as well? Is that all right?
-I'll cut some off.
-What do you recommend? Which ones would you...?
Well, these ones, the white ones for panackelty.
Yeah, all right. Thanks.
You get a great view over the colliery down here.
-When was that picture taken?
-I think it was about 1980.
And then all your certificates, look, surrounding there.
The good old days.
-Lovely. Well, listen, thank you so much for these.
-I hope you enjoy your panackelty.
-Yeah, I'll give you a shout how well
it goes. It'll taste delicious.
-See you later on now.
Now, we are in the grip of a fly-tipping epidemic.
Latest figures show that rubbish is being dumped illegally right
across the UK thousands of times a day. Here's Tom.
Suburban woodland in Cheshire.
Here you'll find a wide variety of plants and wildlife.
Gorse Covert Mounds in Warrington is a stone's throw
away from the M62, giving quick and easy access to
locals wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of inner-city life.
It's maintained by the Woodland Trust.
They rely on the enthusiasm of volunteers for planting,
cutting back and generally creating habitats for wildlife
to thrive here.
But there's something many of them didn't expect when they
signed up and that's this - piles and piles of rubbish dumped here
illegally and the charity is left to pick up the bill.
Like it or not,
illegal waste left on private land is the landowner's responsibility.
And although volunteers have cleared this mess up a number of times,
it just keeps coming back.
This is really shocking. It's like an avalanche of rubbish
across this slope here.
And the things that are amongst it, this is office light fittings,
chairs, this is an old fertiliser can,
and this one looks like the padding from a child's trampoline.
It really is disgusting.
Nationally, the Woodland Trust spent £44,000 last year
getting rid of dumped rubbish.
So far this year, they've already spent half that.
That's a perverse kind of mountaineering.
For volunteers like Nigel Balding,
it makes what should be an enjoyable time a waste of time.
So, I guess, this is the kind of work you signed up to rather
-than the rubbish clearance?
-Yes, it's a variety of things that
we get involved with and this is the nicer side of it,
planting some plants and improving the view up at the top of the hill.
As a group, we're here to make a difference, have fun,
but the fly-tipping his beaten us.
We've tried very hard over the years to try and improve the situation,
but it just keeps coming back and it's so frustrating.
You say you have to clear it up, but describe to me what you actually
have to do to get rid of it.
So we've had to use our group funds to hire skips and then get
the volunteers in to actually load all of the fly-tipping into
the skips and then pay them to take it away.
Some other things are more difficult. Tyres they won't take in
skips and we've had asbestos in the past, as well,
and they all need special treatment. So it's such a mess.
Do you feel you're winning or are you a bit more like King Cnut
facing a tide of rubbish?
It's just keeps coming back.
It's awful that we can't catch the people that are doing it
or restrict access or do something, anything,
to stop it, because it's criminal activity,
it really harms the community and
it harms a community resource and it's just selfishness.
This isn't the odd bin bag, this is big business,
stretching right across the UK.
In Purfleet in Essex, 3,000 tonnes of rubbish, including
pharmaceutical waste, was dumped in a pile spreading half a mile.
Across the country in Claverley,
one Shropshire farmer's yearly revenue was almost
wiped out after 100 tonnes of waste was dumped on his land.
And over the years I've spoken to a number of farmers who have
been left with whopping clean-up costs.
I would say we have fly-tipping once every three weeks,
-so it is a fairly common thing.
-So what have you found in here?
We've had shredded rubber, garden waste, building materials.
-Do you put gates on as many as you can?
-We do barriers and gates.
-They'll even steal the gates.
We've had those taken, too.
There is a huge multi-million pound industry dedicated to the
legal and responsible disposal of waste.
Some is recycled, this stuff is going to be burnt to keep the
lights on, and the rest goes to landfill,
and none of those outcomes end up littering the countryside.
But this easily available,
legitimate business doesn't seem to have put off the cowboys.
According to the latest Government figures,
there are more than 100 incidents of illegal dumping across the
UK every hour and the cost to us, the taxpayer,
for cleaning that up, £50 million a year.
Some believe that cuts in bin collections, reduced opening
hours at recycling centres and rules and regulations are adding to
the problem, but costs vary from county to county.
Margaret Bates is a professor of sustainable waste management
and she believes there's more to it than that.
Why do you think fly-tipping is on the rise?
People have said that,
"Oh, more local authorities are introducing bulky waste charges."
But I was talking to a local authority yesterday who went
from a free bulky waste collection to a charged for,
no impact on fly-tipping.
People say it's cos we've got reduced waste collection from
households, but that's not the kind of waste that's being fly-tipped,
so that doesn't make any sense.
