Lincolnshire Countryfile


Lincolnshire

Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison visit Lincolnshire, where Matt meets one of the last surviving members of the Dambusters squadron and Ellie hunts for the man orchid.


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Transcript


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Take one vast and endless landscape and a boundless canopy of sky,

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sprinkle with farms, small towns, green fields.

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The result - Lincolnshire.

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Its very flatness made it important during wartime.

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Hundreds of airbases dotted this landscape and this runway

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once thundered to the sound of the most famous squadron of all.

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The winds that carried those wartime planes aloft also provided

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the power for a Lincolnshire's most celebrated buildings.

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Windmills grinding the flour

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that made Lincolnshire the bread-basket of England.

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But what happens when these old beauties stop working?

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That's what I'll be finding out.

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John's here to launch this year's

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Countryfile photographic competition with its theme, animal magic.

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And he'll be joined by two brand-new judges.

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But can they capture some magic of their own?

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-Can you see anything in the birch trees?

-A little bit, yes.

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The slight issue today is the heat.

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At that distance,

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there's a great sort of shimmering heat haze coming off.

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It starts to become like a mirage.

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And Adam is on the hunt for a new White Park bull.

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It's good to see a bull walking. See his action.

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See the way his legs move, make sure he is not too narrow.

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The flat white expanses of eastern England,

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where acre upon acre spreads out beneath an endless sky.

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This can only be Lincolnshire.

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It's a big county.

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The bit Ellie and I are exploring centres on Woodhall Spa.

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And I've got a date with a very special lady.

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This is Just Jane.

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She's one of just a few Lancasters still in existence.

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Now, she's no longer certified to fly

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but that doesn't stop her coming out for the occasional taxi.

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I have to say, to be sat up here, perched in the navigator's

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position, you get a sense of the most terrifying excitement.

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Lincolnshire and Lancasters are inextricably linked.

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The flat landscape of this county made it the perfect place to

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build airfields. Bases like this one at East Kirkby

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and nearby Woodhall Spa

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were just two that sprung up all over during World War II.

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And the Lancasters were the planes that made up the most

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elite squadron of them all, 617, the Dambusters.

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There can be few who have not heard that tale of bravery and ingenuity.

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Of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb,

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of the destruction of the dams so vital to Germany's war effort.

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Wing Commander John Bell flew on subsequent Dambuster missions.

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Now 91, John is one of the last of the squadron alive today.

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And all the more incredible

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since his job was the most dangerous of all of the Lancaster's crew.

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My position was in the front of the aeroplane.

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I was a bomb aimer and the whole of the front of the aeroplane

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that you see there was my office, including the turret, which

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was immediately above the bomb aimer's position,

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where I could stand up.

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-Now, you are obviously a big lad.

-Yes.

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So it was a struggle to get in in the first place, I would imagine.

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I was curled up in there until the time came to use the bomb sight,

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when I got on my knees and looked through the bomb sight

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and through the front panel.

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And that is using that little window at the bottom that we can see?

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That's right. You just have to ignore the flak, which was the dangerous

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part of flying through. You can't just avoid anti-aircraft shells.

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He had to fly through and hope you'll not get hit.

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As far as D-Day is concerned, you were involved in a very

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-important kind of decoy mission, weren't you?

-Yes, yes.

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That night, the night of 5th June 1944,

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we were involved in this precise navigation exercise,

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flying backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards,

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nearer and nearer to the French coast

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dropping this "window" that produced a cloud

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of aluminium strip, which blanketed out their screens so...

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The hope was that they would think that something was happening

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behind it, perhaps the invasion fleet was coming behind this cloud.

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It just gave them something else to think about.

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-What is it like for you to come back to Bomber County?

-It's great.

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Especially with the Lancaster standing here

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and hearing the engines, it brings it all back.

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And when the one from the Battle of Britain Memorial flies over,

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you can hear it coming, and your heart goes, you know what it is.

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-Yeah.

-And everybody says the same, it's that Lancaster feeling,

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-and when you are a Lancaster man, that's a lot.

-Yeah.

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This is Woodhall Spa. It's where John flew his missions from.

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'Today, it's overgrown. Nature is returning.

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'The scars of war are fading.'

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Now, it's just skylarks you can hear overhead.

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But can you imagine what this place would have sounded like,

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70 summers ago?

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RUMBLE OF AIRCRAFT FLYING OVERHEAD

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BIG BAND MUSIC PLAYS

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'To get an idea of what Woodhall Spa was like in its wartime heyday,

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'John is taking me to the pub

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'that was central to life on the base here -

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'the legendary Blue Bell Inn.'

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You'll see on the ceiling,

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a lot of signatures of men who came in here in the 1940s and afterwards

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-and left their signatures.

-Wow!

-I left mine up here.

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The proprietor, Sean Taylor,

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is also an expert on the area's aviation history.

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They had three runways -

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a main runway, 6,000 feet long,

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and two auxiliary runways, 4,000 feet long.

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And it's designed so that aircraft

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basically take off and land into wind.

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So, you've got six choices if you had a change of wind direction.

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So, you were never more than 30 degrees out of a headwind.

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Now, what is fascinating, when you look down with this

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bird's eye view, are these little patches on here.

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Just shed some light on this.

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Every single one of these circles is a parking bay for the Lancaster,

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they are called dispersal pans.

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And they are built far enough apart from each other that,

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should one aircraft on one of these suffer a direct hit

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from a German bomb, or there is an accident and a bomb

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falls off and detonates, the blast should not reach the adjacent pans.

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I seem to remember, we were quite a long way

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from around the airfield, I think we were in one of these pans here.

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-The pub, then, that's about where...

-Round about where you are, Matt.

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That's where the pub is.

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So, a drinking hole, always very close to an RAF station.

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In comparison, back in the day, what was the landlord like in here?

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I can't remember the landlord.

