Hertfordshire Countryfile


Hertfordshire

Countryfile is in Hertfordshire, where Charlotte Smith meets the man who's made it his sole mission to save the barbel in the Old River Lea.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

We're only a few miles from the

hustle and bustle of the city,

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so Hertfordshire is where people

come to escape it all.

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I'll be discovering

how the patient pastime

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has uncovered some fishy issues.

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Off you go.

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Sean's been helping

build a home fit for a king.

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I feel like a bricklayer.

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That's right, yes,

this is natural bricklaying.

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Tom finds out the latest

on the controversial badger cull

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and meets a cattle farmer

who thinks it's working.

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You can finally see light at the

end of the tunnel?

More than light.

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You know, it's utter

relief from where we've been.

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And Adam's visiting an estate where

farming and nature go hand-in-hand.

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My word, what a landscape.

It's different, isn't it?

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It's not what you see on most farms.

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REINDEER MOOS

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From pretty villages

to ancient woodland,

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canals and fertile farmland,

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Hertfordshire's a home county

steeped in history.

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The old River Lea marks the border

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between Hertfordshire and

Essex - and Kings Weir Fishery

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is known nationwide

for its big catch fishing.

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Good-sized chub, bream and pike

can all be hooked here,

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but it's the powerful barbel

which are most sought-after.

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In recent times, they've been landed

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at weights exceeding

a whopping 16lbs.

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But there's a problem.

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Anglers are catching fewer

baby barbel

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and that suggests that something

fishy is going on.

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This unusual-looking fish

is native to the old River Lea.

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Its gravel bed makes it the ideal

spawning ground,

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but barbel numbers have dropped,

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and anglers believe less

water in the river

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has made it difficult

for the fish to reproduce.

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Andrew Tredgett

is fanatical about barbel.

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His home is

the weir-keeper's cottage

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next to the river,

where his family have lived

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and worked for more than 40 years.

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Andy, I thought

I might find you down here!

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What's so great about a barbel

for a fisherman?

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Until you play one,

you ain't going to know!

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I tell you, it's that feel,

as soon as that reel screams off

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and you hit that fish, that's taking

the line, stripping it

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all the way down, and then, when

you've got that fish in the net,

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it's a moment, especially

when you know it's a big one.

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Puts a smile on your face and it

makes older people feel young again.

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It's great.

Sounds magic.

How do I get one?

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THEY LAUGH

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So the barbel here,

they're not like other barbel?

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No, they are slightly different

to other barbels,

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where you'll go to the River Trent

and they're very long fish.

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With these fish,

they're very short and very stumpy,

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but very, very muscular.

That's the good thing about 'em,

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that's why we want to keep the

Lea strain of barbel going,

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because they are a completely

different strain of fish.

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What is the problem with it here?

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Unfortunately, the silt is

building up along the river,

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so where you look at it

and it looks like gravel,

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it's three to four inches deep,

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so what's happening is the barbel

can't spawn in the gravel,

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which is then causing an issue with

the natural reproduction of them.

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That's why we're not getting

the small fish, but we're

getting the really big fish.

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Andy has made it his mission

to help protect barbel fishing

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on the old River Lea,

and teaming up with fellow anglers

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and conservation organisations

formed the Barbel Action Group.

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But that's not all.

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Raising money through

fishing weekends,

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he's gone one step further,

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building a giant fish tank

in his back garden

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to hand-rear the fish

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until they're strong enough

to survive in the river.

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This is not a tank, Andy.

This is a swimming pool.

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I don't want to do things

by half, do I now? So...

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How is this going to work? You've

got how many in here, roughly?

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There's roughly about 120

in here at the moment.

Wow.

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And where have you got them from?

I bought them from a fish farm.

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So what have you got in the net?

This is one of the bigger ones.

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So how old would that be, then?

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That probably would be

three to four years old.

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Wow, look at the muscles

on him.

Very feisty.

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But surely that's big enough

now to go back...

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A little bit more I want to go,

just a tiny little bit more,

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just gives them that better ability

to get away from any apex predators.

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This is very much

stage one though, isn't it?

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Because if the river isn't working

properly, this won't work either.

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Obviously we've got to get

the habitat right for them to spawn.

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If they are not spawning,

what's the point of this?

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This takes a lot of time

and a lot of effort.

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Why's it so important to you?

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I want there to be fishing

in years to come, when I've gone.

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Andy's determination to protect

the barbel is inspiring,

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but even he admits restocking

isn't the long-term solution.

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Later on, I'll be getting into the

river to see the fish up close

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and find out what plans are afoot

to protect the baby barbel.

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Now, over the years here

on Countryfile, we've heard

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a lot about the badger cull.

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Some argue that it's a vital

part of controlling TB in cattle,

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others that it's a cruel

and costly waste of time.

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So what does

the latest science tell us?

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Tom's been finding out.

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Within our countryside, there

are few issues more controversial

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than the badger cull.

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Save our badgers!

Stop the badger cull!

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Since 2013,

it's been government policy

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to kill these animals in an effort

to curb the spread of bovine

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tuberculosis from badgers to cattle.

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These large-scale culls

are happening

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in parts of the country

most at risk of the disease.

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Emotions on both sides run high.

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But despite the backlash,

the cull continues.

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In fact, four years on,

it's actually expanding,

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from an initial two cull zones

in 2013 to 21 today.

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So the million-dollar question,

is it actually working?

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Good girl.

One person who thinks

it is is James Griffiths,

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a dairy farmer inside the

Gloucestershire cull zone.

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In 2003, we failed a herd test,

a whole herd test.

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We then had 47 consecutive tests...

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..and we failed every one...which

was pretty grim.

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And how many cattle do you think

you lost in that time?

Oh...

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Hundreds...

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Hundreds.

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But then, two-and-a-half

years into the badger cull,

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James had a breakthrough.

We had one clear test.

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We needed two to actually get

out of movement restriction

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and we got two,

and then we had a third one!

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With the help of the badger cull,

we've broken the cycle of disease.

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The first time there was

daylight in the job.

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We thought we could get out.

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So, after years of battling

TB, James' herd

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was finally in the clear.

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But as is

so often the case with this disease,

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it's recently reared its head again.

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After that clear patch,

you had another herd break down,

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TB's back in the herd,

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so it doesn't seem to be

a complete solution.

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That's a good question

and a rubbish question.

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I'll tell you why it's a good

question - it's because I don't know

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why exactly we had another small

breakdown.

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We only had three animals go, mind

you, in 2,000 animals we're testing.

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It's also a rubbish question

because it infers that it's cattle

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movements that does it,

or it's badgers.

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It's... Both factors are really

important in this

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and we have to get on top of both.

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And so, for you and your cattle

farming colleagues around here,

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you can finally see

light at the end of the tunnel?

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Oh, more than light.

More than light, Tom.

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You know, it's utter

relief from where we've been.

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Everyone wants to see the disease

eliminated from our countryside,

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but James' story alone is not proof

that the cull is the answer.

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What's needed is hard scientific

data and that's hard to gather

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because rather than happening

in a controlled environment,

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the culls are going on in the real

world

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and each cull area is different.

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Some are wooded,

some are open hillsides,

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and each has different sizes

of herds and numbers of badgers.

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It's what makes our countryside

so rich,

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but for scientists trying to produce

accurate results, it's a nightmare.

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So far, the best we've got

are these two reports,

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both published by the government

earlier this year.

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They use different methods and

they come up with different results,

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and they make for some pretty tough

scientific reading.

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So, to get the key messages,

I'm going to need some help.

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I'm headed to Cambridgeshire to meet

Professor James Wood,

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an expert in animal diseases

and a scientific advisor to DEFRA.

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He believes that one of these

reports is much more thorough,

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the Brundtland Report.

One is a very careful,

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detailed statistical analysis of two

years' worth of culling data,

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particularly from Somerset

and Gloucestershire,

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and the other is a more descriptive

analysis of just the raw numbers

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that have come from those two areas

over a three-year period.

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And you particularly like this

first one, which is

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called the Brundtland Report,

and with the help of this map,

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that just happens to be here in the

field, you're going to show me

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how it works. So, how did the

Brundtland Report work?

