The Countryfile team launch their annual photographic competition, with guests Chris Packham and Jo Brand. Matt Baker visits Castle Drogo in Devon.
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The beautiful and tranquil River Teign
snakes lazily through the valley in Devon that bears its name.
Surrounded by lush green countryside and fertile farmland,
it's one of the prettiest parts of the county.
It's home to a few stately piles, too.
This is known as the last castle to be built in England,
but despite its relative youth, it's falling apart.
The flat roof leaks, the 40 miles of pointing need chiselling out
and the 913 windows, well, they need to be repaired and replaced,
so its owners are about to start
a multi-million pound restoration project
and I'll be finding out about the plans.
Sitting on the edge of Dartmoor, it is perhaps unsurprising that
the Teign Valley has mystical qualities,
which have inspired all sorts of artists.
And I'm on the hunt for the magical locations
that have motivated musicians, have inspired artists
and captured the imagination of filmmakers.
They all have one thing in common. They're all home to fairies.
I wonder if I'll see one.
And John is hoping our countryside will also cast its spell on you.
Our Living Landscape, that's the theme
of this year's Countryfile photographic competition.
We want you to capture the beauty of the British countryside
and all the life within it.
I'll have full details of how to enter and two of last year's judges,
Chris Packham and Jo Brand, will provide the inspiration.
-You can do loads of clicks at once, can't you?
You're like the animal paparazzi.
And Adam has finally made a decision about his new arrival.
This little calf is one of Eric's offspring.
As you can see, it's quite an unusual colour,
so a couple of weeks ago, I asked you to write in with some suggestions
to help me name it and today, I'll be revealing my favourite.
The Teign Valley runs from
the northern edges of Dartmoor National Park
down to the seaside town of Teignmouth on the Devon coast.
In its upper reaches, towering high above the countryside,
you can catch glimpses of a castle, but don't be fooled.
This is no medieval pile of stones.
In fact, it's less than 100 years old.
It's imposing, it's grand
and it was built as the plaything to house one very rich man.
This is Castle Drogo, but unfortunately, it's falling apart.
Castle Drogo was the dream of grocery shop magnate, Julius Drewe,
who, in 1910, commissioned one of the greatest architects of the day,
Edwin Lutyens, to build him a home fit for a supermarket king.
The budget, a piffling £50,000.
That's about £20 million in today's money.
Castle Drogo is often referred to
as the last castle to be built in England
and unlike its other counterparts,
it's never seen a battle, apart from the elements
and that is because it's built directly facing onto Dartmoor.
Pounding rain and howling gales have been too much
for architect Edwin Lutyens' newfangled construction methods
like steel-reinforced concrete and ash felt flat roofing.
The National Trust, who took over the house in 1974,
are spending £11 million on this,
one of their biggest ever repair jobs.
'The house manager is Bryher Mason.'
-It doesn't look too bad, does it, from here?
-It looks OK.
And from the outside, it really does look like the fortress
that Julius really wanted and that has always been part of the problem -
actually realising how serious the problem is getting.
If we don't do something now, in ten years' time,
parts of the structure will be completely unsound.
The water will have got into the steelwork inside the concrete
and we would have to start replacing all of that, which is a big job.
And why do you think that it is so important to protect this building?
Because it is our youngest castle,
there's not a huge amount of history that goes along with it.
-£11 million is a lot of money.
-It's a lot of money to spend.
It's a big building, it's conservation on a grand scale,
but I think it's important because it really encapsulates
a really key part of British and world history.
The first foundation stone was laid in 1911.
The last fixture and fitting went in in 1931.
The world changed around this building.
But also, the techniques that were used in constructing this building
changed how we build buildings today.
Water leaks were first noticed in 1913,
while the castle was still being built.
They became a constant battle for Julius Drewe's family
throughout the generations.
Bunny Johnstone is his great-granddaughter.
By the time she lived here in the 1950s,
the leaking roof was a part of everyday life at Castle Drogo.
Yes, I think it was, really, because this is the scullery,
but was the kitchen when I was a child growing up,
so it always had two or three people working here
and lots of lovely smells.
Yes, the smell of bread.
You could see everything being prepared and in the afternoon
I was allowed to make the odd cake here as I got older.
So I think it was a very special room for me, yes.
But here, you just have to glance up at the ceiling to realise why
-all this work is being done.
It wasn't leaking when I was a child here,
it was the other corridors. The top corridors,
we had to have the china bowls and towels in to catch the drips.
Oh, that was a constant thing, was it?
It was a constant thing, moving bowls,
because wind changes direction of rain, so it was constant.
But no, this is dramatic now, isn't it?
When you look up here now then and you see how the weather is
literally wrecking this place, do you feel sad?
I feel very grateful something is being done about it, actually,
and somebody else is taking it on
and taking the utmost care to mend it.
Because I guess if the National Trust hadn't stepped in,
-then now it would be pretty much in ruined condition?
-So I understand.