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They always served beer very, very quickly,

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because there was usually a throng of people, thirsty airmen,

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then the landlord would say, "Sorry, chaps, just run out of beer."

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-It would be sacrilegious of us to run out of beer nowadays.

-Oh, yes.

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Although I would say, John,

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probably one of the most common questions that is asked

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when they come to the bar is, do you serve beer at wartime prices?

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THEY LAUGH

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'It may look somewhat forlorn now,

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'but Woodhall Spa is very far from being forgotten.

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'It may have had its heyday in the war,

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'but its story began way before that.'

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Now there is a new mission to breathe new life into this

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old base, and this former runway will be transformed.

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I'll be finding out how later.

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If Kent is the Garden of England, then Lincolnshire is its farm.

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But farming on this scale has a downside.

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The intensification of agriculture has corresponded with

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a decline in our wild flowers.

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In Lincolnshire, that has meant the loss of one species of wild

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flowering plant every two years since 1900.

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I'm looking for a man.

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Careful where you tread here.

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But not just any man.

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The one I'm looking for is a few inches tall and a pale yellow.

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'Mark Schofield from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is helping me

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'track down this strange fellow.'

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And there's one, just here.

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Here it is, the Man Orchid.

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And the reason why it's called Man Orchid is,

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you might see little man-like shapes, with a hood for a head.

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I like it! It's really clear, actually.

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And it's an endangered species,

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that means that it is declining in numbers and in its range as well.

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And we are actually here at just one of a handful of sites

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-that are at its northernmost range in the world.

-Really?

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So, seeing one of these at all is incredibly special.

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-You should feel very privileged.

-I do!

-These are special spots.

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It's quite incredible that such a rare

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and delicate plant would set up home right next to a busy road.

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But verges like these are some of Lincolnshire's last surviving

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ancient grasslands, the best habitat for wild flowers.

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Just here, you'll see just coming into flower,

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-is a lovely flower called Lady's Bedstraw.

-Lady's Bedstraw?

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That should be on your list.

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And here is an edible plant, it's Salad Burnet,

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as the name suggests, it is quite edible,

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but if you crush those leaves and rub them between your hands,

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-that should smell like freshly sliced cucumber.

-Absolutely does.

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-Excellent.

-It deserves a Pimm's, that one. That's fabulous.

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And just in here, we can see the leaves

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and the emerging flowers of Common Bird's Foot Trefoil,

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also called Lady's Fingers, because perhaps they look like

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nail varnished fingers, just while they're still in bud.

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Haven't they got the most fantastic names, British wild flowers?

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They have.

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'These verges link together to form corridors for wild flora and fauna.

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'But Mark has got plans to add bigger spaces to this network.'

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Effectively, a lot of village greens or churchyards could be

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plugged into these biodiversity superhighways,

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supplied with the wild flowers we see here and everything that

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comes with them, including more butterflies and birdsong, too.

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'To do that, wild flower seeds are harvested

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'and either grown as seedlings for planting in chosen sites,

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'or sown directly where they will grow.

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'That is something I have been doing in my orchard.

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'So far, without much success!'

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So, what might I be doing wrong?

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Well, you might be trying to plant the wrong

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flowers into the wrong places.

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So, when you see a wild flower growing in a certain location,

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try to read what its requirements might be.

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You can buy seed, but do make sure it is of local provenance.

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It would give you a better chance

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-of them surviving if they are from somewhere local?

-Exactly.

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And you might be able to help yourself to the odd little pinch,

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not from nature reserves, because we want to protect those,

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but maybe from your local road verge, for example.

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Following the rule of not all the seeds from any one plant

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and not seeds from every plant,

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but just literally a pinch can fill a seed tray.

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'Growing seedlings, rather than just planting seeds, gives the wild

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'flowers a head start when they're used to regenerate wild places.'

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Two years ago, this churchyard looked like this,

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very neat and tidy, but not many wild flowers growing,

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so, Mark persuaded them to mow less often, and now it looks like this.

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'This churchyard is pushing up more than just daisies.

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'Musk Mallow and Meadow Cranesbill have been planted here,

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'while other wild flowers, like Common Vetch, Hedge Woundwort

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'and Yellow Rattle, have self-seeded.

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'And while this part of the churchyard is not being mowed,

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'it still needs to be kept under control.'

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There is a cheaper and more carbon-friendly option than mowing,

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that also burns a few calories.

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Scything.

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'Traditional scything is undergoing a renaissance.

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'It's the perfect way to reduce the growth in sections

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'at different times of year,

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'which encourages the whole range of wild flowers to thrive.

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'Jonathan is going to show me how it's done.'

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This looks like hard work, Jonathan!

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Well, it does take a little bit of physical exertion, Ellie.

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But I'm sure once you get started,

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you will get into the swing of things.

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I feel like I'm just tearing the grass out.

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It's not as neat as a lawn mower would be, is it?

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Well, I'm not trying to do it like a lawn mower,

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-I'm trying to behave more like a grazing animal.

-OK.

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So that I can just take the tops off.

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The flowers can regenerate themselves

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and they can continue growing throughout the season.

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'Managing green spaces like this means less fertiliser,

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'less mowing, less fuel.'

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And in this case, less means more.

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More wild flowers, more pollinating insects and more wildlife,

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and who can argue with that?

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Now, every year,

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the 12 best photos from our annual photographic competition feature in

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the Countryfile Calendar, which we sell in aid of Children in Need.

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This year, we have broken all records

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and I can reveal that phenomenal figure a little later on.

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First, here's John with details of this year's competition.

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Greenham Common in Berkshire, an extraordinary place to visit.

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For many years, it was a no-go area, a military base,

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home to an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

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It was also the site of the famous women's peace camp.

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But it's wonderful how things can turn around, and once again,

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Greenham Common has become a wilderness, a haven for life.

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So, what better place to launch this year's

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Countryfile Photographic Competition?

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The theme - we want you to get out into the countryside

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with your cameras and capture some animal magic.

