Browse content similar to Cumbria. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
The home of much-loved author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter.
She wasn't just inspired by this sublime setting -
as a farmer, she fought to conserve and care for it.
Which character do you think would have an absolute feast in here?
HELEN PUFFS AND PANTS
-Nearly at the top now.
-This makes it all worth it!
Helen's getting stuck in with the Lakeland games
she loved watching as a child.
-How do you stay on your feet?
Tom's investigating the world's most widely used herbicide.
It's used on our farmland, our parks, our gardens,
and even our allotments.
So why are there calls from across Europe
to ban the use of glyphosate?
And Adam's in Suffolk, where heavy horses are helping to recreate
a Capability Brown landscape.
How do you think we would load this log on here
without the aid of any mechanical means?
I'm not sure. I don't know how you're going to lift it off the ground.
The lush Lakeland landscape is nature at her most creative.
It's captured the imagination of many great artists and writers,
who created their own masterpieces here, inspired by these fells.
And one of the most famous of them all is Beatrix Potter.
Born in London,
her love affair with the southern Lake District is well documented.
But what many people don't know is that it all began further north,
at Lingholm, on the shores of Derwentwater.
It was in these tranquil surroundings as a young woman
that she came up with the ideas for her most famous
stories - Mrs Tiggy-Winkle,
Squirrel Nutkin and Peter Rabbit.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter,
Jessie Binns, a ranger with the National Trust,
has been looking more deeply into the relationship
between Potter's works and the landscape.
-Very nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Now, of all the beautiful places in the Lake District,
why are we meeting at this particular spot?
Well, we're in the hamlet of Littletown right here,
that she writes about.
And what we've been finding is that she drew the actual hills
that are around here.
-She wrote about real people and about real places.
And she's actually painting the real landscape that's around here,
so I thought, well, I wonder if I can track down some of the places
where she stood to make those paintings.
-Right, and how's it going, then?
-Well, it's going all right...
Luckily, the rangers who work with me,
some of them have worked in these valleys all their lives,
so they said, "OK, we'll start in this area, start in that area."
And then once you start looking,
suddenly you kind of come round a corner and go, "That's it!
-So you've got all these big burly rangers
-reading Mrs Tiggy-Winkle!
Trying to find the actual places.
Suddenly, we've stepped right into the painting of Lucy,
from Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
You can see, can't you, there, the top of the crag coming down
and that beautiful rounded hilltop in the background?
-Yeah, we are here.
-She's captured it beautifully, hasn't she?
Have you said to the people in the farmhouse,
"Do you realise that your house is in a Beatrix Potter book?"
No, I've been too scared!
Well, maybe they're watching Countryfile now.
If you are, congratulations!
"Lucy scrambled up the hill as fast
"as her stout legs would carry her.
"She ran along a steep pathway, up and up,
"until Littletown was right away down below."
Another famous tale that comes straight out of the landscape
at Lingholm is Squirrel Nutkin.
So this is quite a famous tree, this one, Jessie.
Yeah, and when you look at this you can really see why.
I mean, that is absolutely...
-Oh, my word!
-Yes, it is!
-Isn't that great?
It's bang on!
This is from The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin,
and it's the squirrels rafting to the island.
-It's such a beautiful... Great idea.
-Isn't it great?
And I've been going round and round Derwentwater looking at this island
from all angles, trying to make the hills
in the background match up,
and I think this is closest I've seen.
But also we've got this fantastic clue, because this is one of
the very few photographs of Beatrix
actually sketching in the landscape.
-Isn't that beautiful?
-Isn't it fabulous?
We're pretty sure that this photograph was taken on
St Herbert's Island looking that way.
So we know that she visited the island.
We've got proof that she was there.
What you hope to do with all of this evidence that you've now
-Ah! Well, my grand plan, if I can make it work,
is I'd love to actually install replicas of her original
watercolours in the landscape temporarily,
so that people can physically stand at the spot where Beatrix stood
and feel as inspired by it as she was.
And then see the artwork that she produced from that.
And I think if we can make that connection between her love
of the lakes and the landscape around it,
I think it would be an amazing thing to be able to share with people.
"They made little rafts out of twigs,
"and they paddled away
"over the water to Owl Island
"to gather nuts."
It certainly feels magical to be standing on the spot where
Beatrix Potter dreamt up some of her wonderful wild heroes.
Now, it's the world's most used herbicide, so why is it that
across the UK and Europe there's an argument to ban glyphosate?
Today's farmers have many tools at their disposal,
but when it comes to using the world's bestselling weedkiller,
glyphosate, it isn't without controversy.
Around three-quarters of a million tonnes of this staff,
glyphosate, are used on our farmland
across the world every year.
But now some people say it's unsafe
and could increase the risk of cancer.
And the European Union is considering a ban.
So when you're spraying this,
are you driving yourself or you get a bit of satellite assistance?
