Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker visit the fishing village of Staithes on the north Yorkshire coast. Matt meets the new breed of painters putting Staithes back on the art map.
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There are magical places along our coastlines
tucked away, hidden from view.
And the North Yorkshire coast is strung with them, like jewels.
This is Staithes.
Now, fishermen and artists have been drawn here for centuries,
but now there's a new generation
that are putting Staithes back on to the art map.
I'm going to be finding out who they are
and even having a little go myself.
Down on the shore,
Ellie's discovering treasures aplenty.
The cliffs here were once mined for this,
beloved of Victorian ladies.
And, if you look closely, there's a different kind of bounty.
Just watch out for the claws.
Tom asks whether we're making enough of the energy from above.
Many of us have enjoyed the power of the sun this summer.
But are we doing enough to harness that energy?
I'll be investigating the state of solar, and asking why panels
are sprouting in our fields while so many of our rooftops remain empty.
And Adam's been finding out there's more to wheat than meets the eye.
Up and down the country, farmers are putting in lots
of hours to harvest their crops. This is wheat.
It's very versatile, but up here in Hull
they're using it for something you wouldn't usually think of.
Late summer on the North York Moors.
A palette of blue, green and purple.
The heather is in full bloom and it stretches to the horizon.
At the edge, the coast...
..dotted with some of the most charming fishing villages in the country.
And this is one of the finest examples.
Welcome to Staithes.
Staithes sits bang on the coast
at the northernmost tip of the North York Moors National Park.
Once the busiest fishing port on the north-east coast,
the village also has a long artistic tradition.
Right now, it's gearing up for next weekend's art festival
and I'm off to meet local artist Rob Shaw,
one of the many who'll be exhibiting.
-Rob, how are you doing?
-Sorry to interrupt.
What are you working on here? What's this going to be?
I'm working on a breakwater, which is the man-made structure
in Staithes that protects us from the sea.
-I'm trying to get some energy in there.
-On a big scale.
-On a large scale.
Look at these massive paintings all around here.
-You don't do little ones, then?
-I don't do little ones.
I think the sea commands large paintings.
What is it about this place
that adds so much for you living here, as an artist?
When I first came and saw the sort of sea hitting against
this little coastal village, it's, "Wow!"
I was brought up in Derbyshire, I'd never seen anything quite like it.
When you do with your landscapes of Staithes
and you've got the higgledy-piggledy cottages
and their relationship with the sea,
what is it that you're trying to put across to the person that's looking
at that painting, even though they've maybe never even been here?
I suppose I'm just trying to get across the uniqueness
of the village and how this village has stood here against the North Sea.
The place is just so raw, still.
Painters like Rob are keeping alive the tradition of the Staithes group.
They were a pioneering bunch of artists
who settled here in the 19th century.
To find out more about them,
I'm catching up with Staithes group expert Rosamund Jordan.
So, Rosamund, the Staithes group, then,
have been an obsession of yours for 40 years. Why?
They certainly have.
Well, firstly, they were such talented artists,
such skilful artists.
But, on top of that, they were so completely involved
with their subjects - the places, the people.
Why did they come here, of all places?
They liked the drama.
They really lived a lot of the harshness of life in the village
and became part of it, and I think that really sets them apart as artists.
This one by Harold Knight, for example,
you can see how the women are managing to help to move the rollers
to haul the boat in to the shore.
These were the things of real life that they liked to capture.
What is it like now, knowing that there is this resurgence here?
I think it's absolutely great.
I mean, I think there have always been painters in Staithes,
but now there's a real resurgence which, you know, is marvellous.
I would think the artists would love to know
that their traditions were carrying on.
And, thanks to the chance discovery
of a box of old magic lantern slides,
we can actually see these celebrated artists,
caught in time, at work in Staithes.
This is a real exclusive one.
That's Dame Laura Knight and Frederick Jackson,
two of the original members of the Staithes group of artists,
-sketching and painting in the beck at Staithes.
'She's a bit camera-shy here, but Dame Laura Knight would become
'the most well-known woman artist of her day.'
That's William Gilbert Foster.
He's allegedly the founding father of the Staithes group of artists.
Right. So interesting, actually, looking at that scene,
because, you know, you've got the easels, which haven't changed a bit.
You've got the landscape, that hasn't really changed a bit,
and then you've got the costumes and fashions.
They were all well-heeled, weren't they?
The artists paid various fisherfolk as models.
The young girls, they used to pay a ha'penny or a penny,
depending on how many hours they had to stay in that position.
She didn't have to stand there
-with that barrel of fish on her head, did she?
-Hopefully not, no.
Well, being surrounded by all of this art,
I'm quite keen to have a go myself,
and what better way to honour those early pioneers
than to try and produce something for the art festival?
And, to help me come up with a fitting tribute,
I've enlisted painter, printmaker
and occasional photographer Ian Burke.
