Countryfile is in North Cornwall, and Helen Skelton finds out why artists, writers and poets flock there for inspiration. Meanwhile Matt Baker helps catch a fallow deer.
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North Cornwall -
a wild and beautiful landscape,
where the dramatic coastline gives way to open countryside,
pretty villages and some elegant stately piles.
Like this one, Prideaux Place.
This house has been in the same family for 14 generations.
But the family aren't the only constant here. So are its deer.
This is thought to be the oldest fallow deer park in the country.
Somewhere in there is a little tinker called Naughty,
who's got himself into a spot of bother.
So I'm going to be joining this lot, helping to track him down.
The Cornish coast has always been a draw.
But venture inland and there's much more to explore.
In summer, people come here to soak up the sun and enjoy the sand.
But in winter, there are plenty of things to do to set
your pulse racing, like enjoying this woodland trail.
I'll be finding out how conservation and cycling are going hand in hand.
Tom's ruminating on the outlook for the dairy industry.
Our rapidly expanding global population produces
billions more mouths to feed and some serious challenges.
But for farmers, it opens up a world of opportunity.
So, after tough times in the recent past,
is the future now much brighter for Britain's dairy farming?
I'll be investigating.
And Adam's in Dorset, meeting a pint-sized farmer.
I'm always impressed when young people get into farming.
Little Arthur here is only two
and he's more of an inspiration than most.
Oi, Arthur, where are you off to?
The wild Southwest,
where clusters of coastal houses hunker down
against the Atlantic elements.
Tucked into the mouth of the Camel Estuary,
a jewel in North Cornwall's glistening crown...
This is one of the most sought-after of Cornish postcodes.
And in an enviable position up above the town,
looking over all of this,
is one des res that's full of surprises.
Prideaux Place is no ordinary stately home.
Since 1592, one family has lived here
for 14 unbroken generations.
But their connections to Cornwall go back even further.
It's said that the family are descended
from an ancient Cornish clan,
and that they have a direct bloodline to William the Conqueror.
But as well as all these family heirlooms,
it seems the present incumbents of Prideaux Place have inherited
something of a chequered past.
-Wonderful to meet you.
-Are you all right?
-Nice to meet you.
My word, what an extraordinary house you've got.
-It really is, isn't it?
So, Peter, you are the 14th generation to live in this house.
Here we are, surrounded by so many faces of your relatives.
Not all of them have played by the rules, have they?
No, I'm afraid they haven't.
Cornwall was very loyal to Charles I, except for us.
-We supported Cromwell.
-Which I'm rather ashamed of.
So when Charles II came back to the throne in 1660,
we were in political shtuck.
So we married our poor, wretched sister,
whose picture is there,
to this really ugly old so-and-so,
Sir William Morris,
who was Charles II's Secretary of State.
As a result of that, we got a pardon.
I'll show it to you, actually.
-I've got it here.
-This is a pardon from the king, is it?
This is a pardon from the king. Here we are. Wonderful phrase...
-Look at the artwork on it.
-It's wonderful, isn't it?
Go on, then, so this pardon is what?
It says an awful lot, but it says things like,
"We pardon you for lying in wait
"with murder aforethought
"for our sovereign father, the king," etc.
It also, curiously enough, says we are forgiven
for all our crimes, "past, present and future".
Now I've never tried that when getting out of a parking ticket.
It would be great fun to see what would happen.
-This is the thing, because you are a barrister.
So can you imagine turning up with this?
Goodness me, the kudos of having a pardon from the king.
It certainly would be quite fun to try.
Complete with 81 rooms and 47 acres of grounds,
various descendants of the Prideaux family
have stamped their personality on this Elizabethan estate.
But none more so than one of the many Edmunds in the family.
He was the sixth generation to take over
as lord of this manor in 1728.
So, Peter, why was this particular Edmund so influential in the house?
I suppose he was rather more sophisticated.
He went on the Grand Tour,
as many rich young men did in those days,
and got influenced by Rome, Venice and so on.
Prideaux Place was a fairly plain
Cornish manor house until then.
He came back with all these rather sort of sophisticated ideas
and decided to do his house up.
-Here is the house as he found it.
A very nice Elizabethan house,
built between 1588 and 1592.
But what a canvas for somebody
that's quite flamboyant and creative.
And then, this is where he starts deciding
-that he's going to make it much grander.
-Having come from Rome, he built that temple...
..which is a fascinating building
because it's the first use
of Bath stone outside Bath.
To get stone from Bath to Cornwall,
the only thing we can think of is he'd have had it
shipped to Bristol and then brought by sea to Padstow.
There weren't any roads here.
It really was a rather wild, out-of-the-way place.
Any idea what the locals would make of all of this?
I should think they were absolutely astonished.