Satellite assistance guiding the steering of it,
the direction of it and also for switching the chemical on and off.
Andrew Ward farms 1,600 acres of arable land in Lincolnshire.
Today, he isn't spraying glyphosate,
but when he does, he uses it to wage chemical warfare on one of
the most prolific weeds that farmers face - blackgrass.
Give me a feeling of the timetable
of how you'd use it in fields like this.
The field we're in at the minute is sugar beet.
It was sprayed on the bare soil,
as the blackgrass is germinated in the autumn,
and then it was sprayed again in the spring before we sow the crop.
So that would be two applications.
-And in a wheat field, maybe, like...
-In a wheat field like that,
again it depends how soon the field is cultivated after harvest.
And so our aim is to get as many glyphosates on as we can.
So in most fields,
they'd often be getting two or maybe three goes with glyphosate?
They would with us, yes, but a lot of farmers, probably only one.
Glyphosate is the only effective weedkiller on the market
that can rid a field of blackgrass.
But that's not the only way it's being used on farms.
It can also be used to dry wheat before harvest.
In a wet year, like we're having at the moment,
the wheat is slow to mature and it ripens very unevenly.
Farmers use it to ripen their crops so that the millers then have
a better availability of premium red wheat
so they can actually make better quality loaves of bread.
For farmers like Andrew,
glyphosate is more than just a useful tool -
it's an essential part of agriculture
that he says he can't do without.
And it's not just farming that relies on this weedkiller.
The next time you sit on a park bench,
lean on a lamppost or pass a roadside tree,
there's a good chance
that glyphosate will have been sprayed around them.
Introduced in the 1970s by the biotech giant Monsanto,
today, glyphosate is widely used to keep railway lines free of weeds
and by councils in public places.
And you might even find it in your garden shed or on the allotment,
because glyphosate is the active ingredient
in the world's bestselling weedkiller, Roundup.
But despite its wide-spread use,
there are growing calls for it to be banned due to safety concerns.
We've got to get a little bit more relaxed
about having a few more weeds,
plants out of place in our farmed environment.
Helen Browning runs a 1,400-acre organic farm in Wiltshire,
and is the chief executive of the Soil Association.
We've got a fairly typical picnic here in front of us -
a loaf of bread, sandwiches and a pasty,
but the news about glyphosate gives you some concerns about this.
Well, glyphosate has been cited as a probable carcinogen.
Surveys have shown that something like two-thirds of bread products
have glyphosate residues in them,
it's turning up in breast milk, in our urine,
so this chemical is becoming ubiquitous.
It's getting into us on a regular basis.
Now that there is this concern over its carcinogenic properties,
we've got to stop that.
Last year, the World Health Organisation
listed glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen
or, in other words, it probably increases the risk of cancer.
For such a widely used herbicide
to be listed as probably carcinogenic sounds fairly scary,
but it's worth remembering what's in the same category -
being a hairdresser, for instance.
And of greater risk is sunlight - little of it today, granted -
and also alcohol, listed as carcinogenic.
It's these safety concerns that led campaign groups
like the Soil Association to call for a ban on the use of glyphosate
on crops just before they're harvested
and from being used in public spaces.
Their demands have been gathering momentum.
Recently, glyphosate came close to being banned across Europe,
but was given an 18-month stay of execution by the European Commission
while they consider a new report into its safety.
Even though our nation recently voted for Brexit,
UK farmers could still be affected by a European ban.
That's because even when we officially leave the EU,
farmers could be stopped from exporting foods
containing traces of glyphosate onto the continent.
If there had been a decision in Europe
a few weeks ago to ban glyphosate,
what would that have meant to your farm?
It would have really been catastrophic for the farm,
because we'd have had to grass down big areas
and then cease growing things on there.
It would then question whether it was actually worthwhile
carrying on farming in the other part of the farm.
So it's not an exaggeration to say if you couldn't use glyphosate
it might question your future in farming?
I don't think it is an exaggeration at all.
The National Farmers Union agree with Andrew
that a complete ban would be very costly.
They estimate that more than £500 million-worth of production
would be lost each year without the use of glyphosate.
But does it really pose as serious a risk to health as being claimed?
Many of those who are convinced glyphosate is safe
say opposition to it is driven by a desire
to cripple its leading manufacturer -
a company seen by some as the bogeyman of modern farming,
So, is that true, and can we farm without it?
I'll be finding out later.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the arrival of tractors
powered by petrol and diesel.
Before then, our farmland was shaped and cultivated
by horse and steam power.
You may think that as soon as mechanisation came along,
working horses became redundant,
but actually there was a time at the turn of the century
when old and new worked side by side.
Here at Old Hall Farm in Cumbria, they still do.
Husband and wife Alex and Charlotte Sharphouse
are combining their two passions.
Charlotte loves working with heavy horses,
whilst Alex prefers something a bit more up-to-date.
-Who is this fella?
-This is Troy.