Find out what we come up with a little bit later on.
In recent years, farmers across the land
have started to harvest a new type of crop - sunshine.
But is the growth of the solar farm a good use of our land?
Tom has been finding out.
We've been treated to a wonderful summer of sunshine.
Good news for our tans
and for all life that needs light and warmth to grow.
It's also good news for those turning to the sun for free electricity.
The sun is the source of extraordinary elemental power,
but it's actually quite difficult to harness.
A single panel like this in average UK daylight probably gives you
enough juice for around two or three energy-saving light bulbs.
So if we're really going to change the electricity generation
pattern of the UK, we're going to need to scale things up a bit.
In Dorset, the solar park at Wyld Meadow is one of the many
large schemes that have popped up in the British landscape
just in the last couple of years.
We've got a five megawatt solar park here, which will produce enough
for approximately 1,500 houses, average houses, throughout the year.
It was created by British Solar Renewables,
a company hoping to make big money from the sun.
Angus Macdonald is the managing director.
Why did you choose this place? What's good about this field?
This field has a very willing landowner, which is a good start.
-Good start, yeah.
-We've got good light levels.
We're quite near the coast in the south of the country,
so that helps from the point of view of the output of the panels.
It's very well hidden - you will have perhaps seen
as you've arrived here that we're surrounded by woodland.
Give me an idea of the kind of money you're making out of this.
The income from this, without taking into account rent
and that sort of thing, must be in the order of £700,000 per year.
Right, so you're making much more out of this than the farmer is.
Presumably you're not paying him that much for rent!
But you've got to factor in the cost of building something like this,
which was in the order of £1.2 million per megawatt, so you're...
A very significant investment into a project like this.
These ventures are made possible by Government-set subsidies,
helping us reach European renewable energy targets
but paid for out of our electricity bills.
That's led to a dramatic rise in solar farming.
The first solar project of this size only came online in 2011.
By the end of 2012, there was potential
in ground-mounted solar for 170 megawatts.
By the end of this year, it'll be roughly three times that.
That's 2,500 acres of solar panels.
With millions of acres of farmland in the UK,
there's scope for many more companies to make money from solar.
But is that really the best use of our land?
Just checking through these to see if there's any hard udders.
Here at Wyld Meadow, Clive Sage has kept sheep for decades.
Last year, he decided to rent some land to British Solar Renewables.
As the agreeable landowner,
his income is now boosted by 30 acres of panels.
I must say, you seem to be combining farming the sheep
and farming the sun, but what persuaded you to do this?
It's produced another form of income
and I can still continue to farm the land as I've always farmed it.
The sheep seem to be happy.
You know, they're grazing to and fro under the panels there,
and it seems to be working well for us.
On this land, Clive gets rent from the panels
and a more traditional income from the sheep that graze beneath them.
You know, I challenge anyone that says, you know,
"You can't keep solar ground in agricultural production,"
because I think this is a perfect example where you can.
But critics of solar farms like this believe panels do interfere
with the productivity of the land. And that's not the only concern.
About 100 miles north of Clive's farm,
plans for a solar park in the Cotswolds
have upset many people living nearby.
Barry Knight's lived in the area for nearly 20 years.
Well, it's going to go behind the hedge.
If you look through the gap,
it's going to be the bulk of that field behind the hedge there.
After months of campaigning, Barry's local protest group failed
to prevent planning permission being granted for a solar park next door.
We personally think it's going to be an eyesore on the landscape.
Not just for us, but for the beauty spots around us,
cos we do rely an awful lot on the tourism in this area.
You've got a whole field full of glass there,
which is going to be an eyesore, as far as I'm concerned.
But are concerns over visual impact more important
than the need to create new sources of renewable energy?
That's a key planning question for local authorities,
and the answer seems far from clear.
Over the years, council planners have got mixed messages
from central government on the siting of renewables.
This summer, some national guidance was published
on permissions for solar farms, saying effect on the landscape
and visual impact was high on the list of concerns.
It stresses that...
But council planners are also being told that...
No pressure there, then.
But, if solar panels are a problem,
maybe we should reconsider where we're putting them.
There is, of course,
another way of generating large amounts of solar power -
instead of covering up bits of our fields,
why not put them on our roofs? Millions of them remain vacant.
And that's what I'll be asking later.
Step away from the Yorkshire coast
and the picturesque fishing village of Staithes
and you'll find yourself in a different landscape.
These are the wide expanses of the North York Moors.
At first glance, a little bleak.
But, if you look close, you can see real beauty.
And there's a prize here that's highly sought-after,
and it's all around.
It's the heather.
It produces a very special honey, and beekeepers who've harvested it
over the centuries have left their mark on these moors.
Donald Gunn and Neil Sydenham
are restoring the UK's largest grouping of these.