At least it's being dealt with now.
The repair work is going to take five years.
Later in the programme, I'll be up on the battlements,
where they are already making a start.
An early summer morning in the heart of the Teign Valley,
the sun gently rousing the slumbering villages and towns
and, greeting the waking day,
a rare sound these days on country lanes - the hooves of working horses.
But for Samson and Tally, this is their daily commute.
It might look like I'm stepping back in time,
but the man with those horses
is actually taking a fresh new approach
to earning a living from the land
and he is combining it with some pretty traditional methods.
So far, it's working.
This is Ed Hamer's valley.
Raised in the small town of Chagford,
he spent his youth learning the ropes on local farms
and was determined to root himself here, working the land.
But, with no family farm to inherit or enough cash to buy his own,
he had to find another way to make it happen.
The answer, here in Chagford, was Chagfood.
So what exactly is Chagfood then?
Well, we're a community-supported market garden and we grow vegetables
and flowers, soft fruit and herbs on about six acres,
which we supply to members
in three communities of our neighbouring parishes.
So, members are kind of shareholders, are they?
Our members sign up for a share of the harvest
throughout the entire growing season,
so if it's a bad year, they share a crop loss with us, the growers.
If it's a good year, then they share a bumper harvest between them.
But at this time of year, not a lot to put in the boxes, is there?
Not a lot put in the box, but we are entirely seasonal,
and our members accept when they sign up
that they're buying into what's available seasonally
on their doorstep at each time of the year,
so we have quite an established hungry gap.
But if there is no guarantee about
what they're going to get for their money, what's the attraction?
People wanted to address a disconnection that's occurred
between them and where their food comes from,
so that's the kind of niche that we fill.
We aim to get people in touch with where their food comes from.
Founded by Chinnie Kingsbury three years ago,
the project soon outgrew its original one-acre site and now has five more.
This year, 63 locals have signed up, each paying up to £600 a year
upfront for a share of the harvest, delivered in weekly veg boxes.
From the start, Ed has bypassed modern machinery
in favour of the four-legged alternative
and I'm keen to know why
he is so convinced that horsepower is the future
for small-scale, sustainable farming like his.
What made you go for horsepower, then?
Well, it was really through growing up in an agricultural landscape,
farming community and seeing traditional farming skills dying out
and really, my main motivation is keeping the traditions alive,
keeping the farming skills alive for the next generation.
But is it as efficient as modern farming?
It depends how you measure efficiency. You have to bear in mind
that when you use working horses, you're very much reducing
the compaction on your soil, so that stands you in good stead
in the long run and maintains the health and vitality of your soil.
The other important thing is that we are quite keen
to develop and demonstrate there can be a farming system
that doesn't use fossil fuels.
And what have you got lined up today for Samson and Tally?
We are going to be doing a spot of disc harrowing
-to work up the ground for the spring crops to go in.
Using the homesteading, yeah.
-Do you fancy being one of our volunteers today, John?
Just tell me what to do. Right, just grab the reins.
So you sit there with the reins in your hand.
This is the hardest bit - dropping the harrow. Right, now the command.
Heads up! Walk on!
'Well, I thought I'd done most things on a farm,
'but this is a first and it's very satisfying.'
Ed is among just a small number of farmers
still using working horses in the UK
and sometimes they look for their equipment overseas,
where horses are in more common use.
This multipurpose plough has been imported
from an Amish community in North America.
Whoa! Well, I could volunteer for this all day long.
A nice comfy seat, great views, two lovely horses doing all the work.
Well, most of it.
For everyone involved, it's one of those win-win situations.
People who get their veg boxes delivered
are encouraged to visit the farm as often as they can.
They get the chance to meet up over lunch
with some of the volunteer workers.
The reward, I suppose, that we all have is the sense of
seeing things grow and then reaping the benefits when we harvest the veg
and we all get to cook it together and eat,
sit around the table and enjoy it.
What do you love about it?
You know, not relying on supermarkets,
finding a way that we can rediscover our place on this earth
and how we can create our own vibrant food culture locally.
Thank you very much.
With lunch over,
Ed and Samson set off to make the beds for the next batch of carrots.
So, you're confident now then that you could make this work long term?
We are very confident in the long term.
The demand is there and it's a robust model going into the future.
So Samson is not going to be out of work any time soon?
Not any time soon.
Well, a good old-fashioned farming scene like that would make
a perfect entry for this year's Countryfile photographic competition.
Your 12 best pictures will feature in next year's Countryfile calendar
and, as we will be revealing later,
if it's to beat this year's record total,
that's going to take quite some doing.
The River Teign flows into the sea between the twin towns
of Teignmouth and Sheldon on Devon's south coast.
Katie is finding out how important fishing has been here
over the generations.
On a day like this,
it's hard to believe that
anything could be wrong with this beautiful river,
but beneath the surface, all is not well.
Fish numbers are down and the river is officially failing.