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We've got two brand-new judges,

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who are no strangers to the animal world.

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Comedian and bird lover Bill Bailey,

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recently seen in the jungles of Borneo.

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I am obviously being accepted

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as part-primate!

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And zoologist Charlotte Uhlenbroek,

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familiar to many through her work with primates.

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Look at this one, he is just so magnificent!

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'Both may have seen animal magic in the jungle,

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but how will they get on in the wilds of Berkshire?'

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-Nice to meet you.

-Nice to meet you too.

-Bill, you, too.

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-Welcome to the judging panel.

-Thanks very much.

-Thank you.

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-And what an intriguing place to be.

-It is.

-It's great, isn't it?

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It's fascinating.

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Well, in a moment, I'm going to send you both off on a safari,

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to see what wildlife you can find here and photograph.

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Bill, you are a very keen amateur photographer.

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What does animal magic mean to you?

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I guess it's capturing something

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of the character of the animal or the creature.

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I've actually brought along a few of my snaps here.

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This is a tarsier, each eye is bigger than its brain.

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THEY LAUGH

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I know people like that!

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Yes, er, this is...

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Well, this was just on the shoot, you know,

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so he's basically got his mate to film himself,

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-he pressed record and ran round the front very quickly.

-Did a selfie.

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-That's it, this is the ultimate selfie.

-It is, yeah!

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And Charlotte, I mean,

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I don't think you'd claim to be an expert photographer, would you?

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-But...

-No, I wouldn't, I'm afraid my skills are pretty limited.

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I was asked to look through some of your previous years' calendars,

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to just show some of the pictures that I love.

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That is one which I think is just mesmerising.

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Technically, it's brilliant,

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but there is also movement and composition,

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I could have that on my wall and look at it again and again

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and again and never get bored of that picture.

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Well, I don't think we are going to find anything exotic today

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-around here, but we'll hopefully find something interesting.

-OK.

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-Let's see what we can find.

-All right.

-Best of luck, everybody.

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-Cheers.

-Thanks.

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'Greenham Common is home to an array of birds, beasts and bugs.

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'It has even got its own herd of cows.

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'On a summer's day like this,

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'it's the perfect place to capture a bit of animal magic.

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'Or so you'd think.'

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So, with your scope, can you see anything in those birch trees?

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A little bit, yes. Just a slight issue today is the heat.

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At that distance, there is

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a great sort of shimmering heat haze coming off.

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-It starts to become like a mirage. It's like a desert mirage!

-It is.

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Oh, wait a minute, there's a hotel! There's a casino!

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Wait a minute, it's people dancing round a pool!

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No, it's not, it's just a bloke walking his dog.

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Sadly, pictures of pets are not eligible for our competition,

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nor are zoo animals.

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Any images of British wildlife in captivity must be declared as such.

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The theme of animal magic is wide open to your own interpretations.

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But entries must feature either farm or wild animals,

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preferably in a rural setting.

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Whatever you decide to photograph, please do it responsibly.

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Follow the Countryside Code and take care not to disturb any animals,

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especially protected ones, or damage the environment.

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Of course, you have to find them first,

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and frankly, our brand-new judges are starting to struggle.

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See, what would be great is if a bird,

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let's say a Dartford warbler, was just to land obligingly on

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the top of the gorse bush and just sort of, you know, parade around.

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-That would be nice.

-Yeah.

-That would be great.

0:18:510:18:53

-It's not much to ask, is it?

-That would be ideal.

0:18:530:18:55

So, with no luck up on the heath,

0:18:550:18:57

Bill and Charlotte are going for a change of tack -

0:18:570:19:00

the nearby woodland.

0:19:000:19:02

With time running out,

0:19:020:19:03

we've enlisted the help of wildlife expert John Hanratty,

0:19:030:19:07

but even he is having a hard time coming up with the goods.

0:19:070:19:10

So, at the moment, it's not a bad idea to look in shady places

0:19:100:19:13

on the far side of trees, because it's so warm.

0:19:130:19:17

I mean, the one thing I would say is,

0:19:170:19:19

if you're going to photograph animals, it is worth

0:19:190:19:21

finding out as much as you can about their behaviour beforehand.

0:19:210:19:25

It gives you at least a kind of smaller search area,

0:19:250:19:29

you know, what time of day, but still, there is never any guarantees.

0:19:290:19:34

This area is apparently home to a rather unusual lizard,

0:19:360:19:40

the slowworm, a limbless reptile, and Bill reckons he's just seen one.

0:19:400:19:45

I just lifted up this bit of metal here and was a slowworm under here.

0:19:450:19:51

But he's now gone, of course. He's slithered off. But he was a beauty.

0:19:510:19:59

He was probably about this big.

0:19:590:20:01

And... No, it was THIS big!

0:20:010:20:03

HE LAUGHS

0:20:030:20:04

Massive!

0:20:040:20:06

It seems like they are out of luck

0:20:070:20:10

and, then...

0:20:100:20:11

-Bill, Charlotte...

-What have you got?

-Come and have a look.

-Oh!

0:20:120:20:16

-Oh, wow!

-I've just caught...

-Oh, wow, you've got a slowworm.

0:20:160:20:20

-Beautiful.

-The colour is just stunning, isn't it? Like, metallic.

0:20:220:20:26

This one has lost the tip of its tail,

0:20:260:20:28

which is very typical for slowworms. That is why their Latin name

0:20:280:20:32

is Anguis fragilis. So, this will break off and,

0:20:320:20:35

for a few seconds after, will thrash around, to distract predators,

0:20:350:20:40

so that the slowworm can escape and the predator gets just the tail.

0:20:400:20:43

Then, the tail will partially regenerate.

0:20:430:20:46

-Let's see if we can get a quick snap.

-This could be a challenge.

0:20:460:20:50

-Oh, yeah. He's off!

-Slowworms, by name, but not by nature.

