It is tennis season and Countryfile is visiting Kent, where Matt Baker finds out about Wimbledon strawberries and gets to grips with the harvest.
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MUSIC: Sporting Occasion by Arnold Steck
We are in the charming county of Kent.
It's the tennis season, and to celebrate, I'm going to be on a farm
that has provided Wimbledon with millions
And I'll be visiting a wildlife rescue centre,
helping to keep the creatures of Kent's countryside safe.
No? We should finish this later on. Oh!
I'll tell you what, you bring all the grit and determination
and I'll go and get the strawberries.
Also on the programme, Tom is on the trail of the invading insects
and finding out why pot plants could be to blame.
These species have the potential to transform our ecosystems
and our gardens and cause economic damage
that will be with us for generations.
And Adam's meeting youngsters with the farming bug.
Summertime in the British countryside.
Long, lazy days, dappled sunlight and lush green hills.
I'm in Kent, near Maidstone, the Garden of England,
And during the British summer there is one fruit
Strawberries are a quintessential part
of our most famous tennis tournament, Wimbledon.
23 tonnes of strawberries were consumed at Wimbledon last year.
That's around two million individual berries.
Hugh Lowe Farms near Maidstone is a family-run business.
They've been the sole suppliers of strawberries to Wimbledon
'Marion Regan is the managing director.'
Well, Marion, just walking up here, it's mesmerising
the amount of strawberry plants that you've got in here.
What does the strawberry mean to you? It's a way of life for me.
I couldn't imagine life without strawberries.
I grew up on this farm and we've always grown strawberries,
we've always shared our summers with a large number of super people
who've come to help us pick the crops.
I couldn't imagine anything different, really.
And lots of people enjoying your strawberries at Wimbledon as well,
when would those strawberries have started their life?
We now find we get the best quality from a young plant,
so we plant them early in the year,
sometimes in January or February, to time them to crop
Was it your dad who first started the relationship with Wimbledon?
more than 25 years ago, and we've been very proud to be
associated with the official caterers at Wimbledon.
the art of producing strawberries has been refined over the years.
Improved varieties and cultivation techniques
means growers are now playing at the highest level.
I think most people would think of strawberries being grown
in the traditional way - on the ground surrounded by straw.
We are growing them nowadays in gutters and in pots,
so that the plants are actually at shoulder height
which makes it much easier for people to pick,
and it's a better growing environment for the plant.
It's very good for the bees and other pollinators.
Now, we actually pick strawberries from May all the way until October.
One is we've got varieties now which flower and fruit
at the same time... I see. Yeah. ..so they keep going all the way
through the summer, and the other thing is we use polytunnels
which advance the season at the beginning and at the end,
keep the rain off and allow us to have a lovely long season.
These days, the game of growing strawberries is more demanding.
After Wimbledon, the farm continues to supply other markets
so harvesting doesn't stop until the end of the season in October.
And with everything that you're doing here, what are you actually
aiming to do as far as the plant is concerned, to get the best crop?
This plant has got to keep throwing out flowers and fruit
so we want to see a very healthy plant, no pests and diseases,
and we want to give it everything it needs
to put its energy into growing fruit,
and so we give it its own irrigation little system here
Depending on what stage the plant is at, the feed programme changes,
so really I'm very pleased with the way these plants look at this stage.
We take off the runners because otherwise
all the energy of the plant goes into growing leaves and runners,
and not enough energy into the fruit. Yes.
Beautiful, glorious, red, shiny fruit that just looks
so appealing to the eye and my taste buds are tingling.
Yes. Do you have to eat... I mean, in all seriousness,
do you have to spend quite a bit of time eating these?
I love eating strawberries. We're regularly testing them, for sure.
Absolutely beautiful. Straight off the plant.
Exactly. Straight off the plant. Oh, you can't beat it.
Well, Kent may be the source of many of our strawberries,
but every year the UK imports millions of pounds' worth
There are calls to ban these imports, but why?
There's a battle raging in our countryside
as an invading army threatens the future of our landscape.
Plants, animals and bugs from across the globe are heading here
in ever-increasing numbers, threatening our native wildlife.
Fighting off these unwanted visitors is a constant battle
and one that some say we're not doing enough to win.
These intruders cost us ?1.7 billion a year
but the cost to the environment is even greater.
They're seen as one of the biggest causes of biodiversity loss.
