Countryfile is in Devon, where Matt Baker explores Dartmoor and Anita Rani meets a sculptor who is inspired by the ancient trees in the Devon landscape.
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A carpet of colour as far as the eye can see.
A landscape of stark wilderness and beauty.
It is stunning, this sweeping moorland,
but it can also be inhospitable, and during World War II
Dartmoor was the site of several tragic plane crashes.
Because of that, this rugged earth
holds the key to many unanswered questions.
Anita will be discovering how the Devon countryside
is helping to shape lives.
LandWorks is a project that tackles the issue of criminals reoffending.
It supports them as they try and break out of the vicious cycle
and take their first steps towards getting work.
Charlotte's across the border in Cornwall.
Many people dream of owning a second home
in the countryside or by the sea,
but are these weekend retreats doing more harm than good?
I'll be investigating.
And Countryfile is now home to the legendary
One Man And His Dog sheepdog trials,
so Helen and Shauna are meeting
the English and Irish teams hoping they'll be top dog.
You going to be cheering him on all the way?
OK, that's a good idea,
but I'm going to do it right now. Go, Daddy!
Nestled in Britain's south-west corner
sits one of our most beautiful national parks.
The granite which forms the uplands here dates back millions of years.
We're on Dartmoor, South Devon,
a purple heather-clad moor
of wide open landscapes and obscure granite tors.
There's one piece of granite that I am very keen to see,
and I think it's just up here.
Late in the evening of March 21st, 1941,
a bomber took off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire
to attack German U-boat pens in Lorient in France.
On its way back, it crashed on Dartmoor.
Looming large on the moor,
high on the slopes of a whale back-shaped landscape,
sits a granite memorial marking the spot where that plane came down.
Well, this is definitely it.
All these letters, look, carved into the stone.
RAF, I'm assuming Squadron 49,
and then the initials of those that died.
But this isn't the only crash site.
During World War II, Dartmoor was surrounded by airfields
and more than 20 planes met their end here.
But exactly who were the four men on board this aircraft?
And why did it crash?
I found the perfect person to help unravel the mystery -
Former RAF policeman Jon Lowe.
When and how did your connection with this stone start, John?
Purely by accident.
I'd come for a walk on the moor,
found the stone as part of a navigation exercise,
and then, as I turned away and went back down the slope,
something was compelling me to find out who and what had happened here.
It was a Hampden, one of the early bombers of the Second World War,
but the staggering thing was the size -
skin to skin on the cockpit.
The internal width in which those men were working was that wide,
and when you place that against your shoulders,
-you'll see that there's hardly any spare capacity at all.
It was very, very tight and claustrophobic within there.
And you think of all the stuff that was around them,
-and even the gear they were wearing.
How old were they?
The pilot was 25, the youngest was 22.
The second pilot, Ellis, was 23, and Brames,
who that night was acting as a wireless operator, he was also 23.
The boys were becoming more than just a set of initials.
There was the pilot, Robert Wilson,
wireless operator Charles Lyon,
gunner Ronald Brames,
and navigator Richard Ellis.
Although it wasn't difficult to find basic details
relating to the four young crewmembers,
finding anybody who knew anything else about them
proved a whole lot harder.
But John wasn't going to give up easily.
he received a breakthrough he'd been waiting for.
The great niece of one of the crew
came across John's work on the internet and got in touch.
-Tanya, it is lovely to meet you.
You had a relative, didn't you, that was on board,
-part of the crew?
-Who was he?
He was called Richard Ellis, and he was my great uncle,
and he was from South Africa.
This document down here, I mean,
it looks absolutely beautiful.
Oh, it is. This is amazing.
This was made by his mother just after he died.
You can see it's all hand drawn on the front,
and here is a photo of him probably taken within a year before he died.
And then there's a letter here,
which we found, all of us found quite emotional
when we were looking through it, especially.
And there's a quote here which is amazing, where he says,
"Darlings, I have had a wonderful life
"and if the worst should happen then please may I say here
"how terribly grateful I am for the way you both have brought me up
"and for all the wonderful times you have given me.
"I have no regrets to look back on and only hope to look forward to."
'But, just 18 months after this letter was written,
'sadly, the worst did happen.'
This is an official copy of the Air Ministry form
which records the details of that crash.
Now, originally, there were three killed and one injured,
so what it tells us is when this form was initially raised,
the pilot was still alive.
And what happened to him?
He was taken by ambulance to Moretonhampstead Hospital,
where he was operated on.
At three o'clock on the Saturday afternoon, his mother arrived
and he actually passed away at around about 10 o'clock that evening
with his family by his bedside.
And did his mum have something to do with this stone, then?
She came here on the Tuesday morning in a howling gale
and pouring rain, and she stood by the cockpit,
and the words that she used are,
"I settled to have a stone gatepost
"placed where the cockpit finished.
"And I want the initials and a simple cross of our boys."
Evidence suggests the bomber crashed on its way back
from its mission after the boys lost radio contact with base.