They're called bee boles, and were built 250 years ago
to protect early beehives from the elements.
-Donald, how are you doing?
-Hi. Not bad.
-Nice to meet you.
Gosh, you've done a lot of work already.
-Yes, we've got a lot more to do yet, though.
-Well, I brought my gloves.
-I'll give you hand, shall I?
-Put me to work.
-Give me the not too big ones.
I'll get a couple of stones passed over to you.
There's a likely contender here.
-It looks like it would fit across there.
-That's a nice biggie.
-So, we've got that end in we want to get it up against this one.
One, two, three.
So, tell me about the work that you've got to do.
You've got to restore all of these bee boles?
One of the things we're trying to do is to maintain
as much of the original character as possible,
and it's not my job to redo it so that it's all neat.
-You're not improving.
-We're not improving it.
We're trying to rebuild it the way it was
with all the little idiosyncrasies
and characteristics that it originally had.
It may look a bit rough and ready, but it's not going to fall down.
Where you have these - bee boles -
you've got have these - bee skeps.
They're a primitive hive.
A bit like a wicker basket, but upside down.
Bee skeps were used until the 1800s, when modern beehives were invented.
The beekeeper here would have brought them to the moor
each August, when the heather was in bloom.
Heather honey was valued as a sweetener
and for its medicinal properties.
'Beekeeper Jim Wood has been making the bee skeps since his early 20s.'
So, how do I make one of these?
Right, well, you need some long straw.
Take a pair of sheep shears and clip the heads off.
So, you'd feed in your straw through here,
pull it a little bit...
-Going through that side of the binding.
So, about halfway through, or two-thirds through?
-Two thirds, somewhere there.
And now this gets threaded through. This is split cane?
Split cane, so if you take your hand now and get hold of it,
so you get that really tight...
The old gentlemen used to say that if you had a hive,
you should we able to put all your weight on them and it not collapse.
I don't think we'll test that one today...
I won't be rushing to put my weight on that one.
In summer, you'd have the bees in there, working,
and when that was full, they would put an eke, E-K-E, on top.
And they could come through the hole in the centre
and build comb in there.
There you go. That's not going too badly, I don't think.
Quite pleased with that.
Bee skeps and bee boles reunited.
They may be a thing of the past, but heather honey is still in demand.
Tony Jefferson and his father, Allan, have been bringing their
beehives to the Yorkshire heather moors each summer for decades.
So, this is quite a big moment, isn't it? This is the bit that you've been building up to.
It is, yes. The whole year is geared around two weeks
of decent weather in August.
I've just taken this out of the hive,
and if you look at the comb carefully, you'll see
-there's actually different types of honey in this comb.
-Can you see the different colours? A lighter colour here.
-And the darker colour in the middle.
-What does that mean?
It means that when this comb or these frames were brought up
to the moor, there was probably already an element of flower honey in the combs.
Then the bees have filled them up with heather honey later.
-So, if you want to dive in...
-Gosh. Where shall I start?
Dig in anywhere you like. Taste the lighter honey first.
-Try that so I've got a comparison?
-You can eat the wax.
Look at that colour. That's gorgeous.
-Quite a light honey, that one.
-Yes, it is. Very pale. Here we go.
Mmm. I love honey.
That is gorgeous.
-Do you want to try a bit of the darker honey?
-Oh, I love that.
I'm going to swap spoons. That is divine.
-Let's go for the dark bit. Am I in the dark bit?
-Yes, go for that.
-It doesn't look darker on the spoon, does it?
-Not on the spoon,
but if you look at it in the comb, it's quite different, darker there.
So, the darker the colour honey, the stronger the taste is.
-It's more like sweets or toffee.
-Oh, it's lovely!
As part of the BBC's Summer Of Wildlife,
Countryfile challenged the natural history cameraman
Richard Taylor-Jones to film only the wildlife near his house.
This week's was particularly tough, so let's find out how he got on.
These angling lakes are right on my doorstep at home in Kent.
There's an abundance of wildlife here, including water voles,
which I filmed a few weeks back.
And whilst I was with them
I realised another species was clearly in abundance, too -
I only got the briefest and most distant of shots,
which isn't surprising -
I was, after all, there to film the water voles.
But knowing that they're here is really tantalising,
and so I can't resist trying to get some much, much closer shots.
Two pairs live here at the lakes, and it's not hard to understand why.
There are just heaps of muddy banks around,
in which kingfishers love to make nests.
Great for the birds, but not so great for filming,
and here's why.
Normally, filming kingfishers involves using a perch like this.
You simply stick it in so it's over the water's edge,
and a kingfisher just can't resist stopping to have a look
and see if there are any fish.
But, here at the lakes, there are perches everywhere.
There are dead trees hanging over the water. There are reed beds.
There are dense bushes.
So, where do I put my perch?