Now, talk me through to how you got to this point in your life.
Ten years ago, we bought this derelict farm,
and we set about farming a traditional Lakeland farm.
It's all about the forgotten skills, the forgotten arts,
-the forgotten machinery.
-So it's still a working farm?
It's still a working farm. We farm it traditionally.
We've just got about 120 acres.
So a traditional farm would have done a bit of dairy,
a bit of arable, a bit of beef.
So that kind of bucks the trend.
Most... There are a lot of people leaving farming,
yet you've spent a decade investing in it and trying to set up a farm.
Absolutely. We certainly are bucking the trend.
When you work with the horses, you can think,
"Yeah, that's why tractors came!"
Troy's raring to go and I'm also being put to work.
It's time to harvest some potatoes.
Come on, Troy. Come on, lad. Back up.
Just want to go up through the ring.
We've got this, Troy.
We're away. Teamwork now. Walk on.
So I just have to...?
-Steer where the potatoes are.
-Aim down the middle.
I've plunged it off track, haven't I?
I'm really sorry, but I've missed the line, haven't I?
-That's my profit gone.
Walk on, Troy. Walk on. Good boy.
Towards the end of the 19th century, horses were being replaced,
and this was a more familiar scene on farms across the land.
This is where Alex comes into his own.
These are unbelievable!
So what do you do with these?
These are a pair of ploughing engines.
You can see the two massive winch drums underneath the engines.
You park the engine each side of the field
and pull the implement between them.
It was the very first form of mechanisation,
after the horse, with steam.
It revolutionised, really, land cultivation on a decent scale.
Yet these didn't replace horses overnight, did they?
No, certainly not. These particular engines are 1920,
but you still needed a horse to be able to fetch water to them.
They'd use 1,000 gallons of water between them in a working day,
a tonne of coal each.
Then, because of the size of them,
they could obviously only do the big lumps of land,
so you'd still need the horse to finish off
and then tidy up afterwards.
I know you're a pretty resourceful man,
but there's resourceful and then there's off-the-scale resourceful.
I'm looking around here...
How many bits and bobs have you built and created and fixed up?
Everything we have, really. I don't buy anything that's done, really.
A year ago, Alex and his team took on their most ambitious project yet.
It's considered to be the king of the steam world.
At the turn of the 20th century,
it was the ultimate vehicle for heavy haulage and farm work.
With only one left in existence,
Alex is attempting the formidable task
of making his very own Talisman from scratch.
This is a serious-looking piece of kit. What is happening here?
This is the front, the smoke box,
where the wheels fit underneath on the axle.
Why do you think it's important to have something like this
right here in the 21st century?
I'm a traditionalist, and I want to show people
what the old skills were and how good they were.
A lot of the things we're doing on this now have been forgotten
and can't be done, so we're having to reinvent the wheel a little bit.
Well, it's never going to get finished if I stand here
-gabbing and asking questions, so can I help?
-Yeah, you certainly can.
We're going to have a go at putting some rivets in.
'Alex has got to a pivotal point in his build -
'Talisman is about to take shape.
'Now for my part in the process. I hope I don't mess it up.'
Don't drop it. As fast as you can.
Don't... Don't hurry me.
Oh, right, I see what you mean about making it fast.
Oh, when you said, "Hurry up", I was like, "Why are you rushing me?
"This is a tricky business." But you need it to be hot, right?
It's got to be hot.
Just put it down now.
Well done. Look how happy you are!
'What an incredible achievement.
'Now there's only one thing left to do.'
PLOUGHING ENGINE WHISTLES
'With Talisman well under way, I want to see what it feels like
'to be behind the wheel of one of these remarkable machines.'
-You've really got to put a bit of welly into this, haven't you?
You know, for most people, steam power and hoof power are outdated,
but one thing you cannot argue with
is that this farm is powered by passion.
PLOUGHING ENGINE WHISTLES
Beatrix Potter explored the length and breadth of the Lake District,
taking the world she saw around her
and reinventing it in delicate watercolours.
Her stories may be quaint and gentle renditions of natural history,
but Beatrix Potter herself was anything but a wilting violet.
She was deeply involved in farming,
and her impassioned campaigning certainly ruffled a few feathers.
I have always thought it somewhat odd
that the lady, who has a perfectly competent husband,
should insist on managing every detail of farms
and woodland problems herself.
Inspired by Potter's feistier side,
local artist Freya Pocklington has set out
to paint Cumbria's colourful countrywomen.
-Whoa, your paintings are amazing.
So much going on in them, isn't there?
Really colourful and in-your-face.
Where did the whole idea come from?
I like looking at just different animals and their quirkiness,
which Beatrix Potter did as well.
But I wanted to look at more contemporary issues as well,
and show what she did in a new light, and promote her farming
as well as the fact that she was an illustrator and artist.
I thought the farming side of what she did
was really admirable and amazing.