I'm going to find out more
by taking part in one very modern form of fishing
and one very ancient method.
Here on Sheldon Beach,
Mike Bolsworth uses a traditional technique
called seine fishing to catch trout and salmon.
-Hiya, how are you? All right?
so, you've got your nets, you've got your boat.
How does this work?
Well, basically, we wait for the tide to turn
and we shoot the eddy inside the pool, just in this area here.
So, basically, you wait for the tide to be coming back in, is that right?
-Coming back in. We shoot the flood.
-That's called shooting the flood.
You get in your boat and you're going to row where?
I'm going to row out around from here.
I'm going to row out by that white boat, down along
and then come back in on the same side on the same shore.
-OK, so how long have you been doing this?
-A long time.
-Good answer, isn't it?
-Since the beginning of time!
-Yeah, more or less.
It's been going on here on the estuary
for generations and generations.
During the war, in the original days and that, the women used to do it
when the men were away at war or were away at sea.
'Mike will row in a semicircle between two points on the beach,
'trapping any fish in his net.
'There used to be enough fish here to sustain a living.
'The record catch is 98 salmon in one net, but that was way back.
'Declining numbers mean today's fishermen can only do this
'to supplement other incomes.
'Mike's hoping to catch sea trout today
'as the salmon season hasn't started.
'Once he climbs ashore, it's all hands to the net,
'including the new recruit.'
This is the worst place to be. I'll row the boat next time.
-Fish there, in about.
-Oh, look at that!
Steady, whoa, whoa, whoa!
-Got to go back, got go back. That's a salmon, that is.
-That one's got to be returned to the water.
-There you go, baby, go.
Oh, my goodness!
-Anything else in the net?
-Nothing else in the net.
A load of weed and that's about it.
One large salmon and not a single sea trout. And that's not unusual.
The reason for the lack of fish and a possible solution
lies far inland where the river takes on a very different character.
It's in the shallow, winding gravel beds
that the salmon start their lives.
These are their spawning grounds
and it's here that action is being taken.
I'm helping Adrian Dowding and Olivia Durkin
from the Westcountry Rivers Trust
use the latest technology to catch baby fish to study them.
This electro-fishing works by sending a current into the water,
which temporarily stuns the salmon fry.
The team will survey 30 different locations
to find out which have fewest fish
and therefore the greatest problems.
Hang on a minute, I thought that the river was failing,
but there are loads of fish in here.
Well, we brought you to a good site today.
This is a very good spawning gravel site for salmon and trout
and that's why we're catching lots of fish today.
So are there parts of this river where you aren't seeing
-results like this and where it really is failing?
There is something inherently wrong at the moment.
It might be a cyclical thing, but, in general,
if we look at the land management
and try and prevent sources of pollution in the first place,
that should benefit the river and ultimately increase the fish stocks.
It may be surprising that a tranquil river like this
is suffering pollution.
But while the Teign isn't affected by industry,
it has other problems
like fertiliser that is leached from farmland
and cattle trampling slurry into the spawning areas.
The fishing is done. Now we can examine our catch.
So, what have we got here?
So, the little guys, they are salmon and trout
and the bigger fish with the big head, they're bullheads.
'As part of the study, the trust take DNA samples
'so they can track these fish throughout their lives.'
So the fish we caught this morning, if we'd taken a sample from it,
if we knew how to do that,
you would've been able to tell us we came from?
Absolutely, yes, yes.
You caught it from the estuary at the bottom of the river, didn't you?
So, yes, if you'd taken a swab then, we would be able to tell you
if that fish was definitely heading back into this river
and up the Teign system or somewhere else.
And that will help identify which stretches of the river
are succeeding in producing new generations of fish
and which are failing, so the trust can track down the causes
and work with landowners to put things right.
They've been stunned, studied and swabbed.
Now it's time for the fry to get back to what fish do best.
On a hillside above the River Teign, I'm visiting Castle Drogo.
Instead of facing cannon fire and invading armies,
this 100-year-old building is taking on...
the Great British weather.
So far, it's been a losing battle.
Leaking roofs, windows and walls mean this unusual stately home
is falling apart, but that is about to change.
The National Trust have just started a five-year restoration project
to save the castle,
so soon most of it will be covered in scaffolding,
but the castle is going to stay open
so that the visitors can get a feel for the work.
There's been many previous attempts to save this castle.
In the 1960s, the original owner's grandson,
Anthony Drewe, even tried some DIY
and this is the actual cage that he would work from,
hung precariously over the edge of the castle wall.
Mind you, I'm not sure how I would feel
suspended from the other side, especially now it's a bit rusty.
'In the '80s,
'the National Trust replaced all the mortar between the granite blocks
'with modern cement, but that's leaking and needs to be removed.
'One of the stonemasons back then was the man who is now overseeing
'the whole project, clerk of works, Wes Key.'
Wes, how are you doing?
Sorry to interrupt you there. You're a busy lad.