The only thing is that criminal gangs are seeing it as that
opportunity to make money and so they're just finding that niche
and exploiting it.
And when you talk about criminal gangs,
this is genuinely quite a big crime enterprise, is it, today?
We have an issue across the whole of the waste and resource sector.
We've got a criminal element that are going up to people and
saying, "Oh, I can clear that for you cheaper."
And sometimes that cheaper should give you the indication that
it's really not right, it is illegal.
You know, if it sounds too good a deal,
it probably is too good a deal.
Criminals are moving into it because they get more money for their
effort and they're less likely to go to prison.
People assume somehow environmental crime is still
victimless, that nobody's being hurt by you dumping waste by
the side of the road or on a farmer's land or in
a beauty spot or any of these places,
but actually taxpayers pay for it, landowners pay for it.
This rise in waste crime has hit many parts of the UK quite hard,
but some authorities have decided not to take it lying down.
Later, I'll be on the road with one rural crime team who are
trying to buck the trend and reduce the problem in their area.
I'm a few miles west of Matt, in Weardale in the North Pennines.
This is high country, the roof of England,
where open moors and rich pasture go on and on and on.
This is a landscape to stir the imagination
and it was irresistible to one particular artist.
-How you doing?
-I'm fine, how are you?
'These hills cast a spell over Ellie Langley more than a decade ago,
'so she upped sticks and moved to this remote cottage,
'which doubles as her studio.'
'Key to her craft are these - her own small flock of sheep.
'She uses their wool to make felt,
'but these sheep are more than just raw materials to Ellie.
'They're like family.'
-Ellie, how many have you got here?
which is a lot more than I ever intended!
And they seem to be different breeds.
They are, yes. I've got just a handful of pure breeds
and nearly all of them are crosses.
This is Minkie, she's a Bluefaced Leicester.
Do you farm them?
I don't, no. I take them in,
they're all rescue sheep who would otherwise have gone for slaughter.
-So I'm vegetarian...
I don't breed them, I don't ever have lambs.
Talk to me about the different characters,
you've got names for them all?
-Yes, they've all got names. This is Kester.
He is three-quarters Shetland and one-quarter Bluefaced Leicester.
So I've spotted one I really like,
the one that's got a dark face and a beautiful tuft on top.
-And stunning eyelashes, it's Pearl.
-Pearl is my favourite, I love Pearl.
She's actually three-quarters Manx Loaghtan,
an eighth Shetland and an eighth Bowmont.
-Beautiful Pearl, she's the poster girl for your flock.
'Their thick fleeces have seen them through the winter,
'but leaving them any longer will cause problems.'
Unfortunately, because they're usually clipped late June,
early July, the wool felts on their backs,
so I want to try clipping them early
and hopefully the fleeces will be better.
So the mission is to round up the exact four?
The exact four, who are Eric, Horlsey, Brian and Neil.
-Well, Minkie here.
-This is Horsley.
Horsley and Eric, his twin, who's now disappeared over there.
Oh, Neil's wandered off too. Neil is lovely, he's my friendliest sheep.
Neil, we've got some food.
Local sheepshearer Mark Robson has been called in for the job.
Come on, sheep. Come on, lovelies.
'But first, we've got to round up Neil and his pals.'
-There we go. There it is.
-Come on then.
-Oh, it's working beautifully.
'With Neil in tow, Parsley, Brian and Eric soon follow on.'
And Mark's shears are soon whirring into action.
This wool will need a good wash before it can be used,
but Ellie's got some all ready for felting.
-It's got sheep on it.
-It is, it's a very fitting apron.
So talk me through the process.
Right, so we're going to make just a square of felt.
'We start by layering a few handfuls.'
It's incredibly strong, isn't it, felt?
It's very strong, yes,
because of the scales holding the fibres in place.
'Next, add a sprinkle of water, a dash of soap...
'..and then a good bit of elbow grease.
'While we crack on in the workshop, outside,
'Brian and Neil are getting used to their new number ones.
'While Eric's not taking it lying down.'
Let's have a look at this.
-It's definitely a piece of felt.
-I'm quite proud of that, you know.
-It's well felted.
Ellie uses it to make all sorts - from fuzzy chesspieces
to bespoke items of clothing.
-That's a very amazing dress.
Wow. Talk me through this incredible piece.
So I made this dress for an exhibition.
-A bride's dress fit for a shepherdess.
'And if you want to get ahead, as they say...'
Here we go, this is Liza Minnelli's answer to Countryfile there, look.
Wonderful, a little piece of the Durham landscape in high fashion.
-'And Ellie's even got the afterlife all sewn up.'