Freya is an artist in residence at the National Trust's Acorn Bank,
and some of her subjects might look familiar
to regular Countryfile viewers,
like the Wool Clip members Matt met last year.
I like the fact that they were women working together.
They started working after foot and mouth,
realising that they had to approach the wool industry differently.
And I like the fact that they were businesswomen,
being successful at what they did as well.
We've also met Sarah Lunn on the programme,
a busy, rural vicar with livestock of her own.
I was really fascinated that she's a vicar,
but she has all these different types of animals.
She has a very, very busy life.
She's looking after 12 different areas,
and I think when she goes back to her animals,
that's where she has her own time.
Freya's current painting features horse whisperer Victoria Smith,
who started working with animals
whilst recovering from a serious illness.
I was fascinated with Victoria.
I thought she was such a strong, powerful, lovely lady
and very humble with it. Such a fascinating story about her as well.
So is this how you work?
You start with an outline and then you fill in the detail?
Yes. Yeah, I start using something like this Conte pastel here,
and I just do lots of different marks with it, like this.
Then, after that, I get some tissue and I rub it in.
It kind of creates movement around the picture.
Often what I do is I would put a layer of ink.
So it's a little bit like oil painting,
where you're building it up.
So I put the pastel on, then I put the ink,
then I put the pastel again and then the ink.
So it's quite painterly, even though it's drawing.
-Just let it drip?
-Yeah, just let it drip.
What do you think Beatrix Potter would think
of all the characters in your pictures?
I think she'd be fascinated in the women.
I think they are people that she would admire too.
I think they're very strong but humble women.
And I think that they are making a massive contribution
to the landscape here in the northwest.
Yeah, they're just fantastic women.
One of Freya's subjects who has a lot in common with Beatrix Potter
is local farmer Susan Aglionby.
How are you, darling? Are you a good boy?
Freya has invited me to come and meet her
and her companion in the painting - longhorn bull Jeremiah.
Just give him a stroke there, all right?
Good to meet you.
Susan, I understand your family ties here in Cumbria go back a long way.
A long way. Almost 900 years. My husband's family lived round here.
When we could escape from London,
very similarly to Beatrix Potter, I thought,
"Gosh, if she can start a new career at 45 and farm, perhaps I could."
So she really was an inspiration to me.
And like Beatrix Potter, you have a real interest
-in preserving the countryside, especially farms.
I want people to appreciate where their food comes from.
Healthy soil producing healthy plants,
which produces healthy animals, which produces healthy children.
It's just wonderful.
-You are a real-life Beatrix Potter, aren't you?
I'm not an artist! I'm not an artist, sadly.
But Freya is, and she's painted you. What do you think of the picture?
I think it's very striking. It's very, very strong.
It looks really wintry.
I mean, that skill of being able to get the coldness of winter,
which it was... It was a dreich day that she came to see us.
It was, yes, it really was.
Freya's final paintings will be on display in August.
A tribute to a different side of Beatrix Potter
and the other strong women who nurture and work in
this beautiful Lakeland landscape.
Now, earlier we heard about the controversy
surrounding the herbicide glyphosate,
used widely by farmers, councils and gardeners.
However, there are some who say that the health risks are exaggerated,
as Tom's been finding out.
For many farmers,
the herbicide glyphosate is an essential part of agriculture.
But, as I've been hearing,
there's a gladiatorial clash under way -
a battle over how it can be used in the future.
Its opponents say it increases the risk of cancer.
So, how do those who want to keep farming with glyphosate
respond to these health claims?
When you get wet weather at the flowering of the wheat,
you tend to get this business. This is fusarium.
-That's a fungal disease on there.
-It is, yeah.
Sean Sparling is vice chairman
of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants.
He believes that any health risks have been exaggerated.
Is it right that we're spreading this chemical
the World Health Organisation says is probably carcinogenic
over 2 million hectares? That's an area the size of Wales.
We're dousing the country in a carcinogen.
The majority, the vast majority of experts
within the European Food Standards Authority
have said it is not carcinogenic
and probably would not cause any damage to human health
over the course of a lifetime.
As we stand at the moment, if you work the figures out,
you'd have to eat somewhere between 750 and 1,000 loaves of bread
every day for a number of years
in order to get anything close to the maximum residue level,
which is actually about a hundredth of the top line,
if you like, for a dangerous dose.
Given that you are convinced that glyphosate is safe,
why do you think it is that there's such a powerful lobby
to get rid of it?
One word - Monsanto.
There are groups of people around the world
who feel that if we stop Monsanto producing glyphosate,
we stop GM crops in the future.
The problem with that argument is
it's not just Monsanto that makes glyphosate.
So Monsanto and one of their most successful products, glyphosate,
has become a symbol for those who dislike
-the way modern farming has gone.
That is it in a nutshell.
The damage that will do to UK agriculture is almost incalculable,
not just UK but world agriculture.
