In Lancashire, Matt Baker learns all about the ages-old Easter tradition of pace egg rolling and Anita Rani takes to the hills to follow the 'Lancashire Witches Walk'.
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You take an ordinary hard-boiled egg,
you spend ages decorating it, and then you throw it down a hill.
Apparently it's an age-old tradition here in Lancashire at Easter time,
and I'm going to be trying my hand at it against this lot,
who look very competitive.
Just look down that camera and show them your game face...
KIDS GROWL Oh, they mean business!
They mean business!
Anita uncovers some poignant reminders of Lancashire's past.
Something upholds us in its palm
Landscape, history, place and time
And above, the same old witness moon.
Tom's in Denmark,
where a health scandal has engulfed their pig industry.
But what could it mean for the UK?
So far we have clear evidence that at least seven of our
patients have died from MRSA CC398.
And staying with pigs,
Adam's confident the Large Blacks he's buying are in rude health.
They're nice and friendly, aren't they? Hello!
Hello! Look at her! She's having an itch on my welly!
whose heather-clad moors, rolling green acres,
and meandering rivers
rub shoulders with bustling market towns and quiet villages.
I've come to Penworthan,
right by the River Ribble that runs through the county.
It's Easter Sunday, and if it's eggs you're after,
this is the place to be.
This is Joe Brown. He's well-known around these parts.
And for Joe there's one thing that's hard to beat -
Joe was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at a young age,
and thought he was unemployable.
Then he discovered eggs.
Now, nine years on, he has a thriving business delivering eggs
in and around his hometown.
-See you later!
-I'm on the BBC!
-We'll be round with half a dozen in just a moment.
'I'm going to give Joe a hand on his rounds.
'First, we take delivery of the eggs,
'which he gets from local producers.'
-Morning, is it Lee?
-It is, yeah.
How are you, Lee? Nice to see you, mate.
Right, there we are, then. So what have we ordered?
We've ordered four medium, four extra large,
and three regular large.
Let's get packing.
Hey, there's some weight in them, like, isn't there?
Yeah. Keep up the good work.
-How often are you getting these deliveries, Joe?
-Once a week.
-Thanks a lot.
-Welcome to showbiz!
MATT LAUGHS Welcome to showbiz!
Put 'em in your corner there, like so...
-Tell you what, they keep you fit, these deliveries, don't they?
-It's all good eggs-ercise!
Oh, eggs-ercise, I see what you did there!
-We're all set, then, yeah?
On the round, here we go.
-Even your car is egg-shaped.
-Yeah, it's amazing.
What's your best way of cooking them? What do you prefer?
Er, just hard-boiled, you know, with soldiers, toast...
-Bit of a runny yolk?
-Yes, that's it, that's the good stuff.
-Mm, that's the good stuff.
Where did the idea come from, Joe, for your egg round?
Well, it originally came from a family friend.
He's a poultry farmer,
and I used to help him out stacking the eggs for his business.
He originally came up with the idea of like, er,
selling eggs to my local residents of Penworthan.
And so when this all started, then, how many customers did you have?
Oh, er, we only had about 30 customers to start with,
but after word got around, we ended up getting around 450 customers.
Do you know, it seems like a real challenge, that.
450 customers every week?
I always have a set time with my customers each day of the week.
When I arrive there, they can always say they can set their watch by me!
'Eggs go back a long way in Joe's family.
'His great-grandad was a poultry farmer who sold eggs at local
'markets, and his grandmother and mum were both brought up on farms
We've got loads of agriculture in the family.
-We've been, er, farming for the past 500 years in Lancashire.
'Well, these eggs aren't going to deliver themselves.
'Better get cracking!'
-How do you do? There you go, one medium as always.
-We'll see you later.
-OK, I'll see you next week.
We can't stay for long because, you know,
we've got a schedule to stick to.
Righto, thank you, bye!
-Hello! How are we doing?
-We're doing all right.
-Nice to see you, are you all right?
-I'm fine, yes.
And has Easter time always been
a big tradition for you in your family?
Well, it has. Well, Avenham Park is wonderful for the children.
-Hundreds of people are on there.
-And it's a slope.
So the children usually throw chocolate Easter eggs first,
and then, of course, they break,
-and then you get pelted with the hard-boiled ones!
And then usually you get little bodies rolling after them! I did...
-The last ones, I painted the faces like the Beatles.
Painted the hair and the face.
-You've given me an idea for decorating.
I think I might do the Rolling Stones!
I'll be learning more about this old Lancashire tradition later on,
and putting my egg-rolling skills to the test.
But first, Denmark is one of the world's biggest pork producers,
but they have a problem. Most of their herd is infected with
an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect people.
So, are we headed in the same direction? Here's Tom.
Denmark's flat and fertile landscape lends itself to grain.
That's how two thirds of the land is used here,
and the Danes have mastered the art of converting grain into pork.
Denmark is world-famous for its bacon, and there's plenty of it
to be found on British supermarket shelves too,
which doesn't always sit that well with UK pig farmers.
But, the fact is,
our Scandinavian neighbours are very good at producing pork,
and exporting it.
90% of the pig meat the Danes produce is sold all over the world.
