Learning for life
HUMBLE BY Nature is a 117-acre working farm owned by broadcaster and writer Kate Humble and her husband, Ludo Graham. 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, with a wide range of courses and delightful holiday accommodation. It is also home to tenant farmers Tim and Sarah and their flock of sheep and herd of cows.
Courses include smallholding and animal husbandry, traditional 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.
The smallholding and animal husbandry courses are the place to start if you are thinking about getting animals or just want to experience a day on the farm. The beginner’s range of courses will give you plenty of hands-on experience with pigs, goats and sheep. All the essentials are covered: from how much land you need, to choosing breeds and understanding the paperwork. Farmer Tim will guide you through the sheep-keeping year with overnight and day lambing courses in the spring and shearing at the start of the summer.
The hands-on rural skills courses are great for learning traditional and more modern skills. Spend a day outside on the farm and learn how to lay a hedge, build a dry stone wall, make cider or build a pizza oven.
The great food and cookery courses will get your taste buds going, whether you want to discover the delicious wild treats that hide in the hedgerow or improve your bread making skills. If you have your own pigs, or simply enjoy being inventive in the kitchen, then why not learn how to make sausages, cure bacon or create Southern European charcuterie like pancetta and chorizo?
A foraging course attendee said afterwards: “A lifetime of foraging awaits. Already planning to come back…”
The craft courses are perfect if you like making things with your hands. There is plenty going on, from floristry to printmaking, weaving willow baskets or plant structures for the garden, spinning and working with wool and lots more. It is time to discover your creative streak.
Kate Humble says: “No one leaves Humble by Nature without mud under their fingernails. Our courses are designed for you to get properly stuck in and go home enthused and excited by what you’ve learnt.”
Find out more at www.humblebynature.com; tel: 01600 714595.
One smallholding course attendee said afterwards: “Hands on approach VERY helpful. Loved it. Brilliant way to see if it’s the life for you”
Kate Humble’s Humble by Nature farm is now a thriving rural skills centre
Cider making: collecting apple juice from the press
Smallholding course: Liz Shankland clips wings