Countryfile is in Shropshire. Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to the market town of Ludlow for its annual food and drink festival. Matt samples the delights on offer.
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Each autumn, the town of Ludlow holds its famous food festival -
a showcase for the best in local and seasonal produce.
And pressing apples for cider is as seasonal as it gets.
Well, Ludlow is top when it comes to local food.
It's a gourmet's idea of heaven and I'm going to be sampling
some of the delights on offer here at the festival.
who's putting the county's native breed back on the map.
Come on, Ellie, put your back into it.
And forget France, forget Spain and forget Italy,
how local pigs are giving their continental cousins
and doing their bit for conservation at the same time.
Do you want me to get a twist on that for you? Yeah,
I've got nothing in me! There we go.
And while we're squeezing every last drop from these apples,
as forests of foreign foliage and armies of aquatic intruders
sweep through our landscape with increasing speed.
What does this mean for our own plants and animals?
And Adam's across the border in Wales,
meeting this year's competitors for One Man And His Dog.
Well, you know, I'm half Welsh, Arthur,
and, if you're coming out on top, I'm all Welsh.
From the top of the Clee Hills and beyond,
Sandwiched between the Midlands and Wales,
I'm heading to its small medieval market town of Ludlow.
Now, its castle was built by the Normans
to prevent the invaders from the Wild West.
Today, things are a little more peaceful.
The only invaders you'll find here are tourists
And it's not just the setting that's the attraction.
Back in 1995, Ludlow became one of the first places in Britain
And it kick-started a foodie revolution.
Since then, the town has come together to celebrate
all things food and drink at its annual food festival.
Local Michelin star chef Will Holland is a big fan
of the festival and what it means to Ludlow.
I mean, it's been a market town since medieval times.
So I think that culture that people have got around here,
of buying food properly, so supporting local businesses -
going to your butcher's for your meat,
your baker for your bread, etc. Yeah.
And those values carry through to this day.
It's incredible, isn't it, when you look?
I mean, the first year of this food festival was, what, 500 people?
Yeah. Now, last year - 20,000 people came here. Yeah.
17, 18 years ago, this, you know, this was the first.
There's no massive sponsorship that comes in from anyone.
It's about Artisan, quality food and drink
All this talk of food has got my taste buds going.
So, we've got a beautiful array of cheese here. This is...
Is this goat's cheese? Yeah. It's all goat's cheese. OK, good.
I make all these cheeses with milk from our own herd of goats,
Put it in there. So that's the Discovery apple juice.
and you'll be able to tell that straightaway
cos it's got a bit of a...a bit of a tangy taste to it.
But that is freshly picked a week ago. Oh, wow, that is!
That's almost got sherbet in it. It's almost...
It's got a real tang to it, hasn't it? Yeah. Hang on, here we go.
James and Richard are letting me loose
making one of their signature cocktails.
Keep going, keep going. I'm making enough for the whole crew.
He's making two! Stop there, that's it.
Pop, probably, five raspberries into the blender.
Then just literally whack a sprig of mint.
And then I'm going to put a few ice cubes in there. Right.
Shoot that five times. That's two, now.
Most important bit at the end, of course, is the rum.
So pour it in, over the ice and the rum.
Appearance is everything in cocktails. I've lost the straws.
So that, Matt, is a local Apple Raspberry Mojito. Enjoy.
I'm going to have a bit just to make sure...
Seriously, I made that myself but that's perfect.
I think you nailed it, Matt. I think you did. Thank you, Matt.
While I'm getting a taste of all things British,
Ellie's sampling something with a bit of a continental twist.
When the festival first started, nearly 20 years ago,
the last thing you'd have expected to find
would have been hazelnut and champagne salami.
But British charcuterie has undergone a bit of an explosion
but this lot is neither French nor Italian nor Spanish.
When Sally and Jeremy LaVelle bought this old barn a decade ago,
After a series of happy coincidences,
they've transformed it into the hub of a thriving charcuterie business.
But Sally and Jeremy were complete novices. Come on, pigs.
Looking hungry. How are you doing, Sally? I'm very well, thank you.
So what was it that got you into farming?
Well, when we moved here we acquired 11-odd acres of ground.
And we bought a few animals to have a play around with.
And really, it was the pigs that we enjoyed the most.
But what really fascinated us was the whole,
sort of, concept of them living in a field and really,
as you can see here, they just destroy the field.
Well, there's not much left, is there? No!
Fed up with having her fields turned up,
Sally found out that pigs do well in woods.
Lucky for her, one of the best is right on her doorstep -
There was a big plus, too, for the Forestry Commission,
who were struggling to control the bracken.
So you were approached about having pigs. What did you think?
I thought it was quite a good idea because we have a commitment
to revert the areas of conifer back to broadleaf.
The problem that we tend to have is a lot of bracken.
It just swamps the natural regeneration and kills it off.
