Matt Baker hears about the plans the Suffolk Wildlife Trust are making for their biggest-ever land purchase in the charity's 55 years.
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Britain's most easterly edge.
The famous sparkling Norfolk Broads carve their way through the
landscape, not far from here.
But the Suffolk Broads are about to make their own mark on
East Anglia's map.
Here in Lowestoft, an ambitious plan is under way to create
a massive nature reserve, and if all goes to plan,
it'll be one of the country's most important.
I'll be finding out what they're doing to keep their wildlife
and cattle safe from dog attacks.
Ellie's meeting some green-fingered folk who run their own
It's a complete mix of people, people from all walks of life.
If you hoe a row of beans alongside somebody,
you can really get to know them.
Tom's finding out about the egg thieves threatening our wild birds.
We do know of birds changing hands for in excess of £10,000
and sometimes even more.
And we'll be meeting the first of our
Countryfile Young Farmer of the Year finalists.
Tom got the tractor and parked it over top of me.
So he could come and get me to get help.
He's just an inspiration.
And he's my boy.
We're on the east coast, in Suffolk.
I'm in the very north of the county, in Lowestoft,
near the border with Norfolk.
I'm here to explore Carlton Marshes nature reserve,
a jewel in Suffolk's crown.
A jewel that's about to get a lot bigger and even more precious.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust are making history
with their biggest ever land purchase.
And we are not just talking about going large here.
We're talking about tripling the size of this nature reserve
to over 1,000 acres and it is a pretty ambitious plan cos
it'll stretch as far as the eye can see.
It's more or less one man's vision.
The man with the huge plan is reserve warden Matt Gooch.
And Matt is showing me the lay of the land,
as it stands at the moment.
Yeah, so we've got lots of patches of reserve,
like this one behind us here, where we've created these wetland
scrapes, which have brought in lots of birds, both rare and not so rare.
And that borders on to this land here,
which is potentially the new land extension for the reserve.
'When the dykes were put in to drain the land for arable farming
'around 50 years ago, it dried out and the wildlife declined rapidly.'
So you've got all these different areas, then,
kind of dotted about and the plan is to link them all up, Matt.
Yeah, and a really important factor is it being right next door to
such a large population of people, as well.
The reserve almost wraps itself around the edge of Lowestoft
and 75,000 people with an opportunity to walk on to
a potentially top nature reserve.
'This is landscape-scale conservation.
'The reserve also plans to join up a seven-mile network of these
'freshwater ditches, allowing the rare broadland plants and
'animals that live here to spread across the landscape.
'The man with the net is ecologist Toby Abrehart.'
Right, so, you're doing this, then, constantly at the moment, Toby.
-Just surveying all of the ditches.
And whether the land they're going to be restoring will actually
-be able to support the species that we've got here.
Well, we know from that net full that the water beetle
-population round here is quite something.
-Yeah, it's exceptional.
To find three great silver water beetles in one sample was unheard
-OK, well, just talk us through what else we've got in here, then.
So what we've actually got in here, you've found the male smooth newt.
-Mm-hm. He's lovely.
-A little spotty tummy.
-Look at his belly.
He's looking rather fantastic and he's got his full crest on.
And so what's the plan, going forwards, as far as the new land is
concerned and maybe helping some of these species to thrive over there?
Well, the idea is to try and create some of this habitat further
out there, so you end up with nice,
wide ditches that are good quality and you have
a sort of good amount of clear water within them and with that,
hopefully, you'll get an increased plant population going
through there and when you start getting different plants
coming in, you start to get more invertebrates coming in with that.
'With my magnifying headset on,
'I can see in close up some of Toby's start species.'
There's another species in here.
-Which is more rare.
-Gosh! How do you find that in there?
So, that is a thing called Anisus vorticulus,
which is the little whirlpool ram's horn snail.
It's an European protected species.
It's only found in the Broads, down in Sussex, in the UK.
Well, it's not just your favourite snails that you hope to find
-in these samples, is it, Toby?
No, actually, there's another species that's actually found
in these marshes.
-It is the great fen raft spider.
-That's a big beast.
Kate, our director, is not a fan, are you, Kate?
So... We'll see if we can find one.
Ooh, excellent. Excellent. Jolly good. I'll take the net.
-There it is.
-There it is.
-There it is. Look at that!
-OK, if you don't like spiders, look away now.
If you do, feast your eyes on that.
'The great fen raft spider was almost extinct in the UK before
'a breeding programme reintroduced them here a few years ago.
'Carlton Marshes is one of only six sites in the UK where they
'can now be found.'
-And what's the population like now?
-It's extremely healthy.
They seem to just be going in to all the ditches that are of a good
quality, like the ditches we are finding all these other species in.
And as far as their kind of relationship with the water
is concerned, how do they live on it?
Do they swim? Do they dive?
They're sort of a stealth predator, so they'll be on the edge of
the ditch and they'll be looking for prey coming along and they'll
pounce on it.
They can catch small sticklebacks, they can catch other species
like that, so they're quite a top predator within a ditch system.
'The wildlife trust's plans here are huge and the team are
'doing everything they can to secure the future of the wildlife
'here in the Suffolk Broads.'
