Countryfile is on the Jurassic Coast, where Matt Baker meets the man who's been digging for fossils for more than thirty years.
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The craggy and dramatic Jurassic Coast
has hidden secrets for millions of years,
but one man has made it his life's work to chip his way back
to the past, with remarkable results.
Oh, hey! Look at that, behind us.
-What about that one?
Ellie is meeting the family who, over three generations,
have captured the essence of their farming life through photography.
Dare I say, there's more photos of machinery than of the children.
We like to show off our investments!
-Yeah, we do. And we still do it.
With more animals being stolen from farms,
Tom's investigating what's being done
to put an end to livestock theft.
The fact that someone else can benefit out of our hard work,
I think that's the worst thing.
And, in the third part of our series of special films,
Adam's discovering how they farm on the other side of the world,
in New Zealand.
I arrived in this field and it was a lovely serene environment
and now it's all kicked off and they are full at work.
It's just remarkable. I've never seen anything like it.
The Jurassic Coast.
95 miles of shoreline, stretching from Exmouth in Devon
to Studland in Dorset.
Its layers can be read like a book,
to reveal 185 million years of history.
We're at the eastern end of the coast, in Kimmeridge,
an area rich in fossilised remains that define a specific time
in the Jurassic age.
It's known as the Kimmeridgian period, after the Kimmeridge Clay
that makes up most of the parish that give the area its name.
But up until recently, not much was known about this part of history -
but one man has changed all of that.
Steve Etches has spent most of his working life
as a plumber but, somehow,
in his spare time, he's unearthed a fossil collection from this period
that is of world significance.
Steve's collection was deemed so important that, back in October,
all 2,500 specimens were moved from his garage just down the road
to this purpose-built £5 million museum.
Steve's interest in fossils was ignited as a five-year-old,
with the discovery of a small sea urchin.
His passion for palaeontology has turned him from novice collector
to leading expert.
This rib was the first rib I found from the Kimmeridge Clay
and realised that, when I researched it,
there was not a lot of information about this particular formation.
-And so, I thought, I'm going to fill this gap, you know?
I'm going to actually just solely collect Kimmeridgian material.
And that's what I've done for the last 35, 40 years, I guess.
Anyone can do it. You haven't got to go to university or do anything like
that. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
155 million years ago, Kimmeridge and its shoreline were 200 metres
down at the bottom of a tropical sea.
Many of its inhabitants haven't made it easy for Steve to find them.
How on earth did you get this out?
This is the lower jaw of a Pliosaur,
so that's the top of the food chain of the Kimmeridgian.
This was stuck out of the cliff, actually.
These back elements fell out in a cliff fall four years prior to me
getting this. One morning, very early on,
I went round there and I realised it had fallen and when I just pulled
the top of the shale back, the tip of this jaw...
-You're kidding me?
-It was there for you?
-It was there.
I can't believe this place.
And all this stuff was in your garage?
Yeah! No, it was. Well...
My wife's a very happy woman now.
This Lottery-funded building holds many world firsts previously unknown
to science. Once they'd been freed from the ground, the real work
begins - discovering how the creatures lived and died.
It gets more exciting. This is the work area.
Hello, Carla, how are you?
-Hi! Good, thank you.
-Really nice to see you.
-And you, Matt.
-Steve's daughter Carla is by his side, to help.
It's a real family thing, this...
-It is now, yes.
-After all these years.
-Back in the late '70s, early '80s,
when Dad first started collecting,
we used to get dragged down the beach, both my brother and I,
but I've got a new-found respect.
Just talk us through what we've got here, then.
It's an ichthyosaur, so this is akin to a modern dolphin.
It's quite a big ichthyosaur. Can you see how long the snout is?
That fits on to there, yup.
You've got all the pectoral girdle here, part of the flipper here...
-..and then just the ribs, the dorsal ribs running down.
This is only half of the specimen.
Steve's ichthyosaur finds have already revealed the same diet
as modern dolphins, with fish and squid remains
still clearly visible millions of years later.
And is it the life story, then,
of these creatures that fascinates you?
Well, the story really is, what does it yield?
What particular aspect does this particular specimen show us that
-another one doesn't?
-And now we've got a chance that we can document
everything from the moment that it's found,
we can follow that whole process through and actually have visitors
that come to the museum see the story unravel and unlock
those stories from deep time, for everybody to see.
Only 10% of the collection is actually on display.
Many more fossils fill drawer upon drawer
in temperature-controlled storage.
Oh, hey! Look at that behind us!
The fine Kimmeridge Clay may preserved specimens well,
but it's Steve's incredible skill at cleaning them that really brings
them back to life.
Oh, right, so what's going on in here? It's basically a fish, is it?
It is a fish, yeah. Species unknown at the moment.
You can start off with an air pen,
which actually can actually just chip away the...
-..stone, sort of, quite easily.
Then, we'll perhaps use a diamond grinder...
Just grind that just above the bone...
