Norfolk Countryfile


Norfolk

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Norfolk. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Norfolk - a county cherished for its sweeping shorelines

0:00:270:00:31

and best known for its breathtaking Broads.

0:00:310:00:33

But there's more to this place than meets the eye.

0:00:350:00:37

It is a landscape that's been used

0:00:370:00:40

like no other.

0:00:400:00:41

Out of bounds to most of us, it's been barraged with abuse

0:00:410:00:45

but, at the same time,

0:00:450:00:46

it's been nurtured and is abundant with nature.

0:00:460:00:49

All will be revealed.

0:00:490:00:51

Anita is helping to save a nugget of Norfolk history.

0:00:520:00:55

No longer needed, neglected and left to rot,

0:00:550:00:59

the humble shepherd's hut is being rescued, restored,

0:00:590:01:02

and given a new lease of life by two passionate chaps from Norfolk.

0:01:020:01:06

No, I can't hear...

0:01:080:01:09

I can't hear you.

0:01:090:01:10

Charlotte's searching for a signal.

0:01:100:01:13

There are still large parts of rural Britain

0:01:130:01:16

with little or no mobile phone coverage.

0:01:160:01:18

It's not just frustrating, it's bad for business

0:01:180:01:21

and, in extreme cases, puts lives at risk.

0:01:210:01:24

So what's being done to keep us connected in the countryside?

0:01:240:01:28

WHISTLING

0:01:280:01:29

And in two weeks' time, we'll be playing host

0:01:310:01:33

to legendary sheepdog-trial competition One Man And His Dog.

0:01:330:01:36

This week, Helen and Shauna are checking the form

0:01:380:01:41

of our Scottish and Welsh competitors

0:01:410:01:43

and their canine companions.

0:01:430:01:45

I won the Novice Cup, which was a bit of encouragement,

0:01:460:01:49

but the downside was it was only myself that was competing for it.

0:01:490:01:52

SHE LAUGHS

0:01:520:01:53

Most visitors to Norfolk

0:02:010:02:02

head straight for the wetland of the Broads

0:02:020:02:05

or the stunning beaches that stretch along its northern edges.

0:02:050:02:09

Few would stop to consider the landscape away from the coast.

0:02:110:02:14

But for those that do, they'll be rewarded

0:02:150:02:18

with one of the great natural areas of Britain.

0:02:180:02:21

Welcome to Breckland.

0:02:220:02:23

Breckland spans a huge swathe of Norfolk,

0:02:260:02:28

and I'm heading for an area just outside the town of Thetford.

0:02:280:02:31

The Brecks, as it's known locally,

0:02:330:02:35

contains one of the most extensive areas of lowland sandy heaths

0:02:350:02:39

remaining in Britain today.

0:02:390:02:41

You know, I love studying maps,

0:02:430:02:45

and if you look at one for this area

0:02:450:02:47

you'll notice that it's covered in the words "danger area".

0:02:470:02:50

That's because huge swathes of the Brecks

0:02:500:02:53

now make up an enormous military training ground -

0:02:530:02:57

one of the biggest in the country.

0:02:570:02:58

ENGINE STARTS

0:03:000:03:02

Ordinarily, this land is off limits to the public,

0:03:090:03:12

but we've been given special access

0:03:120:03:14

to reveal the secrets of this fascinating landscape.

0:03:140:03:17

Well, guiding me around the training area today

0:03:230:03:26

is my driver, Sergeant Smith.

0:03:260:03:28

-Smudge to you.

-Smudge to me.

0:03:280:03:30

Everybody called Smith in the Army is called Smudge, aren't they?

0:03:300:03:33

Everybody in the Army called Smith is called Smudge.

0:03:330:03:36

Smudge, this is an enormous patch of Norfolk, 25,000 acres.

0:03:360:03:40

Do you ever get lost?

0:03:400:03:42

I used to get lost for about the first year that I worked here,

0:03:420:03:44

but I'm pretty much there now, I know where I'm going.

0:03:440:03:47

We've got plenty of maps, look.

0:03:470:03:48

Plenty of maps, I'd never go anywhere without a map.

0:03:480:03:51

There says a true soldier.

0:03:510:03:52

Stanford Training Area - or STANTA for short -

0:03:560:03:59

is one of the UK's major live-firing exercise facilities.

0:03:590:04:04

But at the heart of the training ground

0:04:060:04:08

is something you wouldn't really expect to find

0:04:080:04:10

anywhere in the British countryside.

0:04:100:04:12

An Afghan village.

0:04:140:04:15

'Built in 2008,

0:04:250:04:26

'it was meant to replicate a typical village in Helmand.

0:04:260:04:30

'The British Army was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002,

0:04:300:04:34

'and even though combat troops

0:04:340:04:35

'are due to withdraw by the end of this year,

0:04:350:04:38

'it's still used as a training ground by our military.

0:04:380:04:40

'Deputy Commander Tony Powell is part of the team

0:04:400:04:44

'that manages the facilities for the MOD.'

0:04:440:04:47

-Very nice to see you, sir.

-And you.

0:04:470:04:49

What an extraordinary find in the heart of Norfolk.

0:04:490:04:53

I mean, many young soldiers who've never been abroad before

0:04:530:04:57

must wonder where they've ended up.

0:04:570:04:58

Well, that's precisely what we're hoping to achieve here, of course,

0:04:580:05:02

to sort of, you know, deliver a bit of realism

0:05:020:05:05

for our soldiers during their sort of training,

0:05:050:05:08

to make this as real as we can to prepare them

0:05:080:05:11

for what they're going to face once they get into Afghanistan.

0:05:110:05:15

What makes the whole experience

0:05:170:05:18

particularly real for training troops

0:05:180:05:21

is that the whole place is populated by villagers -

0:05:210:05:24

in reality, a mixture of Gurkha soldiers and Afghan nationals.

0:05:240:05:28

They act out scenarios from everyday life,

0:05:290:05:32

from patrolling the streets to the deadly suicide bomber.

0:05:320:05:36

I can only imagine what this is like

0:05:380:05:40

when it is full of Afghans and troops training,

0:05:400:05:43

but we've got a taste of it over here.

0:05:430:05:45

I don't know if it is tasty - can you actually eat this stuff?

0:05:450:05:48

I personally wouldn't want to try,

0:05:480:05:50

but you have to say that they've done a good job.

0:05:500:05:52

It's plastic. That's incredible.

0:05:530:05:56

I mean, the detail is fabulous.

0:05:560:05:58

The old fridge, all the old bottles and bits and pieces,

0:05:580:06:01

and this huge sort of haunch here, I mean, that's incredible,

0:06:010:06:04

it looks pretty gruesome, doesn't it?

0:06:040:06:06

The land has been used as a training camp for troops

0:06:070:06:10

as far back as the First World War.

0:06:100:06:12

Along with the Afghan facility, there's a Northern Ireland compound.

0:06:120:06:17

And a European village built in the 1960s

0:06:190:06:21

when the Cold War was at its peak.

0:06:210:06:23

But what is it about Stanford Training Area

0:06:250:06:28

that makes it so useful to the Army?

0:06:280:06:30

Stanford offers a fantastic array of facilities,

0:06:300:06:36

and it has an abundance of woods and forest blocks

0:06:360:06:41

and a fine mixture of open space -

0:06:410:06:44

everything that a soldier is likely to encounter

0:06:440:06:48

in almost any conflict that he is going to find himself in.

0:06:480:06:52

But plastic meat aside, Tony,

0:06:520:06:53

how realistic is this compared to the real thing in Helmand?

0:06:530:06:58

I asked a sergeant from my battalion who had returned

0:06:580:07:02

and had experience in Afghanistan, "Have we got it right?"

0:07:020:07:06

He quickly said,

0:07:060:07:08

"The only thing that's wrong here, Sir, is the weather."

0:07:080:07:10

-HE LAUGHS:

-Even you can't control the weather, Tony!

0:07:100:07:13

Rewind 100 years to the First World War

0:07:190:07:22

and troops were notoriously underprepared.

0:07:220:07:24

And yet here we have the other end of the scale.