So the pigs come in and they'll disturb the ground.
It gets rid of all the root structure for the bracken.
So it's a real win-win, isn't it? It is. It's really good for us
And when the pigs do come rooting around, they don't take,
then, that regeneration of trees that you were hoping for?
is that you don't leave them on the site too long.
Sally's husband Jeremy is moving another herd of pigs
to an ancient woodland site in the forest
They're pretty keen. They've got a lot to go and enjoy.
Oh, yeah, they'll be keen to get out. That's fantastic.
You don't see pigs in woodlands but yet seeing them,
it looks very right, doesn't it? It is right.
They have those long snouts for a reason. Yeah, yeah!
What are the advantages, then, to rearing them in this environment?
The pigs are a lot happier. Pigs are an intelligent animal
and they're constantly having to do something out here -
The carcasses - we get a really good, well-muscled carcass. Good dark meat.
So these guys will hang out here in the forest
for how long before they go off to be meat? 12 months old.
That doesn't sound like a lot but actually that is, compared to...
It is, compared to a commercial unit, yeah.
gives them a good mature meat, good mature muscle
These pigs are bred for charcuterie and that's it.
When a year of snuffling around is up,
That's the one thing that Sally and Jeremy don't do for themselves
but all the hard work happens in here, in their converted stable.
Wow. So the salamis get made here on site?
Yeah, this is where they get made. Wow! Do you want a go?
You need the salami skin which are... they are beef casings.
Beef intestines? Yeah, they're beef intestines.
Operate the machine with your knee and as it comes out,
So what is it that makes your salamis different from, say,
you know, an Italian salami? Something like that?
As opposed to using different joints for the salami, we use the whole pig.
All our herbs and spices come in whole
and we grind them on the day of making. A-a-ah!
Can you set up that one as a second, perhaps? Yeah, that's fine.
Is that enough? That's quite a big salami.
Yeah, if you take it off... Take that whole thing off...
And how did you learn how to do this?
Through a book. So just got a book out?
Cos they can be quite snobby about...this is their food.
We do sell a lot to Italians, Spanish and French.
That's a ringing endorsement, isn't it? It is, yeah.
OK, I'm, I think, probably there. That's it, you pull him off.
It looks like a maggot, the way I've done it!
So here they all are, ready to head off to the food festival.
And while we're celebrating the best of British,
in other places, our native flora and fauna
are coming under increasing pressure from foreign invaders.
But are non-native plants and animals really all that bad?
Our coastline and countryside are under attack.
foreign invaders are heading here in ever-increasing numbers.
These intruders are plants and animals known as invasive species.
so does the threat they pose to our home-grown flora and fauna.
In fact, alien invasive species are claimed to be the second biggest
cause of biodiversity loss in the world.
And trying to get to grips with these unwanted guests is costing
So, to discover their real impact and their cost to our economy
I'm heading out to the front line in this fight against a foreign foe.
On the surface, Rutland Water may not look like an obvious place to start.
But as zoologist David Aldridge is about to show me,
beneath the calm exterior of this reservoir, a war is being waged.
So, this is the hidden menace revealed, is it, David?
It is, yes. So, lining the bed of this reservoir
And these species have been spreading in Britain over
And they seem to be increasing in many places.
A single individual can produce about a million
You could have billions in a body of water like this? Absolutely.
They are probably the dominant organism in this water body.
This is a native swan mussel from a British river
and what you can see here is that the zebra mussels have found it
So, they've coated the entire exposed part of the shell,
totally smothering the native mussels.
And what we are finding in the UK is that where zebra mussels have
established, the native mussels are declining very rapidly.
These mussels made their way here on the hulls of ships from
Central Europe. Their arrival has also had a real economic cost.
Here, Anglia Water have built this £500,000 tank
to sift the mussels out, after they started setting up home
in their pipelines, slowly choking off the flow of water.
This is our raw water pipeline coming in.
It comes into this mussel trap, which is
effectively just a big stilling tank.
If you open that valve, you can have a look and see.
I notice you stepping back a bit there!
That really gives you a feeling of the number that are in there.
If you were in any doubt of the scale of this problem,
This is an overflow tank for the site
And look how thick they are on the ground.
I can't dig down to the bottom of this pile.
And it's not just this patch here, it stretches across this tank,
I don't know, like a beach, or a sort of party vegetated dune system.
And every year, they have to take tonnes
and tonnes of these shells away to make sure the water keeps flowing.
Anglian Water alone spends around £500,000 a year tackling
That might seem like a lot of money to control such a tiny little
creature but that's nothing compared to the £1.7 billion
we spend every year on combating alien species overall.
From the grey squirrel and American crayfish,
to mink driving water voles from our river banks
and the small but scarily named killer shrimp, a whole host of
animals and plants are playing their part in colonising our countryside.
But of the 2,000 non-native species living amongst us,
only a few hundred are actually harmful.