125,000 tonnes comes into the UK every year.
It means pig farmers, like Michael Lundgaard,
have to be at the top of their game.
Michael produces 20,000 pigs a year from his farm
near Korsor on Zealand.
This is intensive farming on a large scale.
-So, what is it you like about the job?
-Well, I like farming.
I like the country life.
I like working with pigs. Yeah.
And Danish bacon, Danish pigs, have a strong reputation.
-Are you proud of that?
-I'm proud of it.
A country of just five million people
produces a staggering 30 million pigs every year.
To sustain that high level of production,
farmers need to keep their animals healthy,
and just like humans, pigs can share germs,
and some of them will get ill. And, just like humans,
some of those diseases can be cured with antibiotics.
But there's a problem.
Sometimes, antibiotics don't kill off all the bacteria.
The ones that survive multiply,
passing on their ability to withstand treatment.
The more antibiotics you use, the more likely this is to happen.
This is antibiotic resistance.
And one particular strain of resistant bacteria
is rife on Danish pig farms.
It's a type of MRSA, called CC398, or pig MRSA.
It doesn't harm them. The problem is, it can harm us.
It was first identified in Danish pigs in 2007,
and it's been found in other parts of Europe too.
In the UK so far, it's only been confirmed in six pigs.
Ten years ago, it was found on only 3.5% of Danish pig farms,
but now 88% are infected.
Those working with pigs are at the highest risk,
but they can pass it on to other people.
In a country with more pigs than people,
it's caused a public health scandal.
For most of us, it poses very little risk.
You can be a carrier and not know anything about it.
It has been found on meat,
but doesn't spread easily through eating,
and is killed by proper cooking.
But, for premature babies, the elderly, or the already unwell,
it can prevent treatments from working, and that can be fatal.
Here at Odense University Hospital,
Professor Hans Jorn Kolmos works and lectures in medical microbiology.
He treats patients with infections caused by pig MRSA.
How serious a threat do you think CC398 is to human health?
In most cases, nothing really happens,
but a minority of patients that are colonised may become infected,
and a minority of the infected patients
may get a life-threatening infection.
So far, we have clear evidence that at least seven of our patients
have died from MRSA CC398.
The professor is convinced of the cause -
overuse of antibiotics on pig farms.
It's evident that the amount of antibiotics that we use
is high enough to fuel the epidemic and to make these organisms spread.
We have to cut down by 90%.
What do you think the lessons could be for the UK,
considering we don't routinely test our pig farms for this,
or patients coming into hospital?
You are probably still in a position
where your prevalence of MRSA CC398 is much lower,
so it's easier to make interventions.
The earlier you act, the easier you'll get rid of the problem.
Professor Kolmos wants to reduce antibiotic use
to protect the medicines humans rely on, but Denmark is already
one of the lowest users of antibiotics on farms in Europe,
even lower than the UK.
Jan Dahl, a veterinary consultant for the Danish equivalent
of the NFU, doesn't believe a 90% reduction is feasible.
Not unless you really want to compromise
animal health and animal welfare.
Is this a problem which Danish pig farming has let get out of control?
Well, if "getting out of control" means
that it has been spreading, yes, it has been spreading,
so in that way, yes, you could say that it's out of control.
This is not as easy to control as many other infections,
because it can be carried by people, so when people go from farm to farm,
they can bring the MRSA with them to the next farm.
The bacteria is so widespread,
there are no obvious solutions, but doing nothing is not an option.
The pig industry is being urged to act, and we should pay attention,
because when it comes to pigs,
Britain and Denmark have close connections.
The UK imports a lot of pork and live pigs for breeding,
so if they have a problem, there's a chance we might have one too.
So, what can we learn from all this?
Well, that's what I'll be finding out later, starting in this shed.
This is the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire,
an area famed for its beauty,
where tinkling streams meander through quiet valleys,
and Pendle Hill looms large over the countryside.
But this wild and beautiful landscape tells a sorry tale.
It was in this area that the so-called Pendle witches lived,
In the spring of 1612, 20 people were accused of witchcraft,
and tried and executed at Lancaster Castle.
Half of them came from Pendle and the surrounding area.
To mark the 400th anniversary of those trials, a walk was created,
which followed the route they took to meet their fate.
Historian Robert Poole is an expert on the Pendle witches.
He's joining me for the first stretch of the walk.
So, whereabouts is Pendle Hill from here?
Pendle Hill is over there, underneath the mist.
We have mist over Pendle.
You can just about see it.
It was this rather poor landscape that all the village life took place
that gave rise to the Pendle witch trials.
-Shall we carry on?
We've got quite a way to go.
'The witches were marched
'51 miles through this very countryside, the beauty of
'the landscape at odds with the ugly fate that awaited them.'
So, let's just get it straight - these poor women
that were put to death as witches, had they done anything wrong?
They were poor. They were dependent.
They got part of their living from, if you like, begging with menaces.
They would be taken to cure sick cows,
to try and cure ale that had gone bad mysteriously,
and so on, and some of these spells would go wrong,
there would be arguments over payment.
We have all sorts of neighbourly disputes, and this low-level
situation had been going on for a long time, maybe 20 years.