So, you're about 5mm above it?
When, I guess, you think about how raw the process is and then how fine
it becomes. You're out there with your rucksack, obviously,
hauling it all here and then you're chipping away for a bit and it gets
-more and more fine.
-It's quite brutal. More and more refined, yeah,
until we get to this sort of stage, yeah.
The softer clay is cleaned away,
revealing the harder fossil in all its glory.
We're using sodium bicarbonate, which is quite sharp, but soft.
Sometimes, though, Matt, you're cleaning just that
particular element, you're spending all day doing this,
but don't look at it in an overall view and then stand back
and think, "My God!" You suddenly realise what the whole thing
-reveals, you know?
-It's quite a...
Extremely satisfying job.
You see all the fin just being revealed.
Steve has opened the door to a little-known time in our history.
His collection is a remarkable asset for both the public and experts.
And all from this quiet corner of our beautiful country.
Now, for farmers,
losing animals to thieves has become an increasingly common problem over
the last few years,
so what is being done to fight back against the livestock rustlers?
Some crimes, it seems, are as old as time.
Humans started farming animals around 10,000 years ago.
From the moment we figured out the value of their meat, milk or eggs,
we placed a price tag on livestock.
And anything worth a lot of money, for some, is worth stealing.
Livestock rustling is an ancient crime.
Sports cars or smartphones may be more obvious targets these days,
but livestock rustling still happens and more often than you might think.
Four years ago, there was an unusual spike in livestock theft,
driven by high market values.
Stock prices have since fallen, but the thefts keep on happening.
it's estimated a further 300,000 animals
have vanished from farms across the UK,
at a cost of more than £20 million to the industry.
There are 180 lambs in this pen and you wouldn't have thought they were
as easy to steal as a car, or as valuable, but last summer,
a flock of 220 sheep, worth £20,000, disappeared overnight
from this very farm.
They belonged to Somerset farmer John Vigar.
His family have raised sheep on this land for four generations
but nothing could have prepared John for what happened last summer.
Well, it was the early hours of Monday, the 25th of July...
It looked as though they were hunted down the road a couple of hundred
metres and loaded up in a neighbouring gateway.
Nobody heard or saw anything.
Eight o'clock the following morning,
the field was empty and all the sheep gone.
John lost a third of his flock that night -
80 ewes and 140 fat lambs,
ready for market. And he wasn't the only farmer to be targeted.
600 sheep disappeared from the local area in the same month.
What was that impact on your business?
We valued them straight away at £20,000.
The 80 ewes were a big part of our breeding flock.
That was a major headache, of where to get the replacement ewes.
And what about the impact on you and your family?
Gutted. We began to feel mad.
I think that's the best way to describe it and I think I've been
livid ever since. The fact that someone else can benefit out of our
hard work, I think that's the worst thing.
What do you think happened to them?
We've got no inkling, really, no trace at all.
It's not the first time I've tried to find out what happens to stolen
livestock. Four years ago, I asked the same question.
We haven't really got an idea at the moment.
I think in many cases, the evidence has literally been eaten by the time
the investigation gets underway.
The insurance company Tim represents, NFU Mutual,
has paid out another £7 million in claims for stolen livestock since he
and I last spoke.
Good morning, Tim.
Good morning. How are you, this fine morning?
Not too bad at all. So what have you seen?
Well, the big thing we've noticed is that, after the very big jump
in livestock theft in 2013, it hasn't really gone down very much.
Nobody is sure quite how sheep are disappearing and where the meat is
ending up. It does seem clear that the majority are getting into
the meat trade, simply because so few are recovered alive.
Every animal that goes through the slaughter system is identified
by its ear tag and paperwork.
This ensures the meat we eat is safe and traceable, but illegal meat
from stolen animals bypasses all those checks.
That risk to public health means livestock theft is being taken
seriously by the police. More so than four years ago.
So how much has changed since we last spoke?
The massive change is that three years ago, there was simply
no effective solution to livestock theft out there.
Now, there are some really encouraging schemes
coming from police in different parts of the country.
-So the fight-back is on?
-The fight is on.
Indeed, the first force to fight back was Lancashire Police.
They've teamed up with local farmers, like John Taylor,
in a livestock-theft prevention initiative.
Just like our control, if you
get into that space and they'll get upset and start to move...
You come back out again, they'll stay there.
'John hosts police workshops on his farm near Lancaster.
'Officers learn how to identify,
'tag and handle sheep, in case
'they ever have to deal with live evidence.
'It's a challenge if you're used to working in an urban environment.'
Go on, Carl, you can do better than that.
Livestock theft in Lancashire has more than halved in the last
two years, so the regional approach is working.
But this is a national problem.
We know stolen animals could turn up anywhere in the country,
so do the police have a national strategy?
They're working on one.
The National Police Chief's Council says they want every single force
to build intelligence,
coordinate joint operations and share best practice across the UK.
In a nutshell, that means working together.