When Peter and his wife, Elizabeth, moved in, in 1988,
the house had been through a period of neglect.
They had their work cut out to restore it to its former glory.
The gardens had ceased to exist.
I'm no gardener at all.
Fortunately, my wife is very, very keen on gardening.
Since 1988, she's been struggling
to get the garden back.
There are something like 34 bedrooms
that I could restore.
-How many people are living in this?
To help pay for its upkeep,
the family has opened up the whole of their 400-year-old house
to the public.
That is, apart from the old servants' quarters.
What lies behind this door has remained untouched
for the last 70 years.
Later on, I'll be finding out exactly why.
But first, for dairy farmers, making a living has been tough.
But as Tom has been finding out, that could be about to change.
Dairy farming. Part and parcel of the traditional British landscape.
But in recent years,
our dairy industry has been struggling with fluctuations
in the price of milk,
and the cost of feed, fuel and fertiliser all on the rise.
But like every business, success is about supply and demand,
and the global demand for dairy products
is getting bigger by the day.
So, can British farmers make the most of this cash cow?
I've come to a dairy farm in Powys, Wales...
..where 33-year-old farmer Fraser Jones
is hoping to capitalise on this increased global demand.
-Here we go.
-Plenty of different skills to being a dairy farmer, then.
There certainly is.
So what are you actually building here?
These are cubicles for the cows...
Fraser uses a shed-based system,
with the cows grazing outside during the summer months.
How much does a building like this cost to put up?
It's about a quarter of a million pounds, this building,
and it's going to house just over 300 cattle.
So why are you expanding now, Fraser?
I see great opportunities for the UK to export
produce on the global market.
People in China, etc,
will see us as a premium quality product.
That can, therefore, hopefully increase the return for the farmers.
But what we're seeing here is only half of the story.
Just up the road, Fraser has even bigger ambitions.
So this is where it's all going to be, is it?
Yeah, this is the map.
'He's now planning to build a new 60,000 square metre
'dairy complex, a move that's been highly controversial.'
How many cows will you be milking in here?
The idea is to milk 1,000 cows on this unit.
This is a big site. It's going to be clearly visible.
-There's a village just there.
Farms have to expand, have to get bigger,
and that does mean bigger buildings and more infrastructure.
We, as farmers, have to grow to feed the population.
When both sites are up and running,
Fraser hopes to have increased production from
three million litres to 13 million litres of milk per year.
Global demand isn't the only driving force that's changing.
In the 1980s, milk quotas,
basically production limits,
were set up to combat the butter mountains and milk lakes
that had become a feature of European farming.
In 2015, they're going to be scrapped.
That will mean European farmers like Fraser can produce
as much milk as they want.
But is there a big enough market for dairy products to take it all?
Kevin Bellamy is a global dairy analyst.
Is there a danger that if everyone sees the bonanza out there,
they could all start producing more milk
and we'll have a return to butter mountains and milk lakes?
Well, at the moment, because of all of the demand that has developed,
certainly from China buying more milk,
the South American market is growing...
We don't see that that bubble, that demand, is going to come to an end.
But to make the most of this market,
it's not just about producing more milk.
It's about creating the right products.
In Europe, we eat a lot of cheese,
we drink a lot of liquid milk,
we consume yoghurt.
But the average Chinese consumer hasn't heard of these products.
So they're looking for nutrition drinks, follow-on milks...
So because of that huge demand for milk,
it's a good time for the dairy industry.
Not everyone agrees that the growing dairy bubble
won't burst in the future.
Plus, we're not the only ones
who want a slice of the action.
This single production line can produce over half a million
pots of yoghurt every day.
But Britain is going to have to fight its corner in the dairy market,
with Ireland alone planning to increase production
by 50% by 2020.
We are still the third largest milk producer in Europe,
after Germany and France.
But that doesn't necessarily mean we're ready to take on
new global markets.
This brand-new, state-of-the-art butter plant
is the largest of its kind in the UK,
and can produce up to 45,000 tonnes of butter every year.
There it is. Now that could cover a lot of toast!
It shows real investment from the industry.
But there are many more plants like this,
producing everything from baby milk to yoghurt,
already well-established across Europe.
And that's the problem.
Some Continental European countries are already ahead, partly because,
until now, much of our industry has concentrated on the domestic market.
But if we can sell more dairy products abroad,
then British farmers will be far less reliant
on the domestic price of our daily pinta.
Back at Fraser's farm,
I'm meeting Rob Newbury from the National Farmers' Union.
It's just one of the bodies planning for the growth
of the British industry.
How well placed are Britain's dairy farmers
to take advantage of this demand for milk?
Globally, average herd size is less than three cows.
Here in the UK, we've got something like 130-cow average herds,
with relatively high yields.
We've got high quality milk that these cows are producing.
So the British dairy industry has evolved.
