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Essex, on the doorstep of London,
but away from the madding crowd, it's home to wild
and wonderful countryside and an impressive coastline.
A century ago, this stretch of sand was known as
the most perilous byway in England.
To this day, it still has a fearsome reputation
because of its racing tides.
But you know me, I love a challenge, so I'm going to give it a go.
Further inland, I'm on safer ground.
Here, the locals are trying to put Essex on the map,
but for a different reason.
These children are part of a project to encourage people to grow,
source and use local food, and in fact,
they're so good at it that they've been winning awards.
I'll be finding out what these young kitchen gardeners can rustle up
from their own produce.
Tom's investigating a new agreement that could help us all.
After years round the negotiating table,
the new European deal for farming is done.
It'll affect the food we eat and the landscape we enjoy.
But for better or worse, I'll be investigating.
And Adam's suited and booted
to judge rare breeds from all over the country.
The Royal Norfolk Show
is one of the biggest events in the rural calendar,
and this year, they're helping the Rare Breeds Survival Trust
celebrate their 40th anniversary by bringing together
40 different rare breeds all under one roof,
so that visitors can get up close and personal to breeds like these.
Essex is a sprawling rural county, a farmland giving way to
coastal marshes, river estuaries and tiny islands.
The western corner kisses the edge of London,
but the east rubs shoulders with the North Sea.
Here the land gets flatter and lower,
and that's made it vulnerable to the tides.
In 1953, 307 people died when the east of England was
devastated by Britain's worst ever floods. 120 of those were in Essex.
60 years on, and reminders are all around.
Huge flood defences separate productive farmland
from salty mudflats.
Peter Caton is Essex born and bred.
He's walked almost every mile of the coastline - almost.
He knows the area's true character.
People think of Essex as being Southend and Clacton
and Walton-on-the-Naze. But that's only a very small part of Essex.
It's the longest coastline of any county, about 350 miles,
and it's a very beautiful place and people don't realise.
And you've covered almost every inch. Of this territory.
-But there is a walk that you haven't done.
I walked along here five or six years ago
and I looked out across the mud and I walked about 200 yards along
and decided that it's a walk that just can't be done safely
without a guide knowing the tide, knowing the weather and where
-the quicksands are.
-And today, Peter, we're going to get to do it.
-You've won the lottery!
-Thank you very much.
Well, the route we're taking is said to be the most dangerous
public footpath in England.
For centuries, small creeks
and mudflats separated coastal Foulness Island from the mainland.
Locals could only cross safely at low tide and with no landmarks,
the route was marked by besom brooms buried in the sand.
Hence, it was called the Broomway.
And if all that wasn't dangerous enough,
it's now part of a military firing range.
Hi there, Brian. Hello.
I've got another victim for you - I mean, a walker! How are you?
'Experienced walking guide Brian Dawson doesn't use brooms.
'He's learnt the safe route...
'..which we can only take when they're not firing live shells.'
Explain the dangers of the Broomway to me, then, Brian.
Well, soft sand, especially
when the Ministry have been letting ammunition off out here,
displaces the sands and makes pockets of soft mud.
So it becomes like a quicksand.
Yeah. We can look out here now, and it looks flat.
You can see over to Kent and you can see way up there to Margate.
It looks flat.
But it's not flat, and that's what makes it dangerous,
the fact that if you're out there,
you think, "The sea's over there, no problem."
But of course, it creeps in behind you.
So you can very easily become disorientated.
-Think you're heading in one direction,
and before you know it, the tide's my caught up with you.
It'll come in faster than we can walk or even run.
In days gone by, unwary travellers have perished on the Broomway,
earning it the nickname, the doom way.
Let's hope it won't be living up to that today.
It certainly is beautiful out here, and it looks innocuous enough,
but if you do look out in that direction, there are no landmarks.
You could lose your bearings so very easily,
and once the tide starts coming in, you're in serious trouble.
Better keep up with him. Peter?
Do you feel that sense of excitement?
Certainly, yes. It's a big openness.
There's very few places that are anywhere like it, really,
that you can get to safely,
provided you've got someone who knows the way to go.
As long as you've got a Brian with you!
The full Broomway walk takes two hours,
but I need to get there quicker.
Well, guys, I hate to leave you in the lurch, as it were, but you're
in very safe hands with Brian and Peter. Enjoy the rest of the walk.
I've got a lift! Bye!
The volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity
have the answer to all this sand. They just rise above it.
Afternoon! Permission to come aboard. Thank you!
Not quite what you expect to see,
a hovercraft come hurtling towards you.
All joking aside, I'm not the first or last person
-that you're going to save out here, am I?
We've got a vast amount of mud, about 2.5 miles wide
-and about 15 miles long, so it's a vast area.
-What are some
of the more unusual cases that you've had to lend a hand with?
A few years ago, we had a bird-watcher who walked off
Broomway and got stuck in the mud
and every time he moved, he went a bit lower,
so he just sat there, but luckily he had a mobile phone and we managed
to get hold of him and get him out before the tide got hold of him.
