Countryfile is in Shropshire, where Matt Baker is exploring the highs and lows of a landscape shaped by the miners who once called this place home.
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Shropshire, a county known for its heath,
its moorland and in particular,
its hills, which roll on as far as the eye can see and it was on one of
these craggy exposed peaks that a mining community made its home.
-This is a simple life, isn't it?
Anita is exploring the site of a very unlikely nature reserve.
I mean, you wonder what a scrapyard and a wildlife trust could possibly
-have in common.
-It's all about where it is.
Right here we're on the edge of one of the largest peat bodies
Charlotte's finding out about an issue that is all too common,
but often hidden away.
Dementia can be devastating wherever you live,
but finding help and support in
rural areas can be tough and for farmers
especially, everyday tasks can quickly become dangerous.
And in the first part of a series of special films,
Adam is discovering how they farm on the other side of the world,
in New Zealand.
Obviously we're in the old home where you used to snore a lot.
You know, when you come and stayed last time?
You used to kick me out of bed and make me go and prune kiwi vines!
This wild, storm-battered rocky ridge is hardly
the ideal place to build a
new community, but in the mid-1800s,
that is exactly what happened.
This is literally life lived on the edge.
Migrant workers poured into this remote corner of Shropshire,
southwest of Shrewsbury,
attracted by the booming lead mine at Snailbeach.
Cottages began to spring up high on this hill above the mine.
This community, known as Blakemoregate,
was without doubt, one of the most isolated and these
squatters' cottages were built on the Welsh tradition of a house in a
night. This is incredible.
Basically, if you could build a
chimney and get it smoking by the morning,
then you had the right to stay.
Once given the thumbs up,
you would throw an axe and wherever the axe landed,
that was your boundary.
Presumably, once they had staked their claim,
they spent a little bit more time fine tuning the house.
By 1836, there were 97 cottages built on this precipice.
As they were sometimes cut off for months on end,
the residents had to survive on what
this unforgiving landscape could provide.
And this is what they used as kindling for the fire,
heather from the hills.
It was brittle, burnt easily and more importantly,
it was right on the doorstep.
Local farmer, Mary Huxley still lives by many of these principles.
She is the third generation of a family to make butter from scratch.
Now in her late 70s, this is still her livelihood.
Mary, do you remember a time in your life when you weren't churning
-No, I don't, unfortunately.
-Definitely on a Saturday, always.
And from what age are we talking?
-Eight years old.
-Eight years old!
This is a simple life, isn't it?
What have we got going on in here?
We've got that cream we pour in from one end to the
other and as it drops from one end to
the other, it knocks out the fatty globules and it will look like
scrambled egg floating in milk.
How do you know when it's ready?
Because that window will be clean,
that is why I am trying to reach over to have a look.
Do you think we're done? Screw that a little bit more.
We can have a look. And see if it has worked.
-That looks pretty good to me.
-This is how my mother used to do it.
Mary is the last in her family to churn for a living.
Is this is for your design now?
That's my mother's and it went down the family line.
Well, it's beautiful. Nobody would not look at that and think,
"That is a fine display of butter, Mary."
But this self-sustaining way of life on these hills was soon to die out.
As the lead mining industry fell into decline,
the cottages here at Blakemoregate were
gradually deserted and this cottage here
behind me, Cook's Cottage, was the last to be abandoned in the 1950s.
But now Natural England have
painstakingly rebuilt this cottage from rubble,
so that the miners' way of life can be
recorded for future generations.
You know, this whole restoration project gives a wonderful glimpse
into what life was like for the people who lived here,
how rooted they were in their habitat,
how they lived off the land and how they responded to the seasons and I
don't want to over romanticise this,
because it was all borne out of necessity,
but this simple life is very attractive to me.
Now, dementia is a difficult diagnosis for any family to receive,
but as Charlotte has been finding out,
for those who live in our countryside, well,
they face very specific problems.
I've seen my father, who was straight as a arrow,
change so dramatically in the previous year.
It was just horrible, watching him deteriorate into a shell,
not recognise us or any of his friends.
Dad got dementia in his 60s,
we had to hide the car keys from him but he still wanted to work on
Dementia is a devastating condition,
cruel both to those who have it and to those left to care and it's a
Many of us may think of dementia as simply a case of memory loss,
but the symptoms can be as wide-ranging as they are damaging.
Your whole way of perceiving the world alters.
It can change your personality and affect spatial awareness.
The University of Plymouth will soon publish a report which shows that
rural and farming families dealing with dementia face an even greater
burden than those elsewhere.
And the findings from that report show that those with dementia on
farms can find themselves in a dangerous environment,
often with little support available.