Monsanto's role in agriculture,
including being among the first to develop GM products,
has long made the company controversial.
Worldwide, they sell up to £3.7 billion-worth
of glyphosate-based herbicides each year.
But you won't find any being sprayed on this organic farm in Wiltshire.
This is a crop of spelt,
which is a sort of old-fashioned version of wheat.
It's becoming increasingly popular for people who are slightly worried
about their gluten intake, because it has a lower level of gluten.
So does Helen Browning from the Soil Association agree
there's a green conspiracy against Monsanto?
Isn't it the truth that a lot of opposition to glyphosate
is driven by a hatred of its creator, the company Monsanto?
I don't think that's driving this at all.
I think there are concerns about the corporate control of agriculture,
the way that farmers are being constantly sold products
and just how much of all of that technology is wrapped up
in a few very big companies.
I can really understand why farmers feel so nervous
about losing glyphosate.
It's been a key tool for them for the last 40 years,
so it's going to mean that we have to be a bit more inventive
about how we farm.
I think that could be good for our countryside.
So what do you think is the alternative to using glyphosate?
Obviously, on organic farms we've never used this product,
so a crop like this will be naturally harvested,
it will ripen naturally.
We use a lot of other techniques to help control weeds,
There's lots of techniques that organic farmers are using
that we can share with non-organic farmers too.
Perhaps it's no surprise that Helen champions
taking a more organic approach, but does stopping using glyphosate
to dry wheat before harvest simply mean higher costs for us all?
If we're taking the issue of glyphosate use on wheat pre-harvest,
that might incur a slightly additional cost for farmers,
say, in drying their crop. So, these costs are tiny.
I think most members of the public would feel they'd rather pay
an extra half a penny for their loaf of bread
and know that it hasn't got that dangerous chemical in it.
It will, of course, be down to the appetite of the public
to stomach any increased costs, however much they might add up to.
But, for now, the use of glyphosate is allowed,
with strings attached.
The decision on its future is expected within the next 18 months.
The European Commission is waiting on further public consultation,
and a scientific review,
but it seems unlikely that this will deliver a decisive verdict,
a knockout blow for either side.
In the end, this will be a political decision,
with the way we grow and farm at stake.
I'm in Cumbria, discovering the dramatic landscape
which inspired Beatrix Potter to write
some of her most famous stories.
Beatrix Potter loved the Lake District, and for ten years,
her family would spend their summers here at Lingholm
on the banks of Derwentwater.
And it was here that she got the idea for her most celebrated
creation, the one who would begin it all -
a misbehaving rabbit called Peter.
"First he ate some lettuces and some French beans.
"Then he ate some radishes.
"Then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley."
Potter herself said that the kitchen garden here was the basis
for Mr McGregor's garden in the story.
The new owners are completely restoring it
so that it can be open to the public.
Lingholm has its own version of Mr McGregor too,
but unlike the fictitious gardener, who chased wildlife,
Ken Swift nurtures it.
The woods here on the estate were the inspiration for Potter's story
of Squirrel Nutkin,
and Ken is keen to boost the numbers of red squirrels living here.
So this is our red squirrel feeder.
We're trying to get the red squirrel population back up.
By feeding, it allows us to monitor the amount of reds that we've got.
-How often do you see them?
-Once or twice a week.
You tend to get them scurrying up and down trees.
You hear them chittering in the tree tops at you sometimes. It's lovely.
Let's have a look at the food, then.
We've got all sorts of wonderful things in here, then.
Are you feeding them anything specific to try and attract them?
It's just a general mix, really - peanuts and seeds.
There's some sweetcorn and bits and bobs like that.
Can you tell that it is a red squirrel that's been feeding here?
You can, because you can differentiate
between the greys and the reds feeding. Greys are messier.
They sort of get into it and throw it all over the place,
where reds are a bit more delicate, like they are in their stature.
-Fair enough. Like their demeanour, general demeanour.
You can sometimes see that when you come back to the trap
if it's an absolute mess, you think,
"Well, there's been a grey squirrel in there."
The sweetcorn in here as well,
sometimes you'll find that the reds don't actually eat that.
They'll just leave a layer of sweetcorn,
whereas the greys will plough through everything that's in there.
Oh, OK. As well as looking at the feeder, you're also filming them.
-We've got this little camera down here.
I presume it's going on this tree here. It's on this tree.
-I'll pass it round.
-If you pass it. That's lovely.
-Are we a good height there, Ken?
Yeah, I think that's going to be good.
We'll get some good shots off that.
-Have you managed to film any yet?
We've actually got some footage that I can show you, if you like.
-We'll go and have a look.
I'll grab the food.
So, I'll just load this one up for you, Matt.
-This is some footage we got...
-Oh, my word!
Isn't that wonderful?!
-You can really tell what's been...
-Here he comes.
-Aren't they lovely-looking things, though?
-Obviously slightly wary at the moment.