Back in Somerset, local police are on John Vigar's farm.
-How are you?
-Good to see you again.
-And you, too.
Now, you were going to tell me what progress you're making on trying
-to find our sheep.
-Well, the investigation is still ongoing...
Somerset has been hard-hit by livestock thieves.
Since 2011, 3,720 animals, mainly sheep,
have been reported stolen in Somerset alone
and only 248 have ended up being returned to their owners.
It sounds like this force could benefit from a few ideas from around
In the spirit of collaboration,
Countryfile has invited the Lancashire team to compare notes
with Avon and Somerset police, along with our two farmers.
Lancashire's rural crime coordinator kicks off the discussion.
We started off by training the officers in the basics.
What sheep do we have in Lancashire?
If you stop a trailer or a vehicle carrying livestock,
what questions should you be asking?
What documents should you be looking for?
If you do believe they're stolen, what are you going to do with them?
How are you going to move a trailer full of sheep at two o'clock
in the morning, which is invariably when these things happen?
Avon and Somerset police are interested in the practical advice
from Lancashire farmer John Taylor.
Hang on a minute, are these sheep or livestock,
are they reasonably disease-free?
Do we have to isolate them? What do we have to do?
You're obviously part of that farming network, John.
-If we set something up in our area,
is that something you'd be interested in, John, or not?
Yes, it would. When I lost my 220 back in the summer,
I expected an immediate response then,
so I think it's only fair to offer that facility.
You're all at it already!
It's like some sort of police outreach conference here!
I'm thoroughly redundant,
but you seem to be learning a lot from each other.
But can Avon and Somerset help with that one question I keep asking?
Where do you think this stolen livestock is ending up?
It does appear that some of it at least is going to abattoirs that may
be working illegally out of hours or, indeed, illegal abattoirs,
and we think that's a nationwide issue.
This is organised criminality.
And they are looking to cutting-edge
technology to beat these organised criminals.
The industry are developing small tagging devices,
which would end up in the sheep's stomach.
You'd know remotely where that she was?
There's a potential to put a tracker into the bolus, as well,
that could send a text message to your mobile phone, so, yes,
if your sheep were on the move,
you could find out, potentially, where they were.
How does that idea strike you as a farmer?
The bolus with a tracker that emits a signal, that would be ideal.
But, obviously, there's a lot of work to be done on that.
How useful has exercise been for you in Somerset?
It's been absolutely fantastic.
We've had the opportunity to meet the Lancashire team,
not just have to pick up the phone to them.
We've spent several hours already picking their brains on some
challenges that we've come across.
It's great we've got Lancashire here today,
taking rural crime so much more seriously,
because the impact on, whether it's farmers or the rural community,
is really significant.
John has been a relatively recent victim of one of these crimes.
What does all this make you feel?
It felt like a real local problem, as if it was just happening to me.
So it is quite refreshing today to know that it is a national problem
and it's trying to be treated with a national solution.
It's a troubling fact that thieves are still getting away
with this terrible crime. Farmers' prized animals driven away
in darkness and never seen again.
Livestock thieves have no regard for animal welfare,
the traceability of our food or the livelihoods of farmers,
but at least, now the industry is fighting back.
Farmers and police forces getting together, to try and outsmart
the criminals. Let's hope it gets results across the country.
For me, the brightest jewels that crown Dorset's majestic coastline
lie here, on the Isle of Purbeck.
And from this magnificent vantage point,
it's hard to imagine a more beautiful,
or rural place, to live and work.
For one typically tight-knit farming family, this is home.
What makes them special is that, for more than 50 years,
their life here has been documented through snapshots and slides,
creating an exceptional record of Dorset farming through the decades.
Meet the Holes.
To help you - and me - get a handle on who's who,
here's a quick guide to the family tree.
Guy is the head of the family.
Brothers John, Andy and Jerry share the farm tenancy.
The grandchildren, Mark,
Liz and Ben are carrying on the family farming tradition.
Every morning, all year round,
the family will gather for a pre-breakfast pow-wow,
to discuss who's doing what and, on a mixed arable, sheep,
dairy and beef farm of more than 2,000 acres,
there's always plenty going on.
Morning, everybody. Hi, John, all right?
-How are you doing?
On a farm this size, sharing out the work is vital.
I'm responsible for the dairy and accounts.
Andy has responsibility for the arable and the sheep.
Jerry does all the young stock - the beef cattle, the dairy heifers.
As the younger members of the family head off to tackle another day
on the farm, John's introducing me to
the man who got things up and running more than 60 years ago -
his 93-year-old dad, Guy Hole.
So, here we go, Ellie. This is my father.
Dad, this is Ellie.
Hello! Hi, Guy, it's lovely to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
Now, Guy isn't a native of Purbeck, or Dorset...
or even the UK.
In fact, he comes from more than 11,000 miles away - New Zealand.
In 1941, aged just 18,
he was conscripted into the New Zealand Army.