It's strong and it's in a good place to make
the most of these market opportunities in the future.
But is it strong enough to take on our European neighbours?
If dairy farmers can invest in their business,
if they get a milk price which allows them to invest
in modern, productive infrastructure like we see here,
then we'll see them growing their businesses,
we'll see them improving the efficiency,
and we'll see the industry strengthening.
That should put us in a position where we can compete
with German, French, and Dutch farmers
on a fairly even footing.
For many, then, the British dairy industry is being given
a gold-topped opportunity that is simply too good to miss.
But as we'll be finding out later,
not everyone's quite so pleased.
Few people know the waters around Cornwall better than Hannah White.
She's raced solo across the Atlantic three times,
so she's no stranger to the power of the waves.
I'm right in the middle of this storm now.
We've got winds of up to about 45 knots...
It's a pretty lonely time, pretty scary.
Now she's used to being on the water, battling the waves,
but how will she fare when she's in them?
We sent Hannah to Cornwall's north coast
to see how surfing is going back
to its founding principles.
At this time of year,
winter swells pound North Cornwall's exposed Atlantic-facing coast.
It's what makes this landscape
so different to the sheltered coves of the South.
Here, it's rough and rugged...
Qualities that certainly have their admirers.
With nothing in the way between it and America's east coast,
North Cornwall receives some of the UK's best groundswell,
perfect for surfing.
It's made Newquay the Mecca for surfers that we know today.
But surfing's roots go way back.
This ancient Polynesian art of wave sliding became hip in California
in the '50s and '60s.
Since then, graceful gliding on wooden boards
has evolved and is now high-octane sport.
And in Cornwall, it's gone from a small pastime
to a multi-million pound industry.
But I'm going to be seeing how one man
is taking surfing back to its roots.
Furniture maker James Otter lives and surfs on the North Cornish coast.
He's using his woodworking skills
to build boards from a bygone era.
27-year-old James has a resourceful approach to making surfboards.
He uses the offcuts from a local kitchen work surface manufacturer,
and that's where I'm catching up with him.
We make our surfboards out of wood
and they have these kind of offcuts racks.
So I come here and raid the bins
for some juicy bits of wood to go into the surfboards.
To complete the cycle,
James donates the sawdust from his workshop in Redruth
to a local company to make into briquettes
to fuel wood-burning stoves.
James, this is beautiful.
But why do you use wood?
We wanted to replace foam,
which is the normal material that goes into surfboards.
This has fibreglass on the outside to give it all of its strength,
because the foam itself doesn't have any inherent strength.
So we're replacing that core with wood.
The majority of it is western red cedar,
and the planks from this were grown on a tree in Cornwall.
That was up by the River Tamar.
We use that for the majority of the timber
because it's lightweight and it's locally grown,
so it ticks quite a few boxes for us.
Then we've got some American black walnut in there as well.
I'm actually looking into finding some darker timbers that are local,
and we've found some nice brown oak that's grown locally.
So it's sustainable, it's environmentally friendly.
But it's also quite a traditional way of surfing, isn't it?
Yeah. The Polynesians, they're noted as being
the first people to begin surfing.
They used to just take down trees
and they used to just shape a solid board out of the tree trunk
and then go out and enjoy themselves in the sea.
Back in the mid-'20s, they were doing paddle races in California.
A guy called Tom Blake,
he took his solid board, drilled a lot of holes in it
and put plywood on the top and bottom,
and so he then had a lighter board of the same size as everyone else.
He ended up winning all the paddle races.
Inspired by Tom Blake's revolutionary '20s design,
James' computer generates an internal plywood frame
to create a lighter but stronger board.
Because of them being made out of wood,
I think it's nigh on impossible to reduce the weight
to exactly the same as a foam board.
So in the water, they do behave differently.
They suit the older style,
the surfboards that came out in the '70s and '80s,
which are more about glide and smoother turns
and down-the-line speed,
whereas the fibreglass boards
that are built nowadays are all about quick, snappy turns.
So we're going back to that way of enjoying surfing
and just more about the flow and the glide.
'James doesn't just shape boards.
'He also runs workshops for people to make their own.'
And in true James style, nothing is wasted.
He turns the offcuts from surfboards into these, hand planes,
a small float used in one hand
to glide along the glassy face of a wave,
another return to the good old days.
And it's making a comeback in surf-mad St Agnes.
For the die-hard surfers of St Agnes, it's all about staying true
to surfing's roots.
And I'm not just talking about their choice of board.
That was amazing!
-Where are you?
You're pretty brave, wearing just this today.
Lovely day for surfing - no rain!
And trying to get the old, historical surfing back into Cornwall?
It's traditional! It's what we always do.
We live by the water, we live off the sea.
I thought I'd go for the fun element.
So this is it, really.