In 1612, there was a piece of witchcraft apparently happened
that seriously injured somebody.
'Gossip and rumour spread, accusations were made,
'false confessions obtained.'
Well, the initial round-up of witches happened just before Easter.
So, on Good Friday, which is, of course,
the holiest day of the Christian year,
at a time when most people should have been at church,
the family members who were still free got some of their neighbours
together to have a meeting, I think to decide what to do about trying
to get their family members off the charge of witchcraft.
And this meeting was afterwards magnified into a great meeting of
witches from the whole region to plot revenge.
'When word of the meeting got out, their fates were sealed.'
I'm feeling the sense of injustice so strongly.
How do the people who live here feel about the story?
Well, something very important happened in August 2012
for the 400th anniversary.
The new church in Pendle is here,
the church where a lot of it happened in the village around.
And they had a service to commit the souls of the ten witches who'd been
executed, because they'd never had a proper burial service.
This included the words that, "400 years ago,
"ten of our parishioners were falsely accused of witchcraft."
It was the most handsome gesture of apology,
and very appropriate for the 400th anniversary.
It's a wrong that still resonates down the centuries,
but some small justice has now been done.
It was two local artists, Sue and Pete Flowers,
who came up with the idea for the walk.
They've joined me in Slaidburn, pretty even in the rain,
and we're taking the route to the moors.
We're headed for
a very special spot,
where the poet laureate,
Carol Ann Duffy,
has left her mark on the witches' walk.
Wow! This is what I'm talking about!
-It's fabulous, isn't it?
And what a coup, to get the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy,
to write a poem that you have handily got distributed
on these markers along the way.
She wrote it as tercets, which are ten Anglo-Saxon rhymes,
so we spread them out, ten across the whole route.
Each one has one of the tercets written on the top of it,
which you can actually, with a wax crayon and a piece of paper,
take a rubbing off, so you can collect these all along the route.
Each one is numbered, so this is tercet six,
and each one has the name, Elizabeth Device on this one,
of one of the women that were hung.
But we hope that people will collect their rubbings,
-and have the whole poem in their own little book.
I think I should see what bit's written on here.
Something upholds us in its palm
Landscape, history, place and time
And above, the same old witness moon.
This walk started in 2012.
Has it changed attitudes towards the story of the women?
I think so, yeah.
And I think the poem really helps to illustrate that story.
Yeah, so while you're walking along the route,
-you can work out how you feel about some of that history.
It is so beautiful and exhilarating on a day like today,
where we are just getting lashed.
I can only imagine what it's like on a beautifully sunny day.
It just gets... As you get down towards the coast
and Lancaster Castle, the kind of landscape changes, and the bay,
it all kind of rolls out ahead of you, so it's quite stunning
to go through those different ranges of landscape.
What I think we need to do now is focus on the important stuff,
which is - how many miles to the next pub?
Quite a long way that way. Another 15 miles, probably.
Let's go. We've come this far!
Come on, Buster. Let's go. Whoo!
And there he went.
Now, here's Steve Brown, Paralympian wheelchair rugby captain,
fresh from his stint on Countryfile Diaries.
When he's done battling it out on the court, Steve loves nothing more
than picking up his binoculars and heading into the great outdoors.
This is Brockholes Nature Reserve,
a jewel in Lancashire's wildlife crown,
just a stone's throw from the M6,
and I'm hoping there's a seasonal spectacle in store.
Over the years, I've ticked many species off my wish list,
but there's one animal I've never had the chance to see -
that's the elusive brown hare.
It's one of the unique sights of spring - male hares
chasing the females round and round in a bid to mate with them.
Then, the mad March Hare ritual,
when the female fights off the male to see how fit he is.
They're normally quite shy animals, but at this time of the year,
the gloves come off, and the crack of dawn is the right time to see it.
'To improve our chances,
'volunteers will be keeping an eye out around the site,
'and as soon as they see something, we're off.'
-So, today's the day, eh?
-We're going to try and take you
to a perfect spot where we can get
a good view of some brown hares
-across a meadow area.
-Do you know what? That's going to be fantastic.
I hope so, I've got meself out of bed at the crack of dawn,
travelled half the country to be here.
The least they can do is show up as well.
Tell you what,
my dad and my brothers would love coming up here and seeing this,
they really would.
'But it looks like mission impossible.'
Three brown hares over by the play area now.
-'Yeah, received, Charlie, thank you. Out.'
'And then, a tip-off.
We've got them, we've got them.
There's another one there!
So, there's three, four... I've never seen hares ever!
I cannot believe that they're so close, and they're so brazen.
This is fantastic!
Look at them just sitting up on that ridge there like that.
You can get a cracking view of the ears there.
Those are fabulous ears, those.
-Oh, here we go, here we go.
-There they go, look at that!
The male's the one that's chasing the others away,
so it must be a group of males trying to get in at the female.
He's just keeping his distance now.
He's waiting for his moment.
Come on, come on, come on.
She definitely told to clear off. She wasn't ready for him.
-Just a reminder.
Sneaky! ALAN LAUGHS
'There's definitely a party in the park this morning.
'Suddenly, it's all happening!'
Oh, look out! Look at this!
