The Countryfile team is in the Lake District, looking in detail at some of the locations featured in the opening titles of the programme.
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The glorious Lake District.
It's a landscape that has a little bit of everything. Sandy beaches...
and crystal-clear tarns.
Which is why we chose it as the perfect place
to film our opening titles.
Now, lots of you have been getting in contact to ask us
exactly where we shot them. So today, I'll be revealing all.
The Lake District is an endless source of inspiration, not only
for us programme-makers, but for poets, artists and writers, too.
We've all heard of Wordsworth and Turner but the big surprise is that
the grandfather of pop art spent the end of his creative life here.
His influence has been huge
but the chances are, you won't even know his name.
Tom's over on the east coast.
The British Isles has taken a battering from the sea
in the last couple of months, chewing up cliffs,
spitting out hard concrete defences, and pulverising some caravans
up here, so should we be doing more to defend our islands from the sea?
I'll be investigating.
And Adam's going to have to dig deep to afford this mighty beast.
This is certainly the biggest bull I've ever held on a halter
and he's rather special. He holds the title as
the most expensive Charolais bull in the world.
And you'll never guess what he sold for.
One of the most common questions that we get asked on Countryfile is
where are those places that feature in our new opening title sequence?
Well, we needed somewhere that bottles
the best of the British countryside.
Somewhere with outstanding natural beauty
that you'll never get bored of watching.
So, it's little wonder that we chose the Lake District.
It's just a good job we filmed them in the summer.
Impressive peaks, pristine tarns,
glacial valleys carved out over millions of years.
When it comes to natural assets, our most popular National Park by far
is endowed with an embarrassment of riches.
But where are the Lake District's stunning secret spots that we
just couldn't leave out of our opening titles?
And who are the people lucky enough to call them home?
It's time to spill the beans
and I'm starting in the Park's extreme south-west
where fell meets sea.
Now, a beach isn't the first thing that springs to mind
when you think about the Lake District
but there's actually 26km of coastline within the National Park.
Now, this stretch may not be that recognisable to you, that is,
unless you're here when this happens.
Recognise it now?
Back in the summer, we flew overhead to capture the spectacle
of the Murthwaite Green horse-riders on Silecroft Beach.
The horses and their riders that were filmed for our titles all come
from a family-run trekking centre just up the road from the sea.
And at low tide,
Silecroft Beach becomes the stomping ground
for Cath Wrigley and her team,
whether for teaching beginners or for the staff to let off some steam.
Well, let's meet the horsepower, shall we, behind the opening titles,
and as you can see, they're all horse ladies.
-Very good morning to you all. So what's your name?
-My name's Lynette.
-You're Lynette and this is...?
-Emma and Joe.
-Emma and Joe. Very good.
-You're obviously Cath, you've got Tom there as well.
-Vicky and Basil.
-Vicky and Basil, good.
And, hello, my dear, what's your name?
-Hello. I'm Sal and this is Stanley.
-And this is Stanley? Good, well...
I mean, the tragedy is that you all actually didn't make
the opening titles, did you?
I'll play this through now. Look in, horses.
There we are. So here's the helicopter, look, swooping down.
There's two horses there. Now, who's this at the back?
-We can see here...Basil.
-Basil wasn't quite fast enough.
He hadn't had his Weetabix that morning.
Falling behind meant that Basil missed
the cut for the finished sequence.
He tries, doesn't he? He tries.
He puts his all into everything, does Basil.
I think he was secretly a bit disappointed.
Yeah, he looks a bit down in the mouth.
Well, listen, while I'm here I would love a ride.
To make sure that Basil does get on, how about I ride you, mate, eh?
We're sure he'd love that.
Then you can tell all your friends that you've done it. Yeah?
Shall we do it?
There's a good reason why Basil here was lagging behind the rest
of the pack. He is a Cumbrian fell pony and back in the day,
huge trains of these horses would have carried heavy loads
of wool, iron ore all across these hills, mountains
and the fells of the Lake District
to the cities beyond, so, to be honest, I mean, galloping through
the waves, it's all a bit too telly for Basil, isn't it, my friend?
Right. Coming up, son.
Come on, then, bonny lad.
Right, Basil. It's your second chance for glory.
Just keep up with the others this time.
Right, come on, we're in the lead, son.
We're in the lead.
Steady, go on.
Good lad. We hit a stone! Come on, we've still got them, Basil.
We've still got them, Baz. We've got them, Basil, go on.
Come on, Basil. Good boy.
Good effort, Basil. I think you've redeemed yourself.
Later on, we're going to be lifting the lid on some of the other
Lakeland locations that we filmed for our titles.
It's pretty calm out here today but at the height of the winter storms,
you'd have been pretty reckless to take a ride out there.
With huge waves causing flooding and damage all along the British
coastline, should our shores have been better defended?
Last December, the east coast saw damage
and flooding from Scotland to Kent.
Then, in January, it was the turn of the west which saw high winds,
massive waves and a deluge of rain.
Winter storm Hercules.
An appropriate name for a tempest that shredded parts of our coastline,
had no problem tearing up tarmac or ripping holes in sea defences.
In places, it's redrawn the map.
All in all, it reminds us of the awesome power of the sea.