0:20:500:20:53

Beautiful. I have a feeling this shot is going to have your boot in it!

0:20:530:20:57

There you go.

0:20:570:20:59

Well, it took some time, but Bill and Charlotte

0:21:000:21:04

have finally managed to find some animal magic.

0:21:040:21:07

And now, it's your turn. From all your photographs

0:21:070:21:10

of beasts and bugs and birds, the best 12 photographs selected by

0:21:100:21:14

the judges will take pride of place in the Countryfile calendar

0:21:140:21:18

for 2015 - one for each month.

0:21:180:21:21

As always, we will have an overall winner, voted for by you,

0:21:220:21:27

our viewers. Not only will their picture

0:21:270:21:29

grace the cover of our calendar, they will also get to choose

0:21:290:21:33

photographic equipment to the value of £1,000.

0:21:330:21:37

And the person who takes the judges' favourite photo will also

0:21:370:21:40

select equipment, to the value of £500.

0:21:400:21:44

There are no prizes today, though.

0:21:440:21:48

-How did you get on?

-To be honest,

0:21:480:21:50

not that well, John! A little disappointing.

0:21:500:21:53

You did get some things, didn't you? Let's see what you did get.

0:21:530:21:56

We did see a slowworm.

0:21:560:21:59

That is slightly cheating, because it is in John's hand.

0:21:590:22:02

So, if you happen to have a trained herpetologist to hold your snake

0:22:020:22:07

for you, great! When he put it down on the ground,

0:22:070:22:10

it was very, very quick. I have just got its tail.

0:22:100:22:14

-Its head's already disappeared. It's hard work.

-Yeah, it is, isn't it?

0:22:140:22:19

Did you get any slowworm pictures, Bill?

0:22:190:22:22

I did, actually. I have got a few here

0:22:220:22:25

-with the macro lens.

-Would you like to see that

0:22:250:22:28

on your wall, in a calendar, for a month?

0:22:280:22:31

Well, I would!

0:22:310:22:33

If you want to get your picture onto Bill's wall and onto hundreds

0:22:330:22:37

of thousands of others, you'll have to enter the competition.

0:22:370:22:40

To do that, write your name, address and a daytime

0:22:400:22:43

and evening phone number

0:22:430:22:46

on the back of each photo, with a note of where it was taken.

0:22:460:22:50

Then, send your entries to...

0:22:500:22:58

It is not open to professionals and, because we are looking for

0:23:000:23:04

something original, your entries must not have won

0:23:040:23:06

other national competitions. You can send in up to three photos.

0:23:060:23:11

They must have been taken in the UK.

0:23:110:23:13

And, remember, we want hard copies,

0:23:130:23:15

not e-mailed or computer files.

0:23:150:23:17

And, I'm sorry, but we cannot return any entries.

0:23:170:23:21

The full terms and conditions

0:23:210:23:22

are on our website and you will find details of the BBC's Code of Conduct

0:23:220:23:26

for competitions there, as well.

0:23:260:23:28

The competition closes at midnight on Friday 25th July, which means

0:23:300:23:35

you have got just four weeks to send in your entries.

0:23:350:23:38

So, don't waste any time. Head out into the countryside and find us

0:23:380:23:41

some animal magic.

0:23:410:23:43

I have been exploring Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire,

0:23:520:23:55

where the famous Dambusters were based - just one of hundreds

0:23:550:23:59

of airfields that once hummed with activity during World War II.

0:23:590:24:03

Once war was over, the base was wound up

0:24:040:24:07

and has most recently been quarried,

0:24:070:24:10

for sand and gravel. But long before those human activities,

0:24:100:24:13

there was a different kind of life here.

0:24:130:24:16

From Woodhall Station, I walked up to Tower-on-the-Moor,

0:24:160:24:20

finding on my way, bell heather, heather and fruiting spikes

0:24:200:24:24

of goldenrod. On the moor, I noticed quantities of the beautiful lichen,

0:24:240:24:29

carpet on the ground, amongst the ling.

0:24:290:24:32

Devil's-bit Scabious was in flower here

0:24:320:24:34

and beside the dry ditches, grew any amount of fern. Beautiful.

0:24:340:24:40

A remarkable glimpse of what the airfield use to be like

0:24:400:24:44

and how it is going to look again.

0:24:440:24:47

This diary, written in 1890 by Edwardian naturalist

0:24:490:24:52

Joseph Burtt Davy, is helping

0:24:520:24:55

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust in a new restoration project.

0:24:550:24:59

It is a unique

0:24:590:25:00

glimpse into the landscape of 124 years ago.

0:25:000:25:03

To have all those species listed

0:25:030:25:06

and the way he describes the habitats,

0:25:060:25:08

to have that and say, "Right, let's grasp that.

0:25:080:25:11

"Let's take that and put that back onto the site",

0:25:110:25:14

which has had the airfield on it,

0:25:140:25:17

it's had the quarry on it, what a fantastic opportunity.

0:25:170:25:20

Already, there is a real mosaic of habitats beginning to return.

0:25:200:25:24

As well as the dry heathland areas, there are wet, muddy parts

0:25:240:25:29

and lakes and pools. Our first port of call

0:25:290:25:32

is an old quarry pit, where, just like Ellie, earlier,

0:25:320:25:35

I'm lucky to see a rare and exotic plant.

0:25:350:25:38

Look at that. That is absolutely beautiful, isn't it?

0:25:380:25:41

It's a bee orchid and, slightly unusual here,

0:25:410:25:45

in that it's more associated with alkaline soils and we think that,

0:25:450:25:48

because they brought so much limestone in, for the runways,

0:25:480:25:51

it's made the soil slightly different and the bee orchids really like it.

0:25:510:25:55

-Now, the quarrying's stopped, there we are. Fantastic.

-Yeah.

0:25:550:25:59

And talking of life, as well, I mean, look at all the damselflies.