But a severe lack of farm workers
meant Guy had to swap pistols for ploughs.
After two years of vital farming to feed his homeland,
Guy went on to see military service in Italy and post-war Japan.
At 25, Guy was demobbed, hoping to secure a farm of his own.
But with opportunities scarce in New Zealand at the time,
he decided to take a chance on the other side of the world.
Did you know anyone in the UK when you made your journey over?
I had no-one.
And so, I wrote to Lord Bledisloe,
who was a past governor of New Zealand
and he wrote back and said, "Thank you for your letter,
"I will pass it on to the Young Farmers' Federation in London".
Thanks to this contact at the Young Farmers',
Guy was able to find his first job.
Just as a farm labourer,
at 90 shillings a week, um...
He found me digs at £2 a week.
And that was enough to get you started.
It...was enough to get me started.
Guy was on his way.
Following a few more lucky breaks of his own making,
he eventually settled in Dorset, marrying local girl Mary Ellen.
And now, here you are on this farm.
It's grown to be a fantastic size and your family are all around you.
It must be a great feeling to see this.
I'm very proud.
And rightly so.
The family have come a long way
since Guy first landed on these shores.
And thanks to an almost continuous series of candid photos and slides
from the family album, we can trace not just the family's history,
but also that of modern farming,
so we've popped next door to the dining room to have a look at a few of them.
Spanning more than a half-century,
these photographs and slides of
the whole family are a priceless personal archive
that richly illustrates just how much things have changed.
This picture was taken in 1958.
It actually depicts Dad's purchase of a brand-new cab to go on top.
He's written on the back of the slide, "£40 I paid, good value."
Aw! Couple of lambs!
That's me on the left and Andy on the right feeding a couple of orphan
lambs. Mum and Dad on the steps of the house.
This is feeding the calves.
Again, it's me and Mother, feeding the calves.
Father had made up an outside pen where we could put them in to feed them.
She's... Strangely enough, Dad is actually allergic to cattle.
Too much close handling of cattle and he reacts to it.
That's no good for a farmer!
-No, I know!
-So that was your job and your mother's job?
Yep, feeding the calves.
Dare I say, there's more photos of machinery than there are the children.
We like to show off our investments.
-Yeah, we do. And we still do it.
Right, this was February 1979.
-Deep in a snowdrift!
-We were completely snowed in.
My mum talks about this winter,
about the snowdrifts being as high as this.
I think it's probably stuck in the memory.
We had no snowploughs. The council couldn't cope with it,
so we were left with our really rather small tractors
to dig our way out.
What a fashion statement, John! Want to talk me through this?
I'm slightly embarrassed that this one has got put in!
That's feeding the cattle, and it has to be done properly.
With a cowboy outfit on?
It's the only way to feed the cattle!
And a six-shooter at his hip.
And that's the end of the little sideshow.
That's good, what a show.
Today, it's not just John and his brothers keeping the show on
the road, but the whole family.
And to ensure the farm that their intrepid grandparents established
more than 50 years ago survives for another half-century,
the family are continuing to diversify, and in some quite unexpected ways.
Later, I'll discover how the tradition of family photography is
being used to jump-start a business plan that's far from woolly.
MATT: Now it's time for our winter warmer.
Last autumn, we asked some well-known faces, from DJs to comedians...
It's a seal! False alarm, everyone, it was a seal.
..chefs to singers...
# My old man said follow the van... #
..which part of our magnificent countryside was special to them.
This week, comedian Susan Calman voyages across the Firth of Clyde to
the beautiful Isle of Arran.
I've been coming to the island of Arran since I was five.
We came here for summer holidays every year and we've been coming
back ever since, so this place is really...
It's just part of me.
When we got on that CalMac ferry at Ardrossan,
it felt like holiday had started.
I always used to come up and stand on the front of the deck, here,
so I could see how close we were getting to the island.
Scotland in miniature, they call it, and it really is,
cos it has the lowlands, beautiful scenery, the mountain ranges,
and it's just extraordinary,
because everything that you can find across there is here.
This particular beach,
Blackwaterfoot beach, is where we spent most of our time.
We're Scottish - even if it was raining, we were on this beach.
There's a lot of wind coming along here
but you're not going to let a gale-force wind spoil a summer holiday,
so we'd put up the windbreak and we'd go swimming in that sea.
The temperature would vary from frozen to very frozen.
But do you know what?
It makes you hardy for life
having to smile for a photograph whilst freezing.
I'm not going in again!
One of the reasons why I find this place so peaceful is...
..you can go for a walk for 5 or 10 minutes, 20 minutes,
and you find the most extraordinary things.
The Machrie standing stones is in the middle of this beautiful...
This feels like the heart of the island and, I mean,
they think these were probably erected about 2000 BC.
No-one quite knows why they're here, there's a theory about midsummer, but...
you can just feel the history that,
for thousands and thousands of years,
people have been coming and living and working on the land.
I brought my wife here and she said, "Oh, what's it like?"