0:07:260:07:29

We've certainly learned a lot over the last century.

0:07:290:07:32

This place is full of fascination,

0:07:340:07:36

but the one thing I haven't yet been able to find

0:07:360:07:38

is a mobile-phone signal,

0:07:380:07:40

and that's a real problem for all of us

0:07:400:07:42

who live in rural parts of the UK.

0:07:420:07:44

But the question is,

0:07:440:07:45

will we ever get full coverage in the countryside?

0:07:450:07:48

Well, Charlotte has been to find out. Come on, Smudge.

0:07:480:07:51

PHONE RINGS

0:07:530:07:55

'For many people, it's hard to imagine life without them.'

0:07:580:08:01

Hello? Hello?

0:08:010:08:03

'We take them everywhere.'

0:08:030:08:04

Hi, yeah, I'm filming today for Countryfile. Sorry?

0:08:040:08:07

'Mobile phones.'

0:08:070:08:09

John Craven, sheep...

0:08:090:08:11

I can barely hear you, can you shout?

0:08:110:08:13

'But in many rural parts of the UK

0:08:130:08:16

'getting a signal can be a real struggle.'

0:08:160:08:18

You'll probably recognise this -

0:08:180:08:21

the vain search for a signal and the growing feeling of frustration

0:08:210:08:25

when you realise there's no coverage and you can't make a call.

0:08:250:08:29

A recent survey by Ofcom

0:08:320:08:33

revealed a third of mobile users in rural areas

0:08:330:08:37

aren't happy with the quality of calls and coverage they receive.

0:08:370:08:41

Worse still, just over 80,000 premises

0:08:410:08:44

are in complete so-called mobile "not spots",

0:08:440:08:46

where there's no coverage at all.

0:08:460:08:49

Now, you might think it's one of the joys of being in the countryside,

0:08:490:08:53

getting away from it all

0:08:530:08:54

without your mobile phone going off every five minutes.

0:08:540:08:57

But for people who live and work here, it's a serious problem.

0:08:570:09:00

-There you go.

-Thank you very much.

0:09:020:09:04

John Whitwell is a vet serving the moorlands of North Yorkshire.

0:09:070:09:11

I'm heading out with him on his rounds in Rosedale,

0:09:110:09:14

but first he needs to check his phone messages.

0:09:140:09:17

-So, John, this is where you have to come to get a signal?

-Yes.

0:09:180:09:22

We're about five miles away from the practice and, really,

0:09:220:09:25

since we turned out of the gate we've had no mobile signal,

0:09:250:09:27

and so I've got to check it now

0:09:270:09:29

and see if I've been needed between now and then.

0:09:290:09:31

John's visiting one of his regulars,

0:09:330:09:36

whose calf has suspected pneumonia.

0:09:360:09:38

Adrian Dowsland is one of several farmers in the valley

0:09:380:09:41

that need John to be on call 24/7.

0:09:410:09:44

-How are we doing, Adrian, all right?

-Not bad, John, yourself?

0:09:440:09:47

-Not too bad.

-Morning, Adrian.

-Morning.

0:09:470:09:49

'At certain times of the year, being in touch is crucial.'

0:09:510:09:54

Particularly during the spring, when we're lambing and calving,

0:09:540:09:58

five, ten minutes can make all the difference

0:09:580:10:00

between having a positive result and a negative result.

0:10:000:10:03

The other thing is, for the likes of Adrian,

0:10:030:10:06

if he rings, I answer the phone, I can say to him,

0:10:060:10:09

"Look, Adrian, I'm going to be 20-25 minutes."

0:10:090:10:12

Immediately, he knows, one, that I've got the message,

0:10:120:10:15

two, that I'm going to be there, when I'm going to be there,

0:10:150:10:18

and his stress levels drop, as well.

0:10:180:10:19

It makes life more stressful for everybody, it takes up time

0:10:190:10:22

and, yeah, it doesn't make it impossible

0:10:220:10:25

to provide an emergency service, but it makes life more difficult.

0:10:250:10:29

Good boy.

0:10:290:10:31

Two quite long-acting injections, these, Adrian,

0:10:310:10:34

the anti-inflammatory will last for three days.

0:10:340:10:36

'But on an isolated farm like this

0:10:360:10:38

'it's not just animals that are at risk.'

0:10:380:10:40

Adrian, for you farming out here on your own -

0:10:410:10:44

-and it's a dangerous job, farming...

-Yeah.

0:10:440:10:47

..what impact is the lack of mobile phone having?

0:10:470:10:49

Well, I think a lot of it comes down to being by yourself.

0:10:510:10:54

A lot of these farms, you know, you're by yourself,

0:10:540:10:57

gathering on the moor, we have moor sheep.

0:10:570:10:59

You could slip, you could have a quad bike overturn...

0:11:010:11:04

You know, dealing with the cattle, you know,

0:11:050:11:07

when you have cows and you're dealing with them,

0:11:070:11:09

you could get kicked, you could be laid out,

0:11:090:11:12

and you're by yourself, like.

0:11:120:11:13

And despite poor coverage, Adrian doesn't get a cheaper tariff.

0:11:130:11:18

Somebody did tell us that I pay £15 a month to know what time it is.

0:11:180:11:22

THEY LAUGH

0:11:220:11:23

Having no or poor signal isn't just a problem for farmers and vets.

0:11:250:11:29

The Country Land And Business Association

0:11:290:11:31

says better mobile coverage is as important as effective broadband

0:11:310:11:35

in ensuring that rural businesses can compete fairly.

0:11:350:11:39

Now, we hear a lot about the problems

0:11:400:11:42

caused by the lack of rural broadband,

0:11:420:11:44

yet mobile phones have been around for more than 20 years

0:11:440:11:48

and in places like this there's still no signal.

0:11:480:11:51

Across the country, in rural areas, coverage is far from comprehensive.

0:11:510:11:56

The Countryside Alliance sees it as such a problem

0:11:570:12:00

it's worked with commercial research company RootMetrics

0:12:000:12:04

to build up a picture of national coverage and its rural shortcomings.

0:12:040:12:08

And here they are, the top testing team.

0:12:090:12:13

-Hi.

-Hello!

0:12:130:12:14

So you're actually testing as you go?

0:12:140:12:16

Yeah, we've got our two kits in here right now

0:12:160:12:19

and they continuously go through our testing sequence while we drive.

0:12:190:12:22

'They've been testing indoors and out, day and night.'

0:12:220:12:26

-This is our testing kit.

-How does this work?

0:12:260:12:29

We have a phone from each operator,

0:12:290:12:32

so one from Vodafone, EE, 3 and O2.

0:12:320:12:35

'The team covered 25,000 miles, up, down and across the country,

0:12:350:12:40

'to build up a picture of what people can really expect

0:12:400:12:43

'from their mobile provider.'

0:12:430:12:44

No surprise that in rural areas

0:12:440:12:46

it is harder to get a signal, it is harder to make a phone call.

0:12:460:12:50

It's not always the case that there's such a big divide

0:12:500:12:53

between cities and rural locations -

0:12:530:12:55

sometimes even in cities you'll find it very hard

0:12:550:12:57

to get a signal and to make a call.

0:12:570:12:59

But the high-level figure really is

0:12:590:13:02

that outside of a town you're four to five times more likely

0:13:020:13:05

to suffer a dropped call than you are inside a town.

0:13:050:13:08

And that's from our study across the whole of the UK.

0:13:080:13:11

Now, that's not just because

0:13:120:13:14

rural areas have fewer masts than towns or cities.

0:13:140:13:17

Hills and valleys certainly play their part

0:13:170:13:20

in blocking phone signals.

0:13:200:13:22

But, whatever the cause, there are still hundreds of thousands

0:13:220:13:25

of customers in the countryside

0:13:250:13:27

with a poor, unreliable, or non-existent service.

0:13:270:13:30

What are the chances that people in rural areas

0:13:320:13:34

will get the phone coverage they're paying for?

0:13:340:13:37

Well, I'll be finding out later.

0:13:370:13:39

I'm in Norfolk, on the lookout for a rural relic

0:13:440:13:47

with a story to tell about this country's rich agricultural past.