They were coming up from Widecombe, which is just below the horizon.
The cloud base was on the floor, so they couldn't see anything.
It was 11 o'clock at night.
And they impacted the slope here at around about 1,500 feet.
Death was instantaneous.
Travelling at around 180mph, the impact of the crash was massive.
Later, I'll be joining scientists
as they uncover the scars left on the landscape.
Well, while we're exploring Devon,
Charlotte is just over the border in Cornwall
looking at the impact of second homes.
An Englishman's home is his castle, or so the saying goes.
And, if you can afford it, splashing out on a second one
to use for holidays gives you the best of both worlds -
a permanent residence and a house in the country
or bolt hole by the sea to use...
whenever you like.
Whether the appeal is quality of life, a second income or both,
it's an idea that many Britons have bought into.
More than 1.5 million of us now have a second home in the UK.
And the number one choice of where to have one?
You guessed it, Cornwall.
It's not surprising, is it?
Stunning coastline, picture postcard villages.
But now, in some of the most sought-after
of Cornish coastal resorts, two in every five houses are second homes.
And, while their owners have clearly fallen in love with Cornwall,
the feeling's not always mutual.
-Patrick. Hello, I'm Charlotte.
-Hello, Charlotte, come on in.
'Patrick, his wife, Becky, and their three children
'live in the seaside town of Padstow on Cornwall's north coast.'
'Their families have lived here for hundreds of years,
'but things are changing.'
We've got a massive influx of second homes in Padstow,
and that second home, through no fault of their own,
is decimating the local communities within Cornwall.
'Despite both having jobs in the area,
'Patrick and Becky live in social housing,
cos they can't afford to buy a house in Padstow.'
It's the dark side of tourism.
People come to Padstow, they fall in love with the place,
they want to buy a house here at all costs
and that's pushing the prices of houses up and up,
to the point where we've pretty much got absolutely no chance
of buying a house in Padstow, ever, realistically.
What impact does it have on you, Becky?
I was made homeless about eight years ago.
I was always private rented,
and the house I was renting got sold.
You used to be able to find private rent quite easy to come by,
but now because of all the houses,
there's more money to be made, I think, in holiday letting,
and it's very hard to find a private let now in Padstow.
We were put in bed and breakfast by the council
for I think it was about six weeks,
then we got put in temporary accommodation in Wadebridge.
It must have been really stressful, though,
with two young children at that point, to have nowhere to call home.
Yeah, it was awful. It was really traumatic.
I wouldn't wish it on anybody, it was just horrible.
Padstow is now the country's
fourth most expensive place to live by the sea.
The average price of a house here?
A cool £373,271 -
well over £100,000 more than the national average.
As a result, on average,
a house in Padstow is 20 times the local annual salary.
That's twice as much as in London.
This is the biggest onion I have ever seen!
The thing is, Patrick, you're really lucky to live here,
in such a lovely place like Padstow,
and you can't stop other people coming here, too, can you?
No, you can't stop other people coming to Padstow, but, er...
you can regulate it.
I really just think that these massive influxes of people
coming in the summer months, it's no good to anybody.
It's not a stable economy for Cornwall.
That's an economy built on sand.
What about the children?
What do you see for them in the future?
I've got my fingers crossed that they will be able to find a job
in Padstow and be able to earn enough money
to buy a house here one day.
There should be that opportunity for them
but at the moment there just isn't.
This isn't just about Cornwall.
In many rural and coastal communities,
from Yorkshire to the south coast,
from the Cotswolds to the Western Isles,
there are serious concerns about the impact of second homes.
Take Coniston in the Lake District,
where 35% of houses don't have permanent residents.
Here they face many of the same problems as Cornwall.
Villagers feel priced out and,
with many homes lying empty for large parts of the year,
the local primary school is now only half full.
'But, for some people,
'second homes play a vital role in supporting the rural economy.'
What's their destiny?
They are going into the store to be salted down for lobster bait.
'Johnny Murt's family have been making a living
'from fishing out of Padstow for four generations.'
How important are the tourists to this business?
Very important, certainly more important
than they've ever been in the past.
All the restaurants we have in Padstow now
and in the surrounding area,
it's become a bit of a Mecca for foodies
and they want fresh fish and shellfish.
So, what about the tourists who then like it so much
they decide to buy here and they have second homes?
How much is that a concern for you?
It's not a huge concern for me, to be honest.
I know lots of people in town do get very upset about it
but, whichever side you're on,
we do need the tourists and we do...
You know, we need that money coming into Padstow
keeping all the businesses alive.
It used to be a six-week season, but now it's almost year-round.
I mean, we've got a Christmas festival,
we've got things going on throughout the year that seem
to draw the tourists into Padstow, and everybody's got jobs.
Everybody didn't used to have jobs in this town,
and now there's a lot higher employment than there ever was.
Across the countryside, where traditional industries
like fishing are struggling, communities need tourism to survive.