In November last year,
dementia was recognised as the leading cause of death in England
and Wales for the first time.
Right now there are around 850,000 people living with dementia across
the UK, of which a significant proportion live in rural areas.
Now, this is a very personal and sensitive subject,
one that farmers and their families are understandably reluctant to talk
about. We've been in touch with many families and although they didn't
want to appear on television,
they were willing to share their experiences anonymously.
I wept in the shed one day when I got a phone call from him saying he
had parked the car in town.
He can't find it, could I come and pick him up.
My own small business has taken a
knock because of me covering for him.
We have to go together in the morning to feed the sheep.
It's usually a 20 minute job but now it takes over an hour.
The man in charge of tackling dementia in our countryside
is Ian Sherriff.
He chairs the government's Rural Dementia Task Force and commissioned
Plymouth University's new report.
What are the main problems for
people who have dementia who are in rural areas?
I think the biggest thing and we are being told by carers,
is that they are lonely, they're isolated and quite frankly,
nobody gives a damn about them.
You look around us here in Devon and people from outside Devon
think it's a wonderful location, to some people that is a prison.
Nine times out of ten,
the person who has the dementia is the one that drives the car and
visiting people in rural locations by health and
social care workers is difficult.
You can imagine the time it takes to get to a location,
how much time they have on location with a person,
so everything is exacerbated even more, by the idyllic,
what other people would say, rural setting.
And when we put this into a farming context,
I guess that gets more complicated.
I think if you look at the environment on a farm,
the farmyard is a very risky place to work.
People have been injured.
But I've also heard that livestock has suffered as well.
Where an individual,
had not been feeding their animals correctly and those animals had to
be put down. It does worry me about the risk factors that farmers put
-Because they are just carrying on doing what they do
with machinery and animals.
Yes, just carrying on as farmers do.
And farmers do just carry on, as these anonymous testimonies show.
Keep coming. Whoa!
Things like attaching something to the back of the tractor is now a
dangerous job. Not for him, for me.
Keep coming. Keep coming.
I've been squashed three times now.
Put him in the field with a spreader or a plough and he's fine.
You wouldn't know he'd almost killed me 20 minutes ago.
We realised just how bad it was
getting when we looked in his tractor and
found post-it notes stuck all over the windscreen.
He had written instructions to
himself saying what gears he should use for
all the different jobs!
I had to persuade him that he ought to give the younger chaps a chance
to use the bigger machines, but he still drove the tractor.
In the end, it got too dangerous.
I remember that once he drove out of the grain store with the trailer
Only just missed the door frame.
We were lucky not to have a nasty accident.
Dementia can affect anyone but if you're somewhere rural,
the challenges can be huge and on farms what were everyday jobs can be
potentially life-threatening situations.
So what's being done to tackle the issues farmers face?
Well, that's what I'll be finding out later.
..a diverse rural county.
Home to some unusual nooks and crannies,
including some of the country's rarest habitat.
So why am I in this polluted old scrapyard?
Well, believe it or not,
this is Shropshire Wildlife Trust's latest nature reserve,
or at least it will be.
It's part of a £5 million restoration project.
But what makes this toxic tip so special?
Why spend so much reclaiming this scrappy patch of land?
This is why.
It borders this internationally renowned nature reserve.
Its landscape was carved out thousands of years ago
in the last Ice Age but remains vital today.
It's quite something, isn't it?
Looks like Africa but I can assure you I'm on the Fenn's, Whixall and
Bettisfield Mosses and
the land here is full of peat and peat is an environmental life-saver.
Peter Bowyer is Natural England's senior reserve manager and it's his
job to look after the mosses.
Why is peat so important?
We're standing on a huge carbon store,
below our feet is a vast amount of carbon,
which is really important for climate change reasons,
it's taking all the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and locking it
here in place.
There is more carbon locked in the UK peatlands than all the forests in
Britain and France combined.
That's astonishing. Why does peat have the capacity to do that?
Sphagnum bog moss is the key to it all, really.
-Can I see what that looks like?
There's some here. This is sphagnum bog moss.
Sphagnum bog moss turns the water here very acidic,
all the plants that grow every year
become pickled and preserved and that's what the peat is,
it is pickled preserved plants.
The site is very much in different stages of development,
so we're trying to put it all back together to try and get it to become
That involves retaining the water in the centre of the moss but then
a lot of tree clearance around the edge of the site as well.
Quite a big job you've got ahead of you.
It is a big job, it's a very big site,
it's the largest peat bog in Britain.
It's a big challenge but it is a really exciting challenge as well.
I'm going to go and get my hands mucky.
