Ellie Harrison and John Craven are in and around Oxenhope in West Yorkshire. They see how the county is gearing up for the start of the Tour de France.
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Fair weather has flushed this land green. The hedgerows burst.
The first hay is cut.
And all across the fields and lanes, expectation is growing.
This is West Yorkshire,
a county with big country,
and it needs it, because in a fortnight's time,
almost the whole world are going to descend on these quiet valleys.
And here's a clue as to why -
one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, the Tour de France.
And this year, it's starting off right here in La Belle Yorkshire.
I'll be meeting the artists and farmers
marking the event in a special way.
Come on. Get them in.
Whilst I'll be telling the story of one of our greatest-ever cyclists.
After a while, they started letting the women ride with the men,
and then she found out she was beating them as well.
So, you'll be needing this then, Ellie.
I certainly will. I'll be cycling on and off-road
and you'll find out why in just a minute.
-Thank you very much. See you later.
Also tonight, Tom's looking at
one of the most controversial issues in farming.
Bee numbers have dropped dramatically in the last 50 years.
So is the decision to ban one of the most widely used insecticides
now helping their cause? I'll be investigating.
And Adam's catching up with
the young farmer who literally won the farm.
Last year, I visited this beautiful place in Snowdonia
to meet up with a Welsh young farmer
who'd just won the keys to manage
this rugged but stunning Welsh hill farm.
And now I'm back again.
The Yorkshire Moors have long inspired hikers
to take to its hills,
but it's pedal power that's set to shake up these hazy heaths.
Because the biggest bike race of them all, the Tour de France,
The opening stages of the Tour are happening here in Yorkshire.
Stage 2 passes right through West Yorkshire,
close to the town of Oxenhope.
And it's not just the cyclists who'll be putting on a show.
The locals have planned a very special Yorkshire welcome.
If the landscape round here wasn't stunning enough,
the fields are getting a face-lift.
Yorkshire itself is being turned into an almighty artwork.
Farmers and artists are getting together along the route
to create a gigantic spectacle,
using the hillsides as their canvas.
The project, known as Fields of Vision,
was the brainchild of one man - Andrew Wood.
So how did you come up with the idea in the first place?
One night in the pub, we sat down and said,
"Look, we could do something on a really grand scale here."
It's been lingering for about eight years, has this idea,
but then when they decided the Tour de France
was coming right to our doorstep, we just thought,
there's never going to be a better opportunity to do this than now.
What better way to draw people's attention to the stunning landscape
than by kind of accentuating it,
by putting these giant artworks in the landscape?
And did you have an idea of what the artwork should be, at the beginning?
Well, my original idea that I sold it to people on
was to have a massive pint of beer.
We were going to put it in a field and then we were going to kill it
and it'd go brown then, so we'd have a brown pint of beer.
And at the top, we were going to pen some sheep in
to give it a frothy head.
Unfortunately, because it had to be "proper artwork",
that idea went by the wayside.
What's been your role in all of it?
Well, apart from kind of coming up with the idea in the first place,
I'm leading the team that's putting the artworks
from paper onto the pasture.
We've used various techniques -
covering, cutting, fertilising,
and white-line marking, like you do on a football pitch.
We've got to make it look like their original did,
so that's the really tricky bit,
to try and make sure that we do the artist justice.
So Andrew, how was it, bringing artists and farmers together?
They're quite a different breed, aren't they?
As the middleman, it's been quite a challenge.
The farmers are kind of get on, crack on and do it,
blunt and say things as they are,
and the artists are totally opposite to that.
-Talking about concepts and visions.
Oh, yeah. You watch the artist talking and the farmer's just there,
raising his eyebrows and scratching his head.
By the end, everybody seemed to be happy.
Totally two different species.
Today, local artist Louise Lockhart's design, The Leap,
is being drawn into the landscape
by who else but a bunch of cyclists?
The idea is their tyres churn up the ground
to mark out the image.
There's a few of them coming a cropper here.
It's not the easiest track in the world!
It was really difficult, actually, to come up with a drawing
that could be cycled in a loop
but also fit in with the contours of this rather steep field.
So what's the idea behind this image?
What is it, first of all, and what's it about?
Well, it's a big leaping woman leaping across the hillside.
And the image is of a very free dancer.