Now, of course,
nature reserves like this are a safe haven for nesting birds,
but elsewhere, they're not always quite so lucky and that is because
egg collectors are still a threat to some of our rarest species,
as Tom's been finding out.
Nesting season, one of the best times to watch our wild birds.
Today, we know how important it is not to disturb them at this
time of year, but we weren't always so hands-off.
From the 1800s to the mid 1900s,
egg collecting was a popular and adventurous pastime,
which, despite its reputation,
added to our understanding of both birds and our environment.
But by the mid 1950s,
attitudes were changing and the practice was outlawed in the UK.
But despite heavy fines and prison sentences,
egg collecting continues as a serious threat to our wild
birds and this is no longer the misguided endeavours of Victorians -
this is organised crime.
The birds can be worth so much money that egg thieves risk life
and limb for their prize.
Like the man dangling from this rope,
Jeffrey Lendrum - an habitual egg thief who, right now, is on the run.
He was convicted in 2010 for stealing 14 eggs that could
have made him tens of thousands of pounds.
The species he targeted - the peregrine falcon.
Reaching up to 200mph in a dive, they're the fastest bird in
the world and are also our most protected.
They've been nesting here in Bristol's Avon Gorge for more
than 25 years.
There's a peregrine calling down there.
'I'm here with Andy McWilliam from the National Wildlife Crime Unit.'
So, Andy, how much of an issue is egg collecting today?
Well, when I first started in wildlife crime, there was
probably in the region of 150-odd egg collectors in the country.
Now, the number's greatly reduced.
We're down to, you know, a fraction of that number now.
But it is still an issue, for a number of reasons.
You've still got some persistent egg collectors,
who just want the eggs for the shells,
but then you've got others who will be targeting species for trade.
And what's the particular issue with falcons,
like we're looking at today?
Well, we've done a lot of work on peregrines in the last few
years, particularly, because of the increase in value.
There are individuals who've seen there is an opportunity here
to make money.
So they will try and launder birds into that captive-bred market
and supply them to the Middle East,
where money doesn't seem to be an issue.
How much could we be talking about?
We do know of birds changing hands for in excess of £10,000 and
sometimes even more.
'Falcon racing is a traditional and popular sport in the
'Middle East, where wild British birds are highly prized for
'their speed, size and power.
'But you don't have to go that far
'to find eggs that command a premium.'
They might not be at the top of your typical breakfast menu,
but black-headed gulls' eggs are a delicacy at this time of year.
Thank you very much.
And unlike these hen's eggs, an omelette made from
black-headed gull's eggs could set you back approaching £100.
'And even if you buy them to cook yourself,
'you're looking at about £10 per egg.
'They've been highly prized for their rich flavour for
'generations and were a favourite during World War II,
'when hen's eggs were in short supply.
'It is illegal to collect these eggs,
'unless you have a licence, and even then,
'they can only be taken from five small sites across the UK.
'But Poole Harbour is not one of those sites.
'It's a crime to take gulls' eggs from here,
'but as Paul Morton from Birds of Poole Harbour has discovered,
'not everyone's playing by the rules.'
How did you know there was a problem with the gulls here?
We realised the gull eggs were disappearing in 2016,
when we were surveying the islands, and as we were crossing the islands,
realised that almost 70% of the nests were empty,
at the peak time when they should all actually be full.
As we were surveying, we were looking down and finding footprints
criss-crossing the entire length of the island, back and forth.
And it became fairly obvious that there'd been a theft of eggs.
So, roughly how many eggs do you think may have gone?
It's really hard to say the exact number,
but bearing in mind a nest contains anything from one to three eggs,
even if one eggs was in each nest,
we found thousands of empty nests, so the number's quite considerable.
'It's not just black-headed gulls that Paul's worried about.
'The threatened Mediterranean gull also nests here.
'Thieves are mistaking their eggs for black-headed gull eggs and
'are taking them, too.
'Their ignorance is making a bad situation even worse.'
When someone is going across the islands and taking the eggs,
there's no real way of knowing, especially in the dark,
whether it's a black-headed gull or a Mediterranean gull egg that
they're taking. It's an illegal activity, OK?
No-one should be collecting eggs in Poole Harbour of any species.
-Is that one coming over now?
-This is black-headed gull, this one.
'This clean sweep of eggs could be one reason why the
'black-headed gull population here has declined by 70% since 2008
'and why the number of Mediterranean gulls nesting here has halved.'
With such dire consequences for the targeted birds, it is vital
that we crack down on the egg thieves, so what's being done?
Well, that's what I'll be finding out later.
Suffolk, East Anglia.
Rich, arable fields border its wild coastline.
It's also a Mecca for foodies,
but I'm meeting those with a more grassroots approach to eating.
Veg boxes have been around for a while and as we know,
they're a great way to get seasonal fresh and local produce,
but here in Ipswich, your veg box comes with a bit of a twist because
it's grown on a farm worked on by the local community, run on waste.
-How are you doing?
-Thank you very much.
'John Revell gets his veg on a weekly basis,
'but he has to work for them.'
-We've got kale shoots...
-They're attractive, aren't they?
They're lovely, aren't they?
Just starting to flower but the flowers are perfectly edible.
A bag of mixed salad leaves.