Do we need to get you a polka-dot wet suit?
I think I've got goose bumps on my goose bumps,
which will match this very soon, I think!
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I'm at Prideaux Place in Padstow,
an eccentric country house at North Cornwall's Atlantic edge,
home to the Prideaux family for more than 400 years.
But in 1942, this Cornish stronghold
was the scene of an invasion from an unlikely source.
One from across the pond.
71 years ago, Mary Parr was the youngest member
of the Prideaux family living in the house.
We were in the morning room, the room next door to here,
and my mother looked out of the window
and saw troops, soldiers,
rows and rows of them coming up the drive.
Helmets...and she thought, "Oh, my God!
"It's the Germans."
So she grabbed her pistol, picked me up
and came in here and under this table
and she lay there with me,
listening to this crunch, crunch on the gravel.
She must have been petrified.
She must have been terrified.
And then the doorbell rang!
And she thought, "The Germans don't ring doorbells.
"They'd come straight in, barge in and shoot it down."
So, very bravely, she got up and went to the front door
and opened it and there was this American colonel.
"Ma'am. We've come to take over the house."
Within a matter of months,
tens of thousands of American soldiers
were stationed in the south of England,
preparing for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe.
Our countryside needed to make room for them.
Like many country houses,
Prideaux Place's seclusion and close proximity to the ports
of the South made it ideal.
B Company of the United States 121st Combat Engineer Battalion
moved into the back of the house for about a year.
Incredibly, the American wing
remains as it was the day they left.
Professor Harry Bennett's an expert on the D-day landings.
What kind of numbers are we talking about here and what impact
would that have on the local area?
You're talking about 600 men.
That's the typical size of a combat engineer battalion.
They divided into three companies,
plus a service and headquarters company.
You'd have something like 150 men here at Prideaux Place
with Company B.
The whole of Southwest England, it's absolutely full
of American troops, all waiting for the big day.
Of course, being close to the coast allows you to leave quickly,
but also, they could practise their landings,
coming ashore from water to land.
If you imagine, their primary role is to clear beach obstacles.
Where better than Cornwall to practise
demolishing beach obstacles?
One of the soldiers living
and training here was Private John Fontaine.
A box of his personal belongings got left behind
at the house.
This was a highly cultured man.
Yeah. He was very interested in art. He'd gone to the Rhode Island
School of Design before the war.
Effectively, the war interrupts his studies.
What he's actually doing with some of these pin-ups
is he's redrawing them,
so he can practise drawing the human form.
Mary remembers this GI with a creative streak.
There was one soldier called Fontaine who was a pianist.
He asked my father if he could play the piano,
which was in here in those days,
so my father said, "Yes, of course."
But John Fontaine wouldn't complete his mission
to the beaches of Normandy.
"Dear Johnny, got a letter from one of the boys in C Company
"and in it he told me of the bad break that you got.
"But cheer up, John, you can't keep a good man down."
We don't know what "bad break" actually means.
This could mean he broke his ankle on a training exercise,
but I suspect it's a lot more serious than that.
It's bad enough for him to go back stateside.
What a twist of fate for him in the way his life ended up,
but for those who were here then,
and they left for the D-day landings,
what course did they take and where did they end up?
They ended up on Omaha Beach.
Their port of embarkation is Weymouth, over in Dorset.
They go across the English Channel.
They land on Omaha Beach, on the coast of Normandy,
which is very, very heavily defended -
very, very steep cliffs. The Germans are well dug-in.
They've literally spent months preparing their defence.
What transpires is a slaughter, effectively,
of young American men on that beach.
They lose something like 3,500 to 5,500 casualties.
How well did B Company's training here prepare them?
It's a hard thing to actually say.
What we do know is they managed to achieve their job.
They managed to get inland.
The 121st Combat Engineer Battalion,
by the end of D-day, they're missing something like
104, 105 men.
Most of those are dead, most of those are
in the English Channel, they're lying there on the beach.
Company B's fatalities? Probably we're looking
somewhere around 40-50.
So they've suffered grievous losses.
Remember you picked up on one of the names on the locker?
That's a photo of his grave above Omaha Beach.
For him, the war ended on the 6th of June 1944.
And there... Gosh, what do you say?
-That's the last of him.
The marks left on these walls are a poignant reminder
of the sacrifices these men, and all the Allied forces, made
to protect our freedom.
Earlier we heard that the British dairy industry is on the edge
of a potential bonanza
because of the increasing global demand for milk products.
But is that good news for everyone?
From fields and farms across the UK,
nearly two million cattle
produce 13 billion litres of milk every year.
And there's a market for more.
Growing global demand for dairy products
should mean bigger herds
and therefore bigger profits for some dairy farmers,
but is there a danger the smaller outfits might get left behind?