That must be absolutely terrifying, that horrible feeling of,
We also do a lot of work with kitesurfers,
windsurfers who have accidents, break legs, which this is a perfect
tool for going and picking them up and transporting them back to shore.
Transport them to shore, those are the words I was waiting to hear.
-Transport them back to shore. Can I have a lift?
Excellent. Good stuff. Let's go.
I'm heading to Foulness Island,
to an unusual farm in the middle of a firing range.
More about that later.
But first, Tom's looking at an issue affecting all farmers -
European subsidies, and how a new deal will affect you.
The Common Agricultural Policy, or CAP,
is something we should all care about.
It affects the price of our food,
the landscape we all live in and it's paid for out of your pocket.
And if you're a farmer, it can be the difference
between a profitable business or a struggle to survive.
Since CAP was set up, more than half a century ago
to boost food production, subsidies have been at its heart.
But in recent years, CAP payments have changed.
Alongside subsidies for production,
farmers now get ready for so-called greening measures,
designed to sustain and conserve our natural environment.
Under the current agreement, British farming
gets around £3.4 billion every year, and if you divide that by
the population of the country, that's £57 for every man, woman and child.
Now, after a process which has taken years,
government ministers from across Europe have agreed a brand-new
deal for CAP, which should keep us going until 2020.
But is it better or worse than the last one?
Well, that depends on who you talk to.
'Luke Ablett runs a small farm in Cambridgeshire.
'He's one of the new breed of younger farmers trying to get
'a foothold in the business.'
How long have you had this farm yourself?
I've had this farm for a year and a half now, coming up to two years.
-I got it when I was 22.
-I was pretty young.
It certainly is, to have your own farm, you're a rarity in that case.
I am. I'm the only one in Cambridgeshire, I think, that young.
So you got your farm very young.
How does it feel to have a farm when you're just 22, or now 24?
It's a good feeling. It's a good feeling, but it's a lot of pressure.
A lot of pressure. I've got grey hairs coming through,
and I'm only 24 at the moment!
You may be young, Luke,
but some of your machinery's got a bit of history to it!
Luke currently gets around £15,000 a year in subsidies,
and under the new CAP deal, he should continue to get most of that.
It's all right when you get a bit of momentum up on it.
That's the one. Got to get swinging.
-Have you heard of oil round these parts, for this handle?
Even with subsidies, he can't afford to waste a single potato.
These are the off ones that didn't quite make the spec.
-We're going to feed them the cow.
So these are the ones that the supermarket didn't think were
-quite pretty enough. Is that right?
-Yeah, that's it.
So why do you think it is you need a subsidy to run this business?
I need a subsidy because of the rising cost of fuel,
the seed, the fertiliser, as well as the rising cost of machinery.
I need it because of the variable costs that's happening with
the crop I get at the end of it.
It's not quite enough to what it costs me to produce it.
I could hear other businessmen saying,
"These are problems I have to deal with
"and I don't get help. Why should you?"
They get to say at the end how much they want for their product,
but we haven't got that luxury.
'As a young farmer in an industry where the average age is 65,
'there was a particular piece of good news for Luke from the negotiations.'
-Some hungry mouths to feed.
-There you go.
'2% of the CAP budget is being set aside to support farmers under 40.'
It will make a big difference, especially
when there's such a financial layout for the first year.
You've no profit coming in at all off the farm.
That first year's really a stretch, money-wise.
But it will really help get new young farmers in the business.
It might make a few more people think, "I want to take on a farm."
But for Luke and farmers across the UK, there are still many
unanswered questions, not least because individual countries
will now have more power than ever to decide on their own subsidies.
That could mean even more variation in payments for farmers in
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and for different things.
The Common Agricultural Policy seems to be getting a lot less,
But there are those who believe that
continuing to subsidise farmers like Luke
is bad for farming in general.
'Sean Rickard is an economist who has a very different view on CAP
'and the subsidies given to farmers.'
Common Agricultural Policy should be phased out over a period of years.
It has failed to meet every single one of its targets
over its last 50 years. It's a chronic waste of money
and we can much better use the money to help the countryside,
to help rural economy and to save the taxpayers.
But don't you think that'll drive a lot of farmers out of farming?
Yes, it would, it would drive a lot of
the smaller, full-time, less efficient farmers,
many of whom are hanging on by their fingertips at the moment.
'Many, including the British government,
'are concerned about the overdependence of farmers on subsidy.
'But when faced with one of the people he could be putting
'out of business, is Sean still as committed to his views?'
So, Luke, can you justify to Sean why you need a subsidy?
I need my subsidy for the rising cost of fuels, the seed,
the fertiliser and the rent, and without that, I think
I wouldn't be able to farm.
Well, let's just deal with rent first, shall we?
Why do you think your rents are so high?
-I don't know.
-I'll tell you why.
Because of the subsidy that goes into the land,
it's pushed up more than 500% in the last 25 years.
During your life, the cost of land has gone up.
It's true you have to pay more money for your fertilisers
and your fuel, but then the price of your crops has gone up.
If you talk about any other industry, many other
small businesses out there, where people have to spend
money on fuel, on other inputs, no-one helps them.
They survive by selling to people what they want.