This is my coffin, which is the reason I started making felt,
because I wanted to make a coffin that would biodegrade
with me and be made from something I'd produced.
Hopefully it will decompose with me.
-I don't know why I've got a viewing window in it.
-Just in case!
I made a death mask originally to go with it!
But I don't where it's gone.
When you think about the end, it's very life-affirming.
Well, it is, actually,
and my children saw me make it and saw me having fun making it,
so I think that's really nice.
They'll be confident knowing you put some love,
and there's your sheep in here, and that's where you'll end your days.
-Hope they think it's funny anyway!
Ellie's feeling for her craft is clear
and that helps when you're making felt.
The mighty River Tees.
Once blighted by industry, the water polluted and lifeless,
it has undergone a remarkable transformation.
It's now a place to be enjoyed, by people...
and by wildlife,
like seals lured by the returning salmon.
Here in the shadow of the Tees Barrage in Stockton,
there's a special conservation effort.
All thanks to these guys,
the boys and girls of the 15th Middlesbrough Scout Group.
They're off to get changed into their work clothes.
Today is St George's Day,
the day when Scouts traditionally renew their scouting promise.
I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God
and the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Cub Scout Law.
But modern scouting is much more than just Bob-a-Job Week.
It's just as much about nature and doing your bit to help wildlife.
The Canal & River Trust, who operate the Tees Barrage,
are turning some nearby wasteland
into a wildlife garden for all to enjoy.
The Scouts are playing a big role,
getting stuck in with all sorts of jobs.
Reece Hugill from the Trust is overseeing their work.
So, Reece, the Cub Scouts have just gone to get ready,
what have you got in store for them?
So today we'll be painting a boat beside the dipping pond,
we'll be making a bug mansion for pollinators and minibeasts,
we'll be planting up some planters around the pond.
And the river looks really healthy as well, doesn't it?
Yeah, it's improved a lot.
Going back a few years, it was considered a dead river,
there was industry downstream, there was saltwater for 22km.
So now the barrage is in place, it impounds the river,
so that means all-year-round the river is kept at
a mean high tide level, and that opens up for watersports,
boating, fishing, people can enjoy the river a lot more.
Now we've got the return of migratory fish like salmon
and sea trout, we've got seals. Hundreds and hundreds of people
through the summer come to see the seals.
This summer, those visitors can also enjoy this dipping pond
and nature garden, which the industrious Cub Scouts
are improving by the minute.
So, Andrew, how did these guys get involved?
Well, the Cub Scouts were looking for a community impact project,
and they reached out to the Canal & River Trust and asked if
there was somewhere they could adopt and take forward and develop,
and that's how we ended up here.
Is it a national project?
Well, it's part of something called A Million Hands, so we've got
more than half a million Scouts in the UK,
so obviously more than a million hands, and it's about getting people
together to focus on helping on the big challenges in their community.
There's four strands to it, around helping people, around issues with
disability, dementia, clean water and sanitation and mental wellbeing.
The mental wellbeing bit is what you're focusing on here, isn't it?
That really is, and the issues were picked by young people,
things that were important to them.
As Scouts, we're used to being outside, going camping
and hillwalking and things, and we know the benefits that can have.
I think it's fantastic you're focusing
on mental wellbeing, particularly here.
It's something that is really close to my heart, my son is struggling
with OCD at the moment, so to see all these young people
getting stuck in, doing something for mental wellbeing,
it's just brilliant to see.
Wow, this looks better already.
-So you're painting it nice and blue, why's that?
-It started to rust, the other paint...
-And it looked really ugly.
Yeah. And now it looks better.
And what's going to happen?
-Are you going to put some plants inside this?
Why's that important when people come and see it?
Because they don't want to look at old stuff like...
They want to look at shiny things and stuff.
Yeah, and it makes people feel better, doesn't it,
when they can see nice things?
-Are you enjoying painting down there?
Painting literally everyone!
-Are you painting everyone?
-He's painted me!
-Yeah, including the rock.
-Including a rock.
-Have you put a little bit of blue on his nose?
-Managed to get me as well!
Oh, need to be careful with that!
Old driftwood has its uses too.
-Wow, you're busy. What's this?
-It's a lavender.
And you've put all of these plants in a big log.
-Where did the log come from?
-From the river?
And what you're doing here is helping make this area
really good so other people can enjoy it -
how does that make you feel?
Well, it makes me feel proud of myself.
Yeah, you should feel proud of yourself. That's really good.
-How do you feel about that?
That you're helping other people,
you're helping make a really good place.
Cos not many people really get this opportunity
-to come here and plant all these.