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So the Brundtland Report took

the area of where the cull zone

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was, which is around 100km squared

of Gloucestershire,

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where culling was conducted,

I mark that in red there...

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And then compared up to ten

areas of the same sort of size,

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where there has been no culling,

to make a valid comparison.

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The results from the

Brundtland Report show that,

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in Gloucestershire's cull zone,

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there were 58% fewer new

cases of bovine TB, compared to the

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ten other similar areas during

the first two years of the cull.

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And 21% fewer new cases of TB

in the Somerset cull zone.

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I know these are early days

and that includes they're not

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certainties, but what is this data

suggesting to you?

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Well, I think what the

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data shows is that badger

culling does have an

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impact on the disease rates in

cattle,

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which is what it was

intended to do in the first place.

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And overall, how important do you

think that finding is?

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Well, to an extent, it's a

validation

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of the policy to cull badgers.

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Are you now fairly sure that badger

culling as part of that

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policy works?

Yes.

Simple as.

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I mean, I think that's a simple

conclusion and I'd be slightly

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more bullish than the Brundtland's

scientific report, but not much.

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And if it works, but at the cost

of thousands of badger deaths

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and millions of pounds,

is that a price worth paying?

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That's an individual judgment.

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I don't think that's for science

to take a view on that.

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It's for science, people like me,

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to say this is useful

or it's not useful.

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Then I think it's down to society

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and politicians to say this is

right or this is wrong.

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So, there you have it.

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It's early days, but according to

James, at least one report contains

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evidence that the badger cull can

work to cut rates of TB in cattle.

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In this controversial issue,

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even the suggestion from a senior

respected scientist that the

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cull appears to be working

is a seismic shift.

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But even if it does prove to be

part of the solution,

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not everybody agrees it's

the right approach.

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I'll be talking to them later.

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Late autumn.

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A bird-watcher's paradise.

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A sudden flash of blue.

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The kingfisher,

a majestic little bird,

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with an unmistakable bright plumage.

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It could certainly teach us

a thing or two about fishing.

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To catch a fleeting glimpse of one

of these elusive creatures

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is truly magical.

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The big question is -

will I get the chance today?

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Here in Hertfordshire,

a team from the Wildlife Trust is

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looking for novel ways to attract

more kingfishers to the area.

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Louise Sleeman is the people

and wildlife officer for this site.

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Louise, lovely to meet you.

Hi.

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And what a lovely spot you've

brought me to. Tell me about it.

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So, we're at Stocker's Lake Nature

Reserve in Rickmansworth

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and it's an old gravel pit. It was

excavated around 100 years ago

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and this has left us

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with the small islands

that we've got in the middle,

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and these provide a fantastic

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habitat for the wildfowl

that we have living here.

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So a rich,

wide birdlife community here,

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but it's the kingfisher you're

really focusing on, isn't it?

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Yeah, exactly.

So within the Colne Valley,

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there are some suitable

areas for kingfishers to naturally

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create their nests within the banks,

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but it is quite

difficult for them to find

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the conditions that they need,

as they are quite specific in that.

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So we're constructing

an artificial kingfisher bank

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in order to help the kingfishers

that are here

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and attract some new ones

to the area, hopefully.

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We actually have a kingfisher hide,

which is really good for

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spotting them, round the corner, so

do you want to come and have a look?

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Yeah, I'd love to. Where do we go?

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Well, this is a great little spot,

isn't it?

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Am I likely to see

a kingfisher from here?

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We definitely do have kingfishers

here and, in the last few days,

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there have been a few

sightings as well,

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so we've quite a good

chance of seeing one.

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An area like this is ideal, so

we've got shallower areas, we've got

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overhanging branches on the edges,

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which they'll perch

onto to fish from.

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So when they actually go fishing,

they'll bring the fish back up

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and they'll strike them

against the perch to make sure that

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they're stunned,

or that they've died,

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so that they can then get them

down their throat.

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Clearly, you're really passionate

about kingfishers. Why is that?

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They're just really

impressive birds. You can just...

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Just seeing their iridescent blue

and orange colourings and their

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long bills, they just look brilliant

and I just love their character.

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I could sit here all day

and wait for one to appear.

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Soon, she may not have to.

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Using traditional methods,

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the team are constructing a

permanent home for the kingfishers.

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The site's reserve officer

is Rob Hopkins.

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He's been tasked with building it.

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Rob, you look busy. Can I help?

Oh, hello, Sean.

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Yes, I am busy, actually.

You can give me some help.

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What do you need me to do?

If I give you this...

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Are we going out on the water?

They didn't tell me that.

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Yes, we've got our kingfisher

bank on the island over here.

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So, this is going to be quite

an operation,

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moving this load over

there on a boat.

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Yeah, we've got

lots of loads to go as well.

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It's quite a task, isn't it?

You're

perfectly timed to give us a hand.

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OK. Fits like a glove.

Right.

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Off we go.

Let's get to work.

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So, we're a little bit bottom down

because we've got a bit more

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weight at the back.

Are you OK there?

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I think I probably had too much

lunch, didn't I?

I think that's...

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Generous lunch, that's right.

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And perfect timing, we've arrived.

We've arrived.

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That's lovely.

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Afternoon.

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Rob, it looks fantastic,

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but why on earth did you build it on

an island?

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Aren't you making it

difficult for yourself?

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Well, an island's great because it

means that we don't have the

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worries with predators that we'd

have on the mainland,

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so foxes and badgers and weasels,

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things that might dig

the kingfishers out of their burrow.

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Got a great aspect here, it's open,

birds can fly in easily.

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There's lots of perches on the way

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and they've got terrific fishing

right in front of them.

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The construction looks quite

complicated.

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Talk me through the design here.

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So we've lifted it up on gravel,

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then we've actually used

these straw bales,

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which are the sort of structure

of the building.

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We've got our tunnel and our chamber

in there,

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which is where the

kingfisher's going to live.

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And then we've got the external

structure, which is the cob.

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What do you mean, cob?

Is that this material here?

0:17:340:17:37

Cob is the material we're using,

which is the straw and clay and sand

0:17:370:17:41

and a little bit of water to make

these lovely soft, pliable bricks.

0:17:410:17:46

Can you see it? Plonk it on.

0:17:460:17:48

And use the top hand to hold it

0:17:480:17:51

and the hand from the side

to push it in,

0:17:510:17:52

so it's moulding in with

the layer below.

0:17:520:17:55

You're a bit like a bricklayer

there.

0:17:550:17:57

That's right, yes. This is natural

bricklaying.

So, put that in.

0:17:570:18:00

That's right.

0:18:000:18:01

The kingfishers nest in vertical

sandy banks on rivers,

0:18:010:18:04

so this is sort of simulating

a nice, steep river bank.

0:18:040:18:07

Hopefully by the spring,

or late winter,

0:18:070:18:10

they should start moving in

and showing some interest.

0:18:100:18:13

Many hands make light work

0:18:160:18:18

and the kingfisher bank is

shaping up nicely.

0:18:180:18:21

So it seems these vibrant little

birds will soon have a place

0:18:300:18:33

fit for a king.

Well, certainly a kingfisher.

0:18:330:18:36

Now, a while ago,

John was in Gloucestershire,

0:18:450:18:48

getting in touch with

the changing season.

0:18:480:18:50

Building an outdoor fire has always

had a special magic for me.

0:18:540:18:58

It brings back memories of my days

in the Scouts long ago.

0:18:580:19:01

After a day of adventures,

sitting around a campfire to enjoy

0:19:020:19:07

a meal together, well,

that was the perfect end to a day.

0:19:070:19:10

Not for many years have

I built a fire and cooked on it.

0:19:120:19:15

Today is the day. Will it live up

to those childhood memories?

0:19:150:19:19

Tom Herbert has made

it his mission to turn the humble

0:19:210:19:24

campfire into an outdoor oven.

0:19:240:19:27

But he's no ordinary

man of the woods.

0:19:300:19:33

He's a fifth generation baker

0:19:330:19:35

and one half of

TV's Fabulous Baker Brothers.

