Pembrokeshire Countryfile


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Pembrokeshire

Ellie Harrison is in Pembrokeshire looking at the effect of storms on the coastline. Adam Henson is in Scotland to explore the mystery behind missing upland sheep.


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Wild, windswept bays...

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..rocky crags pounded by heavy seas...

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This is Pembrokeshire Coast national park.

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It was given that status based on this, the spectacular coastline.

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But lately, it's been taking a battering by the storms.

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Look at all this sea wall that's just come down.

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Today is clearly no exception.

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I'll be hearing from local people

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about how a constant battle with the elements

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has taken its toll on the coastline.

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And because of the wild weather,

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we're scattered to the four winds this week.

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Tom's in the snowy south,

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hearing how roast lamb is getting rarer.

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Every farm used to have a sheep flock,

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but it's a massive decline because there's just no money in it,

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when no-one buys it.

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Adam's in Scotland,

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exploring the mystery behind some missing Upland sheep.

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It's a fact of life,

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it's a mystery,

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and it's something that we would dearly like to get to the bottom of.

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Pembrokeshire,

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the western tip of Wales.

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It's bordered by Ceredigion to the north-east,

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Carmarthenshire to the east,

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and the sea pretty much everywhere else.

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On a sunny day, a coastal stroll is a delight.

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But when the winter bites, it's a different story.

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They say there's no such thing as bad weather,

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only bad clothes.

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And I used to believe that until I started working on Countryfile.

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If you stand in a blizzard for 12 hours,

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the weather gets in somewhere.

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It's not just me in Pembrokeshire.

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Matt's on his way to meet... MOBILE PHONE RINGS

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Oh!

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Hey!

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-Morning!

-Morning!

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How are you doing?

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Ellie, due to this crazy, crazy snow, erm,

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I'm not going to be able to make it to Pembrokeshire, I'm sorry!

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The roads are...

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You just can't get across to where you are,

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so unfortunately I'm going to have to sit this one out, Em.

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Would you do my stories for me, please?

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You know what, I will, I'll do this favour.

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You owe me one next time, all right?

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See next week! I'll set off now.

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-Bye!

-Bye!

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Dramatic weather here is nothing new.

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For centuries, storms have formed part of the fabric of life

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for coastal communities.

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Anne Lewis's family have lived in the village of Cwm-Yr-Eglwys

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for generations.

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What are your memories of stormy weather?

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Well, I've seen some fairly big storms,

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but nothing like as big as the storm that knocked down the church,

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which was in 1859.

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Oh, my goodness!

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So then we've just got one part of the church left?!

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Yes, this is the door in,

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and the rest of the church would have gone in that direction.

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-And you can see that in this picture.

-Oh, yes.

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Now, my great-great-grandparents were one of the last couples

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who were married in this church.

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You can also see that we've lost quite a lot of land since then.

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Yes, the church yard extended right out in that direction,

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and so a lot of the graves were lost,

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and so the people must have been very upset

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to see their ancestors',

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and maybe even their grandparents' bones on the beach

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as they were getting washed away.

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Yeah, a disastrous storm.

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It came to be known as the Royal Charter storm of 1859,

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and was considered to be the most severe storm to hit the Irish Sea

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in the 19th century.

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It sunk 133 ships,

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and claimed more than 800 lives.

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Really, it is terribly stormy today, it's not just a bit stormy.

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I think this is the most clothes I've ever worn on Countryfile.

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Well, I have never seen it like this.

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Really? This is a super-bad storm?

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Yeah, look at... Look at this.

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Oh, yeah! LAUGHTER

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Look!

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To prove just how cold it is today, we've got icicles here.

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-That'll be seawater, too.

-Yes, that's seawater!

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Seawater frozen on the bench!

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-This morning, we had a fairly high tide.

-Yeah!

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And I was actually woken up by waves hitting the wall,

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and there's a sort of bang,

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and you can feel it through the pillow.

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When the storms are at their worst,

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what's it like being here in this village?

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The worst one I've seen,

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we had waves that have gone...

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..that have sent spray twice as high as the church.

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And even spray going right over our roof ridge,

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right up there,

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and cascading down the back of the house.

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A sea wall was built to protect the village in 1889.

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But after every storm, it needs checking.

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It's always a good idea to be out there with a bucket of mortar

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if there's any problem, before it gets too big.

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And that's your responsibility, is it, to sort of look after it?

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-Or you take that on as your responsibility?

-It's...

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Here, we are in an area of what's called managed retreat,

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-and so we wouldn't get any help with our sea walls.

-Right.

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Managed retreat means giving in to whatever nature throws at you.

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Despite a handful of people like Anne still living here

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it's not thought to be cost-effective to keep the sea back,

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and so the waves are left to shape this part of the coast.

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Got to be pretty handy, haven't you, to live in this village,

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you've got to be quite practical?

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You need to have a concrete mixer,

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it's probably a bit more important than a lawnmower.

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Excellent!

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What do you think about the future of this village,

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in relation to the storms that come in, and protecting it?

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Well, I never want to be anywhere else, it's just lovely,

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and everybody who's associated with this bay feels the same.

