Coming up on this week's Countryfile - Sunday 6 December
This week Matt and Julia are exploring the Lincolnshire Wolds. This gentle landscape of rolling hills, pasture and arable land is a little-known Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is hugely dependent on farming. They’ll be tasting some of its local produce in the run up to the festive season.
GOOSE VS TURKEY
Traditionally, the goose was king of the Christmas dinner, but these days 10 million Brits choose turkey. We take a look at the history and production of our favourite Christmas birds. Matt heads off to two free-range poultry farms in the Lincolnshire Wolds to compare the birds. Our first farmer rears turkey -- and he believes his bird rules the roost on Christmas Day.
ALFORD MILL AND LINCOLNSHIRE PLUM BREAD
Julia takes a look behind the scenes at one of the last remaining working windmills in the Lincolnshire Wolds, and has a go at milling organic flour the old fashioned way. More than a hundred years ago a Lincolnshire family called the Myers started baking in the Wolds, and they’re still at it today. Julia helps make some of their famous Lincolnshire Plum Bread and finds out why this most regional of recipes is under threat.
More than three quarters of the Lincolnshire Wolds is covered with crops. But centuries ago it would have been pasture, grazed by sheep to supply the once-booming wool trade. Droving roads cut through the fields to move stock to market or seasonal grazing grounds. Today, tractors and trailers take care of the transport. In an experiment for Countryfile, Matt attempts to revive an old droving route, by walking a flock of rare breed Lincoln Longwool sheep to fresh pasture.
MUD AND STUD
More than 200 years ago, tiny white-washed cottages started springing up around the Lincolnshire countryside. They're known as mud and stud built cottages. If you managed to build one overnight, then that plot of land belonged to you - but you had to be a very quick builder. Julia asks a traditional mud and stud builder how a heap of wood, straw, soil and dung can be turned into a cottage, within just a few hours.
CHRISTMAS BIRD COOK-OFF
Matt and Julia attempt to finally settle the debate over two festive favourites – turkey or goose – with the ultimate taste test. Julia's in the kitchen with East Midlands poultry producer and chef Claire Symington, who famously revived the traditional bird-in-bird roast more than 20 years ago. Matt's joined by our two poultry farmers who will each taste the other’s bird for the first time in years.
James Wong visits Wakehurst, to see the UK's tallest living Christmas tree – a Giant Redwood which is stands as high as a 10-storey building. He scales the monster to see how the two thousand bulbs are attached, and how the tree is managed and maintained. Wakehurst is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank where 10 percent of the world's wild plant species are stored.
Wildlife crime has increased across the UK, rising by fifty per cent in the last year. This is according to the National Wildlife Crime Unit, formed three years ago to co-ordinate the fight against countryside criminals. For this week’s investigation, John Craven joins officers from Lincolnshire police as they target hare coursers in the county. He’s involved in a blue light pursuit, and confronts one group of men who claim they are merely out walking their dogs.
Winter is traditionally seen as a comparatively quite time for farmers. Adam must now bring his cattle in from the fields and keep them under cover until the spring. They need to be regularly checked, and fed on a mix of silage and farm-produced barley. Meanwhile next year’s crop is starting to show through in the fields, heralding the start of another year on his Cotswold farm.
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