Some of the most dramatic damage was at Spurn Point, a delicate
spit of land at the mouth of the Humber.
3.5 miles long and only 60 yards wide in places,
famous for its wildlife reserve, this narrow peninsula
has stayed pretty much the same for generations.
But on the night of December 5, all that changed.
They had the highest tidal surge for 60 years
and right here, it punched a small hole in the dune system
and then, a little bit further on, it wasn't just a small hole.
This is the most easterly part of Yorkshire,
completely exposed to the North Sea.
When the tidal surge came, it broke through where this spit of land
was thinnest, separating Spurn Point from the mainland.
Well, Andrew, this is quite literally the end of the road here, isn't it?
-It is, it is. Good morning, Tom.
-Nice to see you.
-So, how have things changed here?
-Well, the dune has gone.
There was almost a continuous dune bank, shall we call it,
along the upper beach, and that has disappeared.
So, where I can see the grass and stuff coming to an end, there,
that used to run pretty much all the way along here to
-hundreds of metres up there.
-Yes, and all the shingle,
debris, bits of remnant, military concrete and everything has gone.
The road that was on the estuary side has gone,
that's totally disappeared.
In a matter of hours, the sea swept away the defensive dunes and man-made
infrastructure, casually dropping them on the other side of the spit
and leaving behind little more than a wasteland.
And now, at some tides, will this be flooded? Will the sea be over here?
-So, what was a sort of full-time peninsula has now,
occasionally at least, become an island up the end there.
You can say that, yes.
It's now a totally different place from what it was
for the last 60 years.
This part of Spurn Point was protected by banks of sand dunes.
Until the 1950s, the defences here also consisted of stone
and timber walls.
This winter, that kind of hard protection,
as well as metal barriers like those on the Thames or Humber,
prevented thousands of homes from flooding.
But in other places, sea walls struggled.
In towns as far apart as Aberystwyth and Scarborough, the water got
through when defences were breached or damaged.
And in Bridlington, the harbour walls were swamped
and businesses were flooded.
So, what was it like here, Chris?
Yeah, well these were the harbour offices
and it was just at this point where the water came to.
Chris Wright, chairman of the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners
had a night he'll never forget.
So, what was it like at the height of the storm?
Walking along here, this jetty is called the chicken run.
There was about two-and-a-half, three feet of water on here.
-Right up here, we would have been up to our middles?
The boats were coming over and so, people were on here up to their
waists in water, pushing the boats off, waiting for the tide to ebb.
And what about the properties and shops on the side there?
Yes, those shops at the north side of the harbour, there was
approximately four feet of water in there.
And of course the warehouses at the end of the pier here,
they were all flooded. It was quite an experience.
Bridlington's sea defences are now being upgraded at a cost
of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Fighting off the waves in this way, with traditional hard walls
and barriers, has been the defence of choice for hundreds of years,
whether they're made from timber, rock, concrete
or, more recently, metal.
But is pouring millions of pounds into hard defences
around the British coast really the way forward?
Tim Collins is from Natural England, which has been
looking at the best ways to protect our coastline in the years to come.
For him, hard defences are not the automatic choice they once were.
I'm meeting him at a beach where the evidence of the sea's power
If hard defences work when they're well maintained,
why don't we build more of them?
Well, we can build them
but they're actually extremely expensive, so if you build more
you're going to have to spend more money on maintaining them.
Predictions for climate change suggest that
larger, bigger storms are actually going to become more frequent
in the future, so going forward to, say, 2050, 2060,
the sort of storm events
that we had in December could be re-occurring every 10 or 20 years.
And that means that slightly smaller ones will be occurring
even more rapidly than that.
So that potentially poses some really big challenges for us
as we make decisions about how to manage the coast.
But if we don't surround vulnerable coastline with rocks
and concrete, how do we defend our islands from the sea?
For bodies like Natural England, the Environment Agency
and the National Trust, there is another away
and I'll be finding out more about that later in the programme.
The raw, rugged beauty of the Lake District has been
an inspiration to artists and poets for centuries.
Wordsworth, Ruskin, Turner. They've all found it here.
Even Kurt Schwitters.
The name Kurt Schwitters may not be that familiar, but to many,
he's one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
He's often described as the godfather of pop art.
His influence is still felt today.
And he worked right here in Ambleside. He's famous the world
over, but here in Britain, where he ended his days, he's almost unknown.
Schwitters made art from the things he found.
The Lake District landscape was not just his inspiration,
but the source of his materials, too.
To see his work for myself, I've come to Ambleside's Armitt Museum,
where works like this one called Wood On Wood are on display.
It's an incredible picture, isn't it, Deborah?
-Is that Wood On Wood typical of Schwitters' work?
-It is indeed.
It's very typical. Nature was very important to him.
He believed that no artist could create
from pure fantasy alone.
-You know, he had to immerse himself in nature...
..to sort of refresh his spirit and his vision.
And I think with Wood On Wood, you can see that it's a very
strong response to this landscape.
Was he one of the first to do this? Was it quite innovative?
It was innovative.
You know, Picasso had worked in collage before
but he started experimenting with the idea of the wood collage
in the 1920s and then from that, onto the use of found objects.
You know, the detritus of daily life.