'Of these, perhaps the most feared is the one
'I'm about to come up against, the rapidly spreading Japanese knotweed.'
Wow. The sign doesn't prepare you for the jungle in here!
I don't know where to start - how long has this taken to grow?
This has been here for over ten years
but has recently been cut down four times and was cut down
to absolutely nothing earlier on this season, so...
So, earlier on this season, so it's grown this big within a year!
Within a year, that's right. That's astonishing.
Mortgages are being turned down because of this plant.
Victorians brought knotweed to the UK as an ornamental pond plant.
It even won gold medals for its appearance.
where its ability to grow over a metre a month, letting nothing
stand in its path, has made it invasive enemy number one.
is drawn down into the plant underground?
It's the root systems you're trying to kill on Japanese knotweed.
is to think of it a little bit like an iceberg.
What you see on the surface is the smallest part
and beneath the ground is the huge rhizome network
and that's what we are trying to kill.
Japanese knotweed costs the British economy £165 million a year,
at least 150 million of which comes from the construction industry,
when sites have to be cleared and existing buildings are torn apart.
When you see the power of Japanese knotweed,
you get an idea why someone with it might be refused a mortgage.
Look at this. This gatepost has been completely destroyed by it.
And it is just one of 70 or so damaging, invasive species but, just
recently, people have realised that some of them might have a good side.
Some scientists are starting to extol the virtues of these invaders,
saying they have to be balanced against the harm they cause.
For example, rhododendrons have recently been found to provide
the benefits of zebra mussels are slowly becoming clear.
for an hour and already, the water is a lot clearer, isn't it?
It is, and it really illustrates the power of zebra mussel filtration.
Each one of these mussels has been processing water over this hour
and the water has been cleared of suspended sediments and algae.
That has potential to actually offer some benefits.
We mustn't introduce them to places where they haven't invaded
but in places where they have already established large
populations, such as here, we could, for instance,
work with the water industry to develop "curtains" of zebra mussels
at intakes, so they have to spend less money treating useless algae.
Benefits like this might not outweigh the costs of foreign invasive
species but they show that our fear has to be tempered by taking
That is something some say is not happening yet.
In fact, there is a growing chorus proclaiming that our obsession
with invaders from overseas is blinding us to a home-grown danger.
I'll be revealing this enemy within and investigating its impact later.
On the banks of the River Ouse in Yorkshire,
one of our rarest native species is just about holding on.
James went along in spring to find out why its last remaining
The tansy beetle is right at the top of our most endangered species list.
Appropriately in these parts, it's known as the Jewel of York.
Once widespread in Britain, it is now confined to a few
isolated colonies along just one small stretch of the River Ouse.
It relies entirely on this little guy here for its survival.
It's a plant called tansy, and it's from this which it gets its name.
The problem is, right along this stretch of river,
the plant is finding it really difficult to cling onto
the banks and that is devastating news for the beetle.
Unseasonal flooding has eroded the river banks,
washing away tansy plants and, with it, both the adult beetles
Last summer, the entire British tansy beetle population was halved.
'TBAG, the Tansy Beetle Action Group, is trying to reverse
'this dramatic decline by shoring up the beetle's habitat in the area.'
You've got another willing volunteer/victim, Mark!
What can I help you out with? You can help us with planting.
This is one thing I can do, I'm not so good with the animal stuff.
Flooding isn't the only problem facing the beetles' environment.
The tansy plant is out-competed by invasive species and it is also
a tasty meal for cattle, grazing along the river bank.
a series of enclosures to keep them out.
a chain of these things along the river.
That's the idea, it's like a linear nature reserve, a corridor.
The plants have to be 150m apart at the most, for them
to have a chance of finding their way from one clump to another.
They can't find the plants very easily if the plants are
widely scattered, so we need lots of clumps of tansy all along the river.
It's a very clever evolutionary strategy, this beetle -
and domesticate humans to do gardening for you!
Exactly, if you are shiny and bright then people care, don't they?
If you are brown and boring, nobody cares.
And there are two TBAG members who have taken
the task of rescuing the tansy beetle one step further.
Dr Geoff Oxford from the University of York and his wife, Roma,
have been breeding the tansy beetles in their kitchen!
Guys, I've never seen an endangered insect-breeding station before.
But this is totally not what I expected.
Talk me through what's going on here.
OK, so, a bucket with tansy growing in it and, in the net,
we have adult beetles. OK. And at this time of year,
they are mating and laying bright yellow eggs.
'Roma gives the larvae the best possible chance of survival.
'She keeps them in separate pots and that's for a very good reason.'
The tansy beetle eats tansy beetle eggs.
It's a really annoying habit for a breeder.
Also, it doesn't do great things for the beetles themselves.
To protect their offspring from being eaten, tansy beetles
have evolved to lay their eggs away from the tansy plant.
how do they subsequently find the only thing they can eat?