The bike played quite a significant role in the equality of women.
Because its invention was the first time that women
could just travel off on their own without being chaperoned.
Also, you can't cycle in tight corsets and big hoopy skirts,
so it was the first time that these corsets began to be made redundant,
and more practical clothing was worn.
I love the idea that this is a cycle-able image.
Yeah, and hopefully all the tyre tracks
from all these different people
will create a really black, muddy line.
It'll look like my original line drawing when it's...
-But on a huge scale!
I'm swapping my racer for a mountain bike
and joining local schoolchildren to lend a wheel
marking out the track.
And to top it all, I'm being timed.
Here we go.
I like this.
Cycling to create art.
Stay within the lines!
Louise is right behind me, the artist.
Watching me going off the lines!
You're causing a backlog!
We won't give her penalty points for that minor indiscretion there.
Keep it going, Ellie!
Whoo! Done it!
'Phew! I made it. But I'm not breaking any records today.'
Well, I'm going to leave these guys to make their mark
while I try and get a better view of this artwork.
From the air.
This is an incredible way to see the landscape of West Yorkshire.
Just coming into view is the glorious leaping lady in full flow.
She's...leapt into liberation.
That's a fantastic view.
They've really done a good job, those children,
churning up the outline of her figure.
'Whilst Ellie is high above, I'm down on the ground,
'meeting one of the farmers who've given over their fields.'
'This is a land of dramatic contours.
'High hills and steep valleys
'make it a challenging place to keep livestock.'
It can be pretty bleak up here in the uplands.
The weather can get extreme,
and in the open moorland, there's just nowhere to hide.
So only the hardiest of breeds will do,
including Highland cattle and traditional Swaledale sheep.
For centuries, the shepherd and his dog
have been etched into the very fabric of this countryside.
But never before quite like this. Just take a look.
This is where art and farming really come together.
This gigantic piece is called, no surprise, One Man And His Dog.
Like the work Ellie's just seen,
it's the brainchild of Andrew Wood,
cousin of farmer Miles Greenwood,
who works this land with his son, Nathan.
My cousin cornered me in the pub one night
and he said, "I need a farmer as a guinea pig, and you're it."
So I said, "Yeah, why not?"
And...just grew from there,
and next news, we are where we are, really, so...
And Nathan, did you get involved in all of this?
Yeah, I've been involved right from the start.
I've done public speaking about the project.
Later on, I've been helping mark out the artwork with pegs and ribbon
before they can be put into the ground permanently.
And presumably the field has to be
in a place where the public can get a really good view?
Yeah. The field's got to be on a steep valley side,
so that each of the artworks can be viewed from the ground
as well as from the air.
And when this artwork finally disappears,
are you going to miss it?
It fades gradually over a period of a couple of weeks
and then we repaint it and it comes back to life.
You soon become attached to these things.
And it's quite a special feeling, actually,
standing in the middle of a work of art.
Driving sheep over it yesterday, going across his head,
and you think, "Oh, I better just..."
Go not to rub him out.
But, yeah, it grows on you after a while, it does.
We're now going to attempt something that
I don't think has been done before,
and that is try to get those
Herdwick sheep into the palm of that giant shepherd.
That's the plan.
'And volunteering to take on the task
'is local sheepdog trainer Ian Ibbotson.'
You're taking on quite a challenge, aren't you,
bringing this artwork to life?
How difficult is it going to be
getting the sheep into this very small pen?
This dog, I've only had for three weeks,
so it could be difficult.
But we'll work on it and be all right, I'm sure.
-What is he called?
The dog may be new to it,
but you've got lots of experience, haven't you, Ian?
Yes, I have. I've been training dogs for 30 years.
As the chairman of the Yorkshire Sheepdog Society,
and this is proper Yorkshire sheepdog country, I thought
we'd have a go at it and see how we went on.
All the very best, Ian, and to Nap.
And as this artwork is called One Man And His Dog,
I'm going to have a little go at doing a commentary. OK?
So, off you go.
And Matt Baker, eat your heart out.
IAN WHISTLES TO DOG
Nap is on his way. The sheep have been released.
IAN WHISTLES SHARPLY
Nice turn there, very nice, sharp turn.
Heading them down towards the giant dog.
And this is all part of Ian's plan.
