Somerset Levels Countryfile


Somerset Levels

In the Somerset Levels, Matt Baker is on the hunt for the common crane, a bird that has been brought back from the brink and which now thrives in the area.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

OK, Matt, just take a moment, let's stand still

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and just have a listen...

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BIRDSONG ..because all around us is life.

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-It's beautiful, isn't it?

-Yeah, chirping in the hedgerows,

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creeping through the undergrowth and soaring on a wing

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because this is the magical landscape of the Somerset Levels.

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Yeah, this week, Anita and I are

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on the hunt for the common crane.

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Now, it's a bird that's been

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brought back from the brink.

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It's now thriving in this area,

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as it's been taken under the wing by the locals.

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They're up, they're up, they're up!

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Also on today's programme, in a brand-new feature,

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we get exclusive access behind the scenes of life as a rural vet...

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It's a little bit livelier than I was expecting, if I'm honest!

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..Charlotte uncovers a new threat

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thought to be hiding in our seawater...

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-So, that there, that is the superbug?

-Yes, it is.

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..and Adam's down on the farm as winter's icy grip takes hold.

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It was blizzarding. I opened the gate

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and let the cattle out of this field into here,

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where there was more shelter for them. And some of them are here,

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but the rest of them have disappeared

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into this sort of scrubby area,

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so I'm going to go and find them. I don't know where they are.

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-MATT:

-These are the Somerset Levels, a watery world

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where ditches, drains and rivers crisscross the land.

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It might look ordered, but this is a wild place.

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The Levels stretch across more than 230 square miles,

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much of it barely above sea level.

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The wetland draws up to 100,000 over-wintering birds

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at this time of year.

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This place is world-famous for its birdlife,

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but eight years ago, that fame shot sky-high

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when a bird that used to live here hundreds of years ago

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was back on the scene.

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The common crane.

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It was driven to extinction in the 16th century

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through overhunting and loss of wetland,

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but through the Great Crane Project, the birds have returned.

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Back in 2014, staff were committed to raising their brood,

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from the moment of arrival...

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These are the most precious things that we've got.

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We literally have all our eggs in one basket, so to speak.

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..to teaching the young cranes, well, how to be a crane.

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-WHISPERS:

-This is wonderful.

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And at four months old, they were released onto the Somerset Levels.

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When I left them, everybody involved

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were holding their breath, they were crossing everything,

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just hoping that the main aim of the project would be fulfilled,

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that those hand-reared chicks would go on

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to have little ones of their own in the wild

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and I cannot wait to find out how they've got on.

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Damon Bridge from the RSPB has been keeping a close eye on the birds

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ever since their release.

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So, come on then, what's the latest?

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Well, the best news is that they have bred successfully in the wild.

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-Brilliant!

-And we've got 11 chicks now,

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which have been produced over the last three years,

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which have joined that founding flock.

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The thing that's most striking

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is that the birds have clearly learned to be better at breeding.

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They've adapted and changed their nesting behaviour slightly,

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so there are pairs that have... This year might have been

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their third attempt at trying to breed successfully,

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but they've made it.

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And to think that, eight years ago,

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there were no cranes in this area and now, you know,

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you've got a population that's well and truly back.

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It's really special,

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particularly seeing the birds that we've reared with their own young

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and just behaving entirely like a wild parent crane should

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in rearing and tending very, very carefully to their chicks

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and they've made fantastic parents

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and that's so hard to imagine that that would have been possible

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from a chick that started life in an incubator,

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being reared by hand, so it's...

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Yeah, it's quite remarkable.

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2017 was the project's most successful breeding year yet.

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But even though the cranes are thriving,

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a dedicated team are still keeping a watchful eye over the flock.

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Volunteers have tagged the cranes with coloured rings

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to help identify them.

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It's not easy to spot the cranes in this landscape.

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Volunteers like Liz, Di and Pete have got the patience

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and the keen eyes and ears that's needed.

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You can hear them now, can you?

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Listen, in the distance over there.

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I always think they sound a bit like a tuneful goose.

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Let's hope no geese are listening!

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THEY LAUGH

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Right, so nothing over this side.

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What about you, Pete?

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We've got eight cranes over here.

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Eight?! You kept that quiet!

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Hang on. Where am I looking, Pete?

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Just come straight down to the water, just the edge of the water.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah! I've got them, I've got them.

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Hello! Are they quite difficult to keep tabs on, then?

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-Yes, they're very difficult to spot, especially in long grass.

-Mm.

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You can hear them very often as well,

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and you're looking and looking and you just can't see them.

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And they're a big bird.

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You must get a great amount of satisfaction

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when you do sit here like this and you're looking at them

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through your telescope and just watching them go about their...

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their wild business now.

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-Yes, yes, it's a joy to be out here as well, isn't it?

-For sure.

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This is a real wildlife success story

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and the plight of the cranes here

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has made its mark on so many of the locals,

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as I'll be finding out later.

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Now, even on a wintry day like today, there are those brave souls

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who are keen to take to the freezing waters around our shores.

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Now, even though our seas may look clean,

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they may contain a hidden threat. Here's Charlotte.

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A day at the seaside with plenty of fresh air.

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Even in weather as wild as today's,

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you don't need a doctor to know it's good for your health.

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A lot of work goes into ensuring our beach waters

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are clean and safe for us all to enjoy,

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even for those courageous or, frankly, foolish enough

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to get in in midwinter.

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But research seen exclusively by Countryfile reveals new threats.

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You can't see them, but they have superpowers.

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These are dangerous bacteria

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which have developed a resistance to antibiotics,

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and they're right here in the water.

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They're the superbugs.

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We've all seen the headlines -

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our hospitals are at war with them.

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MRSA and E. coli are posing a real threat to us,

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as the drugs normally used to treat them stop working.

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It's predicted they could be causing more deaths than cancer by 2050,

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with the UK's Chief Medical Officer

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ranking them alongside climate change and terrorism.

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Back in 2014, I investigated how the overuse of antibiotics in farming

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can help spread these superbugs from animals to people.

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Now there's new research,

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published today by the University of Exeter Medical School.

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It reveals that not only

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are these antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in our seawater,

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but they're also finding their way into people.

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The results show that resistant E. coli bacteria are found

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in the coastal waters of England and Wales

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and that their levels are high enough

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to pose an exposure risk to water users,

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with more than 2.5 million exposure events estimated in 2015.

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That means people using the water

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are coming into contact with these superbugs,

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people like David Smith from Surfers Against Sewage.

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He was one of the first to be tested in this study

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and is all too aware of the dangers.

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-Hello, David.

-Hi.

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-You weren't tempted?

-I was tempted,

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-but it's just too rough, too big and windy.

-And too cold!

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-Let's find somewhere a bit more sheltered.

-Good idea.

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David, it's not just the weather,

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you must be concerned by the high levels of bacteria in the sea.

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Yeah, we've seen improvements over the last 20 to 30 years or so,

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which have made our waters amazing, but this new emergent threat

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of resistant bacteria to antibiotics is a worrying one.

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Now, you've got involved in the research on this,

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which brings us to the rather wonderfully named Beach Bum Survey.

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-Just talk us through that.