In Cornwall alone, it's an industry worth £1.8 billion.
Across the UK, tourism brings in well over 100 billion every year.
And, like them or not, second homes are part of that.
But that means that in some of the UK's most charming villages
nearly every other house belongs to someone
who uses it as a second address.
I do exaggerate sometimes, darling. It's a fault.
'One of them belongs to Anne Lamb and her family,
'who come to Cornwall in the summer holidays.'
As you will be aware, there are now a lot of second homes in this area.
Aren't you in danger of destroying that community
because you're occupying a house
-but you're not here?
-I don't think so.
I don't think so, because we employ people.
We've employed people and taken them to London, given them other jobs.
The whole thing rejuvenates itself.
When we came, we said to each other, my husband and I,
we will never buy a property in order to make a profit.
We will buy it because we love the place and want to go on living here.
I love the church, I love the music, I love the place.
Everything that goes on here, I love.
And I have no regrets about it at all,
it's one of the happiest things in my life.
Not everyone invests quite so much in the community as the Lamb family,
yet there's no doubting the fact that second home owners
do provide a welcome boost to the local economy.
But, despite the obvious benefits to businesses,
there are many locals who feel the advantages brought
by second homes are simply not worth the sacrifices they have to make.
For some, second homes cast a shadow
over some of the most beautiful parts of the UK.
Demand raises prices,
and many who live and work there can't afford to stay.
But others say without the money that second home owners bring,
these local economies wouldn't survive.
How important is this boat yard to the village?
It's enormously important to the village.
'Edwina Hannaford is the Cornwall councillor
'responsible for Environment, Heritage and Planning.
'I'm meeting her in the coastal parish of Lanteglos-by-Fowey,
'where in parts of some villages half the houses are second homes.'
Are there too many holiday homes here, do you think?
If you haven't got a home and you can't afford to buy one,
then, yes, the answer is yes. But there is another side to this.
Those holiday homes, they employ an army of people -
the plumbers, the caretakers, the gardeners.
All those people rely on the business that comes their way.
But there are 28,000 people on the housing register in Cornwall...
-Waiting for housing?
-..Waiting for housing.
I think it's starting to tip the wrong way now.
'To try and control the problem,
'Cornwall Council has scrapped the 10% council tax discount
'on second homes and invested millions in more affordable housing.
'But councils in affected areas can only do so much
'without national legislation.'
Is there more that central government should be doing?
Well, we've already asked once through a motion
through Cornwall Council for government
to put a separate use class for second homes
that would restrict the number,
so they'd have to apply for planning permission
if you change from a full-time occupancy to a second home.
We were knocked back on that but we're trying again,
and we're working with South Lakeland Council
up in the Lake District,
who have a very similar issue to places like Polruan.
The councils in Cornwall and the South Lakes
were hoping for a change in the law so people would have to get
council permission to create a second home.
But the MP supporting them has now withdrawn his bid
to change the legislation.
The Government itself has no plans to step in.
The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, told us...
Instead, he pointed to the number of affordable homes
the Government's delivered.
Who wouldn't want to live here, even if only for part of the year?
For some locals, second homes are a bonus.
For others, they're ruining the place.
The challenge for local councils and for government
is to find a way of keeping a balance.
Countryfile is once again proud to play host to One Man And His Dog.
Next week, we're going to be bringing together
the best shepherding talent the British Isles has to offer
as they battle it out to win this coveted trophy.
So far, we've met our Scottish and Welsh competitors.
This week, we're going to be meeting the English and Irish teams
who believe they have what it takes to become the champions of 2014.
First up, Helen's meeting
the mesmerising duo representing England.
In these parts, picturesque valleys
and silent hills gently roll into the distance.
This is Lancashire, in England's Northwest,
a rural county full of rich grassland.
It's perfect sheep farming territory.
Which means you need someone to show them who's boss. Away.
This northern corner of Lancashire is home to both
the senior and young pairings representing England.
First up, I'm meeting the old hand brimming with experience,
Richard Hutchinson and his dog, Sweep.
Born and raised on the family farm in Littledale, Richard's
ancestors have been working this land for five generations.
'Today, he's managed to rope in yours truly as his little helper
'to give his ewes some vitamins.'
-Oh, good girl.
-That one liked it, actually.
She did like it.
'But when it comes to rounding them up, Richard needs
'a companion with a little more finesse -
'his loyal sheepdog, Sweep.'
Tell me a bit about Sweep. What's he like as a dog?
He's pretty reliable.
He tries hard. He's got a big heart.
That's probably his best attribute.
-And how old is he?
-He's six and a half.
I bred him and a friend of mine had him as a puppy.
and then I bought him off him when he was about a year old.
-So, you bred him, got rid of him and bought him back?
You must have seen something you liked, then.
Yeah, he was cheap!
'Richard may be a joker,
'but one thing he takes very seriously is trialling.'