What's more, there are lakes over there,
and there are lakes over there, and there are more lakes behind me,
so the kingfishers are whizzing in all sorts of different directions,
travelling around the lakes.
It could be weeks and weeks before they found a perch
that I'd put out for them.
And I haven't got weeks.
In fact, I've only got 24 hours.
So, what to do?
Well, I found a long, narrow dyke leading away from the lakes.
There is only one way the kingfishers can travel about,
and that's up and down it,
so they'll have to fly past my perch. It's perfect.
It's going to go into the bank, a nice firm shove,
making sure some of it is nicely leaning over the water there.
And then it's time to get the hide up.
I have to admit, I'm expecting a long wait,
but within half an hour look what turns up.
HE WHISPERS: I thought we'd have to wait an awful lot longer
than this for the bird to arrive.
Oh, it's gone!
What a good start that was.
Didn't stay very long,
but he clearly likes that perch.
I don't think it's going to be
a huge amount of time before he's back.
Perhaps I spoke a bit too soon.
A couple of hours pass, and no kingfisher.
Still, there's plenty around to keep me occupied,
like this beautiful emperor dragonfly.
We've got over 30 different species of dragonfly in the UK,
and this one is a beauty.
It's a female, and I know that because, as you can see,
she's just dipping her abdomen down into the water weed,
and what she's doing is laying eggs.
Those eggs will stay underwater
and hatch into larvae that will live underwater for a good year or so
before hatching out in the summer months
and becoming one of these very beautiful flying beasts.
The waiting goes on.
It's nearly dusk.
It feels like all is lost.
But then I hear a call.
The call of a kingfisher flying down the dyke.
Is it going to stop on my perch?
This is clearly a male bird,
and you can tell because they have an all-black bill.
Female birds have some orange on the lower part.
I also know that it's an adult because,
if you look at its feet,
they're bright red.
In juvenile birds they're much more of a sort of a browny colour.
It's a very, very handsome character.
And he's clearly intently staring at something below,
so I think there probably are some small fish passing around underneath.
Diving for fish is not an easy business,
and all this intense staring around and sizing up the prey is really
important because if they get their dive wrong, they could very
easily injure themselves with the speed they're going into the water.
The bird seems to be waiting a long time before diving.
And then the reason why becomes clear.
It needs to regurgitate a pellet
full of old fish bones it didn't digest.
I've never managed to film that happening before,
but with no time to enjoy the shot, the kingfisher is now ready to dive.
He doesn't come back to the perch,
but leaves with a fish before I can film him.
His job is done, and so is mine.
You know what? Some species really are worth making the effort for,
and I think kingfishers are one of them. That was just fantastic.
And if you've got them on your local river or lake,
then why not give this a go?
You just might get some spectacular views of them.
If you want to discover more about the incredible species
in your own back yard, go to the Countryfile website,
where you'll find all the information about BBC Summer Of Wildlife,
and how you can be part of it.
Now, earlier, we looked at the increase in the number of farmers'
fields being used to generate solar power in our countryside,
but is this controversial method the best way
of making the most of energy from the sun?
Sunshine - a free source of power from the sky.
But, despite the recent growth of solar farms across the UK,
we're still lagging behind many of our European neighbours.
Countries like Spain, Italy and Germany
get far more energy from the sun than we do.
In fact, on a sunny day earlier this year, Germany broke a world record,
getting as much energy from the sun as 20 typical nuclear reactors.
OK, that was just for a single day, but in general,
Germany does get nearly 5% of its electricity from the sun.
In Italy, that figure is 4%,
and in Spain, 3%.
And here in the UK,
well, last year just one third of 1% of our electricity came from solar.
So, why are we lagging so far behind?
Winford, on the outskirts of Bristol,
is seemingly peppered with rooftop panels.
I'm going door-to-door to see what those who don't have them
have to say about solar power.
I can see some panels what looks like next door.
-Yes, they're next door's.
-But not on your own roof?
I see that quite a few houses have got them on the roof here.
-You haven't got any panels.
-Why is that?
I personally don't like the look of them on the roof.
I'm not saying that those are unpleasant to look at.
I just prefer to see our roof.
You're surrounded by quite a few solar panels here.
-Did you think about it yourself?
-I thought about it, but decided not.
-Because I'm too old, for one thing!
-Yes, I am.
-No, get out!
I am too old for it. I'd never get my money back at all,
and I don't like the look of them on the country cottages.
Similar views are reflected right across the UK.
Many of us, it seems, just prefer roof tiles to solar panels,
and we need a decent financial incentive to change that.
A few years ago, that's exactly what we had.
The owner of this fine house paid about 14,000
for his solar panels three years ago.
OK, it's time to come clean - this is actually my house,
and these panels were fitted back in 2010,
since when they've been happily generating electricity.
Mainly, of course, when the sun shines.