Coming in for landing.
Looks like he's going to take your head off!
-Are you kidding me?
-Yeah, definitely a kestrel.
He's not really going to stop and hov...
-Oh, yes, he is!
-Oh, beautiful, that.
I can't believe that.
Kestrels to the right of us, hares to the left,
and I'm stuck in the middle with you!
'It's been a great morning so far,
'and all just a few hundred yards from the M6!
'Wildlife seems to have a real foothold here,
'so what's the secret?
'To find out, I'm meeting conservation manager, Tim Mitcham.'
So you've had the site now then for ten years,
you've been open to the public for six.
What changes have you made over that time?
The changes have been spectacular.
We've gone from a site that really was nothing more than a puddle
in the ground to a spectacular wildlife reserve.
We've made the edges of the lake shallower, for instance,
which encourages all sorts of dabbling ducks and so on.
It's like a service station for wildlife,
the birds are coming up from Africa at the moment,
so I'll expect to see things like sand martins and swallows and swifts
arriving, and of course, the reed beds that we're walking along now
will be absolutely full of warblers singing their hearts out
all day long.
And the wildlife that has come along,
is there anything that's been brand-new?
Anything you didn't expect to see?
Well, you know, the thing that's really caught my imagination
is in the last year or so, we've been seeing things like otters
turning up on the site, which is phenomenal, really.
Could they breed in the future? We don't know.
TRAFFIC PASSES You've got the hum of the M6,
you can't get rid of it,
and yet nobody and nothing seems to mind.
Well, the wildlife isn't really bothered by that.
It's a constant drone, and very quickly,
you stop even noticing it yourself, and they just get on with it.
If you provide the opportunities, nature will move in.
One species here in good numbers is the lapwing.
Nationally, they're on the RSPB's red list of endangered birds,
meaning they're one of our most vulnerable,
but here, they're thriving.
At the moment, when they're nesting, the really nice thing is,
there's not much vegetation there,
so it means that when a lapwing is sitting in the nest,
it can actually look out and spot any danger.
And a great thing about lapwings is,
they actually do what it says on the tin,
they actually lap their wings,
so they are very much a recognisable bird.
But also, when they're on the ground as well,
they've got that fabulous crest as well.
They're an absolutely beautiful bird.
The birds we see here, that we're looking at here now,
are fairly easy ones to recognise, so it is a really good place.
Not just a nursery for birds,
but maybe a nursery for bird-watchers as well.
-Yeah, that's nice.
-Because we're actually sitting here watching them.
And what about your last "wow" moment?
When was the last time you turned up and went,
"I have not seen one of those before!"
We had 200 curlew one year, one winter,
just flocking together and heading off to the coast.
Look at them over there!
All the cormorants lined up, look, drying their wings.
They are quite dramatic birds, and the way they stretch their wings,
it's always something quite wonderful to watch.
It's just an amazing island, this.
But you say amazing island, it's 40 metres across and 20 metres back.
-The diversity of the animals,
and how they all live in harmony on there, it's excellent, isn't it?
And to think that that's all they need.
'It's fantastic to see the lapwings doing so well here.
'What a great place to be.'
Well, it's been a brilliant day,
but the real thrill for me was seeing hares...
.a sure sign that spring is on the way.
Earlier, we heard how antibiotic resistant bacteria
are spreading from Danish pig farms to people.
They've been found in a small number of British pigs,
so how can Denmark's experience help us?
I'm exploring a public health scandal that's engulfed
Denmark's world-famous pig industry.
As I heard earlier, MRSA CC398 is an antibiotic resistant bacteria
that can pass from pigs to people, from person to person,
and, in rare cases, can be fatal.
Danish pig farmers are under huge public pressure to get on top of it.
The UK imported nearly 700 live pigs from Denmark last year,
so it's in our interest too.
Almost all conventional Danish pig farms are infected with pig MRSA,
but you can't know for sure until you test for it.
Like the UK, there's no compulsory testing in Denmark.
Some farmers are reluctant to volunteer
for fear of being stigmatised locally.
Sometimes, it's easier just not to know.
But Michael Lundgaard, whom I met earlier,
is one of the few willing to have his pigs tested.
He wants to help in this fight.
He's working with Professor Karl Pedersen
from the Danish Veterinary Institute
to find out if disinfecting the farm has made a difference.
Wow, they certainly squeal a lot at this age!
'The test is quick and painless,
'and the piglets are back with mum in seconds.
'These pigs are positive, so am I at risk too?'
You are very likely to be positive, I have to say that.
Just from being here for an hour or so, it's probably in my...
-On me, is it, somehow?
-Yes, it will be.
Well, let's find out. How does this happen?
-Well, like we did with the pigs...
-It is fairly easy.
I will try not to squeal as much as the pig.
Oh, it tickles! It makes me want to sneeze.
'The samples will be sent to a lab,
'and I'll find out if I'm infected later.
'Karl has struggled to find volunteers for his experiments,
'as some farmers have reported that they and their families
'have been shunned by neighbours.'
-Are you worried about what people around here might think?
Yes, very much.
And my wife is very much worried.
-Do you feel brave? Do you think you've been...?