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And so we don't ever want it to change,

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and we'll do whatever we can to protect it and keep it.

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Your dog's decided to leave, I think he knows better than we do.

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We've got icicles out of seawater, shall we head indoors?

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-Oh, yes, I think perhaps it's time for a cup of tea.

-Oh, it is, it is!

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Now, with Easter on the horizon,

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it's a busy time of year for our sheep farmers,

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but the traditional roast lamb could soon become a thing of the past.

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Tom's been finding out why.

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Spring is on its way,

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and nothing heralds the start of the season

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like waking up to the dawn chorus.

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Daffodils gently swaying,

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and of course lambs gambolling in the fields.

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OK, so spring may be on hold for the moment,

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but whatever the weather, this is a busy time of year

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for sheep farmers,

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and it's not just the temperatures that have plummeted.

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Sales of lamb and mutton in the UK are falling, too,

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and have been for a long time.

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The last three decades have seen a drop of nearly 40%.

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As a nation, we seem to have fallen out of love with lamb.

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So why the decline?

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Well, for some, lamb is now seen as a treat meat,

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that they'll go for in the restaurant,

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but shy away from at home,

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and traditional cuts can be off-putting to younger shoppers,

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being big, on the bone, or just scary to cook,

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and some think it's fatty and unhealthy.

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Put those together, and it's having a big impact on our farmers.

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I'm in East Meon in the heart of the South Downs

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to meet Will Atkinson.

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-It's a bit raw today.

-It is a bit raw.

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Are we going to tempt them up with a bit of food?

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I think we're going to have to go and find them.

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-OK, well, let's find out, shall we?

-Come on, then!

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Come on!

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His family have been farming sheep here since 1906.

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In the South Downs, there's hardly any sheep flocks left.

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Every farm used to have a sheep flock,

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but it's a massive decline

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because there's just no money in it when no-one buys it.

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So how has your flock changed, say, in the last 30, 40 years?

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So 30 years ago, lamb would be probably slightly stockier,

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and shorter, a big leg for that Sunday roast leg.

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But now we produce a far leaner lamb than we ever used to,

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with a bigger saddle, so more lamb chops,

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and a slightly smaller leg that can be ready for the supermarkets.

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In that same time period, let's say 30, 40 years,

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what's happened on the sort of trade front,

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the balance between domestic and overseas?

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Exports would have doubled in our farming lifetime.

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If you went back to say the '50s,

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it'd be very seasonal and it was roasting,

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it was British and then the New Zealand lamb came in '50s, '60s,

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but that's declined over the years,

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where the UK just don't eat as much lamb.

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Now we probably keep the legs in the UK,

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and send everything else abroad.

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It's a similar picture for many farmers like Will across the UK.

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Right now, there are two things

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keeping sheep farming afloat in the UK.

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One is the export market,

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and the other is something you might not expect -

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Britain's Muslim community.

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Muslims make up just 5% of our population

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but, would you believe it,

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they eat 20% of the lamb and mutton we produce.

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I'm running out of room on my plate but I like that!

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Can I go for a little salad, is that OK?

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-Yes, go for it, please.

-Thank you.

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Imam Kudu Sarif and his wife Samina

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have invited me to dinner at their home in Hampshire.

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And on the menu,

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a delicious lamb curry.

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I mean, this is a fantastic lamb dish.

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I mean, how often do you reckon, on a typical week,

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how often would you eat lamb, say?

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I would say at least two, three times a week, maybe,

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if not more.

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So yeah, quite regularly, I suppose.

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When you have a big family gathering,

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would lamb quite often be served?

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-Yes.

-Definitely.

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-There would be a couple of dishes which would be lamb.

-Yeah.

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So you would have it in every shape and form.

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The meal you're seeing on the table here is to do,

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it's from the subcontinent, and the subcontinent, you know,

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they like their lamb, like their beef, and all these things,

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and I suppose that's something that we've inherited from our parents.

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Is there a difference in the generations,

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maybe in the way younger people view lamb?

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Not that I see it, from our generation.

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My mother, or my mother-in-law, both sides of the family,

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they've always cooked lamb, I've always grown up seeing lamb,

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in the very same way.

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Do you think when Rashik grows up

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he'll be eating a lot of lamb in his diet?

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He looks pretty keen right now!

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LAUGHTER

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I think he would, I think he would.

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I think it's what you're exposed to when you're growing up,

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you keep up with those traditions, as well, somewhat.

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Like some other religions,

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how the animal is killed is significant,

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and for Muslims, that means halal slaughter,

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in which a blessing is said before the animal dies.

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This lamb, and I gather all meat,

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will have been slaughtered in the halal way. Why is that important?

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You know, there's certain practices

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where you just want to fulfil a commandment of God,

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and you're basically invoking God's name upon that,

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you're making the sacrifice in the name of God,

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and now it's made halal.

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Halal means permissible,

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and it's been made permissible by God for you.

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In halal, there's a debate over whether the animal should be

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conscious or not when killed.

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The vast majority in this country are stunned before death.

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Are you happy with it being stunned first?

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The way here it is, I mean, you have to stun the animal first,

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and then it's, you know, slaughtered.