Schwitters was born in Germany in 1887.
To escape persecution from the Nazis, he fled first to Norway
and then to England. He arrived in 1940, penniless and unknown.
Remarkably, there are people who remember Schwitters in Ambleside.
One of the last still alive is 95-year-old Jo Clarke.
First time I met Kurt Schwitters was more road less on this spot here.
Oh, right, just where we are standing now?
Yes, because this was a bus station in those days.
And this particular day, I was late for the bus, so I was running.
And a plane was going overhead.
I looked up, and Kurt Schwitters was doing his usual thing
by looking in all the gutters and on the floor for bits of paper
and bottle tops,
and we collided rather heavily. And as our faces crossed,
he laughed at me, and I couldn't help but laugh back.
-You couldn't not be friends after that, could you?
What an incredible way to meet. And so you did stay in contact?
It wasn't just that one collision?
Well, his next words were to me, "Have you got anything to eat?"
Next Saturday morning, as I got off the bus, he was there.
"Have you anything to eat?"
To make ends meet,
the starving artist painted local scenes like this one,
the Bridge House, where he sold those paintings too.
He would put them on the steps on Saturdays and Sundays
and he soon realised that his best trade was a local trade,
and that if he sketched a cottage, somebody would go
and knock at the door and say,
"Kurt Schwitters has got your cottage for sale."
They would start off at about two-and-sixpence
-in the morning, on Saturday.
-By Sunday night, you could usually get it for sixpence.
-Oh, my word.
-Did you ever buy any?
-No, I didn't,
because I didn't think he was any good at being a landscape painter.
-I liked his collages.
-And of course, he wouldn't sell them.
-They were very personal to him.
Schwitters' work kick-started the whole pop art movement of the '60s
and continues to inspire modern artists.
Renowned painter and designer Russell Mills is one of them.
He has designed album covers for rock acts
ranging from Brian Eno to Nine Inch Nails.
But it's in his artwork that you see
the clearest influence of Kurt Schwitters.
He's always there in the background, so to speak.
He opened up the idea of being able to use anything
and everything in art. He didn't see any separation between life and art.
So the everyday became as important as anything else in work.
And that opened up, I think, the whole...
what we now know as modernism.
So why did Schwitters come to a landscape like this?
Partly because it reminded him so much of Norway,
where he had spent many years working and escaping the Nazis.
Why is it do you think that he is so little known in this country?
He worked in so many different areas.
So you can't really pin him down, as we like to do in this country.
-We seem to like to put people into pigeonholes.
Schwitters didn't see any difference between doing a landscape painting
and doing an abstract piece of work.
He saw them both as important.
And I think that's one of the reasons we find it difficult.
And I don't think anyone has really looked at the fact that his work,
the kind of DNA of his work, is just everywhere, all the time.
We wouldn't have the art world that we have today. I don't think
we would have the film world we have today,
without the work that Schwitters had done.
Schwitters was convinced that one day, his work could be understood
and valued for what it was.
He said, "I know for sure that a great day will come for myself
"and for other important individuals
"of the abstract movement,
"when we shall influence a whole generation."
But he went on, "Only I fear
"that I personally will not live to see that day."
He was right.
Kurt Schwitters was the odd man out of 20th-century art.
But he drew solace and inspiration from these fells.
They shaped his work and ensured his legacy.
The stunning scenery of the Lake District has not only beguiled
some of the world's greatest artists.
It also proved an irresistible choice
for Countryfile's opening titles.
Since we're in the business of letting the cat out of the bag,
most of the opening title sequence
was shot right here in this very valley.
The Langdale Valley in the South Lakes is a joy to behold.
But for many who come here,
it's not just the views that take their breath away.
If you are up for a challenge,
the Langdale Valley has some of the best climbing in the UK.
With classic routes ranging from dead easy to downright insane,
there's a summit to be bagged for everyone.
But to climb here is to follow in one man's footsteps.
I'm meeting Bill Birkett at the Old Dungeon Ghyll,
a famous climbers' haunt at the foot of the Langdale Pikes.
'Round these parts, his family are legends.'
Now, if there's one name worth dropping round here,
it's definitely Birkett, isn't it?
I mean, it's fair to say climbing in this area owes a lot
-to your family, doesn't it?
-Yes, I guess so.
Up to Dad starting, it was kind of a sport for the elite, you know.
Obviously, people who could afford the leisure time
and money to stay up here, and he was kind of the first
from a working-class background, a local climber,
you know, a guy who worked in the quarries and loved the fells so much
that he started climbing, and it just went on from there.
Born in 1914, Bill's Dad, Robert James Birkett, known as Jim,
blazed a trail through these fells in the '30s and '40s, forging
new routes up fell and over crag
that others had never imagined possible.
His fitness and immense finger strength
were honed splitting slate in the quarries
but it was his courage that was all the more impressive.
When he was climbing, what sort of kit was he using?
Well, very limited. This is the kind of rope that he used.
This is just a hemp rope,
and actually, very heavy and very inflexible and very weak.
And the actual protection, you know,
the things that now we place in the rock, like these,
there was nothing like that at all.
No harnesses, no carabiners, nothing like that.
He would just be throwing these ropes...