-Thank you Pete, I'll leave you to it.
It's all hands to the pump for the volunteers.
Because a long history of peat cutting almost destroyed these
internationally important mosses.
Peat was commercially cut here for fuel and then for compost from the
1850s, a practice that only stopped here in 1990.
Since then, nature has been fighting back.
You can already see just how different this is
to the peat bog and they've got quite a bit of work to do.
Right, where's Clare?
-Hello there, Clare.
I'll get kitted up as well.
-Already seems quite boggy on the way in here.
-Yes, it is.
But the hope is that it will get a lot wetter once the project is well
underway and we have cleared some of the stuff.
Why volunteer, why do this?
I felt that I would learn something as well as getting fresh air
But also, you know,
contributing a little bit to a project I really believed in.
Were you a dab hand with any of these tools before you did this?
No, I was a complete stranger to a silky saw and to any kind of saw,
to be honest, but I could probably
build you a fence if I really had to.
-My kind of woman.
Cutting back those trees is a huge job,
but turning all of this back to nature is on a whole other level.
How on earth do they plan on doing it?
I'll be finding out later.
Now, it's time for our winter warmer.
Late last summer, we asked some well-known faces from
DJs to comedians...
It's a seal. False alarm everyone.
-It was a seal.
-..chefs to singers...
# My old man said follow the van. #
..which part of our magnificent countryside was special to them.
This week Michelin-starred chef
Michael Caines heads out on foot into the wilds of Dartmoor.
Outdoor life has always been
something I have thrived on, the nature,
the feeling of being outdoors is quite liberating.
Being in the environment of the kitchen with all that stress of
work, going out and taking a moment,
half an hour or an hour even two hours running,
in and around this environment,
really gives me inspiration but it also gives me a chance to think.
I was born in Exeter and grew up in Devon,
so these parts of Dartmoor and the surrounding area were pretty much my
playground as a child.
Wow. What a view. Incredible.
So this is Cranbrook Castle. It's a hillfort, one of three in this area.
Hound Tor, Fernworthy, Chagford
and then the other hillfort over here.
The thing that fascinates me the most about these settlements on
Dartmoor is it is hard to imagine anyone really living
on Dartmoor now, it's so barren, it's such an extreme environment,
and yet actually if you can imagine in Neolithic times,
one of the most densely populated parts of Britain.
It's just incredible to see this landscape now,
stretching out to Devon.
I really get a sense of place...
..and a connection with this landscape,
massively, incredible view.
Because Dartmoor has always inspired me as a young man,
I've taken the time in the last sort of ten or 12 years to do
Right, I'm ready to go.
So, the general idea of going camping for me
is planning a route first,
couple of waypoints on the map where I'm going to head to and then I'll
take a bearing. Then off I go.
I go walking.
You know, as a young man I was in the cadet force,
we used to come on Dartmoor doing point to point.
But I think above all, it's a great reminder of a wonderful childhood.
We used to go, just the boys with my father on Dartmoor, camping.
When I look back, I think Father is not here any more but in a way,
there's lots of memories and lots of things that come back,
places that you have been to that you then suddenly remember.
Good spot for it, I think.
Clouds with the light coming through, it's just so beautiful.
Hopefully the rain will hold off, at least until I
get my tent up, anyway!
I just love the atmosphere of the place, the moods that it gives,
through the weather.
But also the landscape itself, if you're looking out at it now,
it's become very,
almost polarised, by the shade of the clouds.
And then you can see the rain is coming in,
the weather fronts coming in and the elevation gives you
that broad aspect and view
and you really sense that different parts of the moor are
experiencing different, sort of, microclimates.
You really get that. It's very atmospheric.
Wow, what a completely different view this morning from last night.
You can't even see beyond the valley.
The mist is just clearing and it
just shows how drama unfolds on Dartmoor with the weather cycle.
Devon is the third largest county in the UK and it has an amazing
food larder. Lots to forage.
Here we are looking for some field mushrooms.
Here's a few here.
Beautiful mushroom, very tasty, very delicate.
I think the key thing is to remember,
you've got to know what you're picking and in this
regard field mushrooms are quite safe.
So I'm going to cook this Dartmoor steak with our foraged
There we go. Got plenty.
So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to oil and season the beef.
I've got just one pan to cook so I'm going to griddle it.
This is going to be
cooked in a few minutes, so just get that nicely sealed.
So I'm going to add some oil with the mushrooms.
And a little bit of seasoning as well.
In they go.
It smells good.
I'm cooking for two!
Look at that!
We're pretty good to go, really.
To think that these were in the field
only a few hours ago, picked, cooked with this lovely steak,
for me, I feel connected to the landscape and the land and,
of course, the produce which I use.