I feel happy just seeing the flowers, it's colourful.
-I like colours.
-Adds a bit of life.
'Even creepy-crawlies are catered for.'
Wow, this looks interesting, guys. What is it?
-It's a den for creatures.
-A den for creatures?
The creatures like it scruffy
cos then they can hide from birds and stuff.
They can get there, but the big birds can't get through the holes.
-Yeah. Do you enjoy this? Looks like you do.
-You like getting out and about and helping here?
It makes me feel like I've helped people, and creatures,
so they can live a happier life, and then they'll be able to live longer.
-What, the creatures or the people?
-And the people?
-And the people.
It must be great being part of this, seeing this place developing,
but you also see the kids developing with it.
Yeah, cos obviously there's not many places round here that
you can do stuff like this,
so to be part of helping something start up and then come back
in a few months' time and be able to see the fruits of our labour.
In just a couple of hours, the Scouts have made quite a difference.
It's amazing how much work you can get done with...
ALL: A million hands!
Now, earlier we heard how waste crime is on the rise,
costing charities thousands of pounds.
But it's not just them.
UK taxpayers forked out £50 million last year to clean up
other people's mess
and Tom's got himself, well, in a whole HEAP of it.
If you're still in the midst of that spring clean,
then you need to be careful that your rubbish doesn't end up
dumped in the countryside, left for others to clear up.
And if you're not, you could feel the long arm of the law.
Three-and-a-half years ago, here in North Wales, the Rural Crime Team
was set up and tackling fly-tipping is high on their agenda.
'I'm on patrol with DC Eryl Lloyd.'
-So when it comes to...
Fly-tipping, yeah, what kind of cases do you tend to get involved in?
I tend to get involved in the large scale ones, really,
sort of commercial ones.
Anything over a transit van load, really.
Covert camera footage from fly-tipping hotspots has helped Eryl
and his team catch the criminals,
but it seems many people are unaware that they're
still responsible for their rubbish even after it has left their home.
What I'm finding now, last few months,
people will go on a man and a van site.
It's basically cash in hand, back of the van, and off it goes,
and subsequently they get a knock from the local authority,
from the police, saying, "How come your waste is fly-tipped?"
And 99% of the time, they are absolutely shocked.
'Eryl has been called to an incident just off the A470.
'In the past couple months,
'there have been three reports of fly-tipping in the area.'
So this stretch is turning into a bit of a fly-tipping hotspot?
-Yeah, especially for tyres.
So what we're going to do is go through them,
see if there's any markings or anything
really distinguishable that we can
-look to progress the inquiry further.
-They're always full of water, tyres, aren't they?
-This one's got a label on.
Yep, it's got a label, possibly, barcode, serial number,
possibly we can make some inquiries.
In other kinds of dumps, what sort of evidence might you find
there that would help you link to a perpetrator?
If it's binbags and domestic waste,
we will go through the waste looking for letters, bank details,
anything really that's connecting to that person who owns the waste.
On the large-scale flytips, we have taken things away for
fingerprinting, DNA, to see if we can find anyone linked to it.
'And it seems dedicated patrols, hidden cameras
'and checking hotspots IS paying off,
'as the team have had a number of prosecutions.'
So have you got what you need there, do you think?
Well, I've got some inquiries I can carry on with,
so we'll see what happens.
The most recent case on Eryl's patch
was at Crown Court just three weeks ago.
This type of crime could attract a five-year prison sentence,
but this builder from Anglesey
only got a fine of £750 and community service.
So, might some in the business of organised crime see
this outcome as a risk worth taking?
Those kind of fines don't go anywhere near even covering
-the costs of the investigation, does it?
-No, it doesn't.
Would you like to see stiffer penalties for this kind of thing?
Oh, definitely. Definitely.
It's the sort of crime now which members of the public hate
and therefore I feel that the court system should possibly
reflect that a bit more.
Stricter penalties are one thing,
but how do we ensure we do the right thing at home?
Helen Bingham from Keep Britain Tidy
believes we have the power to reduce waste crime.
What would you like to see to get on top of this problem?
We'd like to see tougher sentencing, obviously, and we'd like to see
the public be educated properly about what their role
and responsibilities are when it comes to fly-tipping.
Can we just divide those up?
As far as the authorities are concerned,
-what needs to be done there?
what we'd like to see them do is use some of the landfill tax
to support local authorities to keep recycling centres open,
to reduce the costs of bulky waste collection
so that people can get rid of stuff the right way.
And what duties do we householders have?
What we can do is make sure that when we're getting rid of something,
you need to make sure that that person is a licensed waste carrier.