And any electricity I generate earns a subsidy at a Government-set rate
known as the feed-in tariff.
In theory, I'll have paid for the panels by 2020,
and after that I'll be making a profit.
I decided to go for solar
because it was a very good investment for me at the time.
I get around 44p for every kilowatt hour of electricity
that those generate, guaranteed for 25 years.
But ever since then the rate's been decreasing,
and if you were to put them on your roof now
you'd get around a third of that.
The cost of the panels has come down, too,
but cuts to the feed-in tariff over the last few years
have had an obvious impact on those looking to invest.
Paul Cowley has been fitting solar panels
to houses for the last 20 years.
He's seen the effects of changing tariffs first-hand.
What's the story of solar been like for you in the past few years?
We've experienced the highs of the early feed-in tariff,
a very considerable incentive for homeowners.
I think in a period of four weeks, we went from a handful
of installations a week up to somewhere around about 250.
And the low point?
Between November and March this year,
which I think was common across the industry.
Very quiet times,
and I know a number of very good companies locally,
good friends, also, that weren't able to see through the period.
Really? Some of your mates in the solar world in effect went bust?
Paul's getting a bit more solar work now
but, following another tariff cut last year,
there was a 40% drop in installations across the country.
At their current levels, it's claimed
that in most parts of the UK you would now make more money
by investing in an ISA rather than solar panels.
It's not just returns for homeowners that are falling -
large-scale solar farms like this are seeing their financial rewards squeezed.
And the same trend is happening across the rest of Europe,
but there they've already had established growth.
So, have we now missed the boat
when it comes to investing in solar energy?
No minister was available to talk to us about this.
Instead, the Government suggested that we speak
to the Solar Trade Association.
Is the solar boom over?
Definitely not. We feel really confident.
We've certainly got some challenges in the industry,
but we feel really confident this is just the beginning
and, actually, you're going to see the price of solar continue to fall.
And, actually, solar's going to become cheaper than pretty much
any other energy generation source, even fossil fuels.
So, actually, this is just the beginning,
and what we're hoping to see is solar really taking off,
especially towards the end of this decade, really without subsidy,
so the boom has really actually only just begun.
Despite falling subsidies, the industry remains
remarkably optimistic about delivering lots more solar power,
but they're also keenly aware that it needs to be properly planned
and sited to avoid stoking public hostility.
Solar power may well become more financially attractive again,
but concerns over the visual impact of panels,
whether on rooftops or in farmers' fields,
may be more difficult to overcome.
For some, this will always be one kind of farming
that doesn't belong in our landscape.
I've been discovering all about Staithes' artistic heritage
and, since next weekend is the annual art festival,
I thought I'd knock up my own contribution to the big event.
I've called on the vision of local artist Ian Burke.
He's the drawing master at Eton College.
Yes, THE Eton College.
Ian spends his spare time back here in Staithes,
photographing village life as a source of material for his work.
Right then, Ian, so how are we going to represent Staithes in 2013?
We're going to do a linocut.
It's a pretty crude
but quite dramatic method of producing an image.
It's not a refined thing. It's not like etching or photography.
It's black and white.
-It's very bold, though, and it has a real impact.
-It suits me.
So, you've got women here, we've got lobsters...
There's all sorts going on.
What have you chosen for this particular piece?
Well, we've selected this particular photograph.
Several things I like about it.
The angle of the village, the angle of the boat.
It looks like a bit of motion.
Then we get a nice view of all the lads who are in the boat.
Right, well, let's work with that, then,
and show me the first stage. Let's get all these out the way.
Linocut printing involves cutting out a picture from a piece of lino,
You then cover the lino with ink and make a print from it.
It all starts by tracing out the image to be printed.
Why did you choose him, then? He's an interesting character.
Dave Hanson. He's the last sort of full-time fishermen in Staithes,
and bearing in mind there used to be about 300 boats going out of Staithes...
The thing about it is, lino printing, you can do it on a kitchen table.
It's like a really low-tech, Luddite method of printmaking.
Well, I think we've got something to work with there, Ian.
'Let's just hope my marks have transferred to the lino.'
-Ooh! Got something!
'Now for a bit of marking in.'
Yeah, it'd be better if you didn't change Dave too much,
because he's going to see it later on.
Well, now you've got involved, I can blame you.
Right. How do you think...
that's looking now?
That's ready to go now.
My back's killing!
-Yeah, you need to sit down for this bit.
Good - I get a chair!
It is a long process but, you know, masterpieces take time.
With it all marked in, there's just the picture to cut and carve out.
Oh, now I thought the first stage was therapeutic.
-It's good, isn't it?
-This is quite nice.
-Look at that coming off there. That's lovely, isn't it?
-They have competitions to see who can get the longest one.
'The lino cut is made, so it's off to Ian's printer.'
Stage three, then.