It's... Yeah, it's stunning.
Bit like my steak.
Now, Charlotte's been hearing how dementia cruelly
impacts on rural lives.
Sadly, it's an issue more and more of us will have to deal with.
As our population ages, the number of people with dementia is growing.
Within ten years there could be as many as a million people with
dementia here in the UK.
And that's expected to double by 2050.
Right now 15-20% of people aged over 65 in our countryside are living
with the condition.
When farmers are struck by dementia the results can be
catastrophic. Their families are placed under great strain
and can even be put at risk.
So what help is out there?
I'm meeting Joanne Jones, a dairy farmer here in Devon.
She's also a part-time nurse
and a coordinator with the charity Farming Community Network,
a key member of the rural support structure.
-Accessing help is challenging
for those living in isolated rural
locations, which is why Joanne makes house calls.
So what sort of things do families come to you with?
We help farming families if there's a problem with the business,
the farm, the family, or health issues.
How much help, realistically, can you be, though?
Because some people with dementia need an awful lot of care.
The way in which we offer help is through befriending and offering
support and signposting.
So it's finding out what's available in the area.
They can also meet other carers that are in the same situation,
so that the carer doesn't feel isolated.
Today Joanne's making her first visit to young farmer Duncan Wilmot.
Duncan's mother Sue was diagnosed with dementia aged just 55.
She moved into a care home last summer.
-Have a seat.
-Thank you very much.
Did you find it easy to sort of get a diagnosis and get support?
We had to travel to get a diagnosis, but eventually it came through.
And how was mum at the time?
Did she find that quite hard to accept?
Yeah, she did find it hard to accept, I remember,
when we got her driving licence revoked, because with forgetting,
she wouldn't indicate, or anything, and wouldn't check blind spots.
It wasn't safe for her to drive.
There is help available but much of it is voluntary.
And rural families struggling with the emotional and practical impact
of someone having dementia, well, often they are managing alone.
Jo, if you could change one thing to help rural families struggling with
dementia, what would you do?
I think it would be great if there was some sort of coordinated care,
so there was one place within each county you could go to,
that we could signpost people to,
that would know all about the resources and what's available in
their local area in terms of support for the person with the diagnosis of
dementia and also for the family.
And that's exactly what Ian Sherriff,
chair of the government's
Rural Dementia Task Force, is trying to do.
Ian's established a pilot scheme with local parish councils to help
with the coordination of services.
How's that working here in Devon?
You've got five parish councils who are being coordinated by a worker,
providing support, advice, information and guidance.
But not only doing that, it's raising the awareness.
When you consider there are 700 parish councils
in Devon and Cornwall,
now if all of those became dementia aware, dementia friendly,
then we've got the whole of our rural communities covered.
And not only are parish councils doing it in Devon,
there are other people in our rural communities, like the church.
So, for you, in rural communities it is actually the word community that
is the important word, isn't it?
Yes, yes. There is a saying that
there's no sense of community without a sense of caring.
Through the dementia friendly parish's initiative,
several support groups have been founded.
Here in the village of Yealmpton, people with dementia and their
carers meet weekly for sessions of guided reading.
'No man is an island entire of itself.
'Every man is a piece of the continent.'
These groups are really important to the people who use them but they are
also pretty rare.
So how's that going to change?
Ian Sherriff has no doubts about what needs to happen.
He's passionate about tackling rural dementia at a national level.
It is the biggest thing to hit this planet.
We're actually diagnosing somebody around the world every three
seconds. In this country, it's every three minutes.
I think government must focus on some of those big issues that are
happening around dementia within our rural communities.
I think it isn't will, they've got to.
But it's going to cost a lot of money.
I think cost benefit analysis is one thing we can look at.
If we do the work now, if we set up those systems,
then in the long term, it will pay for government to do that.
How supportive can government be, though?
There is a commitment being given by the Prime Minister to
There is a commitment and the Department of Health
told us that improving
dementia care and treatment will continue to be a
priority for the government.
But there's a long way to go and it's going to cost a lot of money.
Because right now, those in isolated communities are reliant on the
kindness of volunteers.
The saddest thing is that Dad didn't get to see how the farm's grown
during better times.
He spent most of his life worrying.
It's a real shame he didn't get to enjoy his retirement with his
If you've been affected by dementia,
you can get in touch with the BBC action line.
Details of organisations offering
information and support with dementia
are available at...
Or you can call for free at any time to hear recorded information on...
Well, at Christmas time,
we decked the hall with boughs of holly and
really celebrate this stuff
but then, for the rest of the year, it's kind of forgotten about.