So we need people to understand that they have
a duty to make sure their waste is being disposed of properly.
-More than two-thirds is coming from us.
-It absolutely is.
Two-thirds of fly-tipping is from households,
can clearly be identified as being from households.
Cut that out and we can let the authorities deal with the big stuff.
I've done many investigations into fly-tipping over the last decade
and the sad thing is that, in recent years,
the problem seems to be getting worse.
But there is one thing we can all do to help reduce the fouling
of parts of our countryside, and that's make sure whoever's
taking our rubbish away is going to put it in the right place.
I'm in County Durham,
gathering the ingredients for the regional dish panackelty.
I've got the veg sorted, but it needs a bit of protein.
And I'm hoping farmer Andrew Wilson can help me out.
-Andrew, how you doing?
-Hello there, Matt.
Come on then.
-Just on the top of there, as well?
-Yeah, on the top of there, Matt.
-Oh, there's lots of lovely stuff in there.
Great. Well, listen, I've been up at the allotment and I've got
all me veg sorted for the panackelty.
The question is, I've come to you for the recommendation
of what meat I should be putting in. What do you think?
I would say bacon pieces.
A lot of people would say corned beef, mind you.
Yeah, well, this is the thing.
But I think the traditional is bacon pieces.
OK, so what recipe are we talking then,
and what would it have looked like?
-Sliced potato, onions, any allotment veg...
..and offcuts, cheap offcuts of the bacon.
Would it have been more meaty or more veggie for you then?
Well, it all depends how friendly you were with the butcher,
if you had more meat or more veg!
We didn't always have a lot of meat in ours, I'll tell the truth,
-we always had more veggie.
-My mam's was always cooked in a coal oven.
And as big a pot as we could to feed everybody, there was a lot of us.
It would be nice and crispy when it come out,
-with a nice bit of soot on the top.
From the stove?
Yeah, just as she'd get it out, we'd get a soot fall,
but it never bothered you, we still ate it,
and everybody else ate it and all, because they were that ready
for something to eat after they'd been working on the farm.
Well, listen, Andrew, your pigs are lovely and the good news is
-there's a great butcher not too far away from here, isn't there?
-Yeah, there is.
-I'm going to head down there now.
-Here he is. Andrew.
-You've binned your wellies and got your gladrags on now, eh?
I've got just the thing for you.
So when you're not producing then, you're behind the counter.
Yeah, three days a week I try and do in the shop,
and the rest of the week - and nights - on the farm.
It must have really helped you then,
if you have that kind of contact with your consumer.
Yeah, you see what the consumers are wanting and what's in demand.
-Look at them.
-Wow. Thank you very much indeed.
-Oh, you're most welcome, man.
Well, today isn't just St George's Day,
it's also the start of British Beef Week and, to mark it,
Adam is meeting some farmers who are fanatical about keeping
their animals on grass.
-Andrew, are you one of them?
I think our livestock farmers produce some of
the best beef in the world.
Like a fine wine or whisky,
British beef can be just as varied and complex.
But just how much does the grass that our animals graze
affect their taste?
It's inevitable that the way we look after our animals and what
we feed them will affect the flavour of their meat.
Many farmers supplement grass by feeding processed food
that's full of grains, proteins, oils and minerals,
but some cattle farmers are managing to feed just grass
all-year-round and feel it's a much better system.
'Russ Carrington is a founder member of Pastures for Life.
'It's a scheme that awards a mark of quality to meat from animals
'fed exclusively on pasture.'
And this has actually got a proper certification then,
you check people?
That's right, it's legally defined,
it's the only one in the UK and - we believe - in Europe.
And we have auditors going out on farms to check that farmers
are indeed producing those animals in that particular way.
So traditionally, and I'd be one of them,
farmers have used manufactured cattle food, and in there
would be soya from abroad and oils and those sorts of things.
Are we turning away from that now, do you think?
Things are changing now, the world is changing,
we're having to question the way we're doing things,
but with economic changes in farming, it's also forcing farmers
to focus more on pasture management and getting the best from the grass.
Having the right animals, the right genetics, the right management,
the right approach by the farmer,
any area of the country can run a purely pasture-fed system.
So far, around 70 farms have been certified throughout the country,
on a diverse mix of landscapes.
Come on! Come on!
Here in the bleak uplands of the Brecon Beacons,
John Price farms Belted Galloway.
So what's in it for him?
-I was told I'd find you with your cattle.
Hi, Adam. I spend a lot of time up here, yeah.
It's beautiful, isn't it? Not a bad office.
It's spot-on, yeah, I love it up here.
And do the cattle live out all winter?