-Some winter greens.
Do you find you eat more veggies than you otherwise would,
-if you didn't have the box?
-This veg box scheme's a bit different.
-It is, yes.
Sure, you get a veg box, you pay for the veg box,
but you don't just do that.
You also commit at the beginning of your year when you join up to
-work on the farm.
-I want to go and see the place.
If you want to go and put your boots on, I'll take you up there.
Let's head down there.
'John is taking me to Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm near Ipswich.
'Here, people from the local community dig,
'sow and grow their own produce.
'And it's low carbon, as it's fuelled by other people's rubbish.'
Nothing is wasted.
The dredging from a local property developer's pond fertilises
Oyster shells from the local fishmonger are crushed up and
fed to the chickens,
giving them extra calcium to make their egg shells nice and strong.
The children love doing it.
And these guys are fed leftover barley from the local brewery.
Here we go.
'The 12-acre farm also has cows and a chicken coop,
'where Percival the cockerel can be found strutting his stuff.
'People from all walks of life come here to share the work and
'reap the rewards.'
What was it that got you into this?
Well, I took early retirement three or four years ago and
coincidentally, the very day I retired,
a leaflet about the farm turned up on the doorstep.
So I jumped on my bike and cycled up here and liked what I saw and
I joined up and I've been involved with the farm ever since.
-It was a sign, perhaps.
-It was, I think. I think it was.
-From one life to another.
-How does it all work up here?
You work two hours a week, on average, for the spring and summer
period and then, one hour a week, on average, for the rest of the year.
-So that fits in with working people.
-They can fit that in.
That's right. It's great because you can come up here any time you like.
-We always have a list of stuff that's available to do.
-That tells you the work that needs doing.
Hoe broad beans, sow sweetcorn. And what if someone goes on holiday?
-Does that mean they get booted out?
-Not at all, no.
That's the benefit, compared to an allotment.
There are always people doing the work while you are away on
your holiday and you can pick up
-when you return.
-That's fantastic. What about that community aspect?
-What have you got out of that?
-I've got a lot out of that.
I really think that is one of the best things.
I'd just retired, so 40 years behind a desk. This was such a contrast.
It's the opportunity to meet people that were living next door,
-living up the road, or whatever.
And here, you've got a common interest. And we have a great time.
We usually have a brew up on a Saturday after the working
-party and just sit round and have a chat.
-Lovely. Sounds great.
'The farm only became possible seven years ago,
'due to the grit and determination of one woman.
'When Joanne Mudhar bought the plot,
'she found the soil was exhausted after decades of intensive
'farming, so her aim was to bring some love back to the land.'
I became really fascinated by the link between food production
and carbon emissions.
Just wanting to know if it's possible to produce good food
in a way that's good for the environment and for people as well.
What state was this in when you came here?
Well, to be honest, the soil was in pretty terrible condition,
which is not unusual for industrial agricultural farms.
The soil looked like a child's sandpit.
I'd never seen anything like it, so it was
a real shock to find out that that's what soil typically looks like.
-Wow. So a lot of restoration, just in the earth itself.
And you've got a real mixed bag of people.
Yes, it's a complete mix of people, people from all walks of life,
all ages, all different backgrounds. And you really get to know somebody.
If you hoe a row of beans alongside somebody,
you can really get to know them.
'But it's not just about the banter.
'When Clare was faced with a death in the family,
'she found coming here a place of solace.'
My dad passed away two years ago and I was already here and other
members kind of got me through it.
So yes, it's been an amazing place for me, really.
It kind of gives you that balance in life.
I work and busy family and it's kind of me time really.
Me time to come up here and think and,
yeah, it's very important to me.
'Spending time here,
'you can see why this place means so much to the local community.
'And with all the vegetables harvested and boxed up,
'there's just time for a well-deserved brew.'
That was a fantastic day!
It's made me want to eat curly kale and Swiss chard, like never before.
Cheers, everybody. Flapjack?
Suffolk lies at the heart of England's breadbasket.
A fertile county, famed for its grain production and its windmills.
And as it's National Mills Weekend, I'm off to visit one of the
Once, they were a common sight right across Suffolk, but now,
there's just a handful of them left and this is one of them,
in the village of Bardwell.
The mill was built in 1820, at a time when
Constable was immortalising the Suffolk landscape on canvas.
Enid Wheeler and her late husband Geoff bought the mill 30 years ago.
But everything changed on the night of the Great Storm of October 1987.
At around about two o'clock in the morning,
these huge sails came crashing down into the garden here.
You can still see some of the wind shaft,
which is where it landed.
And it came, of course,
as a terrible shock for Enid and Geoff
who were asleep in their home, here.
They had been awakened by the noise and the wind,
and had an incredibly lucky escape.
It was the UK's worst storm for 300 years,
causing devastation across the country
with winds of up to 100 miles an hour,
uprooting 15 million trees.
The Wheelers' dream was smashed to pieces.
And after the storm,
when you were stood amongst all the wreckage of the sails,
what were your feelings?
It was a very frightening time.
The roaring of the wind,
and the bits falling off the mill and crashing on the door and...
Did you think that...
But very kind people in the village,
they came the following Sunday,
about 12 of them,
and they'd collected £300 for us,
to start getting organised again.