0:13:470:13:52

Explore the local countryside

0:13:530:13:55

and you won't have to go too far to find one -

0:13:550:13:58

lurking forlornly in a farmyard,

0:13:580:14:00

providing a haphazard henhouse, or quietly rusting away under a tree.

0:14:000:14:05

The shepherd's hut.

0:14:060:14:08

This simple structure is intimately linked with Norfolk's history,

0:14:080:14:11

as I'm about to find out.

0:14:110:14:13

Ian McDonald and Richard King are dedicated huttists

0:14:160:14:19

who have researched their history

0:14:190:14:21

and provide a rescue and restoration service.

0:14:210:14:24

-Hello, guys.

-Hi.

-Hi, Ian, pleased to meet you.

0:14:250:14:28

-Pleased to meet you, too.

-Hello, Richard.

-Hello.

0:14:280:14:30

-Working away?

-Yes.

0:14:300:14:32

-What were they used for?

-This is where the shepherd used to live.

0:14:320:14:34

He used to have all his tools in here, his potions, his tar.

0:14:340:14:38

He also used to sleep in the hut, but with the orphan lambs as well.

0:14:380:14:41

So what's your involvement with them now?

0:14:410:14:44

Well, there are so many of these still out there

0:14:440:14:46

in various states of decay and despair,

0:14:460:14:49

and we've become an unofficial re-homing service, I guess.

0:14:490:14:53

People contact us and we put them in touch with each other.

0:14:530:14:56

This old girl's been around now for well over 100 years.

0:14:560:14:59

It's seen both world wars.

0:14:590:15:02

It's an important piece of our real heritage.

0:15:020:15:05

Once a common feature of this landscape,

0:15:060:15:08

shepherds' huts fell into disuse after the war.

0:15:080:15:12

There are now only a handful of original ones left.

0:15:120:15:16

-I'm just dying to get in there.

-Yes.

0:15:160:15:18

-Let's have a go.

-Shall we have a go?

-Yes.

-Shall we get in?

0:15:180:15:20

-It's a lot bigger than you'd think.

-Yes.

0:15:200:15:22

It's quite spacious. I can confirm there's a few spiders in here!

0:15:220:15:27

-Shall we go and find your partner in crime?

-Yes, certainly.

0:15:270:15:29

-Shall we go and see what he's up to?

-Yeah.

0:15:290:15:32

Richard is prepping the hut to be moved to a new location for repairs.

0:15:320:15:37

-Right, Richard. Digging away.

-Yes.

0:15:370:15:39

So what's the plan for this hut today?

0:15:390:15:41

We've got some framework inside the hut

0:15:410:15:44

which we've built to support the structure when we lift it up.

0:15:440:15:47

We need that wheel dug out.

0:15:470:15:49

-Yeah.

-So there's a bit of work getting that one moved.

-OK. OK.

0:15:490:15:52

No problem. I can do this.

0:15:520:15:54

It might take a while, though!

0:15:550:15:57

It's all hands to the pumps

0:16:000:16:01

as we prepare to move the hut for the first time in decades.

0:16:010:16:06

But will it stay in one piece?

0:16:110:16:12

-You worried?

-Slightly, yes.

0:16:210:16:23

I hope it stays together. We all hope it stays together!

0:16:270:16:30

Well, as this hut goes off to begin a new life,

0:16:540:16:57

I'm off to meet someone for whom shepherds' huts

0:16:570:17:00

hold a very special significance.

0:17:000:17:02

I'm dying to look at it.

0:17:030:17:05

THEY LAUGH

0:17:050:17:08

'During the Second World War, Phyllis Pauley lived here in Norfolk

0:17:080:17:11

'in a hut with her grandfather every spring during the lambing season.

0:17:110:17:15

'Today is the first time she's seen a shepherd's hut since 1949.'

0:17:150:17:21

Oh, gosh!

0:17:220:17:24

-Oh. Oh, could I touch it?

-You can.

-Oh!

0:17:250:17:29

-Off you go.

-Oh!

0:17:310:17:33

My goodness!

0:17:340:17:36

Oh, that brings back so many happy memories.

0:17:370:17:43

This is gorgeous.

0:17:430:17:45

I really could cry. This is wonderful.

0:17:540:17:58

And when I think, years ago,

0:17:580:18:02

my grandad had his bed there.

0:18:020:18:06

I had my bed here.

0:18:060:18:09

We had a big stove there.

0:18:090:18:13

That side was a box with the little lambs in,

0:18:150:18:21

which, if any of them were sick,

0:18:210:18:24

I used to take to bed and cuddle them.

0:18:240:18:29

And because that was during the war,

0:18:290:18:32

there were no men to help Grandad.

0:18:320:18:36

-What was it like in the depths of winter? Was it freezing?

-Yes.

0:18:360:18:40

We used to have very, very cold winters,

0:18:400:18:44

so everything outside

0:18:440:18:46

would be frozen and cold,

0:18:460:18:49

but in there, that was lovely!

0:18:490:18:51

SHE LAUGHS

0:18:510:18:53

They were such happy days.

0:18:580:19:01

And I'm sure, um, Grandad's watching.

0:19:010:19:06

-I'm sure he is!

-What do you think he's saying?

0:19:060:19:10

I wouldn't like to tell you!

0:19:100:19:12

THEY LAUGH

0:19:120:19:14

These historic huts and their stories

0:19:160:19:18

are now being preserved by enthusiasts -

0:19:180:19:21

a reminder of their special role in Norfolk's shepherding past.

0:19:210:19:25

In a couple of weeks' time, Countryfile will be playing host

0:19:320:19:35

to the legendary One Man And His Dog sheepdog trials.

0:19:350:19:39

Between now and then, we'll be meeting all the teams taking part.

0:19:390:19:43

The best young handlers will be teamed up with

0:19:430:19:46

the most skilful senior shepherds from England, Ireland,

0:19:460:19:49

Scotland and Wales,

0:19:490:19:50

as together with their four-legged friends, they battle it out,

0:19:500:19:54

all hoping to become champion of 2014.

0:19:540:19:58

Later, Helen will be meeting the team hoping to cover Wales in glory.

0:19:580:20:02

But first, we sent Shauna to the northernmost tip of Scotland

0:20:020:20:06

to meet their contenders.

0:20:060:20:08

Ahead of me are just the turbulent seas of the Pentland Firth

0:20:100:20:14

and the distant cliffs of the Orkney Islands.

0:20:140:20:16

And you can't get further within mainland Scotland

0:20:200:20:23

than here on the dramatic northern coast.

0:20:230:20:25

It may be remote, but inland,

0:20:350:20:36

within the rolling fertile farmland

0:20:360:20:39

around the town of Thurso in Caithness,

0:20:390:20:41

there are still plenty of sheep that need herding.

0:20:410:20:44

And hoping to bring the One Man And His Dog title

0:20:460:20:49

back to this far-flung corner of Scotland

0:20:490:20:51

is Michael Shearer and his working dog, Jim.

0:20:510:20:54

-Such a beautiful day.

-Oh, yes.

-You're very lucky, Michael.

-Oh, yes.

0:20:560:21:00

-This is a great place to live.

-Well, it's...

-Some of the time?

-It can be.

0:21:000:21:03

-It can be on a good day.

-Yeah.

0:21:030:21:05

'Michael was the first of the family to trial sheepdogs,

0:21:050:21:09

'and when he took it up, almost 30 years ago,

0:21:090:21:12

'he was gifted a bit of beginner's luck.'

0:21:120:21:15

You did have a bit of success, didn't you, early on?

0:21:150:21:17

I won the Novice Cup, which was a bit of encouragement,

0:21:170:21:20

but the downside was it was only myself that was competing for it!

0:21:200:21:24

That's a smart move! I did the same with a tennis cup at school.

0:21:240:21:28

You go for the one that nobody else has entered.

0:21:290:21:33

'When starting out, Michael may have had some good fortune,

0:21:330:21:36

'but since then he has been prolific

0:21:360:21:38

'and has a string of honours to his name,

0:21:380:21:41

'including success as a singles champion in One Man And His Dog

0:21:410:21:45

'almost 20 years ago.'