0:25:590:26:03

They are just that beautiful... Aqua blue, aren't they?

0:26:030:26:06

The place is buzzing with activity and traditional

0:26:070:26:10

Lincoln red cattle are doing their bit to help,

0:26:100:26:13

by grazing back the scrub.

0:26:130:26:15

But some of the new arrivals are causing a bit of a headache.

0:26:150:26:19

This is the piri piri burr,

0:26:210:26:24

a massively-invasive plant that smothers everything beneath it.

0:26:240:26:28

It is thought to have been brought here in the kit bags

0:26:280:26:31

of New Zealand airmen, so Dave and his crack team of volunteers

0:26:310:26:34

are busy ripping it out, across the site.

0:26:340:26:37

To be honest, you have got 550 acres here, Dave. I mean, how widespread

0:26:370:26:41

is this and is it going to work,

0:26:410:26:44

if you are just picking it out with a pair of gloves?

0:26:440:26:46

It is widespread.

0:26:460:26:47

You can see here, the way it's invaded into the stonecrop.

0:26:490:26:51

The important point is to get it now.

0:26:510:26:54

As long as we can stop it seeding

0:26:540:26:56

and stop the burrs spreading all over the place,

0:26:560:26:58

we have got a fighting chance.

0:26:580:27:01

The burrs are a not-so-welcome reminder of the past,

0:27:010:27:05

but there is one part of the old airbase

0:27:050:27:07

that will be taking centre stage.

0:27:070:27:09

The runway, and by far the most eye-catching part of the wildlife

0:27:100:27:14

restoration project, is to restore the edges that remain.

0:27:140:27:19

Not with concrete, but with heather.

0:27:190:27:21

Once they have edged the runways with heather, the plan is to put

0:27:230:27:27

a lasting memorial to the Dambusters,

0:27:270:27:29

smack bang where the runways cross.

0:27:290:27:32

But first, they have got to find that spot.

0:27:320:27:35

We can line up the posts, get some ropes out, we can find the middle

0:27:350:27:39

-of the runway.

-Great. And we are doing it in a very technical way?

0:27:390:27:42

Technical way - bits of rope, yes!

0:27:420:27:45

-Yeah? We happy, lads?

-Yeah.

-Let me get this cone.

0:27:540:27:57

Hang on. Put the cone in.

0:27:570:27:58

'Bingo. X marks the very spot where the memorial to 617 Squadron,

0:28:010:28:07

'the Dambusters, will go.'

0:28:070:28:09

That's it!

0:28:090:28:10

-Yes, well done.

-There we are, team! Come on, lads, let's salute.

0:28:100:28:14

We need to do something.

0:28:140:28:16

Livestock farmers know that, to keep a breed strong,

0:28:210:28:26

you need to bring in new blood.

0:28:260:28:28

That is especially true for Adam's rare-breed cattle.

0:28:290:28:33

These are the little White Parks. We have got two here that are

0:28:350:28:38

about a fortnight old and one, over there,

0:28:380:28:41

that is only a few days old. We have had White Parks on the farm

0:28:410:28:45

for over 40 years. At one time, they were "critically rare",

0:28:450:28:48

with the Rare Breed Survival Trust. They are now known as "endangered",

0:28:480:28:52

which means there is between 750-1,000 cows in the country.

0:28:520:28:55

Lovely-looking animals.

0:28:550:28:57

My White Parks are thriving, but all the bulls in the herd are now

0:28:570:29:05

related to these young cows, so I've got to introduce another bloodline

0:29:050:29:09

and expand the gene pool.

0:29:090:29:10

My plan is to buy another bull at auction. Whilst I'm there,

0:29:120:29:16

I'm hoping to sell this lovely young bull, Merritt.

0:29:160:29:18

When he was born on the farm, he would have been one of about

0:29:210:29:24

12 White Park calves - half of them female, that we have retained

0:29:240:29:28

and kept in the herd, to breed, in the future.

0:29:280:29:31

And, then, half of them male.

0:29:310:29:32

And the other male calves would have been castrated and go for beef

0:29:320:29:37

and we keep the very best ones, to sell as bulls.

0:29:370:29:39

And he would have been one of the ones that stood out as a calf.

0:29:390:29:43

He has grown on well now and he will, hopefully, go to

0:29:430:29:46

another pedigree herd and go for breeding

0:29:460:29:49

and make reasonable money.

0:29:490:29:51

especially if I get you looking all smart, eh?

0:29:510:29:55

1,000, I'll say.

0:29:580:29:59

1,000. A regular breeding cow.

0:29:590:30:02

1,000, I'll say.

0:30:020:30:04

Keep coming.

0:30:040:30:05

Take 20.

0:30:070:30:09

There's a White Park sale here, but also a commercial cattle sale,

0:30:110:30:15

and all the animals will have a pen number,

0:30:150:30:17

so I've just got to take him down the alleyway now and find its pen.

0:30:170:30:20

Here's a steady fella.

0:30:210:30:23

White Park auctions are few and far between.

0:30:250:30:28

But this one's on the doorstep in Worcester, too good to miss.

0:30:280:30:32

Steady. Steady. Steady. Steady, now.

0:30:320:30:35

All the cattle have a lot number in the catalogue. He's number 25.

0:30:390:30:44

So just got to sticker on his backside there

0:30:440:30:46

so when he's in the sale ring people know which bull it is.

0:30:460:30:49

Hopefully he'll make a good price.

0:30:520:30:54

Any money I make will go towards a new bull,

0:30:540:30:57

and there's some good ones here to choose from.

0:30:570:30:59

It's good to see a bull walking, see his action.

0:31:030:31:06

See the way his legs move, make sure he's not too narrow.

0:31:060:31:09

With good quality bulls like these, choosing one is going to be tricky.

0:31:120:31:16

We're mulling over whether this bull might do us, number 23.

0:31:160:31:19

He's called Gladiator.