0:19:350:19:38

Tom!

Hey, John. How you doing?

0:19:400:19:42

Good to see you.

Welcome to the

woods.

Thank you very much.

0:19:420:19:45

Look, I brought you some kindling,

0:19:450:19:47

but the fire's going very

well already.

0:19:470:19:49

We could do with more. That will

come in useful. Thank you very much.

0:19:490:19:53

I suppose this time of year is

ideal for a campfire,

0:19:530:19:56

as long as it's not raining

too much.

Sure.

0:19:560:19:58

Because you've got this wonderful

array of autumn food.

Exactly.

0:19:580:20:01

So, we've got some gourds

and some beetroot that we can do.

0:20:010:20:05

And then I've got some nice steak,

so we can do that dirty,

0:20:050:20:08

on the embers. We're going to bake

some bread under the embers.

0:20:080:20:11

And you'll be able to do all

that on this one small campfire.

0:20:110:20:14

Yep. Well, we'll let it burn down

and, if we need more wood,

0:20:140:20:18

there's plenty around. Yeah.

0:20:180:20:22

Tom's been doing this

since he was a child,

0:20:220:20:25

setting out on adventures

in the great outdoors.

0:20:250:20:28

Now, he's pulled his knowledge

together in a book

0:20:280:20:32

about wild baking.

0:20:320:20:34

But the most important part of the

whole experience is making the

0:20:340:20:38

perfect fire and Tom has a clever

technique for keeping it glowing.

0:20:380:20:43

So, you just make your fingers into

a little diamond, like that.

Yes.

0:20:430:20:46

Like that?

Yeah, yeah. And you just

put it to your lips and blow, yeah.

0:20:460:20:50

It works!

Doesn't it? It really works!

0:20:520:20:55

My kids, they use it to blow each

other's

0:20:590:21:01

birthday candles out with, so...

0:21:010:21:03

Of course, Tom has sought

permission from the landowner

0:21:030:21:07

to make his fire here.

0:21:070:21:08

And when we're done,

it's vital that we leave no trace,

0:21:080:21:12

just like any good Scout.

0:21:120:21:13

Slowly, our fire goes from

flickering flames to glowing embers.

0:21:150:21:20

We've got a really good bed

of embers now.

Ready to bake.

Yeah.

0:21:200:21:24

Are you up for helping with this?

I

am indeed.

By holding that...

Right.

0:21:240:21:28

Given Tom's baking heritage,

0:21:280:21:30

it's not surprising that soda bread

is our first recipe.

0:21:300:21:35

Along with what you'd expect,

that's flour, baking powder,

0:21:350:21:38

salt and oil,

Tom also uses a special ingredient.

0:21:380:21:43

And then, finally to bring it all

together, a bottle of beer.

0:21:430:21:47

Wow, yeah. I've never seen beer

used in this way before.

0:21:490:21:53

Because this is a fast,

instant dough, there's no kneading,

0:21:530:21:56

no rising,

the beer just gives it more flavour.

0:21:560:21:59

Really nice, OK.

Does that look OK?

That's pretty much done.

0:21:590:22:02

Yeah, great, thank you.

Into the burning embers.

0:22:020:22:04

Yeah, straight into the burning

embers, thank you.

0:22:040:22:07

So, what, scoop it round like that?

Yeah, and just drop on top.

0:22:070:22:10

Just drop it in, like that?

That's it.

That was easy.

0:22:100:22:13

And how long will that take, do you

reckon, to be baked?

Oh, 20 minutes?

0:22:130:22:17

25 minutes?

Uh-huh.

Yeah, not very long at all.

0:22:170:22:20

Tom's brought a harvest

festival of goodies.

0:22:200:22:24

It's nice having an assistant.

0:22:240:22:27

Well, all great chefs have

assistants behind the scenes,

0:22:270:22:30

don't they,

making things look really good?

0:22:300:22:32

Some of them are chopped,

some of them stay whole,

0:22:320:22:36

before going

straight on to the hot embers.

0:22:360:22:38

This is the exact

opposite of fast food.

0:22:380:22:42

It's all about taking the time

to enjoy the process.

0:22:420:22:46

A real slow burner,

without the need for pots and pans.

0:22:460:22:50

And what about the bread?

How's that doing?

0:22:500:22:52

That's probably pretty much ready.

0:22:520:22:54

So, you see, most of the ash pretty

much all falls off.

0:22:540:22:58

The moment of truth.

Yes.

OK.

0:22:580:23:01

That looks pretty good to me.

That's done.

Yeah.

0:23:050:23:08

Have a sniff of that.

Oh!

0:23:080:23:10

That is the most wonderful

thing about a bakery, isn't it?

0:23:100:23:13

The smell.

I love it, I love it.

0:23:130:23:15

So, how about, shall we try

some of this with a bit of butter?

0:23:150:23:18

Bon appetit.

0:23:210:23:22

Mmm.

0:23:240:23:26

Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful,

isn't it?

Yeah, yeah.

Mmm.

0:23:270:23:30

THEY LAUGH

0:23:300:23:31

And I can taste the beer.

Mmm.

You really can, yeah.

0:23:320:23:35

The vegetable medley has been well

fired, ready for our woodland feast.

0:23:370:23:41

The smoke and flames

have worked their magic,

0:23:410:23:44

and now we have a mouthwatering

salsa.

0:23:440:23:48

But it's not all for us.

0:23:480:23:49

Tom's family have come to join in

our campfire gathering.

0:23:490:23:52

Hello, everybody.

Hi.

Hi.

0:23:520:23:54

Hey there, Milo. Hungry?

0:23:540:23:56

LAUGHTER

0:23:560:23:57

Well, it's nearly ready,

our little feast, yes!

0:23:570:24:00

So, what's it like, then, eating

out in the woods with your dad?

0:24:000:24:04

Amazing.

0:24:040:24:06

The food tastes nice.

0:24:060:24:07

He's a good cook, do you reckon?

99% of the time.

0:24:070:24:10

LAUGHTER

0:24:100:24:12

I'll take it.

0:24:100:24:12

LAUGHTER

0:24:120:24:13

Well, that's not a bad average.

0:24:130:24:14

I'll tell you what,

I was thinking about 80.

0:24:140:24:16

And before we can start, there's

one last thing to go on the fire.

0:24:160:24:20

On go the steaks.

0:24:200:24:21

I can't think that there's a better

way to do steak, to be honest.

0:24:230:24:27

A nice bit of rump

directly on the embers,

0:24:270:24:30

so it kind of sears instantly

with that heat.

0:24:300:24:33

Ashy.

0:24:400:24:41

Watch the burning. How many out

of 10 do you give dad for this?

20.

0:24:430:24:47

20 out of 10.

0:24:470:24:48

80.

80?

Million...

Well, I'll tell you what, John,

0:24:490:24:53

this is much better than my old

campfires in the Scouts.

0:24:530:24:58

Not only does this kind of wild

cooking fill your tummy,

0:24:580:25:01

it nourishes your soul as well,

doesn't it?

0:25:010:25:03

It really does.

Tuck in.

0:25:050:25:06

Earlier, we heard new evidence that

the badger cull might be working

0:25:130:25:17

in the fight against TB in cattle,

but not everyone's convinced.

0:25:170:25:21

Here's Tom.

0:25:210:25:23

The British countryside.

0:25:290:25:31

Beautiful, bountiful, and sometimes

a battleground.

0:25:310:25:35

Free the badgers.

ALL: Stop the cull!

0:25:350:25:39

For years, the culling of badgers to

curb the spread of bovine

0:25:390:25:42

TB in cattle has attracted support

and outrage in equal measure.

0:25:420:25:47

But whatever you think of it,

the badger cull's been government

0:25:470:25:50

policy in some high risk

areas for four years.

0:25:500:25:53

That might seem like a long time,

0:25:530:25:55

but, when it comes to scientific

research,

0:25:550:25:58

it's a mere blink of an eye.

0:25:580:25:59

However, as we found out earlier,

0:25:590:26:01

some scientists believe emerging

data from the Government's

0:26:010:26:04

Brundtland Report suggests

it could be working.