But here on these Shropshire slopes,
holly stands proud throughout all the seasons.
These hollies are an ancient cluster of 500 gnarled and wizened trees,
sitting high on the hills above
Lords Hill Chapel in south Shropshire.
It's believed they were planted around 400 years ago.
-John, how are you?
-I'm very well, Matt.
John Hughes from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust has made
it his life's work to protect these incredible trees.
I'll tell you what, this is some place, isn't it?
-Do you like it, do you?
-I do. It's very unusual, isn't it?
It's more than usual.
I just think there's nowhere else quite like this in Britain.
It is a very, very special place.
Well, let's have a wander through.
Look at that holly tree there!
It has to be one of my very favourites.
-It's a belter.
-Of all the holly trees...
-It's just remarkable, this one.
So you would think, on the face of it, it was dead.
This one has almost been put in its coffin and yet,
you can hear this tapping coming from it.
-It's dead all the way round bar a few inches of bark.
And still, it puts out this shoot.
A little bird told me, John, that you love these trees so much,
and you believe that they're so full of character,
that you've given them all names.
Well, I've always had a particular view of each tree.
-Is that yes?
-It is, it is yes!
And the way I see them is,
we don't treat our elderly as well as we could, do we?
And these are all very elderly and they're sort of in this retirement
home. And therefore,
it's our duty to get to know them
individually and personally, isn't it?
So, this one, that's clinging on to life,
I think she's a bit of a Sheila.
-Do you know, my grandma is called Sheila.
-Is she? Is she as good-looking?
Sheila and her friends have survived for centuries because in the harsh
winters, the local miners harvested
the holly trees for their cattle to eat.
It was this pruning which regenerated the trees.
-Right, who needs a haircut, then, John?
-This lady here.
-She's called Maureen.
John is carrying on this tradition.
Back in the day, obviously, crofters,
farmers would be coming down here
and getting all of these lovely gentle leaves
for their cows to feed on.
Yes. So if you look at that, there's barely a prickle on it.
And that will keep my livestock alive during the winter and that's
what I need, cos if my livestock aren't alive, I'm not alive.
Is there, I mean,
evidence of how they've been managed by those kind of early growers?
They would have gone in and they'd have climbed the tree and they've
sawed the top out, chopping the top out of a tree like that
is a very ancient technique
called pollarding and it causes the tree to regrow.
There will be new young growth next year,
which is ideal to feed your livestock.
These hollies would have been cleared long ago if the miners
hadn't needed them for animal fodder.
So we have them to thank for preserving what is now one of the
oldest holly groves in Europe.
So we're going to just leave some of this lying around, then?
-For the livestock?
the cattle will come in and find this and they'll
think it's delicious.
Maureen, I'll book you in for the next appointment!
Tell you what, it's a good job I've got the Countryfile calendar here.
Anyway, there's still time, if you haven't got yours yet.
Here's John with all the details.
May 9th - cheeky trim for Maureen.
It costs £9.50, including free UK delivery.
You can go to our website, where
you'll find a link to the order page.
Or you can phone the order line on....
Standard charges will apply to both landlines and mobiles.
If you prefer to order by post, then send your name,
address and a cheque to...
And please make...
A minimum of £4 from the sale of each calendar will be donated to
BBC Children in Need.
Back in 1989,
a 23-year-old Adam and his now business partner Duncan made the
long trip to New Zealand, keen to
experience just what makes Kiwi farmers some
of the best in the world.
Now, in the first of a series of four special films,
he's revisiting the land of the long white cloud to discover just how
farming has changed since his last visit.
New Zealand may be the dream location for a holiday,
but its captivating, lush landscape is also perfect for farming and it's
what inspired Duncan and me to visit all those years ago.
We bought a little Austin 1100 and hit the road.
One of our first stops was the Bay of Plenty,
a farmer's paradise on the North Island.
It's so good is to be back in
New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty here is
famed for its perfect growing conditions.
It's warm all year round with lots of sunshine and rainfall and rich,
So perfect for growing grass,
but also lots of different fruit and veg too.
And that's why Duncan and I thought here would be a good place to pick
up some labouring work. Our point of contact was a local dairy farmer,
a guy called John Cameron,
and he found us a month's work pruning kiwi vines.
I thought I was going to be milking dairy cows!
Anyway, it was great fun and JC, as his mates call him,
became a good friend.
And now I'm really looking forward to catching up with him back on his
farm all these years later.
But farmers here have had their difficulties.
In 1984, five years before my visit,
the New Zealand government had
removed almost all agricultural subsidies.
With Brexit just around the corner,
there's a chance British farmers might lose theirs too.