Oh, they are so dainty, aren't they? Beautiful.
Look at him.
-I mean, real proof, obviously, that...
-That we've got them.
That you've got them and that Squirrel Nutkin is alive and well
-here in the woods.
You should set some cameras up on the water's edge
and see if you can get any of the squirrels rafting
-across to the island.
-Rafting across to the island, indeed, yeah.
'Seeing evidence of real red squirrels in the woodland,
'it feels like a little bit of Beatrix Potter's magic
'has rubbed off on this place.
'We'll leave them to gather their nuts in peace.'
"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!
"A little wee man, in a red red coat!"
This year marks 300 years since the birth
of the great landscape designer Capability Brown.
Adam's in Suffolk finding out how a rare breed is being used
to restore one of his famous landscapes.
Capability Brown was responsible for changing the landscape
of 18th-century England.
He moved hills, created lakes and shaped the countryside.
He worked on some of the most famous estates in the country,
such as Blenheim Palace and Stowe.
He was highly sought after by the aristocracy.
It's thought that Brown worked on more than 170 gardens
I'm at one of them - Euston Hall in Suffolk -
discovering one of his remarkable landscapes.
To celebrate the anniversary,
these grounds are being transformed to their former glory.
What's really exciting is that the heavy work is being carried out
by a magnificent team of Suffolk Punch horses,
just as they would have done 300 years ago.
I can't wait to see them in action.
There's only one man in this country that
has the horsepower to take on such a task.
I met Nigel Oakley earlier this year.
He breeds Suffolk Punch horses,
and it's not often I meet anyone so passionate about a rare breed.
Nigel is picking me up in style
to see these beasts of burden in action.
How are you? Good to see you.
-Lovely to see you again.
-I should be calling you sir, shouldn't I?
Something very similar, but not spelled quite that way.
Can I jump on? Yeah, please do.
-What a wonderful way to travel.
-Lovely, isn't it?
To think we've got a Suffolk horse on Category 1 of the rare breeds
pulling us along, it's a privilege for all of us.
It really is.
So the lords and ladies would have been taken around estates,
in fact, this would have been their transport, wouldn't it?
Well, it would have been the only form of transport available
in that time. You know, you're talking the 1700s.
That's 300 years ago.
Horses were only really just coming into it,
cos it had been oxen prior to that.
In your mind, the Suffolk is one of the best.
The Suffolk is indeed the best, yeah.
What we're here for today, with the gardens,
they would have been horsepower,
the lakes would have been dug out by hand
and the soil carted with horse and cart.
There was no other way of doing it.
You know, the JCB came a long while after.
It's lovely seeing these Suffolks chain harrowing.
It's a lovely sight.
I mean, we could be looking at something 300 years ago.
The chain harrows are pulling out the moss
and levelling the ground, aren't they?
-Knocking down the molehills.
-Yeah, aerating the ground.
Those horses, they're not just playing,
they're actually doing a job.
What do you think Capability Brown would have made of all of this,
of what you're doing now?
Well, hopefully, he'd have thought
what he did 300 years ago is still in people's minds
and they're still appreciating the work that he did initially.
His nickname of Capability,
apparently he went to somewhere like Euston Estates,
looked at the land and said, "This land has great capabilities."
Then, I think, in 1744, he married
and ended up fathering nine children,
so he was a man of great capability.
To find out more about the restoration,
I'm meeting with the Countess of Euston Hall, Lady Clare.
30 years ago, Brown's original plans for the estate were uncovered,
which means the grounds can now be renovated to his original design.
How exciting was it when you found Capability Brown's drawing
-of your estate?
-It was so thrilling,
because the whole thing had been lost.
The river had silted up, there was nothing to be seen of these
-glorious lakes and broadwaters.
-Now you've brought it all back to life.
Yes, in the last sort of two years, it's been totally opened up again.
We had to move 60,000 tonnes of smelly mud from the river.
That must have meant, in the old days, 120,000 journeys.
Quite incredible, isn't it? When you think of the scale of it,
how many horses must have been working on the place.
Today you're celebrating the Suffolk Punch horse,
but getting them to do some practical work
in the boggy areas too.
It couldn't be better. They couldn't be better suited for parkland work.
They've got fairly small feet. Tractors make such a filthy mess.
Everything had got so overgrown,
we had to cut down all the old trees and pull them out.
Horses are far better than tractors for that.
I think they have got a great future in parkland restoration.
These Suffolk Punches have such incredible power.
They drag the logs to the edge of the woodland with ease,
where they are then loaded on to a timber cart for transportation,
using an ingenious method.
How do you think we would load this log on here without the aid
-of any mechanical means?
-We've got to get it up onto this beam?
Up onto here without Paul Daniels or anybody else.
I don't know. I'm not sure.
I don't know how you're going to lift it off the ground.
Oh, I see. So they're using those logs as a bit of a ramp.
Yep. Then the endless rope comes over to the whippletree.