0:26:040:26:07

But even if the cull did

help reduce TB,

0:26:090:26:12

is it worth the cost to our

wildlife and our pockets?

0:26:120:26:17

To help answer that question,

I'm heading to one of the few

0:26:190:26:22

havens for badgers within

the Gloucestershire cull zone.

0:26:220:26:25

And so, you said we are

on the front line here

0:26:280:26:29

and there is a sett literally

just up here.

0:26:290:26:32

There is, yes,

and it's a very active sett

0:26:320:26:33

and the badgers have been vaccinated

here for a number of years,

0:26:330:26:36

and on the other side of the fence

there there's cull

0:26:360:26:38

contractors killing badgers under

government licenses.

0:26:380:26:41

Dominic Dyer from the Badger Trust

0:26:410:26:43

has fought against the cull

since the beginning.

0:26:430:26:45

So, what do you make of the findings

0:26:460:26:48

of the Brundtland Report in

particular?

0:26:480:26:49

Well, I think we have got to be

very, very cautious.

0:26:490:26:52

You know, you've had fluctuations in

TB levels in cattle,

0:26:520:26:54

in and out of the cull zones,

for a number of years.

0:26:540:26:56

Trying to draw a parallel between

those figures and what's actually

0:26:560:26:59

happening with badger culling, I

think, is a dangerous thing to do.

0:26:590:27:02

But a 58% reduction in the cull

zone in Gloucestershire,

0:27:020:27:06

as compared to other comparable

areas,

0:27:060:27:08

that seems worth talking about.

0:27:080:27:10

It's too early to do that.

0:27:100:27:11

The Government said they wouldn't

really have any idea of the trends

0:27:110:27:14

emerging from the culls until 2018,

until they had four years of data.

0:27:140:27:18

We don't have that at the moment.

So, any of this modelling

data that individual

0:27:180:27:21

academics are involved with,

that are being put out

0:27:210:27:23

there by politicians at the moment,

I think is potentially misleading,

0:27:230:27:27

and it's not good because it's

basically telling farmers

0:27:270:27:30

that this might be a solution, when

actually the science

0:27:300:27:33

just doesn't

tell us that at the moment.

0:27:330:27:35

So, Dominic's not convinced by the

emerging data, but his objections

0:27:350:27:39

to the cull go far beyond the

results of the Brundtland Report.

0:27:390:27:43

If the culling did actually help,

0:27:430:27:46

is culling badgers justified to

control TB in cattle?

No.

0:27:460:27:50

Killing tens of thousands of badgers

by a cruel method, spending

0:27:500:27:53

tens of millions of pounds of public

money for a small

0:27:530:27:55

reduction in TB overall is not

something that we feel is

0:27:550:27:58

justifiable as a wildlife

conservation group.

0:27:580:28:00

We can't have wildlife-free zones

around our farms.

0:28:000:28:03

We've got to find better

scientific methods

0:28:030:28:05

for dealing with disease in cattle.

0:28:050:28:07

Whether or not you agree

with Dominic,

0:28:070:28:10

he's got a point about spending.

According to Defra,

0:28:100:28:13

the cull has cost taxpayers more

than £23 million so far.

0:28:130:28:17

Others put that figure even higher.

0:28:170:28:20

For Dominic, a cheaper

0:28:200:28:22

and more humane solution is to

vaccinate badgers.

0:28:220:28:25

Badger vaccination can reduce

the spread of the disease

0:28:250:28:28

significantly in animals that don't

have it, and in newborn cubs,

0:28:280:28:31

and it brings farmers and landowners

together in a spirit of cooperation

0:28:310:28:34

and mutual confidence that we

really need after all this problem

0:28:340:28:37

we've had with culling.

0:28:370:28:39

So the Badger Trust is unwavering

in the face of this new research,

0:28:410:28:45

and yet it does appear that

something IS causing

0:28:450:28:47

rates of TB within cull zones

to drop,

0:28:470:28:51

but it may not be

entirely down to the cull.

0:28:510:28:54

The Government have said from the

beginning that what's needed

0:28:540:28:57

is a combination of tools and one

of the crucial ones is improving

0:28:570:29:01

bio-security on farms.

0:29:010:29:04

Sarah Tomlinson is from the newly

launched TB Advisory Service.

0:29:040:29:08

She gives bespoke advice to

farmers on how to keep wild animals

0:29:080:29:12

away from their livestock.

0:29:120:29:14

I'm joining her on a visit to

Derbyshire farmer Anthony Smith.

0:29:140:29:18

OK, so, Anthony, you've done

a really great job because these

0:29:200:29:24

are sheeted gates, and I presume you

shut them and lock them at night.

0:29:240:29:26

Can we just shut the door?

Of course.

For one moment.

0:29:260:29:29

Now, research has shown that badgers

can get through anything that is

0:29:340:29:38

7.5cm or more,

0:29:380:29:39

which is about the width of my hand.

0:29:390:29:41

And, actually, you can see my hand

is going in quite easily,

0:29:410:29:47

which means a badger will fit

underneath that.

OK.

0:29:470:29:50

So a simple solution is to run

some rubber strips.

0:29:500:29:53

You wouldn't have thought they could

get through such a tight space.

No.

0:29:530:29:57

But it's a really simple

thing to do.

Yeah.

0:29:570:29:59

So that's one area for improvement

already and, just outside

0:29:590:30:04

the gates of the farm, Sarah has

spotted another cause for concern.

0:30:040:30:08

So it's important to know what

badger activity you've

0:30:080:30:11

got on your farm, and we've come

out of the yard and we can

0:30:110:30:14

see here there's quite clear

evidence of badgers rooting.

OK.

0:30:140:30:18

What would be really interesting is

0:30:180:30:20

if you maybe invested in a wildlife

camera to see if these badgers

0:30:200:30:23

that are on the edge of the yard are

coming into the yard.

0:30:230:30:26

Anthony, are you happy to adapt

your farming

0:30:260:30:29

around the badgers that are near

here?

We have to.

0:30:290:30:31

I mean, I've been farming here seven

years. I've never had TB -

0:30:310:30:34

my neighbours have. I have always

took sensible precautions.

0:30:340:30:38

You do your best.

And what would it

mean to you if you did get TB?

0:30:380:30:41

Well, it would be absolutely

terrible.

0:30:410:30:44

It would be financial ruin, really,

for the farm.

0:30:440:30:47

At the moment,

0:30:470:30:48

this kind of advice is only

available in areas of higher risk,

0:30:480:30:51

but the plan is to do about 2,500

visits like this to

0:30:510:30:55

farms across the country over

the next three years.

0:30:550:31:00

The Government has pledged

£1 million to help that happen.

0:31:000:31:03

The policy to tackle TB is a very

polarised area.

0:31:030:31:06

Do you think this is a place where

people can come together?

0:31:060:31:09

Definitely, because we're talking

about measures that anybody

0:31:090:31:12

can do and, actually,

in this area of Derbyshire,

0:31:120:31:15

we don't have the option at the

moment of culling.

0:31:150:31:16

So this is the only option -

0:31:160:31:18

looking at badgers and stopping them

coming into their yards.

0:31:180:31:22

So, with more farmers recognising

how important it is to protect their

0:31:220:31:27

farms against badgers, maybe this,

too, is starting to have an impact.

0:31:270:31:31

Even if further research does back

up the suggestion that the cull

0:31:310:31:36

might be working,

it's very far from the whole answer.

0:31:360:31:40

But when combined with badger

vaccination,

0:31:400:31:43

better cattle testing and improved

bio-security, there is now

0:31:430:31:48

some hope that we might be getting

on top of this terrible disease.

0:31:480:31:53

A stone's throw from north London,

Hertfordshire is a commuters' dream.

0:31:590:32:03

The county's countryside

0:32:030:32:05

and many waterways remain a haven

for city slickers seeking solace.

0:32:050:32:09

Earlier on,

I was hearing that baby barbel

0:32:110:32:14

here on the River Lea

are in trouble, but there are plenty

0:32:140:32:17

of big barbel and other fish in the

river, so I have dug out my lures

0:32:170:32:21

and spooled my reel,

and I'm off to bag a barbel.