0:21:450:21:46

Sit!

0:21:460:21:47

'And they're in. Well, that was extremely skilful shepherding

0:21:470:21:51

'and what a great trial to watch.'

0:21:510:21:53

17 years on, he may have a different dog in Jim,

0:21:540:21:57

but could Michael be capable

0:21:570:21:59

of winning One Man And His Dog yet again?

0:21:590:22:02

-When they start to run, the whole lot goes.

-Yeah. There they go.

0:22:030:22:07

Well done, Jim.

0:22:070:22:08

So now you've tasted success,

0:22:120:22:14

how do you think you're going to do this year at One Man And His Dog?

0:22:140:22:17

I don't know how I'll do, but I'll certainly be trying my hardest.

0:22:170:22:20

-Have you been training?

-Well, you do a little bit of training,

0:22:200:22:23

but the work on the farm here now, it takes that much time that the...

0:22:230:22:27

I'd like the dog to be a lot fitter than he is at the moment.

0:22:270:22:30

And how do you think he's going to fare,

0:22:300:22:32

-because he's quite a nervous dog, isn't he?

-He can be.

0:22:320:22:34

Certain things unsettle him, so it just depends. On home ground

0:22:340:22:38

he's no problem, but away from home, he can act funny sometimes.

0:22:380:22:43

What is it about Jim that makes him so special?

0:22:430:22:46

He responds to every whistle you give him. He's very responsive.

0:22:460:22:50

You don't need to tell him twice - usually.

0:22:500:22:53

Hopefully you'll get that One Man And His Dog trophy back again.

0:22:530:22:56

-You never know.

-You try your best.

0:22:560:22:58

If your dog works well on the sheep, runs for you,

0:22:580:23:01

you've got a good chance.

0:23:010:23:03

Despite his modesty, as a past master,

0:23:030:23:05

it would be foolish to underestimate the challenge

0:23:050:23:09

from this mesmerising duo of Michael Shearer and Jim.

0:23:090:23:13

Come on!

0:23:140:23:16

But who's going to be Michael's team-mate?

0:23:160:23:18

From Scotland's remote northern coastline, I've travelled south

0:23:180:23:21

to the glorious glens, forests and fells of Perthshire.

0:23:210:23:25

Scotland's spellbinding but rugged terrain

0:23:310:23:34

is a challenge for even the most experienced of shepherds.

0:23:340:23:38

But on the shores of stunning Loch Earn lives an 18-year-old handler

0:23:380:23:42

who, despite his age,

0:23:420:23:43

can whip a hillside full of sheep into shape in no time.

0:23:430:23:46

Representing Scotland in this year's Young Handler class

0:23:520:23:56

is Alan MacKenzie with his dog, Cole.

0:23:560:23:58

'As a self-employed shepherd, Alan works with three dogs -

0:24:010:24:04

'Cole and Ben, his collies,

0:24:040:24:06

'and his third dog, Tooey,

0:24:060:24:07

'is a breed that originates from the other side of the world,

0:24:070:24:11

'a New Zealand huntaway.'

0:24:110:24:13

-So the Border collies are good at weaving and herding the sheep.

-Yep.

0:24:130:24:16

What does the huntaway do?

0:24:160:24:18

The huntaway's good at, like, say the sheep were in front of you,

0:24:180:24:21

they're good at, like, pushing them away forward.

0:24:210:24:23

-Pushes them on?

-Yeah. And saves a lot of work for the rearers.

0:24:230:24:27

-The less energy they use, I can use them at the end...

-OK.

0:24:270:24:31

..to get the sheep mostly in.

0:24:310:24:33

It's an impressive trio,

0:24:330:24:35

but Alan can only take one of his dogs into the competition.

0:24:350:24:39

So you're going to concentrate on Cole this time for the competition.

0:24:390:24:42

-Yeah, yeah.

-How do you think he's going to perform?

0:24:420:24:45

Well, I just hope the sheep are heavy,

0:24:450:24:48

because Cole likes to kind of push the sheep about.

0:24:480:24:51

He likes to be the boss.

0:24:510:24:53

And on this type of terrain,

0:24:530:24:55

you certainly need a dog who's boss to herd blackface Scottish ewes,

0:24:550:24:59

a breed of sheep that's notoriously difficult to handle.

0:24:590:25:02

So, how long have you had Cole for?

0:25:040:25:06

Just before lambing time. I bought him off of Dad.

0:25:060:25:08

-So your dad made you buy him, he didn't give him to you?!

-No.

0:25:080:25:11

-That's a tough dad!

-I know!

-Oh, my God!

0:25:120:25:15

-So, have you had to work at building the bond up with him?

-No.

0:25:150:25:18

-I've known him since he was a pup, so...

-Yeah.

0:25:180:25:21

And he was a very friendly pup -

0:25:210:25:22

even though he's very tough out on the working,

0:25:220:25:25

when he was a pup, he was the runt of the litter

0:25:250:25:29

and Dad thought if he can pull through being the runt,

0:25:290:25:34

-he should be tough enough to do work.

-Mm-hm.

0:25:340:25:36

-And he's proven himself now.

-Yeah, he's very tough, yeah.

0:25:360:25:39

So, from being the runt of the litter

0:25:390:25:41

to a possible One Man And His Dog champion.

0:25:410:25:43

-Yeah.

-What do you think of that?

0:25:430:25:45

I would like that. Yeah. A lot.

0:25:450:25:47

Alan started helping out on the family farm

0:25:530:25:55

as soon as he could fit in his wellies and walk,

0:25:550:25:58

and now that he's representing Scotland,

0:25:580:26:00

you won't find anyone prouder in Perthshire than his mum Mhairi.

0:26:000:26:04

And how do you feel about Alan representing his country?

0:26:040:26:08

Oh, it's amazing. You don't get better than that, do you?

0:26:080:26:11

Just excited - we're just so proud.

0:26:110:26:14

You know, he's so happy, and that makes me happy.

0:26:140:26:17

That's nice. Will you be nervous for him?

0:26:170:26:19

Very. I'll probably be standing there crying!

0:26:190:26:23

He'll be like, "Shut up, Mum!"

0:26:230:26:25

Oh, no! You're going to embarrass him, are you?

0:26:250:26:27

So, waving the saltire for Scotland,

0:26:350:26:37

young handler Alan McKenzie with his dog Cole.

0:26:370:26:40

Together with Michael Shearer and Jim, that is Team Scotland.

0:26:420:26:46

Now, earlier, we heard about the problems

0:26:540:26:56

caused by the lack of mobile-phone coverage in rural areas.

0:26:560:26:59

PHONE RINGS Hello?

0:26:590:27:01

So what is being done to get us all connected?

0:27:010:27:04

Here's Charlotte.

0:27:040:27:05

Finding a signal can be a real problem

0:27:070:27:09

for people who live and work in the countryside.

0:27:090:27:12

Apparently it's even an issue for the Prime Minister.

0:27:120:27:16

While he was on holiday in Cornwall earlier this year,

0:27:160:27:19

David Cameron had to drive to the top of the nearest hill

0:27:190:27:22

so he could get enough signal to talk to other world leaders.

0:27:220:27:26

Well, since then, he's urged ministers

0:27:260:27:28

to improve the mobile-phone signal in rural areas.

0:27:280:27:32

So how's that going?

0:27:330:27:34

Well, in the past 12 months,

0:27:340:27:36

the village of Weaverthorpe in North Yorkshire

0:27:360:27:38

has gone from little or no coverage

0:27:380:27:40

to a signal that now covers virtually the whole community.

0:27:400:27:43

Hello, Andrew, it's Charlotte. Where are you?

0:27:450:27:48

The Masons' family farm sits in the shadow of the Weaverthorpe mast,

0:27:490:27:53

upgraded as part of a £150 million government initiative

0:27:530:27:58

to tackle not-spots - that's areas with no mobile-phone signal.

0:27:580:28:03

-Hi, Andrew.

-Hi, Charlotte.

-Nice to meet you.

0:28:040:28:07

So, what difference has this made?