At the end of their products, they say,
"This cost me x amount to produce,
"and therefore I'm going to put that much profit on it,
"and that's how much the product is going to be worth."
We haven't got that luxury.
We need that cushion so when the price does drop,
we have that cushion to make sure that we're not going to go under.
What you're asking is that the taxpayer should take the risk
out of your business for you.
But the years when your potato crops go up in price, you don't
pay me back for the subsidy I gave you in the bad years.
If you ask most farmers, we don't want the subsidy,
we don't want hand-outs, we want to stand on our own two feet.
-Good to you. That's right.
-But we want a fair price for our crops.
You would get it if it was left to market forces.
People would pay you what it was worth, and that is a fair price.
'With such differing points of view, it's not surprising that
'reaching a deal on CAP that suited everyone was simply impossible.'
Clearly there's still plenty to be argued about here,
but the overall debate is not just about how much money is paid
to farmers, but what it should be used for when it gets to the land,
and that's what I'll be investigating later.
Think of Essex. What springs to mind?
I bet it's not open countryside or fields of gently swaying corn,
or clapboard houses in pretty villages.
Well, think again, because Essex is a lot greener and a lot more
pleasant than you might think, and this place is spreading the word.
For the last 120 years,
Writtle College has been training the next generation of farmers.
Back in 1893, thatching and blacksmithing
were on the curriculum, but not any longer.
Now they've got everything from horticulture to equine studies,
agriculture to animal science, and when I say science, I mean science.
One of their latest projects addresses a gassy problem.
They're looking for ways to improve
what goes on inside a sheep's stomach.
So, Dr Sife, what scientific work
are you concentrating on at the moment?
At the moment, we are looking at plant extracts
which are called essential oils.
These are found in normal herbs and spices.
We are looking at ways to use these as supplements
for ruminant animals such as sheep and cattle.
Ruminants have got vast numbers of bacteria, protozoa and fungi,
and these ferment fibre for them.
They also synthesise protein, which the animal benefits from.
But also, alongside all those beneficial processes,
they also generate gases such as methane.
-They also saturate fatty acids.
-so that's obviously affecting the meat.
Yes. So the fatty acids that end up in the meat and milk are saturated,
and the negative health effects of saturated fats are well-known.
And is this flock helping out with the work?
Yes, some of sheep, when they go to the abattoir,
we take their guts and use the micro-organisms in there
for the work that we do.
Micro-organisms? Methane gas? Saturated fat?
That's a lot to digest, even for a sheep!
Time to abandon the fields and head for the lab.
I hope I've got the stomach for it.
Right, let's get all the scientific gear on.
And let's get testing. This is it.
Wow, that's quite something.
What have you got there? Is that what I think it is?
-Yes, that is a sheep stomach.
-Right, what are we going to do with this?
-It's quite gaseous already.
We're going to cut it open and take out the contents.
-This is going to stink, isn't it?
There's no easy way to introduce someone from the smell of rumen,
-Let's just go for it, shall we?
'Francine's working with clove oil to see
'if she can reduce the harmful side effects of sheep digestion.'
-Wow, is that it?
That is offensive.
That is absolutely...
OK, I'm all right now.
For any sheep farmers out there, you know the smell of,
if you're doing anything with foot rot, when you open up their toes
and it absolutely reeks, it's like that, but multiply by about 100.
-That's about where you're at.
'We're going to reproduce what goes on inside a sheep's stomach
'in a bottle.'
What are you putting in there?
-This is artificial saliva.
So we are properly recreating what would be in there.
-I'll put the lid on,
because we certainly don't want this hitting the roof.
Anyone for sheep stomach smoothie?
Now we need to strain that through the muslin to separate
-the contents from the fluid.
That contains hundreds and thousands of different micro-organisms
that were originally in that sheep's stomach.
'Take thousands of micro-organisms, a touch of artificial saliva,
'a little food and add a secret ingredient. In this case, clove oil.
'Mix it all up in a miniature artificial stomach
'and see what comes out the other end.
'Figuratively speaking, of course.'
And what kind of differences
are you seeing with the ones you've tested already?
We're seeing that some have actually prevented some polyunsaturated
fatty acids being converted to saturated fatty acids
which are bad for human health. That's the main thing.
Also, we've seen a reduction in gas produced as well.
So, if your sheep are a bit on the whiffy side,
then maybe a bit of clove oil is the way to go.
Certainly, Francine's work seems to suggest that.
Listen, I wish you all the best with your research.
That truly has been fascinating for me to see that so thank you.
Dr Siffy and Francine's work could make a big difference to farming
and not a welly in sight.
But then, Writtle College has always been at the leading edge
of new techniques and technologies.
Later, I'll be meeting some children who are learning about food.
First, here's Julia on a really dangerous walk.
I've arrived on Foulness Island.
And if you ever thought that arable farming was a tricky job,
check this out.
For the last hundred years,
the island has been used by the MoD for weapons testing.
When the military moved in,
you might have expected everybody else to move out, but they didn't.
The island still has a population of about 125.
It's all top-secret stuff.
Residents and their guests have to pass through checkpoints
to enter and leave the island.
