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Charles guest-edits Countryfile

The Prince of Wales has spoken of his concerns for Britain's rural areas in a special edition of the BBC One flagship Countryfile programme.

The soon-to-be grandfather said it was important to "work in harmony with nature" for the benefit of future generations and highlighted the problems facing many of the country's farming communities.

Charles spoke to Countryfile presenters Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker after he agreed to guest-edit the weekly rural affairs show as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations.

He said: "We need to think about what kind of world we're handing on to our successors, particularly grandchildren. If you think of it in those terms, it should make us reflect a little bit about the way we do things so we don't ruin it for them.

"That's why it's so important I think to work in harmony with nature rather than thinking somehow we can ignore, dominate, separate ourselves from nature. Unless we take trouble and nurture, pay our respect and reverence to nature, she's a great deal more powerful than we are."

The Prince said smaller family farms faced "enormous" problems due to uncertain sources of income and diseases such as Schmallenberg and tuberculosis affecting livestock.

He is shown visiting his rural initiatives aimed at improving the lives of people working in the countryside and the show features his organic farm in Gloucestershire, where he spoke about his favourite countryside activities of walking and building hedges.

"Walking is a terribly important thing for me, rather like some people need a cigarette, I need a walk," he said. "It's riveting, by going for a walk I find it stimulates thinking and reflecting. So I spend my life stamping about and I have things I write down. That's where the best thoughts come from."

Speaking about his passion for hedge-building, he added: "I love it. I tell you why, because it's terrific exercise and at the same time it's a sort of hobby or interest to see if you can get better at doing it. When you first lay a hedge, if you do it well, it looks so marvellous and then the fun is to see three or four years later, it looks like a hedge that's always been there."

During the programme Charles is shown visiting a south London school that has seen examination results improve after helping pupils reconnect with the soil by growing their own vegetables. The Prince met Jamie Oliver during the tour of Carshalton Boys Sports College and revealed his favourite dish as a pupil was "Marmite on fried bread".


From Belfast Telegraph