The whippletree's the spreader bar on the back of the horse
-which keeps the chains from his hocks.
The endless rope will just twizzle it up.
There we go. Wow, look at that.
-That's so clever, isn't it?
Marvellous, really, when you consider
a very, very simple technique
and very little equipment to carry around with you.
A rope doesn't weigh too much.
So how many trunks would you get on here?
Well, with a single horse pulling it and in these wet conditions
where the ground's not that solid,
probably five of those sort of diameter-length logs.
Then you'd obviously take them to your depot,
roll them off and then come back for another load.
Incredible, the work of Capability Brown,
but even more amazing, the man and the horsepower
that created these beautiful views.
Without the horses and the men, it could never have happened.
We have a job to imagine it now.
We've had, I don't know, 10 or 12 horses here today.
This estate, even in the memory of Lady Clare,
had 40 horses working here then.
That was the intersection between horsepower and mechanisation.
In the days of genuine horsepower,
there must have been hundreds of them.
Well, it's been a real treat to see them all coming together.
-Thank you for inviting me along.
-Not at all. Thank you.
It's been a spectacle for me, although I work with them every day.
Thanks very much.
This may look like just a field of sheep,
but later this week, it will be centre stage
for one of the oldest sporting events in the country.
This year marks the 130th anniversary of the Ambleside Show,
and with it comes a showcase of traditional sports.
For me, Lakeland sports show off this part of the world at its best.
You get a whole host of dedicated,
talented people taking each other on in a manner of different sports.
The fell runners blow my mind.
I used to sit on probably this very rock as a kid
and watch them go up to the top,
you'd see them trot along the horizon,
and then they come thundering down at lightning speed.
I don't even know how they stay on their feet.
That's just one of the things that goes on.
Cumberland wrestling, I mean, that is something else.
Men have been wrestling here for centuries.
It's a rough and ready sport
which some believe came over with the Vikings.
Right, both hold. Wrestle.
But now the girls are really getting stuck in.
The first ever women's world championship
for Cumberland wrestling is being held this year.
Second one to Connie.
20-year-old Connie Hodgson is going to show me the ropes.
Now, there are many Cumbrian sights I'm proud of,
and this is certainly one of them.
Two sisters wrestling in a soggy field.
Connie, let me pull you away for a second.
I'll let you have a bit of a break, Hannah.
How did you get into all this in the first place?
Well, my dad's done it since he was a young lad,
so we just started going to the academy with him
and learnt how to do it.
I'm pretty sure I've watched your dad wrestle over the years
at Ambleside or Grasmere.
I don't want to interrupt your training too much,
but, come on, you've got to show me some moves.
I've seen a lot of this over the years, but I've never done it.
-Where do you start?
-Well, you start by shaking hands.
Then your left arm goes over and your right hand under.
Then you hold like that.
-Once you get a hold, you're not allowed to let go.
-Your hands need to be about... Yeah, there.
Then your chin needs to be on the shoulder like that.
-It's quite intimate, isn't it?
-The first move is called a back heel. You pull them in.
Then you put your heel behind theirs and lift it up
and push them back.
-Do you want to try it?
Right, she's down. We're done.
What's the hardest move?
-Eh, full buttock is quite hard.
What does that involve?
So...you get a hold and then you go inside your opponent, like that,
and you get them right behind you and stick your bum into them.
-Put your leg across and pull them right round.
I don't really know what happened there.
Come on, be honest - how did I do?
You did really well. You picked it up so well.
Right, well, I really enjoyed that, but I think I'm done.
I'll just peel myself off the floor. You know what?
Women's wrestling might be in its infancy here,
but there is one sport that's been challenging the locals
for a lot longer.
Connie, I'm reversing out the ring.
It's called the guide's race.
Mark Addison is the current champion
and has been running since he was eight years old.
-Here he is, our mountain goat. Good to see you, Mark.
-Nice to meet you.
Right, talk me through your connection to the guide race.
Well, as I was younger,
I always used to come here and watch my dad run in this race.
He was my hero, really, like most sons with their fathers,
I always thought I wanted to do what Dad did, so...
This isn't a sport that you can only do in your 30s and 40s, is it?
No, no, it's... You get people still competing, 60s, even 70s, even 80s.
It's pretty incredible.
With the fell runners, obviously, people say we're a tough breed,
so you get the older people coming through as well.
-It's for all ages, really.
-Right, off we go.
MUSIC: Run Boy Run by Woodkid
The guide's race is thought to have started back in Victorian times
when tourists seeking to take exercise used the knowledge
and skills of local fellsmen
to guide them over the mountainous landscapes.
The guides were hugely competitive, and the race was born.
-It's quite steep, that, let's be honest.
That's the worst bit out the way, though. That's the steepest bit.
-This is about the halfway point now.
-Where are we going?
So that rocky outcrop just out there, that's the top.
That's where we're running up to, to turn to come back down.