So it's a poignant moment to find out how New Zealanders like JC,
who we stayed with, adapted to this huge change.
How are you keeping, mate?
-I haven't seen you for ages.
-Great to see you.
-Yeah, you too.
-What a place you've got now.
Yeah, it's bloody brilliant.
-Isn't it, eh?
-When did you build this?
Um, ten years ago we started and obviously, we're in the old home.
Where you used to snore a lot when you came and stayed last time!
You used to kick me out of bed and make me go and prune kiwi vines!
-So you've still got cows.
When I was here last, you had two farms, milking what, I don't know,
-1,000 cows or something?
-Yes, that's correct.
Now we've sort of diversified into, I guess, other land uses,
which is kiwi fruit at this stage, yeah.
You're growing kiwi fruit yourself now?
-Yes, thank you very much.
-You used to take the mickey out of those kiwi
-I have to say that I never thought I'd ever do it, you know!
But economics is telling that, you know, land-use, etc.
So time to do it.
Well, the view has changed dramatically.
It was all open pasture and thousands of cows and now,
there's all these trees and sort of shelter belts everywhere.
Lucky, we've got that chance to do that, so it's all good.
Well, I'd quite like to get back down into the kiwi plantation.
-Yeah, I'd love to show you.
-Can we have a look?
-Yeah, love to show you, mate.
-Bring back some sweet memories.
-Yeah, yeah. Well, good to see you. Yeah.
-When I was last here,
kiwi fruit was still seen as an exotic crop to grow.
Pruning them earned Duncan and me some much needed cash to fund our
Today, the fruit is big business.
The plantations are vast.
And pruning is a full-time job.
Nathan Burt manages JC's kiwi orchard.
Well, this takes me back.
And I have to say, 20 years, 27 years on,
that was one of your claims to fame here.
I'd like you to give it a go, at least, mate.
Can I still remember what I'm...?
So when we were pruning kiwi vines, it was in the winter months.
I think we were taking out the dead wood.
But it's all growing now.
So basically now, we've gone through flowering,
so these males with the male flowers aren't needed any more.
So what we're doing is trying to rein them back in and get the shade
off the females and also get good production for flower for next
-season for the male.
-The gross fruit production now,
instead of being at 5,000 trays per hectare once upon a time when you
were here, 10,000 now is normal.
-So it's around, you know,
Nathan's ability to exercise and get new methods that we're consistently
trying to get better and better at what we're doing.
-Moving things on.
Now, around a third of kiwi fruit are grown in New Zealand,
most of them here in the Bay of Plenty.
It's not just kiwis that JC's started to grow.
In the UK, avocados are now outselling oranges
and they grow well in this part of the world.
There is a lot of fruit on here.
It's great to see fruit on there, believe me,
cos it can be difficult to grow them.
Any severe weather conditions from now onwards after budding is done,
-you can lose the fruit.
-So it's quite rewarding and it's very
economic, over and above cows.
So are you a dairy farmer or are you a businessman?
Hand on heart, I'd say that I'm a dairy farmer and a stock person
at heart. But I would have to say I'm a businessperson as well.
In the UK, we've just had Brexit.
We'll be coming out of Europe soon
and there is a concern that our support
to farmers will be lacking from government.
What would be your advice to those people?
Well, we're obviously very,
very conscious of the world market and it's being open to those
opportunities. It may be in time, growing vegetables.
I don't know. I'm not going to...
You know, I'm not going to say no to anything.
As you know, I said no to kiwi fruit 27 years ago but things change.
And I think it's about having the adaptability and the foresight with
people and partnerships to make those choices and the Bay of Plenty
is very lucky for those.
Well, I'd love to come back in another ten years and see what
-you're up to, JC.
-Ten years is too long.
You've got to come sooner than that, please.
-I will, I promise you.
It's been great to catch up with JC.
The farm has certainly changed since I was last year.
-See you again.
But JC is just as I remember him.
I'm leaving the fertile soil of the Bay of Plenty and driving south to
find out how other farmers have made subsidy-free farming work for them.
I'm heading to the Rangitaiki Station.
It's one of several huge government-owned farms.
The state have always owned land over here,
and once subsidies were removed,
the government had to make those farms pay for themselves.
Deer aren't native to New Zealand and over the years
these wild animals were seen as a menace.
But with the popularity of venison soaring,
a market opened up to farm the deer
and the government saw an opportunity.
New Zealand has become the largest exporter of
farmed venison in the world.
The Rangitaiki Station is not only
the biggest deer farm in New Zealand,
but it's the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Sam Bunny is the station manager.
-Oh, you must be Sam.