0:28:070:28:08

Oh, a big difference. We've got coverage everywhere.

0:28:080:28:11

We can talk to anybody anywhere.

0:28:110:28:14

It's really done a good job.

0:28:140:28:16

Has it made a difference to the way you work on the farm?

0:28:160:28:21

Well, it's certainly safer, because we can be out in the fields,

0:28:210:28:24

and we're in contact at home all the time,

0:28:240:28:26

so we don't take the risk, really, that we did before.

0:28:260:28:29

For Andrew's son Jonathan,

0:28:310:28:32

finally being part of the digital age is a breath of fresh air -

0:28:320:28:36

and not just because he can now text his mates.

0:28:360:28:39

It's made a real difference to the farm.

0:28:390:28:41

It's made the running of the farm a lot easier.

0:28:410:28:44

Cos actually a lot of the forms that you have to fill in,

0:28:440:28:47

for instance for the government, they're all on online now.

0:28:470:28:49

Yeah, they are now, yeah.

0:28:490:28:50

And it means we can fill these in in the field,

0:28:500:28:52

without having to return back to the office many times through the day.

0:28:520:28:56

I think, looking to the future,

0:28:560:28:58

it's going to make things much more efficient

0:28:580:29:00

as more technology becomes available,

0:29:000:29:01

and we're going to have to look to try and utilise that better.

0:29:010:29:04

The government's mobile infrastructure project

0:29:060:29:09

has a long way to go yet.

0:29:090:29:10

The aim is to extend coverage to 60,000 homes

0:29:100:29:14

in hundreds of rural areas that currently have no coverage.

0:29:140:29:18

Weaverthorpe is one of just two communities

0:29:180:29:20

to have benefited so far.

0:29:200:29:23

It means we can contact parents by their mobile phones

0:29:230:29:25

if there's a problem with their children

0:29:250:29:27

or if we want to get messages through to them.

0:29:270:29:29

A lot of people that come here are from the cities,

0:29:290:29:31

so they're used to having mobile reception,

0:29:310:29:33

so on holiday it makes the element of their holiday a lot better.

0:29:330:29:36

No complaints here, then.

0:29:380:29:39

But the fact the government project has now been running for 18 months,

0:29:420:29:46

and there are still only two live sights,

0:29:460:29:48

has led to criticism about the speed of the roll-out -

0:29:480:29:51

or lack of it.

0:29:510:29:53

No-one from the Department Of Culture, Media and Sport

0:29:530:29:56

was available for an interview, but they told us...

0:29:560:29:59

They also said...

0:30:030:30:04

..in any project of this size.

0:30:080:30:11

But should we be using public money to buy better coverage?

0:30:110:30:15

Most of us already pay mobile-phone bills, and there's no discount

0:30:150:30:19

if you live in an area with little or no coverage.

0:30:190:30:22

The government has suggested a system of national roaming,

0:30:240:30:28

where mobile companies share transmitters.

0:30:280:30:30

But the idea didn't go down well with the industry.

0:30:300:30:34

Phone operators told us that in their view,

0:30:340:30:37

roaming would create technical issues that would lead to

0:30:370:30:40

a poorer network experience

0:30:400:30:42

for the very customers they're trying to help.

0:30:420:30:45

Some also felt it was unfair to ask them to share services

0:30:450:30:48

with their competitors.

0:30:480:30:49

However, they do say that they're doing other things

0:30:490:30:54

to get rural Britain connected.

0:30:540:30:55

Paul Ceely is form the largest network operator, EE.

0:30:550:30:59

We've already replaced all of the equipment,

0:30:590:31:01

and so the engineer just there is enabling it.

0:31:010:31:05

He's essentially turning it on, bringing it into operation.

0:31:050:31:08

EE is currently upgrading all its masts.

0:31:080:31:11

It says that'll improve coverage -

0:31:110:31:13

but why didn't it cover the whole country in the first place?

0:31:130:31:17

People really weren't mobile-centric.

0:31:170:31:19

They didn't really think about.

0:31:190:31:21

Back in those days, we actually struggled to encourage people

0:31:210:31:24

to accept this as a technology.

0:31:240:31:26

The thing is, there's a lot of physical stuff -

0:31:260:31:28

you can see that site there, there's cables,

0:31:280:31:30

and all of these kind of things.

0:31:300:31:32

It takes a long time and a lot of work

0:31:320:31:33

to get these networks out there.

0:31:330:31:35

But as I say, 20 years ago,

0:31:350:31:36

people, really, in many places, didn't actually want mobile.

0:31:360:31:40

But now they do, and that's great.

0:31:400:31:42

So it's their own fault...

0:31:420:31:43

that they haven't got a mobile phone signal.

0:31:430:31:45

I wouldn't say it's their own fault,

0:31:450:31:47

it just takes a very long time to get these things done.

0:31:470:31:50

EE says it already covers 99.4% of the population -

0:31:500:31:55

but, as we've heard, coverage doesn't necessarily mean a reliable signal.

0:31:550:32:00

And that still leaves around 380,000 people with no signal at all.

0:32:000:32:06

EE says that's something it is trying to address.

0:32:060:32:09

This is where we're looking at the rural solutions.

0:32:090:32:11

Technology's changed,

0:32:110:32:12

and now you can get some lower-cost solutions,

0:32:120:32:14

and those people, it probably doesn't make sense

0:32:140:32:16

to have a full site like this,

0:32:160:32:17

so we're looking at other ways of extending the coverage even further,

0:32:170:32:20

beyond the 99.4%, and we're looking at trialling some of those things.

0:32:200:32:23

And you see the competition - we're spurring each other on

0:32:230:32:26

in trying to roll out and get these rural solutions out there.

0:32:260:32:29

And that's the way I think we as an industry can help -

0:32:290:32:31

by competing with each other to improve the mobile-phone service

0:32:310:32:35

beyond where it is today.

0:32:350:32:36

So, despite all the problems posed by remote rural areas

0:32:390:32:42

with their signal-blocking hills and valleys,

0:32:420:32:45

both the government and mobile-phone operators

0:32:450:32:48

are working to improve coverage.

0:32:480:32:50

But for some, it's too little and too late.

0:32:500:32:53

If you're on holiday, then the lack of mobile signal

0:32:560:32:59

can be part of relaxing in beautiful, rural surroundings.

0:32:590:33:03

But people who live and work here point out

0:33:030:33:05

that it is the 21st century, and they need to be connected.

0:33:050:33:08

They don't want to be part of a British countryside where,

0:33:080:33:11

as the old joke has it, conversations begin and end with,

0:33:110:33:14

"Hello? Hello?"

0:33:140:33:16

JULES: I'm in Norfolk,

0:33:190:33:21

and being given a rare glimpse behind the scenes

0:33:210:33:23

at Stanford Training Area, one of the MOD's largest live firing ranges.

0:33:230:33:28

All told, it's about 25,000 acres in size.

0:33:310:33:34

The training area was established during World War II,

0:33:370:33:40

with the need for the Army to have live firing practice

0:33:400:33:43

for tanks and heavy artillery.

0:33:430:33:45

But the war effort was to have a huge impact

0:33:530:33:55

on both the land and on the lives of the people who lived here.

0:33:550:33:59

In June 1942, the 600 men, women and children who lived and worked here

0:34:000:34:06

were ordered to leave.

0:34:060:34:08

They were given just three weeks to evacuate their homes

0:34:080:34:11

so the Army could take it over as a training area.

0:34:110:34:14

Little remains of the villages at the centre of the evacuation.

0:34:170:34:20

Grass-covered mounds where houses once stood.

0:34:220:34:24

Crumbling walls.

0:34:270:34:29

All that remain standing are the churches.

0:34:290:34:32

Esme Reynolds lived in the village of Stanford,

0:34:350:34:38

and was just nine years old when she last saw her home.

0:34:380:34:41

Now, can you make sense of these lumps and bumps now, Esme?

0:34:440:34:48

Yes. This was the front door.

0:34:480:34:50

So this... I'm walking through the front door now?

0:34:500:34:52

-Front door there, yes.

-So, this was your sitting room.