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Which is fine, as well, it's not an issue.

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I think most of the meat is slaughtered in the same way,

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but one's labelled halal and one's just labelled normally.

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That's right.

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Well, I've made you do all the talking, and I've nearly finished.

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So I'm very happy to help of the British farmer

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with another spoonful because it's absolutely delicious, Samina,

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thank you very much.

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Regardless of the discussion over halal,

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this is the only growing market in the UK for the industry,

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and that looks positive for our sheep farmers.

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But even with this market,

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it's only slowing the decline,

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and there's no getting around the fact that the industry as a whole

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is heavily reliant on exports to the EU.

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And you can't talk about exports without talking about Brexit.

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So what does the future hold for the British sheep industry?

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That's what I'll be finding out later.

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Now, the recent arrival of the Beast From The East

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presented our farmers with some of the worst conditions

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they've had to deal with in a long time.

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They counted the cost of the heavy snow...

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..feeding and rescuing buried livestock from deep drifts.

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If they survived, that is.

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But in the Scottish Uplands, sheep face another challenge.

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Adam was there just before the storms hit.

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In this kind of terrain, sheep will often go missing.

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However, shepherds are losing more animals than they should be,

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so the Hill and Mountain Research Centre

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at Scotland's Rural College near Crianlarich

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are looking into the mystery.

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Farming sheep can be fairly tricky at the best of times.

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And when you're looking after a flock,

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it's inevitable that some will die for various reasons.

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But when a shepherd's loss is unexplainably high,

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up here they call it black loss.

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Black loss has been plaguing Scottish sheep farming for decades,

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but Professor Davy McCracken hopes to finally solve the mystery.

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Davy, black loss is a term that I'm not familiar with -

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-what does it mean?

-It's a term that's used for the unexplained loss

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of lambs from these very extensive hill grazings.

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Basically, farmers will know how many lambs they've actually got

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after lambing, out on the mountains,

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but when they bring them back in to wean them off for sales

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in the autumn, they've got a lot less then they would anticipate,

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or they knew was out there in the first place.

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So, lambs just disappear.

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Just disappearing, yep, with no known cause.

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It's quite a mystery,

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there's a whole host of potential theories about what it could be,

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but there's no real sort of smoking gun

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-as to know what is actually happening.

-So, what sort of numbers

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of lambs do go missing, then?

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Oh... You know, we have, um,

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450 ewes up in this flock, up in the high mountains.

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We'd normally expect roughly 350, 400, that type of thing,

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maybe even slightly higher, depends on the weather.

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-So, virtually a lamb apiece.

-Yes, virtually a lamb apiece.

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And in a very bad year, we might end up with only sort of 250-300 lambs.

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-So, you're nearly losing half of them?

-In a very bad year, yes.

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These mountains, there's no boundaries,

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and so we're relying on the livestock up there being

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what we call hefted into the area - family groups know where they are,

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so we're relying on putting female lambs back into the flock that were

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born up there, that know that that's their sort of territory.

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And at that level of losses,

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you have much fewer animals to actually choose from.

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Scanning the ewes will give Davy and his team an accurate picture

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of the number of lambs they should expect.

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This data will be vital in working out

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the possible toll due to black loss later on.

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It's research that Upland farmers like Sybil MacPherson

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are counting on.

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And what do you think is the problem?

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Oh... You could have lots and lots of theories.

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I think the environment plays a part,

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I think the landscape and the topography plays a part.

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I think predators play a part.

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I think it's a big combination of things.

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But it's something we need to get to the bottom of.

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And so, do you find the carcasses?

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Mostly you don't find a thing, which is the mystery of black loss,

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because you can't account for it.

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You think that when the spring comes and the snow melts

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that you will come across the remains,

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and that doesn't happen.

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In this vast, vast type of countryside, things vanish.

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It seems strange and hard to believe, but it happens.

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There will be people, and sheep farmers, all over the country

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that wouldn't quite understand what it's like farming those hills.

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The hills up here, in my opinion, are hugely important.

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The key thing here, because we've seen so much land abandonment

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up in the north and the west of Scotland, and it is becoming

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increasingly difficult to make a living from hill livestock,

0:18:210:18:25

that we need to find out all the answers

0:18:250:18:27

that are possible to make it sustainable,

0:18:270:18:29

because it is so much more than just agriculture -

0:18:290:18:32

it's the whole rural infrastructure.

0:18:320:18:35

And so, if you can't get on top of black loss,

0:18:350:18:37

does that make sheep farming unviable?

0:18:370:18:39

I think sheep farming in this part of the world is hanging on

0:18:390:18:43

by its absolute fingernails at the moment.

0:18:430:18:46

And if we could make a breakthrough and understand black loss

0:18:460:18:49

and help to avoid it, I think that would make a difference.

0:18:490:18:52

We desperately need to make a difference to make farming

0:18:520:18:55

in this part of the world viable.

0:18:550:18:57

These ewes have scanned out at about a lamb apiece.

0:19:030:19:07

They'll now be returned to the hills,

0:19:070:19:09

where they'll give birth over the next few months.