But forget killer shrimp and rampant Himalayan balsam,
there's another sinister threat on the horizon
and it's the most difficult to fight.
And that's bugs, which are said to be breaching our defences
by hiding away in things like this, the humble pot plant.
We spend more than ?300 million a year importing live plants.
That's because generally it's cheaper to ship them in
than it is to grow them here in the UK.
What we've got here is a slug, called the green psylla slug.
It's something Matt Shardlow from the conservation charity Buglife
Here's another one. This is the little harlequin ladybird
that's wiping out some of our native species of ladybirds.
These invasive species have the potential to transform
and cause economic damage that will be with us for generations.
How much of a problem are pot plants?
Pot plants, and particularly the earth in those pot plants,
that is the biggest risk we've got for the importation of organisms
because that earth hides all sorts of things in there.
Laid buried even within the structure of the soil
can be eggs - tiny, tiny eggs of all sorts
Is there any real hard evidence for this or is it
all a bit circumstantial and suspicious?
when they look at the risk of other dangerous and damaging invertebrates
With around 2,000 non-native species of plants, animals and bugs
already living here, Matt thinks the current regulations aren't working.
not about the invasive species that are threatening bio-security,
not really covered by the current regulations.
'Ed Burchill is an inspector with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.'
What we are doing here is looking for various pests and diseases.
Soil generally is prohibited from outside of the EU
because it's one of the great ways of moving organisms around,
and you can't see it because it's hidden away down in the depths
and amongst the roots and in the soil.
'But soil around plant roots can be imported as long as it has
From outside of the EU, plants for planting such as this, with roots,
would have to come with what is called a phytosanitary certificate
which means it's healthy and it meets our import requirements.
that mirrors it very closely called plant passports.
Are all plants inspected at the border? Outside of the EU,
all plants for planting are. Within the EU,
we don't look at every plant moving because there are millions
and millions of them, but we do some quarantine surveillance inspections.
'additional restrictions are enforced.'
We are constantly looking for these new pests and diseases.
One example is sweet chestnut blight.
That's a disease that we don't have in this country
and so we've introduced a new measure which increases
the level of security to the United Kingdom.
That all sounds pretty rigorous, but is it enough
when all it takes is one tiny egg or larvae lurking
undetected in the soil to introduce a new species?
And that's exactly what happened a few years ago
when aloe plants were imported for the Chelsea Flower Show.
They'd been through all the checks and controls
but a few weeks later, a menagerie of non-native bugs crawled out.
Luckily they were in the Royal Horticultural Society's
quarantine greenhouse and were all safely destroyed.
And it's the risk of that happening in a garden centre or garden
that Matt Shardlow fears, so he's calling for radical action.
We believe that this is just too big a risk.
Millions of pot plants, thousands of tonnes of soil,
The only solution we can see at the moment is a ban on
the international trade in these dangerous products.
There is no doubt invasive species are a threat. Just look at this.
About a week's work for a few diamondback moth larvae.
A direct link between imported plants
and invasive bugs is yet to be scientifically proven
but experts agree it's a very likely route, so how realistic is a ban?
That's something I'll be finding out later.
Kent - land of oast houses and rolling hills,
hop growing and bountiful orchards...
Known the world over, these unmistakable chalk faces
soar over the Strait of Dover in the English Channel.
The white cliffs have borne witness to countless departures
but there is an elite band for whom this shoreline marks
the beginning and sometimes even the end of an epic personal battle.
Their challenge isn't just the 20 miles of open water between here
and France, but testing their own physical and mental limits.
Before I take the plunge, I can't help but ask,
Why do you want to score a goal at Wembley?
Why do you want to win Wimbledon? Why do you want to climb Everest?
Why do anything? It is the human competitive instinct.
Kevin Murphy has an astonishing 34 successful crossings
to his name, including three doubles.
That's swimming to France and straight back to the white cliffs,
so Kevin's ideally placed to offer some encouragement.
I don't actually enjoy it when I'm out. You don't? No, I hate it!
When you're wild swimming in lakes and rivers and whatever,
you are swimming for the sheer joy of it.
Here, you are actually challenging nature.
You're trying to get to the other side whatever nature throws at you.
And can you describe the experience to me?
What is it like just to swim and swim for hours and hours and hours?
You think to yourself, "What's going to stop me putting one arm
That's precisely what British sea captain Matthew Webb must have done
when in 1875, he became the first person to successfully swim
Since 1875, fewer than 2,000 successful solo crossings
In fact, three times more people have summited Everest
and I'm joining someone who's training for their first attempt.