0:31:190:31:20

Shouldn't affect him, but I like his name.

0:31:200:31:23

I have a fair idea of what to look for in a White Park bull,

0:31:250:31:29

but it doesn't hurt to get a second or even third opinion.

0:31:290:31:33

My livestock manager Mike has a really good eye

0:31:330:31:35

when it comes to cattle.

0:31:350:31:37

And Lawrence Alderson from the White Park Cattle Society

0:31:370:31:39

is a bloodline expert.

0:31:390:31:42

Lawrence, you're expecting White Park bulls for the society

0:31:430:31:46

all over the country.

0:31:460:31:47

And you know all about the genetics of the breed as well.

0:31:470:31:50

Yes. Which is important

0:31:500:31:52

because if you're going to get better you've got to breed better,

0:31:520:31:55

and selection of bulls, the herd size,

0:31:550:31:57

very important part of that whole exercise.

0:31:570:31:59

So you know what we've been using over recent years,

0:31:590:32:02

-would any of these bulls suit us?

-Yes.

0:32:020:32:05

In fact, the bloodlines here will fit in with your historic breeding

0:32:050:32:09

very well, all three of them.

0:32:090:32:11

Well, let's have a look at the other end.

0:32:110:32:13

They're nice, aren't they?

0:32:170:32:19

Yeah, they look nice. All lined up, easy to compare as well.

0:32:190:32:22

This has certainly got a lot more beef about it, hasn't it?

0:32:240:32:26

He's a lot more rounded, isn't he?

0:32:260:32:28

And this bit here, the depth and the top of the tail down to the V here,

0:32:280:32:32

I mean, he's a little bit narrower possibly than

0:32:320:32:35

the other one over here.

0:32:350:32:37

It's quite a bit of depth here. Nice.

0:32:370:32:41

If you notice, this one stands squarely,

0:32:410:32:43

-his feet are in four corners.

-Yes.

-That's always good.

0:32:430:32:47

-Goodness me. Decisions, decisions.

-Be a hard one.

0:32:470:32:51

Must admit, I agree with Mike and like the one on the right, number 26.

0:32:510:32:55

But number 22 in the middle with the red halter is first in the ring.

0:32:550:32:59

I'm tempted.

0:32:590:33:01

Lot 22. The first of the bulls, ladies and gentlemen.

0:33:010:33:05

At 14, I'm bid. I'm bid at 20. 14. 20. 14. 15.

0:33:050:33:10

14. 18 14. 18. 1,500 bid. 20?

0:33:100:33:14

15. 20. At 1,600 bid.

0:33:140:33:17

16. 18, sir?

0:33:170:33:19

1,700 bid.

0:33:190:33:20

1,800 bid. At 18. 50 bid.

0:33:210:33:24

You're out? Top of the left as well all done then.

0:33:240:33:27

At 1,850.

0:33:270:33:29

Adam Henson - 1,850.

0:33:290:33:31

Yay, we got one.

0:33:320:33:34

£1,850 - that's not bad for a quality animal.

0:33:340:33:38

Still, I'm looking to get some of that back by selling my bull.

0:33:380:33:42

Lovely breeder's bull there for you.

0:33:420:33:44

Lot number 25.

0:33:440:33:46

By the homebred sire. Go on. 900 bid.

0:33:460:33:50

At 9.

0:33:500:33:52

At 20 if you want to go on.

0:33:520:33:54

At 920.

0:33:540:33:55

920 bid. At 920 bid.

0:33:550:33:58

The last call.

0:33:580:34:00

All done at 920?

0:34:000:34:02

No, we can't go with that.

0:34:030:34:05

That's a bit below the belt for a good stud bull like that.

0:34:050:34:08

No sale. He didn't make the reserve.

0:34:080:34:11

And next up is the bull we really wanted - number 26.

0:34:110:34:14

The one on the right, remember.

0:34:140:34:16

The reason I bought the first bull is I reckon this one

0:34:160:34:19

will go for more than I was willing to pay.

0:34:190:34:22

All done at 2,400? Not today, David, nope.

0:34:220:34:27

Well, I thought he'd sell for a lot of money,

0:34:270:34:30

but he didn't even make his reserve.

0:34:300:34:33

I've got a cunning plan to buy this bull.

0:34:330:34:35

See if you can follow this.

0:34:350:34:37

Well, I bought a bull, but he wasn't the one I wanted.

0:34:400:34:43

The one I wanted I thought was going to go for too much money

0:34:430:34:45

and he was last in the ring,

0:34:450:34:47

but he actually didn't make his reserve, so he didn't sell.

0:34:470:34:50

-You were the underbidder?

-Yes.

0:34:500:34:52

-And I paid 1,850, so your previous bid was 1,800?

-Yes.

0:34:520:34:57

David, I have a bit of plan.

0:34:570:34:59

-You didn't sell this one, how much did you want for him?

-2,500.

0:34:590:35:04

How about if you drop the price a bit on him, and I give you 2,000,

0:35:040:35:08

and Keith pays 1,800 for that one, then you've sold two bulls.

0:35:080:35:13

I get the one I really liked and Keith gets a bull too.

0:35:130:35:15

Yeah, good business.

0:35:150:35:17

Thank you very much. Cheers, Keith.

0:35:170:35:20

We'll put it all through your auctioneer, so it's all above board.

0:35:200:35:23

Everyone's happy. There we go. Good business.

0:35:230:35:26

To recap, I've just sold the bull I first bought

0:35:310:35:34

and I got the one I really wanted at a knockdown price.

0:35:340:35:37

Negotiating a sale after an auction is fine

0:35:380:35:41

provided we put the sale through the auctioneers.

0:35:410:35:44

This is our new White Park bull that we bought

0:35:480:35:50

after a bit of swapping around.

0:35:500:35:52

And I think he was the best bull that was in the market today.

0:35:520:35:55

Really pleased with him. He's got great conformation, lovely colour.