Here in Staffordshire, Rob Burchill is a tenant farmer
who faces the same challenges as many of Britain's smaller
With his wife, he runs a 250-acre farm
with a dairy herd of about 120 cattle.
As I arrive, it's just got bigger.
Bring him round the front end for a sniff, getting to know you.
We're going to get this bedding down?
Yes, we'll just roll it round now.
-Keeps you fit.
You all right, fella?
Perhaps you want a bit of straw on you to keep you warm.
Rob wants to expand but can't find a larger farm to move to.
If the world wants all this milk, isn't that a good time for you?
It is and it isn't,
cos I would like to move on to a bigger farm.
We're at full capacity here at the moment.
Is it that the farms are just not out there
or you can't get the investment to buy them?
The farms aren't out there.
The sort of unit I'd like to buy would be
£2-£3 million, and trying to persuade the bank manager
-to help you with that sort of money... It's nonexistent.
When you see some people saying there is a bright future generally
for the dairy industry
and people should be getting bigger,
what do you think?
There's a bright future for the bigger farmers
that own their own farms
cos they're investing for the next generation.
For myself and my kids,
there is a future there but it's very, very slim.
So whilst there is good news for some,
it seems farmers like Rob simply don't have the money to invest
in their future and may have to sit by
while others reap the rewards.
While Rob wants to expand but can't,
there are those who have serious worries about the consequences
of a bigger British dairy industry.
The big concern amongst some is
we will see more US-style mega-dairies,
like the ones Adam visited back in 2010.
I'm here getting a bird's-eye view of what many people think
could be the future of British dairy farming.
But plans for similar-size dairy farms in the UK
have faced significant opposition.
Maybe that's why there are only 17 herds in the UK
with more than 1,000 head of cattle.
That's less than 1% of all our dairy cows.
So why do some think that bigger isn't better?
I have no problem with the dairy industry scaling up in Britain.
I would welcome that,
so long as it's pasture-based.
What is it about the American system you don't like?
Is it about them being indoors?
On these mega-dairies, dairy cows are taken
out of the fields and put permanently into housing,
often in vast numbers.
The European Commission's own scientific panel
has amassed evidence to show
that keeping them off of pasture
means they're more likely to experience serious
health and welfare problems.
But are these concerns, together with fears for the environment,
standing in the way of progress?
Is there not a real danger
that pressure groups like yours could end up
undermining the British dairy industry?
Milk and dairy products come from overseas where they do things
-you don't like anyway.
-Not at all.
My biggest concern is to ensure we
get behind the pasture-based dairy industry in this country.
That includes giving people the choice
to back grass-produced dairy.
Those within the industry are confident it can expand
without lowering welfare standards or damaging the environment,
but will they get the chance?
Is there a danger the public's hostility
towards these more modern dairy farming methods
could end up hampering our industry?
It's a real risk.
We need to keep up with modern production techniques
and to be efficient on a global stage,
so we as an industry need to do our bit to explain
what these modern production techniques mean and what becoming
more efficient and keeping up with our competitors globally
will mean to our farming systems.
The global market has the potential to breathe new life
into the British dairy industry.
As demand for the white stuff grows ever higher, there's no doubt
that a scowl is turning to a smile
on the face of many dairy farmers and we're beginning to see
the green shoots of a recovery.
But the industry will need to convince the public
that environmental and welfare standards won't suffer
if we're to make the most of this global opportunity.
We normally associate lambing with springtime,
but this week, Adam's meeting a special shepherd
and his newborn lambs hoping to take centre stage this Christmas.
But first, down on the farm, Adam's own mums-to-be
need his attention.
Christmas is almost upon us.
But on my farm we're already preparing for lambing in the spring.
This is a little group of rams - the males -
and we keep the rams together all year round
until they go in with the ewes
and what I have to do now is catch the little brown North Ronaldsay
cos he has a job to do.
I'll try and catch him just by pretending I have some food
in this bag, but if that fails, I have the dog with me
and we'll round him up into a pen.
Come on then, boys. Come on then.
The trailer's right over there so we have a bit of a walk.
Come on, mate.
Did it without you, Millie.
It's just a short drive to another field where his ewes are.
And some may be in season.
Right then, matey.
Off to see your wives.
Instantly the ewes have gathered round the ram,
all making a fuss of him, with his arrival,
and he'll mate with them quite quickly.
He's showing lots of signs - sniffing the air, curling his top lip
up to scent the air to see if they're in season.
Once he's mated with them, they'll give birth in five months' time.
So they'll give birth in the spring,
which is lovely, when everything bursts into life after a long winter,
with lots of lambs skipping about. My favourite time of year.
I don't have to wait till spring to see lambs
because I'm heading down to Dorset
where they're preparing some Christmas lambs
that will be in a performance on stage.
