In 2007, after twenty years of living in London, Kate Humble and her husband Ludo decided it was time to leave city life behind them. Three years later, now the owner of a Welsh smallholding, Kate hears that a nearby farm is to be broken up and sold off. Another farm lost; another opportunity for a young farmless farmer gone. Desperate to stop the sale, Kate contacts the council with an alternative plan - to keep the farm working and to run a rural skills and animal husbandry school alongside it. Against all odds, she succeeds.
Here, in Humble By Nature, Kate shares with us a highly personal account of her journey from London town house to Welsh farm. Along the way we meet Bertie and Lawrence the donkeys, Myfanwy and Blackberry the pigs and goats Biscuit and Honey, not forgetting a dog called Badger and his unladylike sidekick Bella. And we are introduced to the tenant farmers Tim and Sarah, the locals who helped and some who didn't, and a whole host of newborn lambs.
Full of the warmth and passion for the natural world that makes Kate such a sought after presenter, Humble By Nature is the story of two people prepared to follow their hearts and save a small part of Britain's farming heritage, whatever the consequences.
If you share Kate's interest in birds, you may also be interested in her previous book, Watching Waterbirds. This book introduces some 75 species of wetland birds to readers through the eyes of Kate Humble. As she freely admits herself, Kate is still learning her birds, so to find out more she contacted Martin McGill of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust to act as her guide. Their birdwatching sessions together form the basis of this book.
As Kate learns the difference between a Canada Goose and a Barnacle Goose, which ducks dive and which ducks dabble, and how to tell apart those little brown jobs that warble from the reedbeds, so she passes on the information to the reader as she goes. The effect is not dissimilar to the Last Chance to See series, in which Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry scour the world for endangered species. The difference between Canada Geese and Barnacle Geese? Just remember that the C-anada goose has a C-hin-strap. The Teal is the Ziggy Stardust of the duck world, while the Shoveler feeds as though it's dropped its contact lenses. Each species takes up approximately two pages, complete with photographs and illustrations to bring out the key identification and behavioural points. The birds are divided into simply titled groups - large waddling birds, little brown jobs, and so on. Other chapters in the book cover topics such as basic equipment, clothing, hide etiquette and more, each written for the beginner in Kate's style.
Charting the ups and downs of saving a small part of Britain's farming heritage, Kate's new book about her beautiful Monmouthshire arm is just out in paperback.