But the warnings, fences and gates aren't just about national security.
It can be a dangerous life here on Foulness.
I'm meeting the Burroughs brothers who've been farming under fire
all their working lives.
That's Peter driving the tractor.
-How are you?
-I'm fine. How are you?
Very well, thanks. Busy at work then, topping your field?
I'm always talking to farmers who tell me what a hard time they have all year round.
But you guys here have genuinely got fresh problems to face
-on an almost daily basis, haven't you?
When the ranges are operating, there are certain areas of the farm
that we're not allowed to enter until the trial is finished.
Sometimes this can take all day.
Sometimes it can be every day of the week.
-What about things you come across on your land?
-You do that, yes.
The nature of the trial of the test, sometimes debris, shrapnel,
is thrown across the fields which quite often happens
-and that can damage machinery.
-What happens in a case like that?
What happens if you come across a massive hit of shrapnel
-and it gets caught up?
-Well, the procedure is
I would just have a look at it and then ring range control
-and they'll get someone down to move it.
-Last question, can I have a go?
I can't get into a tractor cabin and not ask for a go.
-'Course you can have a go, yeah.
-By all means.
I haven't done this for a while. It's all coming back to me.
-There we go.
-Rev her up a little bit.
-And away we go.
And we're off.
-Right, I'll try and keep your edges neat.
I don't want to ruin all your good work now.
See, on a day like today, you do have the best job in the world.
Not a care in the world.
-When we come out on the end, press that now.
-Now turn around.
-Hard as you can.
-That's it. Now straighten up.
And press the button down. That's it. In we go again.
So you could just be trundling along on a day like today
and hear a big "krrrr" or see something in front of you,
-a massive little shrapnel.
-Yes. Yes, you can.
-You're missing a bit.
-Sorry. What's that there?
-That's a bit of shrapnel I found earlier.
-Oh, look at that!
'I really want to get a closer look at that lump of metal.
'Peter's brother John's checking it out.'
I'm about to see some real live shrapnel.
I think it's the first time I've ever seen shrapnel. Right, John.
-Do we have to stand clear?
-No, we're OK with this piece.
-It's just a very large lump, as you can see.
-It is a big lump.
It's very tempting, isn't it? I know I can't and I shouldn't
and I won't, but I want to touch it.
Well, the nature of it is it's very, very heavy and very sharp-edged.
That would properly weigh a kilo and a half, if not more.
-If it landed on your head, you'd be seriously dead.
-And you can see where the machine actually hit it.
The marks there.
It does make you think, seeing something like that.
It makes you think about what would happen if...
My particular farm is about 800 meters from here
and several years ago, a piece similar to that went
right through the hay store roof.
All right. So we shall step away
and we shall let somebody come and retrieve it,
-in a very military, secret kind of way.
-It'll be fine.
Earlier, we heard about a European deal which would guarantee subsidies
to British farmers until at least 2020.
But what should they be spent on? Here's Tom.
The British landscape is shaped by the people who farm it
and their decisions are shaped by the Common Agricultural Policy
We've already heard that the idea of farmers getting handouts
from Europe at all is controversial.
But how that money is spent is every bit as divisive.
For some, it's all about nature.
For others, it's about the business of farming.
Under the current agreement, virtually all farms, big or small,
get subsidies regardless of whether they make money or not.
And some get more than £1 million.
But why do big, profitable farms need some of our money?
Here in Cambridgeshire, John Latham is part of a consortium that farms
around 5,000 acres of arable land, growing mostly wheat.
Your wheat's coming up nicely here. Are you hopeful for a good year?
Yes, hopefully it's going to be a lot better than last year.
John farms on an epic scale and still gets a large cheque.
You're a very commercial farm here. In the long run, shouldn't you
be able to do without the crutch of taxpayers' money?
I think the difficulty is that agriculture globally is such
a political animal.
You only have to go across the sea or across the pond to America
and see the support that they get and that's who we're competing with.
It's so easy for industry to import global commodities like maize,
corn, wheat or any other major commodity.
Those are ultimately who we're competing with.
If farms in the rest of the world are getting subsidies,
John thinks it's only fair that British farmers get them too.
And the new CAP deal will ensure that continues but there is a catch.
-I can see some bees enjoying it.
Despite John already doing his bit for the environment,
he'll have to do even more if he wants to get
his full production subsidy.
And that includes changing to a new system for rotating crops.
One of the things that's come out
is the possible three crops on one farm.
This farm is all down to one crop.
What I had looked for DEFRA is to make sure we're not penalised
and have to come back here three times to do three different crops
with all the implications that'll have on our business.
Just boil that down a minute.
This year, this farm is all wheat and that's efficient for you
cos you can just bring the wheat tools to the farm.
We can bring the kit here once rather than three times.
-And next year?
-Next year, it'll be oil seed rape
-so it'll all be one crop again.
-So the land still gets rotated?
-It still gets a rotation on it, yes.
-And yet there's a recommendation
in this proposal that you should grow three different crops.
That's what it looks like at first glance.
For John, this compulsory greening of his production subsidy
reduces his ability to run a profitable farm
and manage the land at the same time.