He is not taking them directly to the palm of the shepherd,
they are going around the dog, and then they will come across
this huge field towards the artwork of the shepherd.
He's doing very well, this new dog.
They want to graze on the dog, but there's no time for that,
cos they are on the move again now.
Nap holding them in a very neat bunch, there. Very neat.
Sheep are obeying him totally.
And now the sheep are progressing down the body of the shepherd,
just outside there,
but back in again and heading towards his hand.
And he needs to turn her now, rather neatly,
which he has done.
Come on, Nap, get them in.
Well done, Nap, well done, Ian.
Not bad for a novice.
Could say the same for the commentator, as well.
Now, as we all know, bees play a vital part
in arable farming in the UK, pollinating the crops.
But has a ban designed to protect the bees
actually made life harder for British farmers?
Tom has been finding out.
TOM: Bees - tiny, unobtrusive and industrious.
The farmer's hidden helper.
Small maybe, but mightily important.
Bees have a role in pollinating around a third of the food we eat,
but there's a problem.
Numbers appear to have been falling.
In fact, some people reckon they've
dropped by around half in the UK since the 1980s.
Amongst other things,
the finger of blame's been pointed at neonicotinoids,
a pesticide used by farmers
for the last 20 years on crops like oilseed rape.
Last year, the European Commission decided the risk to bees
from those pesticides was so great, it banned them.
For many farmers, their big advantage was that the seeds came
ready-coated with neonicotinoids.
Without them, they're going to have to go back to spraying alone
to protect against pests.
'Bob Fiddaman has been growing oilseed rape on his farm
'near Hemel Hampstead for more than 40 years.'
What sort of thing are we looking for?
Well, what we're looking for is the typical shot holing, or again, the
leaf nibbled edge, which is the same sort of attack by the flea beetle.
And it's that that's causing the damage.
So you end up with a sort of shot hole there, or the nibble edge
that we've got there.
'Until this year, he has been using neonicotinoids to kill
'the insects which love to feast on his crops.'
As a working farmer, how much, if any more,
labour do you have to put in if you're not using a seed treatment?
Well, that's the point.
If I'm having to spray because it's not in the seed, I will
probably have to go back three or four weeks later and do it again.
And that is what I dislike about the option that we are currently
left with, with the removal of neonicotinoids,
is the fact that I don't have that ability to be able to sit back,
knowing that the crop is being protected through that early
stage when I have other things that I need to get on with -
getting land ready, getting the wheat seed into the ground,
because that's my main cash crop.
So what do you think about the ban?
Wrong. Putting it bluntly.
I think it's going to potentially do more harm than good.
Bob's not alone.
The restrictions mean more work for many arable farmers
across the country.
That's one of the reasons
the National Farmers' Union has been trying to overturn the ban.
We think this is a bit of a kneejerk ban on something that
was useful to the farmer when it came to producing crops.
It hasn't got sound science behind it and we worry,
particularly, that it's setting a precedent where we'll lose
a lot more of these tools
we need in our crop production tool box.
But if this does help bees, surely that's what you've got to put up with?
Well, I'm not convinced it does help bees.
And I really can't understand why
farmers across the world - South America, North America, Australia -
they can carry on using neonics,
and only in this part of the world are we restricted from doing so.
'The frustration for the NFU is that their members are doing more
'work without conclusive proof
'that these pesticides are harming bees in the wild.'
But, despite their concerns, last April,
the European Commission decided they did have enough evidence
to justify a ban on the three most commonly used neonicotinoids.
So, more than a year on, is the case any stronger?
Scientists have been doing plenty of research, not just in the UK,
but across the world, from the USA to Switzerland.
But much of the work has been carried out in the lab.
So what kind of places do you put your nest in, here?
They're just tucked away anywhere where
they're not going to get disturbed by people.
'Professor Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex
'is one of those doing research in the bees' natural habitat.'
They really do sound like an angry hive in there.
So, inside here,
we've got a nice, healthy bumblebee nest.
Why is this so important?
There have been lots of studies in which bees have been exposed
to these pesticides in a lab way,
and they've been criticised,
because, in the real world,
bees are free to choose where they get their food.
They might avoid areas where there are more pesticides,
they might avoid crops that have been treated.
And if that's so, then they might not be affected
anywhere near as much as the lab studies have suggested.