-Good to see you.
This is an amazing set up. What are you doing in here?
These are our two-year-old stags and the vet's just here giving them a
health check before sale.
They'll be getting sold in the next couple of months.
And I understand you've got the biggest herd in the country.
Yeah, Rangitaiki runs about 7,500 commercial hinds.
-Goodness me! Thousands of them!
-Keeps us busy.
-So when you've got all the hinds and the fawns and all
the stags, what does that add up to?
On any given, sort of, summer,
we might have about 14 or 15,000 deer running around at Rangitaiki.
What are you focusing on, then, to improve the deer?
We've got to the deer stud here, so genetically,
we're working on their breeding
values which is traits around growth rates
and carcass weights, trying to get them to grow faster and get their
venison production up. A lot of focus around pasture management,
so just eating grass is better, growing more grass.
And the more grass we can grow and the better that grass is then the
more profitable and the better our business will be, so...
There are concerns back home that our farming subsidy system may be
reduced following Brexit.
How have you managed here since 1984 when your farming subsidies were
-I mean, I know nothing different.
I'm only 33 years old and I...
All my farming career's been about trying to run a sustainable business
and it's not easy. It's a real
challenge and we have our ups and downs,
but, it's just all about trying to improve production,
improved genetics, just make it sustainable as best we can.
Well, it's fascinating to see how you guys were out here and how you
think. Beautiful looking deer. How are they, Andrew? All clear?
-Yeah, they're all clear. Good to go.
-Let's leave them to settle down.
There's good boys.
-They've got some size about them, haven't they?
-Take it easy.
Wow! Once they go, they certainly go.
-Certainly a lot quicker than moving sheep about.
You have to hand it to the Kiwis.
These subsidy-free farmers know how to turn opportunities into
And I know when it comes to farming,
New Zealand is very different to back home,
but what really sets them apart from what I've seen
so far is their attitude.
It's this can-do attitude that many of the early pioneers
to these shores certainly had.
But that's not the only thing to have survived from them.
Next week, I'm on the hunt for an
elusive breed of old English goat that
took up residence on an isolated
New Zealand island more than 200 years ago.
Bordering Wales, Shropshire is a county of contrasts.
From the rugged hills of the south...
..to the patchwork of pools and bogs of the north.
As we found out earlier,
the Meres and Mosses are a landscape with an important environmental role
and therefore, worth protecting.
Not the usual Countryfile location, is it?
Now, it may seem unlikely, but reclaiming this scrapyard is
the latest stage in keeping those mosses happy.
I don't quite understand it either, but luckily,
there is a chap here somewhere with all the answers.
Shropshire Wildlife Trust bought this site three months ago.
Now in partnership with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales,
the most challenging work is about to begin.
Luke Neal is a community officer with Shropshire Wildlife Trust.
-Oh, hi, Anita.
I've brought another massive pair of hands.
-You're going to need those!
-So, what are we doing?
-We're moving some of these tyres.
We're trying to get them sorted from the ones that have got metal rims in
and those that haven't. Yeah, help yourself to one down there.
-Just piling up over here?
I mean, you wonder what a scrapyard and a wildlife trust could possibly
have in common, don't you? I mean, why acquire this site?
It's all about where it is.
It's about the location, so right here, we're on the edge of Fenn's,
Whixall and Bettisfield Moss,
which is one of the largest peat bodies in Britain.
That seems quite strange to have a scrapyard positioned here.
I mean, it's quite rural, isn't it?
The scrapyard was actually brought here in the 1960s and that was
before this site really had its special designation.
Prior to that, it would have just been a farm.
It's not an easy job though, is it?
It's not. There's an awful lot that we've got to deal with.
I mean, you can see here, we've got piles of tyres, we've got scrap,
we've got oil and it's quite polluted in the ground under our
-feet as well.
-But despite those challenges,
they're using what they can from the site and transforming it to work in
harmony with nature.
So, what we're hoping to do is to keep some of these sheds back here,
but, kind of, clad so that it's got an earth wall and an earth roof.
We would like to have a viewing tower at the top because one of the
things about these sites, they're very, very flat,
so if you can get a bit of height and then you can actually see right
out across the whole of the Moss.
From there, where we want to go is we want to restore all of this area.
We want to try and build some walls and maybe some play features out of
the tyres. You know, really re-use them if we can.
With this lovely kind of boardwalk that leads you right out onto the
-edge of the Moss.
-And we'll all have as much fun as that little dog.
And that's not the only way this scrap material lives on.
Artist Rob Holmquist is turning some
of it into children's play equipment.
That is brilliant.
-Cheers, thank you.