Now, I understand, from a building point of view,
you have quite a close family connection with this place?
Yeah, my grandfather actually sort of drove a steam lorry up to here
delivering stones from the quarry at Blackingstone, so...
Right, and when did you start working here?
I started here 30 years ago.
So whose fault is it then that it needs repairing?
Oh, it's a minor thing(!)
That's why I'm knocking out the pointing now.
I made a mistake and put cement in, so...we're starting again.
Now, on the way up here, I mean, it is an incredible building
and it looks like it could stand here for 1,000 years,
so what went wrong?
When it was made, they were trying to use modern technology,
so they've got reinforced concrete roofs,
a bit like a multi-storey car park.
The theory was right, but in practice it didn't work.
They didn't know about expansion.
There's no expansion joints in the building,
so as the building contracts and expands
due to heat and cold, you get the sort of vertical cracks.
So with the restoration then, are you going for the same concept
but just better materials, or are you going to change the whole roof?
We've gone to a new system, which is really a sort roofing felt.
-It's done in three layers.
-But still the same idea with...?
Still the same idea and we're actually going to go
back down to Lutyens' original ash felt layers.
So when you see you say going down to that level,
does that involve taking all these off?
All this, right the way down and actually past there at some point,
so when you look up the outside of the building,
we'll go down to the window heads.
Wes's team will remove and re-lay
more than 2,000 of these granite blocks -
a huge task, but vital to save this important part
of British architectural history for future generations.
-When will it be finished, Wes? When will it be finished?
The end of 2017. As long as we have fair weather.
Well, let me give you a hand.
-I tell you what, it's pretty tough, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
You'd think... I mean, back in the '80s,
the reason you put in such tough stuff then
was because you didn't want the water to penetrate.
The idea back then was to stop the water from coming in, so...
That is rock hard!
Well, I've done about ten centimetres there, Wes.
How much further is there to go?
Well, you've got another sort of 65 to 68 kilometres to do now, so...
The restoration project here at Castle Drogo
isn't just limited to the house.
The gardens are also in need of a bit of TLC and later on,
I'm going to be down there helping out.
Just look at the view from up here. You can see for miles and miles.
What a place to take a picture of the landscape,
but then, as John will explain, that's your job.
If you're looking for beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife,
you're spoiled for choice here in the Teign Valley.
It's the perfect place to launch
this year's Countryfile photographic competition,
with its theme of Our Living Landscape.
As always, the 12 best pictures according to the judges
will grace the pages of the next Countryfile calendar,
which we sell in aid of Children In Need.
Full details of the competition are coming up later, but first,
we've sent regular judges, Chris Packham and Jo Brand,
to another lovely part of Britain
to show us how to take the perfect calendar photo.
I keep forgetting what the theme for this is.
-It's Our Living Landscape.
-Our Living Landscape?
Our Living Landscape and this is one of the greatest living landscapes
the UK has to offer, Jo - the New Forest.
-I've been visiting these trees, Jo, since 1983.
-Surely you were born in around 1983?
Right, fair enough.
But look at them. I like these trees a lot.
Look at that lovely carpet of moss running down one
and then the speckling, the freckling, of those lichens there
and the pale trunks
and all of it is covered with this rich canopy of freshly opened beech.
I was going to say, you need to get out more, but we are out, actually.
-I spend too much time out.
-Yes, you need to stay in more!
That's very boring.
Jo, look at this beauty.
It's like a perfect natural sculpture.
Henry Moore couldn't have come up with this,
this needed to be made by a beech tree and nature.
No, I do agree with you for once, it is absolutely beautiful.
They don't just have to do trees, do they?
-They can do lakes, they can do mountains...
Water is a great subject because of its reflective qualities.
You know, that would be good.
Rivers, lakes, streams, but all of the smaller stuff,
anything living in the landscape.
It's probably the winner.
Of course I'm going to be disadvantaged with a little camera
because I'm also disadvantaged with a little brain
in terms of how much I know about photography.
Next up, wildlife - always a popular calendar subject,
but what makes the perfect shot?
-We've got some fallow deer here.
They are one of the stars of the New Forest for many people
who visit to take photographs.
-You're brilliantly camouflaged today, Jo.
-Do you think so?
As long as we keep a safe distance back from them,
they will go about their business of feeding here.
Is it the rarer the animal, the better the photo? Is that...?
-Not for me.
-I mean, rarity...
It's nice to see a rare animal or to capture a rare moment
in its behaviour or something like that.
That can be interesting, but for me, particularly with a calendar photo,
it has to be beautiful enough to last 30 days on the wall.
CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS RAPIDLY
-See, when they run, you can do loads of clicks at once, can't you?
You're like the animal paparazzi.
What I can't do with this lens at the moment
is get the whole group in.
I can only get a maximum of three, four, five animals in my frame,
so if you want to set this herd of deer in the landscape,
this is something I can't do with this lens.
All right, then. I'll just take advantage of that and...
I think there is a lot I could do with this.