Well, in here, no problem. But in the wild,
they've only got four days in which to find their proper food plant.
And they can't... And then they die of starvation.
But nothing's simple for this beetle.
Although tansy is a highly scented plant,
the tansy beetle can't detect it from any sort of distance.
It only knows it is tansy when it steps on it.
So, when they are wandering between tansy clumps,
they don't know where they're going, they just wander at random.
So, these won't fly away when this is opened?
No, this is the curious thing about them, they have fully
functional wings but they do not fly, they walk everywhere.
And yet, in the Netherlands, it's been reported that they do fly.
So, whether there is something strange about the flight muscles
of British tansy beetles, I don't know. So, they can't fly. No.
They can't sense any of the plants they want to eat at a distance. No.
And they are cannibals, on top of that. Yeah.
I'm beginning to see why this thing is becoming extinct!
I mean, no-one would notice in terms of human economy
if pandas disappeared. But we'd be really sad to see the end of them.
And likewise with the tansy beetle, I want my grandchildren,
my granddaughters, to be able to walk along the River Ouse
and see tansy beetles in years to come, that's why we do it.
Geoff and Roma's plan to reintroduce tansy beetles into the wild
Last autumn, they released 29 homebred beetles into
the centre of York, where they are on public view in the museum garden.
Alison, you are the garden manager here, explain this to me.
I was expecting wall-to-wall, monoculture tansy.
But there is all sorts of stuff here. That's right.
Well, these beds were specifically planted for the tansy beetles
and what we're trying to do is recreate the sort of natural
environment they would have on the banks of the River Ouse.
Tansy is their main food plant in Britain but, on the Continent,
they are found on all sorts of other plants.
And it's actually really good to have a nice mix of species.
creating the next generation, as well.
There is definitely some beetle on beetle action going on there!
This is what we've been waiting for. It's the fruition of the project,
to establish a proper breeding colony here.
So, to actually see them mating, it's fantastic.
I had never even heard of the tansy beetle, with its crazy,
iridescent colours and very weird evolutionary finickiness.
But with the fantastic work of the TBAG project, hopefully,
these little guys will be around for generations to come.
I'm in Shropshire, where I've been trying some tasty
delights on display at the Ludlow Food Festival.
For nearly 20 years, this market town has been showcasing
some of its finest local produce at its festival.
On a 50-acre farm just outside of town,
Pippa Geddes keeps a flock of England's oldest pedigree sheep.
I'm going to be following some of her lamb from field to fork
and I'll be serving it up at the festival.
So, Pippa, these are your girls, then. They are. Well, some of them!
Aren't they lovely? And how long have you kept Shropshires,
and why Shropshires, of all the breeds that you could have chosen?
Well, we've had this flock for 14 years now.
We had seen the breed and thought, "That looks attractive," but
since we've had them, they've proved to be really good commercial sheep.
Very much a kind of dual-purpose breed as well, good for meat
and very good for fleece as well. Yeah.
40 years ago, though, the Shropshire sheep fell out of favour.
they found themselves on the Rare Breed Survival Trust watchlist.
But earlier this year, that all changed.
The breed has increased dramatically in numbers, which is
brilliant news, and we've now got about 4,000.
But there is more to this breed than first meets the eye.
As well as being good for wool and meat,
they are also great for conservation too.
So, that means that unlike other breeds,
which would be tempted to nibble branches and, worse still,
these sheep can be grazed in plantations of small trees.
We are talking about sort of small Christmas trees
And just like the pigs that Ellie saw earlier,
the Shropshire sheep is proving a very green
and cost-effective alternative at managing the undergrowth.
'That's mating, if you are unfamiliar with shepherding terms.
'So, there is work to do for one lucky boy.'
My word! He's a big lad. Yes, he's quite a hunk, isn't he? Hello!
So, who's this, then? This is Special Agent. Special Agent!
'I'm helping Pippa to fit a piece of kit called a raddle.'
Basically, as Special Agent jumps onto the back of the sheep,
this little crayon at the front here rubs off onto their back end,
Look at the size of this back end! That's the idea, isn't it?
We're looking at, obviously, the length of his body,
so you can get plenty of meat on there and then...
Whoa, that's lovely. He's a belter!
That's Special Agent all raddled up, so let's get him out in the field.
I'll just hold him... Whoo-hoo! Hang on a second. Come here, mate.
There you go. So, just slacken that off. There you go.
Hello, girls! Playing hard to get. Oh, yes.
Oh, she's interested, straightaway. Told you he was a hunk.
It looks like... There we are and, yeah, there's the first red mark!
You know, it is lovely to be here and to see a heritage breed
that was meant to be in these fields, thriving again.
Tell you what, he's not going to be in here long, is he?
We'll be taking him out this afternoon, he's not hanging around!
'So, you heard it here first, the Shropshire sheep has it all.
'It's a great grazer, it's a woolly wonder...'