Having first appeared as a young handler in 2000,
Richard became a regular face on One Man And His Dog,
with a hat trick of appearances in 2009, 2010...
Yeah, "In you go," he says. That way, that way, that's it.
..and then 2011.
So far, he's claimed a solid second,
but the gold has eluded him.
You're a bit of an old hand at this, then, aren't you?
-How many times have you done One Man And His Dog?
This will be my fifth,
and I still haven't won it, cos I'm not very good.
-Oh, shut up!
-Well, I still haven't. I still haven't.
No, I've just been second a few times but, yeah.
So, if you've been second a few times,
does that make you kind of more determined to go for the top spot?
I think I would be determined whatever, wouldn't I?
But it would be really tough this year
cos you've got Michael Shearer, Kevin Evans,
who are two of the best five handlers in the world.
And then James from Ireland -
I've competed against him and he's a proper good handler.
So I'm hoping I cause an upset but we'll see.
And Richard has a fair idea how he will be judged,
as when he's not competing in trials, he's helping set them up.
A poacher-cum-gamekeeper, if you will.
We run the trials ourselves.
We help set up courses. There is a local one tomorrow.
I think Alex Briggs, the young handler from England,
I think he's going to be there as well.
And, you know, we judge and we let the sheep out.
Generally, it's the competitors that run the trials.
When you're a judge, are you looking for certain things?
-Cos it's a subjective opinion, to a degree, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
It is. And it's all an opinion, that's what the judgment is.
You may disagree with the judge, and regularly people do,
but it's just someone's opinion, at the end of the day.
That sounds like the voice of experience!
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Is Team England a force to be reckoned with?
-I hope so.
Tight-lipped. Poker face.
It's the only one I've got. Unfortunately.
The seasoned senior duo of Richard Hutchinson
and Sweep is clearly one to watch.
And to complete this year's England line-up,
they are bolstered by having a local alliance.
'And to meet the pairing of young handler and dog
'that completes Team England, I don't need to travel very far.
'That's because, this year, Team England are relative neighbours.
'Living just ten miles down the road in Wennington, Lancashire
'are 15-year-old Alex Briggs and his trusty sheepdog Rio.'
-I can see Rio's already itching to get going.
-How old is he?
-Two in May.
That's quite young, isn't it, to take him into a competition?
It is, but I've got a lot of faith in him,
and hopefully he'll do me justice.
Why did you decide to put the faith in Rio, then?
He's just always raring to go, and what you want to do,
he's already clicked on to what you want him to do before you...
before you've actually done it.
So how much competing has he done?
I think I've been to one trial.
So it's a bit of a risk, but I'll give it a go.
'Despite his dog's limited experience,
'Alex clearly has a lot of faith in Rio the rookie.
'But, as a man of ambition,
'he's already training up some even younger potential puppy champs.'
Wow, they're keen, aren't they?
'And with pups of this age, you need to know how to handle them.'
-Let that one out.
Just let them go.
I didn't want them to fall out.
You can see now they're already working.
So, how old are they when you first bring them out to meet the sheep?
Well, it depends.
If they're keen enough, that's when we'll take them out.
Is it a fine line, when you've got such a young dog,
between them being keen and too keen?
You don't want the dogs to frighten them, do you?
That's the difference between a top dog and not a top dog.
A lot of people say your dog is at its best
when it's six years old. So that's when they've calmed down,
they're a bit more experienced and they're just a bit more laid back.
Two-year-old Rio is clearly the exception to that rule.
With mature heads on their shoulders,
this duo is brimming with confidence,
and deservedly so.
-Do you enjoy competing?
-Yeah, I love it. I like the...
not the pressure, but the challenge
of a hard course or something, really.
And what would it mean to you to win?
It'd mean a lot.
I don't want to come last or second.
It's either first or nothing, really.
So that's our determined English duo -
the Lancashire lads who are in it to win it.
A combination of youth and experience -
Alex Briggs with Rio and Richard Hutchinson with Sweep.
The River Dart has its source in the soil of Dartmoor.
Rain water seeps through the centuries-old peat
before carving its way across South Devon to reach the sea.
Halfway along its journey, the river runs through the Valley of Totnes.
And here, in this rather magical spot, hardly anything has
changed for centuries, from the ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle
to the trees that hold it up
and the ancient waters that surround it.
So it's the perfect spot to meet a sculptor who takes
inspiration from the old to create something very new.
Alarik Greenland is a local sculptor.
His muse - trees.
He painstakingly twists wires and jewels together
to create perfect replicas, each leaf a semiprecious stone.
These aren't just any trees,
they're ancient trees from his childhood surroundings.
Alarik, you can see that this is a very special spot.
It is, yeah. It's very special to me.
Everywhere I go around here, it stirs up memories for me just
because I've been here my whole life.
What is it about the trees in particular?
It's the sense that they have been here for so long
and that they've been touched by people that I've never known.
The ruined castle offers fantastic views of the woodland below.
A perfect spot for a lesson in tree sculpture.
