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Sunday 6 September 2009
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Julia Bradbury and Jules Hudson head to Kent, the county famed as the Garden of England. Julia takes part in the annual hop harvest while Jules meets a family putting British apples back on the map.
John Craven investigates whether marine conservation zones can bring sea beds back to life. Plus Katie Knapman takes a trip down memory lane to a place that's dear to her heart: Tiree in the Inner Hebrides. Down on the farm, Adam Henson is working day and night to bring in the barley.
Julia and Jules are in Kent for the start of the annual hop harvest. In its heyday, nearly eighty thousand acres of hops were grown across the country, providing the essential ingredient for beer. Back then, four thousand Londoners a year travelled to the Kent countryside, for an annual working holiday, spending six weeks picking hops. Today there's only around two and a half thousand acres of hops grown and the labour comes from Eastern Europe, rather than the East End. Julia lends a hand with hop picking, while Jules visits the oldest brewery in the country to find out how hops make the transition to beer.
The apple picking season is also well underway in Kent and this year marks the bicentenary of one of our most iconic apples, the Bramley. Jules looks into the current state of the British apple industry and visits a farm where he discovers the huge number of varieties of apple that the UK has to offer. He also hears a definitive guide to apples from one of the country’s leading experts, and an explanation as to why British apples are so much better than imported ones.
East Malling Research is one of Europe's leading fruit research organisations and with issues such as food security and climate change increasingly in the news, its work is more important than ever. Jules gets an insight into how its scientists are hoping to address these issues in the future. He finds out how we can waste less water on irrigation and how we can produce higher yields and longer growing seasons.
Cobnuts are synonymous with Kent, despite the fact that few people outside of the county have even heard of them. Jules visits a cobnut farmer to find out more about this unusual nut and learns why, a century ago, seven thousand acres were devoted to growing cob nuts, but now there are just two hundred and fifty. With the help of a leading chef, Julia cooks up a treat with cobnuts and learns about the nutritional benefits they can give.
Ham Fen is the last ancient fenland in Kent and is owned by Kent Wildlife Trust. The boggy habitat is difficult to manage and experts at the trust have come up with an innovative way to conserve the environment. As Julia discovers they have introduced European beavers, Polish Konik ponies, Soay sheep and feral goats to help manage the land. All these animals share a hardy nature and an ability to survive on little food which makes them ideal to help keep the site in a manageable state.
It’s estimated that the UK is home to nearly eighty per cent of all northern Europe’s ancient trees, however there is no official register. Experts fear that without one, many of these trees, some of which are thousands of years old, may be at risk. Without a comprehensive log of Britain’s ancient trees it’s impossible to formulate a plan to protect them. To this end James Wong joins extreme tree hunter Rob McBride as he abseils down the side of a steep ridge to measure an ancient Yew. He also hears how the Woodland Trust aims to get everyone involved in helping to identify and eventually protect this country’s ancient trees.
Centuries of trawling has turned parts of the sea bed around the UK into an underwater desert, largely devoid of life. That's why a series of 'marine conservation zones' is being proposed, where fishing is restricted, possibly even banned. John Craven's been to investigate this controversial proposal which is likely to become law by Christmas.
In our weekly visit to Countryfile’s resident Cotswolds farmer, Adam Henson, we find him fixated on the weather forecast. It’s time for the barley harvest and all the recent wet weather is giving him cause for concern. When the weather does break, will there be time to gather it all safely in? And how will he and his team cope with long punishing hours in the field?
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