And I said, "Oh, it's like Stonehenge!"
When she arrived, it's fair to say she was slightly disappointed.
But when you come and stand in this stone circle,
it's a slightly spiritual place and, for me,
this is one of the places that makes me come back again and again, and
I think it made her realise why it was so special, as well.
The wildlife on this island is just...
It is spectacular.
When we stay here,
we have a map of the island on the wall
and when you come to the island,
you note down where you've seen such magnificent animals.
I've seen lots of beautiful things - seals, sharks, birds, red squirrels,
but I've never seen an otter, and I understand this is the place where
the otters hang out. I'm going to speak to Lucy Wallace,
who lives on the island, who's a bona fide otter expert.
-Nice to see you. Beautiful morning.
This is the place to be for otters, is that right?
It's a good place for spotting otters, yes.
It's a rocky shore,
it's quite shallow.
We've got a lot of kelp beds out there,
stuffed with the kind of things that otters like to eat.
While we're waiting for the otters...
Please come out, I've never seen an otter! Please!
Right over there...
-..are some rather happy seals.
Stunning common seals.
At this time of year,
they're moulting into their winter coats and that happens best on land.
I think there's one lying on his back.
My cats do that - they just lie on their back on the sofa,
just enjoying themselves.
That's a tummy that needs tickling, isn't it?!
I don't know if I would! What else is out there?
There's a little oystercatcher down on the shore.
And a lovely heron fishing amongst the kelp.
So all you need to do now...
is find me an otter!
Oh! No, it's a seal, it's a seal.
It's a seal.
False alarm, everyone. It was a seal.
It would be a good call, I think, if we were to pack up and move along
-the coast a bit.
-OK. Right, let's do it.
There are otters to find.
Marching away as quick as we can!
On the covered rocks, there, waves breaking,
otter just came out onto those rocks, went back in again.
-So straight in line with the lighthouse?
-Straight line with the lighthouse.
There's loads of sort of spray and surf.
Right on the top, and he's eating a fish.
Wow! He's loving that!
It's quite far out, isn't it, actually?
-It's quite far out.
-We think it's a he?
-Looks quite big from here.
It's a long way off, can't be sure,
but looks like quite a big individual and
my gut feeling is that that's a dog otter.
That's my first otter!
I'm so thrilled!
Thank you very much! I've been wanting to see an otter for years
and I've finally seen one...
sitting, bold as you like, having lunch.
-Oh, he's shaking - on to the next rock.
-On the next rock along.
Thank you so much.
Oh, that's grand!
There we go.
This place just makes me feel...
..at peace. I mean, you're surrounded by somewhere this
beautiful, you can't help but be happy.
This is October.
It's not always like this.
I could go for a swim. I'm not going to go for a swim.
Now Adam's in New Zealand, continuing his incredible journey.
This week, he's helping muster sheep on some pretty extreme terrain and
finding out how they keep these mountains looking so green.
I first visited New Zealand 30 years ago with my now business partner,
But a lot has changed since that trip.
When I arrived this time,
there were several farms I was hoping to visit across this vast landscape
but a natural disaster had struck the country and I was forced
to change my plans.
An earthquake had devastated parts of the South Island.
It caused mass destruction.
My plans have changed a bit,
because I was supposed to be heading down to a farm near Kaikoura,
but that's where the earthquake hit recently and there's a lot of
damage to the buildings and roads,
so now I'm heading to a sheep farm where things are supposed to be
a bit safer. But just take a look at this - this is evidence of
the earthquake where the road has collapsed and there's been a landslip.
Also, they're now talking about more aftershock quakes.
It's all a bit worrying, really.
I'm heading to a farm near the small coastal village of Havelock in the
Romney sheep thrive in this area.
It's a breed I farm at home
but the New Zealand Romneys are renowned for being a better
all-round sheep. I'm getting involved in a sheep muster
and hoping to find out what they do differently.
All right, Bill? Good to see you.
Bill Brownlee and his family have always farmed this breed.
-It's not a bad spot, is it?
-No, no, it's not a bad spot, here.
-I'd have to say that.
-And did you feel the earthquakes recently?
Certainly did, the first one was probably the strongest I had felt.
-Is it scary?
-It makes you wonder when it's going to stop, yes.
And if you're out in the fields, say, working on the farm,
can you feel it out here?
I can't say I have, but if you're in
a vehicle and stopped, or in a house,
-you certainly do.
-And how long have your family farmed around here, then?
We've been here for over 100 years.
-I understand that pretty much half of the sheep in New Zealand
-are Romneys, now.
-That's right, yes.
Cos of their versatility, I guess.
I mean, back home, they obviously come from the Romney marshes and
they're fondly known as the Kent sheep.
It's flat land, very marshy, and here they are in New Zealand,
roaming around up on the mountains.
-But this isn't your farm, is it?
No, it's not. This belongs to Paul and Muff Newton, who are away, and
Grant, the stockman, wondered if
I could come over and give him a hand to shift some of them.