-So, what are these bits that you've got?
These are a couple of valves from an engine and they've been welded onto
the front of the snail like that to make its tentacles.
What we're going to do is we're going to turn it into a bug hotel,
so not only was it scrap,
it's now a habitat for small creatures and animals.
I mean, it's funny because I look at that and all I can see is scrap.
-But what do you see?
-Quite a lot of scrap, I must admit!
But there is a lot of potential, as well.
If you've got the time and the tools,
you can make something out of quite a lot of it.
I'd love to have a go at something.
Cool. Do you want to do some spray-painting?
Would I ever like to do some spray-painting!
What are these going to be?
These are parts for one of the rockers over there,
so this is the body of a grasshopper.
I'd suggest everyone take a step backwards.
Thank you very much.
It is as fun as it looks and if it's inspired you to get out there and do
something fantastic in the great outdoors,
you'll want to know what the weather's doing.
Here's the forecast.
We're in Shropshire, where I've been discovering the unforgiving
landscape where both people and plants have battled to survive.
This quiet place was once a beacon of industry.
Today, the wheel no longer turns.
And the miners have stopped streaming into these tunnels.
But in the mid-18th century, lead mining was big business.
This stuff helped to power the Industrial Revolution.
Now, at one point, this place, Snailbeach Mine,
was the richest mine per acre in Europe,
and it was extracting 3,000 tonnes of ore a year.
Now restored, there's a maze of
rarely-seen underground tunnels to explore.
Let's venture into the gloom.
'Andrew Wood from the
Shropshire Mines Trust is taking me deep underground.'
How big is this mine, then, Andrew?
It actually goes well below sea level.
-It's actually 1,700-odd feet deep.
3,000 tonnes a year coming out of this place,
what was the workforce like?
Well, at its peak in the middle of the 19th century,
this site employed over 500 people.
So instead of the quiet country place it is now,
it was a hive of industry and there were people and smoke and noise
Instantly, it opened up here, then, Andrew,
so what have we come across here?
This is what's called a stump, where all the mineral has been removed.
And what techniques would they have been using to get all this out?
It was all done by hand and using candles.
The men had to buy their own candles and they had to buy their own
gunpowder and, of course,
they needed gunpowder to blast the rock down.
So they used an implement like a bit of a spoon, if you like,
on a long stick. The spoon is copper,
the handle is wood because the last thing you want to do is to introduce
iron or steel to gunpowder in case you get a spark.
When they were ready, they'd light the fuse, run away and hide.
There'd be an enormous bang,
all the rock would come down and when the dust had settled,
they'd come back and start shovelling up the ore.
The mind boggles, doesn't it?
When you've got electric lights and you can see the vast area that was,
kind of, excavated but then, you think, that was all done by hand.
In the second half of the 19th century,
lead production reached its peak, but in 1885,
after a flood of cheap imports,
lead prices fell and many small mines went out of business.
This mine has now fallen silent.
But it's far from empty.
One particular species has set up home in these cavernous chambers,
the lesser horseshoe bat.
Just hanging about ten feet away from where I'm kneeling is the most
beautiful lesser horseshoe bat.
You could see one just fly up right there.
And here in Shropshire,
numbers of this beautiful creature have been on the rise since 1999,
And the Shropshire Bat Group believe that this is because they found the
perfect dark, dank hibernation roost right here in Snailbeach Mine.
It's wonderful to see that this mine is not just a museum to the past.
It's also helping to protect the future.
Can you let me out? What's it worth?
Shall I let him out? All right, come on.
Thank you. Just what I wanted, actually.
-There you go.
-Oh, my eyes! Tell me when that's off. Is that off?
-How is it down there?
Yeah, good, good. I've had a lovely time here.
I tell you what, I've been up on top of it and underneath the landscape
here, but what a view. The hills around here!
It has been spectacular in Shropshire, hasn't it?
Even a scrapyard looked gorgeous!
Anyway, that's all we've got time for for this week.
Next week, we're going to be in
Carmarthenshire, where I will be exploring
the explosive sand dunes.
And Helen will be finding out just how fantastic bees really are.
-us then. See you.
Countryfile is in Shropshire, where Matt Baker is exploring the highs and lows of a landscape shaped by the miners who once called this place home. Anita Rani is discovering the most unlikely site for a nature reserve - a scrapyard.
Chef Michael Caines heads out into the wilds of Dartmoor on a camping trip, and in the first part of a special series, Adam Henson is in New Zealand to find out how they farm on the other side of the world.
Charlotte Smith investigates the growing problem of dementia in the countryside as a new report highlights the dangers, isolation and lack of services facing farmers living with the condition.