Anel Sitdikova has travelled more than 4,000 miles from her home
in Kazakhstan to take on the challenge of swimming the Channel.
She's training under Kevin's watchful eye
and I'll be trying to keep up with her.
It's a huge thing in Kazakhstan, like mounting Everest,
and I wanted to challenge myself first of all.
So I've been to the water for three days already.
Under the rules of the Channel Federation,
you're not allowed to wear a wetsuit or anything that warms you up.
It's just your skin and that cold water. Yes, and a pair of goggles.
I'm not acclimatising to these cold temperatures, thank you very much.
So I am donning a wetsuit and gloves and boots and the works.
Can't believe you're going in like that!
Makes me cold just thinking about it.
'The tide is relentlessly working against us.
One stroke forward and four strokes back.
'The water temperature is hovering around 13 degrees.
The cold does hurt your face a little bit
and I'm wearing a wetsuit so I can't imagine how Anel must be feeling.
And Anel's got another five weeks of this training
I've barely dipped a toe into the world of Channel swimming
Swimming in the shadow of the cliffs.
That was so fantastic, I really enjoyed it, but so, so tough.
Even with a five-mil wetsuit on I was feeling chilled,
after, what, just 15-20 minutes in the water?
Seeing the cliffs from this vantage point was truly remarkable
but massive respect to Anel and Kevin.
taking on a Channel swim any time soon.
Now what do you think could be the connection between this greenhouse
and the fact that we as a nation love Chinese food?
Other cuisines have come along to challenge it but it's still
a top favourite, and this is one of the few places in the country
specifically for Chinese restaurants.
The farm near Maidstone was set up by Mau Chiping in 1986.
Mau saw a gap in the market for home-grown Chinese vegetables.
He started with only two acres but as the popularity
he expanded the farm to more than 40.
Mau took great pride in growing his produce
which doesn't involve chemicals or pesticides.
His son David inherited the farm and now grows everything
from pak choi to mustard greens and Chinese broccoli.
And what's being harvested today, David?
We're going to harvest choy sum, a very traditional crop.
They're growing in chicken manure mixed with soil.
So that's traditional, is it, back in China? That's very traditional.
You get some run off from the crop into the troughs.
It's all been reused, the water, again and again?
All the excess water will go back to the troughs.
I suppose you get quite a lot of wildlife,
We try to make it as natural as possible.
So do you find that Chinese restaurants in this country
prefer the vegetables to come from this country?
and it's a lot more sort of healthier.
but he's still using them to grow another traditional Chinese crop.
As you can see, we've got a nice crop of chrysanthemum here.
They are a very beautiful flower, aren't they?
These are dried for chrysanthemum tea.
Supposed to be very good for you, isn't it? Yes. What does it do?
It wakes you up in the morning. Oh, right!
Well, I'd better have some chrysanthemum tea in future.
When they're young, you can use them like choy sum.
As a vegetable. Yeah, a vegetable. Very, very tasty as well.
Outside, David is also making use of ponds
created to collect water for irrigation.
living naturally, without any additional feed.
But we won't be doing any fishing today.
Instead, we're delivering the vegetables we've harvested
Here's some choy sum we've just picked. Lovely.
'I'm interested to know what the restaurant's manager, Chi Kwong Yau,
'thinks of David's traditionally grown crop.'
How important to you is it, Chi, to have fresh vegetables?
I think it's incredibly important, really.
The best thing has been David round the corner.
It's going to be fresh, fresh greens.
So freshness means delicious...tastiness.
What do you have to do when it's out of season?
It could come from China, there's places in Europe as well that do it.
Well, I'm going to taste it in a minute.
Choy sum with some oyster sauce, very traditional Chinese dish.
Looking forward to eating it. Thank you.
There you go, John. Thank you, Chi. Taste the freshness in that.
I'm going to try some of these. You going to try...
Choy sum that we picked this morning.
I've always loved Chinese food, you know. Yes.
How about that? Mmm, very good, very good.
Wonderful. I'll have some more. Me too.
Earlier, we heard about the threat invasive species pose
But is a ban on importing live plants justified?
There's no doubt these invaders can wreak havoc.
Just have a look at the trail of this aggressive Japanese knotweed,
But is this, the simple pot plant, really to blame?
hiding an invading army of pests in its soil.