-So, yeah, it's a great survey

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that we've done with the University of Exeter.

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We've helped to recruit 150 surfers and non-surfers

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to take some swabs and to see what level

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of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is present in their gut.

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The results showed that surfers were three times more likely

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to be carrying the resistant bacteria in their guts.

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This risk of picking up superbugs from seawater

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is at its worst when heavy rains cause raw sewage

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to overflow into our rivers and onto beaches.

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It's not just surfers affected here.

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Anyone who uses the beach is potentially affected,

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so what can people do?

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We provide a free service, the Safer Seas Service,

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which alerts any beach users to pollution events

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and that increased risk of getting ill.

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It's downloadable as an app, so you can subscribe to your local beach

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or you can go online and view an interactive map.

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You can find details of the app on the Countryfile website.

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A healthy surfer or swimmer carrying the bacteria

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is unlikely to get ill, but these bugs can spread to others,

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and can pose a risk to people with weak immune systems -

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the old, the young, and those already sick.

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It's alarming enough to realise that these bacteria

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are present in our environment

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and, from there, could be passing from person to person,

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but where are these bacteria coming from?

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Dr Anne Leonard from the University of Exeter Medical School

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and lead author of the Beach Bum study says it's from inland sources,

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such as waste water and farms, which is why we're sampling this water

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before it even gets to the sea.

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-There we go. Is that enough?

-Perfect, yeah, that's great.

-Great.

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-So what are you actually looking for in here?

-We're looking for

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antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the water.

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And how do you find them?

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We take these back to the lab and then we try to grow bacteria

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in the water sample on agar containing antibiotics.

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-I have some plates that I can show you.

-OK.

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In the right conditions,

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the sugary agar is the perfect food to encourage bacteria to grow.

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These are the bacteria that we've isolated from beach water

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and you can see on this plate,

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this is agar that hasn't got any antibiotics in it,

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and you can see how many different kinds of bacteria are growing on it

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and then this is the plate with antibiotics

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and we only have one little colony, but you can see it's quite clear.

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-So, that there, that's the superbug?

-Yes.

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That is a resistant bacterium, yes.

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So is the most sensible thing, then, just not to go into the water?

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No. We wouldn't advise people avoid going in the water.

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There are plenty of health benefits to be gained from going in the sea -

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physical health benefits and mental wellbeing.

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The advantages of enjoying the sea

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still far outweigh the risk posed by superbugs,

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but their presence here is a real and growing problem

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and one that scientists are only just starting to understand.

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With no quick fix on the horizon, what can we do?

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Well, later, I'll be finding out more

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about why this is happening and what we might be able to do about it.

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ANITA: This is Somerset -

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a vibrant working landscape, celebrated for its rich heritage.

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Home to the legend of King Arthur,

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this magical place is also known as the land of Avalon,

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which, in modern-day English,

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can be translated into the Isle of the Apples.

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And, surrounded by this many fruit trees, it's easy to see why.

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And in this county, apples are known for one thing.

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Cider.

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Hidden away among 180 acres of apple orchards is Pass Vale Farm.

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Julian Temperley is part of this proud cider-making tradition.

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-Hello, Julian.

-How do.

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Lovely to see you.

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So how long has this place been producing cider?

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I think we've been making cider here for at least sort of 200 years,

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but in the past, all farms made their own cider.

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If you didn't have decent cider, you didn't have any workers.

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It was a fuel that kept the farmers going.

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Obviously, if you are doing hard agricultural work,

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you would have an allowance of anything up to eight pints a day.

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Cider may have humble roots, but using the very same apples,

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Julian has been reviving a drink of pedigree.

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Somerset Cider Brandy.

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Once found on the dining tables of the landed gentry,

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the tipple can be traced as far back as the 1600s,

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but it wasn't until 1989

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that the first full cider-distilling licence was granted in the UK,

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right here on this farm.

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How proud do you feel

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that you've brought this traditional spirit back?

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I think everybody on the farm is chuffed.

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It gives us a product which we can send around the world.

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It means that our orchards have a future.

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And it means our staff have a wage at the end of the week!

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Protecting these orchards

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is great news for cider maker Paull Manning

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because, to make a drink of this calibre,

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you need a serious amount of apples.

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Well, it takes approximately seven litres of cider

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to make one litre of brandy

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and, in fact, it takes seven tonnes of apples to fill a barrel,

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-at least all of what we've got here.

-Wow, that's a lot of apples!

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It seems quite late to be harvesting apples.

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That's because some of the traditional cider apple varieties

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that we use ripen later in the year

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and we're waiting for the starch in them to turn to sugar.

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Right, so it's beneficial to just leave them for a bit?

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Cos there's quite a lot on the floor,

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-more than there are in the trees.

-That's fine.

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When they're in the grass, they're protected from the frost

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and, actually, their flavour is changing anyway.

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Wine producers would blend

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different varieties of grape to make champagne.

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We blend different varieties of apple

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to get a perfectly balanced cider.

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Once the apples are washed, pressed

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and the juice fermented,

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it's time to start the distilling process.

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For that, on this farm, they used two 70-year-old French girls

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who, I'm told, are so important,

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they're protected by armour-plated glass

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and more than 60 locks and seals.

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Meet Josephine and Fifi.

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These precious copper towers get to work

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before the liquid is trickled into barrels to mature into brandy.

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As head distiller, it is Rob Moore's job

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to make sure it tastes just as it should.

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Rob, what a job!

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-Yeah, it's pretty cool!

-It's very cool!

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So your job is to taste the brandy.

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Yeah, we get in here a couple of times a week

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and we take a little sample out of, say, half a dozen barrels,

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and we pick ones that are the best ones and we put them to a blend.

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What is the purpose of putting the alcohol into a barrel?

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Well, the purpose of the barrel

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is to extract the flavours from the oak and the wood

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and to sort of let everything mellow nicely.

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We bottle at 3 years old and we bottle at 5, 10, 15 and 20.

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And what happens to the alcohol content over that time?

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Well, you lose a lot of alcohol cos it's quite volatile,

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so it comes out of the barrel, comes out through the bung,

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and that is called the angels' share.

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-That's nice!

-Yeah, that's nice.

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So we've got lots of drunk angels flying around in here.

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Never mind the angels' share, time to try some myself.

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This is the West Country's heritage in a glass.

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And, at this time of year, the cider makers wassail their orchards,

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which is a toast to their trees,

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so here's to another bountiful harvest for the year ahead,

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because this stuff is delicious.

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Cheers.

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-ADAM:

-Now, a little while ago on Countryfile,

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I spent a day with an amazing rural vet

0:18:400:18:42

as he battled to save the lives of a cow and her unborn calf

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with an emergency Caesarean section.

0:18:460:18:48

Over the next few weeks,

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we're going to be back with the same vets' practice,

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looking at what it really takes to be a vet

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in our countryside, in the harshest of months - winter.

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The practice is based in Malmesbury in the Cotswolds.

0:19:050:19:08

It's one of the largest in the country,

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with around 40 vets providing care to all creatures,

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-great and small.

-Wahey!

0:19:130:19:16

-We'll track the trials and tribulations...

-Steady, girl.