-So, can I give you a hand?
-You certainly can.
A bit of free labour from the other side of the world?!
We head into the mountains, where the muster is well under way.
Go on, ewes and lambs.
We need to move the flock to another hillside,
where there's plenty of fresh pasture.
Back home, our average flock size would be a lot smaller than here in
New Zealand. What sort of numbers are we talking about on this farm?
5,000 breeding ewes on this property.
Some of the farms are bigger, you've got 10,000, 15,000.
Wow, that's a lot of sheep to look after!
-Makes my 700 look like peanuts!
It's just small-time for you.
I know! We're just playing at it.
-And it is about those economies of scale, isn't it?
That's why you can produce lamb so cheaply.
-But my lamb would still taste nicer, wouldn't it?
Ah, no, I don't think so.
And what makes these Romneys so suitable to New Zealand?
Good wool, good lambs.
And is that something that's been developed through selection,
the way the New Zealanders farm?
I guess, over the years, the genetics have improved.
So you've selectively bred for sheep that can survive,
-that look after themselves.
-They do, yeah.
They're not mollycoddled like the ones in the UK.
They live off this green stuff,
-rather than feeding them sheep nuts and grain.
Goodness me, Bill, is this earthquake damage?
I guess it's had a bit of a shake and the water's got in behind it.
-And caused the slip?
-And caused the slip, yes.
I remember seeing that bit on the news with those Hereford cattle caught on the top of that landslip.
Yes, they were very lucky.
Well, I think they all look very happy out on that fresh pasture,
-I think they'll appreciate that, all right.
And this grassland management over here is very particular, isn't it?
Yes, you've got to keep it
under control, stop it getting too long.
When the grass is shorter, it's full of sugars, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
-More palatable and more nutritious for the sheep.
I notice you've got the hill here blocked up so you can keep moving
them around. The same with the dairy cattle in these paddocks,
-managing the grass.
One thing I've learned on my journey so far is that New Zealanders don't
do things by halves.
Down on Bill's farm, his fertiliser pile is...
well, pretty substantial.
Well, this is one of the secrets of keeping the countryside green.
-What is it, then, Bill?
-It's mussel shells.
This is the... When they arrive here,
they're the mussel shell, the green-lipped mussel shell...
-..and then we crush it up into, like, a lime product.
And so the lime is crushed and produces nutrients for the soil, does it?
-Helps the grass grow?
It does, yeah, and it's got a lot of nutrients in the shell.
-Especially in the membrane alone.
And how do you spread it on top of those hills?
You can't get a tractor up there.
It's a bit of a secret, we can't really tell you that!
I'm going to push you for an answer!
Luckily, Bill agrees to tell me.
So I'm off to a nearby farm.
I've been told to bring my earplugs and expect mayhem.
But when I arrive, the setting couldn't be more tranquil.
I'm not sure I'm in the right place.
But all of a sudden...
This process, called top dressing, was started in the 1940s.
Returning World War II fighter pilots, who were keen to keep flying,
developed ways to fertilise steep and inaccessible hillsides using
I arrived in this field and it was a lovely, serene environment,
with bees and skylarks singing
and then the plane turned up and a loader
turned up and now it's all kicked off and they are full at work.
It's just remarkable, I've never seen anything like it.
The plane comes in, the hatch opens on top of the plane,
the loader goes in, the fertiliser is dumped into the top of the plane
and away it goes again. There's no messing around here.
That's it, he's fully loaded. Takeoff.
The turnaround - comes in, lands, loads and gone - matter of minutes,
-Yeah, well, when you're paying an amount of money that we charge,
it needs to be done fairly quickly.
Terry Nuttall has worked in this industry for more than 20 years.
-We are a grass-growing country.
Our meat and wool guys wholly and solely, really, rely on growing grass.
And by fertilising it, we get grass growth pretty well all year round.
I suppose you can use tractors down on the flat land like here,
but it needs a plane to be able to get that fertiliser onto
the hills, which there's a lot of in New Zealand.
There are a lot of hills.
That's why we have a lot of aeroplanes putting fertiliser on them.
Pretty scary, being up in that plane.
How long has the pilot been flying?
I think he started flying in 1966.
-So about 50 years of experience.
-About 50 years.
So he knows what he's doing.
He's still doing it, so obviously he does!
Looking at the landing strip here,
I imagined it to be like a bowling green -
mown and clean and marked out.
-It's just a field.
When he comes in, he bounces in and then comes in to the loader.
That was a pretty smooth landing, that one.
You know, one in ten is not too bad, is it?
In my visit here, it's just reminded me of that New Zealand attitude of
can-do, go get it, push on.
It's like you're still breaking the country in.
We've always been a nation of can-dos.
And I suppose that freedom from legislation has allowed you to
really get on and develop areas for agriculture.
We've been extremely fortunate, I suppose,
that it has been recognised that we need to have the freedom to develop.