0:19:090:19:11

If past experience is anything to go by,

0:19:140:19:17

somewhere between 20% and 50% of the lambs scanned

0:19:170:19:21

could be lost to black loss.

0:19:210:19:22

And though Davy and his team are gathering vital data,

0:19:250:19:28

solving the black loss mystery is an uphill struggle.

0:19:280:19:32

Now, we're up on the mountain, Davy,

0:19:340:19:35

I can see why it's so difficult for a ewe to bring a lamb up out here.

0:19:350:19:40

Well, indeed, Adam, and you're here on a good day!

0:19:400:19:42

And if a lamb does die, I suppose because it's such a vast area,

0:19:420:19:46

the shepherd is unlikely to come across it.

0:19:460:19:48

Yeah, well, if you want to know why something's died,

0:19:480:19:50

you need to do a postmortem.

0:19:500:19:52

But unless you come across a lamb straightaway,

0:19:520:19:54

there's so many scavengers up here, that the carcasses just disappear.

0:19:540:19:58

And then if you CAN find it, can you sort out the problem?

0:19:580:20:01

Well, not really.

0:20:010:20:03

You can maybe know why it's died, but if it's not got a tag on it,

0:20:030:20:07

you don't know who its mother is,

0:20:070:20:08

then you can't track back and work out why it might have died.

0:20:080:20:11

So, at home, we tag our lambs in the lambing pen,

0:20:110:20:15

and therefore we know who belongs to who,

0:20:150:20:17

but that doesn't happen up here?

0:20:170:20:19

No, you can see the type of terrain we have here,

0:20:190:20:21

that's well nigh impossible. But last year we took

0:20:210:20:23

a conscious decision to actually put a lot of time

0:20:230:20:26

and effort into tagging the lambs up here within two or three days

0:20:260:20:30

of birth, so we knew how many were actually alive as we put them out

0:20:300:20:33

to the wider hill. And then we could

0:20:330:20:35

actually count them coming back at the different handling events

0:20:350:20:38

through until weaning, and get an idea as to who was losing

0:20:380:20:41

a lamb and who was keeping a lamb.

0:20:410:20:43

So, you could really find out who the winners and losers are.

0:20:430:20:45

That's our intent in the first instance.

0:20:450:20:47

There's so many different factors to look at, isn't there?

0:20:470:20:50

-You need to narrow it down.

-Yeah, you need to start somewhere.

0:20:500:20:52

And that's what we we're doing - who, what and when?

0:20:520:20:55

And how much studying have you done so far?

0:20:550:20:57

We just started the study last year,

0:20:570:20:59

so we've got one year's worth of good data.

0:20:590:21:01

Unfortunately, it's one year's worth of good data

0:21:010:21:04

in a very good lambing year, so we need maybe another two, three,

0:21:040:21:06

four years' worth of data in a variety of different

0:21:060:21:09

weather conditions to try and work through

0:21:090:21:11

what those common causes actually are.

0:21:110:21:13

Well, let's hope you get to the bottom of it.

0:21:130:21:15

We're certainly looking to do so anyway.

0:21:150:21:17

Back in Pembrokeshire,

0:21:250:21:26

the crew and I are still struggling with the weather.

0:21:260:21:30

We're battling a little bit on Countryfile this week.

0:21:300:21:32

We're facing problems, we've got the Beast From The East

0:21:320:21:35

meeting Storm Emma from the west,

0:21:350:21:37

giving us some rather unseasonal weather.

0:21:370:21:40

We were due to go and spend some time on Skomer Island,

0:21:400:21:42

taking a little boat across there,

0:21:420:21:43

and also to get up in a light aircraft and catch the coastline

0:21:430:21:46

but guess what, those stories both fell down.

0:21:460:21:48

We've just heard tomorrow's story has also fallen down.

0:21:480:21:51

That's how we roll on Countryfile,

0:21:510:21:53

just a few of the challenges we face.

0:21:530:21:55

Now, earlier we heard how lamb and mutton consumption

0:21:570:22:00

has fallen by nearly 40% in the last 28 years.

0:22:000:22:04

Tom's been finding out what can be done to stop that decline.

0:22:040:22:07

With the sheep meat market falling,

0:22:120:22:14

the last thing farmers need is more uncertainty.

0:22:140:22:18

But with Brexit round the corner,

0:22:180:22:21

that is exactly what they're facing.

0:22:210:22:23

Annually, we export more than 30% of the lamb and mutton we produce,

0:22:250:22:29

and nearly all of that goes to the EU.

0:22:290:22:32

So the future of sheep farming in this country

0:22:340:22:36

is dependent on successful trade talks.

0:22:360:22:39

And like most sheep farmers,

0:22:400:22:42

it's at the forefront of Will Atkinson's mind.

0:22:420:22:46

Well, I think I'm going to be optimistic,

0:22:460:22:48

I think we've all got to be optimistic,

0:22:480:22:50

but I think we all rely heavily on the government

0:22:500:22:53

to find us new deals further afield.

0:22:530:22:54

And maintaining the current trade deals with continental Europe,

0:22:540:22:57

-cos we sell so much there.

-Yeah,

0:22:570:22:59

that's the most important thing for us. They want our meat,

0:22:590:23:01

so we should be able to sell the meat to them.

