Kate Humble & husband Ludo Graham moved to Monmouthshire in 2007. Ludo, a BAFTA winning TV producer, went to work for the BBC in Cardiff. Kate, broadcaster and writer, was delighted to have the opportunity to move to the countryside after years of being a frustrated bumpkin in London. The initial plan was to rent a house but they fell in love with the Wye Valley and ended up buying an old stone farmhouse with four acres of land. Chickens came first, then Badger the dog.
Then they got slightly drunk at a neighbour’s dinner party and woke up to find they had agreed to take on two Kune Kune pigs. Two donkeys and several ducks and geese followed. Then a hive of bees, a veggie patch, Bella (another rescue dog) and a small flock of Badger Face Welsh Mountain ewes. More by mistake than design, they’d become smallholders. Then came Humble by Nature.
Humble by Nature is a 117acre working farm. Owned by the council and tenanted for at least four generations, it was due to be broken up and sold in 2010 when the last tenants retired.
Kate and Ludo felt it was too important an asset to the area, farming and the community to be lost. They persuaded the council to let them take it on, keep it tenanted and run a business that would reconnect people with the land and keep traditional rural skills and crafts alive.
The farm is now a thriving rural skills centre and home to tenant farmers Tim and Sarah, their flock of sheep and herd of cows.
Kate’s book Humble by Nature: Life, Lambs & a Dog Called Badger tells the story of the animals, people, problems and triumphs that came along with her and Ludo’s determination to save the farm.
Humble by Nature offer a range of courses in smallholding and animal husbandry, rural skills and crafts and food and cookery. All the tutors are experts in their fields and courses have small numbers to ensure personal attention and hands-on experience.
Whether you’re thinking about starting a smallholding, want to build a dry stone wall, have a go at making sausages or discover delicious wild food in the hedgerow, a course at Humble by Nature will give you the knowledge and confidence to get started at home.
The Pig & Apple serve delicious & locally sourced takeaway burgers. They’re open Thursday to Saturday for take-aways and pre-booking is recommended.