No, unfortunately they can't. We have nearly three metres of rain.
But then out here for the spring and summer.
Yeah, out for the spring and summer, they'll spend all their time
up here and the molinia grass will green up on the top.
Why did you go for an all-grass system?
Naturally they eat grass, they eat pasture, and it just works for us.
Is it more profitable doing it this way?
It's more profitable doing it this way, the way we do it,
purely because we sell the end product.
We need to make profit, we need to make money in farming,
there's no question, but it's about producing that high-end product,
and the people we sell to, the comments they give back to us,
that's what makes the job worth doing.
'For John, having his Belted Galloways
'certified 100% grass-fed makes good financial sense.'
'Along with the added status it brings,
'grass and pasture is much cheaper to feed to cattle than
'growing cereals or buying in manufactured feeds.'
But if you think grass is the same everywhere,
you couldn't be more wrong.
Back on my home turf in the rolling Cotswold Hills, I'm meeting
Rebecca Charley, who farms a wonderful herd
of pedigree red polls.
There's no need for any supplementary feeding up here,
you don't need to bring hay onto this hillside, do you?
-No, because it keeps them full.
'Conservation is important to Rebecca and her cattle are
'helping to support wildlife by grazing hard-to-reach land.'
It's certainly quite rough pasture, some of the modern
continental breeds wouldn't like it up here, would they?
They wouldn't, as you can see, it's not been grazed very much recently.
But our cattle are doing a good conservation job here
cos this is part of
the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve
and, if this isn't grazed off,
then the species that are here anyway will be lost.
'It's good news for nature
'and I'm told it's just as good for the cattle.'
This hay smells lovely and sweet
and its full of all different plants, isn't it?
There are probably over 50 or 60 different varieties of plants
-and herbs, yeah.
-Incredible, isn't it?
Which is then good cos it's healthy for the animals cos they can...
I think they self-medicate, anyway,
so they've got a much better balance
of minerals and elements that they can eat.
Come on then, girls and boys, here's your winter rations.
'A natural diet of hay and grass
'is not only good for the health of Rebecca's Red Polls,
'it's been shown to be better for human health, too.
'It's said that when compared to grain-fed beef,
'it's higher in vitamin E and lower in saturated fat.'
We're about 800ft above sea level here.
'Just 20-odd miles down the road from Rebecca,
'Ian Boyd runs an organic pedigree Hereford suckler herd.'
'We may still be in the same county,
'but the grazing here is very different to Rebecca's.
'It's more intensively managed, but still great for the cattle.'
We're growing these herb-rich meadows,
which have got 20 different species of grasses,
herbs and legumes on them, to try and add
a lot of biodiversity into the soil to improve the soil health.
And so what have you got in here, specifically?
First on the menu is the salad burnet.
Mmm, that's good! Nice, what else?
Now I think we want to try some sheep's parsley.
Wonderful! That is just like ordinary parsley you get in a salad.
It is, yeah. The other one is the sainfoin.
This is the real Cotswold plant
that's got so many magical properties.
It's got medicinal properties for the cattle -
it stops the bloat and it cures the worms in their gut.
It also flowers a lovely pink flower that the insects love to pollinate.
So, all these herbs are helping your soil health
because you're an organic farm.
Not only is it helping the soil health,
it's also helping the nutrient density of the beef
for the cattle that eat it.
So, is it the cattle fitting into your rotational system
or the system fitting into the cattle?
-They both fit together.
Well, it's fascinating to see how passionate these farmers are
about the diets of their animals,
but does the beef taste as distinctive as they claim?
There's only one way to find out.
'We've cooked up similar cuts of beef from the three farms I visited
'to try and taste the difference
'between the environments they've grazed.
'Fancy French winemakers have a phrase for this - gout de terroir -
'that's "the taste of the earth" to you and me.
'And, like all good farmers,
'the chance to sample some grub washed down with a bit of plonk
'has enticed everyone I've met today
'and their families to try what's on offer.'
Not on solids yet - bit more for us.
-And we don't know whose is whose?
-Come on, let's get it handed round. Do we need plates?
-No, just fingers.
Right, come on. Let's have a little taste.
'So, how do the varied landscapes translate into taste?'
Go on, John, don't be polite.
'Our farmers don't know it,
'but they're eating John's Belted Galloways,
'who graze the Welsh hillside.'
Where in the country has this come from?
-It's a sort of sweet aftertaste.
-Really smooth flavour, very nice.
-It might be yours, John.
-It might be!
-It's nice, it's very nice.
'How very modest of you!
'Next, we have Ian's Hereford's.
'So, can anyone pick up the taste of their herb-rich diet?'