0:23:010:23:03

If we don't get a trade deal,

0:23:030:23:04

that's a disaster, that means there's lots of lamb in the UK

0:23:040:23:07

with no home because, overnight,

0:23:070:23:09

Britain aren't going to start eating lots of lamb

0:23:090:23:11

so people are going to end up going out of business.

0:23:110:23:13

But how is the industry preparing for life outside the EU?

0:23:150:23:19

Phil Hadley is from the Agriculture And Horticulture Development Board.

0:23:210:23:25

It's his responsibility to oversee exports of lamb and mutton.

0:23:250:23:29

How optimistic are you about the chances of maybe selling more

0:23:310:23:35

to America or Canada or places like that?

0:23:350:23:37

Yeah, we've been on a programme of expanding our exports

0:23:370:23:41

for lots of products, including sheep meat,

0:23:410:23:44

and we've been successful.

0:23:440:23:45

We work closely with our colleagues in Defra

0:23:450:23:47

and other government departments.

0:23:470:23:48

So we, we secured Canada last year as part of an EU trade deal,

0:23:480:23:52

and just last week we secured another export market access

0:23:520:23:56

for Saudi Arabia.

0:23:560:23:57

Some of those deals we made through the EU.

0:23:570:23:59

Can we make deals on our own?

0:23:590:24:01

Well, we have been doing so,

0:24:010:24:03

so Saudi Arabia is an example of a bilateral deal.

0:24:030:24:07

The US is a bilateral deal,

0:24:070:24:08

so in some cases we have access because of an EU package,

0:24:080:24:12

and in lots of cases we also have direct deals.

0:24:120:24:15

Looking to the next three to five years,

0:24:150:24:17

Brexit and the consequences,

0:24:170:24:18

what's the best-case scenario?

0:24:180:24:20

Well, the best-case scenario is

0:24:200:24:22

unhindered access to our near markets of the EU,

0:24:220:24:25

that's our biggest market sector,

0:24:250:24:27

so, without the additional inspections, bureaucracy with that,

0:24:270:24:31

and an agreement that the meat standards are the same,

0:24:310:24:34

they're equivalent, so we're not,

0:24:340:24:36

we don't have additional, costly inspections.

0:24:360:24:39

And the worst case?

0:24:390:24:40

Well, the worst-case scenario would be additional inspections,

0:24:400:24:43

additional paperwork, additional delays in logistics,

0:24:430:24:46

potential for tariffs.

0:24:460:24:47

All those would obviously have a serious implication

0:24:470:24:49

for the marketplace as a whole.

0:24:490:24:51

So, uncertainties, yes,

0:24:520:24:54

but there could be new opportunities with other parts of the world.

0:24:540:24:59

That is in the hands of the government.

0:24:590:25:00

What the sheep industry needs to do is sell more at home in the UK.

0:25:020:25:05

So how can the industry persuade the great British public

0:25:080:25:12

to fall back in love with lamb?

0:25:120:25:15

Well, some say it has a bit of an image problem.

0:25:150:25:18

But that's not the same in other big sheep producing countries,

0:25:180:25:22

where they make a right song and dance about it.

0:25:220:25:25

# Because I never

0:25:250:25:26

# We never...

0:25:260:25:28

# We're never alone

0:25:280:25:33

# We love our lamb! #

0:25:330:25:35

These Australian ad campaigns promoting lamb

0:25:360:25:39

have become hugely popular.

0:25:390:25:41

And the UK lamb industry has a lot to shout about, too.

0:25:430:25:47

If you want your meat grass fed and reared outdoors,

0:25:470:25:51

then sheep are the obvious animal.

0:25:510:25:54

Let's face it, unlike chicken and pork,

0:25:540:25:56

you can't really intensively rear lamb.

0:25:560:25:59

Someone who knows this only too well is Richard Taylor.

0:26:000:26:04

He has a small flock of sheep in south Gloucestershire,

0:26:040:26:06

and is one of a growing number of farmers

0:26:060:26:08

involved with Love Lamb Week,

0:26:080:26:11

an industry-led campaign encouraging British consumers

0:26:110:26:14

to put lamb back on their plates.

0:26:140:26:16

-Hi, Richard, how's it going?

-Hi, Tom. Yeah, great.

0:26:180:26:21

I'm not sure whether this is the craziest thing

0:26:210:26:23

or the sanest thing I've ever done on a day like today,

0:26:230:26:25

I'm certainly looking forward to it, but what are you actually preparing?

0:26:250:26:28

So this is a lamb leg steak,

0:26:280:26:30

and I've just simply put some olive oil in a pan,

0:26:300:26:32

salt and pepper and a little bit of chopped rosemary,

0:26:320:26:35

and that's just going to flash fry in there

0:26:350:26:37

for a couple of minutes each side.

0:26:370:26:39

Can't wait for it to be ready,

0:26:390:26:40

but how do you think that lamb is perceived generally by people?