And from that,
we've put on events each year,
and enough for us to start putting the sail back on,
one sail, and then got through to the fourth,
and, very excitedly, it's back.
But anyway, are you going to try a piece of my flapjack?
I certainly will.
After Geoff's death,
the rest of the family vowed to get the mill back into action.
Building and installing new grain hoppers is the latest task
and, luckily, son David is a furniture maker.
David, why was it so important to get this windmill working again?
It was important for both the family and the community,
because it had been a landmark in the village for 200 years.
So now you've got the sails working again,
but what about the general state of the building?
Some of these bricks look a bit dodgy.
Yes, it's a catch up all the time, there's always work to be done.
A bit like the Forth Bridge.
You know, we're forever looking at repainting,
and so when one job's finished, another one starts.
So I'm doing my little bit to help.
-Under this you'll feel some holes.
-Yes, I see them, yes.
Yes. And the finishing touch is just to help me lift the hopper in place.
There we go.
What happens when there's no wind?
Well, that's what we're working on.
This set of stones is actually going to be electrified,
we've got an electric motor up above here so that on calm days we can...
..turn the stones, and we can produce flour
which will help to bring in more funding
to help with the ongoing restoration of the mill.
And this is what it's all about.
Enid's grandson Will is an award-winning baker.
Along with his dad, Simon,
he runs a small business next door to the mill.
That wonderful smell of a bakery in action!
What's going on now, then?
We are just dividing up the sourdough.
So Will is scaling and I'm just rounding them up.
So what about your materials, you know,
the rye and all the other stuff, the flour,
where does that come from?
Well, most of the flower comes from a local mill,
but the plan, long-term, is to use...
That one there!
That mill over there, yeah, yes!
The restored mill should soon be up and running again,
so hopefully they won't have too long to wait.
-And what made you become a baker, then, Will?
-I don't know!
-I persuaded him.
Well, I sort of watched the old man doing it for years,
thinking it'd be the last thing I'd ever want to do,
-to be honest with you.
-Or if you do it, you'd do it better.
Yeah, that's the one!
That's what drives me.
No, I think it was...
I'd spent some time as... Sort of cheffing, cooking in various places,
and got a bit disillusioned with that,
and this place was sort of dormant, really, wasn't it?
-Other than the odd sort of mill day...
..trying to raise money for the mill,
we didn't really use it to its potential,
and it just seemed like the right time,
there's a renewed attitude of locally sourced food,
an interest in meeting the people that make your foods,
hence why we do a lot of farmers' markets, and do them myself as well,
just seemed like the right time.
-And it's become an obsession, really, through that.
With Will taking care of the bread,
his brother Joe runs a shop next door.
-So you sell the bread that your dad and brother bake?
-Yes, I do, yes.
-And it looks a wonderful selection.
-Thank you very much, thank you.
And how about these cakes?!
-Well, yes, I bake the cakes.
-You make them, do you?
Yes, while my brother bakes the bread, I make the cakes.
Oh, well, I'll have a couple of your cookies, then, if I may?
-There you are, thank you.
-Thank you very much indeed.
-Thank you, John.
-All the very best.
-Thank you very much.
It's had a turbulent recent past.
But after 30 years of painstaking renovation...
..the future looks good for Bardwell windmill.
Now, earlier we heard how egg thieves are targeting
some of our most protected birds,
and making a killing in the process.
So what's being done to combat this crime?
Tom has been finding out.
I was amazed to discover that one peregrine falcon chick,
newly hatched from its egg,
can make more than £10,000.
This kind of egg theft is a real setback
for a species that already suffers from illegal persecution in the UK.
But catching the culprits is a real challenge,
not least because thieves tend to operate in the dark,
and in remote parts of the country.
But also, nests can fail for a whole range of natural reasons,
so, even if you suspect one has been raided,
it can be very difficult to prove.
Unless you catch them red-handed.
For Andy McWilliam from the National Wildlife Crime Unit,
surveillance cameras on nests across the country are a vital tool.
There's a lot of nests which are protected by covert
-and overt cameras.
-And have they proved effective?
In fact, I will show you these.
These are images of individuals we want to speak to
regarding a nest robbery in Cheshire.
So these are pretty recent, are they?
This is still a live case.
This is the very first time these images have been released
to the public.
I can see an individual here sort of carrying what looks like
a sort of cooler bag.
I suspect that that was to keep the eggs to hatch them out.
So some of these guys look quite identifiable.
What should people do if they recognise these characters?
If anybody has any information about who these individuals are,
or they have any knowledge of this offence,
contact the police on 101,
or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
So, cameras trained on nests are a big help in catching poachers,
but the theft of gull eggs in Poole Harbour in Dorset
called for a different approach.
This year, Dorset police have started regular night patrols.
PC Joel Brooks is leading the operation.
Good to see you.
You look all ready for action, what's happening tonight?
We are. We're going out on a proactive patrol,
-trying to target people stealing bird eggs.
And how does this year's operation compare to ones the year before?
Well, last year we found out about the bird eggs being stolen,
but it had already happened, it was too late,
so this year we've got in there early,
and we're trying to do some proactive patrols
-to try and catch the people doing it.