-That's right.

0:34:520:34:55

There was a bay window there that looked straight down the road there.

0:34:550:34:58

-So that was the bay window.

-That was the bay window, yes.

0:34:580:35:01

-Bedroom there, bedroom there.

-Which bedroom was yours?

0:35:010:35:05

My earliest memory was this one here.

0:35:050:35:06

The layout really is a bit like an aeroplane,

0:35:060:35:09

there were wings either side,

0:35:090:35:10

there's the nose and there's the tail.

0:35:100:35:13

-Any running water?

-No, there was a well just over there, in the yard,

0:35:130:35:18

and it was about 70 feet deep, I'm told.

0:35:180:35:21

And then, over the other side was what we called a wash house.

0:35:210:35:24

In there was where you could wash your clothes

0:35:240:35:28

and there was a big fire, you were nice and warm

0:35:280:35:31

so you could have a bath in there, the old tin bath in there.

0:35:310:35:35

Your recollections of your home are amazing, Esme.

0:35:350:35:38

-You clearly have some very happy memories of life here.

-Yes, I have.

0:35:380:35:43

That was the old oak tree which had my swing on it.

0:35:430:35:47

It was enormous in those days. It's very sad to see it like that now.

0:35:470:35:52

-It's absolutely heartbreaking. Your swing was on that tree?

-Yes, it was.

0:35:520:35:56

At the stroke of a government pen,

0:35:590:36:02

the villages of Stanford, Tottington and West Tofts were cleared

0:36:020:36:06

to make way for troops preparing to take the fight to Hitler's forces.

0:36:060:36:10

Do you remember the day

0:36:160:36:17

when you got the message through that you had to leave?

0:36:170:36:20

I remember how horrified my parents were.

0:36:200:36:23

And, of course, I was nine, so I didn't realise how bad it was.

0:36:230:36:27

They were very upset and, of course,

0:36:290:36:31

everybody was told they must find their own accommodation

0:36:310:36:34

and they must get out within three weeks.

0:36:340:36:36

-So there was no help given?

-Very little.

0:36:360:36:39

Just down the road lived Esme's cousin, Marion Butler.

0:36:400:36:44

She was 16 at the time of the compulsory evacuation.

0:36:440:36:48

-So this is your old house?

-It was, yes. Not a house now, is it?

0:36:480:36:54

-Was it a very close-knit community?

-Yes, very. Everybody knew everybody,

0:36:540:36:59

sort of thing, inside out.

0:36:590:37:02

At the end of the war,

0:37:020:37:03

some of the requisitioned land was given back,

0:37:030:37:06

but the MoD still needed a core area in which to train,

0:37:060:37:10

and this included the three villages.

0:37:100:37:12

My mother was bitterly disappointed

0:37:120:37:14

when she was told that they were keeping it after the war,

0:37:140:37:18

because she wanted to come back.

0:37:180:37:20

But what would we have come back to

0:37:220:37:24

when the Army had been using the place

0:37:240:37:27

and the houses were getting tumbled down?

0:37:270:37:30

I mean, the Army now have still got it, after all these years.

0:37:300:37:33

Earlier, Shauna met the Scottish team

0:37:420:37:45

who will be competing in this year's

0:37:450:37:47

One Man And His Dog championship.

0:37:470:37:49

And Helen has been out and about too,

0:37:490:37:51

meeting the handlers and their dogs who will be representing Wales.

0:37:510:37:55

The green, green grass of Wales.

0:38:000:38:03

Grazing on her lush hills and serene valleys

0:38:030:38:05

are more than nine million sheep.

0:38:050:38:07

And where there's sheep, there's dogs that work them.

0:38:070:38:11

I'm at the foot of the Brecon Beacons

0:38:120:38:14

to meet a man who knows a thing or two about what makes a good sheepdog.

0:38:140:38:18

Lying under these old red-sandstone peaks

0:38:210:38:24

is Kevin Evans's family farm and base,

0:38:240:38:27

from where he travels the world

0:38:270:38:29

buying, selling and training sheepdogs.

0:38:290:38:32

With over 30 Border collies he could choose from

0:38:320:38:34

to take to this year's championship,

0:38:340:38:37

for Kevin the selection is simple.

0:38:370:38:39

He is taking his top dog, Jimmy.

0:38:390:38:41

This feels like a scene from a film, The Man With 1,000 Dogs!

0:38:410:38:45

How do you pick a good competition dog, then?

0:38:450:38:48

Out of this 30, I'm guessing some are better than others. No offence.

0:38:480:38:52

I like to have a dog with a good temperament,

0:38:520:38:54

they've got to be very focused on work and really enjoy to be trained.

0:38:540:38:58

And then you can work with a lot of the other faults,

0:38:580:39:00

because they've all got them.

0:39:000:39:02

You're taking Jimmy into One Man And His Dog. Why Jimmy?

0:39:020:39:05

Well, Jimmy has become a bit of a favourite of mine.

0:39:050:39:07

I have had him a few years now.

0:39:070:39:09

-He was the Welsh champion last year.

-Where is Jimmy?

-This is him.

0:39:090:39:12

-And how old is Jimmy?

-He's five now.

0:39:120:39:15

So, Jimmy, the stage is set for you.

0:39:150:39:17

This bond between one man and his dog

0:39:190:39:21

has proved to be a partnership to be reckoned with.

0:39:210:39:24

With loyal companion Jimmy

0:39:240:39:25

securing Kevin a win for Wales two years ago...

0:39:250:39:28

The champions again of One Man And His Dog 2012!

0:39:280:39:33

..but that wasn't the first time Kevin appeared.

0:39:330:39:36

Back in 1996, Kevin was a baby-faced 13-year-old young handler -

0:39:360:39:40

and, guess what, he won that as well.

0:39:400:39:43

Despite his past success,

0:39:460:39:47

for Kevin, representing his country is still a daunting experience.

0:39:470:39:51

You have won it before.

0:39:510:39:53

How are you feeling going into One Man And His Dog this time?

0:39:530:39:56

I think it will be a very good competition.

0:39:560:40:00

There are four very good handlers

0:40:000:40:02

so I just hope I don't let my country down.

0:40:020:40:04

Kevin may be feeling the pressure of winning it for Wales,

0:40:060:40:10

but expectation is high as his family aren't used to settling for second.

0:40:100:40:14

In 2009, his partner Sophie was also victorious,

0:40:150:40:19

albeit winning for a rival nation.

0:40:190:40:22

A superb round from Sophie Holt.

0:40:220:40:25

CHEERING

0:40:250:40:28

Do you ever compete against each other?

0:40:280:40:30

-Yes, we compete against each other every week.

-Every week?

0:40:300:40:33

Every weekend at trials, Sophie is with me

0:40:330:40:35

-and we are in the same competition.

-Who's better out of you two, then?

0:40:350:40:38

Well, it's a happy household when she wins!

0:40:380:40:41

With winning in the blood, it's odds-on that Kevin and Sophie

0:40:420:40:45

could be the proud parents

0:40:450:40:46

of the victorious young handler in 18 years' time, with their son Ellis.

0:40:460:40:50

-So this is the next sheepdog trial champion?

-Maybe.

-How old is he?

0:40:520:40:57

-He's eight months now.

-And what is he like around the dogs?

0:40:570:41:00

He loves the dogs at the moment.

0:41:000:41:02

He gets dragged to all the trials all over the country,

0:41:020:41:05

so maybe by the time he's old enough to work a dog

0:41:050:41:07

he might be sick of it.

0:41:070:41:08

Will he be at One Man And His Dog?

0:41:080:41:10

Yeah, he will be coming up to support, won't you? Yes.

0:41:100:41:13

-It's a family occasion, by the sounds of it.

-Yes, definitely.

0:41:130:41:16

Well, all the very best. I look forward to seeing you there.

0:41:160:41:18

Thank you.

0:41:180:41:20

With his family and nation rooting for him,

0:41:200:41:22

Kevin and Jimmy could be a tough act to beat.

0:41:220:41:25

But they are not representing Wales alone.