0:19:160:19:20

..through the blood, sweat and tears...

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Good lad!

0:19:230:19:25

..and really see what it takes to be a country vet.

0:19:250:19:28

Just to let you know,

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some of what they do is not for the faint-hearted.

0:19:320:19:35

Ben, a vet who graduated last year, is off to deal with

0:19:410:19:44

one of the more imposing animals the team look after.

0:19:440:19:47

Who's a good boy, eh? Who's a good boy?

0:19:470:19:50

David is one of our beef farmers.

0:19:500:19:53

One of his prize Limousin bulls lost the ring in his nose

0:19:530:19:56

and he called us out

0:19:560:19:57

to come and pop one back in.

0:19:570:19:59

So he's called Holy Moly

0:19:590:20:01

and he wants to be more like his mate, Hurdy Gurdy,

0:20:010:20:03

who has got a ring in his nose.

0:20:030:20:06

Those rings are pretty important for management purposes

0:20:060:20:08

and also, if they were ever wanting

0:20:080:20:10

to move them off farm, take them to market,

0:20:100:20:12

it's actually the law that they have to have a nose ring in.

0:20:120:20:15

So these are the pincers.

0:20:150:20:16

They look a little bit archaic and a bit brutal,

0:20:160:20:19

but essentially what we're doing is equivalent to

0:20:190:20:21

a nose piercing or an ear piercing that humans would get,

0:20:210:20:24

just on a slightly larger scale,

0:20:240:20:26

hence the size of the bore on the pincers.

0:20:260:20:29

The ring makes them so much easier to handle for the farmer

0:20:290:20:33

and especially in Holy Moly's case, cos he's a big boy!

0:20:330:20:36

-1,200. 1,200 kilos? There you go.

-1,125.

-Oh, 1,125, yeah,

0:20:360:20:41

so he's just over a ton.

0:20:410:20:43

-Come on!

-I mean, you're never going to push him.

0:20:430:20:46

He's got to make his own mind up.

0:20:460:20:48

Come on! Come on!

0:20:480:20:50

Steady, boy, steady.

0:20:540:20:56

It's all right!

0:20:560:20:57

If his nose is as cold as my hands,

0:20:570:20:59

he won't be able to feel a thing anyway!

0:20:590:21:00

No, that is...

0:21:000:21:02

What I'm going to do is put the local anaesthetic

0:21:020:21:05

on each side of the septum, of his nasal septum,

0:21:050:21:07

and then we'll leave him for a few minutes,

0:21:070:21:10

just to let that take effect and then we'll hopefully be away.

0:21:100:21:13

Obviously, the needle is going to be quite unpleasant for him,

0:21:150:21:18

so he might resent this a little bit,

0:21:180:21:19

so he may jump up and down a bit, OK?

0:21:190:21:21

All right, buddy, steady, steady.

0:21:230:21:25

Steady, boy, steady, steady, steady, steady...

0:21:270:21:30

Ear piercing... Whoops-a-daisy!

0:21:300:21:32

All right!

0:21:320:21:34

You've got to keep your wits about you,

0:21:340:21:35

especially with these big chaps,

0:21:350:21:37

because they can be really, really dangerous.

0:21:370:21:39

Same again, mate.

0:21:390:21:41

OK.

0:21:500:21:51

Good boy!

0:21:510:21:53

It's a lot easier to control the bull.

0:21:540:21:56

We've got him on halters now, but once you've got a ring in,

0:21:560:21:58

then you can thread a rope through or use a hook.

0:21:580:22:01

Once you hold their nose, they don't want to fight too much,

0:22:010:22:04

so you've got more control.

0:22:040:22:05

Luckily, he's got a little bit of a guide hole.

0:22:050:22:08

It's amazing how they heal up, actually.

0:22:080:22:10

It is, it's only been a month or so.

0:22:100:22:12

SEPTUM CRUNCHES

0:22:210:22:22

-It's lucky the local anaesthetic has done the job.

-Yep.

0:22:240:22:27

OK.

0:22:310:22:32

-Do we have the ring?

-We do!

0:22:330:22:35

Yay!

0:22:440:22:45

Right.

0:22:490:22:50

PIN CLICKS

0:22:550:22:56

Brilliant, yeah, amazing stuff. OK.

0:22:560:22:58

Right, so, we'll just give him his painkiller.

0:23:000:23:04

-I'm happy that that's going to heal up OK.

-Is he all done?

0:23:040:23:08

-Good to go?

-He's all done.

0:23:080:23:09

With these types of things, you do get a little bit of blood,

0:23:100:23:14

but it's to be expected, it's totally normal.

0:23:140:23:16

It will be all healed up in a few days.

0:23:160:23:18

Go on, go on.

0:23:190:23:21

HOLY MOLY BELLOWS

0:23:210:23:22

Go on, go on. Go on.

0:23:220:23:25

I've only been qualified a year, so it's quite an intimidating thing

0:23:250:23:29

when you first go into a situation where you're being asked

0:23:290:23:33

to do something medical with an animal

0:23:330:23:36

that weighs 10, 15 times your body weight.

0:23:360:23:39

You just have to be very careful and respect the animal, basically.

0:23:390:23:44

It's good fun!

0:23:440:23:46

HOLY MOLY BELLOWS

0:23:460:23:49

The lion's share of the work done by the farm team is with cattle,

0:23:540:23:57

but occasionally they also see to some of the more unusual beasts.

0:23:570:24:02

Chris and Sarah from the farm vets' team

0:24:040:24:07

have been called out for a rather interesting challenge,

0:24:070:24:10

to castrate a reindeer belonging to Andrew Woodward.

0:24:100:24:14

Fennec's little boy, he's 18 months old now

0:24:140:24:18

and he's just a bit too taken up with his own magnificence

0:24:180:24:20

and not sort of getting over himself.

0:24:200:24:23

Picture boy racer, loads of hormones.

0:24:230:24:26

He's tending to get a bit too excited with the girls

0:24:260:24:30

and that leads to chasing them around and all that sort of thing.

0:24:300:24:34

Fennec was getting a little bit too boisterous, really,

0:24:340:24:37

but if we can take the hormone drive for his naughty behaviour away,

0:24:370:24:40

then it can really help out.

0:24:400:24:42

He's just having his little bits taken off,

0:24:420:24:45

so that that hopefully will just let all the hormones just ease back

0:24:450:24:49

and everything, and he can go back to being cuddly Fennec,

0:24:490:24:52

which is what he's always been before.

0:24:520:24:55

What is his temperament like?

0:24:550:24:57

He's fine.

0:24:570:24:59

He's easy enough to handle at this point.

0:24:590:25:01

Yeah, if you go in, get him settled

0:25:010:25:03

-and then we'll just come in with the injection.

-Yeah, I think so.

0:25:030:25:06

So we're just getting everything ready now

0:25:060:25:09

because once he's anaesthetised,

0:25:090:25:11

we need to work relatively quickly, before he wakes up.

0:25:110:25:13

Neither of us, we haven't done

0:25:130:25:14

a massive amount of reindeer work all together.

0:25:140:25:16

They don't really like being handled that much,

0:25:160:25:19

so the less they can do with him, the better really.