-Right-oh, let's get on.
The islands, they're a protected site under SSSI,
so no-one is allowed to be on the islands.
If they are, they're committing an offence already,
regardless of what they're doing.
And what do you think are the chances of seeing someone
at this time of year?
Because I gather we are approaching a key moment for this.
Fairly good, this time of year.
The places that sell these eggs are advertising them
as starting sale this weekend,
so we're at a real key time for egg collecting at the moment.
Poole Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world,
so there's a lot of water to cover.
OK, so this is the first of the islands,
and then behind it is the next two,
-you can see just a bit of land over there.
So we're just going to patrol around the area,
see if anyone turns up.
Night is really falling, now,
and you can feel the dusk getting thicker,
and as I begin to lose sight of the gulls,
I can still hear them,
and understand why they got their nickname the laughing gull.
And this is just the kind of moment
where if someone were to try and steal the eggs,
they could be out there.
As we lose the light, we switch to our night-vision camera.
And what do you think in the end it's going to take
to eliminate this problem, at least on your patch?
and the market.
Things wouldn't get stolen if no-one would buy them,
but unfortunately there is a market for this delicacy.
So do you think the gulls' eggs are safe for tonight?
It's looking that way, Tom, at the moment.
But it's like fishing, you've got to have your rod in to catch something,
and then you've got to keep persistently trying,
and we're going to hopefully catch someone.
So now do you think it's back to harbour?
I think we should go back in.
So egg collecting is changing from being a misguided fascination
to a criminal enterprise, driven by profit.
But one of the key solutions remains the same.
Vigilance, not only from the police,
but from ALL of us,
so if you know somewhere where nests could be in peril,
keep your eyes peeled.
With its big skies,
and sense of space,
Suffolk has been inspiring artists for years.
But I'm sure not many of them find inspiration
in a converted lorry out the back of a working farm.
Unless you're Ben Loughrill, that is -
an acclaimed chainsaw sculptor
whose works can be seen dotted about the country.
One of his best-known pieces
is the Wolf Howling To The Moon in Bury St Edmunds.
-What are you working on here, then?
This is going to be a bench.
-A big bench.
It's a mega-piece of wood, what's this story?
The story with this is this was brought down by Storm Doris.
-Oh, recently, then!?
-Yeah, yeah. It fell in the bloke's garden.
His wife was very upset that it fell,
and instead of just logging it up they wanted to make something of it.
This looks interesting. What's this piece over here?
This is a commission that is going to be an owl.
-Oh, wow, it's beautiful.
There's lots of wood here on the site. Where do you get it all from?
Well, most of this comes from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
People ring me up, offer me wood. Storms like Doris help me out.
So I guess it's wood that might otherwise be wasted,
-so you're reusing it?
-A lot of people would waste it.
Most of that would have been firewood
but people are sort of coming to the idea that...
Instead of just seeing it smashed up into firewood,
they'd rather see it re-used.
-Turned into art.
-You're like the Womble of Woodcraft.
-I am, yeah!
Ben not only collects wood everyday folk leave behind,
but the machinery looks like it's been given a new lease of life, too.
-This looks like an amazing piece of kit.
-This is a saw bench.
-A rec saw, they call it.
-It doesn't look very modern.
No, I think it's sort of '50s, '60s.
Are you able to fire it up and show me how it works?
-Yeah, of course, yeah.
-Shall I stand well back?
-It'll take a minute or so.
-All right, ok.
MOTOR RUMBLES THROATILY
Well, it started.
But the blade's not moving.
Everything all right, Ben?
Two bolts have come out. And it shouldn't go like that.
-What do you expect?! It was built in the '50s!
It's a very old piece of kit.
You're the man who knows how to fix it, though.
-Oh, don't say that.
Just try that.
He's roped in a local farmer to help.
This may take a while!
MACHINE TRUNDLES LOUDLY
Yay, you fixed it!
Worst nightmare, isn't it?
That's a very nicely cut piece of wood.
Yeah, that's going to be the legs for the bench.
Ben also has a few experiments of his own on the go.
This is what I'm trying to create at the moment, which is spalting.
-This is created by fungus.
-So this happens naturally, on dead wood?
Yeah, it's the natural decay of the timber.
And it has a very beautiful effect.
Yeah, yeah, it's very sought after nowadays by woodturners,
and people in the timber trade.
So they want to recreate this effect,
so what are you doing over here, then?
Well, this is all trial and error,
because you can actually grow this,
you can grow the fungus into the timber.
-These are my offcuts of these round pieces...
And I'm hoping that eventually these are going to fruit with fungus,
and then I can use the fungus to put back into the wood.
So you're trying to grow your own culture
-that you can use to create...?
-Trying to culture it, yeah.
Let's have a look. Drawer number one.
Looks like it's going quite nicely.
This is silver birch, and I found that one in the woods,
which has got a fungus on it,
I'm just trying to keep it alive.
It's all quite fascinating.
-So your man cave doubles up as a science lab.
Ben's not alone in his world of wood.
His unusual spalted pieces are highly sought after
by other craftsmen in the area.
So I'm off to see some more traditional craft,
and I'm travelling in style.
Earlier in the year, we asked you to let us know about young farmers
that you felt deserved special recognition.