So, what we're trying to find out here is how much
they are actually exposed to.
Cos this is as close as we can get to a completely natural,
So, see if you can suck out a little sample of...
So, just squeeze it, insert and
-let go and hopefully I'll get a little bit on the end.
'But, in the outside world, others claim it's disease or
'habitat loss that's to blame, rather than pesticides.
'Dave believes it's all three.'
Bees face a number of stresses in the modern world.
There aren't enough flowers.
We've accidentally introduced
diseases from other countries to Britain.
And we're exposing them to pesticides.
And I think it's those three things together
that are causing them problems.
'But there is also credible research out there which seems to
'indicate that neonicotinoids are not a factor in the decline of bees.
'One study in France, which suggests bees aren't being affected,
'was carried out by Syngenta,
'a leading manufacturer of neonicotinoids.
'Dr Mike Bushell is their principal scientific adviser.'
The study that we've just published was a four-year study,
where we maintained hives of honeybees held alongside
treated oilseed rape and maize fields in France.
-Treated with neonicotinoids.
And what has that shown you?
It's shown us that, when you use neonicotinoids properly,
they have a very low chance of causing any harm to bees.
And how robust is that work?
You'll be aware there has been some criticism,
for instance over the scale of it?
What you basically have to say is,
"Do these studies replicate the real situation
"as closely as possible?"
And we believe that they do.
'This is just one more piece of evidence in the controversial world
'of neonicotinoid studies, and so far hasn't affected the current ban.'
So, for the time being at least,
most farmers will have to go back to
the old system of spraying their crops
with pesticides called pyrethroids.
This is the pod, and then, inside here, are all be little seeds.
-If I can get in there.
-How's it doing this year, on the whole?
It's doing really well, actually.
'As we've heard, that's angered many farmers,
'but some, like Peter Lundgren,
'who farms near Lincoln, believe it's actually an opportunity.'
I am using pyrethroids,
but I'm using pyrethroids that have
a lower impact on bees and beneficial insects.
For the short-term, I can manage my crop without it costing me
financially and hopefully having a lower impact on bees.
A lot of farmers, though, don't agree with you,
and say this change is going to be costly and difficult for them.
What I have had to do is put more time into the management
of my crops, the selection of the chemicals I'm using.
I have to work harder.
But I think what we've got to do as farmers as a whole
is behave responsibly.
If we lose the bees and the farmers are implicated in the loss of bees,
then the loss of public trust in farmers is going
to cost me and every farmer in this country really dear.
We cannot be the generation where the bees
disappear from our farms and our countryside.
The stakes are high, yet many farmers are far from convinced that
using neonicotinoids rather than the older pyrethroids will have
this disastrous effect on bees.
But, with scientists divided, how will we know?
Surely the two-year, Europe-wide ban
should tell us just that?
Scientifically, in terms of finding out the effect of neonicotinoids,
how useful is this to you, the ban?
Well, sadly, not very.
Actually, in 2014, they are probably being exposed to the same levels
as they were in 2013,
because many of our autumn-sown crops
were sown before the moratorium.
So we won't expect to see any benefits for the environment
at all until next year,
which is actually the year that the ban expires.
And it's clearly not enough time.
'So, how will the European authorities
'know if the ban has been worthwhile?
'Well, interestingly, they told us that...'
What do you think about the way the EU are going to take
the decision at the end of this ban in 2015?
Well, what evidence are they going to use?
They admit themselves that they can't determine whether it's
been a success or failure, so what sort of policy-making is that?
It's just... It's from the madhouse.
By the end of next year, when this ban is up for a review,
it's very unlikely that there will be conclusive proof over
whether it helped bees or not.
So, expect a continuing tug of war between the different interest groups
until there is sufficient scientific evidence
to really deliver an answer.
Open fells, plunging valleys,
moors shrouded in mist.
'The dramatic landscape of West Yorkshire is robust
'and rugged, built for the resilient.'
These windswept hills were once the training ground
for one of Britain's greatest ever athletes.
From the 1950s to the 1980s,
one woman ruled these moors and dominated UK cycling.
Her name was Beryl Burton.
Almost unknown today,
this Yorkshire working mother reigned on the road and track -
smashing world records, gathering golds
and racking up both national and world titles.
Beryl Burton was the best.
