Tyne and Wear Countryfile

Tyne and Wear

Matt Baker visits a country park near Newcastle that was once the site of a coalmine, and Ellie Harrison looks at the restoration of Roker Lighthouse near Sunderland.

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This is Tyne Wear, a proud landscape with a rich history.


'There is a surprising amount of green space.'


'There is stunning secret coastline.'


The light at the end of the tunnel. There we are.


Also tonight, Tom will have the first part of a special report


Are these dramatic scenes we have witnessed across the UK


or likely to be the shape of things to come?


'And Adam is looking at Suffolk's county breeds.'


A land stitched together through the seams of its coal,


mined for generations to power the region's shipyards and steelworks.


This steep hill is actually man-made.


It's a massive pile of waste, spoil from the pursuit of coal


and what was once one of the largest working coal mines in the world.


The pit closed more than 40 years ago and, in that time,


Today, this former pit is a country park,


What do you remember about life down there, Danny?


Well, it was very dangerous, I suppose,


you take it in your stride, you know.


As the air travels through the workings,


and people would be looking for the fitter


and they didn't realise it was me because I would be in short pants,


no shirt and just a pair of boots and that, you know,


because it used to get that hot. It was so hot down there?


So it can be very tricky, but, at times, good fun.


By the time the Rising Sun closed in 1969,


Tyneside had already lost most of its collieries.


in the coffin of the North East's coal industry.


What do you feel when you stand here now?


so I get a bit sad on that system, like.


It is, it's beautiful, I mean, even that view there.


Today, the Rising Sun Country Park is one of the best places


for wildfowl and wading birds on Tyneside,


acres and acres of wetland making the perfect habitat for breeding.


have flooded huge areas of the park and that's a problem.


I mean, look at this, Matt, it's turned into a swamp. Goodness me!


Is this unprecedented? Have you seen anything like this before?


we've got members of the public that walk round here


who have loved you for 40 years and they've said this is...


they've seen nothing like this before. Right.


'He is concerned the high water levels may affect breeding.'


And a worry, then, as far as nesting birds are concerned, for you?


Yeah, I mean, the water levels have got a lot deeper,


so the types of birds that would live on here,


it might be too deep for them to feed.


I mean, also, we've got two nesting islands that are permanent ones,


the black-headed gulls and Arctic terns nest on them,


and they are under water now, non-existent.


Now, of course, the torrential rain that we've been experiencing


over the last few months has led to the flooding


of thousands of homes and businesses,


something that we're going to have to get used in the future?


In the last decade, records for the amount of rain falling


on our hills, fields and homes have been broken over and over again.


People have been flooded out of their homes and businesses,


from Aberdeen to York, from Belfast to Bangor,


in the wettest December for a century.


but early last December, it was wetter than ever.


In one 24-hour period, more than a month's worth of rain fell


and in that opening weekend of December,


14 billion litres of water came into this reservoir


and most of it went off down the River Derwent.


All that, together with water from the rest of the catchment area,


passed through here - the ancient market town of Cockermouth,


built where the River Cocker joins the Derwent.


Hi. Morning. You must be Sue.


'Sue Cashmore lives not far from the river in Cockermouth.'


Well, I'm greeted by that post-flood buzz I hear everywhere.


This is the sound of Christmas, you know,


because we always flood just before Christmas and this is the sound.


Any chance you can just knock it off now? We can, there you go.


I bet that's a relief, isn't it? It is, it's lovely!


So, tell me, what was it like on the day as the waters came?


We knew there was a potential for flood,


but I didn't actually get a call till three o'clock


and by that time, we saw the water heading down the road at us


because it comes really quite fast, it moves at about 35mph to 40mph


I think, within seconds, there was four feet of water in this house.


The electricity went off, so I was stood there in the dark,


with water coming in, so I had no choice but to grab the dog


and ran upstairs and we were trapped.


'Sue can't get insurance because she's been flooded before,


'so unlike many people, she stayed in her home


That is a hell of a depth. It's incredible to think, isn't it?


Seven weeks ago, this house was full of water.


And how did you feel about this, bearing in mind, of course,


No, this is the fourth time, in this house, that this has flooded.


We honestly thought we were going to be OK,


we didn't think we would flood again.


The fact that we flooded again makes you think,


Some, of course, would argue that it always HAS happened.


The first recorded flood in Cockermouth was back in 1761.


Since then, like many places across the UK,


often in clusters, with long gaps in between.


So, is the exceptional rainfall and widespread flooding


we've seen in recent years just part of a natural cycle


'To help me answer that question, I'm meeting BBC weather forecaster


'and friend of Countryfile John Hammond.'


Welcome to my open air, rather wobbly, 3-D weather studio.


Well, those BBC economies are really beginning to bite!


So, how does this help us understand what happened this winter?


One factor we think which was behind this event, this winter,


was actually El Nino at the other side of the world,


We know that that heating actually affects


The jet stream meanders around the northern hemisphere,


and it was those winds which brought up


a lot of warm, moist air from the tropics


and headed in our direction along this atmospheric river,


generating a lot of cloud up through the Irish Sea


and, as it hit the high ground, here in Cumbria,


that air was forced to rise and if you lift moist air,


it condenses and it cools and it produces colossal amounts of rain,


over a metre of rain this December in parts of Cumbria.


So, with climate change, are we likely to see


and a challenge for climate scientists, but certainly we think


that with a warmer planet, warm air can hold more moisture.


In fact, if you raise the temperature by one degree,


so these atmospheric rivers coming up towards us


and these extreme winter rainfall events are likely, we think,


with a warmer planet, to become more extreme.


'But this kind of extreme weather is often described as


'a 1-in-100-year event, so how come we're seeing it so regularly?'


Statistically, you'd expect the six to come up every six throws,


but it doesn't. It's a bit like the weather.


You know, a 1-in-100-year event is a long-term average.


The reality is that these events can crop up in quick succession


What we do think is that with a warmer world, in a sense,


those more extreme events happening more often.


So, could these more-frequent flooding events be the new normal?


That's the challenge for climate scientists.


We think, with a warmer climate, the odds are shortening,


but we don't know what they are shortening to yet


So, it could become more often than 1 in 100,


but we don't know what the new figure is?


Yes, one in what? That's the challenge.


'So, in a world of chaotic and unpredictable weather,


'planning a strategy for flood prevention


Having to base our policies on odds and guesswork


may sound a little bit like gambling with people's homes,


so what should we do to prepare ourselves


our traditional defences are up to the job.


ELLIE: 'I'm exploring the coastline near Sunderland,


'at the mouth of the mighty River Wear.


'Said to have been the shipbuilding capital of the world,


'one of the busiest industrial ports in the country.'


ships navigating these waters have been safely guided


by one of the North East's most elegant landmarks -


protecting the harbour entrance and guiding ships safely into port.


But a century of battering from the North Sea takes its toll,


and three years ago, Sunderland Council decided


that this grand old lady needed a bit of TLC.


and the lighthouse fell into disrepair.


The interior was badly damaged by salt water.


And the lamp house had corroded to the point of collapse.


But three years on, the restoration is almost complete.


'Ian Smithwhite has been managing the project.'


There's only a few little bits left to do.


The granite is looking really fantastic,


you've got the fantastic alternating coloured bands of red


and grey Aberdeen granite, that's been repointed,


and we have a brand-new lantern and a brand-new foghorn,


offering the safety to the port that it's always had


The pier and lighthouse were designed and built


One of his innovations was a giant crane nicknamed Goliath,


used to lay the immense concrete blocks which make up


the three quarters of a mile long pier.


'And beneath its newly restored surface lies a secret.'


Matthew! Hello! What are you doing down there? I'm waiting for you!


Can I come in? Certainly can. All right.


'This hidden tunnel stretches all the way to the lighthouse.'


'Matthew Storey has been working on its restoration.'


So, the tunnel was built into the pier to house these


gas and water pipes that you can see.


Once the pier had been built, the tunnel was then used


by the lighthouse keeper to access the lighthouse in bad weather.


it was just used a couple of weeks ago to get two men off the pier.


What are the plans for the tunnel now?


So, the idea is that we'll build a new entrance structure,


so it's a bit easier to access from the shore side.


And we'll be opening it up to the public


and running guided tours through the tunnel and the lighthouse.


At last! Here we are. I can taste fresh air from somewhere!


Oh, yeah. The light at the end of the tunnel! Here we are.


I'm pleased to see this. What's this, then?


So, here we are in the basement of the lighthouse.


And just up there is the lighthouse itself.


There's only one way up, then! OK. Give you that...


You need to be fit to be a lighthouse keeper!


'All the main structural work has now been done.


'Day-to-day upkeep of the lighthouse is the job


'of the Roker Heritage Volunteer Group.


Wow, this is looking amazing! What are you doing?


I'm just carrying on an old tradition.


My grandfather was the lighthouse keeper, he was here for a good


many years, certainly, when we were children, this was our playground.


We used to come down here in school holidays and one of our jobs


was cleaning the windows and also polishing the handrails.


So, you'll know your way around this place, you can show me around?


Yes, yes. Shall we wander up? We'll polish as we go, shall we?


This is my favourite room, it was the day room.


We had a little desk here, the binoculars, telescope,


we used to look out of the window, looking at the ships going by.


All the gadgets on the day. That's right.


Yes, the next floor, the next rooms do get smaller


and the stairs get narrower as you wander up. OK.


They've left it as it is here, just to show what it was originally like.


And it shows what a battle there still is with the water,


inside and out. That's right. Yes, the condensation.


Shall we go on through? You follow me up to the next level.


This is what it's all about! The light. Yes, this is the new light.


It's a bit underwhelming in size, isn't it?


It's certainly not as impressive as the original light used to be.


When it was originally opened, the lights were the brightest


in the world and had a distance of about 15 or so miles out to sea.


Wow, that's impressive. Really magnificent. Incredible.


But then, you get something like this now, which is really small...


Does the job. ..and does exactly the same!


It must mean quite a lot to you to be involved in this project.


I can see we've got something to look forward to in the future.


Roker Lighthouse was a beacon of safety for nearly a century.


Now restored, its guiding light will keep


Now, here is a welcome reminder of warmer days.


Last summer, we asked some well-known faces, from athletes...


Oh, it's quite refreshing after a while!


..what part of our magnificent countryside was special to them.


This week, we take to the mountains on the Isle of Skye


MUSIC: Over The Hills And Far Away by Led Zeppelin


to climb all of the Munros in Scotland.


And the Munros are mountains above 3,000 feet, of which there are 282.


I don't know why people who tick off mountains are known as baggers,


Well, I'm not going to argue with it.


for getting me into Munro bagging specifically,


who I was familiar with from the quite edgy music programme The Tube,


but I then saw hosting a show called The Munro Show,


"You're supposed to be interviewing Morrissey."


And then I remember, many, many years later,


with my now wife, then girlfriend, driving through the Peak District


and thinking, we need to go hill walking again.


and as I remembered there's these things, the Munros,


that you can tick off, and, being quite a nerdy sort,


having that target, straightaway that was it,


I knew what I wanted to do and that was any chance I could get, I was


going to steal myself off up to Scotland and become a Munro bagger.


I have had days where it's just been torrential rain


and just mist, and you never see anything


and it's just a joyless trudge up a steep


and featureless hill to get to the top, and not see anything


and walk straight back down and get back in the car.


but tick off a mountain that you hadn't done before.


And you'd go, what was the point of that?


I don't know what the point of that is.


I feel sometimes that the whole concept of Munro bagging


is a cruel trick that the Scottish are playing on tourists,


because 3,000 feet, the minimum height


coincidentally seems to be the very height


that Scottish cloud tends to just sit.


because this is the home of the Cuillin Ridge, which is


a chain of 11 Munros that represent the most extensive


mountaineering challenge that the UK has.


And in the middle of the Cuillin Ridge is Sgurr Dearg,


also known as the Inaccessible Pinnacle, which is


unique among all the Munros in that it's the only one that you


need to rock climb, you need ropes to actually get to the top of it.


So, it looms large in my mind as the one I'm worried about, basically.


Because even though I love mountains,


I'm not actually very good with heights.


Er, it's a lot bigger than I've had it described, and, er,


a little bit more frightening than I was expecting.


I'm feeling a certain level of trepidation about the climb.


I don't want to say frightened or scared,


because that would make me sound like a coward. We're ready to go.


If I touch you, does that count? Well done, Ed.


Thanks for your help, Martin, appreciated!


Pretty wild conditions. They were... Yeah.


it was unpleasant for a good 60% of it, I think.


that's certainly the most hard-fought Munro I've bagged.


Another 206 to go! It's all plain sailing from here.


Well, as exhilarating and exciting as that was, I am glad it's over.


Er, there should be a little bit of self-discovery in every journey,


and the main self-discovery from today is,


I'm a hill walker, I'm not a rock climber or a mountaineer,


I'm a hill walker and I'm glad that the rock climbing part


of my Munro adventure is now done.


Right, where did I leave me rucksack?


Now, earlier we heard how we should expect more of the unexpected


But if that's the case, can we continue to


rely on traditional flood defences for protection?


Floodwater as far as the eye can see.


And predictions this might happen much more frequently in the future.


This is the life for many across the UK this winter,


especially in Cumbria, and not for the first time.


Here in Cockermouth, they've suffered frequent floods,


and the response, like elsewhere in the country, has been


to build bigger, supposedly better defences.


there have been three major flood defence schemes


built in Cockermouth, each one upgrading and adding to the last.


There are now walls, gates, glass panels, waterproof windows,


and in pride of place, a state-of-the-art,


self-raising barrier, the first of its kind in the UK.


which had proved inadequate in the floods of 2009.


Last December, the new defence faced its stiffest test.


This self-raising barrier that I'm walking on came up to almost


and actually prevented these houses immediately behind from flooding.


But the water itself carried on down the river


and those just downstream weren't so lucky.


Sue Cashmore is giving me a tour of Cockermouth defences.


And so what worked and what didn't here?


I think all the defences worked to an extent.


and less shops got hit and less houses on this side of the river.


It gave us more time, maybe, and we haven't lost the town


as much as we did in 2009, so we can't say that they failed.


Did you think those new defences were going to do their job


I don't think any of us thought we would get hit as badly


Throughout November, the defences were tested several times


and everybody kind of breathed a little sigh of relief thinking


we were going to be OK, so I think that was more traumatising


for people, because we didn't think we'd ever flood or see this again.


But are there some places where you think more engineering


could make a difference? Yeah, I think


it definitely showed some weaknesses in the defences that they built.


What do you think is the future for Cockermouth and places like it?


I think it's quite worrying, actually.


I think it's had a big impact on our economy again.


A lot of the shops are closed, and that is what our economy


is about, so that means that this town could die. Really?


If we don't change things, we could lose this town.


The government claims that this winter, one million properties


that were at risk of flooding were protected,


and that in the end, only 15,000 were flooded.


Not only that, it says defensive measures allowed the victims


more time to prepare or evacuate safely.


Even so, we've seen flooding in cities like York, Leeds


and Carlisle, and in numerous smaller towns


and villages across the whole of the UK.


All that despite spending more than ?3 billion on flood defences


since 2005 in England alone, and it's estimated that by 2035,


we could be spending ?1 billion a year


So, given the problem is likely to get worse, not better,


can we continue to defend ourselves town by town


with more and more physical barriers?


'I'm meeting Alison Baptiste from the Environment Agency to find out.'


So, this is the river under the bridge that got


It did, yeah, and you only have to look here, to the debris


in the trees, as to see how high this river came up,


you know, five times higher than it normally does.


In places like Cockermouth, is the solution to build bigger,


Well, whenever we look at trying to reduce flooding in communities,


there's a technical basis about physically


whether you can do it technically, but there's also the community and


what it means for the culture of the community and the atmosphere there.


In order to defend from the sort of levels that you see that


we had here, there would be such significant defences here,


it would just destroy the character of the town.


if we are going to protect places like this,


people have to maybe accept perhaps bigger, uglier defences.


I've just walked down the high street in Cockermouth,


and to see probably half the businesses back up and running,


it's been really good to see that so quickly after the floods,


so there is an element of understanding the environment


that you live in, and whether you stop the flooding


if you can or whether you make yourselves resilient to it,


so what we're looking at is a whole range of... Really a fresh look.


"Are the climate change assumptions right, are the modelling,


"the approach that we take to that, is the investment right?


"Our critical infrastructure, are we protecting that well enough?",


and so that national review will look at, what can we do better


so that we can better protect this country?


Better protection of our country is of course what everyone wants.


But in the face of more extreme weather,


that's going to be a major challenge.


With one in six properties already at risk of flooding


it's perhaps not surprising that the authorities believe


we can't rely on man-made flood barriers to keep us dry.


Next week, I'll be looking at controversial proposals


to use our natural landscape as a flood defence.


Today, I'm in the Rising Sun Country Park on North Tyneside.


It was once a coal mine, but this 400-acre site has been transformed


into an oasis of green - a phoenix rising from the industrial past.


The minute the pit closed in 1969, land reclamation began.


By the mid '70s, 29,000 tress had been planted.


But more than six decades of mining took a heavy toll.


these trees are struggling to reach their full height.


I mean, all the tress you see here were planted all at the same time.


This Swedish whitebeam, a non-native species.


As you can see, the diameter of it, it's hardly grown at all.


Not what you'd expect from a tree in its forties.


Chris, the park's land officer, is showing me


So, we've got a bit of a casualty here,


Chris, of the north-east winds, but it's exposed the soil


to get a good view of what's going on underneath. Yeah.


I mean, as you can see, really poor soil.


Got a bit of brick there, bit of metal there that's surfaced.


Things keep just popping up every now and again. Right.


The site was originally planted with hardy North American trees,


The kind of trees that could cope with poor growing conditions.


For native trees to have a chance, the soil quality needs to improve.


With the soil itself, are you just hoping that time's going to be


your friend and it will just improve with age? Yeah.


we're going to get all the likes of pine needles, leaves.


As you can see, everything's starting to rot down. Yes.


It's looking really good for the future.


The soil quality is slowly improving,


but Chris and his team of volunteers are giving nature a helping hand.


Fallen trees are chipped and left to decompose on the woodland floor.


That's it. At the top, yeah? Yeah, that's it, perfect.


'Logs are piled up to create a habitat for creepy crawlies,


It's just turned into a five-star home, this one.


brings with it some very particular problems.


You've got a lot of people living around the outskirts of this wood.


Do you find that people come here and help themselves to firewood?


Yeah. The wood definitely disappears. Fairies come and get it.


We need to put this wire on, cos if we just left this as it is,


it'll not be there in a few weeks' time,


it'll be moved about by people, so we'll wire it all up


and then it will be there for years to come for the wildlife to live in.


but they don't realise that it is quite a precious habitat,


this, so they just come and, you know, help themselves...


..just not knowing, really. Not knowing. There could be


a bird's nest in there if it's the spring, wrens and... Yeah.


..robins like to get in places like that. Mm-hm.


As you can see from the rest of the wood, it's quite bare,


so that's perfect nesting opportunity for something.


Over the centuries, our native breeds have adapted to survive.


these diverse landscapes have helped define the animals that live here.


And every county has its own specific breeds.


Adam's in Suffolk finding out some of the region's livestock.


This is the proud birthplace of many wonderful breeds...


..and each has its own story to tell.


I'm starting with the magnificent Suffolk Punch.


These horses worked and shaped this rural landscape


But now, they need all the help they can get.


'Nigel Oakley from Chedburgh in Suffolk


'provides a safe haven for these horses.'


Nigel, hi! Good to see you again. Yeah, and you.


He's lovely, isn't he? He's a delight, yeah. He's a lovely animal.


A good example of a Suffolk Horse, in my opinion.


And how many have you got now? We've got 16 on the farm.


I've had Suffolk horses the best part of 40 years,


but that's the colour for a Suffolk horse.


It's a really beautiful colour, isn't it? Lovely colour. Lovely.


I like my ginger on a horse. You're bound to say that!


And the feather, the hair on the feet that the shire has,


the Suffolk's quite clean, isn't it? No, it was bred purposely for that.


That's a very relevant point, actually,


because a lot of Suffolk is boulder clay, heavy clays,


and obviously, if you're ploughing all day,


you've got yourself a job at the end of the day washing all that out.


So, these were bred with less feather in the fetlock joint.


They're incredibly rare now, though, aren't they?


Unfortunately on category one of the Rare Breeds... Critically rare.


There are only something like about 500 registered Suffolk horses.


How many foals were registered last year?


The Suffolk Horse Society monitors the breed.


Obviously, the economic climate has meant that some of the supporters


so let's hope people give the society a little bit of an uplift.


These horses shape the countryside, really,


and they are the living heritage of Suffolk, and if we want


our grandchildren to have the privilege of doing what we're doing


then we must ensure it's here for perpetuity. Yeah.


'Using a traditional Suffolk harness,


'we pair an experienced horse with a novice for a spot of training,


'and I've been given the reins of these magnificent beasts.'


Walk on, then, boys. Walk on. Walk on.


What sort of weight would they pull, then, Nigel?


Well, each of those horses weigh almost a tonne,


and on wheels they can pull 2.5 times their own weight.


So these two would pull, what, five tonne between them? Yeah, on wheels.


If you were delivering beer with a brewery dray, you could put


five tonne of beer on, and I have done on lots of occasions.


Walk on, then. And it is right that a man could plough an acre in a day?


if you get up early and have no real friends to get home to.


And to plough an acre, you'd walk 11 miles. Goodness me!


Nigel's passion for Suffolk breeds goes far beyond this mighty horse.


The Suffolk sheep has been in existence since the late 1700s,


but has a very different story to that of the Suffolk Punch.


I mean, the horse became rare for obvious reasons.


The tractor automation took over, so...


But the Suffolk sheep, that was a success from the word go.


They bred a sheep with a wonderful carcass to it.


It produces good, strong lambs, good mother, good milking sheep,


so it's there and it is now still a very, very commercial breed.


And what other breeds are there in Suffolk?


There's what's known as the Suffolk Trinity, that's the Suffolk horse,


the sheep that we're now looking at, and the Red Poll cattle.


So, tell me about Red Poll cattle. What are they like?


They were, up to the 1950s, quite a commercial breed in East Anglia,


but obviously, the Continentals came in, which were double-muscled,


and so on. But now, the Red Poll has seen a resurgence


Anything else in the county? Yeah, we've got a Large Black pig.


Well, so's ice cream, but we make that here as well.


But the thing with... From what I gather, Devon and Cornwall


had the Large Black pig, which became extinct, and now Suffolk


and East Anglia in general has got the Large Black,


Because of their black hair on the body, we moved over to a white pig,


didn't we, so they didn't have the black hair on the crackling.


You know, that was not just the Large Black but sort of the Oxford


and Sandy and... Gloucestershire Old Spots. Yeah, the Orchard Pig,


as they used to call it. Yeah. It's just a fashion, I think,


to be truthful, cos... You know, if you swallow a white hair


or a black hair, does it really matter?




How come Suffolk's got so many of these great breeds?


Well, it's known because it's God's County.


That's what they say in Yorkshire and Cornwall.


Yeah, but unfortunately, they're mistaken.


They're wrong, though. No, Suffolk is definitely God's County. Yeah.


But there's one more county breed I must see.


It originated from the village of Ixworth


and is appropriately named the Ixworth chicken.


is dedicated to protecting this county breed.


Hi, Katie. Hello, Adam. My word, lovely to meet you.


What a fantastic-looking Ixworth. Thank you.


He was created by a Reginald Appleyard.


He was aiming to create a dual-purpose bird


so one bird to do all the jobs that you need a chicken to do.


That's the name of a duck, isn't it, so is that another Suffolk breed?


Yes, it is. He also created a duck pretty much for meat and eggs


so he was aiming again to create that one bird for all purposes.


And so was it successful, then, the Ixworth?


Well, I think at the time that he was creating it,


Although it maintained its popularity in the war years,


after the war, unfortunately, these guys just fell out of favour.


So we went for the specialised egg-laying bird


and the broiler, the meat-producing chicken... Yeah.


..and these dual-purpose birds were no longer needed?


they nearly dropped off the face of the earth, really,


and, without some really loyal breeders,


So I make that six Suffolk county breeds. That's pretty impressive.


I don't think many counties can claim that.


No, they can't, and that's why I'm quite proud to be Suffolk


and have all these wonderful breeds. Well done, you.


Thanks for letting me visit. All the best. Bye-bye. Bye.


England's spectacular north-east coast, where sheer limestone cliffs


plunge into the steely waters of the North Sea.


Six miles south of Sunderland in County Durham


lies the small coastal town of Seaham.


These days it's hard to imagine that Seaham's beaches were once black


with the slag and slurry of colliery waste.


A century's worth of spoil from the area's coal mines had taken its toll


When the last mine closed in 1992, the clean-up began,


and now no trace of coal waste remains.


There's one legacy of Seaham's industrial past that's become


highly prized, and it's been washing up on the beaches here


A true treasure. Jewels borne on the tide.


Glass that's been sculpted and smoothed by the restless sea.


Little fragments are found on beaches all over the world,


but Seaham is one of the very best places to find it.


It's all thanks to the town's Victorian past.


producing 20,000 bottles a day at its peak.


Any broken glass was just dumped into the sea


to be washed up a century later as sea glass.


but people come from all over the world to look for it,


and today I'm going to join in with the treasure hunt.


'Sea glass has helped one man change his life completely.


'Gavin Hardy is a lifelong collector


'who's turned his passion into a profitable jewellery business.'


You're finding some already, I see. Yeah.


When's the best time of year to be looking


Probably now is the best time to look,


when the tides are strong and the wind's strong as well.


I was made redundant from a job a couple of years ago.


obviously just kind of coming down and looking for glass.


What was the appeal? What makes you keep coming back?


I think the excitement of finding a different piece. There's one.


I think kind of the thrill of finding different pieces like this,


something that we can actually use in our jewellery


So pieces like that for you are the real sort of collector's items?


The colourful stuff that isn't the green and the whites? Yeah. Ah.


Those are the pieces that are most desirable.


Shall we split up and then come back together and share treasures,


It is incredibly addictive, this business.


'We're not the only ones beachcombing today.'


Hiya. Hi. I want to have a look at your treasures,


What have you got? That's a different one there.


Yeah, it's just like bits of wire, like safety glass.


What do you do with it when you take it home?


We've just got, like, a jar. My daughter likes to collect it.


If you can get a piece with colour in... It's rare to find those.


Proper treasure. Yeah, indeed. Well, I'll leave you do it.


Thank you. Hope you find some more interesting pieces. See you later.


'Well, I'm happy with my finds, but how's Gavin got on?'


A few nice pieces. Ooh, very blue in tone.


These are my best bits of the morning.


I've got a two-tone green there... That's nice.


..and I've got these two blue shark's teeth there, look.


Yeah, those are the pieces that people are after.


The brighter coloured ones are the best ones to find.


It's quite a good haul. Is there something we could do with these?


Yeah, I think we could make a few pieces. Excellent.


Shall we go back to the workshop? Yeah, let's go. All right.


'Gavin uses all the coloured gems he can find


'He's going to show me how to transform my beach bounty


Drill in the other. Hold it quite firm. Press down a bit?


That's fine. So I'll give myself a mark for the other side? Yeah.


If you're heading out on the hunt for treasure this week,


you'll want to know what the weather will be doing.


for strong wind and potential travel disruption and impact through the


day, wind across land areas could hit 60 mph, further south around 80


mph. High seas and hit 60 mph, further south around 80


Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Away from the waves and the strong


wind, heavy and thundery showers with sunshine in between. Contrast


to the other half of the country, wind picking up across Northern


Ireland and England to bring 40 mph gusts and some sunshine at times but


the best of Monday gusts and some sunshine at times but


Scotland with one or two showers but plenty of dry and sunny weather


after a frosty start. Feeling even colder in the south with those


potentially damaging winds. Winds will slowly ease down through Monday


night into Tuesday so feeding and plenty showers initially but they


will be confined across parts of northern England and Wales and


south-west Scotland. Temperatures dropping below freezing and


widespread frost into Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, the coldest air


behind this weather front will work southwards through the day winning


at mix of rain and sleet and hill snow and we could see some


wintriness over higher ground. Still some gusty wind along the weather


front and touching gale force at times. Sunny for a time across the


North as temperatures drop. 5 degrees for many in the afternoon


and that colder air will eventually go southwards as it clears the South


coast into Wednesday morning. A little ridge of high pressure


building infra-red Friday with the odd weather front for the south-west


producing cloud and rain and some gusty wind for the North and East of


Scotland and north-east England. For many, after a cold and icy start, it


should be a dry day. Wednesday into Thursday, low systems push across


France and for Thursday it will be largely dry but there will be old


weather front 's tangling with the benign conditions producing the odd


shower and if you brakes on the cloud and sunshine but overall it


generally cool day. Into Friday, the jet stream pushes further north but


it is half-hearted, it does not really get to the UK but it pushes


blood pressure towards us which does not make inroads far north and will


swing southwards and eastwards into the near continent but that means


the northern half of the UK, bearing in mind this could change, but to


the north it looks like Scotland and Northern Ireland will have cold


easterly wind through the day, dryer and brighter conditions and


outbreaks of rain further south and always that but Wilder and that


process both Today we've been round


and about in Tyne and Wear. Whilst Ellie has been


exploring the coastline, I've been on North Tyneside taking a


look at the Rising Sun Country Park, a former coal mine that's been


transformed into a green haven At the edge of the park


sits a mixed farm and it takes a special kind of


person to make a go of farming Now, then, Matt. How we doing, Matt?


Good to see you. Nice to see you. And you too. Everything all right?


Yeah, fine, yeah. Good lad. 'was just 22


when he took on this challenge.' So where did this passion of yours


come from, cos you're not from a farming


family, are you, Matt? No, I'm not. I'm not quite sure,


to be honest, Matt. When did you first ever


experience a farm? First time I did a bit of shooting


with my grandfather, which I thoroughly enjoyed


and then got quite into that and realised the countryside was


the place I wanted to be in. It was a very enjoyable job from


what I could see from the outside, so I decided I'd go and get some


experience, so that's what I did. 'It's taken a lot of hard work,


but, in just two years, 'Matt has started turning


a profit from farming It looks like you're producing some


wonderful stock, it really does. What is it like to farm,


in general, this landscape? The whole site's 400 acres in the


middle of Newcastle effectively, so it hasn't been put back


the best it could have been, so it is a lot wetter,


a lot muddier. We've just got to be


a lot more careful. I think we have


a lower stocking weight, and also we're on the urban fringe,


so it's great to have so many people come on to the farm,


as long as they use it responsibly. 'The farm does a lot


for the local community, 'giving adults with learning


disabilities and college students 'the chance to learn


more about farming, 'and a bit of extra help


always comes in handy.' Right,


so you don't have a sheepdog, but you've got some college


students over here? Yeah. Our sole purpose to be here


is for the community, to provide an outlet


for people to come... Yeah. ..enjoy the environment,


enjoy farming and food. Yeah, we're building


the stock numbers up. And the flock of sheep we're just


putting into the polytunnel here now then, they're going to come in


in preparation for lambing? We'll give them a little bit of feed


while they're in, and, hopefully, we should be lambing


the first batch 1st April. Let's hope we can get them in


first time. That's when all the college students


come in handy. Yeah, hopefully. Come on, get the arms waving.


Get the old arms waving. There we are, Matt. Too easy, that.


Yeah, something like that. I'll shut this door,


keep the students out. Well, that's all we've got time for


from Tyne and Wear. Next week we're going to be


in Norfolk, where I'll be with the next generation of gamekeepers


as they're put through their paces. And I'll be hoping to catch


a glimpse of one of our most spectacular and faithful birds,


so I hope you can join us then. There's something I have to do,


something terrible.


Matt visits a country park just near Newcastle, built on the site of what was once one of the biggest coal mines in Britain. Matt joins warden Chris Tucker to see for himself the rich wildlife and wetland birds that have made this once-derelict site their home. He helps volunteers with habitat restoration and speaks to Matt Sharpe, a young farmer raising sheep and cattle on 140 acres at the edge of the reserve.

Ellie is down the coast near Sunderland, where restoration of the beautiful Roker Lighthouse is nearly complete. She discovers the secret tunnels used by the lighthouse keepers to get to the light in rough weather and learns that, in its day, it was the most powerful lighthouse in Britain.

Ellie then travels further down the coast to Seaham, where she goes in search of seaglass - glass smoothed by the tide and highly valued by collectors all over the world - a legacy of the town's Victorian glass industry.

Comedian Ed Byrne talks about his favourite bit of the countryside, while Adam Henson looks at the county breeds of Suffolk, including the magnificent Suffolk punch working horse.

Tom Heap looks at whether the dramatic floods seen across the UK in recent months and years are extraordinary events or a taste of things to come. Tom also investigates the flood defences that protect communities and asks whether they can be relied on in the future.

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