Well, it's been a tricky task,
but Adam and Charlotte have managed to whittle all the nominations down
to a shortlist of three.
And here's the first of those finalists.
Young farmers are the lifeblood of our countryside.
Vital to the future of farming, food production and conservation.
And that's why we're celebrating them
with the Countryfile Young Farmer Award.
We're looking for someone truly outstanding,
someone who demonstrates the best of what young people do
for British farming.
And we'll be announcing the winner
at the BBC Food And Farming Awards later in the year.
You sent in nominations from all over the country -
hundreds of stories of hard work, dedication, and character.
The first step was for Charlotte and I to get together
to try and narrow them down a bit.
Longwool sheep! There you go!
-Lincoln Longwools, rare breeds! Yeah, I'm liking this guy.
With so many great candidates,
we had our work cut out.
Now, she, I think, didn't come from a farming background.
Started out then as a shepherd,
and has ended up very recently managing an estate.
-I think I like that.
It was a tough decision,
but we eventually chose our three finalists.
And we're on our way to meet all of them,
starting here in south-east Wales,
with a farmer called Tom.
Take the strain!
When he's not hard at work on the family farm,
16-year-old Tom Phillips is training hard at the tug of war.
He and his farming friends are national champions,
and Tom competed for Wales,
at the World Championships in Sweden last year.
Tom was born into farming,
but it's for one heroic, life-changing moment
that he really stood out for us.
We'll be hearing about that later, but first let's meet him.
-That was amazing, and slightly scary.
-Yeah, hands are a bit sore.
-I can imagine!
-Great to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-How long have you been doing this?
-Oh, this will be my third year, now.
What's the technique?
Keeping quite close together and on your hip,
you're not pulling with muscles, you're pulling with your bodyweight.
You'll notice Adam's paying a lot of attention.
I've got very soft hands, I don't want to ruin them.
-Mine are quite soft, too.
-I think you should have a go.
-I reckon, as well.
-He's dying to have a go!
-What are you going to do?
-I'm going to go and be in charge, obviously.
-Rope on your foot.
-Pick up the rope.
And take the strain.
Oh, that's tough, isn't it?!
I don't think I'm actually doing a lot of pulling.
-Can we make them hold it for ages?
-Yeah, make 'em work!
-How's your hands?
-Well, they're hurting!
We could go for a pint.
No...! Down steady.
Oh, I never did this when I was at Young Farmers.
I can see why, now.
Oh, good save.
That's really impressive, fellas.
And congratulations with all your achievements. Really good.
I'm going to take this man away now,
he's going to show me around his farm. Come on.
So what makes Tom a contender
for Countryfile's Young Farmer of the Year?
Well, let's start by taking a look around his farm.
It's a mixed farm with arable, cattle, pigs,
and these easy-care sheep that shed their own wool.
Come on, girls, here we are, here we are!
That's a lovely farm, Tom.
Yeah, it's all right.
The terrain's steep and awkward, I'll give you that.
Quite steep in places, is it?
Yeah, you need one leg shorter than the other over there!
So what is it that you really like about it?
The thing I probably enjoy most
is being trusted with everything.
Dad is going out to work,
doing his hedge-cutting, fencing, spraying,
and he leaves me here to do the livestock work and groundwork,
and the animals know me, I know them,
especially the sheep and the cattle -
they come up to you and look at you and scratch you and everything.
It's all good.
And what about when it's hosing it down with rain out here
on a cold winter's day?
You've just got to get on with it. Put your hood up and go, that's it.
That's a lot of responsibility for a 16-year-old, isn't it?
Oh, it is, it is, but I get the occasional telling-off
for not doing something right,
but he gets the odd one off me, as well!
Tom doesn't just rear his livestock for market -
he also takes pride in regularly showing his animals,
like his rare-breed Saddleback pigs.
-Look at the size of that boar, Tom!
-Yeah, he's big, isn't he?
Lovely, isn't he? So how long have you been keeping Saddlebacks?
Well, when I was nine my dad bought me two saddlebacks,
and then I had a real big interest in them from there.
And then the first-ever show we did
was a show and sale at Ross Market and we won champion there,
which was just amazing.
And then we went to the Royal Welsh,
and then I won Young Handler of the Year for the first time.
And then I got picked to go to America
for the British Pig Association
to show over there, which was incredible,
a brilliant experience.
What an amazing achievement.
A lot of what you do, you do very well.
Yeah. Well, I try my best.
While Tom shows Adam around the rest of the farm,
I'm back at the farmyard
catching up with Tom's parents, Andrew and Amanda.
So tell me about your son.
He's one in a million.
As a young boy, he never wanted to watch the telly,
he was always outside, from a very young age.
Where does this love of farming come from?
When he was in a basket, he was in a tractor.
He's seen quite a lot
and he's always taken it in, quietly.
Cos there are plenty of farm kids
who don't want to know anything about farming,
they don't want to go outside, they're not interested.
He's got... He seems to have got an interest for everything.
He's got such a passion for machinery and tractors,
but also he was not disappointed
if you're having a day with the livestock,
you know, so that's...
He always says to me, "What are we on tomorrow, Dad?"
and that's encouraging, really.
You must be really proud of him.