You would just tie this rope around your waist and that's it.
He just set of and he never, ever fell off because if you did fall,
that was the end of the story.
How much did your dad talk to you about his climbing?
Well, I started climbing with a friend from school, Ronnie Black,
when I was 14, and my mum said, "Oh, your dad has done a bit of climbing.
"Look at those guidebooks over on the shelf."
So I picked the Scafell Guide up and looked through the routes.
And at the back, there is a list of first ascents.
I just couldn't believe it.
There was page after page of RJ Birkett, my dad.
I thought "Blimey." I was quite annoyed.
All this time and I didn't even know he was a climber.
-So you had no idea until you saw it in print?
He had never mentioned it.
A chip off the old block.
Bill was one of the greatest
but most understated climbers of the '80s,
while his nephew, Jim's grandson Dave Birkett, is considered
among the best in the world.
So many of the Lake District's most famous climbing routes
were put down by the Birkett family and with today's safety equipment,
it means mere mortals can repeat them.
This is Scout Crag.
It's a relatively easy climb by the standards of the area
but it's not just any old crag.
This is the one that is being climbed in the opening titles
and, well, seeing as I'm here, it would be
remiss of me not to give it a go. When in Rome, and all that.
'Joe Harrop is a mountain guide, based in the Langdale Valley.
'He also helped us choose some of the key locations for our titles.'
-OK. So I am just going to get myself set.
So just keep yourself against the rock while I get you on belay.
When you did this for the titles,
-the weather was quite different, wasn't it?
-It was, yes.
It was actually one of the hottest days of the summer last year.
So yes, it is a wee bit different today.
Not that I'm competitive at all!
OK, so you are going to start climbing.
There are quite big handholds on this. That's right. Nice and easy.
Look for your holds as you're moving.
'Scout Crag is rated V. Diff,
'which actually isn't meant to be too challenging.'
Now where am I going?
You are going to try and stand up onto that left foot onto the ledge.
There you go. Try and keep your weight in against the rock.
I'm a bit stuck.
-I might be about to fall.
-That's OK. You are on a tight line.
Use your balance... There we go.
'Thank goodness for safety harnesses!
'With Bill having made his way up to see me,
'I was determined not to let Scout Crag get the better of me.'
Once you have passed this bulge, everything will be fine.
If you are going to step over onto there,
make sure you have got a good hand hold.
There you go.
Good. Well done. That is the crux of the climb.
It's probably not what I'm meant to be thinking about right now
but it is stunning from up here, isn't it?
'There really is no better way to see this landscape.
'Having made the climb,
'we repositioned ourselves to get the shot in the titles.'
That bit is quite steep, isn't it?
-Thank you very much.
I don't feel quite as glamorous as the woman in the titles, but...
-..what do you reckon, Bill?
-Well done. Very nice.
-Will you make a Birkett of me yet?
-Yes, your first climb in Langdale.
It is all to go at now.
I'd say the Birkett family's spirit of adventure
is alive and well in these beautiful fells.
Earlier, Tom discovered how the recent storms have tested
even the hardiest of our coastal defences.
But with the Environment Agency warning there is no
bottomless purse, how can we protect our islands from the sea?
This winter's storms were so ferocious that in places,
our coastline was under siege
and man-made defences struggled to fend off the sea.
While budgets shrink, storms appear to be growing in both
severity and frequency.
On top of that you've got tidal surges, so what is the best
and most realistic way of defending our coastline?
Over recent years, the Environment Agency has overseen a move
away from hard, man-made defences to what are known as soft defences,
which seek to yield to nature rather than defy it,
like this one on the north bank of the Humber Estuary.
Innes Thomson is the Agency's flood and coastal risk manager.
This is the hill that protected Humberside.
This is basically us coming up
and we now have the Humber stretching both east and west.
It looks pretty calm here today,
but give me a feeling of what this is actually doing.
Well, one of the real marks that you can actually see down here is
actually where the water came to on December 5th,
and behind us you can see just how low the land is and where that water
would've gone had that embankment not been here.
How have the defences actually changed recently?
What we've done, back in 2003, that was the original line of the
defence, running along there, and you can see there is a break in it.
That break was actually created
to allow the water in the Humber Estuary
to flow into this area. Before that, this was farmland,
and that then allows more space for the water in the Humber Estuary
to actually come onto this area of land.
Do you feel the fields and villages here are better protected
because you've got this sort of buffer zone?
The economic argument is very simple in that we are saying to people,
"Feel comfortable that you now have a very robust flood defence here
"instead of a much weaker flood defence that was out there."
So, yes, there's a little bit of land that's had to be
compromised, if I can put it that way, for a far greater amount
of land that actually will be good for the next 50 to 100 years.
This week, the Environment Agency's chairman Lord Smith said
flooding would force us to make difficult choices.
Losing farmland to protect homes is an example.
But soft defences which sacrifice land
so that controlled flooding can zap the sea's power
are now the Agency's solution of choice on rural coastlines.
Realigning your wall inland
and letting the soft defences take more of the strain may be cheap
and effective, but what about if your house
and your land are right next to the sea?
East Yorkshire's Holderness Coast
has one of Europe's fastest eroding coastlines.
It is disappearing at the rate of more than 2 metres a year,
a frightening statistic for the residents of Skipsea who live
right next to the sea.
Here, there is no room for soft defences, and hard defences
are just too expensive for any official body to pay for.
One of those threatened residents is Janet Ellis.
-So, this is your somewhat shrunken garden.
-It certainly is.
-What did it used to be like?
-It used to be beautiful.
-And how big?
Twice the size as what I've got now.
And then beyond that, there was a road,
which I used to drive my car in to the driveway
and then beyond the road, there was enough greenery,
as big as my garden, which I have lost to the sea.
What do you think when people say in places like this,
we can't hold back the sea, we've got to give it its freedom?
I know it is nature but they have known about the erosion,
they've known it for years and years and years,
and surely they shouldn't build houses.
They shouldn't build houses
if they know they are going to go in the sea!
So what do the council or others say when you ask,
-"Can you protect my house, please?"
-No. They say no.
There is no funding, there is no compensation and yet
they have passed all the planning, everything, for these bungalows
to go up and they should be held responsible for all this, not me.
If and when your house goes and you have to move,
-what will you do? Where will you go?
-Would you like me to say?
Right. I'll move to 10 Downing Street
and I'll sit outside there and see whether there's a room vacant
for me and my son, see if he likes it.
That's what I'll do.
With no plans to defend this stretch of coastline,
it's now just a matter of time before Janet's home is swallowed by the sea.
So, do we have to accept that some parts of our coasts simply
can't be saved?
Natural England is one of many bodies predicting some difficult
decisions in the future,
not just over coastal communities,
but also when it comes to wildlife and farmland.
We need to recognise that what has happened here is completely
indicative of climate change
and we're going to face very similar problems again in the future.
So, should we just let the sea run free
and take as much land as it wants?
Not everywhere. There's places that it's important to protect,
but in some places, we need to recognise
that the cost of repairing the defences
is actually going to be unsustainable.
Will that strategic approach mean we just protect our towns and cities,
and they end up like islands and the sea washes around us?
No, no. There's important bits of farmland that we do need to protect
because they are the bread basket of the country.
It won't be appropriate, but in places,
adaptation is going to be necessary.
Defences will become more expensive to maintain. We're faced with
rising sea levels - there is some really big challenges to face up to.
And that won't be easy.
But changing circumstances may force us to adapt our behaviour,
our thinking and our expectations.
The debris of our attempts to hold back the sea is all around me.
In fact, in Roman times, this coastline used to be about 3.5 miles
off there, about where the stubs of those wind turbines are.
So, in the long term, the march of the sea is pretty much unstoppable
and climate change may be hastening its step.
The question for us today is, what do we want to protect
and how much money are we prepared to spend to delay the inevitable?
Those words were by William Wordsworth,
one of our very greatest poets, and the scene he was describing
was right here, the Langdale Valley in the heart of the Lake District.
The poem is called The Excursion.
It was first published exactly 200 years ago and tells the tale of
four characters and the conversations they had walking in this landscape.
Jeff Cowton, one of the country's leading Wordsworth experts,
is going to tell me more.
-Jeff, it is good to see you.
-Now, that is such a glorious view, isn't it?
-Isn't that a great view?
The Langdale Pikes across there and then to our right here,
Lingmoor Fell, where in the poem, The Excursion,
this is where the Poet and the Wanderer come down
off the top of the fell, they come to the cottage there.
-That one just there?
-That little white cottage there.
After that, they come across, across the tarn,
and then to this area across here where the trees are,
and that's where they have big deliberations.
So, the landscape is very real in the story?
The landscape is absolutely central.
This is the heart of the Lakes.
It is a little area which is self-sufficient, it's peaceful,
it's miles from other settlements,
so the place itself is absolutely spot on.
Would he have come up here for inspiration in this weather?
-I don't know about weather like this.
-Surely you wouldn't.
Maybe not, but he did walk. Walking was a part of their everyday life,
William and his sister Dorothy. It was a way of being with nature
and on their walks they would stop and they would look
and they would lie down and if you think about it, lying on your back
in the landscape is about as close to the earth as you can get.
Absolutely. I guess he's associated a lot with Grasmere and Rydal,
and not necessarily so much with these valleys, but yet here he was.
But he knew them. He grew up here.
He spent his childhood here, he returned at the age of 29
and this was what he always called his native mountains.
This was him, this was where Wordsworth was rooted,
this was where he was at one with nature.
Wordsworth was a master of his craft,
but the words to The Excursion did not come easily.
It took him 17 years to write.
'Here at the Wordsworth Trust's library,
'I am about to get a rare glimpse of the great man's working methods.'
So, you have Wordsworth's actual handwriting for The Excursion here?
If we look at this example here, which is a stunning piece, isn't it?
-Wow! Very fine handwriting.
And this is the lines that becomes book one of The Excursion.
The sort of splodges and crossings out
and every single part of the page is filled.
For Wordsworth it was a process of honing it to the perfect form.
He was very rarely satisfied.
His sister-in-law said that the only time a poem was finished,
if you like, was when it was bound between the boards of a book.
It was too late for him to change it.
It was too late, he could not do any more.
'The Excursion was finally bound between the boards of a book
'in 1814, and what a book.'
This is leather on the outside.
This is a lovely diced leather on the outside.
And inside, it's beautiful paper. It's just a beautiful thing to read.
It is. There's gold leaf, there's all sorts of beautiful detail.
So, this would have been expensive for someone to buy then?
This would cost two guineas.
That, at the time, you could buy 100 pigs for the price of this book.
So, if you like, the people who Wordsworth was writing about
wouldn't be in a position...
-They'd rather have the 100 pigs, I'm sure.
'Rarer by far is this edition,
'a cheaper version published for everyday reading.
'It is one of only a handful still in existence.'
-Now, you can see straight away...
-Tatty edges to the paper.
Nobody has really cared about it. It's like a paperback.
-You might put your cup of tea on it.
-Rough and ready.
This is how it would have been more commonly available.
So what does this represent on the front?
Well, this was a way of making a book affordable,
so this would belong to the Harrow Literary Club
-and it would then be circulated amongst its members.
I don't know about you, I know which one I would prefer.
I prefer the one with the correct words inside.
Well, then, you can choose either because their
words are identical, it's just how you judge the book by the cover.
At the time of his death, Wordsworth was a literary superstar
and people came from all over to make pilgrimages to his grave
here in Grasmere.
And for some people, that presented an opportunity too good to miss.
One of them was a lady called Sarah Nelson, who saw the pilgrims
and took it upon herself to sell them her very own gingerbread.
Sarah Nelson originally sold her wares from a tree stump
near the church.
In 1854, she took over the old school where Wordsworth had taught.
Joanne, how are you doing?
'Little has changed inside the shop.
'Joanne Hunter is the woman now in charge.'
-So, Sarah, she was very enterprising.
She was a real Victorian entrepreneur of her time,
especially as she was a working-class lady.
And she was very clever because the recipe is a secret
and she put the recipe in the bank where it still is today,
in the bank vault, and she also trademarked the logo, and that is
her original logo, so nothing has changed in respect of that.
But how do you make it today, then, if the recipe is in a bank vault?
My husband does all the mixing of the secret ingredients
and we have staff that bakes the gingerbread
and they are all signed on secrecy clauses,
-but the actual ingredients is only known by him, not even me.
That's a secret that you keep...
Even in your marriage, he keeps it from you?
-Yeah. I hope that's the only thing!
Since I'm here, I am going to put in a shift in the packing area.
But keeping up with Joanne is going to take some doing.
-Christmas presents are no problems for you, are they?
-No, they're not.
That's some serious wrapping.
Originally, it was sold by weight, so we called this half a pound
and what they used to do is they used to weigh all
the gingerbread and then all the bits that were cut off the side to
make it weigh correctly, they used to sell it to the local children
as penny bags, and all those pennies used to go to Dr Barnardo's.
So what does it taste like? It would be a bit rude not to. Here we go.
Mmm! Mmm! Delish!
The gingerbread that made Sarah Nelson famous is for many as much
a part of the Lake District as Wordsworth's poems
and whether it is words or sweet delicacies you are after,
there is nourishment to be had in these hills.
For any livestock farmer, having the best animals that produce
quality offspring is key.
So, when Adam heard of a record-breaking bull in
Chiddingstone, Kent, he couldn't resist going to see him.
This is a herd of pedigree Charolais cattle.
They are one of the biggest beef breeds there is.
They are very fast-growing and produce great meat.
And because of their qualities, they are very popular
and farmed all over the world.
In the late 1950s, the French Charolais
was the first Continental breed of cattle to be introduced to Britain.
They grew faster and bigger than our native breeds
and produced high-quality meat,
and because of that, they revolutionised our beef industry.
Owning good-quality breeding stock
of a popular breed like this is big business.
To put it into context,
a few years ago, I paid £2,500 for my Highland bull, Eric.
But this is a totally different league.
The farm here bred a Charolais bull called Vexour Garth,
and he holds the title as the most expensive Charolais bull
on the planet.
When I heard what he sold for, I was absolutely gobsmacked.
-Ladies and gentlemen...
In autumn 2012, 18-month-old Vexour Garth
strode into the ring at the Stirling bull sale in Scotland.
He was one of the favourites of the day, a fine-looking specimen.
The starting bid was 5,000 guineas, or £5,250.
And he soon exceeded 20,000.
22,000, 25,000, 28,000...
The price started to soar and soar fast.
It was clear that a bidding war had started.
60,000 bid. 65,000 bid...
He topped 60,000... 70,000... 80,000...
and was still going strong.
As he approached 100,000,
even the auctioneer could not contain his excitement.
95,000... 100,000! I have 100,000 guineas!
GASPS AND APPLAUSE
100,000 guineas I am bid.
He sold for a staggering 100,000 guineas.
That's £105,000, a new world record
as the most expensive Charolais bull on the planet.
The bull has been bought by Mr Colin Mitchell,
on behalf of the Livestock Capital Company...
Farm manager Ray Farmiga reared this astonishing bull
and now looks after him for his new owners.
Here he is. Vexour Garth. Goodness me, he looks fantastic.
Ray, did you ever imagine he would make the kind of money that he did?
Not that much, no.
I mean, his predicted value at the time was about 30,000 guineas.
But when we got in the ring,
it just kept going up and up and up on the bidding.
It was just unbelievable.
So, American investors bought him. But the animal is still here.
So how does that work for them?
They are only interested really in the semen from him, as such.
So, it is cheaper, it is better for them to leave him with us,
and we will extract the semen here, and sell it on their behalf.
So, he could have calves being born all over the world,
and he has never seen the cows?
No, that's right.
-And have the investors sold semen from him already?
We extracted 2,000 straws from him.
Those 2,000 straws were sold within 36 hours. About £100 a straw.
-So that is £200,000 within the first 36 hours of owning him?
That was a good investment. They got their money back AND some.
-Doubled their money!
And so what is the potential from this bull, then?
They've done a projected value for him, for his entire life,
-and it comes out at around £2.2 million.
That is just extraordinary.
So that is what you get for your original outlay.
You want to look after him! Don't let anything happen to him!
That has been the bane of my life!
Cos when we first had him here, I used to come out in the morning,
to come down and see the bulls, and he was the first stop!
And my heart only slowed down after I got in the pen
and saw that he was all right.
The worst scenario is to come down and, you know...
There is something wrong with him!
-Shall we take him for a little walk?
-Sure! Come on, boy.
Come on, big fella. So, as Charolais go, what makes him so special, then?
His size. He is very long. His confirmation.
He has got a lovely straight back.
And he has got what they call a second muscle on the rear,
which gives him a lot of strength when he is actually mounting cows.
So, you could actually put him with quite a large number of cows...
-Do the job.
-..and he would serve more.
Come on, boy. Go on. In you go.
As the king of all Charolais bulls,
Vexour Garth gets first-class treatment.
Monitoring his weight is done on a regular basis.
And I am dying to find out how heavy he is.
So this is like bringing a bull onto the bathroom scales.
Almost a tonne-and-a-quarter. Incredible weight!
And when he is fully grown, at his absolute prime,
-what kind of weight then?
-So nearly a tonne-and-a-half?
-Nearly a tonne-and-a-half.
And he is so quiet, isn't he? Just to bring him into a crush like this.
Yes, being the sort of bull he is, he is quite famous now.
And he is getting used to people pointing cameras at him!
-You know, he is...
-He likes the fame!
-He's quite laid back about it, yeah!
-You have the beauty parlour here.
I see another bull being washed.
You are constantly looking after them, keeping them clean and tidy.
That's right. It is a full-time job.
These guys are all worth a lot of money.
So, when they are not working with the ladies, they are constantly...
And part of the pampering routine is a foot pedicure.
But getting under the feet of this huge animal
is proving to be a bit tricky.
There is a tonne-and-a-quarter of rippling muscle here
that they are trying to persuade to get into a contraption where
he will have his toenails clipped.
And he's not all that keen to go. And if he doesn't want to, he won't.
Walk on, walk on.
With a bit of patience, after 15 minutes, we eventually get there.
There's a good fella. It wasn't that bad, was it?
If he lost his temper, it would be a very different scene, wouldn't it?
If he wanted to, he could pick this crush up and walk off with it.
Yeah. Let's have a look at the business end.
Foot trimmer, Peter Heath, is wasting no time to get the job done.
Hi there, Peter. OK, what are his feet like?
As you can see, we have a lot of overgrowth on his outside claw.
And we've also got cracks in the back of the heel.
This is a bit of a problem called slurry heel.
Where the bulls are in the muck and the slurry,
sometimes they get the bacterial infection
that gets into the back of the heel.
So, basically, he is having his routine trim now.
What we're going to try to do is shift the weight
evenly over the two claws,
cut all these cracks out on the back of the heel to stop the infection...
Oh! There we go!
-That is one of the problems with the trade, I suppose!
I am glad I was stood over here!
With my rare-breed cattle at home, we tend to only foot-trim them
if they need it. We don't do it as a routine.
I think you find that with the rare breeds,
they are not being fed as much as these Charolais.
These guys, they are being fed up to 15 kilos of feed every day,
a high-protein feed to make them grow.
So that is why they often get more feet problems.
Just the protein makes the hoof grow faster.
-How often are you trimming bulls that are worth about £100,000?
You don't get many of these guys!
And it is not every day I get to work so closely
to such a fine-looking beast.
And it has been a privilege.
He might be a gentle giant, but Vexour Garth is magnificent.
And at the moment, he is the most famous Charolais bull in the world.
This is Blea Tarn in the Lake District.
You might recognise it from our opening titles.
Now, I am going to get into this water right now,
which I know is cold, but, erm... Goodness me!
I tell you what, it is absolutely Baltic!
I have a thermometer here. Let's find out how cold it is.
There we go, right. It is four degrees centigrade.
Apparently this is the perfect temperature for some hardy souls
to take an invigorating dip.
Very shortly, I am going to be finding out
what on earth possesses these people!
First, it's time to find out what the temperatures are going to be
where you are, with the Countryfile forecast for the week ahead.
That is me, done!
We've been exploring the photogenic Lake District locations
and meeting the locals that make an appearance in the Countryfile
opening titles every Sunday.
Earlier, I was on the Cumbrian coast
with the Silecroft Beach horse-riders...
Go on! Go on! Come on, Basil!
..while Helen was in the Langdale Valley
recreating the ascent of Lower Scout Crag.
-Thank you very much!
So that just leaves one more piece to the jigsaw. The wild swimmer.
Well, I can tell you, that he was filmed from this very spot,
swimming out into Blea Tarn.
But who is he?
I mean, we all just know him from the back of his head.
Well, here is some behind-the-scenes footage taken on the day.
Our breaststroker is Matt Etheridge,
a professional mountain guide from the Langdale Valley.
Having a bit of trouble getting out there, Matt?
Nice to put a name and a face to the back of a head.
Like all the other shots in the titles,
the footage at this Lakeland beauty spot was captured
at the height of summer when Blea Tarn's water was a balmy 20 degrees.
But no-one would be mad enough to go in on a day like today.
Well, almost no-one!
Pete Kelly lives and breaths cold-water swimming,
and he likes nothing more than to head down
to his local tarn for a dip, albeit in the middle of winter
when it's an icy four degrees in the water,
wearing just a pair of trunks.
Now, Pete, swimming in water that is this cold is something that is
-not to be taken lightly.
-Not at all.
I mean, this is four degrees, so very cold.
You'll get a strong shock response when you go in the water
unless your body is used to it.
And that is a big gasp of air, like that.
As you get in the water, that is going to happen,
your breathing rate is going to go up, your heart rate
is going to increase, and your blood pressure is also going to increase.
Cold-water shock can come on very quickly and be fatal.
So you do still get that shock factor even when you do it...
Physiologically, I'm used to it,
which is the main thing. That takes time.
Psychologically, I am ready for it as well.
To prepare for that mentally, I am just calming myself down now.
Thinking warm thoughts, trying to summon the inner fire,
and I just remind myself how much I enjoy it at this point,
because this transition is the most difficult point, getting in.
-You've got your dog here as well, haven't you?
-I have, yes! Boot.
He is my coach. He consistently out-swims me, unfortunately!
Hopefully he won't show me up today!
Even though Blea Tarn is a protected site,
Pete has special permission to swim here
and has taken all the right safety precautions.
We've got a trained lifeguard,
and a hot drink and warm clothes for when he gets out.
Have a lovely dip!
Right, Boots, are you ready, my friend? You go and join him.
Boots is just itching to get in.
Yeah? Thumbs up. There we are.
The absolute longest he can stay in at this temperature is 15 minutes.
Obviously, Pete is acclimatised to this.
I certainly wouldn't advise going out and doing this on your own.
We've got a safety team here.
It is so lovely, they are having a race.
Oh, well, listen, amazing!
-Do you feel good?
-Yeah, it always feels good.
Let me get this sheet for you.
Let's have a full-body assessment from head to toe.
OK, I am freezing from head to toe!
-I do feel awesome, I have to say.
But I know I'm going to start shivering quite violently soon.
So, you go into mild hypothermia,
and to warm your body up you get uncontrollable shaking.
So, I have got a hot drink there.
Loads of kit on, a good backup team...
Do you know, you've got, like, a different aura!
-You're kind of just...
-You can't stop smiling. I am annoyingly happy!
Good lad, good lad!
Pete, I can imagine people at home, watching this,
looking at your hands, thinking, "Why on earth is he doing it?"
-But it is worth it, yes?
-Yeah. Never had a bad swim. Feel great now.
Listen, think you can convince Ellie to jump in? Here she is!
-What do you reckon, my dear?
-I reckon you are a crazy, crazy man!
So crazy I brought you this to try and warm you up. Some gingerbread.
-I live off gingerbread.
-That's the one!
I was going to say, don't try and dunk it,
you'll never get it in your cup!
But anyway, that is all we have got time for this week.
We really do hope that you have enjoyed learning more
about those locations that you see at the start of the programme.
Next week we will be in Wiltshire
discovering why it is perfect for pigs,
and finding out how an ancient woodland is helping injured troops
on the road to recovery.
We are going to leave you with one last shot.
It is Langstrath Valley. Bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The Countryfile team is in the Lake District, looking in detail at some of the locations featured in the opening titles of the programme. Matt Baker visits the beach the horses race across, meeting the riders and their steeds. Matt is also at Blea Tarn, where the wild swimming was filmed. He meets a wild swimmer who takes to the water even in February. Helen Skelton recreates the rock-climbing scene and meets the family who pioneered the sport in the area.
Ellie Harrison is also in the Lake District, meeting world-renowned graphic artist Russell Mills. She hears the extraordinary story of Russell's inspiration, Kurt Schwitters, his journey to Cumbria from Nazi Germany and his life and work in the Lake District.
Ellie also explores some of the landscapes which inspired one of our most famous poets, William Wordsworth, and sees the link between the poet and a unique gingerbread made in the area.
Tom Heap is in Yorkshire, looking at the damage that winter storms have done to the British coastline. He begins at Spurn Point, where, despite the use of tonnes of concrete and rock, this thin spit of land was breached and the road was washed away. With predictions of more frequent and severe storms, Tom asks what's the best way to protect our shores in the future.
Adam Henson is in Kent, visiting one of the finest, record-breakingly expensive bulls in the world.