0:25:190:25:21

It's something different, yeah! It's certainly something different!

0:25:210:25:25

Right, so we'll just give him the sedative now.

0:25:260:25:29

Yeah, I'll shut you in.

0:25:290:25:30

The worst part was always going to be sedating the reindeer,

0:25:300:25:33

so, being the true gentleman that he is,

0:25:330:25:35

Chris left that part up to me!

0:25:350:25:36

All right, sweetheart.

0:25:360:25:38

Calm down, mister, come on.

0:25:380:25:40

Or I can inject him.

0:25:400:25:41

-I don't want to jab you.

-Hang on, hang on, hang on.

0:25:410:25:44

-OK.

-Let me just get control of him.

0:25:440:25:46

-Get on with it!

-All right.

0:25:470:25:49

It wasn't painful, it was quite a soft landing with all that straw.

0:25:530:25:56

I think it was more my pride that was bruised then anything else.

0:25:560:25:59

I know, good lad, Fenny.

0:25:590:26:01

He was a little bit livelier than I was expecting, if I'm honest!

0:26:010:26:05

With cows, you would have them in a crush

0:26:050:26:07

so they can't really thrash around like that,

0:26:070:26:09

but obviously we don't really have that luxury with him.

0:26:090:26:12

It's really important to work quickly.

0:26:120:26:15

The less time he's anaesthetised for,

0:26:150:26:16

the less chance there is of complications.

0:26:160:26:19

Nice and clean pair of balls, aren't they?

0:26:190:26:22

Is that what you pictured you'd be doing when you were at vet school?

0:26:220:26:26

Yeah, it's what I always dreamt of!

0:26:260:26:28

-All happy?

-Yeah.

0:26:310:26:33

So, once all prepped, it's a pretty quick procedure.

0:26:330:26:36

Incise the skin, remove the testicle.

0:26:360:26:38

We clamp the blood vessels and tie them off

0:26:380:26:41

and then finally we spray the antibiotic spray.

0:26:410:26:44

I was really happy with how the operation went

0:26:460:26:48

and because we'd given him his antibiotics and his pain reliever

0:26:480:26:50

before the operation, they'd kicked in by the time he came round,

0:26:500:26:54

so he was as happy as he could have been having two testicles removed!

0:26:540:26:57

He's looking a bit more lively now in his eyes, isn't he?

0:26:570:27:00

He's breathing a little bit more rapidly as well, so that's good.

0:27:000:27:03

-There he goes.

-Hello.

0:27:030:27:05

Oh, no need to get up, big guy.

0:27:070:27:10

Good, so I think we'll leave him be now.

0:27:100:27:12

Keep a close eye on him for the next few days and...

0:27:120:27:14

-Brilliant, thanks very much.

-Thanks very much. Nice to see you.

0:27:140:27:17

-ADAM:

-Next week, we'll be with the vets

0:27:220:27:23

as they see to a cow with a twisted stomach...

0:27:230:27:27

So now it's much easier for me to bring the stomach back round,

0:27:270:27:31

and put it back where it should be.

0:27:310:27:32

..and they have a closer look at the insides of Titch.

0:27:340:27:37

I'm just going to pop this scope up Titch's nose.

0:27:370:27:40

I know, little man,

0:27:400:27:41

it's very unusual for a Thursday morning, isn't it?

0:27:410:27:44

Earlier, we found out that antibiotic-resistant bacteria

0:27:530:27:56

are no longer just a problem for hospitals,

0:27:560:27:58

as they've found their way into our natural environment.

0:27:580:28:02

But what can we do to control them?

0:28:020:28:03

Here's Charlotte.

0:28:030:28:05

A new study has revealed to Countryfile

0:28:080:28:11

that drug-resistant bacteria such as E. coli

0:28:110:28:14

are not only being found in our rivers and seawater...

0:28:140:28:17

So that there, that's the superbug?

0:28:170:28:19

Yes. That is a resistant bacterium, yes.

0:28:190:28:21

But they've also made their way into the guts of surfers

0:28:210:28:24

who've come into contact with them in the sea.

0:28:240:28:26

Like anyone who spends time on or in the water,

0:28:280:28:32

I'm keen to find out more about how these bacteria get there

0:28:320:28:36

and, of course, what we can do about it,

0:28:360:28:39

so I'm off on a superbug safari.

0:28:390:28:41

-VOICEOVER:

-Taking me upstream to find the source of these superbugs

0:28:440:28:47

is Dr will Gaze...

0:28:470:28:49

-Hello!

-Hello!

-Welcome aboard!

0:28:490:28:51

..a microbial ecologist from the University of Exeter Medical School.

0:28:510:28:55

-Thanks.

-Do take a seat.

0:28:550:28:57

Will, as we set off in our luxurious craft, what are we looking for?

0:29:000:29:04

We're looking for ways in which antibiotic-resistant bacteria

0:29:040:29:07

can get into rivers,

0:29:070:29:08

so from farmland and also from waste water treatment plants.

0:29:080:29:12

So we're going past farmland here. What sort of problem can that cause?

0:29:120:29:16

About half of antibiotics used worldwide are used in farming,

0:29:160:29:19

about a third to a half in the UK, for treating diseases in animals.

0:29:190:29:23

And when they go to the toilet, resistant bacteria

0:29:230:29:26

and the drug residues go into the environment as well.

0:29:260:29:29

So it's as simple as, really, cattle being in the field,

0:29:290:29:32

the rain coming, washing the waste into the river.

0:29:320:29:36

-That's right.

-Farmers have been working quite hard and have had

0:29:360:29:39

some success in reducing the amount of antibiotics they're using.

0:29:390:29:42

That's right, there's been a reduction in antibiotic usage

0:29:420:29:45

in farming in the UK and actually in Europe,

0:29:450:29:47

but in other parts of the world, it's very unregulated,

0:29:470:29:50

so if you go to the supermarket and you buy meat,

0:29:500:29:53

that could have been produced anywhere in the world.

0:29:530:29:55

What we're eating is an important factor, then,

0:29:550:29:59

but something else we're doing may also be driving the problem.

0:29:590:30:02

We've made it as far as the lock.

0:30:030:30:04

We're just on the edge here, we've got houses and a pub,

0:30:040:30:07

which are part of the problem, which surprised me.

0:30:070:30:09

They are part of the problem

0:30:090:30:11

because we use a lot of antibacterial cleaning products.

0:30:110:30:14

The problem with antibacterial cleaning compounds

0:30:140:30:17

is that the bacteria that survive

0:30:170:30:18

are the ones that are most likely to be resistant to antibiotics.

0:30:180:30:22

So should we not be using them?

0:30:220:30:23

Surely they're a sensible option if you're cleaning up.

0:30:230:30:26

They're important if you really need to use them,

0:30:260:30:28

so cleaning up after you've been cutting raw chicken, for example.

0:30:280:30:32

But we used to go on quite well with soap and water and bleach.

0:30:320:30:35

We still don't know much about how antibacterial products

0:30:360:30:40

are helping to drive drug resistance,

0:30:400:30:42

but we do note the major source is our own antibiotic use.