0:35:550:35:59

He's up on his feet. Smart animal.

0:35:590:36:01

And he's got a beautiful temperament as well,

0:36:010:36:03

which is really important to us on the farm.

0:36:030:36:06

There's a good boy. In you go. Have a lovely new home.

0:36:060:36:09

All in all, not a bad day's work.

0:36:120:36:14

Lincolnshire is our second biggest county

0:36:200:36:23

and much of the land is given over to agriculture.

0:36:230:36:26

Here they grow everything from potatoes to sugar beat,

0:36:280:36:32

but most all they grow cereals.

0:36:320:36:35

Wheat especially.

0:36:350:36:37

Lincolnshire really is the country's bread basket with these vast

0:36:370:36:40

expanses of land where the wind can blow uninterrupted for

0:36:400:36:44

miles and miles, and that makes it perfect for these -

0:36:440:36:48

windmills, essential if bread's your business.

0:36:480:36:52

Lincolnshire was once full of them.

0:36:520:36:56

Even today, there are more windmills in this county than in any other.

0:36:560:37:00

But none quite like this. This is Heckington Windmill

0:37:000:37:04

and what makes it special is that is has eight sails.

0:37:040:37:07

And there were only seven eight-sailed windmills ever built

0:37:070:37:10

and this one is the last one standing.

0:37:100:37:14

Four was the norm.

0:37:140:37:16

Five sails is the optimum number.

0:37:160:37:19

This windmill at Sibsey has six, not in the same showing-off league as

0:37:190:37:24

Heckington, but a fully-functioning, working windmill nonetheless.

0:37:240:37:28

And nothing's changed. The processes are just as they were centuries ago.

0:37:280:37:33

In fact, a miller from the 16th century could walk in here

0:37:330:37:36

and feel right at home.

0:37:360:37:38

It was hazardous work though, cramped spaces,

0:37:410:37:44

the air thick with flour dust and you needed to be pretty strong.

0:37:440:37:48

Back in the old days, a sack of grain weighed about 18st.

0:37:480:37:52

That's twice my weight.

0:37:520:37:54

Today, they are a mere 4st.

0:37:540:37:58

That's too much for me. I'm going to leave that one to you, Ian.

0:37:580:38:00

Over to you.

0:38:000:38:02

'Then there's the simple task

0:38:050:38:07

'of getting it all the way to the top of the mill.'

0:38:070:38:09

Up here on the fifth floor, I can pull this rope,

0:38:110:38:14

which engages a wheel and the bag comes up.

0:38:140:38:18

That's it. So now... Oh, keep coming.

0:38:180:38:21

That goes down, put that back up.

0:38:220:38:25

Got a little platform there.

0:38:250:38:26

You just pour it straight into here.

0:38:280:38:30

There it goes.

0:38:330:38:35

The grain then comes down here

0:38:360:38:39

into this

0:38:390:38:40

and then it's fed into these two millstones at just the right speed,

0:38:400:38:45

the speed of which is determined by the sails outside,

0:38:450:38:49

and there it's ground into flour.

0:38:490:38:51

'Today there's just enough wind to drive the sails,

0:38:520:38:55

'but not enough to turn the millstones.

0:38:550:38:57

'But when there is, the wheat completes its journey.'

0:38:570:39:01

Back down to the second floor where the flour is all bagged up.

0:39:010:39:05

It's lovely being in here, isn't it, and listening the sails turn.

0:39:050:39:09

It's a living building and people come up and say,

0:39:090:39:11

"What did it used to do?"

0:39:110:39:13

My answer is it still produces flour,

0:39:130:39:16

it still works and it works exactly as it did when it was built in 1877.

0:39:160:39:21

Fantastic.

0:39:210:39:23

The last miller who worked this prior to its going out of action

0:39:230:39:27

was a guy called Tommy Ward.

0:39:270:39:29

The guy loved the mill, he lived for it.

0:39:290:39:31

It's even on his gravestone.

0:39:310:39:34

Do you still get a sense of him?

0:39:340:39:35

When you're locked in the mill working on it,

0:39:350:39:37

we've heard people come up the stairs

0:39:370:39:39

when it's physically impossible for them to get in.

0:39:390:39:42

We get a whiff of the old-fashioned tobacco.

0:39:420:39:44

'The appeal of windmills really is timeless.

0:39:460:39:49

'But just a few miles from Sibsey's six-sailed beauty,

0:39:500:39:54

'time and the years have taken their toll.'

0:39:540:39:57

Heckington's eight sails are rotten, so they've called in the heavy mob.

0:39:570:40:01

I'm going to be helping out in just a moment,

0:40:010:40:04

but first here's the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.

0:40:040:40:07

.

0:41:500:41:57

'We're in Lincolnshire, a county famous for its windmills.

0:42:100:42:14

'To harness the power of the wind, they need to have sails

0:42:160:42:19

'and Heckington Windmill's famous eight sails

0:42:190:42:22

'are no longer up to the job.'

0:42:220:42:24

So they're taking them down.

0:42:260:42:28

'Jim Bailey from the Heckington Windmill Trust

0:42:280:42:31

'is overseeing the work.'

0:42:310:42:33

It's a big day today, then?

0:42:330:42:34

It's a huge day for us, absolutely huge day today.

0:42:340:42:37

The old sails are coming down and new sails will then follow up

0:42:370:42:40

hopefully within the month.

0:42:400:42:41

Four years ago, our sails were condemned.

0:42:410:42:43

What do you mean "condemned"? What's up with them?

0:42:430:42:46

They're rotten.

0:42:460:42:47

Of course, they're made of wood, they're 30 years old -

0:42:470:42:49

we leave them outside, they rot.

0:42:490:42:51

OK, so they could fall off, even?

0:42:510:42:53

I'd hope not. Not today, no. That would be a bad thing to do today.