Live imports are a cause for concern.
Infected saplings brought into the UK
are thought to have introduced ash dieback,
the disease threatening ash trees across the country.
'Dr Peter Thomas is a plant ecologist
'who thinks pot plants are a problem.'
A lot of the major diseases that have come into Britain
They either come in on packing material,
or they come in by being blown by the wind.
So what do you think of the current system of plant passports?
The plant inspectors in Britain do a really good job
The trouble is, there's so much importation of material into Britain
that there's no way that every plant could be inspected,
and if you've got plants that are growing in soil,
It's the most possible to detect until it's too late.
So would you favour a pot-plant import ban?
It would certainly help, but it won't solve the problem.
There are so many ways that diseases and pests can come into Britain
and the international trade rules are so complicated
it's going to make it very difficult indeed,
and it needs a lot of political will.
we are still a member of the European Single Market
and, as such, the UK is unable to introduce a national blanket ban.
While there may be little doubt amongst scientists
that live plants are responsible for bringing in bugs and pests,
it's hard to prove and even harder to prevent,
and that's partly because the organisms themselves are so small.
Defra, the government body responsible,
believes the controls already in place
are adequate to tackle the majority of pests and bugs,
and flexible enough to react to new threats.
For instance, this year, since February,
all Spanish potatoes have had to be washed
to avoid the arrival of a flea beetle.
And remember, only a small proportion -
about 10-15% of invasive species already here -
So, with no out-and-out ban immediately possible,
what else could we do to further reduce the risk?
thinks greater enforcement of the existing regulations
I understand that it's quite a small percentage of stock that comes in
that actually gets physically inspected and checked.
that the Animal and Plant Health Agency
have the resources and the funding that they need.
'Carol Honeybun-Kelly is from the Woodland Trust,
'which now only buy trees sourced and grown in the UK.'
So would you support an import ban on pot plants?
And there's a couple of reasons for that.
It's an entire industry for the UK, it's very popular,
Businesses only thrive when there's demand.
You kind of think it's a bit too drastic?
I think there's a number of other things that you can do
to ensure that the risk is managed carefully and appropriately.
Like what? Everyone can take a bit of responsibility.
Talk to your local nursery, find out what their policies are.
Make sure that the plants you're bringing to your garden
'the Woodland Trust are launching an assurance scheme.'
I don't think we're quite as glorious as your Red Tractor yet
but we'd certainly be moving towards that,
so that people know, when they're buying,
they're buying safe, UK-sourced, grown stock,
that's keeping business within the country
and it's going to be safe to move to their garden.
Could UK sourcing make our plants more expensive?
Just because of labour and cost rates here.
But it's like you make a choice for everything,
be it free-range eggs, organic meat and other produce.
You make the choice, you decide what you want,
keeping other businesses and the environment safe, then...
That's a price worth paying, I think.
the choice is left in our, the consumer's, hands.
As we stock up our gardens this summer,
we can all ask, is buying British a price worth paying?
Back in Kent, and pest control is happening on a more local level.
We're not the only ones that are partial to the odd strawberry -
Some are great for the plants and some aren't.
Managing director Marion Regan explains
that it's all about encouraging good insects
We're increasingly using natural pest control
to help us with the pests that attack strawberries.
So it's very important to have good field margins
that we want to encourage into the crops.
And we also have grass underneath in the tunnels,
which encourages a sort of green network.
And in previous years we've had very severe crop losses,
until we discovered how to use natural pest control.
Farm manager Tom Pearson constantly checks the crop for signs of pests.
With such a vast number of plants it's a huge job,
He's currently monitoring the plants for aphids -
and also aphid-eating beneficial insects.
Well, the aphids, the reason why they're a problem,
is that the can actually build up in numbers really quick,
What they do is they excrete a honeydew,
and also they're sap-sucking insects,
and then that obviously weakens the plant.
You have to be incredibly meticulous with your checking. Yes, yeah.
Yeah, what we do on this farm, we have precision monitoring,
and every 20 metres we do spot checks.
Right. Because we need to know what pests we've got in the crop,
and then also we need to know the level of beneficials.
Although beneficial bugs occur naturally,
sometimes they need to be given a hand.
So the farm introduces additional, helpful insects.
Conventionally, if you just sprayed the crop, we'd go over,
we'd spray it and you would slowly kill the aphid
and, while it's dying, it would have the chance
So, in the short term, you'd deal with the problem.