For a quarter of a century, she was unbeatable over 25,
50 and 100 miles.
Beryl cycled up these hills and down these dales.
Unstoppable, tireless, true Yorkshire grit.
I enjoy going off for a day and I'll do about 80 miles
in the Dales, thoroughly enjoy it,
but I'm working hard all the time.
Some people say they couldn't do the amount of miles
that I do for training,
because they would be too tired,
but I need the miles to get speed.
'But how did this incredible athlete first become interested in cycling?'
-How are you doing?
'Here's her husband, Charlie.' Good, good.
Charlie, what was it that got Beryl cycling in the first place?
I hear it was down to you.
She said that when she first saw me, she thought,
"Oh! New boy. It's a pity that he's lame."
Of course, what it was, I had me cycling shoes on with the plates,
because I used to ride to work and change when I got there.
I got talking to her. She says,
"Oh, I'm going to get a bike like that."
I says, "Are you?"
Anyway, she got that one. So...
-She got your bike?
She took mine.
For the first few months, used to have to push her along behind,
because she kept dropping back.
And then, by the time it got into the second year,
she was riding with the bunch.
And by the third year, she was leading them.
After a while, they started letting the women ride with the men
and then she found out that she was beating them, as well.
If you could only use one word to describe her character,
what would you say?
Um... Determined, must be it.
To this day, she is the only woman
to ever break a men's competition record.
'I'm taking to the track named in her honour,
'the Beryl Burton Cycleway.
'Beryl's daughter Denise tells me
'more about her mum's competition wins.'
I think one of the most memorable ones is for
the Otley Cycling Club 12-hour event.
It's a time trial.
You're timed, it's over 12 hours
and you do as many miles as you can within that 12 hours.
She did very well. She won, she beat the men.
-She beat the men?
-She beat the men.
She caught Mike McNamara,
who was the men's champion at the time.
I looked up the road and I thought, "It's McNamara!"
And I went all goosey, all the back of my neck,
all the hair stood up on the back of my neck.
And I thought, "What am I going to do?"
And I put my hand in me pocket
and I fished this little bag of liquorice allsorts out.
And as I caught him and rode alongside, I said,
"Liquorice allsort, Mac?"
And he said, "Ta, love!"
And he took a liquorice allsort and I went on me way then.
Mike McNamara was one of the greatest cyclists of his age.
But, on this occasion, he was soundly beaten by Beryl.
She finished nearly half a mile ahead of him,
smashing the men's record.
No woman could challenge the men like Beryl,
and this surprising athlete also had an unexpected training regime.
And didn't she have quite a physical job, as well? She had a day job.
She did, picking rhubarb.
She did weight-training, in a way, because the rhubarb was
great big bundles of it and you were bending down and picking.
What was it like for you, growing up in this cycling-mad family?
Well, it was normal for me. I didn't know any different.
Everything we did was cycling, to do with cycling.
So then you got the bug yourself
and became a competitive cyclist, too.
Yes, I represented Great Britain for lots of years. Yeah.
And wasn't that a race when you and your mum were together?
We raced together all the time.
-Your mum had this incredibly competitive spirit.
She wanted to win. She wanted to be the best and she wanted to win.
-Even when she was competing with her daughter?
I was just another competitor. Yeah.
Tragically, Beryl died far too young.
She was on her bike
when a heart attack took her at the age of just 58.
When the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire
and thunders past the end of this cycle track
in a couple of weeks' time,
I'm going to be thinking about Beryl Burton,
probably the most successful female cyclist
the world has ever known.
'And here she comes now to win her second road championship.
'She crosses the line now,
'and Beryl Burton of Great Britain,
'the 30-year-old housewife from Leeds,
'wins her seventh gold medal.'
-Owning and running a farm is a dream for some people,
but getting onto the farming ladder can be difficult.
Last November, Adam met Caryl Hughes,
who had just won a year's scholarship
to run a beautiful Welsh hill farm.
So, you're from a farming background?
Yep, North East Wales,
Llangollen-ish sort of thing.
So, pretty used to this terrain up there.
This is going to be hard work, isn't it?
It will definitely be hard work.
It hasn't been farmed for a while, so there's no tracks.
There's a lot of walking involved.