0:26:400:26:43

I think there's a traditional sort of stigma with lamb

0:26:430:26:46

that it's fatty and perhaps a more traditional meat,

0:26:460:26:49

but actually there's some brilliant sort of midweek cuts

0:26:490:26:52

and quick cooking cuts like the lamb leg steaks we've got on here

0:26:520:26:56

that actually should really

0:26:560:26:57

be finding their way into people's homes.

0:26:570:26:59

And what do you think are those traits that lamb has

0:26:590:27:02

that really work's for today's consumer?

0:27:020:27:04

So we've, we've got a really healthy product here

0:27:040:27:08

that's high in all the good fats, and low in the bad fats.

0:27:080:27:12

It's full of vitamins and trace minerals

0:27:120:27:14

that are part of a really healthy diet.

0:27:140:27:17

It's also a very light touch on the environment, you know,

0:27:170:27:20

a lot of our lamb in this country is grass fed,

0:27:200:27:22

it's produced seasonally,

0:27:220:27:23

and sheep farming is part of our culture

0:27:230:27:26

and has been for centuries,

0:27:260:27:28

and it still is,

0:27:280:27:29

so I think it, it really should be pushed.

0:27:290:27:31

A meat for the 21st-century?

0:27:310:27:33

I hope so.

0:27:330:27:34

I don't believe you, let me find out! Prove it to me!

0:27:340:27:37

THEY CHUCKLE

0:27:370:27:38

-Is there one I can go for, there?

-Yeah.

0:27:410:27:42

Great.

0:27:420:27:44

Oh, yeah!

0:27:460:27:48

That is really good! That really does warm your toes.

0:27:480:27:51

With spring lambs on their way,

0:27:530:27:55

it is a busy time of year for our sheep farmers.

0:27:550:27:58

But the coming months will be critical

0:27:580:28:00

in deciding the industry's future.

0:28:000:28:02

So, improving the fortunes of our farmers is really

0:28:030:28:06

going to take three things to happen together -

0:28:060:28:09

the government to get the right trade deals,

0:28:090:28:11

the industry maybe to improve its marketing,

0:28:110:28:14

and many of us to remember we once had a great appetite for lamb.

0:28:140:28:18

The Pembrokeshire coast in early spring.

0:28:230:28:27

Icy cold.

0:28:270:28:28

Stark seascapes bathed in pale blue light,

0:28:320:28:36

and whipped by winds that bite.

0:28:360:28:39

No deterrent to Raul Speek, though -

0:28:430:28:45

a Cuban painter and native of tropical Guantanamo.

0:28:450:28:49

He first came here to Solva for a holiday 20 years ago.

0:28:520:28:57

He loved what he saw, and made it his home.

0:28:570:29:00

We come into Solva.

0:29:030:29:05

We walking up the hill.

0:29:050:29:07

And we saw, I saw this horizon,

0:29:070:29:11

enormous horizon with an enormous amount of space on the sky.

0:29:110:29:16

It wasn't just the landscape that captured Raul's heart.

0:29:180:29:22

He was also smitten by its chaotic elements.

0:29:230:29:26

I realised that the weather was absolutely mad.

0:29:290:29:34

Like, crazy. One day it was raining, then stopping, and it's got dry,

0:29:340:29:39

it's windy, and it's snow...

0:29:390:29:41

I see Pembrokeshire to my eyes and to my ear and to my skin.

0:29:490:29:53

And then that's coming like a little performance in the canvas.

0:29:530:29:59

Pembrokeshire Weather Report is Raul's interpretation of Solva's

0:30:040:30:08

unpredictable weather.

0:30:080:30:10

It's his favourite painting.

0:30:100:30:13

When you see this painting,

0:30:130:30:14

it was called Pembrokeshire Weather Report.

0:30:140:30:17

Yesterday, I was looking at the picture.

0:30:170:30:20

I don't know what it is, but it's how I feel.

0:30:200:30:24

For me,

0:30:240:30:26

it's the best painting I ever done in my life,

0:30:260:30:28

because I've been open and honest.

0:30:280:30:31

It struck a chord...

0:30:320:30:34

..in people's imagination, because they always laugh.

0:30:340:30:39

Pembrokeshire is the weather.

0:30:390:30:41

And you feel the weather in your face

0:30:420:30:45

and the breeze and the temperature. That is Pembrokeshire for me.

0:30:450:30:49

Of course, this is a long way from Cuba,

0:30:570:30:59

where Raul's palette was a riot of rich and vibrant colour.

0:30:590:31:03

Raul has had to embrace a quite different range of tones

0:31:050:31:08

to capture the essence of Welsh weather.

0:31:080:31:11

I'm a very emotional artist, but it's very bizarre,

0:31:130:31:17

because 20 years ago,

0:31:170:31:19

I couldn't even stand in here in this weather.

0:31:190:31:24

But the love for the art, and the love for the colour,

0:31:240:31:26

those colour who look like they're very burnt...

0:31:260:31:29

And then, for an artist like me,

0:31:290:31:32

that's been an amazing transformation.

0:31:320:31:34

I come from very bright,

0:31:340:31:37

and then to be more subtle.

0:31:370:31:40

I could live anywhere in the planet,

0:31:540:31:57

but the most beautiful place in the world is here,

0:31:570:32:00

because you see the weather like that today,

0:32:000:32:03

but later, it will be sunny. And it does crazy stuff.