In the long term, you'd have an actually escalated problem,
because you'd kill all of your beneficials,
and then the actual population of aphids would start to explode.
'Spraying with chemicals isn't a solution,
'so we're introducing an insect that eats a whole host of pests.'
So these are your new friends, then? Yes, this is a beneficial insect.
And there's 2,000 of those in each bottle. Right.
And we've found a low level of two pests - spider mite and also aphids.
OK. So these will feed on soft-bodied insects,
so they'll search them out and start to set to work.
And how long will you expect them to work for you?
They last the whole season, so they'll start to breed.
So you've just got to do one bottle per tunnel.
All that stuff. That's enough. Just give them a tap. There he goes.
Do you put any chemicals at all on now?
No, we don't use any insecticides at all.
It's really important to monitor the crops
And then sometimes you just have to hold your nerve
and let the beneficials do the work for you.
Why would you not just put them on at the start of the season, then?
some of these predators like at least 16 degrees.
We can get some really good populations,
You go and get your chops into them aphids
so that we can get our teeth into the strawberries!
make wonderful subjects for keen photographers,
and if you think you've got what it takes,
this year's Countryfile Photographic Competition.
and the very best entries will feature
As always, we'll have an overall winner
Not only will their picture take pride of place
they'll also get to choose photographic equipment worth ?1,000.
Whoever takes the judges' favourite photo
will be able to pick photographic equipment
please write your name, address and a daytime and evening phone number
with a note of where it was taken, which must be in the UK.
Countryfile Photographic Competition...
The competition isn't open to professionals
and your photos mustn't have won any other national prize.
We can only accept hard copies, not computer files,
and I'm sorry but we won't be able to return any of your entries.
of the BBC's Code Of Conduct for competitions.
The competition closes at midnight on July 22nd.
So that means you've got just under two weeks to get your entries in.
and capture it with your cameras from dawn till dusk.
Now, the best way to get into farming is to start young -
something Adam is always keen to encourage.
There's another big saddleback - coming here, look.
offering advice and support to the young handlers
The Royal Three Counties agricultural show in Malvern
celebrates the very best of British farming.
The highlight for me is the livestock showcased at the event.
The showing of any animal takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
The preparation can start years before the event.
18 months ago, Aimee Hansford came to my farm
How about there's a little filly in there that's passed,
Aimee can have Amy. How does that work? Yeah, sounds really good.
'so I never imagined she'd enter the show ring.
'But Aimee saw something special in her.'
It's the day before the judging at the show,
and I'm catching up with them on a farm in Rugby.
It's not Amy any more, it's Autumn - got a little bit confusing!
Oh, because of the two Amys - so you've changed her name!
And she's now going to run off. She's a bit naughty!
she was absolutely bonkers, wasn't she?
She was a wild little foal. Yes, so we had her in the pen
and just encouraged her to be inquisitive,
and she just got rewarded every time she came over.
So she's quite a confident little girl,
Is that the other one you had off me? That's Edward. Wonderful.
Let's see him. He's looking great, isn't he?
Yes. Some of the judges really like him,
but it's because he's such a big-built Exmoor.
So, boyfriend Gary - who's favourite horses or Gary?
Probably the horses, to be honest. I'm second-best.
Aw! And you're taking them both to the Three Counties?
Wonderful. How do you fancy your chances? I don't know.
Let's go and get them sorted, then, shall we?
So just some washing-up liquid and water.
Very similar to washing a bull or washing your own hair -
just get the soap suds in and then rinse it out. Yeah.
Once we've washed Autumn, we put her in a special jacket.
but it does a good job of keeping her clean.
Well, I'm really impressed by the way you've got these ponies going.
They're looking wonderful. How confident are you with the show?
It's also my birthday, so a little bit of pressure there as well.
Well, we're going to have to get you a rosette.
I'll be on the sidelines cheering you on, so good luck.
The gates have opened, the public have arrived,
people are busy preparing to show their animals.
with the Royal Three Counties Show for years,
and I've been coming here since I was about eight.
And it's so exciting coming to the show,
with all this preparation going on with the livestock,
but as a youngster, it's quite daunting too.
'You may remember three-year-old Lilly Nicholas.
'posted a video online of her delivering her first lamb.'
'I couldn't believe her confidence and natural farming instinct.'
Hi, guys, how you getting on? Hi. How's it going?
and now you're into the showing season.
Yes, this is our fourth now, isn't it? Yeah, yeah.