0:30:420:30:47

Will, on this stretch of the river, there's a sewage treatment plant,

0:30:470:30:49

which can discharge into the river, which I imagine can cause problems.

0:30:490:30:53

Yeah, there are about 9,000

0:30:530:30:55

waste water treatment plants in the UK

0:30:550:30:57

that discharge 11 billion litres of waste water a day

0:30:570:31:01

and they contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria,

0:31:010:31:03

antibiotics that we excrete, the antibacterial cleaning products.

0:31:030:31:08

And that's even there after they've cleaned it up.

0:31:080:31:10

That's right, it's because there are so many bacteria

0:31:100:31:13

and because treatment plans were never designed to remove

0:31:130:31:15

these emerging pollutants that we now know are important,

0:31:150:31:19

so some of them do make their way into the environment.

0:31:190:31:22

How worried are you about superbugs and the way that they're evolving?

0:31:220:31:26

The post-antibiotic era is where things like hip replacements,

0:31:260:31:30

cancer treatments, childbirth

0:31:300:31:32

all become incredibly dangerous or impossible

0:31:320:31:35

because of the risk of dying from simple infections,

0:31:350:31:38

so that's a really real risk.

0:31:380:31:39

So we've got these bugs coming from various different sources,

0:31:390:31:43

what can we do about it?

0:31:430:31:44

We can actually take responsibility for what we do personally,

0:31:440:31:47

so we can use less antibacterials,

0:31:470:31:49

we can not pressurise our GP to give us antibiotics

0:31:490:31:53

when we've got a cold, for example.

0:31:530:31:56

And we can also think about what food we buy

0:31:560:31:58

and where we buy it from, you know, how it's been produced.

0:31:580:32:01

Taking personal responsibility for the amount of antibiotics

0:32:030:32:07

entering our water supply is a good start.

0:32:070:32:10

In the meantime, what can we do

0:32:100:32:12

about pollution already in the system?

0:32:120:32:14

Well, that's what brings me here,

0:32:140:32:15

to a water treatment plant just outside Birmingham.

0:32:150:32:18

You'd think, in this day and age, we'd have found a way to remove

0:32:200:32:23

these superbugs before they get into the environment.

0:32:230:32:26

Well, here at South Staffs Water,

0:32:260:32:28

they're using ultraviolet lights to do just that.

0:32:280:32:32

Here, it's used for drinking water.

0:32:320:32:35

Dr Andrew Lobley is director of operations.

0:32:350:32:38

So just explain what's going on, then,

0:32:390:32:41

in the cylinders all around us?

0:32:410:32:42

So, in each of the four ultraviolet treatment reactors there,

0:32:420:32:45

we've got effectively a series of light bulbs,

0:32:450:32:47

which we pass the water over, through and round,

0:32:470:32:50

to disinfect the water.

0:32:500:32:52

-And that kills all bacteria?

-Yes.

0:32:520:32:54

Even the ones that are resistant to antibiotics?

0:32:540:32:57

-Yes.

-So a superbug can't survive this?

0:32:570:32:59

That's the advantage of a UV treatment process

0:32:590:33:01

over a more conventional chlorine disinfection process,

0:33:010:33:04

is that it gives a wider range of disinfection.

0:33:040:33:07

But even for drinking-water plants like this one,

0:33:070:33:10

UV treatment isn't compulsory

0:33:100:33:12

and when it comes to dealing with waste water,

0:33:120:33:14

it's only required when a plant flows directly into bathing waters.

0:33:140:33:18

So why isn't this used all the time by every water company, then?

0:33:180:33:21

It's a fairly new technology

0:33:210:33:22

and many of the treatment works we're looking at

0:33:220:33:25

have been in place for 50, 60 years.

0:33:250:33:26

As we come to renew and invest in our assets,

0:33:260:33:29

we're installing more and more of them.

0:33:290:33:31

We like the technology

0:33:310:33:32

and I think the rest of the industry is going the same way.

0:33:320:33:35

Converting all our waste water treatment plants

0:33:370:33:39

would help in our fight against superbugs,

0:33:390:33:42

but UV can't remove the antibiotics driving their resistance.

0:33:420:33:46

And although our farmers are working hard to reduce their antibiotic use,

0:33:460:33:50

UV can't deal with the run-off that goes straight into our rivers.

0:33:500:33:55

We need to ask ourselves questions about the way we farm,

0:33:550:33:58

the medicine we take when we're ill, even the way we clean our houses.

0:33:580:34:02

If we don't address antibiotic resistance soon,

0:34:020:34:05

then it could become a matter of life or death

0:34:050:34:08

for all of us in the future.

0:34:080:34:10

MATT: Life on the Somerset Levels relies on and revolves around water.

0:34:180:34:24

Season to season, the water levels are carefully managed

0:34:240:34:27

so that the summer pastures don't dry out

0:34:270:34:30

and the winter floods stay under control.

0:34:300:34:33

It's a special landscape,

0:34:330:34:34

and it takes a special kind of person to farm it.

0:34:340:34:38

OK, Matt, let's get on out and have a look.

0:34:380:34:40

Oh, I like your feather display there, what's the story with that?

0:34:420:34:45

That's crane feathers that I've picked up out on the moor.

0:34:450:34:49

Roderick Hector is a fourth-generation farmer,

0:34:490:34:53

a Levels boy born and bred, but this landscape provides

0:34:530:34:57

more than just his livelihood as a beef farmer,

0:34:570:35:00

it's where Roderick also nurtures his passion for wildlife

0:35:000:35:03

and, after seeing the successful reintroduction of the cranes

0:35:030:35:07

back to the Levels, I can see why he's so proud of his feathers.

0:35:070:35:11

Right, we are jumping out here because we've noticed,

0:35:110:35:15

just on the opposite side of that fence line there,

0:35:150:35:18

there's a wonderful flock of...

0:35:180:35:20

There must be about 20 there, Roderick?

0:35:200:35:23

-Yeah, I should think, yeah.

-Yeah.

0:35:230:35:25

..of cranes.

0:35:250:35:26

They're up, they're up, they're up!

0:35:260:35:28

Away to their roost.

0:35:280:35:30

Yeah, they are away to their roost.

0:35:300:35:33

They're very wild.

0:35:330:35:34

-Yeah.

-Very wild.

0:35:340:35:36

And do you put anything out for them?

0:35:360:35:37

Well, I've been putting a little bit of barley and corn out

0:35:370:35:40

because I knew you people were coming,

0:35:400:35:42

just to get them in for the camera.

0:35:420:35:44

Thanks, on behalf of all the viewers!

0:35:440:35:46

THEY LAUGH

0:35:460:35:47

You're a good lad, Roderick, you're a good lad!

0:35:470:35:50

And what's the story, then,

0:35:500:35:52

with the bird that hasn't decided to leave, the rather large static one?

0:35:520:35:57

That is the decoy. We used to feed them there

0:35:570:35:59

and we had the decoy and an automatic feeder there

0:35:590:36:02

and, of course, they still remember, because on a frosty morning,

0:36:020:36:05

they still come there, even when there isn't any corn for them.

0:36:050:36:08

-Is that right?

-Yeah.

0:36:080:36:09

As part of the Great Crane Project, Roderick was one of the farmers

0:36:090:36:13

who welcomed the birds back to his land when they were first released.