'Well, that's what local butcher Ian Rae thinks.'
That's the Shropshire lamb, Matt. Wow!
In fact, he specialises in traditional and rare breed meats.
We feel that you get a lot better flavour
on pure, grass-fed, traditional breeds.
I'm really excited about this, Ian, because I've spent
so much time producing lamb but never really had the pleasure
of talking to somebody like yourself, in cutting the carcass up.
'I'm after something a little special
How long have you been a butcher, Ian?
Well, I'm 50 now and I started when I was 12 years old.
'Under Ian's watchful eye, I'm preparing some chops.
So, what is the technical term of the cut that we are creating here?
We are creating a best end neck of lamb, French trimmed.
Oh, French trimmed! Yeah. That's what...
Is it all right to be French trimmed, with a British breed?
I know, that's unfortunately the name of it.
So, let's do the fancy bit then. Oh, it's fiddly!
You've got to do it in just one cut, haven't you?
Otherwise, you end up making a right mess. That's right.
But believe me, Matt, for your first time,
you're not doing a bad job at all there. Oh, yes!
Typically, when you're eating them now,
they are easy to cook, easy to present on a barbecue,
or what have you, then when it's ready to eat, you've got the bone,
you're not touching the meat, you get it straight in you. Perfect!
Beef. Is it? It's got to be beef! It's got to be beef.
'Something I'll be doing with military precision
Earlier, we heard about the threat to our countryside from some
But should we also be looking a little closer to home? Here's Tom.
Protecting our countryside against destructive foreign plants
Yet, there are those who want some of that money
This place shows you the problem. Here in Cornwall,
they have a team dedicated to getting rid of Japanese knotweed
and, as you can see, it's dying back pretty well here.
Well, we've got nettles, brambles and bracken.
They make up the unholy trinity of domestic bullies
and many people say they're just as harmful.
botanist David Pearman's taking me on a coastal ramble, searching
for a plant that's been driven out by the rise of these British bullies.
What have we got here? Not just a comfy spot on a steep hill.
This is wild thyme, one of our iconic plants.
Here is bramble, bracken, gorse encroaching.
It really is a small island of delicate, fragile thyme
surrounded by these bullies encroaching on all sides.
the whole hillside would have been little patches of thyme with
longer grasses and perhaps the odd bit of gorse there too.
And, in terms of other wildlife, what is the thyme important for?
It was crucial for this iconic butterfly, the large blue.
The last colony was seen just north of here in 1979.
And you think the advancement of these kinds of plants is partly
responsible for wiping it out? Undoubtedly.
The extent to which domestic invasives have spread nationwide
and their true impact has been widely ignored
But one woman who's trying to untangle this thorny problem
to map and analyse the British countryside.
We've been finding that there's been a big increase in species
and we found in those that they've doubled in the amount
of cover in the plot in the past 20 years and also increased
the number of plots we find them in, so it's been quite substantial.
It seems like quite a steep rise. Why is this happening?
It's probably related to the release of nitrogen
into the environment which comes from fertilisers
and also there's atmospheric deposition from power stations
and also to do with management as well. Does it matter? Yes,
because it means you're losing species
underneath smaller flowering species.
Lindsay has detected domestic thugs in over one third of areas,
whereas non-native invasives are found
What you don't see is much policy or joined-up thinking on how to
And where are these, the detailed, ambitious policy documents?
These are for foreign invasives. Where's the domestic equivalent?
Many would say we simply don't need one.
Though the voices calling for recognition of domestic invaders
are growing, they're still in a minority,
fighting the dominant view that non-native nasties
like this Japanese knotweed, bagged up and being dumped deep underground,
Do you think we have enough focus on tackling our domestic threat?
If I am a fragile plant, I am probably more likely to be
swamped by bracken or brambles than I am by an invader.
stewardship schemes et cetera, to assist landowners
but we don't have a specific remit for the management of those species.
Do you think that's right, you don't have the remit?
Or could it be something, the might of some of these statistics
about the power of these domestic bullies,
I think our priority always has to be the non-native species
simply because they lack natural pests and enemies.
Native bullies, as you call them, have co-evolved.
We shouldn't be gardening the countryside,
But is getting to grips with our home-grown invaders trying to
tame the countryside or, as others would claim, simply protecting
our more delicate plants and animals from enemies both near and far?
This place definitely proves that, left unchecked,
some of our domestic bullies have the power to take over.
It's not that we should take our eye off the ball
when it comes to foreign invaders but for the sake of our most
maybe we need to shift the balance a little.
Now, I've got some very important news to tell you.
I am delighted that we are about to be joined by another TV legend.
Yes, in a couple of weeks' time, we will be welcoming
the wonderful One Man And His Dog into the Countryfile fold.
we will be meeting the very best sheepdog handlers
from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales,
who will be battling it out to become the champion of 2013.