Back out in the fields,
it's this familiarity with farm machinery that impresses.
So, working on the tractors, then, Tom?
Yeah, I do a lot of tractor work on the farm, such as the ploughing,
harvesting, a lot of mowing and baling I do myself.
Dad does give me a lot of trust, to trust me with the implements.
And this trust was to make all the difference one fateful day
when Tom was just ten years old.
Me and Dad were out in the field
and a cow had just had a baby calf,
couple of hours old.
Dad went over to pick the calf up to see if it was healthy and OK
and the calf bellowed for its mother for it to come,
and with that the bull come running.
I just remember Tom looking at me and said, "Look out."
And that was it, the lights went out, yeah.
The bull tossed my dad nearly up to the telephone wires
and then he come down in a thud.
As he come down, the bull's just trampling on him,
pawing on his stomach and his head,
just hitting him with his horns
and throwing him about like he was nothing.
It was horrifying.
I was so terrified of the bull,
so I got the tractor and pushed the bull away,
which I had to do, I felt I had to do something just to stop it.
Tom got the tractor and parked it over top of me to stop the bull.
And he manoeuvred the load-all on the front to protect the body
so he could come and get me to get help.
I got down on my hands and knees to try and find a pulse.
His shirt was all ripped, blood everywhere.
And then we... They landed the helicopter, loaded Andrew up.
And Tom saved your life.
Yeah, that's right. That's the bottom line, I suppose, yeah.
Andrew broke 12 ribs and suffered severe internal and head injuries.
Tom's quick thinking had saved his dad's life,
but the experience put him off working with cattle for some time.
I was quite scared about it to the age of 13,
from what happened to Dad.
It really knocked me
and I wouldn't look at a cow, really.
The last two years,
because I've been trusted so much with them,
I've just had to get on and face your fears
and you've got to get on with it.
It's not just his mum and dad who are proud of Tom.
His granny Shirley is also, unsurprisingly, a big fan.
Tom is a chip off the old block
and Tom is identical to his dad.
They love the countryside,
they love the animals,
they love farming.
Tom's very caring,
passionate for his farming,
passionate for his animals.
Get in your chops!
He puts everybody before himself.
He's just an inspiration.
And he's my boy.
What a great lad, and what a really positive start.
He's so dug in to the community - at such a young age, as well,
doing all these things
like the tug-of-war and everything else that he's up to.
He's only 16 and he's achieved so much in farming already, hasn't he?
And he's got definite plans for this farm.
He knows where he wants to take it.
And then understanding the land
and driving tractors on this beautiful farm.
It's absolutely stunning. Really positive start.
-I'm all inspired now to go and see our next one.
I've been exploring Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve in Suffolk,
and they're thinking big here,
making the biggest land-purchase ever
in the Wildlife Trust's 55-year history.
The plan is to join up the landscape and make one massive nature reserve.
But an increase in size means an increase in visitors -
a large number of those with four legs, and some with bad behaviour.
Now, we're all big fans of you here on Countryfile.
Are you two listening?
Because, let's be honest, I mean this is a perfect example,
when you're out with your mates and you're given a free rein,
things can get out of hand, can't they?
Not even listening.
All joking aside, there have been some serious incidents
of loose dogs attacking animals on the reserve.
So, you do welcome dogs onto the reserve,
but you've had some problems, haven't you,
with irresponsible dog owners?
Yeah, we have. We've had incidents of cattle being chased by dogs,
we've had dogs running across the marshes
disturbing nesting birds, and we've had a number of incidents
where dogs have run in with some of the school groups
doing environmental education here on site.
And, interestingly, you've been doing some research, haven't you,
about the impact that dogs have on a place like this
when they're off a lead?
Yeah. You know, walking on a nature reserve,
you create a band of disturbance anyway on a footpath of, you know,
15-20 foot of area each side of you.
With a dog off a lead,
that could be up to 200 feet of disturbance each side of you,
which is obviously a massive area.
And if every dog walker doesn't have control of their dog,
that just pushes birds and other species
out of that area as a usable site.
The trust took the unprecedented step
of introducing a control order for dogs,
meaning they must be kept on a lead or owners face a fine.
They've also employed dog ambassadors
to teach good practice when out and about with your dog.
Dog ambassador - sounds like a great title.
So when you're out there on the marshes,
what's the best approach that you've found?
Because, obviously, dog owners feel like
they're doing the right thing for their dog
and they have the best relationship with their dog
and no-one can tell them otherwise -
so how do you get involved in that scenario?
Well, the best approach is the gentle approach, in all honesty,
and it's just giving them the information.
When we first got involved in this project
it was a real eye-opener for us in some respects,
because the Wildlife Trust
were able to tell us what the implications were
with regards to dogs being loose on the site.
But there are plenty of safe places about
where you can let your dog off a lead.
Assess where you are,
and if it's safe to let your dog off then let them, let them run about
and have some fun, because dogs want to be dogs, at the end of the day.
Mark and his team of trainers teach obedience
using what's known as Temptation Alley.
It replicates all the doggy distractions of a nature reserve.
We've got replica wildfowl,
dummy mammals and, well...
lots of other stuff.
Welcome, everybody, to Temptation Alley.