0:32:210:32:24

Kings Weir Fishery

on the Old River Lea is

0:32:260:32:29

known across the land

for its amazing angling,

0:32:290:32:32

and Phil Buckingham,

a local fisherman, has been

0:32:320:32:35

coming back here for more

than 50 years.

0:32:350:32:37

When you were a kid, what did you

catch? What was the main thing?

0:32:390:32:43

We came here,

even as young teenagers,

0:32:430:32:46

to catch the barbel,

0:32:460:32:47

because it was so prolific that you

could literally put a worm out

0:32:470:32:51

and you would catch

a barbel of some sort.

0:32:510:32:54

Where did you grow up?

Where did you used to come from?

0:32:540:32:56

I grew up in north London,

around the sort of Tottenham border,

0:32:560:33:00

so we would catch the train with all

our gear early on a Sunday morning

0:33:000:33:04

and find it packed with anglers

coming up the Lea Valley

0:33:040:33:07

to go fishing.

0:33:070:33:08

But what we started doing,

to beat the adults here,

0:33:080:33:10

we would get the last

train on a Saturday night

0:33:100:33:13

and walk along the canal, wait till

all the lights had gone off

0:33:130:33:16

and creep through the garden and

sit in the spots we wanted to fish,

0:33:160:33:20

ready for when it got light.

0:33:200:33:21

So, as dawn broke,

you were a horrible surprise?

0:33:210:33:24

We were already there. Yes.

0:33:240:33:25

I can remember quite often

waking up to a frost.

0:33:250:33:27

I mean, that is

proper dedication to fishing.

Yeah.

0:33:270:33:31

I'll confess,

I'm not the most patient of people.

0:33:310:33:33

I can't quite see the allure.

0:33:330:33:36

It's just getting away from it all.

0:33:360:33:38

I mean, I worked in the city for

40 years, in a high-pressure job,

0:33:380:33:41

and I couldn't wait to get out

fishing at the weekend,

0:33:410:33:43

just to switch my mind off, really,

and do something else.

0:33:430:33:46

And it's very therapeutic if you've

got that kind of stressful job,

0:33:460:33:50

particularly,

or just a stressful life.

0:33:500:33:52

I'm keeping a slight

eye on the rods here.

0:33:520:33:55

There's not a lot going on.

0:33:550:33:57

It takes a while sometimes.

0:33:570:33:59

If you'd been here earlier, the pike

were chasing everything in sight,

0:33:590:34:02

but, quite typically,

under pressure...

0:34:020:34:05

But this is the fisherman's tale!

0:34:050:34:07

"You should have been here

yesterday.

0:34:070:34:08

"The one that got away

was THIS big."

Yeah.

0:34:080:34:11

This is what it's all about.

It is, yeah.

0:34:110:34:12

That's what keeps you coming back.

Hang on.

You've got a bite there.

0:34:120:34:15

I should grab that

if I were you.

OK.

Wind away.

0:34:150:34:19

Do you need the net, do you think?

Yeah. You get ready...

0:34:190:34:21

Oh, my Lord, it's quite heavy.

0:34:210:34:24

Oh, that's an interesting fish.

0:34:240:34:26

SHE LAUGHS

0:34:260:34:28

It is the catch of the day,

a Countryfile calendar.

0:34:300:34:33

If you would like to reel

one of these in,

0:34:330:34:35

then here's John with

all the details.

0:34:350:34:38

It costs £9.50,

including UK delivery.

0:34:410:34:45

You can go to our website, where you

will find a link to the order page,

0:34:450:34:49

or you can phone the order line...

0:34:490:34:51

If you'd prefer to order by post,

0:35:020:35:04

then send your name,

address and a cheque to...

0:35:040:35:07

A minimum of £4.50 from the sale

of each calendar will be donated

0:35:210:35:25

to BBC Children in Need.

0:35:250:35:27

We're hearing more

and more about re-wilding.

0:35:360:35:39

It's often at odds with farming,

but is there harmony to be had?

0:35:390:35:43

Adam's visiting an estate

in West Sussex to find out.

0:35:430:35:46

Many farms across the UK manage

specific areas of their farm

0:35:480:35:52

for the environment

and we do our bit at home.

0:35:520:35:55

We have wildlife margins around the

outside of our arable fields,

0:35:550:35:58

providing food and habitat for bees

0:35:580:36:01

and butterflies, small mammals and

birds, and those sorts of things,

0:36:010:36:04

but here on the Knepp Estate,

they've been far more ambitious.

0:36:040:36:08

They've put the whole farm aside

to wildlife and conservation,

0:36:080:36:11

all 3,500 acres of it.

0:36:110:36:14

The Burrell family have farmed Knepp

for more than 200 years.

0:36:180:36:22

Back in 2000,

Charlie Burrell decided to get

0:36:220:36:25

out of conventional farming and take

the estate in a whole new direction.

0:36:250:36:30

Charlie.

Adam.

Good to see you.

Welcome. Welcome.

0:36:300:36:34

My word, what a landscape.

It's different, isn't it?

0:36:340:36:37

It's not what you see on most farms.

0:36:370:36:39

What were you growing out here

before all this started?

0:36:390:36:42

This was winter wheat in 2004,

0:36:420:36:44

so that was the last cropping

year of this particular field.

0:36:440:36:47

So, you were a normal,

proper farmer before?

0:36:470:36:50

17 years of conventional farming.

0:36:500:36:52

Where did it all go wrong?

Why did you change to this?

0:36:520:36:55

THEY LAUGH

0:36:550:36:56

It hasn't gone wrong, actually.

0:36:560:36:58

The easy answer to that is that

I have a love of nature,

0:36:580:37:02

but I also was having problems

trying to run

0:37:020:37:05

the commercial farm on this land.

0:37:050:37:08

And are you still producing food?

0:37:080:37:09

So, about 120,000lb worth of meat,

which is organic, pasture fed.

0:37:090:37:14

I'm getting rained on by acorns.

0:37:140:37:17

I know, pig food.

0:37:170:37:18

But at this time of year,

0:37:180:37:20

the pigs put on maybe two or three

inches of fat, just from the acorns.

0:37:200:37:25

Goodness me. And because you are

close to a big population,

0:37:250:37:28

you use it as a bit of a safari,

I understand, as well.

0:37:280:37:31

Well, we've got this other business,

which has been hugely exciting,

0:37:310:37:34

so we've now got five

ecologists taking people

0:37:340:37:36

out on safaris into this landscape.

0:37:360:37:39

I'm keen to explore the site more,

0:37:390:37:41

so I'm off on one of those safaris

he's mentioned with

0:37:410:37:44

the farm's ecologist Penny Green,

and Charlie's wife, Isabella Tree,

0:37:440:37:48

and I've been promised

a seasonal spectacle.

0:37:480:37:51

Issy, this is a brilliant vehicle,

isn't it?

It's a Pinzgauer.

0:37:550:37:58

It's an Austrian troop carrier,

0:37:580:38:00

so this is what

we do our safaris in.

0:38:000:38:03

It's very robust and it's a very

good vehicle to put out on safari

0:38:030:38:06

on this really heavy land

that we've got.

0:38:060:38:09

That's one of the reasons we gave up

farming, was this really heavy soil.

0:38:090:38:13

What sort of people are coming

on the safaris to see these things?

0:38:130:38:17

So, we get all

sorts of different people.

0:38:170:38:19

It's a really delightful

thing to be doing

0:38:190:38:21

because people seem to love it,

0:38:210:38:23

and we have people from cities who

really aren't that familiar

0:38:230:38:26

with nature, who want to just see

and learn stuff,

0:38:260:38:29

and we have people who really

know their birds

0:38:290:38:31

and they come just to see them.

0:38:310:38:33

And what about this time of year?

What are you looking for?

0:38:330:38:36

So, this is towards the end of our

season. This is the big finale.

0:38:360:38:39

This is when we have our deer rut

safaris, so we should,

0:38:390:38:42

if we're lucky, see red deer stags,

0:38:420:38:44

so they'll be sort of

strutting their stuff,

0:38:440:38:46

doing their big roaring thing,

getting aggressive for the season.