What makes it even more remarkable
is they're being farmed by a two-year-old.
There's starting young and there's starting young!
At two years old, little Arthur Jones
already knows about sheep.
He spends five days a week tending to his flock
with his grandmother, Nicky,
while his mum's at work.
-Lovely to meet you.
Tell me about this little boy. I've been hearing all about him.
Arthur's very special.
He was born just over two months premature.
He spent his first seven weeks of life in an intensive care unit
and as a result he has cerebral palsy
which is affecting his lower limbs.
And how is he coping?
The guts and determination he's got is amazing.
Tell me about how he's got involved with sheep.
He already has his own little flock
and he's the youngest member of the
Poll Dorset and Dorset Horn Breed Society.
My goodness me!
And working with sheep has helped him?
It has, incredibly.
They said he wouldn't walk until he was four.
He's two-and-a-half and he's walking
and he took his little pet ewe, Twinkle,
into the Dorset county show, in the children's class, and he won
a cup for the child that showed the most endeavour.
Arthur won that!
Amazing! "Best handler".
It is. He let go of my hand and walked
into the ring by himself.
So we all had a lump in our throats when he did that.
They have such a rapport. Twinkle actually got him walking.
She would just stand with him,
walk with him. When he stopped, she stopped.
If he fell over, because he can't get to his feet
once he's fallen over,
she'd stand still and let him scrabble up on top.
And off they go again.
-What a wonderful relationship.
Before we head out to the field to see the rest of the flock,
Arthur has something he wants to show me.
Arthur won that!
-Arthur won which one?
YOU won that one?!
-Not that one? Is it this one?
-Who won that?
-Arthur did, that's you!
Arthur won that!
-Did you win that as well?
Arthur, you've won so many things.
For a two-year-old, he's becoming a great shepherd.
He certainly looks the part and he has all the gear.
-The quad bike's quite handy?
-Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
As he's got heavier, it's been hard to carry him about,
so with that, he's free and he can come and help round up the sheep.
Are you going to go and get those sheep, Arthur?
We'll hang on here. You go and get 'em.
The Dorset is one of only a few native breeds of sheep
that can lamb all year round.
It just seems so unusual
to see lambs at Christmas time.
It is, but it's lovely, isn't it?
Have they been around a long time as a breed?
They have. The Dorset Horns are one of the earliest recorded.
How long have you bred them for?
I've been farming Dorsets for over 20 years.
-Are they your favourite?
-A Dorset girl with Dorset sheep?
-Born and bred, yeah.
It's lovely to see Arthur get involved.
-He's enjoying that quad bike, isn't he?
-He loves it.
It looks like he could be quite useful on it, rounding up the sheep.
Extremely useful. He's just as good as a dog, I think,
going to round them up
and feeding them with his little bucket of nuts.
Not only are you farming
all these animals all year round,
you also provide lambs for a special event at this time of year?
We do. We have a very special one coming up
with the children's Nativity play at his school.
I don't know how you have time for it all.
We make time some way!
At this time of year, Nicky's Christmas lambs are in high demand,
and as luck would have it, two more were born last night.
Christmas lambs for the Nativity play.
Aren't they lovely?
Come on then, babies.
And you can't have a Nativity without a donkey.
Arthur even has one of those.
Up we go!
Hey! Good riding, cowboy!
The animals are all loaded
and the stars of the show have taken to the stage.
While Arthur's getting ready,
it's my job to keep the kids entertained.
Who are these two in the middle? Is your name Mary?
-And is that Joseph?
-Is this your little baby?
-It's Margot! Really? I know that!
I'm going to ask you some questions about the animals that are in
the stable. So there's a donkey, isn't there?
What noise does a donkey make?
What noise does a cow make?
What noise does a sheep make?
And what's a baby sheep called?
Very good, a lamb.
And that's Arthur's cue to come in with the lambs.
Look what Arthur's got!
Who's got a little lamb?
Look at the little lambs.
# Away in a manger
# No crib for a bed
# The little Lord Jesus
# Laid down his sweet head
# The stars in the bright sky
# Looked down where he lay
# The little Lord Jesus
# Asleep on the hay. #
That was really lovely. Well done.
Give yourself a clap.
Fantastic. How about that?
A lovely Nativity scene with real animals.
Give your little lamb a hug, Arthur.
This is a lovely way to celebrate Christmas, isn't it?
It's absolutely wonderful.
How does it make you feel?
Tearful, just to watch it.
To think that almost three years ago he was fighting for his life.
-And look at him now.
-It's so gorgeous
-with him hugging that little lamb.
-I have a lump in my throat.
Cornwall is one of the country's
top holiday destinations,
a playground for those who love sand, sea and surf.
But there's more to this county than the bucket-and-spade brigade.
Here, there's something for everyone.