-It is almost, like, herby.
-Yes, I think it is, isn't it, quite herby?
'And, finally, we have Rebecca's Red Polls from the Cotswold hills.
'How different will this taste?'
That's got a sharper flavour.
There's a lot of aftertaste and flavour there,
and there's a sort of earthiness about them all.
It all comes back to the terroir of the farms, the soil,
the pasture those animals have eaten, just like wine or whisky.
It's a really great story of what makes beef special to a locality.
'With a range of sweet tones, floral notes and sharpness,
'it just goes to show what cattle are fed on
'makes a significant difference to taste.'
Rearing beef on simply grass alone
certainly gives you a tasty, tender product,
but it also allows the farmer to work with their local environment,
producing beef in an ethical and sustainable way.
These are the Durham Dales, an area famed for its natural beauty...
It's here that the River Tees starts life,
the infant river rising on the high moors.
Up here, there's a real sense of time stood still -
just the sound of the wind and the water
coursing through this boggy ground for thousands of years.
I'm following the river along one of its most beautiful stretches,
starting not far from its source up in the north Pennines.
Spring is when life returns to these boggy moors.
It's the start of the breeding season
for many species of wading bird.
There's oystercatcher, lapwing,
golden plover and if I'm lucky and listen carefully,
I might get to hear that distinctive warbling call of the curlew.
Lapwings come in huge numbers to breed here,
their distinctive call a familiar sound of spring.
These waders spend the winter down at the coast,
but, at this time of year,
come to the uplands to breed and it's ideal for them -
lots of thick tussocky grass to camouflage their nests
and, thanks to this river,
lots of boggy, wet ground full of invertebrates
to feed them and their chicks.
'As the Tees flows on, the landscape changes -
'rough moors give way to gentle pastures,
'quiet woods and some surprises.'
-Can you hear that?
This is High Force.
In full spate, it carries more water
than any other waterfall in the country.
I'm getting sprayed on from here, the power of that water!
It's absolutely deafening.
This is the spot at which the Tees drops 70ft over the waterfall
and it's been doing it for thousands of years,
but the rock that it's carving through is even more ancient.
It's known locally as whinstone and it was formed
when molten rock from the Earth's core rose to the surface,
cooled and solidified - 300 million years ago.
'As wonderful as the view is,
'there's an entirely different way to experience this river...'
'..as long as you don't mind getting wet.
'So, I'm joining the guys from the Kingsway Activity Centre
'to do just that.'
They've told me I'm in for a bit of a bumpy ride.
'My instructor is Rob Atkinson.'
I'm in safe hands, aren't I, Rob?
You're absolutely in safe hands.
We're going to have a fantastic time.
Talk me through what's happening.
So, here we are at Salmon Leap
and Salmon Leap is this fantastic stretch of the River Tees here.
It comes over these falls and you can see them behind me,
you can see the gushing white water
and that's where we're doing our activity today.
It's a lovely piece of water and we're going to have loads of fun.
-Let's do it, then.
'Who needs a canoe?
'This is white-water swimming
'and right here is one of the best places for it in the country.'
'Stage one, to swim across the river - accomplished.
'But it does get tougher.'
'Like this, my first chute - riding the rapids through narrow channels
'whilst dodging any big boulders. Here goes.'
'OK, how about two chutes this time?'
That is very invigorating.
'First stage - easy-peasy.
'The chutes - a little trickier.
'But now for something altogether more challenging.'
-Rob, that looks like a serious rapid.
-A serious rapid?
This is Low Force and this is our final challenge today.
We're going to jump off the waterfall just behind us here.
James Bond-style, maybe, but you'll certainly get a buzz
as you come off the top there and land in the pool at the bottom.
It's a lovely, deep, safe pool. It's going to be fantastic.
So, yeah, we're going to do this final challenge
and you'll come out feeling a real sense of achievement
-when you've done this. Let's go.
'Blimey! It's a lot higher than it looks from the river bank.
'Come on, Ellie, it's now or never.'
A bit of rock climbing to end that adventure.
That was amazing!
Oh, yeah, I loved that.
I don't think I could be any more drenched, but perhaps I could.
I wonder what the weather's got planned.
Time to find out with the Countryfile forecast
for the week ahead.
# Keep on the sunny side
# Always on the sunny side... #
'I'm in County Durham, where there's a party going on,
'and it's all because of panackelty.
'A well-loved regional dish, I've gathered together the potatoes,
'the onions, the carrots and the bacon needed
'for our own big panackelty feast.'
'There's music from a local ukulele band
'and doing the honours in the kitchen is Bill Smithson,
'a former MasterChef regional finalist
'and undisputed panackelty king.'