0:32:030:32:06

When he arrived in Solva,

0:32:070:32:08

Raul had never experienced the changing seasons.

0:32:080:32:13

When I come in here, I saw those trees you see around there,

0:32:130:32:15

and I go, "Oh, my God, the trees, they are dying, they are dead!"

0:32:150:32:19

And they go, "No, no, no, they are not dead.

0:32:190:32:22

"They're coming from the winter."

0:32:220:32:24

Even snow was a surprise.

0:32:250:32:28

And I went like this...

0:32:280:32:29

And it was snow!

0:32:320:32:34

And for an artist, I immediately realised that

0:32:370:32:41

you cannot see Pembrokeshire.

0:32:410:32:44

Pembrokeshire is not to see - Pembrokeshire is to feel.

0:32:440:32:47

I've been looking at the effects of the storms on our rural communities.

0:33:070:33:11

But ever resourceful, farmers adapt and innovate, whatever the weather.

0:33:130:33:18

And I'm here to meet a young Pembrokeshire couple

0:33:180:33:21

who have done just that.

0:33:210:33:23

Damian and Meg McNamara were both raised on local dairy farms.

0:33:260:33:31

They've just won an award from the Farmers' Union of Wales

0:33:310:33:34

for the novel way they've approached their goat meat business,

0:33:340:33:38

using social media to promote their goats.

0:33:380:33:41

-So, how did it get started, then, for you two?

-I wanted a pet goat.

0:33:450:33:48

Yes. It's her famous line, isn't it?

0:33:480:33:50

-"I want a goat!"

-Yes. I was never allowed a goat growing up.

0:33:500:33:53

Why not? When you grew up on a farm, it seems like an obvious thing.

0:33:530:33:56

I know, it's my mother's farm and she never wanted me to have a goat.

0:33:560:33:59

So, it was a rebellion, and I'd always wanted a goat,

0:33:590:34:03

and it went from there. We got two...

0:34:030:34:04

-So you went from two to how many?

-About 230 at the moment.

0:34:040:34:08

Impressive. What would you tell your childhood self, who wanted

0:34:080:34:11

-that goat - I mean, what would she think?

-Stick to your guns!

0:34:110:34:13

There you go! Exactly right - follow your dreams!

0:34:130:34:15

-Yep.

-Right, so, these guys need feeding, do they?

0:34:150:34:18

Let's get to it.

0:34:180:34:20

Damian and Meg breed Boer cross goats, a good meat breed.

0:34:210:34:25

These are your young ones, then. They're a bit sprightly,

0:34:270:34:29

-aren't they?

-Yes, full of mischief.

0:34:290:34:31

Mischief! So they've got floral names,

0:34:310:34:33

-what's the thinking behind that?

-It's their pedigree names.

0:34:330:34:36

-Oh, OK.

-And our theme, our chosen theme, is, anything that grows,

0:34:360:34:40

really, so crops, flowers, trees.

0:34:400:34:43

We've got... So, we've got Orange here, this is Wasabi.

0:34:430:34:46

Betys, which is a Welsh plant name.

0:34:460:34:48

-You can remember every single one?

-Most of them, yes.

0:34:480:34:50

-That is incredible.

-I've spent a lot of time with them.

0:34:500:34:53

-Meg has an amazing memory.

-And how easy are they to look after?

0:34:530:34:56

They're a lot more difficult than people would think.

0:34:560:34:59

-Really?

-Everybody thinks they will eat anything.

0:34:590:35:01

-They don't. They're quite fussy.

-This is your home-grown hay.

0:35:010:35:04

This is our home-grown hay and our home-grown peas and barley.

0:35:040:35:07

And this is what works for us at the moment.

0:35:070:35:09

Yeah. Describe the field-to-fork process that you've got here.

0:35:090:35:13

So, we breed all our own stock,

0:35:130:35:17

we keep all our females to up our breeding numbers,

0:35:170:35:20

and all our boys are kept up to a year for the kid meat.

0:35:200:35:23

And we sell direct, so it is very much farm to fork.

0:35:230:35:27

So, people understand the whole process and they know all about you

0:35:270:35:30

-and your production here.

-Yes.

0:35:300:35:31

That's great. Right, let's get this last bit in here.

0:35:310:35:34

During a cold snap, it's vital Meg keeps an ear out

0:35:340:35:37

for any signs of goats that may need help.

0:35:370:35:40

BLEATING

0:35:400:35:41

I think that might be someone kidding.

0:35:410:35:44

-Do you want me to go and check?

-Yeah.

-Go and have a look.

0:35:440:35:46

So, we were just working just now and Meg heard a particular bleat,

0:35:490:35:52

that I wouldn't have noticed, none of us would have noticed,

0:35:520:35:55

and she suspects one of them's kidding.

0:35:550:35:56

It's all fine?

0:35:560:35:58

On this occasion, it wasn't a goat giving birth,

0:35:580:36:01

but a new mum calling to her kids.

0:36:010:36:03

But with the cold weather having a real effect,

0:36:050:36:07

these newly born twins haven't got the energy to get up and suckle.