How long is this course?
It's just under 2 miles, about 1.8 miles.
So how typical is that for a fell race?
Guide's races are typically short, steep, fast and intense.
Have I imagined this or have I seen people up here cheering you on?
-Do you get a crowd up here?
-Yeah, you do.
There's nothing better than when you come out of the ferns,
you're puffing and blowing a bit and then they just give you
a really big cheer, "Come on."
That's either really motivational or really annoying.
I always find it motivational for me.
-You're doing really well.
-I'm going to lead the way...
-Right, okey doke.
-..so I can set the pace.
-Climbing, not running.
-You're doing really well. Keep it going.
I'm on my hands and knees.
-Nearly at the top now.
Oh, my word!
There we have it.
This makes it all worth it.
Right, well, admire it, take it in
because, as they say in fell running,
what goes up must come down.
Looking forward to this bit, I think.
Is he having a laugh?!
You're just showing off now.
I thought I was quite cool, now I feel like grandma.
-How do you stay on your feet?
-I don't know.
'Ah, you don't.
'Well, Mark did say, "What goes up must come down."
'Having been a spectator of the Lakeland Games for years,
'I didn't appreciate just how tough they are until now.'
The finish line is in sight.
I can't keep control of my legs or my laughter.
-I don't know how you do that.
-You're all right with that, Helen.
That was a proper good fell running fall, that.
Good to see you bounce straight back up.
I'll let you crack on without me. I think I've been a hindrance.
-Mark, absolute privilege. Thank you so much.
-Catch you later.
Don't tell anyone, but that really hurt.
We're in Cumbria.
And while Helen's been flat out learning Lakeland sports...
I don't really know what happened there.
And here we are.
..I've been discovering the landscapes that gave rise
to the fantastical tales of Beatrix Potter.
But the landscape didn't just influence the author -
the author also had a big impact on the landscape.
She celebrated and championed rural life.
She was determined to preserve this countryside that she loved so much,
leaving many hill farms and acres of land to the National Trust.
Despite being an outsider and a woman,
she became president of the Herdwick Sheep Society.
She founded a rural nursing trust,
and she hosted camps for Girl Guides on her land at Hawkshead.
Today, Hawkshead Guides and Brownies are working towards
a new badge which celebrates 150 years since Beatrix Potter's birth.
Now, to earn their badge,
they have to complete three country tasks
that she would have approved of.
Now, obviously, I'm not a Girl Guide,
so I'm not eligible for one.
However, this lot are, so let's find out what's going on.
-Hiya, hi, hi.
Who is going to tell me what's happening here?
-We've planted flowers.
-You've planted some flowers. Lovely.
What have you been planting?
Cos I can see a wonderful array of different plants.
-Does anybody know the different names?
-They're French marigolds.
Ooh! Very good. Well, I mean, this all sounds like a wonderful idea,
this Beatrix Potter badge.
Where did the idea come from? Whose idea was it?
Well, I'm a mad Beatrix Potter fan.
'Julie Bell is the region chief commissioner.'
She was a great conservationist, an environmentalist.
I just think she was a really great woman.
She's a really great role model for Girl Guiding.
So, the girls have got a range of things to do.
Some of that is around conservation and learning what's going on
-in their local area.
-Is that just happening in this area?
It's in northwest England, we're the region that are promoting it,
so I'm really proud about that.
But, actually, anybody can do it in any part of the country.
We've had our first e-mail from the States cos they would like to do it.
The Potter badge challenges
range from planting and growing food and flowers
to building a wildlife habitat.
This lot are definitely getting hands-on with nature.
What have you found there?
Rosy, Roxie, Kylie, Ross,
-Diane, Steven, and Erin.
Which character do you think would have an absolute feast in here?
I like the fact you've got Jemima Puddle-Duck
running around as well. I think that's super.
-I've got more worms.
-Yeah, more worms.
There's a lot of worms. That's what makes the soil so good.
What's happening here?
We're making, like, a bug hotel.
Oh, my word.
And we'll put the food on top of there.
-I would love to live in there. Is this all part of it, then?
-That's how they get in.
-That's how they get in!
Has that hotel got a spa? Cos if it has, check me in.
Yes. I hear that you've certainly earnt your activity badge today.
Yes. And you've earnt your Beatrix Potter badge. Well done.
-Well, there we are.
-You had a good day?
Yeah, this is all about the Beatrix Potter badge.
-Isn't that the most wonderful little sight?
If you were a little something, you could live in there
until Jemima Puddle-Duck comes along and eats you.
That's all we've got time for this week.
Next week, we are going to be celebrating all things summer.
I hope you're hungry.
You're going to have to put some more on.
I've done lots of harvesting in my time, but never like this before.
Not in the river? No.
This is absolutely spectacular, isn't it?
It's so close to us.
That is literally heaven.
But from all of us here, let's say goodbye on three. One, two, three...