So we've had a good day here and we've had a good season up till now.
Very much so, very much a big team effort.
And you girls are doing well, are you? How you getting on, Lilly?
Who won that rosette? Forest. Forest.
Forest's the boar. And is this the way to get them going?
Yes, it's very much the way to get them going.
You've got to encourage them from the word go
and help them out and push them in the right direction. Wonderful.
'I can't wait to see Lilly in the show ring,
'Something tells me this isn't going to be easy.'
'They do say never work with children or animals.'
You stay there, pig. PIG OINKS
'Once the pig is clean, Lilly adds some wood flour,
'a fine flour used to help dry the pig and whiten the coat and skin.'
Over at the equine circuit, Amy is about to enter the show ring
with Autumn, the Exmoor pony I sold her 18 months ago.
A judge looking at the locomotion, the way the pony covers the ground.
And Autumn is behaving beautifully. She is really looking good.
They look like her favourite three, which is brilliant.
Now she's checking them over individually.
She has just called up Amy and Autumn.
She's standing her nice and square, that's nice. Come on.
Keep her head up, keep her head up, Amy. That's lovely.
With Amy in the final line-up, the judge makes her decision.
And she is walking towards Amy with a blue rosette which is
second prize. Well done, her. That's really great. She's a second.
Amy's other pony, Eddie, also picks up a rosette,
Well done, Team Amy. Thank you. I'm delighted.
We also got best two-year-old with Autumn
and best gelding with Eddie, which is a castrated male.
What a scoop of rosettes! Happy birthday.
I'll catch up with you soon. See you later. Bye.
At the pig show ring the judging has started
and lots of youngsters are getting involved.
The pigs aren't easy to control so it can be good fun to watch.
What breed of pig is that one over there? That is...
It's a black and white. A saddleback that's called.
How do they move them around, those pigs? With a board and stick.
OK. See, that's a board and that's a stick.
You put the board against their heads, don't you? Yeah.
and then you just tap them along gently with a stick, do you? Yeah.
Lilly's class is next and she's up against one another competitor.
They are being judged on their handling skills.
The aim is to move the pigs around the show ring
It's important they keep control and guide them
The two competitors are very confident
and the judge makes a quick decision.
They both receive the winning rosette. It's a great result.
Shake my hand? Just going to have it. Go on. Yeah, well done!
First prize. Congratulations. That was really good.
I love the way you were moving the pig around the ring.
Congratulations. Very good pig handler.
To me, this is the future of the industry.
It's great to see so many young people here.
The Royal Three Counties is a great event for showcasing British farming
and encouraging young people to get into culture.
If they can start off with small animals, then one day,
they will get a handle great big brutes like this.
I've travelled deep into the Kent countryside to find
Folly Wildlife Rescue Trust is the county's only animal hospital,
where large or small, feathered or furred,
This small charity takes in around 3,500 casualties every year,
We've got a dear rescue on the Broadwater Forest Lane,
All right, brilliant. Thanks, Chris. Bye.
So, you're getting in touch with someone
because someone else has phoned in about a dear. Exactly, yes.
And Annette is receiving a call... Yes. That's another injured animal.
And then we have a gentleman here who is bringing something in.
As you can see, it's all go. A normal day for you. Yes!
After intensive fundraising, the charity opened this impressive,
and Annette Risley tolerated less ideal conditions.
In fact, initially we ran it from the back bedroom.
So you had a house full of animals. Yes. We did. More or less.
It started with a hedgehog, a baby hedgehog that somebody
had found in a bonfire, so he was the only survivor, sadly.
And then it literally snowballed from there, didn't it, really?
Year-on-year, we took in more animals.
What was your house like? Was what was it like when you were living
Interesting to say the least, when you've got your house
with animals in. You've got volunteers, members of the public.
We realised we'd have to make provision
As the need arose, we sort of rose to the occasion,
Four years on and the wildlife hospital is well-established,
with a team of dedicated staff and volunteers.
Supervisor Kaylee Parks has been involved for five years.
So, we've got four tawny owls in here. Ah!
They are at the fledgling age so they will be going out to
an aviary soon where they can practise flying
and acclimatise, before they'll be ready for release.
You can see his head moving around. He's actually focusing on us.
He was actually brought into us as a nestling, just a couple of days old.
so it's really lucky that he came in.
Is that the right thing to do if you find an owlet?