0:36:130:36:17

By using the decoy and some food, he encouraged the birds

0:36:170:36:21

to explore new areas and, eight years on, they still return.

0:36:210:36:26

And what do you remember about the first ones that came here?

0:36:260:36:29

Oh!

0:36:290:36:31

Well, it was just lovely to see them, actually.

0:36:310:36:33

I was a bit dubious about it in the beginning,

0:36:330:36:36

how it would work after 400 years of not being here.

0:36:360:36:38

-For sure, yeah.

-But they just fit in lovely.

0:36:380:36:41

-Yeah?

-Yeah, they do, yeah.

0:36:410:36:42

And when they decided to come and, you know, come on your land...

0:36:420:36:46

-Oh, that was even better!

-Yeah!

0:36:460:36:48

We love them!

0:36:480:36:49

My father was always interested in the birdlife

0:36:490:36:52

-and I suppose I carried it on.

-Right.

0:36:520:36:53

It's not just the cranes that benefit from Roderick's passion.

0:36:550:36:58

Much of the farm is dedicated to the Higher Level Stewardship scheme,

0:36:580:37:02

benefiting all manner of birdlife.

0:37:020:37:04

-There they go, there they go, there they go!

-Yep.

0:37:040:37:08

Look at them!

0:37:080:37:09

Oh, they're beautiful!

0:37:090:37:10

-Yeah, teal.

-Yeah.

0:37:100:37:13

Teal, wigeon and snipe are all regular visitors

0:37:130:37:17

to these specially-made habitats.

0:37:170:37:19

Following his father's love of birds, Roderick expanded the ponds

0:37:190:37:23

and planted reedbeds to encourage new species.

0:37:230:37:26

It certainly worked.

0:37:260:37:28

I just like to come here and sit in the hide and watch what's going on

0:37:280:37:31

when the ducks are about in the autumn. It's lovely.

0:37:310:37:34

In the summer, we get reed warblers and reed buntings,

0:37:340:37:38

-a lot of stuff, you know, comes in.

-Yeah.

0:37:380:37:40

Very good, yeah, I love to see the reed warblers. Beautiful.

0:37:400:37:44

This is all very well for the birds,

0:37:440:37:46

but wet ground doesn't suit all animals.

0:37:460:37:50

The farms mainstay is a small North Devon beef herd,

0:37:500:37:53

a hardy native breed that can do well on even the roughest pasture.

0:37:530:37:58

-They're all Ruby Red.

-Ruby Reds!

0:37:580:38:00

-The finest beef you can get.

-Yeah, you reckon?

0:38:000:38:02

Oh, yeah! You've got the marbling and the meat that cooks so well.

0:38:020:38:06

Yeah, it's beautiful.

0:38:060:38:08

Soft, you can suck it away.

0:38:080:38:10

And how well suited are they to the Somerset Levels, then?

0:38:130:38:17

Oh, lovely, actually.

0:38:170:38:19

They graze all the old rougher grass and do well on it, that's the thing,

0:38:190:38:23

whereas the continentals won't eat it even, they don't like it.

0:38:230:38:26

And in your eyes, Roderick,

0:38:260:38:28

what's the best cut of meat that you can get off one of these?

0:38:280:38:31

Well, the rib would be one of the best,

0:38:310:38:33

but we always have the back rib, which is a slow-roast joint,

0:38:330:38:37

but the brisket's beautiful off of these, absolutely beautiful brisket.

0:38:370:38:41

Yeah.

0:38:410:38:42

Now you're getting interested.

0:38:420:38:45

He's saying, "Look, it's that Countryfile lot,

0:38:450:38:48

"come to put us on the telly."

0:38:480:38:50

I'll be catching up with Roderick again later

0:38:500:38:52

and looking at his beloved cranes in a whole different light.

0:38:520:38:56

I'm glad to see you've got the Countryfile calendar

0:38:580:39:00

-in the barn, Roderick.

-Oh, yeah, of course!

0:39:000:39:02

All sold in aid of Children In Need if you haven't got yours yet.

0:39:020:39:05

There's still time. Check out our website for more details.

0:39:050:39:08

ANITA: The recent heavy snowfall transformed much of our countryside.

0:39:130:39:18

Down in the Cotswolds, Adam's farm was turned into a winter wonderland.

0:39:180:39:22

But there was no time to sit back and enjoy the view.

0:39:240:39:27

The kids have built a lovely snowman,

0:39:290:39:31

but on the farm, it's a lot of extra work

0:39:310:39:33

and a bit of headache, to be honest.

0:39:330:39:35

We've got a good bit of kit

0:39:350:39:36

clearing the snow around from the grain stores here,

0:39:360:39:38

but it's the animals out in the field that I'm concerned about.

0:39:380:39:41

As hardy as many of the animals on the farm are,

0:39:450:39:48

extreme conditions like this mean it's important to do the rounds

0:39:480:39:52

to check they're all OK.

0:39:520:39:53

You may remember this Tamworth sow on television a few weeks ago.

0:39:570:40:00

She was about to give birth, about to farrow,

0:40:000:40:03

and typically, the cameras had gone home

0:40:030:40:06

and then she gave birth to eight little piglets,

0:40:060:40:09

which are in the shed here and doing really well.

0:40:090:40:11

Tamworth here is one of our oldest British breeds

0:40:140:40:17

and they've got really thick skin and lots of fat on them

0:40:170:40:20

and this good hairy body and they're really quite closely related

0:40:200:40:24

to the ancient forest pig, the wild boar,

0:40:240:40:26

so they're pretty tough.

0:40:260:40:28

Well, they seem good, I'll leave them to it.

0:40:300:40:32

Tough they might be, but I'm still glad

0:40:340:40:37

my little Tamworth piglets have got some shelter.

0:40:370:40:39

My rare-breed cattle have no such luxury,

0:40:420:40:46

but they're pretty tough cookies,

0:40:460:40:47

bred to withstand the harshest weather.

0:40:470:40:50

Yesterday, when it was blizzarding, I opened the gate

0:40:540:40:57

and let the cattle out of this field into here,

0:40:570:40:59

where there was more shelter for them.

0:40:590:41:01

I've just brought them down some hay and some of them are here,

0:41:010:41:04

but the rest of them have disappeared

0:41:040:41:06

into this sort of scrubby area, so I'm going to go and find them.

0:41:060:41:08

I don't know where they are!

0:41:080:41:10

Come on! Come on, then!

0:41:220:41:25

Come on, then.

0:41:280:41:29

Well, I'm pleased I've found the last few stragglers.

0:41:320:41:35

I think they were settled right out in the middle of the bushes there,

0:41:350:41:39

but they look absolutely fine.

0:41:390:41:41

They've come through the night well.

0:41:410:41:43

But I think they'll be pleased with some hay.

0:41:430:41:45

Go on, then, I've got some grub for you.

0:41:450:41:47

The big bale spreader on the front of the tractor

0:42:130:42:15

is a great labour saver,

0:42:150:42:17

a useful bit of kit when you've got some big bellies to fill.

0:42:170:42:20

Fortunately, our rare-breed rams don't eat as much as the cattle.