And we still do, probably,
have a lot more freedom than lots of countries do.
Which is a good thing.
I mean, it's the only way that we probably survive.
And it does look beautifully green. There's a lot of grass growing
-right up on the tops.
-It's been a good spring for us for growing
grass, it really has. You look up there on the hill and watch what's going on and you
think, "My God, there will be some fat animals coming off there."
Yeah. You'll be sending them all the way over to my supermarket shelves.
-Can't be doing with that!
-The best meat that you'll ever have.
Well, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.
Next week is the grand finale of my trip and I'll be helping muster some
cattle with an inspirational character - Ian Brickell.
Well, that's the young cattle through the first gateway, there's
still quite a long way to go and I said to Ian,
"Shall I go back and get the buggy?"
And he said, "No, no, I'll go. I'll just run down." This guy is 78!
It's quite remarkable.
ELLIE: I've been meeting three generations of farmers who've made their home
in Dorset's Isle of Purbeck,
grandfather Guy, who hails from New Zealand, and his three sons and
A few years ago, the family began taking photos of daily life on
the farm and posting them online, simply to share with friends.
But so captivating were the images that soon,
the account attracted more than 160,000 followers.
With such a huge interest being taken in the family farm
online, photography has become the ideal tool to spin success for
the family's latest business venture - selling wool direct to customers.
Even those on the other side of the world.
In charge of the wool business is photographer-in-chief Sue Hole.
It's amazing watching this process, isn't it?
Getting them scanned. This fleece looks incredible.
-Talk to me about that.
-The fleeces that we use for the knitting wool
are the Dorsets and the Dorset crosses.
They've got a down's type of fleece, which is very dense and springy.
And it's got a definite crimp to it, which is like a natural wave.
-It takes dye really well and it makes a very good-quality knitting
-So when will these come off, then?
How long until they'll have their fleeces shorn off?
These ones actually get sheared in a month's time.
OK, so not long. Little bit more growing time.
To process and dye the fleeces on a commercial scale,
they're sent off to a specialist woollen mill in Cornwall.
Here, the fleece is processed by scouring,
removing dirt and natural oils through washing,
before being carded - a form of brushing
that turns the fleece fibres into manageable strands
The finished yarn is proving popular with knitwear designers
like Sarah Hazell.
-I'm Ellie, nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, Ellie.
-So you're knitting away feverishly
with this beautiful wool!
Goodness, so it goes from this and then we've got the finished product.
-Yes, that's right.
-What lovely colours!
Thank you. So, getting the colours right has been a real challenge.
What we found was that the Dorset wool is so white
that when you dye on top of it,
it takes the colour almost too well and it makes it quite flat.
So the mill did some experimenting and they actually added a percentage
of black first and then the main colour on top.
So, if you look carefully, you can see...
-Oh, yes, two tones.
-Yes, it's got a fleck in it.
-It gives it more depth.
And how did you choose the kind of tones of colours that you've got here?
We wanted to reflect the colours of the countryside in our area,
so it's another connection for customers to make with the sheep,
but also with the colours, and we're
very lucky there are so many beautiful
colours near where we are with the sea, as well.
And you use this wool quite a lot, then?
-Why do you choose it, what's good about it for you?
I chose the yarn because...
obviously the colours are beautiful,
but also the quality of the yarn and the fact that the yarn is traceable
back to a farm.
It's becoming really important for knitters to know that the yarn
has been produced ethically nowadays.
What's the map over there?
-Pins, is this your travelling?
I'd like to think so!
No, actually, what it is...
We put pins in the map wherever we've got customers, so you can see,
we cover this country, we've got also in Europe, but...
we go right across America...
Yeah! Into Canada.
There's a couple here in Australia.
Yes. We communicate with our customers through social media mainly and we
found that's been the best way to find our market.
That's where the photos have come in?
Exactly. They follow us on Instagram and other types of social media and
they're following the story, really.
I don't think there's any other way we would have found customers
thousands of miles away than that.
While I've been admiring the family's latest enterprise,
over in the lambing shed, the youngest member of this farming
dynasty, Liz, is helping the latest arrivals settle in just as her grandfather
did more than 50 years ago.
These two are REALLY new.
Yeah, they were born this morning.
So what's the plan for them now?
In a minute, we'll move them from this pen into an individual pen and
then we can get some milk off of her and feed the lambs.
So you've only just graduated from agricultural college.
Hitting the ground running, this, isn't it?
Yeah, well, I'm used to it. I enjoy it, so it's OK, I don't mind.
Have you been doing this kind of farmwork since young, then?
Yes, since probably about four years old, I've been helping,
coming over in the evening and lambing. Absolutely love it.
So this is your territory, right here.
-What's the next big challenge for you, then?
So, through the National Federation of Young Farmers,
I applied for a scholarship, which is the C Alma Baker Trust.
You can apply for a scholarship where you work in New Zealand for
three months and then you have another month out there travelling.