But for others, these measures do not go far enough.
Environmental groups had hoped for a new deal from CAP reform that offered
far more in terms of greener farming and the conservation of wildlife.
The National Trust wants the preservation of our natural landscape
to play a more central role in the future of farming.
Its 2,000 tenant farmers and graziers currently get around
£2.6 million a year in European subsidies.
Here at Wimpole Hall,
they have a farm where they balance conservation and food production.
What have you got the heavy machinery in for today?
Well, Tom, this is creating what's known as a beetle bank
which is effectively a strip sacrificed out of the crop
and ploughed up to allow wild flowers to grow
and provide a corridor for the wildlife from that wood
to be able to pass over to these headlands.
It would normally be a piece of productive land
with a good return on its crop,
but we are sacrificing that to provide the wildlife benefit.
Now, you wanted to see more of that encouraged from the CAP reform deal.
What do you think about what was thrashed out?
Well, it started really well.
So the rhetoric was very good at the start.
But in the end, it's been watered down.
We wanted to see more support for those greener farming methods.
More money, bigger areas put aside for environmental protection
to give us a sense of long-term resilient farming.
Do you care about the production of large volumes of foods in England?
Absolutely. It's interesting. I never think of this as an either/or.
Some people will reduce the debate to, "We either do green farming
"or we do maximum food production." I think there's space for both.
We need to understand much more what our land is good for.
Some places, it will be growing crops.
In others, it will be wilder areas and public access.
In some ways, this CAP reform is best defined by what it isn't.
It isn't an open door to market forces,
nor is it a radical shift in terms of paying for the environment.
It also isn't finished business.
Many of the details which will actually affect how we farm
are going to be thrashed out over future months by national government
and that's something we'll be keeping an eye on here on Countryfile.
Adam's farm is like a rare breeds Noah's Ark,
packed with amazing rare breed livestock that needs protecting.
This year marks a special anniversary
for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust
and Adam's on hand to join in with the celebration.
I was very fortunate to have taken on the tenancy of this farm
in the Cotswolds from my father.
He didn't have an easy start into farming
because he wasn't from an agricultural background.
But since being a farmer, he has done some amazing things.
One of those is that he was founder chairman
of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and he helped set that up in 1973.
So this year is their 40th anniversary.
And it's a good job he did because between 1900 and 1973,
the UK lost 26 of its native breeds.
But since the trust formed, no other native stock has been lost.
There's one breed that we both love. It's the Cotswolds here.
But they went into decline and almost became extinct
and it was thanks to people like my dad and other breeders
that saved them. They really felt that because they had given so much
to this area that we needed to look after them for the future.
The Cotswolds wouldn't be what they are today
without the Cotswold sheep.
They were brought here by the Romans who brought them to clothe
their legions in this chilly climate
and all our long-wool breeds are descended from the Roman long-wool,
but the Cotswold is probably the most directly descended
because the Romans settled the Cotswolds, as you know, very intensively.
My dad helped save the Cotswold from the brink
and now we have over 50 Cotswolds on the farm.
Every rare breed has its own story.
This year, there's a great opportunity
to see over 40 rare breeds under one roof.
A rare sight indeed.
And the place to see it is at the Royal Norfolk Show.
It's a big event in the agricultural calendar.
There's lots going on and I normally make a beeline for the tractors.
But today, it's the rare breeds I'm after,
in all their weird and wonderful varieties.
This is the Rare Breeds Village celebrating its 40th anniversary
with 40 different rare breeds all under one roof.
I just absolutely love it.
I'm all dressed up to do a bit of judging later.
There's one rare breed here that couldn't be more relevant to this show.
These are Norfolk Horn sheep.
At one time, there would have been thousands of these in Norfolk,
grazing on the Brecklands, the poor quality grass.
But then they fell into decline.
In the early '70s, there was only a handful of ewes
and a couple of rams left. They were virtually extinct.
One of those rams was infertile.
My dad with a bunch of other people set up a breeding back programme
to try and bring them back into existence.
Crossed that ram with a number of other ewes
and now the breed has become much more popular
and they're pretty much 99% pure and breeding true to type.
A really lovely breed.
Very famous in Norfolk.
It's really important that the next generation support these breeds.
And 14-year-old Hamish Beaton is already doing just that.
Hi, Hamish. I'm Adam. Good to meet you.
-I hear you're a big Norfolk Horn enthusiast.
-How long have you had them?
-I've had them eight years now.
-Yeah, eight years.
-How many sheep have you got?
-We've got about 30 breeding ewes now.
-So a good size.
-Good size, yeah.
-And you've got a number of sheep
in the show ring. How do you fancy your chances?
I hope we'll do quite well.
We've had good successes at shows before with the team,
-so yeah, hoping to do well.
-I'll be on the sidelines watching you.
-Thanks, Adam. Nice to see you.
-All the best.
-Hi, Andy. Good to see you.
-Is that an Ixworth?
It is indeed, yes. This is a working bird.
I've got a couple at home, but they're very rare.
They are. They're down to about 450 birds in total now.
Back in the early '70s though, they were down to just a handful
-which is a real shame.