-No! No, no, no.
-So you really want to understand it?
Pig MRSA is largely associated with intensive production.
Studies suggest infection is much lower in free-range pigs.
But most Danish pigs are reared indoors,
with the routine use of antibiotics,
so can changes be made to stop new resistant bacteria from developing?
Henning Jakobsen produces 38,000 pigs a year from his farm
in Jutland, and he's doing it without antibiotics.
92% of the pigs do not get antibiotics in their lifetime.
Really? So only eight out of 100 of these pigs
are actually getting antibiotics ever?
We put an ear mark on the pigs,
showing that they are antibiotic free.
So it guarantees that, when it goes to slaughter,
-that has not had antibiotics.
'This is still an intensive system, but instead of using antibiotics,
'Henning focuses on disease prevention,
'and there's even a special diet.'
We use probiotic in the food,
so good bacterias can compete with the bad ones.
So, probiotic, that's like a yoghurt people get me to drink
-because it's good for my health?
What happens when some of your piglets do get ill?
If they do become ill, then we treat them, like normal.
And what happens to those pigs,
cos they're no longer antibiotic free?
Then it's taken out of the concept, and sold as a normal pig.
Is this system, overall, a more costly way of creating pork?
Yeah. Quite a lot. Quite a lot.
We do get paid extra for our pigs.
'Henning is a revolutionary,
'but is the rest of the pig industry ready to follow his lead?
'Jan Dahl seems open to the idea.'
It's a bit niche, yes, but I wouldn't write it off as irrelevant.
I think it's a system where we can learn something.
'But, even if farmers stopped using antibiotics altogether, pig MRSA
'is here to stay, and Jan has a warning for the UK.'
I think, first of all, you need to find out where you are,
so I would take a sample of your farms and investigate and see
what's going on there, and then I think I would recommend that you
do like we do in Denmark, that if you are working with pigs,
then when you get into the hospital,
you take a swab sample and find out whether you are carrying the MRSA,
and then you can be treated accordingly.
So, what is going on in the UK?
Well, no-one really knows as there's no widespread testing.
The National Pig Association says producers are aware of
public concern, and recommend that all imported pigs are tested.
It also reiterates...
And what of the test I took earlier?
Thankfully, it was negative, and levels were low in the pigs too.
When bacteria become resistant to antibiotics,
they outsmart our defences.
These piglets suggest there are ways of cutting the chances of that
happening, but it comes at a price
on what we pay for pork in our shops.
Is that worth it?
Well, in the end, protecting our pig herds means protecting our health.
I'm in Preston, not far from Avenham Park, where each Easter,
a special competition takes place,
and decorated eggs are the key to it.
They don't just scramble them, boil them, or fry them.
Here, they roll them, and before they roll them,
it's all about the decor.
It's an old tradition called pace-egging,
where decorated eggs are rolled down a hill in a bid to see
whose rolls the furthest without cracking,
and I'm meeting some of the hard-boiled competitors.
-Right, what's happening over here, team?
-So what we're doing is
we are going to paint the egg into either a pig or a cow.
-What have you decided to go for?
-I am going to do a cow.
-Are you doing a Friesian cow, so black and white?
-That's handy, because we've got black and white paint.
I can't believe that people here spend a lot of time
decorating eggs, and then roll them down a big hill.
-Is that actually what happens?
-Yeah, sometimes we can do chocolate eggs.
-See how far it goes.
-What did you decorate last Easter?
-I did a bunny at home.
Nice. I was thinking of doing a bunny.
I might stick some ears on, and then draw some eyes on, and a nose,
-and then maybe get some pipe cleaner whiskers.
-And so, is art your favourite lesson at school?
-Yeah, I love art.
-So do my friends.
-I love art.
'Right, I'm going to leave the children to finish off,
'and get some tips from artist, Linda Martin.
'Linda's been decorating eggs for more than 30 years,
'so she must know a thing or two.'
Well, obviously, Linda, you can go to incredible detail,
which you have done here. You have got some wonderful examples.
I got slightly carried away.
As far as the fashion of egg design is concerned,
when did it really start to take off?
Well, egg art has been in existence literally for centuries,
and different cultures have different ways of decorating eggs.
Chinese civilisations would gold leaf their eggs.
And people would dye eggs in different colours.
-Like this one here.
-Yeah, that one is using onion skin.
So really, anything that is a natural product,
anything that will stain your hands, as you're preparing it, in
terms of fruit or vegetables, that can be used then to dye your eggs.
This is a guinea fowl.
When I first started doing egg art, an old gentleman said to me,
"When we were kids, we used to play tennis with these."
And apparently, he did quite well.
'With fine egg art like this,
'you need to remove the contents of the egg before you decorate it.
'They call it egg blowing. It takes a bit of skill,
'but I should be all right if I follow Linda's example.'
So, apply a fair amount of pressure.
When you're struggling to put a needle through a hen's egg,
can you imagine what it's like to hatch from a shell?
That's it, you're through.
That's probably souffled the inside of the egg!
If you just pop your finger over the top and then just gently squeeze.
Ooh, yes. I saw something.
-What happened there?!
-I think the shell broke.
'Right, take two.'