Take a country house just south of Bodmin, for instance.
Lanhydrock is the National Trust's third-most popular property.
People come here to see what life was like
in this grand Victorian house
and to experience the peace
and tranquillity of a thousand-acre estate.
But now this 19th-century treasure
is embarking on a huge 21st-century project.
They're building more than six miles of family-friendly cycle trails
that wind through the woods.
And I am here to help.
This is one of ten cycle trails
being built in the Southwest with European funding.
Although it doesn't look like it now,
the plan is for conservation and recreation to co-exist in harmony.
Angela Proctor is the person in charge of delivering
this challenging project.
The trails are very much aimed
at families and novice cyclists.
We have a loop here of green trail, which is the easiest trail.
It's wide, flat, fairly smooth.
Then we have a lot of blue-grey trail, which is
for the slightly more advanced cyclists.
A little bit of red.
Just a taster of the more difficult trail.
But also, we have a cycle skills area
where kids can come in and develop their cycle skills.
And the skills area also includes balance bike tracks
so even the really dinky little kids on their balance bikes
can come and practise their cycling skills.
The plan is the trails will be finished early next year,
just in time for school half-term.
One of the advantages of these cycle routes
is that they'll take
people into areas of woodland inaccessible on foot.
Not only that, wildlife's set to benefit, too,
like the estate's bat population.
Matt, there are already 12 species of bat here, I believe?
It's a real hotspot for bats, here at Lanhydrock.
We have really old woodlands and trees,
loads of crevices and cracks that the bats roost in.
We also have young trees in plantations like this
where we don't have those crevices and cracks,
so by putting the boxes up we'll have the ideal place
for the bats to roost...
Let's get this one put up. Chris is ready and poised.
That's heavier than I thought!
30 of these bat boxes will be put up along the cycle track
and it's a track that I suspect
will be pretty popular with people, too.
Why do I think that?
Because just around the corner in Cardinham Woods,
another part of this project is already up and running.
Once you've mastered the trails
at Lanhydrock, this is the place to come.
It's only been open seven months but it's already attracted
You'd think that would deter people who want a quiet walk in the woods,
but not here, because there literally is something for everyone.
There are four walking trails over there, one for all abilities
and then there are the cycle tracks,
so walkers stick to those paths, my bike and I head this way.
These tracks are the same width as those at Lanhydrock
but already they're beginning to merge into the landscape
like a silver river running through the woods.
There are six miles of blue routes which are for intermediate riders
and then there are some red tracks
for the more advanced cyclist.
What do I like about this place?
Everything, it's awesome. Look at it.
Natural trails in the winter tend to be quite boggy,
and this you can ride all the year round.
Now we have this place right on our doorstep,
it's absolutely fabulous.
These trails aren't just about getting people out and about.
There's the environment to think about, too.
This was one of the first areas in the country
to be hit by larch disease.
A cause for sorrow they've managed to turn into an opportunity.
-You all right?
-Not too bad, and you?
-Talk me through what you're doing here.
-Two years ago,
we had to fell 20 hectares of Cardinham Woods,
due to the larch disease.
Cardinham Woods is designated as an ancient woodland site
so we're obliged to restock those areas with broad-leaf trees.
What have you planted there?
We have oak and cherry
and within the plantation you have natural regeneration coming up
so you have birch, rowan, holly, etc,
so at the end of it, we will have a mixed, diverse
Not all of the clear-felled areas have been replanted.
Here the undergrowth's being reduced
so that a habitat for a threatened species can be developed.
The pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly
was once widespread in the UK
but its numbers have declined rapidly in recent decades.
A butterfly conservation area has been created for it
on the other side of the valley
and now the Forestry Commission is giving it some extra help
by establishing a food source in-between the cycle trails
that snake back and forth across this slope.
-Can I be of any assistance?
-Of course you can.
If you could pass me the top turf there...
Butterflies will particularly enjoy what's in here?
Basically, the pearl-bordered fritillary,
the one we're looking to get here,
the larvae of the butterfly, the caterpillar,
feed off the leaves of the dog violet, which is what this is.
and once it's eaten the leaf,
it will bask itself on the vegetation here in the sun
and pupate into the butterfly in April.
It's mad to think the butterflies can sit here, can feed, can breed
and there's mountain-bikers crashing round, but they'll be fine.
-They'll be fine and it's helped us to manage this area.
Because of the compartments we've got.
It now separates this whole south-facing bank
into little management compartments,
so every year we can manage one little section
to create a mosaic of habitat.
Good luck. I'll let you crack on.
If you haven't got one of these yet -
the Countryfile calendar - there is still time.
They cost £9 but at least £4 of that will go to BBC Children In Need.
Everything you need to know on how you can get hold of one
is on our website.
In a moment, Matt has his work cut out trying to catch a wayward deer.