The National Trust and the Welsh Young Farmers' Club
run this amazing scholarship,
and now that 23-year-old Caryl
is over halfway through this scheme,
I'm going back to the heart of Snowdonia
to see how challenging it's been.
When I met you first, the farm was empty, there was no livestock at all.
And are these the ewes that I saw you buying from Arwyn, back in September?
Yeah, these will be the first 40 we bought.
-So these are...
-Oh, there we go.
SHE CALLS TO THE DOG
-And how did lambing go?
We've no major issues and they all came quite good.
So, no, it's been a really good...
-And the weather was kind to us this spring?
Anything's better than last year. So, no, it's been really good.
And what's the plan now? What are you doing with them?
So, we'll take these up now to the mountain
and they'll be up there then till shearing time.
Hopefully they will go and the ewes will teach
their lambs to become hefted.
So, they'll find their habitat on the mountain
and they'll stay there then and they'll
teach their lambs where the water is and everything.
And then it will pass on there from generation to generation
and they'll become a flock for this mountain.
-Is this the final gateway up onto the mountain?
-Yeah, this is it.
This is the gate now between here and the mountain.
So, we'll let them take their time up
and they should wander up slowly and pick their lambs up and off they go.
Well, that was quite a hike, but a good achievement.
Yes, that's it, now. The first ewes and lambs up there for 25 years.
It's definitely a good step forward for the farm.
It's a lovely site. Well done, you.
'On my last visit to Llyndy Isaf,
'Caryl was taking delivery of her very first animals from
'Arwyn Owen, a local farm manager,
'who has also been keeping a watchful eye on young Caryl.'
How has Caryl been getting on?
Oh, she's got on great, really.
From day to day, I tend to think she's been here for years, almost.
She's sort of adjusted so well to the farm, to the place,
that it's easy to think that
she's been farming here for an awful long time.
Whereas, in reality, it's only been a matter of seven or eight months.
And how well do you think the project works,
the idea of getting young people that sort of foot on the ladder?
Certainly, this year has been a great success.
From our perspective, it's worked incredibly well,
but the real measure of success, I think,
will be Caryl's progress from here on in.
Finding a hill farm to run yourself for 12 months
is always going to be difficult.
So, hopefully that experience now will stand her in good stead.
And I think, at the end of the day,
if you can run a farm like this, then I think you can run any farm.
'Rugged and tough hill farmers around here are hard to impress,
'but it seems as though Caryl has made her mark.'
So, you've introduced cattle to the farm now?
Yeah, I've got these two that have just calved in March,
so they've got young calves on them,
and there's six more up there on the mountain, just making
path for the sheep, really,
and trying to clear some of the heather and stuff.
-And you've chosen the Welsh Black.
-Yeah, Welsh Black.
I went to see Arwyn again for them.
But, yeah, they're a hardy breed,
used to living up those mountains.
So, yeah, the plan is to keep them up there
for as long as I can, really.
And what sort of other things have you done on the farm?
One of the first things to do was that mountain fence.
So there was four and a half kilometres of fence line to do,
so we carried just over a thousand posts up there by helicopter,
so that was an experience I'll never do again, probably.
So we carried them up and then we got the fencing contractor up there
and he's just finished now.
That's a huge job! Did you organise all of that?
Yeah, organised the contractor and the helicopter.
One of those things you'll probably never
do again on that sort of scale. So it was great.
And you're really getting the farm going for the future?
Yeah, these calves now, they will be the future,
the future of the herd, as well.
And the calves that come out of the heifers.
So, yeah, it's all for the future, really.
-Trying to build the stock up so it can carry on.
'Caryl has a short while left on this beautiful farm and, in September,
'is due to hand it over to the next lucky winner
'of this fantastic scholarship.'
You've obviously made quite a big impression on the farm,
doing everything you've done so far. Is it going to be hard to leave?
Yeah, I must admit, it's going to be quite hard, I think.
I've made a lot of good friends and I've met a lot of people
out here, and obviously, living in quite a gorgeous area, as well.
It's going to be hard, yeah.
'Well, Caryl is a real winner, and talking of winners,
'a few weeks ago, we revealed the three finalists of the
Food and Farming Awards Outstanding Farmer of the Year competition.
Up for this prestigious prize were cattle farmer Luke Hasell...
It's crazy to be feeding a beef animal that will finish off
at grass cereals when we can be feeding that
to the rest of the world.