-Goodness me. So why have they gone into decline?
Really, it was down to the hybrids and suchlike that came over
from the States during the '40s, '50s and '60s.
The Chicken Of Tomorrow contest took place and hybrids were generated
where you've got laying lines of birds
and you've got table lines of birds.
A bird like this, the cockerel itself, would take about 20 weeks
to reach table weight.
Whereas the stuff you see in the supermarkets now
-is more about the eight-week mark.
-Incredible, isn't it?
-And the Ixworth, truly British.
Built in Britain by Reginald Appleyard, 1937.
-I want to get some more if I can find them.
Out in the show ring, Hamish's judging is just about to start.
But before I catch up with him,
a Suffolk Punch horse is not to be missed.
I've had him 30-odd years and there were only something like 240.
Now there's about 500.
But they're still category one which is critically endangered.
-And why did they become so rare? Just cos of the tractor?
I think the necessity after the war to feed people,
the tractor was... Technology's gone on leaps and bounds,
the horse just got left behind.
They're part of our living heritage so they shouldn't disappear.
And why did you choose the Suffolk to keep out of all the heavy horses?
I'm a Suffolk man.
-Stunning to look at, aren't they?
-Always this colour. Chestnut.
-Same colour as me.
Probably a relative.
The judging has started and I've got fingers crossed for Hamish.
There's four other rams in with him. Quite stiff competition.
And just my initial reaction is that his ram is quite fine
and there's other rams in the ring that look bigger
and stronger. So I don't fancy his chances at the moment.
Well, the judge has awarded the prizes.
Unfortunately, Hamish's ram was last in the line-up.
Perhaps could have done with a little more meat on him.
The other rams are slightly better grown. But it's a good start.
It's really important to bring your sheep out to these shows.
It's good experience. He'll be learning from what the judges
are saying to them now and can only get better.
-Well, fifth, Hamish.
-That was a shame you didn't do better.
-Good, strong class though.
-There was a lot of competition.
How have you got on with your other Norfolks?
-That ram there, he came second in the end. The mature ram.
-I was really pleased with him.
Why do you think he did so well?
He's got a good set of widespread horns
and he's got quite good short ears
which is what they look for in the breed.
-That's what they originally had.
-He's well made up, isn't he
-A bit more of a meaty ram than this one.
What about your other show sheep? Are all these rosettes yours?
-All those rosettes we've won today.
-Goodness me! You've done really well.
-I was watching the wrong class.
-Yeah, you were!
It's fantastic you're supporting Norfolk Horns.
It's great you're here at the Norfolk Show.
You're the farmer of the future. Well done. Lovely to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-Best of luck.
The show is all about supporting British agriculture
in every way we can and there's one very well-known face here today
that's doing his bit to support the industry.
Sports presenter Jake Humphrey is the Royal Norfolk show's president.
There's a real buzz about the place, isn't there?
There's a great atmosphere.
What do you think of Rare Breeds Survival Trust
-and their 40th anniversary tent?
-I think this is really special.
I think if you went to most kids now... Look around here,
half the people at this show are young kids, seven, eight,
nine, ten, 11 years old. If you said to them, "Name me an animal in danger."
They might go, "A tiger." "A panda." "An elephant."
Think of something from miles and miles away. They wouldn't say a Suffolk Punch.
-They wouldn't say sheep, cows.
-Well done you for being so involved.
-By the way, the sun always shines in Norfolk.
And I've got an important job to do too.
Quite a challenge, judging these cattle. I'm really quite nervous.
Keep going. Thank you.
That's a little Irish Moiled. Very nice.
Just come in here.
'It was no easy decision.
'I was looking for one that stands out
'and for me, there was only one winner.'
-She's very lovely.
This is an Irish Moiled cow put up top. Really lovely cow.
Very well-balanced. Good mobility. Well grown.
They're very rare so good ones are hard to come by and she's lovely.
Next week, we'll be celebrating another anniversary,
Countryfile's Silver Jubilee,
and I'll be giving Julia a sneak peek behind the scenes down on the farm.
Here in Essex, food is high up on the rural agenda.
There's even a project called Edible Essex to spread the word
about growing your own.
One place has taken this message to heart.
This is Birch,
a village where the small people have big ideas about food.
Birch Church of England Primary School
is taking a hands-on approach to food.
The children have their own gardening club
and teaching assistant Sadie Broad is in charge.
-Sadie, what a beautiful day to be Gardening.
-This is your pride and joy then.
This is our school garden and yes, I'm very proud of it.
-Will you show me round?
-I'll show you around.
We've got some nasturtiums here.
Keeps the bugs away from my beans. So it's a lovely, useful flower.
This is something I like to teach children about, plant partners,
but also I like them to enjoy flowers,
-eating and tasting flowers.
-Can I have a little nibble of that one?
-It's quite peppery.
-I might as well sample the produce while I'm here.
-Do you like pepper?
-Oh, it is peppery.
-It is. It's lovely, isn't it?
Something that I really want the children to understand is
actually sometimes the best part of a plant is the flower.
-So, Sadie, you started creating this about four years ago.
Why was it so important for you to do that?