0:36:070:36:11

So, what's the story with these twins, then, Meg?

0:36:110:36:14

So, she's chosen the coldest day of the year to have these kids.

0:36:140:36:17

-Yeah.

-I've already milked her once to get the colostrum.

0:36:170:36:20

I've already given this one colostrum, but if you feel them,

0:36:200:36:23

they're just... They're very cold.

0:36:230:36:25

-So, what we need to do is warm them up.

-Yeah.

-But the girl there now...

0:36:250:36:28

-She's actually trying.

-She's nudging.

0:36:280:36:30

So, rather than have you intervene, get the colostrum out,

0:36:300:36:33

and give it to the baby, better that she just gets it direct, really?

0:36:330:36:36

-Yes.

-So, what are you going to do?

0:36:360:36:37

-She can't quite reach it...

-We'll try and stand her up now.

0:36:370:36:40

-You've got to bribe her up with some food?

-Yep.

-Here we go.

0:36:400:36:43

Come on, then, girl, up you get.

0:36:430:36:46

Good girl.

0:36:460:36:48

-Oh, look, it's good, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-The instinct is strong.

0:36:490:36:52

So, if we just...

0:36:520:36:54

And if we put her in the general area now, she...

0:36:550:36:58

-See, she's got the idea now.

-Yeah. That's good.

0:36:580:37:01

This is a really good sign.

0:37:010:37:03

The kids are obviously getting warmer, and now they're suckling,

0:37:030:37:07

they're likely to survive.

0:37:070:37:09

Why is colostrum so important in newborns?

0:37:090:37:11

Gives them antibodies. It's really, really thick,

0:37:110:37:14

it's like a shot of energy.

0:37:140:37:16

-And...

-Yeah.

-It's the best thing for them.

0:37:160:37:19

We'll put this one back under the lamp.

0:37:190:37:22

Because she'll probably nestle down with them now.

0:37:220:37:26

-Bit of warmth with each other as well.

-Yes.

0:37:260:37:28

Aw. That's great.

0:37:300:37:33

But not all the kids are quite so lucky.

0:37:330:37:36

This little goat's mother didn't have enough energy reserve

0:37:360:37:39

during the cold snap,

0:37:390:37:41

so Meg and Damian are rearing it by hand

0:37:410:37:43

and keeping a close eye on its weight.

0:37:430:37:46

-If you hold on to that...

-OK.

0:37:470:37:49

And just lift her up.

0:37:490:37:51

You are so cute!

0:37:520:37:53

Daily checks like this are vital to monitor the kid's progress.

0:37:550:37:59

There we go. 2.88.

0:38:000:38:03

What would you expect for a three-day-old?

0:38:030:38:05

-That's a good weight.

-That's a good weight, because she's been

0:38:050:38:08

-brought in, fed, kept warm.

-Yep.

0:38:080:38:10

-Aren't you lucky?

-Bottle baby.

0:38:100:38:13

Hand-rears... Goodness, the challenges of this weather, though.

0:38:130:38:16

-I know.

-This cold snap.

0:38:160:38:18

Despite the cold, Meg and Damian have got to get on

0:38:190:38:22

with the day-to-day business of running the farm,

0:38:220:38:25

where the welfare of their goats remains a top priority.

0:38:250:38:28

-Come on.

-So, how important is it for you to show your customers

0:38:290:38:34

-what life is like on the farm for the goats?

-Very important,

0:38:340:38:37

cos they do want to know that they're buying high-welfare meat.

0:38:370:38:41

So, we do try and post pictures every day, really, of the goats.

0:38:410:38:46

-So, shall we take a photo now?

-Yes, let's.

-A goat selfie.

0:38:460:38:49

Is that a goatee?!

0:38:490:38:51

Oh, hang on, we're in.

0:38:510:38:53

Whee!

0:38:530:38:54

Social media is vitally important to keep the goat farm afloat,

0:38:570:39:00

and to help Meg and Damian grow the business.

0:39:000:39:04

It provides a daily update

0:39:040:39:06

on the challenges of running the farm through all weathers.

0:39:060:39:11

And it also allows them to share good news.

0:39:110:39:13

Since my visit, 50 new kids have been born,

0:39:130:39:17

and the little kid I helped weigh

0:39:170:39:19

has been adopted by a new mum.

0:39:190:39:21

Well, that's all we've got time for from a very blustery Pembrokeshire.

0:39:240:39:27

Let's hope it's a touch calmer next week, when we'll be in Shropshire.

0:39:270:39:31

Matt will be hoping to stem the flow of an orange river,

0:39:310:39:34

and I'll be out and about with a sniffer dog

0:39:340:39:37

with a nose for the perfect pine marten poo.

0:39:370:39:40

Make sure you've eaten your tea by then!

0:39:400:39:41

We'll see you next week.

0:39:410:39:43

I've got to get out of this weather!

0:39:430:39:45

Ellie Harrison is in Pembrokeshire looking at the effect of recent storms on the coastline.

Adam Henson is in Scotland exploring the mystery behind some missing upland sheep.

Tom Heap looks at the problems faced by the UK's sheep farmers and asks why people have fallen out of love with lamb.