But before that, the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
I've been exploring Prideaux Place on the north coast of Cornwall.
It's been owned by the same Cornish family, the Prideauxs,
since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
While generations of the Prideaux family have come and gone,
leaving their mark on this characterful country estate,
there's been one constant and reassuring presence throughout.
The fallow deer at Prideaux Place are said to be the oldest
park herd in the country.
They've been here so long they've become emblematic of the estate
and are considered part of the Prideaux family.
In fact, legend has it, if the deer die out, the family will, too.
One attempt has been made to improve the bloodline,
when King George V gave the family a prized white master buck.
But before it had a chance to breed, in a bungled attempt
to take out a rival, the park ranger
accidentally shot the royal buck.
Today, the Prideaux family have pinned their hopes
on the only white male in the herd,
a three-year-old sorrel called Naughty,
to be the next master buck.
But Naughty's proving to be a bit of a handful.
As his name suggests, he has a tendency to get into scrapes,
none bigger than his latest predicament.
Paul Messenger's the current deer manager.
He got himself tangled up in a wire fence
and he wrapped some stock fence around his antler
and it's quite long and trailing down
between his feet.
Deer adore to adorn their antlers with undergrowth,
with bracken and brambles, and they wrap them all up
with all this debris
during the breeding cycle and he's doing
what is quite natural, but unfortunately
he's done it with a bit of wire,
which, of course, has dangerous implications for him.
So leaving him till the antlers shed naturally
really isn't an option either?
Not really because it's a long time. He would shed late April,
maybe even into May.
Paul's called in expert Mike Allison
to dart Naughty with an anaesthetic.
Mike will have one shot.
Where will you be aiming for?
Aiming into the haunch,
into the rump. We need to be
putting these darts into deep muscle.
Muscle repairs very easily
and there's a lot of blood vessels in there
so it takes the drug to where we want it in the nervous system.
It's got to the point where this is
a necessary thing to do.
How much grief will it cause Naughty?
It shouldn't cause him any grief at all.
When that impacts there will be a sting
but to an animal it will be like an insect sting.
Jim's out there with a bucket of feed, enticing him over
into this corner and, ideally,
Mike wants Naughty to be this side of that muddy patch.
He's slowly coming.
This is the classic.
Half of them have come down.
Naughty's now turned round and gone back up the hill
and embedded himself into the middle
of the herd up there.
I don't know about "Naughty". "Cheeky", more like.
If you look through the binoculars, Matt,
you'll see the wire quite clearly.
-Oh, yeah, it's dangling, isn't it?
You see how dangerous that is?
'But the lure of some lunch finally gets too much for Naughty.'
(This is when we just stay as still and calm as possible.
(OK, so he's in the zone. This looks good.
-Well done, Mike.
'It takes just a few minutes for the tranquiliser to kick in.'
The plan is to get in as quick as we can -
I've got the wire cutters here -
snip it away and give him the antidote.
Mike and I will hold him down so he doesn't get up in our hands.
A blindfold is really important,
so he doesn't see us and he's not stressed by it.
We need to remove the wire as quickly as possible
to avoid any distress.
It's well-and-truly wrapped round.
All right, Mike, antidote.
Straight into the muscle.
Let's get out of the way and leave him to it.
There we are.
And there we are.
It's all over.
Naughty's now free to get on with claiming his master buck status.
It looks like Naughty will feel a little groggy for a while
but he's slowly but surely
making his way back to the rest of the herd.
That is all we have time for from North Cornwall.
Next week, we'll be in Gloucestershire
with the whole Countryfile team
at Westonbirt Arboretum
where we'll decorate over a mile of woodland
with lights, lasers and glitter balls,
and this lot will be pleased to hear
that Father Christmas and the reindeer will also join us.
Hope you can join us then.
Countryfile is in North Cornwall. Matt Baker visits a stately home with an interesting past. Prideaux Place has been in the same family for fourteen generations and once housed American soldiers during the Second World War as they prepared for the D-Day landings. Matt gets access to the 'American Wing' which has remained untouched since 1943. Prideaux Place is thought to have the oldest fallow deer park herd in the country. Matt helps catch one special buck that's got himself in a spot of bother.
Meanwhile, Helen Skelton is finding out why artists, writers and poets flock to Cornwall for inspiration. She also gets on her bike to test out a new woodland trail where cycling and conservation are working hand in hand. And Adam's in Dorset meeting a young shepherd and his Christmas lambs that are taking centre stage in a nativity.
Tom Heap learns about plans to expand British farming to make the most of the increasing global market for dairy products. He travels to Wales to meet a farmer who is increasing his herd of dairy cattle and believes this is an opportunity not to be missed. But, Tom also hears from those who can't afford to expand - as well as people concerned about the consequences of producing more milk.