It'll be absolutely fine this time, you watch.
-I'm making the hole a bit bigger this time.
Yeah, I think you're going a little bit more...
-There we are. Good. Oops.
'Job done. Let's see how the children are getting on.'
How are we doing here? Is that glue you've got there?
Let me hold that pot.
-What do we think to that, Linda?
-I think that's absolutely superb.
'Eggs are a great canvas to work on and I think these children
'have come up with some smashing designs.'
-Right. I think I need to decorate one now. Shall I?
'And later, I'll be taking my place alongside the competitors at
'Avenham Park, the Wembley Stadium of pace-egging.
'Now, as we heard from Tom earlier,
'keeping livestock healthy is a concern for every pig farmer,
'but there's more than one way to rear a pig.
'And when a new rare breed comes on to Adam's farm, it's even
'more important to make sure that they're in tip-top condition.'
I love this time of year.
Most of the animals have been put out to pasture after a winter
under shelter, but there's just one more group to sort out, my pigs.
I have three rare breeds of pig on the farm -
Gloucestershire Old Spots, Berkshires, and Tamworths.
And then in here,
we've got a type of pig called an Iron Age and these are the piglets.
They're a cross between a Tamworth and a wild boar.
I need to make sure the piglets are equipped and healthy for the
next few months, before I turn them out onto pasture.
And that's where this comes in.
I need to worm these little ones and that involves a small injection.
They're susceptible to worms in early life, so it's really
important that we get it done while they're still young.
Right then, little piggies. They're not hugely fond of this process.
-All right. Shush.
There we are. It's just a little injection.
-There. All done.
It's interesting. They squeal a lot when you pick them up,
but actually when the needle goes in, they're reasonably quiet.
It's just being off the ground that frightens them a bit.
Well, that's certainly a very noisy job.
But it's not as bad as it sounds and it's essential for their welfare.
They'll be kept in for another couple of days while the
medicine does its trick.
But for their mother, she's back out into the field.
There. There we go, fella.
Got you a new wife.
Go on, then.
A sow will get pregnant about three to six days after she's been
weaned and so the boar's already interested in her.
So we've got three different boars on the farm.
And they can be quite aggressive. We have to keep them separate,
otherwise they'll fight and can do each other a lot of damage.
You can see his teeth, his tusks,
that he chomps together to sharpen, makes them razor sharp,
so when they're fighting,
the boars throw their heads up into each other's shoulders and
you can see on his shoulder here, he's got these great big plates
of gristle that protect him from the other boars' tusks and in fact,
he's got a scar there,
where one of the boars cut him when they were fighting once.
Thankfully, it's healed up quite nicely,
but there's real power in this animal
and I have to be quite careful around him,
particularly if I've got the smell of another boar on me.
He could do you a lot of damage if he wanted to.
And because they're such a handful,
I won't be buying any more boars soon.
But I'm always keen to increase the size of my herd,
especially when it's a breed I've never kept before,
so I'm going shopping.
One thing I really enjoy is buying new and different breeds for
the farm and I'm really excited about the animal
I'm off to buy now...
..the Large Black pig.
They're critically rare,
with fewer than 350 breeding sows left in the UK.
Martin Snell is a leading breeder of the oldest herd in the country,
so I'm looking to buy a couple of his.
-Good morning, Adam.
-What a lovely sight.
Aren't they beautiful? Very docile.
That's what they're renowned for, the Large Blacks,
they're really nice and docile and as you can see, we've got a nice big
field here, no fencing round it or nothing, and they just wander
around and go back to their sheds later on at night.
-And how long have you had them in your family?
Well, my father came to this farm when he was a week old and
-so my grandfather had them before that.
Three generations now.
There actually is a picture of me actually showing
a pig when I was two years old.
They're bigger than a lot of the pigs I know,
bigger than our Tamworths and Gloucesters.
-I'm a big Gloucester fan.
How do they compare with the temperament?
Gloucester is a cantankerous female.
This is my county breed, you're talking about!
I couldn't really care.
They're the most cantankerous thing you can think of.
You can't help where you were born, can you?
-Now, the Large Black is quite rare, isn't it?
They say there's more Siberian tigers than there are
Large Blacks in the world.
-Why is that?
-People didn't like black hairs,
whereas a white hair doesn't really show up.
So if you've got your crackling with black hairs on it, people didn't
-No, you can actually see the black hairs.
They're just beautiful.
'Before we go to see the pigs Martin has set aside for me,
'I'm keen to have a look at the quality of the bloodline...
'..and this is one relaxed mum.'
-She's just laid in the sunshine.
We want to have nice ears,
which come up to the tips of their nose, maybe just over or just
behind, and then we want it nice and broad between the eyes.
And then we're coming back through here,
we don't want too much jowl, not like I've got through here!
And then we're going back through here.
Every pig should have seven really good well placed teats.
-On either side.
-On either side.
-14 in total.
-14 in total.
And they've got some length about them, haven't they?
They've got an awful lot of length about them, you can actually
see here now properly where you get your bacon from.
You get back bacon down through to there,
then you get your belly bacon down through to there.
I have to say, if they turn out like her, I'll be very happy.