'The walls of Ian's studio are covered with his work.'
Big, bold images inspired by old photographs -
just like the print that we're preparing.
'Once the ink has been applied, it can be laid in the beautiful
'old press that's been printing since 1856.'
There should be pressure on there now.
How long do I have to remain in this position?
-It's done now.
Wind it out and the print should be printed.
'It's the moment of truth.'
There you go.
-I'm over the moon with that.
I'm quite relieved.
Well, you'll have to wait and see.
'And that's because I'll be revealing our handiwork
'at the end of the programme.'
It's harvest season.
Up and down the UK, combine harvesters
are working double-time
to get the crops in whilst the sun shines.
For Adam, the conditions are perfect,
so right now it's all about the wheat.
Harvest is one of the busiest times of year for farmers,
and, really, it's when we get to reap the rewards
of a year's hard work.
The guys were combining last night until about midnight,
and we've just taken a grain sample back to the farm
to see whether this wheat is dry enough to go this morning.
We had quite a heavy dew and it needs to be dry to combine it.
And just biting into it, it's pretty crisp
and I'd guess it's ready to go.
Driving the combine is one of the best jobs on the farm.
I used to do a lot of it when I was younger,
and it's a very technical machine to drive nowadays.
It's got an on-board computer, a yield monitor in the tank
that weighs the grain as it comes in
and you get a yield map of the whole field.
It's all satellite navigation on top of it, as well.
And it's thrashing the grain out of the heads here
and we're ending up with very clean and pure grain
that's going back to the shed.
This is very good-quality stuff we're growing here - this is for bread-making.
A lot of people grow wheat for animal feed,
but this is some of the best stuff you can get for bread-making.
It's got a cutter bar that cuts the straw on the front of the combine.
It then gets fed along an auger,
up an elevator into the main body,
which is where the difficult bit happens -
it thrashes the straw and separates the grain
and then puts the grain into a tank
and all the straw falls out the back.
If you have a look under the straw,
what we have to do is shake it up,
and then part the straw
and see whether there's any spillage out the back.
And we expect a little bit to come over the back of the combine,
but, actually, I can't find a single grain.
This straw is completely thrashed
and the grain is all in the tank,
which is where it needs to be.
After maize and rice,
there's more wheat grown in the world than any other cereal.
And it turns up in the most surprising places.
It has many different uses.
There's the obvious foods, like bread, cake, biscuits,
It's in many beers and, of course, durum wheat makes pasta.
And then it's lots of things you don't think about,
like gravy and sauces, it's in sausages and burgers.
In fact, it's quite hard to avoid it.
But it's not just for human consumption.
I feed my livestock with wheat pellets.
The straw makes good bedding, and it's also used to thatch roofs.
But it doesn't stop there.
I'm off to find out how the grain is being used
to fuel 21st-century transport.
Increasingly, the wheat is being fermented to produce bioethanol,
a green fuel that's mixed with petrol you get from the pump.
Producing bioethanol isn't easy.
It takes some pretty specialist equipment.
And you can't just use any old wheat.
It's got to meet the right specification.
So, I'm off to meet farmer John Holby near Hull in East Yorkshire.
-Hi, John, good to see you.
-It's all go.
-Yeah, dust flying.
I'll bet he's glad he's got an air-conditioned cab.
He'll be the least tired man at the end of the day.
How exciting is the new outlet, then, bioethanol?
Well, it's very good for us
because it's a huge plant
and going to suck up a lot of wheat from this area
and probably most of northern England.
'There's increasing pressure to grow more crops for fuel,
'but we have a limited amount of land.
'Somewhere down the line, we may have to choose between fuel or food.
'But right now, hundreds of millions of pounds
'are being poured into the bioethanol business.
'This plant, just four miles from John's farm,
'is the biggest in the UK, producing 420 million litres a year.'
To find out more, I'm meeting up with Rick Taylor, commercial director at the plant.
-What an impressive sight.
-This is big, isn't it?
What sort of investment are you talking about here?
This is around 350 million pounds' worth of investment into this thing.
And what's going on?
We're essentially taking local wheat and bringing it here,
turning into flour, brewing it into a beer
and then making bioethanol and animal feed to go to UK farms.
-Can we look downstairs?
These are our fermentation tanks.
This is where we first bring the flour from the wheat,
put water in it and brew some beer.
So, the wheat comes in and is then crushed into flour?
Yes, so we take the wheat, crush it into flour,
bring it in here with water, put some yeast in,
and it bubbles away just like if you were brewing a home brew beer kit in these things.
-Just on a massive scale?
-On a massive scale.
Each one of these is like a UK brewery, it's that size.
'There's surprisingly little waste.
'Once the alcohol is distilled out for fuel,
'the solids are turned into animal feed.'
'Livestock nuts are a staple food for many animals,
'providing them with the protein they need.