I wanted to be able to show children how easy it is to grow plants,
for them to understand where their food does come from
and in all honesty, to try something different.
Quite often, especially as a mother, it's very easy to put peas on a plate
when, in fact, there are so many different vegetables,
some they've never even heard of, some they've never seen.
It's very impressive to look at.
It's got a beautiful feeling, this garden. Obviously, the children...
-There's a lot of love.
-There is a lot of love, you can feel it.
-A lot of hard work from the children.
-They're obviously very good at it.
Yes, very good indeed.
In fact, they're so good one of our children Emily Lawrence
who's been a gardener since the beginning here, she has actually won
the Edible Essex competition called A Healthy Lunch Plot.
And Emily's prize-winning plot won the school
£1,000 from the competition.
-Sophie, how are you doing? All right?
-Fine, thank you.
-You're from Edible Essex.
You came up this idea of the packed-lunch plot.
There's been a lot of emphasis over the years on school dinners,
-but not so much on packed lunches.
So we thought we'd get children to create a packed lunch.
Basically, what they had to do was to design a small plot
of produce - fruit, veg, herbs, whatever.
-We've got some of the entries here in front of us.
And then to create a recipe for a healthy packed lunch
-using the produce.
-Was there quite a lot of interest in this? How many?
We had 165 schools enter the competition
-and we received 1,555 entries.
-More than you thought?
Much more than I thought.
So this one here then is the winning entry. This is Emily's.
Why did this one stand out?
Well, she chose easy to grow vegetables and plants
and also, the flowers would have other purposes like attracting bees
-That's a good idea, isn't it?
-..and pest-eating insects.
-I'll have to go and meet her.
Right, Emily. Let me get this apron on.
First of all, huge congratulations.
1,555 people entered this and you won it. What was the secret?
Um, probably my lavender sugar.
Oh! I don't even know what we're cooking
so you'd better tell me what the recipe is then.
-First, we're going to start of baking lavender cupcakes.
That's what you've got in here then, the base mixture for that.
How many people do you have in your school
cos we have to make cupcakes for everyone, I think?
-About 143, I think.
-OK. I think we're going to be here for some time.
-And what did you have for a main course?
Come on. Do your Jamie Oliver. He's from round here.
Squidge it about a bit. That's the kind of thing he says.
Squidge it about a bit.
And then chop up the tomatoes.
Right. What do you want to do with the chives?
Use the scissors and cut it.
-Sugar snap peas.
Little gem lettuce.
-That is beautiful.
-Have you got a special name for this salad?
-Sunshine pasta salad.
And these are all the little rays of sunshine going in now.
-Shall I chuck a bit of rocket in?
The white wine vinegar and the olive oil.
Look at that, now it's ready.
No wonder you won, this is a brilliant salad, this.
So, with this thousand pounds you got to spend on the school,
-have you spent that yet?
-And what did you buy?
-We bought a poly tunnel.
-We bought seeds.
So you've got things growing in there now?
Good, all right then, I tell you what.
While our buns are in the oven and the pasta salad is made,
let's take the aprons off and go and have a look, shall we?
Not surprisingly there are three other
award-winning gardeners here too,
and now the school has got the room to get all their children involved.
Oh, my word, this is impressive, wow. What a poly tunnel this is.
How does it make you feel knowing that you effectively won this
-poly tunnel, Emily?
-Makes me feel amazing.
And that all your friends can come here and do what you love so much.
I've been so impressed with everything that I've seen today
and everything that I've tasted,
but there's one thing left that we haven't tasted, Emily.
Lavender cupcakes, tell you what,
I never got these when I was at school.
Hang on, where have they all gone?
I tell you what, a load of people
could learn a thing or two from this lot.
Anyway, how are the cupcakes?
-Glad to hear it.
And what a wonderful school photo,
speaking of which, this year's Countryfile photographic competition
is in full swing and here's John with all the details.
I've got four left if you want them.
The theme for this year's competition is our living landscape.
We want pictures that capture the beauty of the British countryside,
all the wonderful life, the fantastic scenery that you find within it.
The 12 best photographs chosen by our judges
will make up the Countryfile calendar for 2014.
Irene McIlvenny from Leeds was one of the 12 lucky entrants to make
it into the current Countryfile calendar.
Her photo of a tern in-flight is the picture for July.
When I see my photograph in the calendar
I can't actually believe that I took the photograph.
It is really good, I'm really pleased.
It's on my living room wall as we speak.
Another amateur photographer to make it into the calendar was Andy Holden
from Skipton with his photo of a stoat peeping out of a wall.
I saw it run across the road, it went into a dry stone wall,
which you can see here.
I jumped over the wall into the next field so I could get the right
light for the camera and the stoat
was about 50 yards away at this point.
To get anywhere near it I thought,
"I'm going to have to bring it towards me."
So I gave a little mouse squeak...sort of thing
and it come popping up through all the different holes in the wall.
I got about 20 shots in different spots.
And that was the best of the lot.
When I saw my photo in the calendar
I just thought it were fantastic, and all my mates did as well.
I were really chuffed, made my day.