0:42:260:42:30

They've done their work for the year,

0:42:300:42:31

and they've been put out to pasture on the other side of the farm.

0:42:310:42:35

The grass out here, though, is a foot deep in snow.

0:42:440:42:47

You'd think that would cause problems for the sheep.

0:42:470:42:49

Not a bit!

0:42:490:42:51

-HE WHISTLES

-That'll do! Hey!

0:42:530:42:55

That'll do, that'll do, that'll do.

0:42:550:42:57

That'll do. Good girl.

0:42:570:42:58

It never ceases to amaze me how the sheep can survive

0:42:580:43:01

in these freezing conditions.

0:43:010:43:03

Their fleeces must be so well insulated to keep them warm

0:43:030:43:07

and as far as nutrition goes,

0:43:070:43:08

the dig down through the snow to reach the grass.

0:43:080:43:11

You can see where they've been working on a bit here.

0:43:130:43:16

If you look out across the field, lots of them are doing it,

0:43:160:43:18

using their front feet to paw through the snow

0:43:180:43:21

to reach the grass and then nibbling away.

0:43:210:43:23

Some of the sheep in here were born this year,

0:43:230:43:25

so they've never experienced snow before

0:43:250:43:27

and this is an in-built instinct, to find their grub.

0:43:270:43:30

It's just extraordinary, really.

0:43:300:43:32

But what I have got is some hay in the back of the truck,

0:43:320:43:34

just to help them out.

0:43:340:43:36

When the weather's bad, sheep will eat all sorts of things.

0:43:510:43:55

They're great browsers, but every so often they come unstuck.

0:43:550:43:58

They're all coming in for this now, they're obviously quite hungry.

0:44:020:44:06

They have quite good shelter in this field in amongst the bushes there,

0:44:060:44:09

but one of the problems is that they can get caught in the brambles.

0:44:090:44:12

In fact, here is a prime example.

0:44:120:44:15

This little North Ronaldsay has obviously got right up into

0:44:150:44:18

the brambles to try and graze on the leaves that are left on it,

0:44:180:44:22

but it's got tangled up in his wool,

0:44:220:44:24

so I'll just have to try and pull that out. There we go.

0:44:240:44:28

If they get well and truly stuck, of course,

0:44:280:44:30

in the middle of a cold night, they could perish and die,

0:44:300:44:33

but thankfully he's OK now.

0:44:330:44:36

Right, this lot are self-service, getting stuck into this bale.

0:44:360:44:39

Come on, off you get.

0:44:390:44:41

A little bit of hay helps take the pressure off having to find food

0:44:470:44:51

and, whether it's a pig, cow, sheep or robin,

0:44:510:44:56

the animals seem to appreciate it.

0:44:560:44:58

But it's not just the animals that need rewarding.

0:45:000:45:03

This year is our 30th anniversary and, to help mark it,

0:45:030:45:07

we're launching the search to find 2018's Countryfile Farming Hero.

0:45:070:45:12

I love being a farmer and, over the years,

0:45:150:45:18

I've met some truly remarkable people working in agriculture.

0:45:180:45:21

But the ones that really stand out for me are the people

0:45:210:45:24

that you've nominated for the Countryfile Farming Heroes Award.

0:45:240:45:28

Can you help us find the next Joan Bomford, our winner back in 2015?

0:45:280:45:33

I wondered what advice you'd offer to anybody young

0:45:330:45:37

going into farming right now?

0:45:370:45:38

-Get up early and keep going!

-LAUGHTER

0:45:400:45:42

Or do you know somebody like teenager Cameron Hendry,

0:45:420:45:45

who gave up school and took over the family farm

0:45:450:45:48

after his dad died suddenly?

0:45:480:45:50

I just had to get on with the work that needed to be done.

0:45:500:45:53

The animals needed fed. That's what kept me going.

0:45:530:45:56

If I'd sat around in the house,

0:45:560:45:58

it probably would have been more difficult.

0:45:580:46:00

And in this, Countryfile's 30th year,

0:46:010:46:03

we are launching the awards again and, as usual, we need your help.

0:46:030:46:07

So, if you know someone who goes above and beyond...

0:46:100:46:12

..who makes a difference to others, be they man or beast...

0:46:160:46:19

..I really want to hear about all farmers, young and old,

0:46:210:46:24

unsung heroes who deserve national recognition.

0:46:240:46:27

And remember, it doesn't have to just be one person -

0:46:290:46:32

you can nominate a group or even a family.

0:46:320:46:35

So let us know your heroes.

0:46:370:46:39

You can nominate them by e-mail or post.

0:46:410:46:44

All the details are on our website, along with the terms and conditions.

0:46:440:46:48

It's all part of the BBC's Food And Farming Awards,

0:46:480:46:51

and the winner will be announced later in the year.

0:46:510:46:54

But get your skates on.

0:46:560:46:58

Please don't send e-mail or postal nominations after that date,

0:47:020:47:06

as they won't be considered.

0:47:060:47:09

And remember, if you're watching on demand,

0:47:090:47:11

then nominations may have already closed.

0:47:110:47:13

So get in touch with the people that you want to celebrate

0:47:140:47:17

and help us find the Countryfile Farming Hero for 2018.

0:47:170:47:20

Hup!

0:47:200:47:21

Good girl.

0:47:230:47:24

This week, we're on the Somerset Levels,

0:47:340:47:37

where a once-forgotten wetland bird

0:47:370:47:39

has been reintroduced to the landscape -

0:47:390:47:41

the common crane.

0:47:410:47:43

CRANES CALL

0:47:450:47:47

With their angle-poise legs and forlorn, bugling voices,

0:47:500:47:55

the return of these grey ghosts of the wetlands

0:47:550:47:58

has been an inspiring sight for many.

0:47:580:48:00

No more so than the artist Sean Harris.

0:48:020:48:06

So why is this place so special, Sean,

0:48:060:48:08

what's the significance?

0:48:080:48:10

Well, it's where it all began

0:48:100:48:11

and it was right here I saw my very first crane.

0:48:110:48:15

For the past two years,

0:48:170:48:18

Sean has been working on an exciting art project,

0:48:180:48:21

taking his cues from the sights and sounds of the cranes.

0:48:210:48:25

It's a rather unlikely meeting of minds.

0:48:280:48:31

He's collaborating with local farmers, conservationists

0:48:310:48:35

and the community to produce a mix of animation and audio recordings.

0:48:350:48:40

The aim was to create a greater understanding

0:48:400:48:43

of the curious creatures that locals now share their landscape with.

0:48:430:48:47

Art, conservation and farming,

0:48:490:48:52

not necessarily three bedfellows you'd put together.

0:48:520:48:55

No, they're not, but there's no reason why they shouldn't be.

0:48:550:48:58

But come on, Sean, what did they make of it?

0:48:580:49:00

Here you are, this artist with this concept, with this idea,

0:49:000:49:04

and you're talking to the farming community.

0:49:040:49:07

How did the locals react? What did they think?

0:49:070:49:09

Did they think you were a bit mad at the beginning?

0:49:090:49:11

Well, when you pick up the phone and say, "I'm an artist and film-maker,"

0:49:110:49:15

yes, they probably do.