So we sent Adam to the very place where sheepdog trialling began.
just under nine million sheep graze its fields and mountains.
a challenge for even the most experienced of shepherds.
in the picturesque Conwy Valley to meet two sheepdog handlers
who'll be representing Wales in this year's One Man And His Dog.
First up, competing in the singles round, Arthur Roberts.
He farms 700 sheep in the village of Pentrefoelas.
Arthur's an old hand at trialling and has won plenty of competitions.
You could say he's a poacher turned gamekeeper.
Back in 2011, he appeared on One Man And His Dog as a judge.
Arthur's hanging his hopes on this dog, Chip, a five-year-old,
who apparently likes to show the sheep who's boss.
How good is he? He's good on a good day. He can be a bit rebellious.
He's great working in the field over there
but how far up the mountain could you work him from here?
On a clear, calm day, you can send him to the top.
That's incredible. That's 1.5 miles away. The best part of, yes.
And now he's working in here, just close quarters,
very different discipline. How do you teach him the difference?
So let's put him through his paces. Shall we try something? Yeah, OK.
HE WHISTLES THREE NOTES And that's a stop? Yeah.
It's wonderful, he's speaking Welsh to the dog.
He's got those going really nicely. Shall we bring the sheep up and see
if you can shed one out like they do in a trial? Yes, we can give it a go.
I'll watch you at your work. I'll stand back and let you do it. OK.
So what Arthur has to do now is bring the sheep up close to him
so he has to work those sheep away from the other ones.
They want to stick together as a flock,
so this is a huge amount of art and control through the shepherd
and the dog working together in harmony.
That was brilliant, Arthur. What's the art in getting a dog to do that?
Because the sheep are desperate to be together, aren't they? Oh, yes, yes.
Well, it boils down to their instincts, in a way.
Naturally, they would herd sheep towards their boss,
which would be the leader of the pack.
It's harnessing that willing to kill.
And in other words, that's the most important thing with sheepdogs.
When it comes to the trialling, and you've done a lot over the years,
Trying to be as calm as possible and a great element of luck.
without some elements of fortune on your side.
And is it as much about the person as it is the dog?
the dog will tend to be a bit on the skittish side.
And can they feel your nerves on the day? Very much so, yes, very much so.
It's very transparent. Now, you've been trialling for how many years?
You've got an awful lot of experience,
so when it comes to this One Man And His Dog this year,
you must fancy your chances a bit, don't you?
It depends on the course and the type of sheep. And the competition?
Everybody will be gunning out, I'm sure.
Well, you know, I'm half Welsh, Arthur,
And if you're coming out on top, I'm all Welsh.
Joining Arthur to represent Wales is young handler Gwenllian Pyrs.
she's our only female competitor in this year's competition.
She's been trialling for two years and at the moment has a big dilemma.
She's torn between using a six-year-old bitch
This round clearly isn't One MAN And His Dog.
Now then, Gwenllian, you're going to have to decide sooner or later.
The trial's not long away, you know! I know. Go on, then, send them off.
Way. LOW WHISTLE
They're both keen, aren't they? Lie down! Lie down!
So what's the dilemma over choosing between the dog and the bitch?
The bitch usually comes in season in October,
And in your mind, which is the best one? The bitch. Really?
So if she comes into season, you'll have to bring the dog.
Will that lower your chances, then? Hopefully not.
She's got more power and she's faster as well. Is she? Yeah.
And why do you like a dog with a bit of power?
If the sheep are heavier, it's better to have a powerful dog.
And if they're bit flighty, is she too strong? No, she's not bad.
You can keep her under control? Sometimes, yeah.
Gwenllian's one of ten children in the Pyrs family.
They've all grown up with working dogs and trialling.
took part in One Man And His Dog three years ago.
So you were in One Man And His Dog in 2010? Yes. Which one was it?
This one, Taran. And how did you get on? Not very well.
She wasn't that fit at the time, so she didn't work as well as I hoped.
but that's quite an achievement just to get into that. Yes, I guess.
Yes, truly nerve-racking with all the cameras there.
And have you got some advice for your sister? I'd say, be confident.
Forget about the cameras and try your best.
So, it shouldn't be One Man And His Dog, should it?
It should be One Girl And Her Dog. Yeah! I don't know.
There's more girls in it now than there used to be.
Yeah. And do you think girls are better than the boys?
Have you got a better temperament? I don't know.
We'll have to see on the day, won't we?
How do you fancy your chances in the competition?
but with the bitch I'm more confident.
So you might come away with a trophy? Hopefully, yes!
Helen will be catching up with last year's winner of the singles
and the young handler hoping to make his mark.
Which of the four nations will be the ultimate winner of
Find out on Countryfile on 27th October.
ELLIE: We're at the famous Ludlow Food Festival in Shropshire,
a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
but there's one very special local fruit that I'm
heading out into the country to find.
It's not exactly what I'd call a prune and, actually, it's a damson.