'A pile like this would feed my pigs for a lifetime.'
Goodness me, that's quite a big heap, isn't it?
It is, yeah, it's amazing.
What sort of tonnage are you producing?
We produce about 500,000 tonnes a year
out of the one million tonnes a week that comes in.
That's enough to feed about 340,000 cows,
or, a little bit more simply, it's just under 20% of the UK herd.
-Goodness me, that's a lot of feed, isn't it?
Do you see this not as a by-product?
No, this is definitely not a by-product.
We designed this plant to make two things -
the bioethanol and the animal feed for UK farms.
-All right Adam, we've got a road tanker coming in to load.
This is where we load the ethanol on to trucks to take out into the UK
and blend into petrol.
And what sort of percentage goes into petrol?
We're up to about 5% in petrol at the moment.
Ultimately, we're looking to get to about ten.
This is the ethanol that goes into this truck.
You wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and water -
it's that clean. Imagine the wheat when it comes in
and this is what comes out the other end.
And, as far as a green energy, what does it do for the environment?
In our plant, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions -
so that's the stuff that comes out the back of your exhaust -
by about 50%.
That's about the equivalent of taking somewhere around
-180,000 cars off the road every year.
We produce 420 million litres of this stuff every year.
Wow. Exciting stuff.
-Yeah, it's great.
-Certainly don't want it to go bang.
Not at all, and we're very careful about that.
Learning about this process has reminded me
just how important the UK harvest is
and how we all rely on it, one way or another.
And if you want to learn more about not just bringing in the wheat,
but fruit and veg, too,
there's an exciting new programme on BBC Two called Harvest.
It's on this Wednesday with Philippa Forrester and Gregg Wallace.
All over the country, the race is on to bring in our food.
It's harvest time!
We'll be discovering the remarkable craft and magic of farming,
and finding out just where our food comes from.
That's Harvest, this Wednesday at 8pm on BBC Two.
On the North Yorkshire Coast,
Matt's been learning why the fishing village of Staithes
is still a magnet for painters.
It's also a big draw for the bucket and spade brigade
in search of simpler pleasures.
At low tide, there's something special for them to discover,
and this is it.
And I've been told that it's littered with gems.
One of the treasures is the semi-precious stone jet.
Foreshore guide Sean Baxter has promised to help me find some.
-You see the rectangle in the cliff here?
That's actually a jet mine.
-Was it a big industry, jet?
-It was a fairly big industry.
Queen Victoria used it as a mourning jewellery,
and, yeah, it was quite a big industry in this era.
And still to this day, actually,
there's quite a lot of jet-carving shops at Whitby.
-And they use it for decorative purposes?
It's a semi-precious stone, it's quite valuable.
I mean, you're looking at £50 Sterling per pound in weight.
-So, yeah, it's relatively valuable.
'So much jet is still washed out of the cliffs,
'even I have a chance of finding some.'
-Ah-ha, is this it?
-Is that it?
Let me have a look.
'My own piece of seaside treasure.
'The other gem here is lobster.
'Sean's licensed to take two a day.
'And it seems we're in luck.'
Let's get this one out.
Oh, it's heavy - is that a good sign?
No, it's just generally heavy.
Oh, no, wow. Here we go.
That's a good one. Just mind the claws underneath.
-That's not bad.
There's a buried female.
-When you say "buried", you mean she's got eggs?
-She's got eggs.
Let's have her out first, so we don't damage her.
-There we go.
Goodness. Oh, yeah, plenty there.
So, what's the deal? You catch a female with eggs,
what do you need to do?
You can take this, you're legally allowed to take this.
I can take this home and eat this if it's sized.
Let's measure it to make sure it is.
From the eye socket to the back of the carapace,
-it's absolutely sized.
-That's big enough.
-It's a lovely big thing.
But I don't really want or need any more lobsters.
We will V-notch the tail.
Once we've V-notched the tail
then she's protected, no-one else can take it
for the next two or three casts, so she'll breed for another
two, three, four times
before the V-notch we're going to put in grows out.
I feel a bit weird about doing this.
You shouldn't do.
You're basically putting that in there and giving it
a good clunk as fine as it will actually go.
-And then take a chunk out?
-Take a chunk out, quite robustly.
Here we go then.
As I say, she'll definitely survive that.
There's no problem.
The action is a bit hard to do, but this saves her life.
Let's get her back in straight away,
because she's been out a little while.
She needs to heal that tail and reproduce.
-Off you go.
'And the sea has one more treasure for us.'
-Goodness, they look really fabulous!
They are quiet good.
They're basically deep-fat fried in the chip pan,
and really quite salty.
-They come ready-seasoned, don't they?
They talk about the seaweed being able to tell the weather.
In particular, this kelp, they say if it's dry
and shrivelled up, maybe weather's good.
If it's plumped up, it's going be wet.