Wow. How many hours to did take you to make this?
Altogether, it can take about four to five weeks to make a tree.
I can't promise you four weeks of my life,
-but I certainly fancy having a go.
This is gold-plated copper wire.
-Right, so don't mess up, Anita, cos it's expensive.
Pinch the two bits of wires.
And then make about three to four twists.
-And how many beads would one tree have?
The latest one that I've got is 10,000. Over 10,000 stones.
I don't know about this, though.
I might have just wasted a bit of gold.
This is an incredibly intricate work of art,
but the piece of wood it sits on has a fascinating life of its own, too.
Alarik salvages these centuries-old pieces of wood
from the depths of the River Dart.
But how did they get their remarkable appearance?
I was excavating a Bronze Age site on the top of Dartmoor...
'Dr Ralph Fyfe, an expert on fossilised plants,
'is casting his eye over one of Alarik's finds.'
This end here was down in the silts in the bottom of the river.
-So a bit like this.
-Let's spin it round. So it was like this?
-This was out in the water column.
-So why is the top bit black?
What's happened is, as this piece of wood has been
sitting in the water, there are tannins in the wood,
and those tannins are reacting with the slightly acidic waters
and the iron in the water as well.
That means that a chemical process occurs, which means the wood
draws the iron into the actual structure itself.
So it begins life as a tree, then it sits around in the water
for a few hundred years and it becomes this,
and then it gets given a new life by an artist.
I'm keen to find a piece, and Alarik knows just what to look for.
Sometimes it can be too rotten, not bogged enough,
so it's just sort of quite new, and another thing is it's not
the right shape, so we've got to really look carefully.
We've got to look for a really nice piece.
-But, first things first, we've got to get me in the water.
-How do you plan on doing that, then, Alarik?
'The sun's shining and I'm all out of excuses.
'Time for an underwater forage.'
Go for it!
OK, let's swim.
On three. One, two, three.
I can't see anything. It's just black.
Where's he gone?
'Enough fun. We've got a job to do.'
Oh, my God.
-I want to get out and look at it.
-Let's pull it out. Hey!
-That is lush.
-Look at that.
-Are you happy with that?
-My mind's ticking over already about how I can use it.
So, in a few months' time, this could look like that.
-It could well be, yes.
-I feel like we've done a good day's work today.
-Yeah, we have.
-Shall we get back in?
Alarik's beautiful sculptures, combined with the deadwood from
the river, are giving Devon's ancient trees an artistic afterlife.
I'm on Dartmoor - sometimes dangerous, always beguiling...
as former RAF policeman John Law found out
when he started to investigate the crash site of a 1941 bomber.
So, John, you've been researching this site,
then, for the past three years.
You've now reached a very critical stage.
And we're surrounded by all sorts of gadgets and beeping.
What's going on?
-The culmination of this is a geophysical survey...
..to establish where the aircraft actually impacted.
All we've got is hearsay.
-So they're basically scanning the ground, then?
After the crash, the wreckage was cleared away.
But the impact would have been so strong, John believes
fragments of the plane may still lie beneath the soil.
Fragments that today's survey might reveal.
Has anyone ever kind of stumbled across anything?
Yes, the Perspex of this aircraft was pinched or stolen by young boys
and turned into a ring, usually to give to the sweethearts.
Wow. Look at that.
So that would have been from maybe
-the windshield of the cockpit or something.
Do you know what? I'm going to get involved in all the stuff
that's going on behind us and I've been told, because there's
lots of magnetic waves flying around, I've got to get rid of
-all things metal.
-So if I give you my watch.
-And then I might just pop my wedding ring
over the top of there.
There we are.
'Time for me to get stuck in.
'Archaeologist Mark Edwards
'hooks me up to a piece of kit called a magnetometer.'
-OK, and what's my route?
-Just press that.
-Where am I headed?
You're heading down to the pole.
OK. And I just walk,
I don't have to shove it in the ground or anything?
No, you just walk and it'll take eight readings per metre.
'The magnetometer uses sensors to detect magnetic objects
'and disturbances to the soil,
'which may have been caused by a sudden impact
'such as a plane crash.'
And how big is the area, then, that you've been wandering over?
-Cos you've been doing this for three days now.
We started off originally as half a hectare
and I think we've got up to about three hectares now.
We started off over here to here and we've extended this way
because we found a large concentration of what we believe is
iron in the south-west corner.
-Must be an interesting project, this, for you, though.
-Yeah, this is a bit different.
-It's a nice story with it as well.
-Which is good.
-We've arrived at our destination.
The team uses another bit of kit to get a more detailed
reading, before printing out and analysing the revealing results.
As soon as we started, we started seeing this, as you can see,
high and low readings.
These are just different parts of the same data,
they show different parts of that data.
-So high and low readings of what?
-Of the magnetic response of the soils.
-We started here. It's very low on this site,
about one. And it's coming in, it starts to rise.
That looks pretty natural but then it just keeps rising and rising.