We ought to bridge that gap between the consumer and the farmer
and tell a real story about the provenance of the food.
..dairy farmer Neil Darwent...
I think milk is a very undervalued food.
We're producing a great, nutritious product from cows
that are enjoying a great life and I want the world to know really
what that means to them, in terms of the value of that product to them.
'..and vegetable farmer Steven Jack.'
What's the idea behind all these different colours?
We all think the carrot has always been orange,
but it's only been orange for the last 400 years.
Prior to that, there were many different colours.
But there are different tastes, textures
and these are the type of ideas that
we are keen to get out onto the shelves.
'At the beginning of May, after much deliberation,
'a winner was chosen from the three finalists, and I had
'the honour of awarding the prize at a special ceremony held in Bristol.'
The winner is our dairy farmer, Neil Darwent.
There were 100,000 dairy farmers in the UK in 1970.
Today, there are only 10,000 left.
But, believe me, we are still trying out there
to produce a great product.
Thank you very much for all the support this
award is going to give us.
'Congratulations to Neil. I hope he goes from strength to strength.
'And I'm really looking forward to next year's competition.'
JOHN: West Yorkshire.
Open moorland, undulating hills,
mill towns and beautiful valleys.
And how about this for a spectacular vista?
It's a landscape much-loved by artists, photographers
and bird-watchers, but don't be deceived by its beauty.
There's a beast lurking within.
And this is it.
The longest continuous hill climb in England,
making it perfect for the Tour de France.
The Cragg Vale hill isn't going to be the toughest one that the riders
have to face, but it is certainly one of the most dramatic.
To find out just how challenging it is,
I'm catching up with local cyclist Jane O'Neil.
She's been taking on this hill for years.
Come on, Jane!
So, this is the toughest bit of the climb,
but it's really worth all the effort,
because once you get to the top, the views are absolutely amazing.
The hill climbs nearly 1,000 feet,
or 305m, in less than six miles,
so I'm glad that I'm already at the top.
Well, to me, that looked like really hard work.
Well, it's not that bad, really, once you get used to it.
A bit of a climb in places.
How many times do you reckon you've pedalled up that hill?
Several hundred, at least.
Sometimes it feels like thousands, on a bad day.
But what's it like when it is really bleak up here?
Well, you get some amazing weather up here.
We can have really strong headwinds.
It's fine when the wind is behind you,
but sometimes if it's in your face...
-I've been blown off my bike once.
And then the water can come flying over from the reservoir,
so you can get a good soaking on a really bad day.
So, why do you do it?
I love it. I just love cycling
and there's nothing better than getting
right up here to this amazing scenery
and having a sense of achievement.
And how long does it take you to pedal up?
I think my average is probably about 50 minutes.
I think 43 is the best I've ever done.
Some people have done it in 16 minutes.
So that's probably what the Tour de France cyclists
are going to be doing.
Yeah, I think I read somewhere they're aiming for about 15 minutes.
What's the best bit of this hill?
-Going back down again?
As well as being a keen cyclist,
Jane is also a skilled artist in glass.
But she only started drawing
when she heard the Tour was coming to Yorkshire.
Now, she's turning her images of matchstick cyclists pedalling
through some of the highlights of the route into glass miniatures.
We've just been to the top there, haven't we?
This is Cragg Vale,
with the Tour de France cyclists
about to go up to the top of it.
That's right. And the Robin Hood pub, which I cycled past.
Well, this Tour de France has really inspired you as an artist, hasn't it?
It certainly has, John.
I just love this area, and I've cycled
so many of the routes that are going
to be on this year's Tour de France.
How do you actually transfer this drawing onto the glass coasters
and other glass work that you do?
-Well, I get the images printed with glass enamels.
Like transfers. And they go onto squares of glass
and they get assembled in the kiln.
And then everything sorts of fuses together, melts together,
so that the transfers become permanent.
So, is that a finished coaster now?
Well, not quite, because the unexciting bit, we need to sand
the edges, to make sure there's no rough bits before...
-So, we need to do that in water,
just to make sure that we're not exposed to any of the glass dust.
-Now, this all started as a hobby, did it?
It did, yes. It was just something I was doing a few hours a week.
But it's grown and grown and I'm enjoying it so much.