0:38:460:38:51

BELLOWING ROAR

0:38:530:38:56

Red deer numbers on the estate have

been steadily increasing.

0:38:560:38:59

That doesn't make them

any easier to find,

0:38:590:39:02

but thanks to Penny's expertise,

0:39:020:39:04

we've located a good-sized herd,

where the rut is in full swing.

0:39:040:39:08

BELLOWING ROAR

0:39:080:39:11

It is absolutely brilliant, isn't

it, seeing these red deer like this?

0:39:110:39:15

I mean, Penny, you're the ecologist

here. What a sight.

0:39:150:39:19

I know. It's amazing to see

this in Sussex, isn't it?

0:39:190:39:21

We seem to associate red deer with

highlands and moorlands,

0:39:210:39:24

but, actually, they would have been

much more of a river valley species,

0:39:240:39:27

we think, and here at Knepp,

when we do spot the red deer,

0:39:270:39:30

they are normally in or

around the water.

0:39:300:39:32

It really is quite remarkable

0:39:320:39:33

this is all going on

so close to London.

0:39:330:39:35

You must be

so proud of what you have achieved.

0:39:350:39:37

I think that's been the most

surprising thing about it,

0:39:370:39:40

actually, is that something

so close to London,

0:39:400:39:42

underneath the Gatwick

stacking system,

0:39:420:39:45

surrounded by conurbation...

0:39:450:39:47

If this kind of wildlife can come

0:39:470:39:49

back here,

it can really come back anywhere.

0:39:490:39:52

It does seem that lots of things

have just turned up.

0:39:520:39:55

It's not like you have

re-introduced anything.

0:39:550:39:57

It's taken a few years to get to

this point, but every year

0:39:570:40:00

the numbers of turtle doves

and nightingales are growing.

0:40:000:40:03

It's just so exciting,

0:40:030:40:04

and you just could never have

guessed that this would have

0:40:040:40:07

all happened here,

on an intensive farm that has

0:40:070:40:09

changed into this wonderful

re-wilding project.

0:40:090:40:12

And all this has happened in less

than 20 years,

0:40:160:40:19

but it's still farmed land.

0:40:190:40:21

To find out how you rear livestock

in this environment,

0:40:210:40:24

I'm meeting stockman Pat Toe,

who tells me

0:40:240:40:27

that somewhere out here

there's a herd of English longhorns.

0:40:270:40:30

It was quite tricky finding

the deer earlier,

0:40:320:40:35

but I didn't realise the cattle

would be quite so elusive.

0:40:350:40:38

Yes, you wouldn't think you'd be

able to lose 100 cows, would you?

0:40:380:40:41

But it's quite easily done.

0:40:410:40:43

Particularly longhorns.

Yeah.

0:40:430:40:45

If you're in the wrong

part of a field,

0:40:450:40:47

they can be 20, 30 feet away

and you wouldn't see them.

0:40:470:40:50

There are few fences here.

0:40:520:40:54

The cattle are free to roam

over a wide area

0:40:540:40:57

and they're spread out all

over the place, in small groups.

0:40:570:41:00

How many have you got altogether?

0:41:020:41:04

We've got about 370 all over, in

three different herds.

Goodness me.

0:41:040:41:07

And how do you work out

the numbers you need?

0:41:070:41:10

Is it all about the ecology,

or is it all about beef production?

0:41:100:41:13

The primary objective is ecology.

0:41:130:41:15

It's about what they do with their

mouthparts and their hooves and

0:41:150:41:18

the impact that they make, but beef

is a very important secondary.

0:41:180:41:22

What sort of amount are you

producing?

0:41:220:41:24

We probably kill 100 animals a year,

0:41:240:41:26

a mix of prime animals under 30

months, and cull animals as well.

0:41:260:41:30

Back at home, I know how many

animals our fields will hold

0:41:300:41:33

because of the amount of grass

it produces

0:41:330:41:35

and, during the winter, we feed them

hay and silage and cattle nuts.

0:41:350:41:38

How do you cope here?

0:41:380:41:40

Well, what we do is,

in the depths of winter,

0:41:400:41:42

when everything is at its worst,

the food's at its lowest,

0:41:420:41:45

because we don't feed

the cows anything,

0:41:450:41:47

we go out with the vet and we look

at what available fodder is there

0:41:470:41:50

and the body condition of

the animals,

0:41:500:41:52

and we make a decision

year on year from that.

0:41:520:41:54

Most people are used to seeing

cattle grazing out in lush pastures,

0:41:540:41:58

but they certainly seemed to enjoy

it in here.

Yeah.

0:41:580:42:00

I'd like to think they are some

of the happiest animals around.

0:42:000:42:03

They can behave really naturally.

0:42:030:42:04

The cattle have all

disappeared into the undergrowth.

0:42:040:42:07

I don't know where they've gone.

In fact, I'm glad you're with me,

0:42:070:42:10

otherwise I'd get completely

lost out here.

I'll lend you a map.

0:42:100:42:13

ADAM CHUCKLES

0:42:130:42:15

In just two decades, the Knepp

Estate has been transformed,

0:42:190:42:23

the economics of farming going

hand in hand with ecology.

0:42:230:42:27

Who knows what the next 20 years

might bring for this

0:42:270:42:30

ambitious project?

0:42:300:42:31

At this time of year,

as autumn sunshine bathes the land,

0:42:440:42:47

getting into the countryside

for a walk

0:42:470:42:49

is one of life's simple pleasures.

0:42:490:42:52

And if you know where to look,

0:42:520:42:54

you might even find some

edible treasures.

0:42:540:42:57

Here in St Albans, in Hertfordshire,

0:43:020:43:04

two friends are wild about

wild foods.

0:43:040:43:07

George Fredenham and Richard Osmond

know this countryside

0:43:080:43:11

like the back of their hands.

0:43:110:43:13

It's the larder for the delights

they serve up in their pub...

0:43:130:43:17

And I've been promised a glimpse

into the magic behind the menu.

0:43:170:43:21

It's a spice, so chew on it until it

sort of rehydrates

0:43:230:43:27

in your mouth a little bit.

0:43:270:43:28

Oh, yeah. Oh, wow.

0:43:280:43:30

It's really fragrant, isn't it?

Yeah.

0:43:300:43:33

What is it?

It's hogweed seeds.

0:43:330:43:36

So, it's

the seedhead of that plant?

Yeah.

0:43:360:43:39

This common hogweed is not to be

confused with its close relative,

0:43:390:43:43

giant hogweed, whose sap

can severely irritate the skin.

0:43:430:43:47

In his favourite foraging spot,

George is keen to tell me

0:43:470:43:51

how they got started.

0:43:510:43:53

So, George, what came first,

the pub or the foraging?

0:43:530:43:57

The foraging came first, for sure.

0:43:570:43:59

It was a big

passion of ours at the time,

0:43:590:44:02

and, yeah, very quickly we found

a venue that seemed to suit what

0:44:020:44:06

we wanted to do,

0:44:060:44:07

and the Foragers, I guess, was born

at the Verulam Arms.

0:44:070:44:11

So, what's the plan today, then?

0:44:110:44:13

We're doing a little bit of a

collection of wild bitter plants

0:44:130:44:17

that we use to infuse in strong

spirits to make our own bitters.

0:44:170:44:20

We'll then head back to the pub

and make some cocktails, basically.

0:44:200:44:24

Sounds good to me.

And eat some food, yeah.

0:44:240:44:26

Keeping the pub menu brimming with

wild flavours

0:44:260:44:29

is head forager Richard Osmond.

0:44:290:44:32

Now, you've got a great job title -

head forager.

0:44:320:44:35

There can't be many of those.

0:44:350:44:36

How did you get into it?

0:44:360:44:37

After university I was just

working as an office temp,

0:44:370:44:41

and George actually put an ad

online for an assistant forager.

0:44:410:44:45

I saw his ad and just basically

wrote a whole essay saying,

0:44:450:44:49

"You don't understand how

much stuff we could do.

0:44:490:44:52

"We could make ales.