So, if sometimes they look healthy and they are in a safe environment,
then that's OK but if they are near a busy road,
if there's dogs around, I think it's always better to
phone your local rescue centre and always err on the side of caution.
Oh, I can't get over how gorgeous they are.
Like Casper and the other tawny owlets,
most animals are brought in by the public.
Annette is caring for a family of hedgehogs,
after their home was disturbed by building work.
This is a mum and four of her babies.
They're all snuggled up. How old are the babies?
What are the main reasons that hedgehogs are brought in to you?
They get strimmed, which is quite awful.
So if you're going to strim your garden, check first.
It's not just for hedgehogs but toads, frogs and slowworms.
They get caught in garden netting. They fall in ponds.
But if you see a hedgehog in the day,
It is, yeah. Pick it up and put it in a sturdy box
and then phone for advice or help, because if you see it in the garden,
and then you go and make that phone call, it could have got away.
'Small mammals and birds aren't the only wildlife
'The five-acre site means larger, former patients often drop by.'
Yes, these two are two fallow deer that were probably born last year.
They were reared by fosterers off-site and then they came back
last autumn and were released onto the reserve and now they've
And they like to come and revisit you?
Yeah, every a few days they seem to pop back again
but luckily they are wild, so if we got too close, they would run away.
Good to see them is doing so well, isn't it? Yeah, that's right,
because obviously they came in injured and it was touch-and-go.
They have pulled through so it's a really nice story.
'Successfully releasing animals back into their natural habitat is
'These jackdaws and magpies are next in line.'
These guys have all been hand-reared from babies
They've been in this aviary for a couple of weeks, so we are
going to open the door and let them out and provide food for them.
So it's my babies. That must be quite sad. Happy day, sad day.
Right then, shall we do it? OK. Bye, then.
Feel the fresh air. It just takes one to go.
This must give you great satisfaction. It does.
It's very satisfying because none of these guys would have survived
if people hadn't found them and brought them into us.
The window's open. Off you go. Over there.
He's looking at you as if to say, "I'm all right, thank you."
We'll leave the door open till nightfall, so if anybody wants
to come back, they can come back and then we'll try again tomorrow,
The birds seem reluctant to fly the coop
but having received such good care, I'm not surprised.
Kent's wildlife will continue to be in safe hands
thanks to the charity's hard-working team.
Well, let's hope the weather stays fine
Here's the Countryfile five-day weather forecast.
This weekend has been all over the place on the weather front.
Sunshine, a bit of cloud and rain, back to sunshine and to be honest,
over the next few days, there is not a lot of change. But there are hints
that as we head into next weekend, things could turn better. Here are
some nice pictures from weather watchers from this weekend. Sunshine
and cloud, back to cloud and sunshine. A messy picture across the
UK this weekend. The next three or four days will be quite showery and
a bit fresher. It has been very humid in the last couple of days.
This is what the jet stream is doing right now. There is a bit of a dip
here. When we get this sort of pattern, low pressures tend to live
there. This is where the low pressure is for Monday. It is here
around now. It is moving at a painfully slow pace. On Monday, if
you are out all day, expect a lot of dry weather, but occasional
sprinkles of rain, maybe the odd downpour. Most of the showers will
be across northern areas. Additionally, it will be quite
breezy, especially in the central areas of the UK. There will be some
sunshine further south. This is Monday night into Tuesday. The wind
is both Westerly, so this is fresh North Atlantic air setting in. It is
drifting in the direction of Scandinavia, so it is only slowly
taking its weather with it. On Tuesday, we still have that
relatively unsettled pattern. There will still be a few showers left
over, particularly across the Midlands and south-eastern areas. On
Tuesday, most of the UK is not looking bad. Lots of sunshine across
the Western and Northern areas, but if we do get showers, they are more
than likely to fall across the Midlands, East Anglia and the
south-east. It will be quite a fresh week, on the cool side. We would
like temperatures to be a bit higher at this time of year. This high
pressure will be a player later in the week. It tries to squeeze in,
but we are still under the influence of that flabby looking low across
Scandinavia. So on Wednesday, again a risk of showers. If anything, the
indication is that they will become more frequent on Wednesday, possibly
heavy as well. Wednesday into Thursday, finally, this high
pressure starts to build across the UK. The winds will be light. Across
most of the UK, it is not looking bad. Thursday will be fine day for
most of us, bar the odd sprinkle here and there. Towards the end of
the week, that high pressure starts to build across the UK. But the
north-west of the country still hangs on to cooler and showery
weather conditions, because the weather fronts will be nibbling on
western Scotland and Northern Ireland. I have hinted that there is
a change on the way towards the end of the week. It looks as though
things will and whilst Naomi's been getting up
close with the county's wildlife, I've been finding out about that
great Wimbledon favourite - the strawberries are now
being harvested. Well, I understand that strawberry
picking is quite a competitive business and there's a real
technique to it all, Marion, there's a real skill to
this, then? if not months, to learn how to pick
strawberries properly. We have several hundred people
helping with the harvest this year and this is Iglika, who's one
of our team leaders for the harvest. Iglika, hello.