0:42:530:42:56

This is the first time that eight sails are being replaced

0:42:560:42:59

and eight new sails have been replaced

0:42:590:43:01

for the last 150 years.

0:43:010:43:03

-OK, well, you've got a busy few weeks ahead of you.

-We have.

0:43:030:43:05

OK, good luck with it.

0:43:050:43:06

'The new sails are ready to go,

0:43:090:43:11

'but the supporting structure will need renovating

0:43:110:43:13

'before they can be put up

0:43:130:43:15

'and, of course, the old sails will have to come down.'

0:43:150:43:18

Oh, wow.

0:43:210:43:23

I'm high above the ground, getting a bird's-eye view.

0:43:230:43:26

This must have been what the millwright

0:43:260:43:28

who put these sails up in the first place must have seen.

0:43:280:43:31

And what a view!

0:43:320:43:33

'Now I'm being joined by "that old millwright's"

0:43:350:43:38

'21st century counterpart, Neil Medcalf.'

0:43:380:43:40

That is quite an arrival, Neil.

0:43:410:43:43

-Hiya, there. How are you doing?

-Good, you?

0:43:430:43:46

-Yeah, not bad.

-Fantastic.

0:43:460:43:47

So this is quite a momentous day, then, really?

0:43:470:43:49

It is, yeah. Start of taking eight sails off, yeah.

0:43:490:43:53

Is there anything I can be doing to help out?

0:43:530:43:55

Yeah, if you could take the sail bolt out for us, can you, please?

0:43:550:43:59

-I've got a special spanner here for you.

-All right.

0:43:590:44:01

There you go.

0:44:010:44:02

-Don't drop that.

-There you go, don't drop it.

0:44:020:44:04

That is a serious nut and bolt there.

0:44:040:44:07

-Now...

-Pull it up to me.

-That's it.

0:44:090:44:12

What is it about this mill that allows it to have eight sails?

0:44:120:44:15

That's unusual, isn't it?

0:44:150:44:16

It is, yeah. It's a Lincolnshire thing.

0:44:160:44:18

Because they've got this cast-iron cross...

0:44:180:44:20

Is that just beneath us here?

0:44:200:44:22

-No, the black thing that you're...

-Oh, this thing?

0:44:220:44:24

That's cast iron, that is.

0:44:240:44:25

What I'm gripping on to for dear life,

0:44:250:44:27

this is the Lincolnshire cross?

0:44:270:44:28

Yeah, that's what the sails are bolted to.

0:44:280:44:30

It allows you to have as many sails as you like.

0:44:300:44:33

To start with it was just four sails, and then for some reason,

0:44:330:44:37

somebody decided they wanted an eight-sail one.

0:44:370:44:39

It was like the Ferrari of their day, I suppose.

0:44:390:44:42

-So this is proper showboating?

-It is, really, yeah.

0:44:420:44:46

Here you go, that's yours.

0:44:460:44:47

And I'll have the nut when you're finished with it.

0:44:470:44:49

That's really rusty. Eurgh.

0:44:490:44:51

-Lovely, and the washer. Thank you.

-Very good.

-OK.

0:44:520:44:55

And as a millwright,

0:44:550:44:56

it seems like quite a specialist job for 2014.

0:44:560:44:59

Do you get much work?

0:44:590:45:01

Oh, we could work seven days a week if we wanted to, really, yeah.

0:45:010:45:03

There's quite a lot of mills about

0:45:030:45:05

and not many millwrights doing it, that's the thing.

0:45:050:45:07

So how does today's work differ

0:45:070:45:08

from how they would have historically replaced the sails?

0:45:080:45:11

Well, it's obviously a lot easier. We've got cherry pickers and cranes.

0:45:110:45:15

Steve's stepped in now cos we're doing some serious work.

0:45:170:45:20

OK.

0:45:200:45:21

What will happen to all these old pieces of kit?

0:45:230:45:25

-Is that going to get used again?

-This all goes back on, yeah.

0:45:250:45:28

-Right, well, the sail's just hanging there now.

-Is it?

0:45:280:45:30

Yeah, the crane's got it.

0:45:300:45:31

We need to get out of the way so that it can come down?

0:45:310:45:34

When you're ready, yeah. I'll move out the way as well.

0:45:340:45:36

This is the moment. I'm going to duck down, just in case.

0:45:360:45:39

This is the moment she gets taken away.

0:45:500:45:52

'Seven sails later, the job's almost done.'

0:45:590:46:01

There we go - there's the final sail making its way down now.

0:46:030:46:06

It's going to look absolutely magnificent when it's finished,

0:46:060:46:09

and I can tell you something else that's pretty impressive -

0:46:090:46:11

I can now reveal for the first time anywhere tonight the grand total

0:46:110:46:15

raised by the Countryfile calendar for Children in Need

0:46:150:46:18

and that total is...

0:46:180:46:20

..which deserves an enormous thank you

0:46:270:46:29

to everybody who bought the calendar.

0:46:290:46:31

Well, that's it from Lincolnshire this week.

0:46:310:46:33

Next week, the programme will be in the Peak District

0:46:330:46:36

where John will be on the set of the BBC drama The Village

0:46:360:46:39

and Helen will be exploring the area's connection

0:46:390:46:42

with the British Raj.

0:46:420:46:43

Hope you can join us then. Bye-bye.

0:46:430:46:45

Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison visit Lincolnshire, where Matt meets one of the last surviving members of the Dambusters squadron. He takes a turn in one of the few remaining Lancaster bombers and looks at how the old Dambusters airfield is being returned to nature.

Ellie goes looking for a man who is two inches high and pink! The man orchid is one of our rarest flowers, but it thrives in Lincolnshire. Ellie also helps take down the sails on the only eight-sailed windmill in existence.

Meanwhile, Adam is wheeling and dealing for a new white park bull, and John Craven is joined by two new celebrity judges as he launches this year's Countryfile Photographic Competition with its theme 'Animal Magic'.


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