0:44:520:44:54

"We should start a brewery and put

medieval herbs into the ales,"

0:44:540:44:57

and I drew this sort of calendar

chart saying,

0:44:570:45:00

"These are the things that are

going to be in season

0:45:000:45:02

"at this these times, and we can

pair those with these dishes,"

0:45:020:45:05

and that showed him

how passionate I was about it.

0:45:050:45:09

So, can you eat this?

Yeah, you can.

You can try it right now.

OK.

0:45:090:45:12

Hmm. There's like a burst of lemon,

isn't there? Really strong.

0:45:140:45:17

Really powerful.

Hmm.

0:45:170:45:19

So what other tasty

morsels can we find?

0:45:200:45:24

Bitters often have the bark of trees

in them

0:45:240:45:26

and things like tonic water,

the quinine from that

0:45:260:45:29

comes from the bark of a tree.

Just like that.

0:45:290:45:31

That's peeling off really nicely.

It's like peeling an orange.

0:45:310:45:35

This birch will recover

from having its bark removed,

0:45:350:45:38

and George and Richard have

permission to forage here.

0:45:380:45:42

But if you're going to

try your hand at finding wild foods,

0:45:420:45:45

don't pick or eat anything you're

not completely sure about.

0:45:450:45:49

This is poison hemlock.

0:45:510:45:52

If you look at this wild cow parsley

that I've got in the basket...

0:45:520:45:56

In fact,

if we get a darker piece of hemlock,

0:45:560:46:00

you'll see just how similar

they are.

0:46:000:46:02

Edible. Deadly.

That's not a mistake

you want to make, is it?

No.

0:46:020:46:06

The best thing about foraging

for wild food is

0:46:090:46:12

the prospect of a tasty

treat at the end of it,

0:46:120:46:14

and one of the specialities at the

pub is this wild negroni cocktail,

0:46:140:46:18

made with their own bitters

and sloe gin.

0:46:180:46:22

Ohh!

0:46:250:46:26

I can taste the flavours...some of

the flavours.

0:46:270:46:30

Maybe that silver birch that

we picked earlier.

0:46:300:46:33

It's actually really nice.

0:46:330:46:35

I'm glad I'm not driving!

0:46:350:46:37

So, what else is on the menu

along with the wild cocktails?

0:46:380:46:42

We serve pigeon, we serve rabbit.

0:46:430:46:45

Pheasant and partridge,

when it's in season.

0:46:450:46:47

And then what we're going to

make this afternoon

0:46:470:46:49

is we're going to make two dishes.

0:46:490:46:51

One is a signature dish,

which has muntjac deer in it.

0:46:510:46:54

Although we have six

species of deer in the UK,

0:46:550:46:58

most of the venison we eat is

farmed red or fallow deer.

0:46:580:47:02

Muntjac is an unusual

addition to any menu

0:47:020:47:05

and is responsibly sourced for the

pub by local deer manager Bruce.

0:47:050:47:10

Muntjac, although it's a small

deer, it's very compact.

0:47:120:47:15

It's easier to carve, easy to cook.

0:47:150:47:18

They breed three fawns in two years.

0:47:190:47:22

They don't have a season,

0:47:220:47:24

like the other five species of

feral deer that we have got here,

0:47:240:47:28

and they're eating all

the finest of foods.

0:47:280:47:31

So during the spring,

0:47:310:47:32

they've got all the spring flowers

coming through,

0:47:320:47:35

crocuses they have got in the wild

here, they've got bluebells,

0:47:350:47:38

and you get that lovely aroma

0:47:380:47:40

as you walk into the house

in the evening, when it's been

0:47:400:47:43

cooking on a slow cooker,

and you immediately start dribbling.

0:47:430:47:47

The rich aromas coming

from the kitchen are incredible,

0:47:470:47:51

so time to try my first

wild pub grub.

0:47:510:47:54

This looks amazing.

Right, make some

space.

Look at that spread.

0:47:540:47:58

It's bigger than the table.

Try the loin first.

0:47:580:48:02

So, this looks really lean.

0:48:020:48:04

Mm. Melts in your mouth.

Exactly.

0:48:060:48:09

And then your sorrel that you

guys picked earlier,

0:48:090:48:12

just to garnish

and give it some sharpness.

0:48:120:48:15

So, what you're saying is -

my contribution was key.

0:48:150:48:18

You contribution, it was

the icing on the cake.

0:48:180:48:21

I'll...

I think that will be me.

I think you've won there.

0:48:210:48:24

It's the perfect way to end

a day of foraging,

0:48:290:48:32

eating and drinking your own harvest

in a warm pub.

0:48:320:48:34

A part of me feels sorry for

Charlotte out there in the cold,

0:48:340:48:37

but only a small part.

0:48:370:48:39

Now, if you want to know if it's

the weather to stay cosy, or to get

0:48:390:48:42

out and feel the wind in your face,

here's the Countryfile forecast.

0:48:420:48:45

We will certainly feel the wind in

our face at times this week. Things

0:48:570:49:01

will look and feel very different

compared with the very tranquil

0:49:010:49:06

scene from Hertfordshire today. It

did feel cold. A cold start to the

0:49:060:49:12

night in places, but cloud

increasing for many of us as it

0:49:120:49:16

moves in. More cloud to the

south-west of us in the Atlantique,

0:49:160:49:21

so to areas of low pressure to show

you. One tonight, and another not

0:49:210:49:26

far behind, so much more unsettled

this week. With low pressure from

0:49:260:49:31

the Atlantic Ocean milder air moules

dumber moves in, changing the field

0:49:310:49:35

to the weather. We see the first

area of cloud and rain moving into

0:49:350:49:45

the UK, some snow on the high ground

of Scotland. Outbreaks of rain

0:49:450:49:50

moving in elsewhere. Light and

patchy across southern England.

0:49:500:49:54

Quite a cold start for most of us. A

messy start to Monday, especially

0:49:540:50:00

with that rain and hill snow in

Scotland and cloud elsewhere. Rain

0:50:000:50:05

turning lighter and more patchy

throughout the day. By mid

0:50:050:50:10

afternoon, more of us are getting

double-figure temperatures. A chilly

0:50:100:50:15

day in Scotland. We will have

another go at banishing that cold

0:50:150:50:21

air from Scotland as we move into

Tuesday. Some wet weather comes in

0:50:210:50:27

on Monday evening into Tuesday

morning. Some snow on the hills

0:50:270:50:32

again, but changing back to rain on

Tuesday. A band of rain pushing

0:50:320:50:37

southward through England and Wales

throughout the day, but above

0:50:370:50:42

double-figure temperatures. Tuesday

into Wednesday, low pressure in

0:50:420:50:45

control. Another front coming our

way, turning the weather more

0:50:450:50:51

active. The jet stream is a player

in our weather once again. This is

0:50:510:50:58

mild air coming in. Milder air

contains more moisture and the

0:50:580:51:02

threat of some heavy rain for some

of us during Wednesday. Some

0:51:020:51:07

uncertainty about the position.

Could well be further south than

0:51:070:51:10

this. Most areas in the east of

England stay dry and bright. As we

0:51:100:51:17

go into Thursday, still low pressure

dominating the scene. We are going

0:51:170:51:22

to see some wind and outbreaks of

rain. Thursday, some colder air may

0:51:220:51:28

start to push back in across parts

of Scotland and then Northern

0:51:280:51:32

Ireland. If it does, any wet weather

could see some snow on the hills in

0:51:320:51:37

Scotland. From Thursday to Friday,

the isobars turning more northerly,

0:51:370:51:43

so colder air moving southwards

again. A fightback from the colder

0:51:430:51:50

air on Friday. Initially in Scotland

and Northern Ireland. Some wet

0:51:500:51:58

weather for England and Wales moving

southwards. The wind direction

0:51:580:52:02

changes for Scotland and Northern

Ireland. Turbulent is one word for

0:52:020:52:07

it. Milder for a time, but only

briefly in Scotland and Northern

0:52:070:52:11

Ireland. Some rain at times, and

even snow on Scottish hills. Windy

0:52:110:52:18

in southern parts of the

0:52:180:52:19

The Lea Valley in Hertfordshire,

0:52:310:52:33

fondly known as the

"green lung" for London.