0:41:250:41:28

Travelling west through the beautiful Brecon Beacons

0:41:320:41:35

and Wales' majestic valleys,

0:41:350:41:36

lives the young handler and trusty sheepdog

0:41:360:41:39

that complete this year's Welsh line-up.

0:41:390:41:41

At 15 years old, Ellen Hope is the youngest handler in the competition,

0:41:410:41:45

and she will be competing with her dog Floss.

0:41:450:41:48

Ellen may still be at school but this girl means business.

0:41:510:41:54

Even on a rain-swept day like today,

0:41:540:41:56

there's nowhere Ellen would rather be than on the farm working her dogs,

0:41:560:42:00

but not all of them are accomplished at herding sheep.

0:42:000:42:04

I am no expert, but I think we've got an unusual contender.

0:42:040:42:08

-Who's this?

-That's Gwen, the corgi.

-Gwen, the corgi. Of course.

0:42:080:42:14

How come you've ended up with a corgi in this pack?

0:42:140:42:16

We had her about a year ago

0:42:160:42:18

and she likes the sheepdogs and plays with them,

0:42:180:42:21

so we thought we will put her in the pack.

0:42:210:42:24

-I am going to go out on a limb here. Does Gwen compete?

-No!

0:42:240:42:28

She doesn't compete.

0:42:280:42:30

'Never mind Gwen,

0:42:320:42:33

'when it comes to competing there's only one dog for Helen -

0:42:330:42:36

'and that is Floss.'

0:42:360:42:38

What do you think Floss's strengths and weaknesses are?

0:42:380:42:41

Well, her strengths are, like, controlling different kind of sheep

0:42:410:42:44

but, when they're close-up, she can come in quite tight

0:42:440:42:48

and spook the sheep out.

0:42:480:42:50

Floss seems up to it, she always has her tongue out,

0:42:500:42:52

is that a sign of concentration?

0:42:520:42:54

It might be!

0:42:540:42:55

Away.

0:42:550:42:57

'Ellen is not only the youngest competitor this year,

0:42:570:43:00

'she's also the only female taking part.'

0:43:000:43:02

-Are any of your friends involved in farming or trialling?

-Not really, no.

0:43:030:43:08

-How many girls do you see on the competition circuit?

-Not much.

0:43:080:43:12

-But there are more than there used to be.

-So you're flying the flag?

0:43:120:43:15

Yes.

0:43:150:43:17

With a partnership of this calibre,

0:43:170:43:18

Ellen has the composure to take everything in her stride,

0:43:180:43:22

even a flock of 200 Welsh ewes.

0:43:220:43:25

The striking thing about Ellen is, she is so calm.

0:43:250:43:28

She has 200 ewe lambs

0:43:280:43:29

who aren't necessarily doing what she needs them to do,

0:43:290:43:32

but she hasn't raised her voice, she's not panicking.

0:43:320:43:35

In return, neither is Floss.

0:43:350:43:37

This part of Team Wales is one to be reckoned with.

0:43:380:43:41

Although Ellen's dad Ashley doesn't trial himself,

0:43:430:43:46

as a proud parent, on competition day,

0:43:460:43:49

he will be living and breathing every "come by" his daughter commands.

0:43:490:43:52

She seems pretty calm. How do you feel

0:43:540:43:57

when she is in the middle of a competition?

0:43:570:44:00

I am very nervous, really,

0:44:000:44:01

because I want to try and get out on the trial field and, you know,

0:44:010:44:06

"Come on, sheep", when the sheep are going the wrong way.

0:44:060:44:09

-You carry the nerves for her.

-Yeah, I think so.

0:44:090:44:12

From what I have seen,

0:44:120:44:13

I don't think there's anything to be nervous about.

0:44:130:44:16

So that is our Welsh team -

0:44:200:44:21

young handler Ellen Hope with her dog Floss, and Kevin Evans with Jimmy.

0:44:210:44:26

With dramatic skies that stretch from horizon to horizon,

0:44:380:44:42

rustic countryside, and mile upon mile of empty windswept beaches,

0:44:420:44:47

Norfolk is a feast for the eyes and a worthy subject for any artist.

0:44:470:44:53

But, for the painter I am about to meet,

0:44:560:44:57

there is something even more captivating about Norfolk

0:44:570:45:01

than the landscape - and that's the people.

0:45:010:45:03

Up-and-coming artist Jane Hodgson paints only outdoors,

0:45:070:45:10

capturing Norfolk's traditional workers

0:45:100:45:12

going about their tasks in all seasons and all weather.

0:45:120:45:16

-Hello, Jane.

-Hello. Nice to see you.

0:45:170:45:20

Nice to be in an artist's studio and, I must say,

0:45:200:45:22

-your paintings are beautiful.

-Thank you.

0:45:220:45:25

I have noticed a lot of them have people in. Why people?

0:45:250:45:28

Well, people are what interest me.

0:45:280:45:30

But in Norfolk you're painting

0:45:300:45:32

a particular type of person, aren't you?

0:45:320:45:34

Yes, well, they've got to be outside

0:45:340:45:36

and, also, if they're doing something like mussel-riddling,

0:45:360:45:40

then it is going to be repetitive motions so that I can watch them.

0:45:400:45:45

Because no-one is posing for me,

0:45:450:45:47

so I've got to just watch and catch the right thing.

0:45:470:45:50

Tell me about the style, your style of painting. What is it?

0:45:500:45:53

Well, because of the way I paint,

0:45:530:45:55

it's very direct and it's got to be fast,

0:45:550:45:58

which people would call impressionistic

0:45:580:46:00

because it's not particularly definite.

0:46:000:46:03

But I just call it blobby!

0:46:030:46:05

I want to keep the spontaneity and freshness.

0:46:060:46:10

-Well, I would love to see you work.

-Good, let's go.

0:46:100:46:13

-Lead the way. Shall I take this?

-Yes.

0:46:130:46:15

Many of Jane's paintings feature workers

0:46:210:46:24

on Norfolk's extensive shoreline.

0:46:240:46:26

She has brought me to one of her favourite spots to paint,

0:46:260:46:29

the long strip of shingle at Weybourne Beach.

0:46:290:46:32

But far from striking a pose,

0:46:360:46:38

crab fishermen like Richard Matthews have a living to make,

0:46:380:46:41

so Jane works around them,

0:46:410:46:43

sketching and snapping them at work before filling in the detail later.

0:46:430:46:47

Richard waits for no man, woman or artist, does he?

0:46:550:46:58

-That was super-quick.

-None of the people I paint stick around.

0:46:580:47:01

They're all working, they're all busy.

0:47:030:47:05

-But it also means you have to work very quickly.

-Yes.

0:47:050:47:07

Is it just fishermen that you paint?

0:47:070:47:10

No, I like people who do things,

0:47:100:47:12

and it's seasonal.

0:47:120:47:14

It's crabs during the summer,

0:47:140:47:16

then it goes into sedge early autumn, then it goes into mussels.

0:47:160:47:21

After Christmas, it's reed-cutting.

0:47:210:47:23

And then we're back round to the crabs.

0:47:230:47:25

Even in the depths of winter when it's freezing cold.

0:47:250:47:28

If someone had said to you 25 years ago,

0:47:280:47:31

you're going to be spending hours on a beach in Norfolk

0:47:310:47:35

painting fishermen,

0:47:350:47:36

-what would you have said to them?

-How weird!

0:47:360:47:41

Cos that's the other thing, actually taking the leap and persisting,

0:47:410:47:46

because everyone is bad when they start

0:47:460:47:48

and you've just got to keep practising.

0:47:480:47:51

A couple of hours later,

0:47:590:48:00

and fisherman Richard is back with his haul.

0:48:000:48:03

-What do you make of Jane?

-She is a tough little character, yeah.

0:48:090:48:13

-She's good, she sticks at it.

-She does stick at it.

0:48:130:48:16

She told me that she is here regardless of the weather.

0:48:160:48:19

-Is that true?

-Oh, she's here. Yeah, she's here.

0:48:190:48:23

I've seen her down here when the stones are frozen.

0:48:230:48:25

What do you make of the art?

