Country Living (UK)
LOVE OF THE LAND
We’ve got to a place in society where we’re becoming
increasingly isolated. Many of our interactions are through a screen. It seems ludicrous that we should need a minister for loneliness when we’ve never been such a populated planet. One of the things I love about walking is that, whether you’re nine or 90, it provides a way to connect with nature and neighbours, and makes you feel a part of the world. The simple rhythm and unconscious action allows your brain to relax, which gives you the chance to gain perspective. I think sometimes we try to fill holes in our lives
with spartan ‘stuff lives, ’. I’m but not maybe advocating question that what we makes all lead us incredibly want something. The older I’ve become, the more I realise it’s about simplicity, not extraneous things that I don’t need. It’s what you can’t buy that makes you happy. I have a theory that if you were born or grew up in the countryside, there will come a time when you’ll need to go back to your roots. I’d lived in London for 20 years and began to feel restless. When my husband, Ludo, was offered a job in Cardiff, we decided to buy a Welsh farmhouse on a hill in the Wye Valley. It was the strangest thing, but as soon as we crossed the Severn Bridge, my heart lifted. Now, for the first time in my life, I feel homesick when I leave. When we moved, I got a bit overenthusiastic and ended up with chickens, geese and pigs – we became a rescue centre for all sorts of dysfunctional animals. There wasn’t really anywhere to go for advice on starting a smallholding, which is why we set up Humble by Nature. It offers courses on everything from drystone walling to bread making. I quickly discovered that there’s nothing bucolic about starting a rural business. It’s terrifying and exhausting but utterly wonderful and rewarding, too. There’s an amazing amount of talent, creativity and
entrepreneurship in rural communities. There’s no reason why people can’t run great businesses that generate employment and make the countryside a great place to live, not just go on holiday. But we really need decent internet connections and competitive business rates to keep rural towns and villages vibrant. I began to really love sheep while filming BBC Two’s Lambing Live.
time of year. I helped The deliver arrival lambs of new on life a family is integral farm to in this Monmouthshire trying to find their – watching feet, was the the most youngsters amazing stagger feeling. around, It’s magical to be part of such a seasonal event.
“Whether you’re nine or 90, walking provides a way to connect wıth nature and neighbours”