0:49:150:49:17

They tend not to mince their words.

0:49:170:49:19

If they think...what you're saying is a load of rubbish,

0:49:200:49:23

they'll tell you, which is great.

0:49:230:49:25

One farmer who always says what he thinks is Roderick Hector,

0:49:270:49:30

who Matt met earlier.

0:49:300:49:32

Together with his grandson, he's allowed his farmhouse kitchen

0:49:320:49:36

to be turned into Sean's animation studio.

0:49:360:49:39

Roderick, did you ever think you'd be doing this in your lifetime,

0:49:420:49:45

stop-motion animation?

0:49:450:49:47

No, I didn't, actually, no.

0:49:470:49:49

-What do you make of it?

-Well, a bit mad!

0:49:490:49:51

No, quite interesting, actually.

0:49:510:49:53

So far, more than 150 locals like Roderick

0:49:540:49:58

have helped bring the common crane to life

0:49:580:50:00

by animating paper cut-outs.

0:50:000:50:02

-So, Roderick, I think the legs want to come up a bit, don't they?

-Right.

0:50:040:50:07

Sean believes that getting hands-on can be a great way

0:50:090:50:11

of understanding the cranes' behaviour and movement.

0:50:110:50:14

We tend to think of the way that a bird looks,

0:50:150:50:18

but the way that it moves is as much what identifies it.

0:50:180:50:22

Look at the way the wings actually...

0:50:220:50:24

They don't just go up and down,

0:50:240:50:25

they sort of come forward as they flap down.

0:50:250:50:30

And then the other thing that's happening, the body sort of humps up

0:50:300:50:34

like that, it's a really distinctive part of the movement of a crane.

0:50:340:50:38

-So you can see...

-Oh, yeah!

0:50:410:50:43

Wow, that's cool!

0:50:430:50:46

Well done!

0:50:460:50:48

Roderick, have you ever paid this much attention

0:50:480:50:50

-to the way the birds actually move?

-No, I haven't really, no.

0:50:500:50:54

It certainly opens your eyes to how they fly.

0:50:540:50:57

It will make me look at them in a different light, that's for sure.

0:50:570:51:01

Later, we'll have a screening of the community's efforts,

0:51:050:51:08

just a few hundred yards from where the cranes are wintering.

0:51:080:51:11

But, first, shall we see what the weather's up to?

0:51:110:51:13

Here is the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.

0:51:130:51:15

CRANES CALL

0:52:080:52:10

The booming voice of the common crane,

0:52:110:52:14

trumpeting over the Somerset Levels at dusk.

0:52:140:52:17

These wetlands are once again home to the birds

0:52:200:52:22

after they were hunted to extinction some 400 years ago.

0:52:220:52:26

Inspired by this avian tale of loss and return,

0:52:270:52:31

Sean Harris is an artist who's worked with local people

0:52:310:52:34

on the Levels to make an enchanting artwork called Echo-Maker,

0:52:340:52:39

in celebration of the cranes' homecoming.

0:52:390:52:41

Now, for the first time,

0:52:420:52:44

the community is gathering to see this spellbinding artwork

0:52:440:52:48

in Roderick Hector's barn,

0:52:480:52:50

just a wingtip away from the cranes out on the surrounding wetlands.

0:52:500:52:53

It looks so pretty. The perfect setting.

0:52:570:53:00

To get the screening started Somerset style,

0:53:010:53:04

I've brought some cider brandy

0:53:040:53:06

and Matt's been cooking up a choice cut

0:53:060:53:08

of Roderick's succulent Ruby Red beef.

0:53:080:53:11

-Oh, what's this? A candlelit dinner?

-Yes, look at that!

0:53:140:53:18

-Have a look at what I have got for you.

-What have you got?

0:53:180:53:20

-Oh, what? Amazing!

-I know, isn't it?

0:53:200:53:23

It just melts in your mouth.

0:53:230:53:24

That's delicious.

0:53:240:53:26

And what you need to go with that - cider brandy.

0:53:260:53:29

GLASSES CLINK

0:53:290:53:30

-That's lovely.

-Isn't that good?

-Yeah.

0:53:320:53:35

It's been two years in the making, but now, with the stage set,

0:53:350:53:40

we're ready to launch the artwork.

0:53:400:53:43

It's time to see this common crane collaboration take flight.

0:53:430:53:48

Sean, it looks fantastic.

0:53:560:53:58

Do you feel any pressure?

0:53:580:53:59

Because this is the first time Roderick's going to see it,

0:53:590:54:02

we're in his barn, he was the one you convinced, he's the farmer,

0:54:020:54:06

he's instrumental in it all happening.

0:54:060:54:08

How do you feel right now?

0:54:080:54:09

It was lovely seeing him do the animation

0:54:090:54:13

and actually to hear him kind of give a thumbs-up

0:54:130:54:18

or the Royal assent to the way those cranes were moving,

0:54:180:54:21

from someone who's spent so much time looking at them,

0:54:210:54:24

it was lovely. So, yeah, it matters very much to me.

0:54:240:54:27

-MATT:

-You've seen some things on your farm over the years...

0:54:350:54:38

..and now this!

0:54:400:54:41

Yeah, that's right, now this. Marvellous.

0:54:410:54:44

When Sean was setting it up,

0:54:440:54:45

I wasn't quite sure what it was going to look like.

0:54:450:54:47

I didn't realise it was going to be like this, actually.

0:54:470:54:50

-And what do you make of it?

-Yeah, very good.

0:54:500:54:52

-Yeah, incredible.

-It's quite beautiful.

0:54:520:54:54

Yeah, it is.

0:54:540:54:56

I love that we're looking at the cranes here

0:54:560:54:58

and that they're only just over there.

0:54:580:55:01

Yeah, that's right.

0:55:010:55:02

You only have to rewind the clock back not very far

0:55:030:55:06

when there were no cranes here at all

0:55:060:55:08

-and there hadn't been for, what, 400 years?

-That's right.

0:55:080:55:12

And now you look at what's going on out there,

0:55:120:55:14

we've seen it with your own eyes today, it's quite something.

0:55:140:55:18

Let's just hope they grow, let's hope they breed and we get more.

0:55:180:55:21

Do you know, Matt, I absolutely love it.

0:55:340:55:36

-It's beautiful, magical.

-Yes.

0:55:360:55:37

And that's all we've got time for from Somerset for this week.

0:55:390:55:41

Next week, we'll be shedding some light on Leicestershire.

0:55:410:55:44

Where I will be looking at a floral phenomenon

0:55:440:55:46

that's been baffling botanists.

0:55:460:55:48

-Hope you can join us then.

-See you then.

0:55:480:55:50

Countryfile visits the Somerset Levels, where Matt Baker is on the hunt for the common crane, a bird that has been brought back from the brink. It now thrives in this area, thanks to an unlikely union. Anita Rani meets the farmer who is turning apples into a tempting tipple. Adam Henson takes stock on his farm as winter arrives. And in the first part of a new feature, the programme discovers the highs and lows of life as a rural vet. Charlotte Smith finds out why people who swim in the sea are unwittingly exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria and discovers where they come from.


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