Yeah, I should think you will be. I probably didn't charge you enough!
-Once a farmer, always a farmer.
Adam, your pigs are down here, but before we get down there,
I thought, as you're a Gloucestershire man
and how bad Gloucesters are to load,
I've got my brother here to help me load them up.
-Good to see you. Good to see you.
So, where are these crazy pigs, then? Oh, they've disappeared?!
Yeah, that's cos you're here! Let's go on down to see them.
Come on, then. Oh, they look lovely, Martin.
-Come on, girls.
'These girls are nine months old and pregnant.
'Pigs can always pick up germs, whether reared inside or out,
'but the lifestyle here certainly suits this lot.'
They're in great nick, aren't they? Perfect condition.
And I suppose the health of your pigs is very important.
Yeah, we're extensive, not intensive.
And because you haven't got so many pigs in an indoor system,
they're less at risk.
Look at her! She's having an itch on my welly!
'Once I've made the trailer a bit more comfy for their travels,
'it's time to get them loaded.'
Come on, then. That's it, good girls.
Nice and steady. Go on.
Look at that.
Not like a Gloucester, is it?
Leave my Gloucesters alone.
Perfect. Loaded and ready to go.
-Cheers, Adam. Have a good trip.
-And I hope they do you well.
-Thank you very much.
-All the best.
'Just a short drive back to the Cotswolds and they're ready
'to meet their new mates.'
Go on, then. There's a good girl. That's it. This is your new home.
I'll just keep them in here for a couple of weeks
while they settle in.
But this is a very proud moment,
introducing another rare breed to the farm.
And hopefully, like my dad did for the Gloucestershire Old Spot, I'm
doing my little bit to help secure the future of the Large Black pig.
But the real heroes are people like Martin Snell,
so important in keeping our British rare breeds alive.
I've been taking a walk through some stunning Lancashire countryside,
following in the footsteps of the Pendle witches,
along a trail named in their memory.
It takes in high places, low places, open moorland, and woodlands,
just like this. I'm here to meet a skilled woodworker,
who's going to show me how to make a besom broom,
a traditional household item that became associated with witches.
If you go down to the woods in Lancashire,
you don't know what you're going to find!
-How are you, Natasha?
-Very good. Nice to meet you.
-Lovely to see you.
-Now, is your name, let's get this clear, really Natasha Twigg?
People call me Twiggy.
-These are fantastic.
-And you still hand-make them.
These are handmade, yeah.
These have got a birch top, with a hazel handle.
'Not just transport for witches,
'there was a time every home would have had a besom broom.'
They're the best broom for clearing up leaves, especially in the autumn.
Well, you know what I'm going to ask you, Twiggy, don't you?
You're going to have to show me how you put these things together.
Of course. Yeah. Would you like to
-come and have a go?
-Yeah, let's do it. Absolutely. OK.
-Step into my little workshop.
-Amazing portable workshop. Right.
-Have a seat.
So, this is the material. We use the top of the young birch really.
We don't use the old birch.
When birch grows a bit older, the tops just sag a little bit and just
go over, so we want the nice young birch, which is nice and straight.
It's not brittle.
So what we're doing here is we're just dealing with the top really.
Don't worry about the bottom bit. You don't have to have them all
-lining up at the bottom.
-Just look at the tops and make sure
that you kind of get the tips
-all more or less lined up at the top.
-How big do they have to get?
-I don't know... Just keep going?
-Yes, just keep going.
You want a fair good old bunch there in there.
We all know a broom from our childhood stories,
whether it's about witches or whether it's knowing what they're
actually used for, or whether it's because you think you need one to
-play Quidditch on, I don't know.
OK, you've got a little bit of sisal there.
You can just put a loop on just to hold it all in place.
What we'll do next, we'll just trim them off.
'A simple foot clamp holds the birch twigs whilst they're trimmed.'
And then we'll just use the bow saw to take off the end bits there.
-There we go.
-As easy as that.
OK. Can we just switch the camera off for five minutes?
And come back to me. Here we go.
'That wasn't as dangerous as it looked...honest.'
-There we go.
-All it needs now is a handle.
-OK, so it's just... Oh, wow!
-This tool is brilliant.
-Am I the worst apprentice you've ever had?
-No, not at all.
'Now, we just have to join the two bits together.'
-Push it in as far as it'll go.
Then what I want you to do is just give it
-a good old few taps on there.
'Three taps and magic.'
There we go. Can see the handle's not moving there.
It's not twisted or anything. Nice and tightly on.
A little bit on an angle, but if you're happy with that...
It might help with your sweeping action.
I don't have a straight sweeping action, so actually,
it's almost designed specifically for me.
-There we go. Handmade.
-I absolutely, honestly, I love it.
What an experience, to come to the woods here in Lancashire and
build something so ancient and traditional.
-And it's beautiful. Thank you.
-I can't wait to use it.
-All right, then, I'll see you later.
-See you now.
'The walk continues through countryside that's hardly
'changed since the time of the witch trials, but just
'a stone's throw from the route are reminders of the modern world,
'like this, Stocks Reservoir,
'looking lovely, now the sun's come out.
'It's an important reservoir and the woodlands planted nearby have
'a surprising part to play in keeping the water clean.