0:52:330:52:36

Once the home of industry,

it's been transformed for recreation

0:52:380:52:42

and wildlife.

0:52:420:52:44

And while Sean has been

foraging for his supper,

0:52:440:52:47

I have spent the day

on the Old River Lea.

0:52:470:52:50

A leafy enclave meandering through

the valley, it is

0:52:500:52:53

well-known across the land

for its big-catch barbel fishing.

0:52:530:52:57

The problem is that fishermen

are catching fewer young fish.

0:52:570:53:01

Now that means the barbel's

long-term future in the river

0:53:010:53:04

is uncertain.

0:53:040:53:06

In a bid to protect the fish,

0:53:120:53:14

enthusiastic fishermen have

got together

0:53:140:53:17

with Hertfordshire and Middlesex

Wildlife Trust,

0:53:170:53:20

the Lea Valley Regional Park

Authority

0:53:200:53:22

and the Environment Agency

to form the Barbel Action Group.

0:53:220:53:25

Today, they're surveying

the river to assess

0:53:250:53:28

the health of the current

fish population.

0:53:280:53:31

How often do you fall over?

0:53:320:53:35

VOICEOVER: George Horne from the

agency has ditched the rod

0:53:350:53:38

for something more shocking.

0:53:380:53:40

What on earth is going on here,

George?

0:53:400:53:43

So, we're here today with

the Environment Agency.

0:53:430:53:46

We're doing an electric fishing

survey as part of a wider

0:53:460:53:50

initiative to improve barbel

habitats within the Lea Valley.

0:53:500:53:54

So, we can see the team with these

things in their hands.

0:53:540:53:56

How does it work?

So, what they're doing is,

0:53:560:53:58

they're going to be sending

an electric pulse through the water

0:53:580:54:02

and what that does is it creates an

involuntary muscle spasm for fish.

0:54:020:54:06

It doesn't harm them or injure them

in any way, shape or form.

0:54:060:54:09

They'll be removed,

put into a tub on the boat,

0:54:090:54:12

and they will be processed by

ID-ing their species,

0:54:120:54:15

measuring them, counting them all,

0:54:150:54:17

and then we take scale samples from

those fish as well,

0:54:170:54:20

and from the data that we have

0:54:200:54:22

within this section of the

River Lea,

0:54:220:54:25

it does show a decline in barbel

populations

0:54:250:54:27

and potentially other

gravel-spawning fish.

0:54:270:54:29

What do you think it might be that's

upsetting barbel here?

0:54:290:54:32

Because when you look at the water,

the water quality,

0:54:320:54:35

it looks really clear.

Yeah, it does.

0:54:350:54:37

But if I move my feet, like that,

0:54:370:54:39

you see a lot of fine sediments

coming out of it.

0:54:390:54:41

What the barbel ideally need is

good, clean gravels,

0:54:410:54:45

so that the females can create

an indentation with their tails,

0:54:450:54:49

lay their eggs and then scrape the

clean gravels back over the top.

0:54:490:54:54

I've got to ask about our elegant

outfits.

0:54:540:54:56

Do I really need to be

wearing all this?

0:54:560:54:58

As we are going to be doing

electric fishing,

0:54:580:55:00

the outfits that we are wearing

are going to protect us

0:55:000:55:03

from the electric field that we

will be putting through the water.

0:55:030:55:06

This survey will help determine

the habitat work that needs

0:55:070:55:10

to be done to improve the river,

such as narrowing it to

0:55:100:55:14

create faster-moving water

to clean the gravel.

0:55:140:55:18

Unlike my earlier fishing

experience,

0:55:180:55:21

when you're stunning fish,

it doesn't take long to catch them.

0:55:210:55:24

OK.

There we go. A decent pike.

Yay.

0:55:300:55:33

So, are we going to measure him?

0:55:330:55:35

Or not bother

because he's not a barbel?

0:55:350:55:37

No, we'll process absolutely

everything.

0:55:370:55:40

73-ish! Just under.

I give it 72.4.

0:55:400:55:43

He's very picky. 72.4.

Yeah.

I was about to say that.

0:55:430:55:47

Straight back in here.

0:55:470:55:49

So, here we've got a barbel.

0:55:500:55:52

It's quite lively.

0:55:520:55:54

So, what makes him barbel-y?

0:55:540:55:56

Unlike a lot of other fish, he's got

0:55:560:55:58

this very long,

lean torpedo-shape to him.

0:55:580:56:00

It gives him the ability to live

in very fast-flowing water,

0:56:000:56:05

and also this very flat

sort of underside,

0:56:050:56:07

making it perfect for them

to be able to feed along the bottom,

0:56:070:56:11

and what comes with that is

the classic sort of

0:56:110:56:13

under-turned mouth,

positioned underneath his face.

0:56:130:56:17

So that he can actually hoover up?

Absolutely.

Yeah.

0:56:170:56:20

Then you have got the barbels here

at the front.

What are they for?

0:56:200:56:24

So, these are used for rooting

around through the gravels.

0:56:240:56:27

It helps them to detect food.

0:56:270:56:29

So, what we're going to do now,

0:56:290:56:31

we're going to take a scale sample

from it.

0:56:310:56:33

Is that going to hurt?

It won't hurt the fish.

0:56:330:56:36

So, these will go up to our national

fish laboratory, based in Brampton,

0:56:380:56:43

and what they'll be able to tell

is actually the age of the fish.

0:56:430:56:47

We'll get that put in

a scale packet.

0:56:470:56:49

It's quite a little fish.

0:56:510:56:52

It's actually encouraging to see

barbel this size within this

0:56:520:56:56

part of the River Lea

because it probably

0:56:560:56:58

indicates that there is some

kind of recruitment going on.

0:56:580:57:01

So, really, I think

what we would like to do is identify

0:57:010:57:05

where those areas are

0:57:050:57:07

and can connectivity between

juvenile

0:57:070:57:09

and adult habitat be proved?

0:57:090:57:12

Checked and measured,

0:57:150:57:17

it's time to get the fish safely

back in the river.

0:57:170:57:19

Extraordinary creatures.

0:57:210:57:22

It would be a great shame to see

the native barbel

0:57:220:57:25

disappear from the Old River Lea.

0:57:250:57:28

But thanks to the river's

caretakers,

0:57:290:57:31

the work to improve their habitat

will insure there are barbel

0:57:310:57:34

and other fish here for many

years to come.

0:57:340:57:37

There you go...

0:57:370:57:39

Hopefully to a happier

future in this river.

Absolutely.

0:57:390:57:42

Sean, I have been up

to my knees in freezing-cold water

0:57:530:57:57

and you've been in the pub?!

Not all day. It's not what it seems.

0:57:570:58:00

I've actually been doing a really

important taste test

0:58:000:58:02

and you can join me here.

0:58:020:58:04

That's the least you could do.

Thank you very much. Cheers.

0:58:040:58:07

I must say,

that's a really good look.

0:58:070:58:09

Thank you very much.

0:58:090:58:11

Well,

next week we're in the Cairngorms,

0:58:110:58:13

and Joe Crowley gets to dress up

nearly as elegantly as me,

0:58:130:58:16

as he braves the elements

to get up close

0:58:160:58:19

and personal with wildlife getting

ready for the winter.

0:58:190:58:21

And Helen Skelton is meeting

eagles that are capturing

0:58:210:58:24

the ultimate bird's eye view.

0:58:240:58:26

Until then, goodbye.

Goodbye.

0:58:260:58:28

I can't believe you've

been in the pub all day!

0:58:280:58:31

Countryfile is in Hertfordshire, where Charlotte Smith meets the man who's made it his sole mission to save the barbel in the Old River Lea. Sean Fletcher builds a home fit for a Kingfisher and forages for a wild dinner. John Craven returns to his days as a scout and cooks up a storm on a woodland fire. And Adam Henson discovers the estate where rewilding and farming sit side-by-side.

Now in its fifth year, what effect is culling badgers actually having on rates of TB in our cattle? Tom Heap's looking at the science behind this controversial practice.


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