It used to be grown on a huge scale round these parts but since then
it's fallen out of favour, so the trees are few and far between
but there is one woman on a mission to preserve it,
Catherine Moran really loves Shropshire prunes.
She's determined to bring them back from the brink.
Her garden was once an orchard filled with trees.
They were put into the hedges and not only to act as a windbreak
but also, apparently, to feed the animals.
Oh, right! Which one am I looking at here?
It's quite interesting. Here we've got two related fruits.
You've no doubt heard of sloe gin and all the rest, so that's a sloe.
And next door here, we've got a damson, the Shropshire prune variety.
Same colour, just different size and shape.
Basically, the sloe crossed with a cherry plum
and gave rise down the line to the damson. So are they native, then?
No, they're not actually a native tree.
The damson gets its name from Damascus,
but the way they came to the UK, apparently,
is that they were brought in about 2,000 years ago by the Romans.
OK. So why did they fall out of favour then?
It's quite an obscure fruit in a way, people don't know what they are
and don't know necessarily what to do with them.
Are these ready? They are pretty much ready, yeah. Can I try one?
Absolutely. Have a go at that. What is it that you love about these?
Ultimately, it's to do with the flavour.
I think they've got an absolutely spectacular flavour.
They've got a lovely sweetness, that plummy sweetness,
but also quite a nice sharpness. Yeah, it's a punch, isn't it?
The plum with an attitude, I always say. I like that!
Wow, and this is what it turns into.
This is a little damson collection here for you to try.
What sort of things can you make out of it?
Well, this is a damson syrup, which is great for desserts.
This is a classic damson jam and this is damson vinegar
and a damson wine but really it's damson liqueur. What's that?
This is damson cheese, which is not a cheese at all
but a fruit paste. You can have it with dairy cheese,
like here, or you could have it with cold meats, very gamey meats,
and it just lifts the other food that you're adding it to.
One man who's doing his bit to put the Shropshire prune
back in the culinary spotlight is local chef David Jarman.
He's got a very contemporary take on this forgotten favourite.
So how did you even come across them?
Catherine got in touch with me and she was like,
"Do you want to showcase the damson for the festival?"
I've never heard of the Shropshire prune before.
Sounds like a nice little challenge. We'll give it a go.
but I hope we've got enough done for it. Absolutely.
'These little ravioli parcels are made from Shropshire prune syrup
This is a damson puree. How fabulous!
'They'll feature at the festival later,
'as long as I can keep a steady hand.'
Right then, David, let's see what's going on at the festival.
Wow, it's busy! It's really busy. It's picking up.
It's even busier than usual inside the big marquee
because the weather's taken a turn for the worst.
Let's see what's in store for the rest of us
in the coming week with the Countryfile weather forecast.
Over the south-west, it has been cloudy and murky. Many areas enjoy
the beautiful sunshine. This is the satellite picture from around 1pm. I
will tell you straightaway what is heading our way this week, it will
be breezy. Not gale force but breezy. Fairly mild, I will explain
be breezy. Not gale force but why as well. They will be rain at
times. Let's get the forecast for the here and now Festival. Not an
awful lot happening through the night. It would be fairly cloudy for
most of us. A few spots of rain night. It would be fairly cloudy for
across the south and no frost tonight. 14 in Plymouth. This is the
scene for Monday. A big area of low pressure is sitting and not doing an
awful lot. I pressure towards Scandinavia. Just as a reminder,
this is how the winds flow around a low pressure, the opposite direction
to a high. The egg gets sucked in between. The air coming from the
south means it will be relatively mild, actually quite muddy. This is
the rush hour for Monday morning. It is cloudy, drizzly, dreary and it is
still around 16 degrees. We get frosts sometimes this time of the
year so that is why it is relatively mild, the air coming from the South.
Scotland is doing a little bit better, particularly the Western
Isles. The cloud will break up a little bit. For a lot of us,
particularly across these Western in southwestern areas, including Wales
and also to an extent Northern Ireland, it would be cloudy with
spots of rain. There will be some sunshine but it would be on the
breezy side. The same pressure pattern is around on Tuesday so the
breezy side. The same pressure low here, the high over there. We
salvaged in between. In between also the weather fronts and they are
being tracked by that southeasterly wind. The basic message is that the
closer you are to the low-pressure, the closer you are to its weather
fronts, the more cloudy it will be under the better chance of getting
some rain. As we head towards the middle and the latter part of the
week, that area of low pressure starts to creep in a little bit,
into our neighbourhood. That means that the weather fronts will start
to creep in as well. We are talking about more persistent rain across
Northern Ireland, western portions of the UK. Eventually, the rain will
reach eastern parts. The air is given from the south so even getting
up to around 1920 degrees. Towards Thursday and Friday, that low
pressure meet -- move towards the North. There will be a little baby
low here. That area of low pressure comes our way. The green indicates
some pretty heavy rain. It looks as though Thursday, potentially across
this part of the world, isn't looking too great. It could be wet,
windy, pretty unpleasant. That is the rain for Thursday. On Friday,
there will be a bit of a change on the rain for Thursday. On Friday,
the way. Goodbye to the rain. It moves to the north and we start to
see these brighter conditions coming moves to the north and we start to
in of the Atlantic. October is around the corner
We're in Shropshire celebrating all things food and drink
A good place to be, given that it's British Food Fortnight,
and I've been sampling some of the local wares.