We're up to 50 or 60, which is five or six times what we expect.
I think that's steel or iron buried in the ground.
We need to confirm this, and the next stage of this process,
we get down there with the metal detector
-and run it across just to see if that's the case.
The team thinks it is likely this dense patch of metal could be
the plane's wheels, or even the engine.
-What do you make of all this, then, John?
-It's just amazing.
Honestly, it really is.
What's exciting is what Ross has said
with this section here.
And we need to go back
and really, really investigate these areas.
Something tells me there's plenty more detective work
for John to do here in future.
It's fascinating to think that, more than 70 years on,
through the work of people like John and Ross, the story
and lives of the four men who died are not forgotten,
but live on in this beautiful Dartmoor landscape.
Earlier, Helen met the team hoping to win this year's
One Man And His Dog for England.
Hoping they're on a winning streak are current titleholders Ireland.
Shauna's meeting this year's optimistic Irish contenders.
Hailing from its wild Atlantic coastline
to its tranquil, lush, green hills,
over the years, the Emerald Isle has produced
an impressive pedigree when it comes to sheepdog handling.
After their success in last year's tournament,
Ireland are defending champions, but hopes of retaining the title
lie with a couple of One Man And His Dog first-timers.
I've come to the picturesque Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal
to meet the potentially perfect pairing of senior handler
and dog who are hoping to keep the title in Ireland yet again.
It's James McLaughlin and four-year-old Ben.
Brought up on the family hill farm near the town of Carndonagh,
James and Ben's sheep herding prowess
have given them local celebrity status.
-Hi, Seamus. How are you?
-Good luck to you.
-I hope you bring the trophy back to Carndonagh.
-Hope I can do it.
-Do us all proud for One Man And His Dog.
Everybody knows what's happening now and I hope I don't let them down.
The local community are firmly behind them, but how will
they fare with the pressure of representing the whole of Ireland?
James, this will be your first time on One Man And His Dog,
whereas the other senior handlers from England, Scotland
and Wales have all been on it before. How do you feel about that?
A little nervous. A little nervous.
A bit like the pup in with the old dogs,
but I'm confident in Ben
so I'll give it our best shot.
James may consider himself to be an underdog,
but he isn't facing the pressure on his own.
He'll be with his loyal sidekick, Ben -
a dog that's adept with sheep of any breed...or colour.
-What's with the pink?
It assures good visibility for out on the mountain there.
So, Ben is four now. When did you notice something special about him?
Eight, nine months to ten months old,
I knew he had something that I was always looking for, you know.
At a young age, he was quite capable of doing a lot of nice work.
He would have exceptional balance.
He would make the moves himself without me excessively
commanding him. With a ewe just trying to break,
-he can move himself using his own initiative, you know?
-So, he's got a natural ability, would you say?
-And is that quite rare to find at such a young age?
-Oh, yes. Yes.
I would... I haven't found it in previous dogs that I would have.
HE WHISTLES AND CALLS COMMANDS
So, a hard-working dog in the field. What's he like out of the field?
The kids love him, you know?
-Your ultimate good dog with kids, you know?
-Kids adore him.
-And he's a dad himself, isn't he?
-Yes, he is.
This last litter I've recently kept. I have three there, you know,
-which are showing me good...
-Good promise already?
And the next generation looks bright, as James's own offspring,
nine-year-old Caitlin and six-year-old Coran,
are training up a potential future champ in Ben's son Rock.
-Rock is doing amazingly. How old is he?
-Just four months.
Hey, Caitlin, can you give me some advice,
some tips on how to do some trialling?
left is "come by", right is "keep out"...
..and to leave the sheep is "lie down" and...
Have you got your list?
"Stand" is another way to stop your puppy.
How do you feel about your dad being on One Man And His Dog?
I feel so proud of him cos that way it makes me smile all the time.
Oh, that's so sweet.
Are you going to be cheering him on all the way?
OK, that's a good idea but I'm going to do it right now. Go, Daddy!
The Irish challenge with James McLaughlin and Ben is shaping
up to be quite formidable, but what about Ireland's young handler?
From the remote and rugged Atlantic coastline in the north-west
to the rich river valleys, hills and picture postcard towns
of County Kilkenny in the South.
And it's here, in the agricultural highlands of Mullinavat, that
I'll be getting an insight into the world of those representing
Ireland in the young handlers class.
It's 17-year-old Caleb O'Keefe and Tess.
Growing up on the family farm, when Caleb is not at school,
he can be found helping his dad with their 140 Suffolk cross ewes.
In you go. Right. There we go.
Did you know from a young age that this is what you wanted to do?
I always, always wanted to do this, yeah.
'And when it comes to working with sheep, Caleb's future
'looks bright, thanks to his partnership with five-year-old Tess.'
-So how long have you had Tess for, Caleb?
-Since she was six months old.
-Have you been trialling her since she was a pup, then?
Well, Daddy trained her and I've been trailing her since then,
-since she was about two years old.