So this is Gloria. What's her dog called?
Oh, you're off a lead, then, are you? That's the idea.
Aw, look at that.
That's the way to do it.
That's set the standard.
Our second dog sails through.
Nope. Put that down.
'My turn next.'
Come on, darling. What a good girl.
What a good girl!
'It is a lot of fun, but the message here is serious.
'If you're around wildlife or livestock,
'make sure you can keep your dog under control.'
I'm going to run to Temptation Alley -
he's going to beat me through!
What a good boy!
Now, if you're planning a walk with your faithful friend this weekend,
you'll want to know what the weather's doing.
Here's the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
Today, we've been exploring Suffolk...
..with its signature windmills,
and crafty characters,
like Ben, who loves bringing new life to old wood.
And he's not alone.
Ahren here uses Ben's recycled wood to make artisan knives.
In an unassuming shed at the bottom of a garden in Bury St Edmunds
is Ahren's workshop.
Hey, what a cool shed.
The cuts and grooves in the old carpenter's bench
are a testament to his many creations.
But you could be left wondering what to do with his latest designs.
-This is what I've been making just lately.
It's got a blade, so it's definitely for cutting - but what?
It's bread, actually. It's an Appalachian bowsaw bread knife.
-A bread knife!
This one is made in spalted beech.
How did you come across this, then?
Found them in the flea market, actually.
Found one old one lying there and I just picked it up
and got quite interested in it.
That originated from the Appalachian mountains.
The mountain people there used bows in lots of tools they made.
I guess it looks a bit like a hacksaw.
No, it doesn't work like a hacksaw, it works on the side, actually.
So basically it's a sawing action as if you are cutting wood.
What type of woods do you use?
I like to get stuff with knots, bit of character.
I just love recycling.
I just love bringing wood back to life, basically.
How do you make it, then? Let's have a look.
Yeah, let's demonstrate how we get one of these made.
What's with the bowler hat?
Well, got a lot of hair - it keeps the dust out!
Draw back to you.
Slowly you'll get a nice rounded finish.
-Would you like to have a go at that?
-Yeah, I'd like to have a go at that.
-Yeah. So have you always been into woodwork, then?
Well, my grandfather was a chippy
and when I was, like, five, I used to stay round at the weekends,
he used to take me in the shed and make little aeroplanes out of wood.
-I've been sort of in love with it every since, really.
But you've got a full-time job, haven't you?
Yeah, I work for a local steel company -
try and fit this in in between the 12-hour days!
-Yeah, yeah. Cos it is just a hobby of mine.
-Nice way to relax, actually.
-Yeah. I do enjoy it, yeah.
Come down the shed at the end of the day and just relax.
I'm really sorry, I've slightly gouged a bit there.
-No, that's recoverable.
-Is it? You recover that.
-I'm going to stand over here.
My favourite part is actually waxing at the end of it
because then it liberates the grain,
you see what a lovely grain you've got in the wood.
Every knife's different.
It's just a joy every time you wax one up, really.
-I reckon I could have a go at waxing and not...
-Yeah, no problem.
We'll sort that out for you. Let's go and get the old wax.
Just rub it in and watch the lovely grain come out.
Watch it shine. There we go.
Lovely. Look at the comparison there, before and after. Beautiful.
Very nice. Nice smell, too.
-Waxing lyrical again?
As ever, John, as ever. I'm glad you're here, in good time.
Want to show you one of these.
An Appalachian bowsaw bread knife.
Well, what a good job that I brought some bread with me, from the mill.
-Shall I give it a try?
-Yeah, what do you want? A malt loaf or sourdough?
-I think sourdough.
-That might be a bit sticky.
-I think so.
This apparently is very sharp, so watching fingers here.
Let the blade do the... Oh, yeah, glides through like butter.
-It does, cos it's quite a crusty loaf, isn't it?
-How about that.
Oh, lovely, thank you.
-And that's all we've got time for, I'm afraid, from Suffolk.
Next week we'll be in Lanarkshire,
where Matt will be looking at the area's traditional orchards
and I'll be looking at a beehive adoption scheme.
-We'll see you then.
-Bye for now.
Matt Baker hears about the plans the Suffolk Wildlife Trust are making with their biggest-ever land purchase in the charity's 55 years. He'll also meet the dog ambassadors teaching good practice for owners and their four-legged friends when out in the countryside around wildlife and cattle.
Ellie's on a farm run by the community and fuelled by other peoples' waste! Dredgings from the bottom of a property developer's pond help fertilise the fields, hazel poles for the runner beans are scraps from a woodland project and the pigs get fed on left over barley from the local brewery. She'll also meet a craftsman making bread saws out of locally 'spalted' wood.
To celebrate National Mills Weekend John Craven visits Bardwell, a fine example of the 500 or so windmills that once dotted throughout the county and meets the Wooster family and explores their love affair with their 'Forth Bridge' of windmills and see what work has gone into getting it - almost - up and running again.
Tom Heap investigates the 21st-century egg thieves who are putting some of our rarest species of birds at risk.
Earlier this year we asked for nominations for young farmers who our viewers felt deserved special recognition. It was a tricky task but Adam and Charlotte managed to draw up a shortlist of three and tonight we have the first of those finalists.