Wow, that is! That's almost got sherbet in it.
It's got a real tang to it, hasn't it?
While Ellie's been harvesting one of the country's rarest fruits,
a damson, also known as the Shropshire prune...
from the county's native breed of sheep.
The weather's taken a turn for the worse, so it's going to be
a bit of a battle to get my chops cooked in these conditions.
Andy, how you doing? Hi, Matt. Good to see you.
You all right? Yeah, good, thank you.
I have here a bag full of lamb chops and I need a spare pan. Brilliant.
You've come to the right place, Matt. Absolutely, no problem at all.
Before we get onto them, let's have a look at this
because, talking of a pan, that is an absolute beauty.
Yeah, it is. What's the story behind this?
This is Alexis Benoist Soyer's stove, designed by the great man himself
in response to malnutrition and disease of the Crimean War.
Alexis Soyer was the celebrity chef of his day and much more.
During the Crimean War, nearly a million died on all sides.
Disease was rampant and many perished,
not from their wounds but from malnutrition.
Food rations were poor and cholera was rife.
He took soldiers from the battalion and trained them
that was the foundation of the military chef of today.
Did he come up with recipes? Oh, yes, certainly, recipes,
how to cook for 5,000 soldiers, absolutely extraordinary.
And then when you think of the lives he must have saved.
After his death, the Morning Chronicle said he saved as many lives
through his kitchens as Florence Nightingale did through her wards.
Alexis Soyer died in 1858 but, such was the success of his stove,
it remained in use by the British Army for more than 100 years.
Although I'm not sure the stove will be much use
Let's see what we can do with these, then, Andy. OK, Matt.
Let me show you them first. Cast your expertise over them. Beautiful.
Look at that. This is Shropshire lamb, this. Yeah.
I think salt and pepper, bit of oil, on a griddle
with maybe some sort of chutney or something would be ideal.
Let's do it. This reminds me of home at the moment.
We're having a lot of work done and my wife is cooking on one of these.
The first thing to do is put a bit of oil in here, not in the pan.
We don't oil the pan, we oil the meat.
Because it'll just burn and catch fire and smoke everywhere.
Just a bit of seasoning, bit of salt and a bit of pepper
Listen to that! The key to this is not to move it around the pan.
As a chef in the army, you must have cooked all over the world.
Yeah, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cyprus and Northern Ireland.
From a chef's perspective, what you make of this meat?
It's got marbling through the meat, it's not too much fat on the outside.
It's absolutely a perfect chop, it really is.
I can just follow my nose to this place! Isn't it smelling lovely?
This is Andy. Hello! Ellie, nice to meet you.
Damson cheese, not real cheese. This is a traditional name.
It's actually a kind of chutney. That is perfect complement to this.
Let's pop one of them down there, shall we?
All very local, this, just a few food miles.
I followed that meat field to fork, quite literally.
That's some good food provenance right there. Exactly.
I'm going to get back to this lovely cheese.
I think you should smear it on. Exactly.
It's been a good day of tasting, hasn't it? I'm full! Honestly, I am.
I'm absolutely full and I've been so looking forward to this moment.
Anyway. I am full now. Are you full?
I am up to here? Have you had enough to drink?
You've definitely had enough to eat. I have.
Well, we'll say goodbye. That is it for this week.
Next week, we're going to be over the border in Abergavenny
and I'll be looking at how the old coalfields
And, Julia, well, you want to see what Julia's got in store.
Let's just say she's got her hands full. Has she, indeed?
And we'll also be revealing this year's
Countryfile Photographic Competition overall winner.
Countryfile is in Shropshire. Its countryside is rich picking for some of Britain's finest homegrown foods. Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison head to the small market town of Ludlow for its annual food and drink festival. This place is up there with the best when it comes to all things local. Matt samples a few delights on offer at the festival, and he meets the farmer putting the county's native breed of sheep back on the culinary map. Meanwhile, Ellie finds out how rare breed pigs are giving our continental cousins a run for their money, and doing their bit for conservation too.
Elsewhere, Tom Heap looks at the threat that non-native invasive species are posing to British plants and wildlife - and even to our own houses. But, as he discovers, some home-grown species also seem to be upsetting the delicate balance of flora and fauna in the countryside. And Adam is in Wales catching up with two sheep dog handlers representing Wales in this year's One Man and His Dog competition.