I could prop a door open with it and, you know,
it kind of makes a nice chunky necklace.
Jo's approach to photography is radical
and I think she's always after capturing a moment.
I think she was after making a moment today with a red top,
to be honest with you.
With landscape and wildlife under their belts,
it's time to review the morning's work
and what better way to do it than over a picnic lunch in the forest?
-And how have you got on?
-Well, I've just got through...
I'm on number 47 out of 547 and, as yet, I've not wowed. How about you?
-I seem to have eight.
You've taken eight photographs?!
-No, actually, that's all I can find at the moment.
But, weirdly, they are all brilliant.
So what do you say to that, Mr Packham?
Well, I say congratulations then, I suppose,
but I say it with an air of disbelief.
-Here is my favourite one.
-Let's have a look.
-Don't look like that!
-But what is it?
I don't know. It's like a purple thing.
But what are those twigs doing in it?
-And is that your foot in the corner?
-Is it your foot?
-It is your foot!
So, I have this year's calendar here, the one we judged last year.
If I could take a picture like that, would that be...?
That's nearly as good as that one with my foot in,
-but not quite.
-Jo, look, this one has got lots of sparkly dew.
All of these beautiful out-of-focus highlights,
which have turned into these jewels. It's a lovely photograph.
-Are you saying that's better than mine?
-It hasn't got a size...
five and a half...
-size five and a half walking boot in the corner.
Just to prove it's not all about traditional cameras,
Chris is going to spend the afternoon snapping away on a smartphone.
The final challenge is to get up close to the birdlife
at Hatchet Pond and, straightaway, Chris is in amongst it.
-I'm afraid birdlife is not my thing, no.
-Right, swan, come here.
I've got an idea. No, I've changed my mind. Look, bread.
I forgot my wellies and I've eaten my bread, so...
Swan! Eat the camera!
Please fall over.
That would be my best shot of the day,
you face down in the drink with a swan pecking the back of your head.
I think Jo has peaked. I think she has peaked.
She's almost sort of
ambling abjectly and aimlessly at the moment,
pointing her camera at random things.
I think, you know, she was
so satisfied with her photograph of the out-of-focus flower
with the big twig across the frame
and her shoe in the corner that she can't move on.
I think she thinks that she has hit the mother lode with that one.
It's the end of the day, so did Chris come up with the goods
on his smartphone or has Jo something up her sleeve?
Jo, having taken all of those photographs this morning,
this is possibly the one that's given me the most satisfaction
-and I've taken it on my smartphone.
-What more could you ask for?
-Apart from a back shot of you and a swan.
That's quite nice, isn't it?
I thought your enthusiasm was tremendous
and that's what people need to be.
So I'm saying to people, don't be like me,
don't just sit there and go, "That will do," because that's my motto.
Be like Chris and go for it and do something a bit challenging.
Chris and Jo there, showing that almost anyone can take
a photo worthy of the Countryfile calendar.
So now, it's your turn.
Later in the programme,
I will have full details about how you can enter this year's competition
plus a few more tips about the kind of things that we are looking for.
And Matt will be revealing just how much this year's calendar
has raised for Children In Need.
It's a lovely surprise.
Maybe it's something in the water.
Or this landscape -
an enchanting place rich in myth and lore...and magic.
It's easy to see why the area around Chagford in Devon
has cast a spell over some of the locals.
As soon as you set foot in this beautiful place,
it whisks you back to another age,
but the journey I am here to take is not about travelling through time,
it's about going to a different world entirely
and a magical one at that.
Around 1,500 people are lucky enough to call this parish home.
Among them, a higher than usual number of artists,
writers and musicians, most drawn here by one thing.
The last time I believed in fairies,
I was tall enough to look one in the eye,
but you don't have to spend long in these woods
to understand why even the adults think that this is a magical place.
My guide in this glen is Elizabeth-Jane Baldry,
a woman with a passion for Victorian fairy harp music.
When she's not plucking strings,
she turns her hand to fairy feature films,
using the woods around Chagford.
What makes this landscape so special, do you think?
It's such an ancient landscape here, so untouched.
There just seems to be a sense of a living, sentient spirit almost
in the landscape and you do feel it when you play.
SHE PLAYS A CHORD
-Just the sense of something.
-The perfect place for fairies.
-But fairies are something, these days,
that we tend to think of being something only children believe in.
-It wasn't always like that, was it?
-Not at all.
In Victorian times, the belief in fairies was an absolute obsession
and there were many reasons for that.
There was the whole Industrial Revolution,
so people were moving out of the countryside.
There was a nostalgia for our old folklore history.
They represented, especially for the women,
everything that the Victorian woman was not allowed to be.
But what changed?
I think, with the war, the First World War,
it was such a horrible and terrible time that the idea of fairies
couldn't hold up against such a harsh reality.
One man passionate about preserving folklore
is fairy artist, Brian Froud.
He was the conceptual designer on Hollywood film, The Dark Crystal.
This place is enchanting, but I'm looking around
and I'm seeing bluebells and moss and the brook.
How do you see fairies and goblins and trolls?
Well, they are all around you,
but I think in particular in the Teign Valley, they congregate.
They hide away here.
They like the tumbled rocks, they like the mossy trees,
they love the water.
And right in these spaces here,
you can access the fairy world really easily.
-So you genuinely believe in fairies?
I couldn't do what I do without really believing in fairies.
But they are the spirits of nature.
They are the hidden aspects of nature.
So when you look at a tree, there's a life to it.
Now, you can just say it's biology,
but when you look at a tree,
especially as an artist, you feel something about a tree.
And when I draw fairies, a tree fairy,
it's about my feeling about a tree.
Can you appreciate that there must be people who think, "What?
"Fairies in the forest? That's bonkers!"
Um... well, you might think it is,
but I say to people you can go through life not believing.
Now just for one moment, just imagine that fairies are real. How do you feel?
Everybody goes "Ah!"
It's much better to live in a world that is ensouled,
that everything you're looking at is a life to it.
And that is what nature really is. It has life.
And what I do is give it a face.
Every time you talk about what you do,
you have a huge smile across your face. Not a lot of people have that.
I don't know why I'm doing this job, but I am drawn to it.
I have to do it. This is my passion.
You'd better watch out for that one behind you. He's sitting just behind you.
You see, I can't help it, because I have to now look.
Well, Brian is obviously a natural.
But finding fairies isn't easy for a novice like me.
Maybe I'll have more luck
on the set of Elizabeth Jane's next fairy film.
And these days you get an incredible range of people.
Well, we recently did a feature film of a 12th-century fairy tale
and it had over 200 local people involved.
We've got an Oscar winner, a BAFTA winner, all giving their time
because they believe in fairies.
-You're quite a slick operation these days.
-Yes, we're quite slick.
We almost know what we're doing now.
Well, I can't say that I do know what I'm doing
but I would like to give it a go.
-I think you should. I think you should.
-Can I call "action"? Let's go.
'This is Skelton's take on a scene
'from the tale of a girl whisked away by the fairies.'
Right. Is everybody ready?
Evie, look gorgeous. It's not difficult for her.
Everyone, think like a fairy. OK?
We give your sister rest. Far from the world of men.
She will never know grief or old age. Is anything better?
You shall never know.
-Cut! Well done.
-Well done, everyone!
They were absolutely brilliant.
I don't think I'll be booking my tickets to Cannes, but they should.
-Thank you so much.
'Well, this magical town and those who live here,
'human or otherwise, have certainly won me over.'
Down on a rather soggy Adam's Farm,
it's the younger animals that are demanding all of his attention.
In April, I collected four of my wild rare breed Exmoor foals
from an equine college in Cheshire.
They had spent several weeks there being trained.
Now they're settled back into life on the farm but their training isn't over yet.
If it wasn't for the rain, this would be a lovely job.
Students at Reaseheath College made a great job with these ponies.
They were wild when we first took them there.
And now we can get a halter on them,
we can walk them and it's really important that we keep that going
because we need these ponies to be handlable, to be sold on
for people to use as riding ponies or pets, and it'll be a couple of years
before you can put a saddle on one if you wanted to ride them.
And they are great at conservation grazing,
where the rough pasture needs to be kept down for the wild flowers to grow.
Because the Exmoor is so tough,
it can really survive outdoors anywhere in the UK.
I just adore them as a breed.
Tony and I will keep up the halter training with my Exmoors
over the coming weeks.
But there's one little fellow who's got
a bit of a wait before his first lesson.
And there it is - a newborn Exmoor foal. It's really sweet.
She gave birth to it out in the field here.
They are such a hardy, primitive breed that they just give birth
perfectly happily by themselves. Usually at night, actually.
I've very rarely seen one give birth. That's a colt. A little male.
So we'll keep it on its mother during the summer
and then wean it in the late autumn and hopefully,
it'll go on to be a lovely little riding pony for somebody.
For this time of year, it's unusually cold and wet.
Although we have a shelter out in the fields,
it's still far too miserable for this soggy day-old donkey and his mum.
'So I'm bringing them indoors.'
Go to your mummy.
There's a good boy. There he is.
There he is.
The Exmoors can survive out in really wet, cold conditions,
even the foals.
But donkeys originate from hot countries
and their coats aren't waterproof.
With the Exmoors, they have a guard hair that the rain just runs off
but the donkey coat seems to absorb the water.
So this little donkey foal in this rain,
and it has really turned cold, could die of pneumonia.
So I'm just into grab a towel and rub it dry. Here we are.
Now, little one. Just dry it off a bit.
It will have a drink from its mum in a minute.
Warm itself up, get some milk inside its tummy. Is this all right?
And the other jenny, the other female,
is due to give birth quite soon.
So we really want her to be in the warm as well.
If she gave birth out in the cold tonight,
the chances are the foal would die.
So it's good to get them in.
There are babies all over the farm.
The ewes have all finished lambing,
and because the grass has grown so well, so have my lambs.
But we still have to keep a close eye on them just in case.
We check around the stock on the farm at least once a day
and with the sheep, when I'm driving around, I want to get them
all up on their feet to make sure they're not lame.
One thing we've noticed recently is that the ewes are getting very mucky,
and Dave, who works with the livestock,
has got a flock of sheep into the handling pens to sort them out.
All these ewes have been feeding on lush grass out in the fields
and because of that, their muck has become quite loose
and has stuck to their wool, which can cause problems.
So if I just grab one, I'll show you what's happened.
So here on the back end of the sheep, you can see
the muck is now stuck to her.
And what happens at this time of year,
the blow flies are about and they will be attracted to the muck,
they will lay their eggs in the muck that will
hatch into maggots that then eat the flesh of the sheep.
Just absolutely horrible.
And also, we're not far off shearing,
and we don't want all this muck in amongst the wool
when we're shearing so it's a good thing to do for that as well.
Dave's got the ewes in a head yoke here to hold them nice and still.
And he is using the shearing machine to clip the wool off round
their back end so he's going down one leg, around the tail
and down the other leg and a little bit underneath.
He has to be quite careful not to cut the sheep. The shears are very sharp.
You don't want to get your fingers in the way either.
Some of the long-wool breeds like the Cotswold and the white-faced Dartmoor here
have got such a lot of long wool
that the muck sticks to it really easily and makes this crutching job a lot more difficult.
Come on! Come on!
Go on then, little lamb. Well, that's that flock of 95 done.
Only about another 600 to go.
In the meantime, it's back to another one of my new arrivals.
This time, it's a lovely little highland calf, fathered by Eric.
All of Eric's wives have given birth now,
so we've got five little calves on the ground
and the last one born was that very pale blonde-coloured calf.
Quite unusual because its mother is the sort of typical reddy- ginger colour of the Highland.
And I got Robin Chilton out from the Highland Cattle Society
because one of the calves born a fortnight ago was that
little one over there just walking away,
a sort of silvery colour when he was born,
and Robin explains to me that we get a huge array of colours
in the Highland breed,
right through from almost white to very blonde and then the red
and the dun-colour like this cow here,
a sort of chocolaty colour, right through to black.
And the silvery calf that was born
is going a bit of a cafe creme sort of dun colour now.
And he's not as unusual as I first thought.
But I was so struck by him
that I asked you to send in your suggestions for a name.
They only condition was that the name had to start with the letter N.
And incredibly, more than 11,000 of you suggested names,
so thank you very much to each and every one of you.
We had some interesting ones like Neul, which is Gaelic for cloud,
Norvin, which is old English for friend from the North,
some funny ones like Nicky-Nacky-Noo, Nadam and Neric,
and then some very popular ones like Noah, Neptune.
Nickel was very popular because of the colour of the calf.
And then one that a lot of people like
and I like too is the name Nevis because of Ben Nevis,
that mountain that reaches right up in the clouds near Fort William.
And hopefully, that little calf
will grew into a mountain of a bull one day.
Next week, I've got an unexpected arrival on the farm
and Crackers, the Belted Galloway bull, is to blame.
It might be cloudy over Adam's farm in the Cotswolds,
but here in Devon, the weather is wonderful.
Perfect for taking pictures.
Everywhere you look in the Teign Valley, there are perfect pictures.
Ideal subjects for this year's Countryfile photographic competition,
with its theme of "Our living landscape".
This year, we want pictures that capture the beauty of the British
countryside and all the living things within it.
And there's plenty to choose from.
Wherever you are in the country,
you're never far from a wonderful view.
The golden hours around dusk and dawn
are great times for taking photos but even in the middle of the day,
you just can't go wrong with a place like this.
But we don't just want landscapes. The countryside has such diversity.
You might enjoy the challenge of photographing wildlife
in its natural habitat,
or maybe just the simplicity of picturing plants and trees.
And don't forget, when you're out with your camera,
that much of our countryside is actually a workplace.
So we'd like lots of pictures of people and animals on farms,
in forests, wherever humans have made their mark.
From all your entries, the best 12 photographs selected by our judges
will take pride of place
in the Countryfile calendar for 2014, one for each month.
As always, Countryfile viewers will vote for the overall winner,
who will get to choose photographic equipment to the value of £1,000.
And whoever takes the picture that the judges like best
will get to choose photographic equipment worth £500.
The competition is not open to professionals and because we want
all the entries to be original, they mustn't have won any other competition.
You can send in up to four photographs
and they must have been taken in the UK.
Please, please, let us have hard copies,
not pictures e-mailed or on computer files.
Write your name, address and daytime
and evening phone number on the back of each photo,
with a note of where it was taken, then send your entries to:
Full terms and conditions are on our website,
where there are also details
of the BBC's code of conduct for competitions.
Now, the closing date is Friday, July 26.
I'm sorry, but we can't return any entries.
Whatever you decide to photograph, make sure you do it responsibly.
Follow the countryside code
and take care not to disturb any animals or damage the environment.
And please, be careful not to send in the wrong photos.
Quite a lot of people do every year and often,
we get what seem to be treasured old family photographs,
nothing to do with a photographic competition about the countryside.
For instance, I wonder who this is, he or she?
I think it's a she but if you recognise this person, this little child,
let us know. And this is, according to the back, David and Christopher.
A clue might be they live somewhere near Macclesfield,
if anybody knows who they are, let us know.
'If you can help us track down where these mystery photos
'came from, then please get in touch through the website.
'We'll put the pictures there too.'
In a moment, Matt will be revealing just how much this year's
Countryfile calendar raised for Children In Need
and it's a truly astonishing total.
But before that, if you are going to be out and about
in the countryside with your camera in the week ahead,
you'll want to know what the weather will be like.
So here is the Countryfile forecast.
In the Teign Valley in Devon,
our British weather has been a real problem for Castle Drogo.
And it's a challenge in the gardens too.
But it didn't stop the original owner, Julius Drewe,
having a sense of humour.
Not all of the buildings on the estate are built to a grand scale
and are terribly imposing. What about this?
Built for the children of Castle Drogo.
It's only got one room inside and as it looks like rain,
I think I might take shelter.
I hope there's no problem with this roof.
Elsewhere in the gardens, there's serious work underway.
The architect of the house, Edwin Lutyens,
also laid out designs for a thoroughly modern early 20th-century garden.
Today, head gardener John Rippin is trying to reinstate Lutyens' plan.
John, this looks like a lovely cosy, comfy section of the garden.
-Yes. You wouldn't imagine you're in the middle of Dartmoor.
And here you have to make the most of it because there is a very
brief moment when these flowers are looking pristine.
They're all orchestrated to flower at this one period of time.
In the 1920s, azaleas were at the height of fashion.
They were just coming from China and northern India.
-Really bright, garish. Really blew people away.
-Look at the garish pink.
I mean, this really is something special, isn't it?
I'm not normally one for those kind of bright colours
but just for a couple of weeks, it's quite cheerful, isn't it? Spectacular.
These shrubs in the informal area are the actual ones
planted for Julius Drewe almost 100 years ago.
'Further down the garden, we're into more structured space,
'which has needed more restoration.'
This part is very different.
This obviously, then, the formal section.
Starting to get really formal.
You can see the architecture, the geometry,
different levels like a giant stage set.
-Is the idea for you, then, to try and stick to the original plan as much as possible?
When I came here, I was really looking forward to putting
some new designs in - it's a modern, fairly modern garden, 1920s.
but after some research, we found actually it's a really rare 1920s garden.
In the 1920s, there were still people who had the grand vision to create
gardens like this. As soon as it was built, that was it.
The period finished, the style moved on to a more modern style
and this was left on the strand line as something from a previous bygone age, almost.
And obviously comes with its challenges, John.
-I mean, gardening on the edge of Dartmoor.
We're actually in quite a microclimate here.
If you look at the trees swaying around,
you go beyond the shelter belt, it's wild. You'll get knocked over.
So we have a microclimate. We can attempt to grow plants here.
Possibly the most ridiculous place on Earth to have a formal English garden.
But it works.
Well, gardening the edge takes a small army. So maybe I can help.
You know what they say. Many Matts make light work.
Right, lads. That'll do.
I've done my bit towards this massive restoration project.
The rest is up to the National Trust.
Well, that is almost it from the Teign Valley.
But as we have just launched this year's Countryfile
photographic competition, let's find out how much money
last year's calendar raised for Children In Need.
So, the best 12 photos from last summer's competition made up
the 2013 calendar and 320,000 of you went out and bought one,
raising the incredibly grand total of:
It is a fantastic total that'll make a huge difference
to the lives of so many children in need.
So thanks to each and every one of you who bought one.
Next week, we are going to be in North Wales at Woodfest,
which celebrates traditional lumberjack skills.
I think I might need my checked shirt for that one.
Hope you can join us then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The Countryfile team launch their annual photographic competition. The theme is 'Our Living Landscape', with the 12 best photographs making up the 2014 calendar, which will be sold in aid of Children in Need. Chris Packham and Jo Brand are on hand with some top tips, and John Craven has all the details on how to enter.
The rest of the team are in the Teign Valley in Devon. Matt Baker is at Castle Drogo, the last castle to be built in England, which is about to undergo one of the National Trust's biggest ever restoration projects.
John Craven finds out about a community farming scheme called Chagfood. Katie Knapman explores the river Teign and sees if a project to clean up the water is having any effect, and Helen Skelton explores the mystical and magical side of the area. It has inspired artists, musicians and film makers, but will it have any effect on Helen?