-And what's her character like?
She's awful friendly, like. She's a very pleasant bitch.
Ireland, obviously, are the reigning champs at the moment.
How do you feel about representing them this time?
Yeah, it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do this,
so hopefully it'll go well. Tess'll give me 110% anyway.
Oh, look at her. There she is.
She obviously enjoys her work.
She is lovely.
So that's our team from Ireland.
Young handler Caleb O'Keeffe with his sheepdog, Tess,
and James McLaughlin with Ben.
The lush countryside of the Dartington Estate in South Devon.
An inspiring place to think and reflect,
and a beautiful place to work.
'This combination of work and space are the key ingredients
'in a unique project tackling one of society's biggest problems -
Nearly 50% of prisoners will reoffend
within their first year of release.
It's a huge figure, but the cost to the economy is equally as huge -
around £13 billion a year.
But, at this place, they're using the countryside to try
and reduce those figures.
At LandWorks, the idea is simple.
A group of offenders come here four days a week,
work the land and gain new skills.
With any luck, they'll go on to find work within the community,
-Hi, Anita. Nice to see you.
-Pleased to meet you.
'Chris Parsons is in charge.'
What is LandWorks?
Well, the purpose, really, is to provide a work placement,
a real work placement where people who may not have worked before can
find their feet and start to take some responsibility
and progress back into the community.
Well, I've got a lot of questions and I'm quite keen to explore it.
-Why don't you have a look round?
Why don't you go round and meet everyone who's out here. Perhaps we
-can meet up later and you can tell me what you found out.
To earn a place here,
you must show a genuine desire to change your life.
Tony's been here for ten weeks.
I'm remembering old skills being here but also I'm learning new
-skills at the same time as well, like, you know?
-And do you enjoy it?
The people here are just brilliant people.
Really easy to get on with.
And Dartington the area itself is just a beautiful area.
And everyone wants to get involved with the projects, like, you know?
-So, how many times have you been in prison?
-This is my fourth sentence.
Some people watching this, Tony,
might think you've been in and out of prison, four sentences,
you could have destroyed quite a few lives, certainly upset
a lot of people, why should we let him, you know, grow vegetables?
-Surely you should be being punished for what you did.
Well, I mean, I've done my prison sentence
and people need a chance, if they want to, to change their lives,
because otherwise they're just going to go back into crime.
LandWorks is a place full of character, filled with art
and expressions from current and former trainees.
It also offers offenders a chance to rub shoulders with people
they may not normally mix with.
Today, Lee is working with artist Sarah on a tunnel
based around the idea of a beehive.
Hello. Hiya, Lee.
If someone said to you about a year ago you'd be out here building
an art piece called Fragments Of Society, based on a honeycomb...
No. THEY LAUGH
-..what would you have said?
-About a year ago...
-What were you up to a year ago?
-A year ago... Er...
-I was having a breakdown. I...
-Why? Where had you got to in life?
What...? Where were you?
Basically, I was a fully qualified scaffolder and I lost my job,
I had an accident at work.
I had a privately rented house and three kids and a missus,
and, basically, I hit rock bottom.
Lost my house, my career, from the accident at work,
spiralled out of control, and I ended up in prison.
And then I moved on to here,
and it's ended up being the best thing that I've done in a long time.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, like, you know?
So, I can see there's a job at the end of it.
I've seen other people come through this.
So it's a route back into society without being judged along the way.
'One of the key parts of the scheme is developing softer
'skills like respect and teamwork.
'So lunch is a very important part of the day here.
'It's a chance to mix in and share stories.'
It gives me the chance to socialise, meet new people.
It's been a real keystone of the project.
-So it's a good experience for us all.
-Food for the soul.
This place is being transformed into something of which
those who come here can be proud.
But the scheme's greatest achievement is its graduates.
'With LandWorks' help, Rich has changed his life.'
-We are sitting on your legacy, aren't we? Cos you made this.
Did you have any carpentry skills before you got here?
-Have you ever had a job before this?
-Before now, no.
-In 40 years of your life, you've never had a job?
I managed to get onto this project
and good things started happening to me. Now I work 12 hours a day.
If you work, you know that every fortnight
I've got that guaranteed money. It's mine.
I can pay my rent, I can pay my council tax and feel good.
-I can't even believe I'm saying that.
-I know, listen to you!
I've spoken to a few people here today at LandWorks,
and you are the role model. You do realise that, don't you?
People say, "We want to be like Rich.
"We want to get out of here and get a job."
Which is good, and I encourage
them all to work, but I don't want them to feel they need to be like me.
But it's good, and if I can pass my experience on to the boys,
I can tell them the road they should go down.
It's been a fascinating day,
and manager Chris wants to know what I think.
-How did it go?
-What an eye-opener.
I'm surprised at how open everyone is.
Yeah, I think honesty comes through here as the guys settle in
and spend some time here and develop a sense of ownership for the project.