'I'm meeting Twist the spaniel
'and his owner Dave Oyston to find out more.'
So many of us take for granted that we turn on our taps and we
have clean running water to drink, but obviously a lot goes into that.
So can you explain a bit of the process?
This is the biggest reservoir in Lancashire and it is the main
one in the forest of Bowland.
This is the top of our production line.
When the rain falls out of the sky, it falls on the land and we need
to keep that raw water that we're dealing with as clean as we
-And how does this spectacular landscape play
-a part in all of that?
-Where you plant trees,
they create much more absorbent soil conditions, so that has two effects.
That stops very fast run-off of water,
so it allows the water to percolate from the land in a more
controlled manner, more sustained manner, into the reservoirs.
Also, it does filter it. It filters a lot of the nutrients out and
a lot of the nasties out, if you like.
Trees act as a natural filter for us.
So again, very, very cost effective way and
a very environmentally friendly way of treating that water.
Dave performs regular tests
to check the trees are doing their job.
-So there we are. A pint of Lancashire's finest.
-That's not bad.
That's not bad, is it, for raw water?
'Well, this is as far as I go.
'I'll save the rest of this stunning walk for another day.'
He's lovely, isn't he?
Now, Twist might not care about the weather, but we certainly do,
so here's the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead. Come on, Twist!
Come on, then!
We're in Lancashire,
where things have taken on a decidedly seasonal twist.
Easter celebrations have been going on all over the country,
but here in Lancashire, they really know how to put on an Easter party.
I was going to go with egg-stravaganza,
but I thought it might be a bit much.
This is Avenham Park in Preston, famous for the part it's played
in Easter celebrations since Victorian times.
Every Easter Monday since the 1860s,
families have gathered here to take part in an ancient tradition.
Now, it's called pace-egging.
Basically, you take an ordinary egg, you hard-boil it,
then you decorate it in all sorts of wonderful and fanciful ways.
Then you get to the top of a big hill and roll it down.
You then see whose egg rolls the furthest with the least
number of cracks in it.
And it can get a bit rough and tumble.
Keeping an eye on the class of 2017 is their teacher, Miss Pattinson.
Have you been rolling eggs here ever since you were this age?
I have, for as long as I can remember,
-I've been on Avenham Park, yeah.
And what's the best technique, then, that we should be aiming for?
Ooh, it's all about the underarm action.
-It is, yeah.
And as far as the actual span of the hill is concerned,
would you be favouring any particular spot?
I think I'd go central. Yeah, steepest part is always the best.
Right. Let's have a look at all of your lovely designs that you've
been doing. That's good. Yeah, I like that one. That's good.
Hey, look. That looks like a winner to me! OK, are we up for this?
Are we ready?
ALL YELL AND CHEER
'And here's Anita with the rest of the class.'
Come on. You need to get to the top of the hill.
'Looks like we've got some competition.'
Get to the best place!
To the top!
Last one to the top's a rotten egg!
-You look quite good, considering you've just run up
-Hey! You got egg-sausted in.
-Are we ready for this?
-What are we doing?
-Have you all got an egg?
-Show me your eggs. Show me your eggs.
-I haven't got
-You haven't got an egg. There, I've done one for you.
-There you go.
This is sabotage cos mine's got ears, so it's less aerodynamic.
I thought you'd like it. I designed it.
-I love it.
-You can have this dodgy one that our cameraman did.
Show me your eggs.
-Who's going to win?
-I think we know who the most competitive is, don't we?
-No, no, no.
-Not at all.
-Come on, you and me.
-Are we ready for this?
On my count, then.
-Be lucky for me.
-On three. Two, one, roll!
Oh, mine's peeled!
How's it looking? Oh, that's good. Very good. Look at me rabbit!
And there's mine. LAUGHTER
It's peeled! But it's not cracked.
-But your clothes on!
-It's not even... Look!
-Oh, my goodness me.
It's not cracked. That's all we've got time for for this week.
Next week, we're going to be in my neck of the woods in County Durham,
where I will be helping out with a very special delicacy.
And Ellie is going to be getting drenched in one of England's
-most beautiful waterfalls.
-Bye for now.
-See you next week.
Happy Easter. Right, keep going! All the way! Come on!
Countryfile is in Lancashire, where Matt Baker learns all about the ages-old Easter tradition of pace egg rolling. He meets the artist who decorates eggs for a living, joins some schoolchildren decorating theirs, then takes part in a pace egg rolling challenge. He also does the rounds with a young entrepreneur who has found a niche delivering fresh eggs to people in his local area.
Anita Rani takes to the hills as she follows the 'Lancashire Witches Walk', set up to commemorate the famous witch trials which took place 400 years ago. She takes in the stunning Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill. She also joins some volunteers for a bit of coppicing and gets to make a witches besom broom.
Steve Brown is at Brockholes nature reserve where he hopes to catch a glimpse of one of the real spectacles of spring - boxing hares. And Adam Henson is looking to buy some rare large black pigs. Tom Heap travels to Denmark, where an MRSA bug has infected almost all of the country's pigs. Is it something pig farmers need to worry about back home in the UK?