Where do you want to start, then, with this, Bill? What's the plan?
I think we'll get the bacon bits starting to fry,
-then I'll show you how I want the carrots chopping, OK?
We're under pressure here cos we've got quite a local audience going on.
Every family's got a different panackelty recipe.
-This is the point.
-That's the beauty of panackelty.
It's got regional variations, but also family variations, too.
-Yeah, yeah. Now, we're not going for any corned beef here.
-No, we're not.
-Is everybody all right with that?
There's no corned beef going in. SOME GROANS
Oh, I know. That got quite a reaction.
The reason is we're trying to keep it local and we've got stuff
from the allotment gardens, where you get a carrot,
an onion and a potato quite easily sourced.
The local butcher, you go and get some scraps of bacon,
so we're trying to keep it real, how it would have been.
Look at that one. I got that one from Derek. That was from Derek.
Wow. I think it must be on steroids, that one.
Onions are a key, key ingredient in this panackelty.
Wherever you go, onion is definitely in there, as is potato.
Yeah, well, I was asked to judge a competition last year
and we had 48 different recipes
and I had to narrow it down to three for the final.
-What, 48 panackelty recipes?
-48 different panackelty recipes, yeah.
The dish that won was basically just carrots, onions, potatoes,
corned beef and bacon.
-So it was quite true to the roots of panackelty.
'This panackelty is made from layers
'of potatoes, onions, carrots and bacon.'
Just rustic. Just throw them in.
We're not going for Michelin stars here.
Well, you've got pedigree, haven't you, with the old MasterChef?
Well, it was a long time ago.
-Did you do panackelty at one point?
-Did you not do it?
-MasterChef's gourmet food.
This is working class... It's simple peasant food, this, panackelty.
Maybe that's where you slipped up.
I'll use my asbestos fingers cos you've got TV presenter's fingers.
It'll be a bit hot for you.
'Next, a jug of gravy.'
Some people put cheese on top, but I don't.
Well, that's where the whole pan haggerty thing comes in,
which is a similar word,
but slightly different cos what's that, just cheese and potatoes?
Yeah, pan haggerty is a Northumberland dish.
That is potato, cheese and onions, that's all it is.
'No cheese here,
'just a final layer of tatties
'and there you have it - panackelty.
'Bill was part of last year's Pan Hag Project,
'an arts project that focused on the food and traditions
'of the communities here in east Durham.'
'It was the brainchild of Gayle Chong Kwan.'
So, Gayle, of all of the dishes in all of the world,
why did you want to do a project about panackelty?
So, I discovered that actually panackelty was a dish
as part of the skills and traditions of the area
that had been passed down from generations.
It was something that was really important to people
for memories of, in a way, how they managed when times were hard.
It's a dish that kind of speaks about the resilience of the area,
about aspects of the landscape
and about the kind of positivity of people here
to make things the best out of what they've got.
'Right, time to tuck in.'
We're going to reveal the foil and have a good look.
Here we go, are we ready?
-And there you have it. Who's first?
Is it you, Lucy? Now, what's the best way of dishing this out, Bill?
As quickly as possible, they're very hungry. Just like that, yeah.
This has turned out like a proper panackelty party.
-Would you like some?
Ellie, would you like some?
Save me a bit, I'm on my way,
and my time here at this stunning spot is done.
Next week, I'll be in Warwickshire,
where I'll be meeting the young girls doing their bit
to save some of our most endangered animals.
Here we go. I tell you what, this queue's never-ending.
And John will be meeting up a farmer
who's gone from producing milk
to brewing beer,
but it looks like I'm going to be still here
serving the rest of County Durham all this panackelty.
From all of us here, bye-bye.
Countryfile is in County Durham, and Matt is on his old home turf, showing us how to make panackelty, a traditional north eastern dish. He gets veg from prize-winning allotments and meat from a local farm and cooks it all up with the locals.
Ellie is a few miles away in the heart of Weardale meeting the designer whose passion for rescuing sheep has spun out into a sideline making high-end felt goods. She also takes a trip along one of the most beautiful stretches of the River Tees, taking in the stunning High Force and Low Force waterfalls, discovering its wildlife and getting a drenching as she throws herself headlong into it.
Sean is in Stockton, where he meets a Scout troop involved in all sorts of projects to encourage wildlife. And he witnesses them renewing their Scout's Promise - something traditionally done on St George's day.
Tom asks if we are in the midst of a fly-tipping epidemic and what can be done to stamp it out.
And at the start of British Beef Week, Adam is meeting the farmers raising their cattle on nothing but fresh grass all year round.