They start discussing subjects
that might not normally be discussed or even, you know,
starting to take responsibility for their crime.
This is an opportunity to start afresh.
I've got more shame and guilt than anybody that I know and I've
had to learn to deal with that myself and I need a chance, you know? I do.
I need a chance. Because I'm not bad.
There should be more places like this, because if you want to
change then somewhere like this will give you the opportunity to do so.
If these guys take their chance out here,
they'll experience a sense of freedom in more ways than one.
This week, we're in South Devon -
a place with an unusual draw, as we've been finding out.
From scientists uncovering secrets of a Second World War plane crash,
to artists inspired by the natural wonders of the landscape.
But there's one group of people that have been based
here on Dartmoor for over 6,000 years - farmers.
Meet the Retallick family.
There's grandfather Maurice, son Russell and his wife, Carol,
and grandchildren Anneliese, Max, Harold and Olivia.
This family's been farming on Dartmoor for over 100 years.
In recent times, something exciting has happened
which has had a real impact on Russell's farm.
In 2007, he joined the Dartmoor Farmers' Association.
Supported by the Duchy of Cornwall,
it's an ambitious cooperative of over 50 farms working together.
How did the cooperative come about, then, Russell?
There was a group of Dartmoor farmers who decided this would be
a good idea to get together to market
our produce, our beef and lamb.
-And is it a model that you'd seen working elsewhere?
We found an association in Lenk in Switzerland that were doing
-a very similar thing.
-Not that close to home, then.
It was a very similar sort of topography to what we've got here.
With autumn approaching,
Russell and his family have an important job to do - bringing
their cattle down from the moorland to graze on lower pastures.
En route, we meet up with fellow cooperative farmer
Ed Williams, who's come to lend a hand.
So, Ed, you're not part of the family
but you are part of the cooperative.
The Dartmoor Farmers' Cooperative, yes. Yes.
In what ways, then, has your business now changed?
It's just everything has been brought back a lot more local.
All of a sudden, you've got a bit of pride in the job
and it's great to go in the pub of a Friday night and somebody says,
"I had a piece of your meat out of the village shop
"and it was fantastic." When we started,
we thought we were going to sell everything in a box
on the internet, a delivery van was going to come
and collect it and send it off. It's completely the opposite.
If you look at Dartmoor as a hill of food producing, or beef
and lamb producing area, with market towns all around the outside,
butchers shops in each, we don't need to reinvent the wheel.
We've just got to try and sell to those shops.
And we are doing eight local towns now where we're
-available in butcher shops.
-And pasties as well, I understand.
-Oh, yes. Pasties, pies.
-I can't wait for one of these pasties.
Oh, well, later. After you've done your work!
They obviously sell well cos I haven't had one yet!
Right, time to get the cows.
There we go, King.
The cowboys and cowgirls of England.
Cooperative rules state that members must only farm native breeds.
Livestock must be born, raised and finished on Dartmoor.
Russell's cows are all Aberdeen Angus, Aberdeen Angus cross.
So, these black ones here and the occasional rusty-coloured one.
So now we're just going to take them nice and gently round here
and down to the lower ground.
And, in true Countryfile cooperative style,
Ed and co-pilot Anita are keen to get in on the action.
That's the end of the road. There we are.
Hang on. Hang on.
I feel like a Horse Guard with the Queen arriving.
Yes, well, that's about right, Matt.
Let me jump down.
-That looked incredible. How was it?
-Anita, it's absolutely beautiful.
Now, the big question is did you bring a bale of hay for King here?
I've got a pasty. Does King eat pasties? I brought you it.
-Shall we share a bit of this pasty?
-That was wonderful.
-So this is...
-From the cooperative?
-The fruits of our labour, really.
-That's how much you're getting.
-Yeah, really good.
Just hold King cos we can't be doing with this. Hang on.
-There we are. We're all happy now.
So that is about it from glorious, glorious Dartmoor in Devon.
Next week, we're going to be at Byland Abbey, where the best
shepherding talent from across the British Isles will be coming
together to go head-to-head, hoping to be crowned champions
of One Man And His Dog 2014.
But which nation will be top dog?
-You'd better tune in and find out.
-See you then.
Countryfile is in Devon, where Matt Baker explores Dartmoor. He discovers the story of a WWII bomber which crashed on the moor and hears about one man's mission to find the truth behind what happened on that fateful night. Matt helps with a geophysics search of the site to see if the key to the crash can be unearthed. He also meets with a farmers' co-op in Dartmoor, where 50 farmers work together. Matt takes to horseback to help them with a cattle round-up.
Anita Rani meets a sculptor who is inspired by the ancient trees in the Devon landscape. She dons her snorkel to help him look for one vital ingredient in the River Dart - bog oak. She also finds out about a groundbreaking countryside project which aims to turn lives around and get offenders back into work.
Many people dream of owning a second home in the countryside or by the sea. But are these holiday retreats doing more harm than good? Charlotte Smith investigates.