So, yeah, I get to work on a dairy, beef and sheep farm, which...
I can't wait. ..in the North Island. I'm really excited.
There's something really lovely about going back full circle like
your grandfather, who started out in New Zealand.
Yeah, no, he's really happy that I'm going over and I'll only be an hour or two
away from my uncle that's out there now, so really close to family,
-which will be really good fun.
-There's also parallels about history
repeating itself in reverse, there.
She's actually being incredibly modest,
because in order to get that bursary to the land of the long white cloud,
Lizzie had to beat 120 other people.
She's clearly going places in farming, that one.
With such an impressive and enterprising generation ready to
take the reins, I think it's safe to say that
Guy's legacy is in very capable hands.
Well, are we going to continue to need hats and scarves?
Here's the Countryfile forecast to tell us what the weather is going to
be doing this week.
MATT: Along more than 90 miles of shoreline,
the craggy Jurassic Coast reveals the mysteries of our past.
We've been exploring its ancient landscape,
where flying reptiles and land-dwelling giants lived.
Today, the landscape is rich with their fossilised remains.
But there's one particular creature that's leaving its mark in a more
unusual way. Geologist Paddy Howe is going to tell me more.
Right then, Paddy, what have we got here?
Right, this is part of a creature called a Phragmoteuthid.
So, not a squid, not a cuttlefish, but sharing characteristics of both.
They don't have a high preservation potential.
Things with harder parts to their bodies tend to preserve better than
-Are we talking 200 million years old?
-Give or take a week, yes.
As a squid-like creature,
the Phragmoteuthid would have defended itself from predators in the same way,
by shooting out ink.
Remarkably, 200 million years later, the ink can still be found.
But it's extremely rare.
This is fossilised ink
from a Phragmoteuthid. That's the ink sac itself.
The mind boggles how that hasn't kind of turned into stone or rock
and that it's kind of in the form that it would have been in so, so long ago.
You've got muscle fibres running across it there.
It contains a lot of the original constituents.
It contains melanin, very often.
You know, these have been analysed by various people and we do get
the original pigments still inside.
And what's special about this one?
In this rock I can see the ink sac has become detached from the rest of
the creature in some way,
shape or form, and when you get a piece like this,
what we can do is actually powder this stuff up and do something a bit
special with that.
This 200-million-year-old ink isn't being used for self-defence, though.
It's on the tip of the paintbrush of Paddy's wife Ricky.
Are you all right? Nice to see you.
-Good to see you.
-We come bearing gifts.
-Ricky is an artist who uses the fossilised ink to create
beautiful images of the creatures that lived here millions of years ago.
Only a handful of her paintings
exist, due to the scarcity of the ink,
one of which belongs to Sir David Attenborough.
How are you actually making paint from this, then?
What are you actually mixing it with?
Well, Paddy will take me a little bit out with a scalpel.
A tiny bit of water in there.
It's nice here, because we've got puddles with a bit of salt,
-a bit of sand...
-Oh, so you're using seawater?
Use a bit of seawater and, again, it adds to it.
And what could be more fitting in this Jurassic coastal landscape than
to recreate a Phragmoteuthid with its very own, very rare ink?
This is my interpretation.
Oh, isn't that something?
-That is lovely.
Very, very nice.
There we are.
-Is this all right for you?
-That's good, it's good.
You don't know how it's been formed,
so you don't know how it's going to react to being ground up and how
the colour's going to come out.
Here I am using a bit of artistic licence
but what do you know about what it would have looked like?
If you see on the picture, there are ten tentacles.
-And although the tentacles themselves aren't preserved,
the tentacles had pairs of hooks all the way along and they'd use those
hooks to catch their prey.
Using this material really does give us a wonderful connection to a
long-lost, ancient creature.
Well, do you know what, Ricky?
I have thoroughly enjoyed this, thank you so much for
-Is that colour by numbers?
-Well, I tell you what this is.
This is a Phragmoteuthid.
Is it, now?
It's a bit soggy at the moment, because obviously it's raining here,
but Ricky has said I can take the Phragmoteuthid ink home,
because that's what it's painted with.
-200 million years old, this ink.
You can't put a price tag on that, that is an amazing gift.
Wonderful. Well, listen, that's all we've got time for this week,
from the Jurassic Coast.
Next week, we're going to be up in the Peak District.
We'll see you then. Bye-bye!
I'll bring my picture next week so you can see it all finished.
You should sign that, it's amazing.
Countryfile is on the Jurassic Coast, where Matt Baker meets the man who's been digging for fossils for more than thirty years, with extraordinary results. Ellie Harrison visits the family who've been photographing their farming life for generations, with the captivating images making up an important part of promoting their business.
In the third part of a series of special films from New Zealand, Adam Henson helps with a sheep muster on an impressive scale. Plus comedian Susan Calman voyages across the Firth of Clyde to the beautiful Isle of Arran, in search of an elusive creature.