Hello, nice to meet you, I'm Iglika. So come on, then,
show us around a strawberry plant and the perfect strawberry and how
you actually go about picking them. Er, the first, it's very,
very important - the colour, You have to pick with stalks,
one-centimetre stalks. Mm-hm. So we're picking everything that's
bright red. And this one looks like a beautiful
strawberry here. Yeah. So, finger in, centimetre,
pull down. Exactly. Now, it obviously needs to go into
a punnet. Yeah. In first class, yeah.
So I'll get... So this goes through there
and we just go along... OK? Perfect. Well,
it's very important to separate. In one punnet you have to put small
strawberries like this and here you have to put big
strawberries. First class, first grade here.
Look at that. Perfect. Imagine sitting on Centre Court
with a mouthful of that. 'After my picking lesson, it's
time to see how the experts do it.' This is George, he's my best picker
in the group. I'm not surprised. 'but George is careful the fruit is
not damaged.' I've literally stopped and he's
gone. It's absolutely extraordinary. So what speed is he picking at here,
then? 17 kilos per hour. 'George's record is a tonne
of strawberries in a single day.' is we're going
to have a picking competition. Will you be on my team? OK! Yes!
THEY LAUGH Thank you for invitation. Great!
Oh, well, listen... 'So I've picked the best man
for the job 'and now it's time
for the competition.' Are you ready to pick with me?
I am. OK, don't disappointing me! I'll try not to! It's early
days for me, though, George. 'The winning team will be
the first to fill ten punnets. 'The teams are George and me
versus Nikoleta and Lubor. That's a nice one there.
That's, er, one. First class. 'but it's obvious I am no match
for the experienced pickers.' I've just about covered the bottom
of two punnets. OK, I will help you,
but only this time. How many have you done, George? I
have nine. Oh, hang on, we're done. We're done. We're done!
Ah, but we was the first. Let's have a look also at
the quality, so come in, everybody. I think they edged it on the speed,
I'm afraid. I think this team just pipped you at
the post. Sorry. No. I'm sorry. Yes! Huge congratulations.
Thank you! Well done. Thank you very much indeed.
Lovely stuff. Well done, everybody,
that was magic. Well, this intensive
level of harvesting will be going on until October, but as far
as my strawberries are concerned, they're now going to go
off to the fridge, where they'll be chilled, checked
again and delivered within 24 hours. Oof! Just getting a bit of cheeky
practice in, were you? Yeah, even though I don't need it.
Look at this for a trophy. Ooh! The incentive on there. Delicious!
Shall we say winner takes all? All the strawberries?
There's about 500 there, Naomi. Yeah, make it a match worth playing.
OK. 500 minus two. Let's just have one each before
we start. Oh, that's a good idea. Oh! Don't drip strawberry juice
down your whites. Oh, no. They're beautiful, aren't they?
That is lovely. So delicious. OK. That's all we've got time for
for this week. Next week we're going to be
exploring all things meadow. 'Lights...'
It's tennis season and Countryfile is visiting Kent, where Matt Baker will be finding out about Wimbledon strawberries and getting to grips with the harvest.
Naomi Wilkinson is meeting the couple who turned their love of wildlife into an animal rescue centre, looking after everything from hedgehogs to flocks of jackdaws and magpies. In the shadow of the white cliffs of Dover she'll also be finding out about the long history of channel swimming and donning her wetsuit to try out the ultimate wild swim.
John Craven meets a farmer who is growing Chinese vegetables and produce, from pak choi to chrysanthemums, and Adam Henson is at the Royal Three Counties show, meeting youngsters with the farming bug. Plus Tom Heap investigates calls to ban live plant imports and asks what dangers could be hiding in the soil that comes into the country with them.