It absorbs the moisture from the atmosphere, that's the theory.
Thankfully, we have something a little more reliable than that,
the Countryfile Five-Day Forecast.
We're in Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast,
a fishing village with cheek-by-jowl houses and narrow cobbled lanes.
Fishing built this village,
the fishermen putting out to sea in traditional coble boats.
It was hard and dangerous work.
And in a small community like this
it was all hands on deck.
Including, of course, the women.
It's a history known well to local Ann Lawson.
How tough was it for the fisherwomen here?
Again, I would have said very, very hard.
If their husband was fishing, they would then be doing
cooking, lighting the fires,
and they all had boilers in the fireplaces
they'd do crabs in.
And when they'd done that they'd have washing
and mending and things.
Child-rearing, all of that.
Yeah, getting the kids out and things like that.
Tell me about these bonnets you've got here.
The white one is a Staithes bonnet,
and all the fishermen's wives wore them,
every day without fail.
Are we able to see it on?
-Of course. Just hold that.
I'll get the back strap.
These are called strings, by the way.
Let's say we were dealing with pretty wintry weather,
bring that forward for warmth, keep your hair out your face...
And keep the sun, as well, from the back of your neck.
The menfolk of Staithes also had traditional clothing -
the gansey woollen jumper.
And Ann's been making those, too.
Tell me about these jumpers here.
They're made from four-ply wool, which is fine,
and the fishermen always wore them.
And there was navy blue, you could get cream,
very occasionally red, but Staithes was always navy blue.
This pattern's amazing - is this distinctive?
This is the Staithes pattern.
# Our herring croft, our trawlers
# Our fishing smacks, as well... #
And it's thanks to Ann the Men of Staithes Choir
have been kitted out with ganseys.
What's all this? Hello!
You're here just in time for the reveal
-of our piece of artwork.
-Are you ready for this?
-I am excited!
First of all, just have a good look
-at Dave and Darren here...
Because, basically, they're our subjects.
-Are we ready for this?
-Ready for the big reveal!
So it doesn't blow away! Are you ready, lads?
-The expectation on Dave's face(!)
He can't wait, beside himself with excitement(!)
-There we are, look.
-And there it is!
Ta-dah! Can you work out what that is, Dave?
LAUGHTER AND WHISTLING
There we are, everyone at the back.
There's just time for one more thing.
If you would like to vote for the winner of this year's
photographic competition, you only have until midnight.
Here are the finalists and what you need to do.
If you want to vote by phone, calls will cost 10p
from a BT landline.
Other operators may vary and calls from mobile phones
will be considerably higher.
If Daisy Sunburst is your favourite, call...
For Pier Sunset, dial the same number with 02 at the end.
For Meadow Meander,
add an 03.
For Feeding Frenzy,
the last digits are 04.
To vote for When Feathers Fly, add 05.
For The Dell, it's 06.
To opt for Dinner For One, you'll need to dial 07.
For Fulmars Roost On Ancient Rocks, add 08.
To vote for Swan Lake, it's 09.
For Sheep Skyline, you'll need to dial 10.
If Ailsa Craig takes your fancy, add 11.
And, for Guardian Angel, add 12.
You can also vote for free online.
If you don't already have one,
you'll need to create a BBC web ID.
Then choose your favourite photo from the list and click Vote Now.
Our website also contains a full list of the photos
and the phone numbers, together with the terms and conditions
for the competition.
The lines stay open until midnight tonight.
If you call after then, your vote won't be registered.
The online vote closes at the same time.
# Our herring croft, our trawlers
# Our fishing smacks, as well
# They long defied the bitter night
# And battled with the swell...#
Well, that's all we've got time for from Staithes.
Next week we'll be in Dorset, where I'm going to be
having a go on one of those massive traditional steam engines.
-And I shall be cooking up some hearty local fare,
You'll have to wait and find out!
-See you, bye!
# With their sails close-reefed and their decks cleared up
# And the sidelights shining bright... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Ellie Harrison and Matt Baker head for Staithes on the north Yorkshire coast. It is an old fishing village that has long been a magnet for artists. Matt meets the new breed of painters putting Staithes back on the art map, and even offers up his own contribution to the village's annual Arts and Heritage Festival.
Up on the moors, Ellie discovers an ancient bee bole - the only one of its kind in the UK. Boles were places where bees would have been kept centuries ago. She also meets the family of bee keepers doing all they can to keep our native black bees alive. Back down in the village, Ellie has a close encounter with a feisty lobster and learns all about traditional Staithes bonnets.
Tom Heap investigates solar power and asks why we are installing so many in farmers' fields when we have so many spare rooftops. Adam is busy harvesting his wheat, which he shows us is much more versatile than we think. And wildlife cameraman Richard Taylor Jones goes looking for kingfishers to film near his Kent home.