0:48:250:48:27

When she first used to come down

0:48:270:48:28

there was certainly room for improvement.

0:48:280:48:30

We couldn't work out who was who.

0:48:300:48:32

But she's getting there now, I think.

0:48:320:48:34

Some of her skies are pretty good, yeah, she's getting there.

0:48:340:48:37

Jane's paintings are now being included

0:48:370:48:39

in major UK exhibitions,

0:48:390:48:41

but she still values Richard's feedback.

0:48:410:48:44

-Hi, Jane.

-Hello.

-We have come to... Look who I've brought with me.

0:48:450:48:49

-Hi, Jane.

-Hello.

-Come on, Richard, what do we think?

0:48:490:48:52

She's getting there, isn't she?

0:48:520:48:54

That one's you - just in case you didn't know!

0:48:540:48:56

THEY LAUGH

0:48:560:48:58

-You happy with that?

-Yeah, I'm happy with that.

0:48:580:49:00

-You can see yourself in it?

-I can see myself in it.

-The model is happy.

0:49:000:49:04

-Excellent.

-What do you think? Happy?

-Well, yes, I am.

0:49:040:49:09

I think that's definitely Richard leaping out of the boat.

0:49:090:49:12

And I have got bits I can work on, so, yes, I am pleased.

0:49:120:49:16

Traditional Norfolk in a modern style,

0:49:180:49:21

a snapshot moment of this county's rich history

0:49:210:49:24

captured on canvas and frozen in time.

0:49:240:49:27

Now, Jane is a very hardy woman

0:49:270:49:30

but even she needs to come prepared for the weather.

0:49:300:49:32

So if you want to enjoy the great outdoors

0:49:320:49:34

but need to know whether it's raincoats, long johns or bikinis,

0:49:340:49:38

here's the Countryfile five-day forecast.

0:49:380:49:40

We're in Norfolk,

0:51:050:51:07

and whilst Anita has been getting inspiration from the sea,

0:51:070:51:11

I've been inspired by a rare glimpse

0:51:110:51:13

of a landscape off limits to the general public...

0:51:130:51:16

Stanford Training Area.

0:51:170:51:19

The base encompasses vast tracts of the breathtaking Norfolk scenery

0:51:210:51:25

known as the Breckland.

0:51:250:51:27

The Army use the area for training all year round,

0:51:270:51:30

and this means the land can take quite a pounding.

0:51:300:51:34

So, maintaining the health of the landscape

0:51:350:51:37

has led to a very special collaboration

0:51:370:51:39

between the MoD and conservation groups.

0:51:390:51:42

'Keeping an eye on the state of it all

0:51:440:51:46

'is Ian Levitt from Natural England.'

0:51:460:51:49

This is without question, Ian, a really dramatic landscape.

0:51:490:51:53

Just looking at that angry sky,

0:51:530:51:55

the contrast there with the yellow of the heathland,

0:51:550:51:58

it's pretty special.

0:51:580:52:00

What you're looking at here is a landscape...

0:52:000:52:03

You could be here in the 1930s. Not an awful lot has changed.

0:52:030:52:07

Obviously, this is the largest area of Breck Heath that remains today.

0:52:070:52:12

It supports things like stone curlew and wood lark,

0:52:120:52:14

and a whole range of invertebrate species.

0:52:140:52:17

It's just a wonderful, wonderful place.

0:52:170:52:19

But all of that fauna and flora have got the Army on top of them

0:52:190:52:23

with tanks and boots and shells.

0:52:230:52:26

Their primary purpose is to use the land for military training

0:52:260:52:30

and defence purposes.

0:52:300:52:32

But also, they have a twin responsibly

0:52:320:52:34

to conserve and enhance this environment.

0:52:340:52:36

So, we have to work very closely with them in that respect.

0:52:360:52:40

But the fact that the MoD has been here for so many decades now

0:52:400:52:44

has also preserved huge swathes of this landscape

0:52:440:52:46

that might otherwise have disappeared.

0:52:460:52:48

That's absolutely true.

0:52:480:52:50

If it wasn't for the military, we wouldn't be looking at this today.

0:52:500:52:54

But that collaboration also relies on one more crucial party,

0:53:000:53:05

and that's the farmers who work this land.

0:53:050:53:07

90% of the training ground is turned over to farming,

0:53:100:53:14

and much of the farming done here is sheep,

0:53:140:53:16

with roughly 15,000 of them on site.

0:53:160:53:19

Richard Evans is a tenant farmer

0:53:210:53:23

and has been working on 500 acres of Stanford Training Ground

0:53:230:53:26

for over 30 years.

0:53:260:53:27

Richard and his team have been rounding the sheep up

0:53:300:53:33

and are now weighing them, ready for market.

0:53:330:53:36

Oh! Come on, then.

0:53:390:53:41

You know, Richard, when I came to Norfolk,

0:53:410:53:45

I wasn't expecting to see such a collection of exotic-looking sheep.

0:53:450:53:48

What have we got here?

0:53:480:53:49

Well, they're not exactly exotic.

0:53:490:53:51

Half of these sheep are part of a feral flock

0:53:510:53:54

which we inherited when we took the land over.

0:53:540:53:57

The other half are actually Hebrideans,

0:53:570:54:00

which are a native breed.

0:54:000:54:01

-Is this one of the Hebrideans?

-Yes.

-A stubborn Hebridean at that!

0:54:010:54:06

They are very, very striking with these amazing horns.

0:54:060:54:09

Yes, they're wonderful sheep. They can live off next to nothing

0:54:090:54:12

and still produce a good lamb at the end of the day.

0:54:120:54:15

It doesn't look like particularly rich land.

0:54:150:54:17

No, it's very, very poor land.

0:54:170:54:19

-In Norfolk talk, it's land so hungry it gnaws your boots.

-I love it!

0:54:190:54:24

Now, a large part of the area

0:54:270:54:29

is obviously given over to live firing.

0:54:290:54:32

-Does that affect the flock?

-No, not too much.

0:54:320:54:36

We get specific times when the firing is going on,

0:54:360:54:39

and specific times when we're free to go in and manage the flocks.

0:54:390:54:42

I guess you're playing a crucial role in managing this landscape,

0:54:420:54:46

because the Army have their use for it,

0:54:460:54:48

-but it does need to be curated in some way.

-Absolutely.

0:54:480:54:50

Without grazing, it would obviously become a jungle.

0:54:500:54:53

The sheep keep the grass down, they keep the young trees down.

0:54:530:54:57

Is it quite strange, when you're going about your daily business,

0:54:570:55:00

and then there's a column of troops,

0:55:000:55:02

and armoured vehicles, and whatever else, moving around you,

0:55:020:55:05

and yet here you are, doing the day-to-day of being a shepherd?

0:55:050:55:09

It is odd, and you get some extraordinary incidents.

0:55:090:55:12

I was just minding my own business watching the sheep one day,

0:55:120:55:15

and a paratrooper dropped and was wrapping up his parachute,

0:55:150:55:19

and the rustling of the parachute and his noise,

0:55:190:55:22

the sheep thought they were going to be fed.

0:55:220:55:24

They thought there was something being opened up.

0:55:240:55:27

They ran towards him, and he was absolutely terrified

0:55:270:55:30

and packed up his parachute and came to ask what was going on.

0:55:300:55:33

-How does that work? Farmer, one, Army nil.

-Yes, I suppose so, yes!

0:55:330:55:38

Brilliant!

0:55:380:55:39

It's the best of both worlds.

0:55:420:55:44

Richard gets land on which to graze his sheep

0:55:440:55:47

and, in return, the land is maintained to a level

0:55:470:55:49

that's right for the MoD to do their training.

0:55:490:55:52

Well, from our sheep-packed show here in Norfolk, it's goodbye.

0:55:550:55:59

Next week, Matt and Anita will be in Devon.

0:55:590:56:02

Matt will be getting stuck in with a Farmers' Co-op on Dartmoor,

0:56:020:56:05

whilst Anita dons her snorkel

0:56:050:56:07

to forage for bogwood on the River Dart.

0:56:070:56:10

Until then, have a good week.

0:56:100:56:12

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS