Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison are in Sussex exploring Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood in AA Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
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Residing at the top of the High Weald in East Sussex is
this spectacle, Ashdown Forest.
It's an ancient, tranquil landscape of great ecological importance.
Loved by many as the inspiration for AA Milne's Hundred Acre Wood
in Winnie-The-Pooh stories, as I'll be discovering a bit later.
And I'll be meeting a team who are protecting this landscape
and keeping it open for all.
Tom asks if turbines are a danger to our feathered friends.
Since they were first introduced in and around our country
more than 20 years ago, there's been concern about the impact that
wind turbines could have on birds.
But how much of a threat do they really pose?
And Adam's finding out about the refugees being thrown
a lifeline in Suffolk.
The least I can do is to offer a day on the farm,
because some of the people, they are from a rural background,
and it is just for them to get reconnected with the land.
From its spectacular coastline to the rolling
chalk hills of the South Downs, the counties of East and West Sussex
boast a rich, rural tapestry.
Today, I'm exploring Ashdown Forest, a patchwork of woodland
and heathland scattered across the East Sussex countryside.
The name Ashdown Forest dates back to the 13th century,
when the term "forest" was used to describe a royal deer-hunting park.
These days, Ashdown attracts thousands of visitors every year,
many of whom are hoping to
follow in the footsteps of Christopher Robin
and his friends, looking for adventure
deep in the Hundred Acre Wood.
But it's not the trees that makes this place so important.
Because Ashdown Forest is home to one of the rarest habitats
in Britain - lowland heathland.
The conservation officer tasked with protecting
this precious landscape is Steve Alton.
Steve, what defines this place as lowland heathland? Because
looking down the valley there, it seems that we are quite high here.
We are actually, yeah, and technically we're
about on the cusp of the borderline
between lowland heathland and moorland,
so we're talking about heather, gorse, bracken,
purple moor grass that we are walking through now.
Obviously, Steve, this is very difficult for us to get through,
-but the place is home to some very, very precious species.
-It is, yes.
There's a whole suite of species that are found in this habitat
and nowhere else.
The two bird species for which it has its international
designation, which are the nightjar and the Dartford warbler.
Very good for reptiles.
We've got adders, we've got grass snakes, we've got lizards.
A lot of invertebrates associated with the wet areas.
And standing looking at the place from this viewpoint here,
I mean, it is absolutely vast, isn't it?
So how big is the area that those species have got to thrive in?
The forest itself is about 6,500 acres,
but roughly 60% of that is lowland heathland.
The rest is woodland.
The wild expanse of Ashdown Forest might look as if it's
been left for nature to take its course.
But like great swathes of our countryside, this environment
needs sensitive conservation to retain its beauty and wildlife.
As well as Steve, this responsibility
also falls to his grazing officer, Caroline FitzGerald,
who I'm meeting along with a few helpful friends
in a specially fenced-off area.
Very nice to see you. Exmoor ponies.
So what's the story with these, then?
We started with six,
and therefore spot grazing, really, in our smaller enclosures.
And they've been here all winter, these ponies.
You can see what a good job they've been doing,
how they have really taken it down.
-And nibbling the gorse, then, as well.
-Which seems, on the face of it, quite unusual.
We have a particular problem on the forest
-because our main grass is the millennia, which is this.
And that's a deciduous grass.
So, in the winter, the ponies get by on gorse.
It is a really good plant for biodiversity, but very rampant.
And it will just cover the whole place if you don't control it.
Why is this area fenced off, then?
Because the heathland habitat is not natural,
it has been created over thousands of years, originally by
large mammals like these guys, and then by the grazing of commoners.
In order to keep the landscape the way it is,
we need to keep that grazing. Stops it turning back into woodland.
And is that because you just don't have the numbers of animals,
-so therefore you need to graze more intensely?
-It is, yes.
The numbers of grazing animals have varied over history.
Sort of...end of the 13th century,
there were probably 3,000 cattle on the forest.
Just all the local villagers would have put their livestock
out onto the forest.
Today, hardly any commoners exercise their right to graze,
so we have to supplement that.
This habitat would have been created by large mammals
before humans were here.
So the ancestors of the Exmoor ponies - wild horses,
wild cattle, deer - would have created these open areas,
and then grazing by the commoners just continue that process.
And we're just the next step in that succession.
So, with careful management, these ponies will continue to graze,
helping to maintain this heathland for years to come.
It's been really nice to meet you. And carry on the good work.
But I'm going to leave you now, all right? I'm going
to head up to the woodland. See you later.
Now, whilst Ellie and I are exploring Sussex, Tom's in Scotland
to find out if wind farms really are a threat to birds.
Britain is a bird spotter's paradise.
Every year, hundreds of different species arrive
and depart from our shores.
But for the past 25 years, they've been sharing their territory
with another more mechanical creature.
When you count both offshore and onshore,
there are almost 7,000 wind turbines in the UK.
They produce 11% of our electricity,
as well as providing jobs and millions of pounds of investment.
In recent years,
Government support for land-based turbines has declined dramatically,
but at the moment, it still backs projects out at sea.
Six new offshore wind farms are already being built this year,
and construction is due to start soon on another five.
Together, they'll nearly double the UK's offshore capacity
and, supporters claim, bring in close to £6 billion of investment.
But with them come fresh concerns about threats to birdlife.
Is that fair, though, or are we
demonising these giants of the green revolution?
In the Firth of Forth,
plans are afoot for more than 300 offshore turbines.
They should create enough electricity to power nearly
1.5 million homes.
But it's an area where sea birds thrive.
Gannets travel to Bass Rock from as far away as West Africa.
And with 150,000 birds here at the height of the season,
it's the world's largest breeding colony for Northern gannets.
-So, welcome to Bass Rock.
-It is tremendous.
Professor Keith Hamer has been studying the gannets here
for two decades, and in recent years, he's been trying to work out
the impact the proposed turbines could have on them.
What an extraordinary spot to have as your lab.
It's fantastic, isn't it?
-What's this actual ground we are standing on?
-So this is
actually our main study site now,
and you can see, each of these little hummocks is where
a bird will be nesting.
So tell me about your work. What did you do, and how did you do it?
So what we're doing was attaching devices to birds,
so we first needed to catch them, which is what this is.
So you just have a nice, smooth wire.
We pop this over the bird's head.
That then gets the bird under control,
and then we put devices on the birds, so we have a GPS logger.
That records where the bird goes at sea. And we have an altimeter.
That measures barometric pressure.
Using this kit, Keith could measure where the birds went,
how high they flew and how deep they dived for fish.
What did this tell you in relation to the turbines?
So this tells us the birds were flying higher than people
had previously thought.
So, the received wisdom was that gannets flied
about ten metres, which is below the height
at which they're in danger of being caught up with the wind turbines.
What we found was that when they're actively foraging,
they fly higher than that. In fact, they fly at up to about 50 metres.
Which is just at the wrong height,
in terms of getting caught up in the blades.
The research estimated that each month,
300 gannets could potentially be killed by collisions with turbines.
A total of 1,500 every breeding season -
that's 12 times more than previously thought.
But questions remain.
There's two big areas of uncertainty.
One is how good will birds be at avoiding the turbines?
The other is, the population has actually been increasing
by about 2,700 birds a year.
We don't know that that rate of colony growth will be sustained.
Even before Professor Hamer's discoveries,
the RSPB had concerns over
the risks posed by these turbines to sea birds.
It took those concerns to the Scottish courts,
which now have to decide whether these wind farms can go ahead.
The RSPB and the companies involved aren't commenting
while the judicial review is ongoing.
However, one of the developers had expressed concern that having
to wait for a decision could affect investment in the projects.
Battles like this one here in the Firth of Forth have raised
new questions about the dangers turbines may pose to birds,
but for some, those questions should have been answered long ago.
I've come down to the National Trust For Scotland's reserve at
St Abb's Head in Berwickshire to meet Philip Taylor
from RSPB Scotland.
A little bit sparse today, but what has your trained eye been seeing?
Yes. I mean, it is still quite early for the sea bird breeding season.
There's some kittiwakes on the cliffs over there,
-and there's a nice raft out to sea.
Philip is the marine policy officer who does the charity's
assessments of wind farm locations.
We are, as an organisation, wholly supportive of renewable energy.
We see that as part of our mitigation of climate change,
adaptation to future climates.
And in fact, we actually built a turbine on our own site.
When it comes to the relationship with birds,
what is it about the siting of wind farms that's important?
For sea birds, there's two principal risks. One is collision.
The second is displacement.
So if the development is put on the foraging area for that sea bird,
and in which case that foraging area is now no longer available
to them, so for species like puffins and razorbills,
that's actually often quite a big risk.
The RSPB often advises on the siting of turbines, and objects to around
7% of proposals, although not all of those are actually turned down.
It believes there's still
a gap in our knowledge about what's going on out at sea.
We've had offshore wind in the UK for over ten years.
And in that time, we haven't undertaken
decent post-construction monitoring to answer simple questions
for the next rounds of developments.
And we really need to step up our game to come up with
systematic monitoring, to understand
how developments are impacting our birds, so that we can move
forward with using our seas for renewable energies.
which represents the turbine industry, told us that...
..after construction, which includes...
One of the industry's attempts to find out
more about bird behaviour around existing wind farms is
currently taking place seven miles off the coast of Kent.
Thanet Wind Farm is made up of 100 turbines,
covering 13.5 square miles.
It's amazing when you get out here, the number of wind farms.
-There's one in the distance over there.
-Yeah, that's right.
Robin Ward is the lead ornithologist in charge of a team
who are tracking bird behaviour around the site.
The research is a multi-million pound project,
managed by the Carbon Trust and funded by developers
and public bodies, including the Crown Estate.
-You need a lot of training for this?
Seven days training on all aspects of health and safety.
-Just to be on the outside of the turbine.
A team of bird spotters can be stationed on the turbines here
for up to seven hours a day.
How on earth are you doing this?
Birds are pretty small, the seascape is pretty big.
We bring several technologies together,
which includes radar, a day and night camera system.
And we're using observers with military-grade range finders.
This combination of technology has never been used
in the world before for this purpose.
We've got this radar set out,
so the bird can be followed from as far as 6km out,
but when it becomes within about 1km or so, we can then lock onto
the bird using the rangefinder and then get
a three-dimensional pattern.
And in the end, what will happen to this information?
What's its purpose?
It will be used to improve the models that we use throughout
all wind farms, and reduce
the uncertainty in our understanding of how birds react to wind farms.
We won't know the results of this work until next year, but it's
exactly the sort of research the RSPB wants to see more of.
So while there may not be agreement on whether enough research is
being done, both the industry and the RSPB do feel that
understanding the impact of offshore wind farms is vital if turbines
and sea birds are going to continue sharing the skies around our coast.
This is West Langley Marsh,
just outside Eastbourne on the East Sussex coast.
Once home to an important Bronze Age settlement,
these days it's a flourishing wildlife habitat
and a cherished oasis for nature-loving locals.
Particularly for children.
In fact, the 120 acres of marshland here are part of the grounds
of West Rise Junior School.
It's a regular state-run school, but this makes it far from typical.
Every week of the academic year,
children from the Forest School programme at West Rise
head out of the classroom and across to the marsh.
Mike Fairclough took over this once underachieving school 12 years ago.
He saw the potential of the ancient marsh after
hearing about its history
from an archaeologist, and now he's a headmaster on a quad bike.
-Hello, John, how are you?
-Never seen this before.
-A lot of ground to cover here, haven't you?
So we got this about eight years ago,
and decided to approach the local authority and said, "We'd like
"to start to look at the Bronze Age
"and explore history, using this bit of land."
And this marshland must be a great learning resource for the children.
Yes. There's a myriad of different things you can do.
So we have animals onsite, like water buffalo and sheep.
We also teach the children lots of skills, like fire making,
making bows and arrows.
We have a very, very large lake,
which we're teaching the children boating on, so paddle boarding
and sailing, and of course the archaeological side of things.
So we've actually had a few excavations here as well.
This school is all about hands-on experience,
and today, as part of the curriculum, we're
stepping back 3,000 years to experience the Bronze Age.
You're the official Forest School teacher here, aren't you, Helen?
What does that mean? This is just marshland, not forest.
It's true, but Forest School is actually sort of an ethos.
We take the children outside to learn,
so we spend time here on the marsh.
The children come back to the same place for a whole term,
and they come every single year.
Does that mean that you use subjects that children would normally
have in class, like, you know, history, geography, English, things
like that, and use the marshland to make it more interesting?
Absolutely. So, today we're doing a Bronze Age day.
So it's not just history.
We're doing pond dipping, that's our science.
We do a lot of English,
so we'll write recipes for the campfire cooking that we've done.
Children love coming to Forest School, and we love teaching them.
And they, by the look of it, have quite a bit of fun as well.
Yeah, absolutely. And that goes for all of us.
We all have a lot of fun and we love being out here.
So what's going on here, Maisie?
At the moment, we're just making our own moulds.
-You doing a bit of smelting, are you?
You can pick it up and then what you do is you place it in there
and then it just... That will pump.
Yeah. The air goes straight through.
And it makes the fire hot.
-You're making Bronze Age bows, are you?
-Have you ever done anything like this before?
So how are you doing it?
-So we tie a knot at the top.
And then move that down onto there.
And move that down here, yeah.
An activity you certainly wouldn't have found in the Bronze Age
is clay pigeon shooting.
It's taught here under the watchful eye of
The British Association For Shooting And Conservation.
Not only are your pupils learning how to make bows and arrows,
they're learning the modern equivalent of how to use a shotgun.
We teach the children about responsible use of a shotgun,
the legal consequences of misuse
and its proper use within the countryside.
But I'm sure there'll be some people who think that there's
no place for shotguns in a primary school.
There are 40 independent schools across the UK
who do clay pigeon shooting routinely.
We're the only state school who do it.
There's never been any criticism of any independent school
using shotguns. So I think that's just prejudice
on the part of the people who have that opinion.
West Rise was the first school in the county
to have its own farm animals, but when it comes to livestock,
this is not a school to stick to the norm.
Alex Richards is school caretaker,
but is also the farm manager.
Among his stock on this boggy marsh - six water buffalo.
How have they settled in, then, the buffalos?
They've settled in very well.
We had a few fun and games when they first arrived.
-No escape bids?
-Erm... I'm not telling.
What about the children, do they get involved and whatever?
The children get involved,
in respect of, come out and feed them, they write about them.
So, therefore, that goes into the education side of things.
Yeah. What's the reaction of local farmers? Do they help you at all?
The support I get is second to none.
If it weren't for the farming community,
this project wouldn't be able to happen.
This marshland, its creatures and its fascinating history have
all combined to create a classroom like no other.
I have a fragment of pottery here,
which has the fingerprints of the makers of it
from 3,000 years ago.
So the children making their pots can actually put
their fingerprints into this pot and almost be travelling back in time.
-Connected to the past.
-Why don't you do it?
Put your finger where the potter in the Bronze Age put his or hers.
-What does that make you feel?
I suspect that there are lots of parents watching this programme,
who have children in junior schools,
who wish that their children were doing this kind of thing.
-Is it possible to spread this idea?
We are very fortunate because of the specific nature of the site.
We're on the second-largest Bronze Age settlement in Europe.
Every place in Britain has an amazing quality about it.
There'll be somewhere within nature that people
-can connect with locally.
-So it is possible?
For every single school and every single child.
West Sussex - a rich and diverse landscape,
from its wooded uplands, to the shelter of the Arun Valley.
And that makes it ideal for a host of wildlife,
particularly here at this reserve, which is a haven for wetland birds
like widgeon, teal, shoveler and pintail.
But Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve is much more than a wetland habitat.
With its woods and heathland, this 500-acre site is nestled
in some of the most biodiverse landscape in the country,
making it ideal for tree-nesting and ground-feeding birds,
including all three species of our native woodpecker -
the green, great-spotted and lesser-spotted woodpecker.
And that's just what I'm hoping to see today.
But woodpeckers are shy, so can be pretty hard to spot.
Helping me in my search is Julianne Evans, the reserve manager.
-Julianne, how are you doing? Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you too
-Good! Let's find some woodpeckers.
It's very much ears and eyes with woodpeckers, particularly listening.
At this time of year, I'll be listening out for drumming.
-That's how they communicate with each other.
Both sexes do the drumming.
Is that marking out territory or trying to find mates,
-or a bit of both?
-A bit of both, yeah. Mainly marking out territory.
-And just generally communicating with each other.
Do you think that's close enough for us to try and get eyes on?
I think it could be. I think it was just through there.
Shall we have a look?
Let's go and see if we can get closer.
Yeah, it must be right on this tree here.
That is tantalisingly close.
Why can't we see it? It's so loud.
It's a completely bare tree, right in front of us, but we can't see it.
It's probably round the back, isn't it?
How rare is it to have the three different woodpecker species
that we have in this country in the same spot like this?
It is fairly unusual.
Although, they do all like the same habitat.
You know, with big mature trees, plenty of dead wood.
You know, that kind of thing.
-They've got what they need right here.
We may not have seen one yet,
but Julianne has spotted signs that they are close by.
So, up here, you can see where they actually have been.
What they're looking for is insects underneath the bark
and in the rotten wood.
So with those sharp beaks of theirs,
they're flicking the bark off and looking underneath.
-We've got quite a fresh bit.
-Just up there,
you can actually see the channels where they've been digging around.
For the saproxylic insects, aren't they? The deadwood insects.
That's right, yeah. Yeah, yeah. That's right.
Amazing, yeah. They've definitely been here.
This is where it's about eyes as well as ears, cos you've
just got to see that slight movement behind a branch or on a trunk.
The thing is, they'll often work their way around the other
-side of the branch, won't they?
-And then just out of sight.
It's almost like they know that you're watching. Shall we get a bit closer?
Yeah, let's do it.
They're so near, but are still playing hard to get.
The greater and the lesser-spotted woodpeckers both drum,
-but how can you tell the difference?
-Well, it is quite subtle.
The lesser-spotted woodpecker drums for slightly longer
and it's slightly quieter.
But because you don't see them very often, let alone hear them
very often, it does make it tricky to know the difference.
-To learn the difference.
-Oh, it's going to be right there.
Stop. Just there, quick.
-Oh, yes, yeah.
-Just going up there.
And it's gone. Short and sweet.
-We saw it, though.
-They're really smart birds, aren't they?
It was incredible to spot one in the wild at the reserve,
but, unbelievably, the cameraman saw another great spotted woodpecker
on the tree right outside the visitor centre.
Well, I caught just a glimpse of a greater-spotted woodpecker,
but far more importantly,
I heard lots and lots of springtime drumming.
After a along, wet, windy winter, it is
a welcome sound and one that I love at this time of year.
Now, recently, we asked some well-known faces from athletes...
Oh, it's quite refreshing after a while.
..what part of our magnificent countryside was special to them.
This week, we're in Bedfordshire with England
Test Cricket Captain Alistair Cook.
He doesn't have to travel far to find his rural retreat,
as it's on his wife Alice's family farm.
'He's made 200 in a Test match against Australia.
'That is a wonderful achievement from Alistair Cook.
'It's all over.
'And England have won their first series in Australia for 24 years.'
'And Alistair Cook becomes England's all-time leading
'run scorer in the history of Test Cricket.'
My day usually starts 6.30 to 6.45.
We're just starting lambing now, with the ewes.
This one's just been born.
There's about 600-odd acres. It's mainly arable stuff here.
There's probably about 3,000 sheep around.
I first came up here when I was 18, when I came to see Alice.
We met at school.
I used to come down the farm and potter around
for an hour, an hour and a half,
not really knowing what I was doing, but just doing little jobs.
It was a big release for me,
in terms of... You know, I wasn't thinking about cricket 24/7.
The more time I spent up here and the more integrated that
I got into the family and the more I understood about farming,
the more it became a lifestyle, rather than a release.
It's a serious farm, a serious operation.
This is what I do when I'm not playing cricket.
Trying to help out on the family farm,
trying to be more useful than not.
I feel as if I now know what I'm doing.
I can't quite see her head, but normally they come out
and they tuck their noses in front of their hooves at the front.
Yeah, she's not going to be too long off.
I do love it.
Of course, there's days when you're electric fencing in the cold or
you're strawing stuff and thinking, "Oh, I'd rather be somewhere else."
That's part and parcel of it.
I think farming does help my cricket,
in the way that I'm not lying on the sofa thinking,
"Oh, what's my technique doing here?"
Cookie was going through a very lean patch once,
but the farm was brilliant.
He came and got completely stuck in.
He was tagging sheep, he was up at 4.30 loading the lorry.
He then went on to score 290, which I think my dad
and all the local farmers took a huge amount of credit for.
I've never let him live it down.
Whenever he has a bit of a rough time, that's all he gets.
You know, "Get on the farm and you'll be all right.
"Forget batting practice."
So we're marking up some sheep.
Obviously they've been in here now for 24, 48 hours.
So I'm worming them.
I'm giving them a bit of a general MOT.
We're ringing their tail, giving them a number,
matching with their mother.
That allows us to identify them when they're in the field.
The sheep won't talk to you about cricket.
I think, in any elite team, the environment is pretty brutal,
because you're expected to win.
To me, it was that release. It was the getting away from the pressure,
I suppose, of playing international cricket
and doing something totally different.
So you're not always thinking about cricket.
We've got a young daughter, called Elsie,
who's coming up to two in April.
It's an incredible place for Elsie to grow up.
Alice talks so fondly about her childhood, growing up on the farm.
Mum and Dad would be working and we'd just run about in the shed.
And now Elsie is lucky that she has the same thing.
Cookie and I are in here working, she just potters with the dog,
the lambs, her wheelbarrow.
Alice's grandparents are just there, her mum farms just round the corner.
You know, her brother's there. It's such a family environment.
I feel really privileged that that's here.
We're in a great environment for Elsie to grow up in.
We're loading the ewes and lambs up to finally take them
out in the field, where they're going to stop for the summer.
We'll put them out on the lorry.
Done. The job's a good 'un.
-Who's in here, Elsie?
The future is really interesting.
Who knows what's going to happen with the cricket?
Hopefully I've got three or four more years left at the top.
That would be brilliant.
But knowing we've got something here which I love doing anyway
and we can get bigger, is really exciting.
I feel we're really lucky.
We've just bought a little small holding, five minutes away,
and we're really excited to expand on that.
Cookie is quite interested in doing more with cattle.
At the minute, we have a few.
Cookie actually bought me two for our first wedding anniversary.
Quite an odd one, but brilliant. My sort of present.
Shoo them on, Else Shoo them on.
There's so many good things about farming, about the community,
which I love. And, obviously, it is challenging.
Cricket has been my life for so long and it's given me
so much that I'd love to stay involved.
But if I could combine cricket and farming at the same time,
that would be absolutely ideal for me.
They're both my passions. And not many people can say
what they do for their job or their life is what they love doing all the time.
I pretty much love everything to do with them.
Now, on last week's show
with Radio 1 DJs Scott Mills and Chris Stark,
we asked you to send us your F-elfies,
photos of you with a farm animal.
Well, thank you, because you e-mailed and tweeted us hundreds
and hundreds. Here are just a few.
Now, Adam has taken time off from his farming duties
in the Cotswolds to visit
an extraordinary East Anglian farm that's making a big difference
to the lives of people most in need.
This scene has become all too familiar.
The refugee crisis sweeping across Europe
has left millions homeless and in desperate need of support.
But there are some small glimmers of hope.
I've come to a rather special farm on the Norfolk-Suffolk border
where it is not all about growing crops and animals.
This farm is being used to make a difference to people's lives.
It's a Care Farm.
Here, vulnerable people can spend their time as a kind of therapy,
but now it has thrown open its doors to refugees
from war-torn regions such as Kurdistan and Sudan.
The driving force behind it is Dutch farmer Doeke Dobma,
who has personal reasons for wanting to help those in need.
Nice to meet you.
I grew up in the Netherlands,
and my mum experienced an horrendous experience
during the Second World War.
Watching on telly what is happening in Syria is really distressing.
So because your mum suffered so much during the Second World War -
she was almost a refugee herself -
you decided to help the people today?
Some people had businesses, they were farmers,
they were teachers.
The least I can do is to offer a day on the farm,
because some of the people, they are from a rural background,
and it is just for them to get reconnected with the land.
-And do you find it rewarding yourself?
It is like, just as a small person in the world,
being lucky that we were born here
and not in the situation where they are,
the least we can do is show them compassion and friendship.
-Shall we meet them?
The refugees are involved in all sorts of activities,
from apple tree pruning to tractor driving,
and working with animals.
And there's plenty to do.
These cattle are being bedded down with fresh straw,
which gives me a chance to meet some of the refugees.
Mohammed comes from a rural background in Kurdistan.
A lot of people there live in the countryside
and look after sheep, cows...
-So it reminds you of home?
-And I would love to live in a place like that.
And why did you leave Kurdistan?
Every single night, people shooting,
And people missing, people kidnappers...
And that's why I come to here.
And what about family?
Have you got some, still, back home?
I have got some, but they are all different place.
To be honest with you, I don't even know where are they.
So they just all moved away?
Yeah, moved away because there was war.
And there is still war in Iraq.
You know, I woke up at five o'clock in the morning for this.
Let's go and get the cows back in.
There are smiles all round, and there is a happy atmosphere.
Martin Simmons is from Suffolk Refugee Support,
who organise the farm visits.
Martin, are there a lot of refugees worldwide?
Well, I think the latest UN figures suggest there are
more than 60 million people displaced globally.
That is the population of Britain.
It is pretty much the population of Britain, yes.
It is an incredible number,
and I think the most since the Second World War, if not ever.
When refugees arrive in the UK, they very often end up
in urban centres, in big towns and cities,
because that's where they're housed,
that's where the support services are and the refugee communities are.
So what does bringing them to the farm help them with?
Just getting them into the great outdoors
and putting a smile on their face, or is it more than that?
I think that is the main thing they have been telling me,
just how free they feel when they leave the town
and all its hubbub and noise, and get out in the open air
and, you know, see the horizon. Just that is therapeutic for them.
People who have been through a lot of traumas and difficulties,
it has a real positive, psychological benefit.
Many of the refugees already have useful skills,
but the farm offers them a chance to learn new ones.
Ali was a truck driver in the oil industry
back in his native Kurdistan.
He has been learning how to handle a tractor.
-Well done. Hi. I'm Adam.
-Yeah. I'm a good driver, yeah.
And do you like coming to the farm?
Um... Definitely, I like it.
I get fresh air,
I am happier, really, with that,
because I am in Ipswich...
only I see the car, the noise and hum.
There's houses... I came out,
I feel really happy when I come outside, to this farm.
Let's get this bale rolled out for this pig, shall we?
Yeah. He is happy.
With 143 acres, Doeke has enough space to help allcomers,
including vulnerable people from the local community,
like Malcolm, who has dementia. It is busy in here.
Yeah. As you can see, we are doing a lot with compost
and just getting prepared for the new season.
-We've got Malcolm here.
-Good to meet you.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Shall I give you a hand here?
-So what are you doing?
-Putting the compost in pots
-to sow some broad beans.
-Hopefully we'll get a good crop during the spring time.
And how long have you been coming here?
-Do you enjoy it?
-Yeah, I like it.
And what about these refugees that you're working with now?
-What do you think about that?
-A good idea.
They have farms in their country, and that, you know,
-that can bring them back to life, really.
It's easy for people to say they shouldn't be here,
but I don't think people live in the real world.
They don't know what it is like to be in a war-torn country,
and things like that.
I think it is a good idea, a brilliant idea.
So what do you think to Doeke? He's not bad, is he?
He has his moments!
He's Dutch, ain't he?!
He's a good bloke, really.
A smashing man.
-Well, lovely to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
I reckon it is going to be the best crop of beans
you have ever had now, eh? Good luck with it all. Bye-bye.
See you later, bye-bye.
As the day on the farm comes to an end,
Doeke has one last gesture for the refugees.
So what's going on now, then, Doeke?
We have got produce left over on the farm
and we had some local people come this morning,
bringing some books and clothing for the refugees to take back home.
And I think, just on a personal level,
it reminds me of stories from my mum
where farmers and people in the countryside
helped her and her family to survive,
so I think this is just a gesture...
-Very fitting, isn't it?
It is touching to see people doing this, yeah.
And it is wonderful, the work you're doing. Long may it continue.
Yeah, thank you and, yeah, we will.
-Thanks very much. All the best. Bye-bye. Good luck.
-Bye. Thank you.
Today, Ellie and I are exploring Ashdown Forest.
I'm visiting Twyford Farm,
which sits on the edge of this striking landscape.
Two years ago, farmers Bob Felton
and Liz Wallis took on the ten-year tenancy here,
and like many forward-thinking farmers,
they are making big changes.
But the big difference on this farm
is the ethos that drives it forward, and that comes from the landlords.
The Countryside Restoration Trust owns this farm,
along with seven others and three smallholdings across England.
Its founder and chairman is Robin Page.
And if you're thinking you recognise him from somewhere,
this might help jog your memory.
MUSIC: One Man And His Dog theme
Here we are, after eight weeks, the two finalists -
Bute here, aged ten, and Nap here, aged nine.
So, Robin, you started the Countryside Restoration Trust,
-what, 23 years ago?
We were fed up with wildlife disappearing from farmland.
We were fed up with farmland being ignored,
fed up with people saying the future is national parks,
and now we have got nearly 2,000 acres -
eight farms, three smallholdings.
So when you're talking about these farms
and this acreage that you have, then,
is that the Trust's, and then you invite people to work on that land?
I mean, how does it actually work?
Well, first of all, we started buying land,
and land that had been industrially farmed,
and we changed the system
and we changed it to a mosaic of crops,
with beetle banks
and grass margins, and the key to it all is
we want people working the land,
we want them farming with wildlife-friendly farming,
so that you can be on the fields, you can hear skylarks,
you can see barn owls, you can have the brown hare...
Farming and wildlife together, we think that is the future.
Listen, I was going to ask about the relationship
and how you then work with you farmers that are looking after
your properties, but I think we'll have a word with Bob about that.
Now, then, Bob. How are things?
-All right. Welcome to Twyford.
-Thank you very much.
How long have you been here on this wonderful property,
and how did you end up with it, Bob?
The property was put on the market for tender
approximately two years ago.
We liked the ethos of the Countryside Restoration Trust.
I had been in intensive dairy most of my life...
-Right, so you knew...
-..so the idea of backing off a bit appealed.
Is it a lot more hard work for you to farm in this way?
No, I wouldn't say it is a lot more hard work.
-You have to think before you move.
The landscape and the ground doesn't lend itself to real flat-out
commercial production, and we don't want to do that now.
Hopefully we are setting an example.
I wouldn't be quite as bold to say we are, but we're trying.
But you're passionate about what you're doing,
-and it feels right for you.
-It feels right and you have to be to do it,
otherwise it doesn't work.
Bob and Liz have started a range of Trust-endorsed schemes here.
Right, that will do.
Today, they are working on their latest project.
With the help of some volunteers,
they're planting a wildlife-friendly hedgerow.
You've got 12 different species.
Yeah. Don't ask me to list them all!
Yeah, but the ultimate goal obviously being...
To provide seeds and habitat for birds and other wildlife.
It is going to be quite something, though, isn't it,
-in ten years' time, with that kind of variety?
-We hope so.
So when you finish planting this hedge, what's next on the job list?
-We're taking up the commoner's rights and putting some cattle on the forest.
So doing your bit for the lowland heathland
-that is so precious around here?
It all ties in with the Trust and the forest and everything else.
Yeah. So the future seems bright for the farm,
for the forest and for the wildlife.
We've been exploring Sussex.
Now I am heading to Ashdown Forest
in search of its literary claim to fame.
Sitting on the sandy ridge of the High Weald, Ashdown Forest
with its wide vistas and wooded walks is a stunning setting.
But it also has an enchanting quality,
because this beautiful place goes by another name,
the Hundred Acre Wood.
It was the real-life inspiration for the adventures
of one of the world's most famous bears, Winnie-The-Pooh.
These woods were home to Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger,
and it was here that they played
with a little boy called Christopher Robin.
"Through copse and spinney marched Bear,
"down open slopes of gorse and heather,
"over rocky beds of streams,
"up steep back banks of sandstone into heather again,
"and so, at last, tired and hungry, to the Hundred Acre Wood."
Now I am hoping to find the places
where those adventures really happened.
Written by AA Milne for his son Christopher Robin, Winnie-The-Pooh
is a series of stories about the magical forest adventures
of a young boy and his imaginary animal friends.
This year is the 90th anniversary of the day that Pooh, Piglet
and their friends stumbled into our lives.
But with just this map to guide me,
it's not easy to find my way around.
Where is the enchanted place?
Luckily, Chris Sutton, the forest ranger responsible for looking after
the real Hundred Acre Wood is on hand to guide me.
Chris, do you get many people coming here looking for Winnie-The-Pooh?
Oh, yes. You get families with their children coming up
and they love it and you can say,
-"I've just seen Tigger bouncing away into the undergrowth."
How do you think the landscape has changed since the time of AA Milne,
when he was here getting inspiration for the stories?
The vegetation has got a lot taller,
because there would have been a lot of grazing out here
from the commoners' animals,
but he would recognise the features that are here.
All these features here on the map in the book,
how have you managed to identify them?
I found the ones which are on the top of the forest that are obvious,
and then, some of the others, I had used a bit of poetic licence.
But then, AA Milne would have done the same.
He would have seen the features and drawn the stories around them.
Excellent. What's the closest one to where we are now?
-The heffalump trap, which is just round here.
-Oh, right, let's take a look at that.
Oh, yeah. You can actually really tell where that big tree is placed,
and the big hole in the ground.
Catch those pesky heffalumps, trying to eat Pooh's honey.
-It was good.
-What else have you got near here, then?
We have got the sandy pit where Roo played,
-and it is just back up the track.
-Lovely. Let's take a look.
-It's a big sandpit.
-Oh, it's fantastic.
It is where Roo would have played.
It would have been sandy 90 years ago,
but it is overgrown now because it is an old quarry site.
I'm looking for the enchanted place. Can you tell me where to find it?
Yes, it's back up the track, up to the top of the trees,
and then you turn left and it's right on top of the forest,
a lovely clump of trees.
Could this be it?
It's a circle of trees.
63, could be 64 of them, and I could comfortably sit down, no prickles.
And I can hear children,
so this MUST be the enchanted place.
"I think we all ought to play pooh sticks,
"so they did, and Eeyore,
"who had never played it before, won more times than anybody else.
"And Roo fell in twice,
"the first time by accident and the second time on purpose.
"And he knew he'd have to go to bed anyhow."
Aw, that's lovely.
What is it about the stories, do you think, that captivates the children?
I think it's just really magical
and I think because parents have grown up with it,
and the children,
it's a very familiar thing, especially around here,
because we are on the doorstep of the Hundred Acre Wood
and we are really lucky, we can come up here, we can
go for lovely walks, it gets children outside in the fresh air.
-Does anybody know the game pooh sticks?
-Yes? Does anybody want to play pooh sticks?
-Shall we go and warm up and do it?
All right, let's do it.
We need some sticks on the way, don't we?
Look out for the best sticks.
"So they went off together,
"but wherever they go and whatever happens to them on the way,
"in that enchanted place on top of the forest,
"a little boy and his bear will always be playing."
-I've got world champions.
-Well, it is lovely to see you all,
because that is all we have got time for this week.
Next week, we'll be in the three counties of Herefordshire,
Gloucestershire and Worcestershire,
where I'll be learning local traditional skills.
I'll be exploring the ultimate in wildlife gardens. We'll see you then.
-This is it. Come on, team, here we go!
Let's find out who's going to be the winner.
-There it is!
Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison are in Sussex exploring Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood in AA Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Matt also visits a farm belonging to the Countryside Restoration Trust, which promotes wildlife-friendly farming. Ellie is on the hunt for woodpeckers - easy to hear, but harder to spot. John Craven is at West Rise, the state junior school with a difference: it has a bronze-age settlement and buffalo roaming its marshlands. Tom Heap is in Scotland where there's fresh concern about the impact that wind farms could have on birdlife. But how much of a threat do turbines really pose? And Adam Henson meets the farmer opening his farm to help refugees.