My fantasy now is to get on my bike and cycle round the UK
-and start drawing other areas for cyclists in it.
We've been exploring West Yorkshire.
Its green dales, valleys and highways
will soon be playing host to one of the world's great sporting events...
..the Tour de France.
It kicks off here in Yorkshire in a fortnight's time,
and local people are really getting into the spirit of it.
Earlier, we saw how farmers, artists and the local community
have thrown their weight behind a massive land-art project.
But it's not all supersized.
Willow sculptor Carole Beavis has been constructing
some rather special smaller-scale stuff.
-Carole, these look amazing.
-Where are they going to go? Are they on the route?
-They are, yeah.
They're going to be in Huddersfield at the start of the Tour de France.
-Have you made them all?
No, I've been involved in the making of them all.
I made that one by myself, and then the other ones have been made with
the help of lots of different groups of people in West Yorkshire.
'This gang of willow cyclists will strike an athletic pose
'as the Tour de France thunders through Yorkshire
'in a couple of weeks.'
Is there anything I can do?
-I thought you might like to do a bit of hair.
-Can you teach me?
Right, you've cut the end here, the thicker end,
so you just find where you want it to go and put a little bit in...
anchor it down. There isn't really a set way of doing it.
It's random weave.
The only thing that can happen is if you get a really enthusiastic group,
you might get slightly larger figures than you expected.
This one actually hasn't got a name.
But she's quite elegant, she looks quite acrobatic -
I think she could be you, don't you?
I wish! I wish I was this elegant.
I am thrilled to be part of the tour in this willow form. It's amazing.
'Let's face it, it's the only way
'I'm going to take part in the Tour de France.
'But now I've got to head over the valley
'to where John's got a message for me,
'one he wants to shout from the hilltops, apparently.'
On your bike!
Read the book!
Russell Brand, the man behind these big messages,
has certainly planted Yorkshire sentiments on this hillside.
How did this big idea come about, then?
When we'd learned that Yorkshire had won the bid to run
the Tour de France event, we thought we'd have a drive along the route.
And as we were coming back, my partner, an American lady,
suggested that we should be doing something to help celebrate it,
something like the Hollywood sign in California.
After a few minutes I thought,
"Well, do you know what? We could actually do it.
"But we won't spell Hollywood, we'll put something Yorkshire up."
-In great, huge letters.
-Ten-foot tall. Absolutely.
And the messages keep changing, every few weeks.
Have you had any help in building these letters?
As part of the project we included four local schools.
Every letter they've built has been signed by everybody in the school.
-Now, what have we got here?
-We've got an L,
which is the final letter in this salutation we're putting up.
We'll get that up there, like that.
If we can just check that's in line...
-And all we need now is the final little bit.
-And here comes Ellie.
-Here it is, the final piece.
-Let's get that in.
-How's it looking?
-We're going to have to stand right back.
-I think you're right.
Oh, John, you must approve of this.
Yeah, how about that? "Love Yorkshire."
-Absolutely. Sends a message out, loud and clear.
Nobody's going to miss that, are they, on the day that
the Tour de France rides by?
No, and that big day is Saturday the 5th of July,
for those of you wanting to see all the action.
But that's all we've got time for from West Yorkshire.
Next week, Countryfile is going to be in Lincolnshire.
While I will be at an old airfield,
finding out why it's a hit with wildlife.
And Matt will be helping to refurbish a beautiful old windmill.
And I'll be launching this year's Countryfile photographic competition,
-so hope you can join us then.
-Bye for now.
Ellie Harrison and John Craven are in and around Oxenhope in West Yorkshire. They see how the county is gearing up for the start of the Tour de France. Ellie gets on her bike and lends her wheels to the artist using the Yorkshire hills as a canvas. John Craven talks to the farmers about what it means to have this giant art in their fields and then hooks up with the cycling artist who has immortalised England's steepest incline in glass.
Ellie also tells the tale of a world-beating woman cyclist who took on the men back in her day and beat them. Meanwhile, Adam travels back to Snowdonia to meet the young farmer who won the farm!
Plus, more than a year since the European Commission decided to restrict the use of an insecticide that's thought to contribute to the decline of the British bee, Tom Heap investigates the impact of this controversial decision on farmers and asks whether the evidence for a ban is any stronger twelve months on.