We've already had some wonderful entries for this year's competition,
but there is still time to get yours in.
Here's what you need to know.
You can send in up to four photos and they must have been taken in the UK.
Please could you send in hard copies not e-mails or computer files.
Write your name, address and a daytime
and evening phone number on the back of each photo
with a note of where it was taken then send your entries to:
The full terms and conditions are on our website where you will
also find details of the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.
Our closing date is Friday, 26 July, and I'm sorry
but we can't return any entries.
Don't forget, you've got just five more days to get your entry in.
If you've been inspired to pick up your camera and capture our
living landscape, then you'll need to know
what the weather has in store.
Here's the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
We're loving Essex, in fact, I've been hugging the coast
with its scattering of tiny inlets and creeks.
And I've made my way to Wallasea Island.
For centuries, people in this area have been fighting Mother Nature
and building sea defences like this one, but now the good landowners
of Wallasea have thrown in the towel and decided to admit defeat.
Farming on reclaimed land here dates back hundreds of years.
Four years ago, the island was bought by the RSPB.
And they are totally reshaping it,
ready to surrender it back to the sea...
..and create the biggest restored coastal habitat in Europe.
Jeff Kew has been involved from the start.
What we are doing is essentially turning the island back
to how it would have been about 600 years ago.
That's allowing the sea to come in over the land which
is currently farmed to create new salt marshes and mud flats.
So describe what we are looking at here and now.
On the seaward-side, we have an area of previously farmed land
where the sea has been allowed in creating a new area of mud flat
and an area of salt marsh in front of us.
Looking across in the other direction, we can see the extensive
-area of farmland.
-And that's going to go?
-So there will be more of this, essentially.
-Much more of this.
Extensive areas of salt marsh and mud flat.
Salt marsh is incredibly important as a habitat in the UK.
The RSPB has high hopes for this project.
Redshanks from Iceland could overwinter here alongside
dunlins as 50,000 wading birds are tempted here from Europe and beyond.
And this is how it will look.
Once Wallasea is remodelled and crumbling flood defences opened up,
the North Sea will flood in creating a tidal wetland.
Landscaping on this scale needs earth and lots of it.
8,000 tonnes of soil get delivered each day via ship to this,
the largest conveyor belt I've ever seen.
And it's all possible because of this,
an unlikely pairing with a mammoth construction project.
The RSPB need soil, and Crossrail need somewhere to put
the waste from huge railway tunnels it's digging under London.
It's a marriage made in heaven.
Project manager Siobhan Wall is in charge of what is now
Europe's biggest earthworks.
Siobhan, it's such a massive exercise, isn't it?
Tell me about some of the logistical gymnastics
you've had to go through to get this done.
It is a huge project, we are bringing 4.5 million tonnes
of clean earth from underneath London whilst we're building these tunnels,
and we're bringing it here by rail and by ship.
It's a fantastic combination of construction
and logistics in one project.
Why are Crossrail doing it, why do you care about the RSPB project?
We would have to dispose of this material anyway
in order to build the new railway.
We've got 26 miles of tunnels to construct,
so it's really important to us that it goes to a good project with good,
solid environmental credentials and the timing with the RSPB was perfect.
But you are not just dumping all the soil, are you?
There is a master plan, there is sculpting going on.
That's right, we're creating high areas, low areas, channels
and creeks which will allow the water to come in
and flood naturally in and out in a tidal exchange.
And it creates different types of habitat, so we'll get
different types of birds and creatures wanting to live here.
We have places for people to walk,
a network of footpaths will be created,
it will be a great attraction.
But what about creatures displaced by the flood water?
Well, RSPB volunteers are already creating alternative habitats
for all sorts, from common lizards to voles and oil beetles.
-Afternoon, this looks like hard work.
-What are you up to?
We've had a team today cutting this
and we are raking it up to help encourage the oil beetles.
-Oil beetles are quite rare though.
-They are, yeah.
They tend to live in the thatch
although they do lay their eggs elsewhere.
They live down there, so doing this helps encourage them.
-And helps encourage the birds and everything else.
-Well, I won't stop you.
-You're doing good work.
-Thank you very much, thank you.
It's very noisy, this one!
-Hello! How are you getting on?
-What are you doing, Baker boy?
-Eh? That's better, go on?
-What are you doing here?
-Well, you know me and power tools.
You just can't resist, can you?
I know, I've done about 300 metres, what do you think?
As usual, very, very good work. I can never fault your tidiness.
-That's a dream for a basking lizard, that.
-I'm sure it is.
That is it from Essex. Next week we are going to be partying hard
in the Countryfile style. We're having a country fair.
And we're going to be joined by 250 lucky viewers who have
bagged themselves tickets for the whole event
down on Adam's farm in the Cotswolds.
Yes, cos it's our 25th anniversary
so we're going to be having a nice party,
celebrating with viewers and digging through the archives
looking back at some of the best bits.
Are you wearing that posh tweed that you wore for Prince Charles?
No, I'm wearing an apron,
because I've been doing some cooking for you.
-Main course or dessert?
-You know me, sweet tooth, always pudding.
-All right then, sweetie, let's say goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd