Wye Valley Countryfile


Wye Valley

In the beautiful Wye Valley, Ellie Harrison scales a sheer rock pinnacle and John Craven finds out about the monks of Tintern Abbey. Plus, Tom Heap investigates fracking.


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Transcript


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Call it inspirational - a landscape for artists and poets.

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Call it inviting - it's where British tourism began.

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Call it beautiful - green and deep and winding.

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Call it the Wye Valley.

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Just look at it. I never tire of coming to this place.

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I love the woods and this river.

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But today, I'm feeling slightly different.

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A little bit anxious, and very on edge.

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Could be something to do with this beast.

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Unlike Ellie, I'm feeling pretty relaxed

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about my visit to the Wye Valley, but then,

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this is a place of the utmost peace and tranquillity.

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Tintern Abbey, and I'm going to do a spot of time travelling

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to find out what life was like for the monks who lived here

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before Henry VIII turned it into a ruin.

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Tom's in Lancashire investigating a controversial method

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of extracting gas from reserves deep underground.

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When it comes to fracking, the pressure's building,

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with government, big business

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and the environmentalists all pushing hard.

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So, should we be getting gas from the rock? I'll be investigating.

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And Adam's looking at two very different ways of dairy farming.

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This cow having her back scratched, and this lovely lady here,

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are dairy cows - specialists when it comes to producing lots of milk.

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And this week, I'm visiting two dairy farms

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that manage their cows in very different ways.

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The Wye Valley.

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Straddling the border between England and Wales.

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At its heart, the River Wye.

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Intricate, almost tortuous, twists and turns,

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but always majestic, with magnificent views

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around every meandering bend.

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The Wye Valley takes in the counties of Herefordshire,

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Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.

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It's the only cross-border Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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This is the village of Symonds Yat, border territory.

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This side of the river is Gloucestershire,

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and over there is Herefordshire.

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It's not just this picture-perfect river that draws attention.

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This spot is also a magnet for rock climbers.

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This limestone valley has been shaped over 350 million years by water.

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The jagged rocks and sheer cliffs

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offer more than 800 tough routes in this even tougher terrain.

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Matt was here last, squeezing into the Pancake Caves.

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There's obviously a limit

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to the people you can actually get in this bit!

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Depends how much you like your cake.

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'But instructor Sven Hassall is about to tell me

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'exactly what he's got in store for me.'

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Now then, Sven, talk me through what is happening today.

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We're going down to an area of rock known locally as The Pinnacle.

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We've got an abseil, because we have to get down there,

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and it's all about climbing that and getting off it,

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across a Tyrolean traverse.

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A Tyrolean traverse? I don't know what that is.

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In climbing terms, it is a rarely used climbing technique

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to cross a gap. In this case, it's a 9mm-wide rope,

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and you're going to shimmy across it above the gap.

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-What?! Seriously?

-Yes.

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SHE LAUGHS

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Ohhh! I'm really nervous, you know.

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So I set out this morning, thinking I was going to have

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a lovely day on Countryfile, looking at newts or rare orchids,

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and instead, I'm taking my life into my hands!

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I've got to do an abseil, I'm all right about that.

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Climb, not so great, and this traverse, well, that's just...

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the work of madmen. These madmen over here.

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'Whilst I get kitted up, let me introduce the rest of the team.

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'Sven is assisted by Ryan and Bob,

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'and I have also brought along specialised cameraman, Robin.

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'He's filmed everywhere from the UK's largest waterfall

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'to climbing in the Alps and in the canopy of the Amazon rainforest.'

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Come down to me, mate. Nice and steady, no rush.

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-All the way to the edge?

-Yeah.

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'All set to go, Sven gives me instruction on rope technique

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'to get me started on the abseil. And more importantly, how to stop.'

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-OK.

-No rush at all.

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See, that looks like a shoelace. See how thin it is?

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-What happens if the tree goes?

-The tree never goes.

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-Trees have fallen down!

-Trees don't meet industry standards.

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'This is just the start.

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'Before I get to the site where I will make the traverse,

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'I need to abseil down a sheer cliff.

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'And this is the easy bit.'

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-Off we go?

-Off you go. Yeah. OK.

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Don't forget to look down, mate.

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-Look at your feet. There are some steps there.

-Oh, yeah.

-Great.

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-And it's just walking from here, OK?

-Just walking?

-Just walking.

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-Nice and steady. No rush, mate, no rush.

-OK.

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I'm certainly not going to break any speed records!

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That's a great position. So we're just walking down there.

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-Just walk through this little gap?

-Perfect.

-Ah.

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-Feet wide apart, bum back.

-Oh, yeah.

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Yeah.

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Hello to you!

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Apparently, there is a way to walk down here.

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But what fun would that be?

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Is it all right like this?

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Perfect. Yeah. There we go.

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Just keep leaning back. There's a little surprise below you.

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-You will have seen that.

-There's a hole!

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-Keep your feet on the top and lower your bum back.

-Really?

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Keep my feet on the rock?

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Yeah, feet on the top, bum back, and you'll swing into space, OK?

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Oh, I don't like this! Whoa.

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My word! I like rock, not a great big void.

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Hang on. I've still...

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Whoo!

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Hey! Actually, it's kind of more fun without a rock.

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Yes, last few feet. Yes! Hey!

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-Nicely done.

-Yeah, I love that!

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Look at that. My fingernails embedded into my palm.

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-You make it look so easy!

-It is!

-It was great fun. I loved it.

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-Yeah, it's good, isn't it?

-Really good.

-And that's the warm-up.

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I know! I've seen what I've got lined up for me just over there.

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'It's the first time I've seen the scale of the challenge ahead.

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'Just look at it. I think at this point,

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'I need to tell you, I really don't like heights.

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'What a way to try and conquer that fear!

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'Before I get to that, though,

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'Sven will be putting me through my paces

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'with a challenging practice climb.'

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But next, they've been blamed for earthquakes and flaming taps.

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Now fracking, the controversial method of getting gas

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out of the ground, is back on the agenda.

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The government are keen to see our natural underground reserves

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exploited, but what does that mean for those living with

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the prospect on the doorstep?

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Here's Tom.

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For centuries, we've powered our nation

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with energy harvested from deep within the earth.

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Coal mines once peppered our landscape.

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Now, the UK relies on imports for most of its fuel.

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But the discovery of a rich reservoir of gas

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could change all that.

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It is estimated that there are hundreds of trillions of cubic feet

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of the stuff under the north of England alone,

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and just a fraction of that

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could satisfy the UK's gas demand for decades.

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The problem is, the gas is buried deep under the earth,

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trapped in tightly packed layers of rock called shale.

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The only effective method for releasing it is known as fracking.

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Professor Ernest Rutter at Manchester University

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has designed an experiment which shows how you get gas from a stone.

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I can see the pressure on the dial beginning to rise here.

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Just got up to 4,500.

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'I'm ratcheting up the pressure,

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'forcing pink wax into the centre of this clear plastic cylinder.

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'Let's see what happens.'

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Pressure's rising.

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The liquid is a bit like a crowbar which is wedging a crack open,

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forcing it into the rock.

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'Real-life fracking uses a mixture of water, sand and chemicals,

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'rather than the wax here.

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'This forces cracks through the rock like the ones

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'we see in our clear piece of plastic.

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'The gas trapped within then floats to the surface.'

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Isn't that beautiful?

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These two butterfly wings, these two planar cracks,

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breach the outside of the cylinder.

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'Engineers refer to this extraction process as "unconventional".'

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But outside the gas industry,

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the word most commonly associated with fracking is "controversial".

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'In 2010, it was claimed the extraction of shale gas in America

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'had resulted in gas leaking into local water supplies,

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'with explosive results.

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'Geologists say this couldn't happen over here.

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'But the inflammatory shots did little to help

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'public perception of the industry.

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'And then this happened.'

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A controversial drilling operation for natural shale gas

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has been suspended after a small earthquake near Blackpool.

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At Preesall in Lancashire, the UK's first attempt at shale fracking

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resulted in two minor earthquakes around the drilling site.

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It's quite a funny story, really. I was in bed.

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I'd felt something happen. I heard a bit of a rumble.

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My phone pinged, I picked it up,

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and it was my daughter at the other end of the house,

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it was a text saying, "Was that you, Dad?"

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Local farmer John Loftus had leased some of his land to the gas company.

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They didn't damage your house or buildings at all?

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Oh, it was very miniscule. My son lives at Ripon,

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and this earthquake the week before was, I think, twice the size.

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-Right.

-And they don't have any fracking.

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'Operations here were halted after the earthquakes,

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'and there's been no fracking in the UK since.

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'But unrelated seismic activity of this size is fairly common,

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'and in 2012, a report into the local geology recommended:

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'Certainly, John is still more than happy

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'for it to go ahead on his land.'

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So what was it like when they were actually

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-doing the fracking and drilling here?

-No real noise.

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I mean, obviously, we live nearly half a mile from here,

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but a lot of stone came in,

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a lot of wagons up and down the road -

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I think one day when they were taking it off,

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there were 32 artics in a row.

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So why do you do it?

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I believe that the countryside is basically for the country,

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and as farmers, we're only custodians of the countryside.

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So you think this is a public-spirited thing to do?

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It wasn't because of the cheque you got to put this on your land?

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The cheque I got was less than two percent of my income.

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Well, that might be quite a lot! You run quite a big farm here.

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How much was it? Go on, tell me.

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I'm not supposed to tell you, so I can't tell you,

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but my best Angus bull that I sold last year

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was twice as much as I get rent for this,

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-and it's minuscule, to be honest.

-Right.

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'Minuscule for John could be large for other British farmers,

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'but unlike their counterparts in the United States,

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'it won't make them a fortune.

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'There are different laws in Britain and America.'

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Over there, the gas is owned by the landowner,

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whereas here, it belongs to the Crown Estate,

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and the farmer just gets paid

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for leasing the land that the wellhead sits on.

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'But there would be big winners, like the British government.

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'In today's prices, it's already made £300 billion

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'over the last 40 years on home-sourced energy,

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'mainly from North Sea oil and other offshore operations.

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'And if shale gas is worth just a fraction of that,

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'it'll provide a windfall when the country needs it most.

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'A good reason, then,

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'to venture back underground in search of energy?'

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This stuff, coal, powered Britain through the Industrial Revolution,

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changed the country for ever.

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'But should we still be looking to environmentally unfriendly

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'fossil fuels to power our nation,

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'or is shale gas simply too good an opportunity to miss?

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'I'll be finding out later.'

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The Wye Valley. Its river snakes through wooded slopes.

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On its Welsh bank stands Tintern Abbey,

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a gigantic skeleton open to the skies.

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Talk about take your breath away.

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I mean, this building is magnificent,

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and just think what it must have looked like to medieval travellers

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as they approached Tintern in its full glory.

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Tintern was the first Cistercian abbey to be founded in Wales,

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and only the second in the whole of Britain.

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Work started in 1131, and it thrived for four centuries until,

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like so many others, it was turned to ruin by King Henry VIII.

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'But what was life like back then before the dissolution?

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'How did the monks live?

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'To find out, I'm going back 500 years,

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'coming face to face with a man who can tell me.'

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Let's do a spot of time travelling.

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Brother Thomas is returning to the abbey

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shortly after it was destroyed, and breaking his vow of silence.

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Now, this was the chapter house, where we met in the morning

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to set the pattern of our day.

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-So this was the Abbey powerhouse?

-Absolutely, yes.

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This is our refectory. Once a day we ate here.

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And what sort of things were on the menu?

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Fish, eggs, and vegetables.

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Everything grown on the estate.

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And this is our warming house.

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A kind of common room in the winter, largely, where monks came,

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they read here, they would have had their tonsure haircut here.

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A tonsure? The bald bit at the back?

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The bald bit at the back, that's right. THEY LAUGH

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How many monks would there have been?

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At its height, about 80 of me, the choir monks,

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and about 200 lay brothers.

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Because you worked the fields all around here, didn't you?

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It was very intensive farming that you monks were doing?

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Absolutely. Yes, it certainly was.

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And of course, Cistercian monks developed agriculture considerably.

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-And it was a hard life for the monks, wasn't it?

-Very hard, yes.

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We were a Trappist order, a silent order, and very, very strict.

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And I hear that, despite all the privations,

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you monks did enjoy a little bevvy or two, didn't you?

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Oh, Master...I think the hour has come for me to go to prayer!

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-JOHN LAUGHS

-Say no more!

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OK, so Brother Thomas is actually Keith, the tour guide.

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But it's well-known that monks were master brewers.

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Maybe historian Madeleine Grey can tell me more.

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They used to brew a lot of beer

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because the water supply was so disgusting...

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-And dangerous, presumably?

-Yes, absolutely.

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So you cleaned it up by brewing with it.

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The men who worshipped in here

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were not necessarily the ones who worked out in the fields?

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Well, no. The bulk of the work is done by these lay brothers.

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They were recruited from local peasant farming families.

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If you think about it, it's quite a man-management issue.

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You've got all these energetic young men,

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you've got somehow to keep them under control,

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so a combination of all that beer

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and an awful lot of physical hard work in the fields,

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and they were probably too tired to even have impure thoughts,

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never mind doing anything about it! THEY LAUGH

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But the simple, monastic life of Tintern was soon to end.

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In 1536, it was surrendered to Henry VIII's officials.

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Along with more than 800 other monasteries around the country,

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the abbey was dissolved and stripped of its wealth,

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and so ended a way of life which had lasted 400 years.

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The monks of Tintern may be long gone, but their legacy lives on,

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and one of the things that Brother Thomas and his ilk left for us

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tastes surprisingly good. It's mead.

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Later, I'll be heading to a local vineyard that's picked up

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where the monks left off and is putting mead back on the map.

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Now, the BBC's Summer Of Wildlife is all about getting out

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and looking for the wildlife near your home.

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As part of that project,

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Countryfile asked wildlife cameraman Richard Taylor-Jones

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what he could find near his home in Kent.

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And I have a special reason for wondering if he was lucky.

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As a wildlife cameraman,

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there are some animals that are notoriously difficult to film.

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For me, there's one species in particular

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that's always caused me problems,

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and it seems I'm not alone.

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John was in Wales a few weeks back

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and he had high hopes of seeing water voles,

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Britain's fastest-declining mammal, with his own eyes.

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In all my years on Countryfile, Sorcha,

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I've never seen a water vole.

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Am I going to be lucky today, do you think?

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Sadly, not.

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He had to be satisfied by some grainy images snapped by remote cameras.

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But even that's something.

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Water vole numbers have crashed by a staggering 95% since the 1970s.

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My challenge today is to go one better.

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I've come to a place just a few miles from home

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where I've been guaranteed,

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yes, GUARANTEED, I will see water voles.

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So just perhaps, I'm going to have a little bit more luck than John.

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And this is the place.

0:19:050:19:07

These fishing lakes are close to my home in Kent.

0:19:070:19:11

My mum told me years ago this place was good for wildlife,

0:19:110:19:14

but I've never bothered to look until now.

0:19:140:19:17

Within minutes, I've spotted some promising signs.

0:19:170:19:21

There's flattened grass by the lakeside

0:19:210:19:23

and nibbled vegetation,

0:19:230:19:25

which could be the work of water voles.

0:19:250:19:27

But this is the best sign of all.

0:19:290:19:32

A little patch of animal droppings.

0:19:320:19:35

And there's one way to find out who they belong to.

0:19:350:19:41

Now, then, water vole poo is often a greeny, browny colour,

0:19:410:19:46

which this is.

0:19:460:19:48

And then if you just squash it between your fingers,

0:19:480:19:51

it has a very sort of vegetabley texture.

0:19:510:19:55

It doesn't feel meaty in any way.

0:19:550:19:58

It doesn't smell too bad at all.

0:19:580:20:00

So I would say, going on the size, the colour, and the smell,

0:20:000:20:05

we probably do have a water vole latrine here.

0:20:050:20:09

Really good news. But to utterly convince me,

0:20:100:20:13

I need to see a water vole.

0:20:130:20:15

This looks like a burrow entrance, so I'll leave a bit of apple as bait

0:20:150:20:19

and plonk my remote camera down in front of it.

0:20:190:20:21

And if I've got a shot of them on this, then I know I can spend the

0:20:220:20:26

rest of the day in confidence waiting to get the shots I'm really after.

0:20:260:20:31

I'll need to leave my camera for a good few hours to stand any

0:20:320:20:36

chance of capturing water voles.

0:20:360:20:38

That gives me enough time to explore the rest of the lakes.

0:20:380:20:42

Hard to believe that only 20 years ago all this was a cauliflower field.

0:20:430:20:48

It became prone to flooding

0:20:480:20:49

so the farmer created these fishing lakes,

0:20:490:20:52

all now fringed by lush woodland.

0:20:520:20:55

A great example of how quickly nature can reclaim the landscape

0:20:550:20:58

if given a chance.

0:20:580:21:00

And, as if to prove the point,

0:21:000:21:02

some rather special flowers have appeared here.

0:21:020:21:05

These are southern marsh orchids

0:21:070:21:09

and there are literally hundreds of them and, to me,

0:21:090:21:13

they kind of remind me of the fashion models of the flower world.

0:21:130:21:17

They're tall, skinny, just utterly gorgeous,

0:21:170:21:20

but there is a bit of a problem with them.

0:21:200:21:22

If you just come down here, let's have a look at this one.

0:21:220:21:26

I always feel that they get lost in amongst all this grass

0:21:260:21:30

and so what I want to do,

0:21:300:21:32

as we do love our photography here on Countryfile, I want to give it

0:21:320:21:35

the full studio treatment

0:21:350:21:37

and make it look as glamorous as I know it really can.

0:21:370:21:40

I've brought along my outdoor studio.

0:21:440:21:47

The aim is to isolate the flowers

0:21:470:21:49

by gently flattening down other vegetation around them and then

0:21:490:21:52

shoot against a pure white soft box.

0:21:520:21:56

Inside the soft box is a flash which backlights the orchid creating a soft

0:21:560:22:00

rim light around the edge of the flower.

0:22:000:22:03

Then flashes at the front are switched on

0:22:030:22:05

to really make those colours punch out.

0:22:050:22:08

You're left with a single stem of floral beauty

0:22:090:22:12

standing out like a model on the front of a fashion magazine.

0:22:120:22:16

Time now to get back to my remote water vole camera.

0:22:180:22:21

Has it got the proof I need?

0:22:210:22:24

Hey, hey, hey. Bingo!

0:22:270:22:30

There we go, water vole, dead slap in the middle of frame.

0:22:300:22:34

That gives me the encouragement to get out on that bank

0:22:340:22:38

and sit there for the next few hours.

0:22:380:22:40

Filming wildlife often involves a huge amount of waiting around.

0:22:410:22:45

But not this time. I can't believe what I'm seeing.

0:22:450:22:50

Look at this. Here he is.

0:22:500:22:52

A water vole.

0:22:520:22:53

And there's a fisherman totally unaware of what's just beneath him.

0:22:550:22:59

He's climbing up the vegetation like it's a rope. Stretching up.

0:23:030:23:08

This is lovely.

0:23:080:23:10

I think he's using the old dry vegetation to clamber up

0:23:130:23:17

and grab a piece of the fresher green stuff...

0:23:170:23:20

..without having to expose himself by going on top of the bank.

0:23:220:23:25

A large male water vole like this

0:23:260:23:28

can weigh up to three-quarters of a pound.

0:23:280:23:31

That's quite a bulk to haul around on a grass root,

0:23:310:23:34

but it appears this vole is as keen on swimming as it is climbing.

0:23:340:23:39

And soon he's back up on the bank and heading for the fisherman.

0:23:390:23:43

I love the fact that the angler is just

0:23:430:23:47

now sitting there with no idea

0:23:470:23:51

that Britain's fastest-declining mammal...

0:23:510:23:54

..is just, what, two yards in front of him?

0:23:570:24:01

This vole is keeping itself hidden for good reason.

0:24:010:24:04

All sorts of predators love to eat them, especially American mink,

0:24:040:24:09

brought here in the 1970s,

0:24:090:24:11

and the key reason water vole numbers have collapsed.

0:24:110:24:15

I can't believe what I'm seeing and it's just about to get even better.

0:24:150:24:20

QUIETLY: I don't know if you can see from there,

0:24:200:24:23

but I can certainly see down this camera that we have a water vole.

0:24:230:24:27

It must be only three metres away from me.

0:24:270:24:30

It's just come out of its burrow

0:24:310:24:34

and coming out onto the wider lawn,

0:24:340:24:38

which perhaps isn't surprising

0:24:380:24:40

because I've left a little bit of apple there to tempt it out.

0:24:400:24:43

And he's incredibly relaxed.

0:24:430:24:46

These animals are constantly surrounded by humans.

0:24:460:24:50

Pretty much every day there are anglers out around this lake.

0:24:500:24:55

So the water voles have become very used to people being around,

0:24:550:25:00

which is making it really very easy for me to get the shots.

0:25:000:25:03

It seems I've finally broken the curse of the water vole.

0:25:060:25:10

And, what's more, I've done it just a few minutes' drive from my house.

0:25:100:25:13

So, thanks, Mum!

0:25:130:25:16

Finding the water voles here has been a complete revelation to me

0:25:160:25:20

and I guess it just goes to show that no matter how well you

0:25:200:25:22

think you know your local area, if you keep on asking around,

0:25:220:25:26

if you keep looking, there's always something new to find.

0:25:260:25:30

And if you want to find out more about the incredible

0:25:300:25:33

species in your own backyard, go to the Countryfile website

0:25:330:25:37

where you'll find all the information about

0:25:370:25:40

the BBC's Summer Of Wildlife and how you can be part of it.

0:25:400:25:43

Next time, I hope to be on the trail of the elusive kingfisher.

0:25:460:25:50

I'm in the Wye Valley to try something I've never done before -

0:25:550:26:00

a Tyrolean traverse, travelling along a rope between two rock faces

0:26:000:26:04

high above the ground.

0:26:040:26:06

This is Symonds Yat Rock and that is one of only a handful of inland

0:26:060:26:12

rock pinnacles anywhere in the UK.

0:26:120:26:15

I've got a bad feeling about this.

0:26:170:26:19

The Pinnacle.

0:26:190:26:21

The route up is appropriately enough christened "Vertigo",

0:26:210:26:26

an energy-sapping 80-foot climb.

0:26:260:26:29

But before I go anywhere near that thing,

0:26:290:26:32

a bit of training is in order.

0:26:320:26:34

OK.

0:26:430:26:44

Right, OK, Ellie, the line here follows the line of least resistance

0:26:440:26:47

so it's the easiest round you can find.

0:26:470:26:49

And it's just like walking up the stairs you said?

0:26:490:26:51

Just like walking up the stairs, OK. The stairs are little bit smaller.

0:26:510:26:54

Climb when you're ready.

0:26:540:26:56

'Symonds Yat is testing.

0:26:570:27:00

'But trees provide good anchor points for ropes,

0:27:000:27:02

'which really helps.'

0:27:020:27:04

-Great stuff.

-Is that too big?

-No, perfect, nice.

0:27:040:27:07

-Nicely done.

-Suddenly I've gone silent, concentrating.

0:27:090:27:13

Up and over there?

0:27:150:27:17

'The limestone here has been stripped of plants.

0:27:170:27:20

'It should make it easier to climb

0:27:200:27:22

'but I'm struggling to get a good grip.'

0:27:220:27:24

It's a bit slippy.

0:27:260:27:28

Oh, I don't like it. Is that too high?

0:27:280:27:31

-You can do it that way. Whatever works for you.

-None of them work.

0:27:310:27:35

Oh, man, this is supposed to be the easy one!

0:27:350:27:37

-That's actually really good technique, Ellie.

-Yeah?

0:27:430:27:46

-We call that a step through.

-Oh, I got my step through.

0:27:460:27:49

-Just going to admire this limestone for a while.

-Now go straight up.

0:27:510:27:55

-All right.

-Try and finish this when you touch the karabiner.

0:27:550:27:58

This is a fraction easier here.

0:28:030:28:07

Oh, lordy, it's not natural doing this.

0:28:080:28:11

Why do people do this?

0:28:110:28:14

-Straight up to the karabiner.

-Up to the karabiner.

0:28:140:28:17

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

0:28:170:28:19

Ding-a-ling!

0:28:190:28:21

'And there, looming in the background, what I'm training for.

0:28:210:28:25

'A much tougher and taller climb.'

0:28:250:28:27

-Hold on to this?

-Yeah, if you wish.

0:28:270:28:29

I do, I do wish. All right, what am I doing?

0:28:290:28:33

Feet wide apart, that's the idea.

0:28:330:28:34

Yes, yes, yes.

0:28:340:28:37

Oh, sun.

0:28:370:28:39

-Nice and steady.

-Lovely.

0:28:390:28:42

'What made this training climb so tricky is the shape of the valley.

0:28:430:28:47

'It's been cut by water instead of glaciers

0:28:470:28:50

'forming squarer, steeper walls.'

0:28:500:28:52

-There we go.

-Perfect.

0:28:530:28:56

Yes, I'm down.

0:28:590:29:02

-I bet that was an easy climb, wasn't it, in climbing terms?

-Not at all.

0:29:020:29:04

Not for me it wasn't.

0:29:040:29:06

Actually, in climbing terms, we have a grading system,

0:29:060:29:08

the English grading system, and this is graded very difficult.

0:29:080:29:11

Oh, very difficult. Hey, that was good, that was good.

0:29:110:29:14

Nice and short, as well.

0:29:140:29:16

'A successful training session but will it hold me

0:29:160:29:19

'in good stead for the main climb ahead?'

0:29:190:29:22

Well, I'm very glad I had a couple of training climbs

0:29:220:29:24

because sitting at the bottom of this...

0:29:240:29:27

SHE SIGHS

0:29:270:29:28

..feels slightly terrifying.

0:29:280:29:32

I think I'm just going to sit here and think about it for a while.

0:29:320:29:35

Now, earlier, we heard how controversial method of extracting

0:29:420:29:45

untapped underground gas deposits has had a shaky start in the UK.

0:29:450:29:51

But, with the government now firmly backing plans for fracking,

0:29:510:29:54

are there any credible reasons for standing in its way?

0:29:540:29:57

Here's Tom again.

0:29:570:29:59

The United Kingdom is an energy-hungry country.

0:30:010:30:05

But, in the next few years, there's a chance we may be energy starved.

0:30:050:30:09

The regulator, Ofgem,

0:30:130:30:14

has warned that we might run short of electricity in the next decade

0:30:140:30:18

and that's partly down to our reliance on this mucky stuff.

0:30:180:30:24

So, let's shed some light on the situation.

0:30:240:30:27

Last year, the UK relied on coal to generate

0:30:290:30:32

nearly 40% of our electricity.

0:30:320:30:35

But due to EU emissions rules, at least 5 of our 17 coal-fired

0:30:350:30:40

power stations will have closed by the end of 2015,

0:30:400:30:44

taking 10% of our power capacity off-line.

0:30:440:30:47

Ofgem want the energy industry to get new sources of power on the grid

0:30:500:30:55

so we can prevent the lights going out.

0:30:550:30:58

For the British government, at least,

0:30:590:31:01

that could be where shale gas comes in.

0:31:010:31:04

At a time when we're crying out for reliable home-grown

0:31:040:31:07

sources of energy, the answer could be under our feet.

0:31:070:31:11

It's beneath the old coalfields

0:31:110:31:13

so if we look to see where we extracted the most coal, the

0:31:130:31:16

chances are, beneath that is where we're going to find the most shale.

0:31:160:31:21

'You can find shale gas under most of the UK

0:31:210:31:24

'but Professor Peter Styles from Keele University thinks the most

0:31:240:31:27

'interesting reserves might be under the north of England,

0:31:270:31:31

'Central Scotland, south of London

0:31:310:31:35

'and on the Irish border.'

0:31:350:31:37

So these are where there are promising shales

0:31:370:31:40

but does that actually mean we can get gas out of them viably?

0:31:400:31:44

We will never get the total volume of gas out and, on average,

0:31:440:31:49

we'd be lucky to get 10% out, but 10% of these numbers are still

0:31:490:31:53

very large amounts, potentially many tens of years of UK gas supply.

0:31:530:31:58

Are we going to see a rash of wells across the country?

0:31:580:32:01

Individual holes in the ground,

0:32:010:32:03

probably of the order of 1,000, but that's not what you

0:32:030:32:07

see at the surface because these wells

0:32:070:32:10

are drilled from a pad about the size of a football field

0:32:100:32:13

and perhaps 10, perhaps 20 wells will be drilled from one of those.

0:32:130:32:17

So we may have 100 of those

0:32:170:32:21

across an area the same as Yorkshire and Lancashire.

0:32:210:32:25

Shale gas sites could be coming to some of the most beautiful

0:32:270:32:30

parts of the country.

0:32:300:32:32

In Lancashire, where they've already had a small

0:32:330:32:36

taste of the industry, the anti-fracking movement is still

0:32:360:32:39

working hard to make people aware of the potential problems.

0:32:390:32:42

I don't know what's going to become of it.

0:32:490:32:50

I think it's going to go ahead.

0:32:500:32:52

I don't know if it's something you've ever looked at.

0:32:520:32:54

-I really think we should go for it.

-You think we should go for it, right.

0:32:540:32:58

It's a joke. An absolute joke.

0:32:580:33:00

Ian Roberts runs a local anti-fracking group from the small

0:33:000:33:04

town of St-Anne's-on-Sea on the Fylde coast.

0:33:040:33:07

There's a whole range of issues.

0:33:080:33:10

If you look at where these sites are, the infrastructure,

0:33:100:33:13

the roads just aren't there.

0:33:130:33:15

These are country tracks often

0:33:150:33:16

and you're going to be bringing thousands of heavy-duty wagons

0:33:160:33:20

full of chemicals and waste water to these sites.

0:33:200:33:23

And tourism. This is an absolutely beautiful coast.

0:33:230:33:28

Are people going to be attracted to the rural Fylde coast

0:33:280:33:32

if you've got an industrialised zone?

0:33:320:33:35

But in the next few years,

0:33:350:33:36

doesn't shale gas play a role in keeping the lights on?

0:33:360:33:38

I don't believe so.

0:33:380:33:39

I think we need to shift our investments into renewables.

0:33:390:33:42

This is exactly the wrong point in history at which to be

0:33:420:33:45

investing in, scrambling for the last bits of fossil fuel.

0:33:450:33:49

Fracking also uses huge amounts of water mixed with sand and chemicals.

0:33:500:33:55

The water companies have voiced concerns over the possibility

0:33:550:33:58

of contamination of local supplies and potential shortages.

0:33:580:34:04

So, are the environmental worries credible enough to halt

0:34:040:34:07

the so-called dash for gas?

0:34:070:34:10

Francis Egan is the CEO of Cuadrilla,

0:34:100:34:13

the only company to have actually fracked for shale gas in the UK.

0:34:130:34:17

100 sites takes a total land area of two square kilometres

0:34:170:34:21

across 1,200 square kilometres.

0:34:210:34:23

I think that can be fitted into the County of Lancashire fairly

0:34:230:34:26

easily without a huge amount of disruption.

0:34:260:34:28

Are there not big environmental concerns over water here?

0:34:280:34:31

You're going to use a lot and it comes out of the ground polluted.

0:34:310:34:34

You say it's polluted but actually,

0:34:340:34:35

the Environment Agency classification under EU legislation

0:34:350:34:38

is non-hazardous, but it does need treatment.

0:34:380:34:40

So it's officially classified as a non-hazardous waste, OK?

0:34:400:34:43

That's not to say that you would put into your drinking supply.

0:34:430:34:46

It does need treatment. But it's not a threat to public health.

0:34:460:34:51

But what about the concerns over our continued reliance on fossil fuels?

0:34:510:34:55

After all, the UK is legally bound to

0:34:550:34:58

an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,

0:34:580:35:02

so should we rush to a carbon-rich fuel like shale gas?

0:35:020:35:07

The question is not will we be using gas, because we will.

0:35:070:35:09

The question is, where is it coming from?

0:35:090:35:11

Now, is it better for the environment to develop it here

0:35:110:35:14

in a highly regulated UK, European Union environment?

0:35:140:35:17

Or to import it from halfway across the world in a ship?

0:35:170:35:20

Gas is a much more environmentally benign fossil fuel than coal,

0:35:200:35:24

so there is plenty of room to reduce emissions and still use gas.

0:35:240:35:26

And, in fact, that's what happened in the US.

0:35:260:35:28

The US has increased its share of gas and electricity generation

0:35:280:35:32

and increased its renewables and it's reducing CO2.

0:35:320:35:35

We've done none of those.

0:35:350:35:36

Fossil fuels helped build modern Britain

0:35:370:35:40

but pulling more of them out of the ground can only increase

0:35:400:35:43

the levels of climate-changing gas in our atmosphere.

0:35:430:35:46

With concerns over energy supplies, and the country's financial worries,

0:35:460:35:51

the big question is, do we have any choice?

0:35:510:35:54

Just like coal in previous centuries, reserves of shale gas appear

0:35:540:35:59

to be plentiful and the technology to reach them is developing fast.

0:35:590:36:05

And, when you combine that with the government's obvious enthusiasm,

0:36:050:36:09

then environmentalists are going to have to work hard to keep it

0:36:090:36:13

all locked up underground.

0:36:130:36:16

Adam doesn't have dairy cows on his farm, but he knows just how

0:36:190:36:23

tough dairy farming is and he's taking a look now at two very

0:36:230:36:27

different approaches to meeting the challenges faced by the industry.

0:36:270:36:30

These are my Gloucester cattle.

0:36:370:36:39

They're a lovely old-fashioned, dual-purpose breed

0:36:390:36:41

so quite good at producing milk and quite good at producing beef,

0:36:410:36:45

but not brilliant at either.

0:36:450:36:47

And, after World War II,

0:36:470:36:49

we were a starving nation and we needed farmers to go for

0:36:490:36:52

out-and-out production and so we specialised in our cattle farming.

0:36:520:36:56

We went for the dairy cow for milk, the Friesian

0:36:560:36:59

and then the Holstein and, in the beef world,

0:36:590:37:01

we went for the Hereford and then Continental beef breeds.

0:37:010:37:04

So now, in modern-day farming, we have beef cattle and dairy cattle.

0:37:040:37:08

I'm off to see two dairy farms just down the road from me

0:37:130:37:16

in Gloucestershire that have very different approaches to

0:37:160:37:19

producing milk.

0:37:190:37:20

Rob Alan farms a herd of 150 cows.

0:37:220:37:25

Yeah, let's have a look around.

0:37:250:37:27

Would you consider yourself a very typical dairy farm here?

0:37:280:37:31

Yeah, I'd say so. I'm a third-generation dairy farmer.

0:37:310:37:34

What sort of cows are you farming?

0:37:340:37:38

Years ago, when my father first came to this farm,

0:37:380:37:40

we were very much Friesian-type cows.

0:37:400:37:42

But now, in more recent times,

0:37:420:37:45

we've obviously introduced the Holstein genetic.

0:37:450:37:47

So you're getting a productive cow

0:37:470:37:49

-but also one that can survive off grass?

-That's right, yes.

0:37:490:37:52

So, really, what you want is lots of lovely leafy grass that's

0:37:520:37:56

full of sugar and protein that the cow churns up with its rumen

0:37:560:38:00

to produce great quality milk?

0:38:000:38:02

Yeah, that's right. It's important to get the timings right,

0:38:020:38:05

get the cows out to the grass at the right growth stage.

0:38:050:38:08

When the sun is out, I think the grass is like everybody else.

0:38:080:38:10

It's essentially happier and it's more nutritious

0:38:100:38:13

and hopefully we'll get more milk from it.

0:38:130:38:16

You're a young man. Where do you see the future?

0:38:160:38:19

Well, I'd like to be running a viable dairy business

0:38:190:38:22

in years to come.

0:38:220:38:23

Obviously, to double the number of cows out in this field,

0:38:230:38:25

it wouldn't make sense.

0:38:250:38:27

I need more land area to do that.

0:38:270:38:29

You could run out of grass quickly, if you put too many cows out?

0:38:290:38:32

That's right cos, essentially,

0:38:320:38:34

they've got to stay within reason to the holding

0:38:340:38:36

because obviously we're bringing them in early mornings

0:38:360:38:38

and late afternoons to be milked.

0:38:380:38:40

So even if there was land available three or four miles away,

0:38:400:38:43

it wouldn't suit what we're trying to achieve.

0:38:430:38:45

Yeah, cos the cows can't walk all the way there

0:38:450:38:47

-and all the way back again.

-No.

0:38:470:38:49

You all right, girls?

0:38:490:38:52

-So this is the business end then?

-That's it.

0:38:520:38:54

This is where all the magic happens, yeah.

0:38:540:38:56

What sort of yields are you getting? How much milk per cow?

0:38:560:38:59

On an annual basis, we'd be doing about 8,500-9,000 litres.

0:38:590:39:03

And the cows would be doing about 28 litres a day.

0:39:030:39:06

How does that compare to when your dad first started milking cows?

0:39:060:39:09

Well, the old Friesian-type cows

0:39:090:39:11

-were doing between 4,000 and 6,000 litres, really.

-Crikey!

0:39:110:39:14

So you've really pushed things on?

0:39:140:39:16

-Yeah, that's right.

-And can you push things any further now?

0:39:160:39:18

-Where's the future?

-I think for the system we're running at the moment

0:39:180:39:22

we're about maxed out, really,

0:39:220:39:24

without introducing a lot more supplementary feeding.

0:39:240:39:27

And you're happy with that?

0:39:270:39:29

Yeah, I enjoy seeing the cows out at grass

0:39:290:39:31

and I enjoy the different management techniques.

0:39:310:39:33

It's going well.

0:39:330:39:35

Rob has ambitions for the future, but he's at the limit of how much

0:39:370:39:40

milk he can produce with his present system.

0:39:400:39:42

So I'm taking him to a farm where they have a herd six times

0:39:440:39:47

greater than Rob's and achieve a 30% higher yield from their cows.

0:39:470:39:52

David Ball is the farm manager.

0:39:520:39:54

-It's a lot of dairy cows, Rob, isn't it?

-Yeah, that's a lot of cows.

0:39:560:40:00

Very impressive. And so, how many have you got here, David?

0:40:000:40:04

-We've got 900 cows in the herd.

-And these cows don't ever go outside?

0:40:040:40:09

That's correct. We keep the cows inside all the time.

0:40:090:40:12

We do that because, on this farm,

0:40:120:40:15

it's not a suitable farm for growing grass all year round.

0:40:150:40:20

It's very drought prone

0:40:200:40:21

and particularly with the weather conditions at the moment,

0:40:210:40:23

grass growth is very unreliable

0:40:230:40:25

and so we choose to house these cows so that we can provide

0:40:250:40:29

ration for them, for their needs, and comfortable beds for them

0:40:290:40:33

to rest in the relatively cool environment in the shed here.

0:40:330:40:37

And what about the breed?

0:40:370:40:39

These are Holstein cows

0:40:390:40:40

and they are bred for high production of milk.

0:40:400:40:44

They require high levels of input in terms of their nutrition

0:40:460:40:50

and their diet to support that sort of milk yield.

0:40:500:40:53

This is what we call a total mix ration, a TMR.

0:40:550:40:58

It's available to them 24 hours a day.

0:40:580:41:01

It's made up of the three forages that we grow on the farm.

0:41:010:41:04

That's grass, lucerne and maize and we add to that

0:41:040:41:07

a blend of by-products that we buy from the human food industry.

0:41:070:41:11

We use a nutritionist who visits us fortnightly

0:41:110:41:14

to construct a ration in great detail.

0:41:140:41:16

We do monitor the cows very closely.

0:41:160:41:19

We take blood samples and we take dung samples

0:41:190:41:22

so that we can monitor the effect of the ration

0:41:220:41:25

and how the digestion of the cow is going on.

0:41:250:41:28

Here they are investing heavily in the future,

0:41:300:41:32

with this new state-of-the-art high-tech facility

0:41:320:41:34

where all the cows' needs are catered for.

0:41:340:41:37

But there's still no getting away from the fact that this is intensive.

0:41:390:41:43

And, for some, this type of farming is hard to accept.

0:41:430:41:46

While David shows Rob around, I've invited along Amy Jackson,

0:41:460:41:50

who's an agricultural PR consultant with two decades' experience

0:41:500:41:53

in the farming industry.

0:41:530:41:56

The public like to see cows out at grass, don't they?

0:41:560:41:59

Absolutely, because that's what they have become accustomed to

0:41:590:42:02

over the years,

0:42:020:42:04

pictures of cows on green fields, but actually, the reality is,

0:42:040:42:08

if you look at British cow hours, more than 50% of them

0:42:080:42:11

are spent inside because of the winter period

0:42:110:42:13

and probably up to a fifth of cows are in 365 days a year now.

0:42:130:42:17

Year in, year out.

0:42:170:42:19

So I think what we have to do is try

0:42:190:42:20

and get people used to the idea that some cows are inside.

0:42:200:42:23

So, with Rob's system and David's system,

0:42:230:42:25

what are the problems that they might face?

0:42:250:42:28

Rob obviously has his cows going outside in the summer

0:42:280:42:30

and that brings its own issues.

0:42:300:42:32

You know, there's flies outside and on a day like today,

0:42:320:42:36

you have to make sure they have enough shade.

0:42:360:42:38

You have to make sure that when the grass growth slows down

0:42:380:42:41

they're actually getting enough food into themselves.

0:42:410:42:43

Something you can't control is the weather.

0:42:430:42:45

Here, obviously, you can

0:42:450:42:46

make sure their nutrition is more balanced

0:42:460:42:48

but then we have to make sure that their udders are clean

0:42:480:42:50

and feet are healthy so you have to keep on top of that continually

0:42:500:42:54

and quite often, on a farm like this,

0:42:540:42:56

you have weekly foot trimming and vets in on a regular visit

0:42:560:42:59

to make sure that that's on top of as well.

0:42:590:43:01

So, with all the different systems, cows outdoor all year,

0:43:010:43:04

half and half, and then this kind of system, is there a right or wrong?

0:43:040:43:08

No, I think it's about how it's all managed.

0:43:080:43:10

Certainly there are different risks with different systems,

0:43:100:43:12

different pros and cons.

0:43:120:43:13

It's all about how you manage those on each farm.

0:43:130:43:16

Is this kind of system then, keeping the price of milk at the right price?

0:43:160:43:20

Well, it's not about keeping the price of milk down.

0:43:200:43:22

We've lost about a billion litres' worth of milk production

0:43:220:43:25

in this country in the last ten years

0:43:250:43:27

and that's 1,000 farms' worth, 1,000 average farms,

0:43:270:43:29

so we need to think, if we want to keep having British milk

0:43:290:43:32

we need to support farmers who are expanding

0:43:320:43:34

so we can keep milk production in the UK.

0:43:340:43:36

Rob, for you, you've got your cows out at grass during the summer.

0:43:400:43:44

-Do you find this going against the grain a bit?

-No, not necessarily.

0:43:440:43:49

I think, in terms of investment for my future,

0:43:490:43:52

I'd quite like to incorporate maybe the two systems

0:43:520:43:54

so cows giving more milk, run a very similar system to David,

0:43:540:43:58

but then still maintain the cows out at grass.

0:43:580:44:02

And if you're going to expand, because you haven't got enough

0:44:020:44:04

-fields, I suppose that's the only way forward?

-Yeah, that's right.

0:44:040:44:07

It's natural progress and, like I say, we could have an indoor

0:44:070:44:11

group and an outdoor group and utilise the best of both worlds.

0:44:110:44:15

It's been fascinating for me to meet two dairy farmers

0:44:150:44:18

that keep their cows in very different ways

0:44:180:44:20

but what seems to be crucial is that,

0:44:200:44:22

whatever system they are in, that the cows are well looked after.

0:44:220:44:25

Next week we're busy making hay and I'll be taking a look

0:44:270:44:30

at the effect the weather has had on my other crops over the past year.

0:44:300:44:34

-JOHN:

-Right now I'm heading into the hills above Tintern Abbey

0:44:380:44:41

to one of the oldest commercial vineyards in Wales.

0:44:410:44:44

For over 30 years, it's been producing wines from the very

0:44:440:44:47

slopes thought to have been farmed by the monks.

0:44:470:44:51

The monks down at the Abbey abided by the rule that they should

0:44:510:44:54

live by the labours of their own hands and not accept charity,

0:44:540:44:58

so one way of doing that was to produce

0:44:580:45:01

and sell alcohol from their vineyards and from their own brews.

0:45:010:45:05

The monks worked this hillside from as early as the 12th century.

0:45:110:45:15

Today, in the shadow of the spectacular ruins,

0:45:180:45:21

Colin and Judith Dudley are continuing the tradition.

0:45:210:45:24

I must say, Judith, the words "Wales" and "vineyards"

0:45:240:45:29

don't normally come in the same sentence to me.

0:45:290:45:32

There are actually 17 vineyards in Wales now. Ours is the oldest one.

0:45:320:45:37

You are not just producing wine, but mead as well.

0:45:370:45:41

Yes, we started doing the mead

0:45:410:45:43

because we would get visitors coming to the vineyards

0:45:430:45:46

asking what the mead was that the monks used to drink at the abbey.

0:45:460:45:49

-Because mead is a mixture of honey and water, fermenting?

-That's right.

0:45:490:45:53

That's the traditional mead.

0:45:530:45:55

The mead that we actually make here is called a hippocras.

0:45:550:45:59

It's made with white wine, honey and spices in it.

0:45:590:46:03

It would have been used medicinally.

0:46:030:46:05

These days, spiced drinks, fancy ciders are all the rage.

0:46:050:46:11

-Do you think there is a good future for mead?

-I do, yes.

0:46:110:46:14

It does seem very popular.

0:46:140:46:16

Particularly, I would say, at Christmas time.

0:46:160:46:18

The spices we use are similar to the ones in mulled wine.

0:46:180:46:22

People associate that with Christmas,

0:46:220:46:24

but people drink it all the year round.

0:46:240:46:27

Judith says that just as a wine's character is determined by the type

0:46:270:46:31

of grape, the flavour of mead is all down to the honey that is used.

0:46:310:46:35

And for Richard Liddell, his bees help make a mean mead.

0:46:370:46:41

Just get my gloves on.

0:46:430:46:44

What effect does smoking have on the bees then, Richard?

0:46:440:46:48

It's kidding the bees there is a forest fire on the way.

0:46:480:46:51

So really what they want to do is fill their stomachs with honey,

0:46:510:46:56

so that they can decamp and make another hive

0:46:560:47:00

somewhere far away where the fire isn't.

0:47:000:47:04

And of course the beauty of that is that if you have a bee that has

0:47:040:47:08

-a full stomach with honey, it's not going to sting you.

-Right.

0:47:080:47:12

So a little gentle smoke on the top there.

0:47:120:47:15

Would the monks down at Tintern

0:47:150:47:16

have used the same technique of smoking to get their honey?

0:47:160:47:20

I'm not absolutely sure, but one thing is certain,

0:47:200:47:22

they did used to have to destroy some of the hives

0:47:220:47:26

in order to recover the honey from the bees.

0:47:260:47:28

Of course, don't forget, in history,

0:47:280:47:31

honey wasn't the food of the ordinary person.

0:47:310:47:34

It was the food of kings, lords and ladies.

0:47:340:47:36

What about mead, was that the same?

0:47:360:47:38

Mead was the same, yes, and historically, farms used to have

0:47:380:47:42

to give barrels of mead to the lord of the manor as their due tithes.

0:47:420:47:47

-Look at that beautiful texture of that.

-Wonderful.

0:47:490:47:51

Fantastic, God's wonderful nectar.

0:47:510:47:53

The honey is added to white wine

0:47:560:47:58

and spiced with ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

0:47:580:48:01

Leave to ferment for a couple of months,

0:48:010:48:03

and you've got a mead any monk would be proud of.

0:48:030:48:07

Right, Judith, I'd very much like to taste this Welsh spicy mead of yours.

0:48:070:48:14

-Yes.

-Grown with your grapes and using your honey, Richard.

0:48:140:48:17

Absolutely, there's no food miles here.

0:48:170:48:19

Everything gathered within a few yards of this table.

0:48:190:48:22

-Absolutely right.

-And now for the tasting.

0:48:220:48:26

Mmm, it is very nice. But it's not quite what I expected.

0:48:280:48:32

It's not as sweet as I thought it would be.

0:48:320:48:35

This is because it's a wine mead, wine-based.

0:48:350:48:37

But you can't taste the wine as such, you get the spices

0:48:370:48:41

-and the honey at the end.

-Yes, you do.

-I'm glad you said honey.

0:48:410:48:44

-And this was the monks' medicine, was it?

-Oh, absolutely.

-Nice medicine!

0:48:440:48:48

I'll have a drop more of it.

0:48:480:48:50

In the meantime, I'm going to hand you over to the BBC weather studio

0:48:500:48:53

for the Countryfile weather forecast for the week ahead.

0:48:530:48:56

Cheers.

0:48:560:48:57

.

0:50:500:50:57

The majestic River Wye has carved out the splendour of the valley

0:51:070:51:11

that shares its name.

0:51:110:51:12

But while many come to appreciate the tranquillity

0:51:120:51:16

this place has to offer, I'm enjoying anything but.

0:51:160:51:20

Earlier, I conquered a tricky abseil

0:51:200:51:22

before enduring a testing training climb,

0:51:220:51:25

all in preparation for my next challenge.

0:51:250:51:29

And now I'm at the foot of the Pinnacle.

0:51:300:51:33

80 feet of sheer hell.

0:51:340:51:37

350 million unforgiving years have shaped this beast.

0:51:370:51:43

Stacks like this are normally only found at sea.

0:51:430:51:47

And how I wish this one was too.

0:51:480:51:51

But it's not. It's here.

0:51:510:51:53

Surrounded by jagged rocks.

0:51:530:51:56

And it's what I've got to conquer if I'm to make the Tyrolean traverse.

0:51:560:52:01

And here is that traverse.

0:52:030:52:06

If I make it up to the top, that's how I'll get off.

0:52:060:52:09

Travelling high above the valley floor, on the thinnest of ropes.

0:52:090:52:14

Fewer than one percent of climbers have ever done one.

0:52:140:52:18

Sven may be an experienced hand, but I'm still mighty nervous.

0:52:180:52:22

Right, then.

0:52:220:52:24

Oh, I've actually got to do this now.

0:52:250:52:28

Oh, man!

0:52:280:52:30

LABOURED BREATHING

0:52:350:52:38

I've only just started. It makes me want to cry.

0:52:380:52:41

That's it, Ellie, that's it.

0:52:430:52:45

Come on, come on.

0:52:520:52:53

Yes, yes, yes.

0:52:530:52:55

OK, I need to take a second.

0:52:560:52:58

-No worries.

-Just to breathe.

0:52:580:53:00

I'm making schoolboy errors, using my arms. It's all about the legs.

0:53:000:53:04

Don't look down.

0:53:040:53:05

No, I can't do this.

0:53:110:53:12

OK.

0:53:140:53:16

Robin, you can see. Have I got a good hold?

0:53:210:53:24

Yeah, it's pretty good.

0:53:240:53:25

I can't bear this. Come on, come on. Yes, yes, yes.

0:53:250:53:30

That's it. There's nothing else to hold onto.

0:53:370:53:40

Yes, I'm OK here.

0:53:470:53:49

I'm not even looking, I'm just going to chat to the rock.

0:53:530:53:56

Me and the limestone.

0:53:560:53:58

It's nice lichen.

0:53:590:54:01

Chewing the grain, this is just where I want to be(!)

0:54:010:54:04

Having a great time.

0:54:040:54:06

Nice climbing, Ellie.

0:54:070:54:09

OK, nearly at the top.

0:54:180:54:20

-Nearly at the top.

-Nice one.

0:54:200:54:22

Yes, yes, yes.

0:54:250:54:27

Ah, I'm nearly there, nearly there.

0:54:270:54:30

Go on, Ellie.

0:54:300:54:32

Right, don't mess, I've still got to get up there. Lovely big rocks.

0:54:320:54:36

Lovely big steps.

0:54:360:54:38

Sven, I'm here!

0:54:410:54:43

Oh, wow!

0:54:480:54:49

That's amazing. I can barely speak, I'm so nervous. Oh, it's incredible.

0:54:510:54:57

That's awesome.

0:54:580:54:59

I just wish there was a lift down.

0:55:020:55:04

Having conquered the Pinnacle, I'm feeling very relieved.

0:55:080:55:12

But I can't tell you how glad I'll be to get off.

0:55:120:55:15

Oh, I'm looking right down the line

0:55:150:55:18

at this enormous disappearing ground beneath me.

0:55:180:55:21

-What have I got to do?

-Whenever you are ready,

0:55:210:55:24

I'm just going to ask you to shuffle on down, sit down here.

0:55:240:55:28

And then step on the blocks down below,

0:55:280:55:30

OK, and we'll take it from there.

0:55:300:55:32

OK, so I'm sitting down here.

0:55:320:55:34

You're going to sit down where your feet are now.

0:55:340:55:37

Man, looking down is a disaster, isn't it? Just don't do it.

0:55:370:55:41

-Right, so shuffle, shuffle.

-Down to the edge.

0:55:410:55:45

-This is crazy. OK.

-Lower yourself down.

0:55:450:55:48

-Really?

-Yes.

0:55:480:55:50

All right.

0:55:500:55:52

Hang on. OK, I'm lowered, I'm lowered.

0:55:520:55:56

Ohh!

0:55:580:55:59

Oh, yes!

0:55:590:56:01

Look at the view. I've got time to enjoy it.

0:56:030:56:07

Hey, it's incredible!

0:56:090:56:11

The whole of Symonds Yat is buzzing on a summer's day.

0:56:130:56:17

Right, at some point, I need to turn round. Is this the point now?

0:56:170:56:20

Spin myself round. Now the work begins.

0:56:220:56:26

Come on. I've got a tree to get to.

0:56:270:56:30

Oh, work those biceps.

0:56:320:56:34

Let's get up off that edge. My word!

0:56:370:56:39

Oh, my goodness, I can't believe I just did that!

0:56:390:56:42

Got it.

0:56:440:56:45

I'm alive. LAUGHS

0:56:460:56:49

That was amazing. I'm exhausted...but alive.

0:56:490:56:53

Well, that is definitely it for this week.

0:56:530:56:57

Next week, John is in Northumberland on the trail

0:56:570:56:59

of a creature that is rarely seen

0:56:590:57:01

and he joins the team of people

0:57:010:57:03

who have discovered an amazing Bronze Age burial.

0:57:030:57:07

I'll still be having a lie-down by then. See you soon.

0:57:070:57:11

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:240:57:28

Ellie Harrison and John Craven are in the beautiful Wye Valley on the border of England and south Wales.

Ellie faces her fear as she scales a sheer rock pinnacle called the Longstone, before zipping along a wire high above the ground in a risky manoeuvre called a Tyrolean Traverse. John, meanwhile, is on safe ground, finding out about the daily lives of the monks of Tintern Abbey before turning his hand to making their favourite tipple - mead.

Tom Heap investigates fracking, the controversial new method of extracting gas from the ground, and Adam looks at two contrasting approaches to dairy farming.


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