Kate Humble on moving to the countryside and her latest book

Presenter Kate Humble chats about her passion for the countryside.

Kate Humble

by Lorna White |
Published on

Here at Yours, we love to watch programmes like Countryfile and we can’t get enough of seeing all the hidden gems in the UK’s stunning countryside. One woman who is very familiar with the natural beauty of the countryside is the lovely Kate Humble.

Kate's TV career

Kate didn’t plan to be a TV presenter. "By the time I was 27, I had been working in television for eight years, working my way up to be a researcher. Then in between jobs, and worrying about paying my rent, I got a call from BBC’s Holiday Programme to work there.

"After just a day I was called into the office of the show’s big boss. I thought I was going to get the sack, but instead she offered me a screen test! Within three weeks I was filming in France. That was the start of my presenting career. But I do remember the boss saying to me ‘Can you please do something about your hair?’ Nothing has changed!"

After featuring on shows including Animal Park, Springwatch and Autumnwatch, Lambing Live and Countryfile alongside the likes of Ben Fogle, Kate knows a thing or two about enjoying what the great British countryside has to offer. Not only that, but she was previously President of the RSPB too, promoting the beauty of British wildlife and nature as well as its scenery.

How old is Kate Humble?

Kate was born December 12, 1968 making her currently 54-years-old.

Kate's big move to the countryside

Kate admits that she didn't really know Wales very well before moving there. "I had spent the odd weekend here and gone for walks in the Brecon Beacons and stuff, but I didn't really know it very well. But there was just something about it!

Kate humble countryside

"If you look at A to Z of Great Britain, and you look around the southeast, it's is just a big scramble of colour. And it's all roads and villages and towns and, and then if you look at Wales, it's basically brown and green. And it's got lovely names like Abergaveny, and, you know, mountain ranges, and I just kept looking at that path of the map of Great Britain going, I want to be there. That's where I want to be and then the oddest coincidence happened which was my husband was offered a job by the BBC just for a year based in Cardiff. I said just take it."

Building their own home was something Kate approached with a fair amount of trepidation. Moving from London where her house never felt like a true home, she was keen to make sure her new dwellings would give her a sense of belonging that she hadn't experienced in the city.

“A house doesn't make a home, and when we lived in London, we took it on as a project. It was basically derelict and it took over a year and a half to make it exactly the way we wanted it. It had this lovely kitchen, a little tiny little garden, all our books in there and our pictures in there and it had all the elements that you would imagine would constitute home. And yet it never felt like home. So I was terrified thinking, gosh, if I build a house, what do I need to look for to make sure that I don't just build a building, and that is that it does become a home? What is it that makes a home? And that was the beginning of this book.”

The book Kate is referring to is her latest book, “Where the Hearth Is” which is all about what makes a house a home. And while the inside of the home is important, finding somewhere that feels like home can be really challenging for so many of us.

“Some people love a home that is very kind of spare and minimal and uncluttered. Some people just love having loads of stuff around them. I would say for me, I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm sitting in my office at the moment. And actually looking at it, it's incredibly messy, but it's full of books, it's full of things that I've collected over the years, just sort of little, nothing, you know, nothing expensive, but bits of petrified wood and fossils and pebbles and pictures that people have given me. It's got a fireplace, which is something that in winter is really lovely to have. It's got the dog bed. So the dogs who've abandoned me obviously at the moment because outside because it's more fun, will usually be either on the sofa, or in the dog bed beside my feet. That pretty much sums up our home. It's not minimalist, it's not cluttered, because I can't bear clutter. But it's very comfortable. And everyone feels that they can put their feet on furniture.”

While the inside of Kate’s home sounds the perfect blend of cosy and organised, the outside setting is just as important to her when it comes to feeling a sense of belonging and home.

“There are places in the world that feel that I feel content and they would always be rural places rather than urban ones. I love having a mountain in my view. Trees are also really important. But people and your community are really important too. So I wouldn't want to be in splendid isolation, I'd want to be in a place where I know people, where I'm kind of with my tribe, if you like.”

Kate's love for the countryside and her animals

Kate’s own passion for nature prompted her to move from London to rural Monmouthshire in 2007 with her film-maker husband Ludo Graham.

Kate's love for animals started young "A neighbour gave me a small, scruffy little kitten and she grew into a very much adored tabby cat who was my constant companion. Growing up, we lived next to a farm so I also vicariously had horses and dogs and all the farm animals in my life. When I wasn’t at school I spent all my time there."

Kate Humble dogs

Now, Kate and her husband run a 117-acre working farm with a herd of Welsh mountain ewes, a flock of chickens, geese and pigs! They also have two dogs, Bella and Teg. Sadly in March last year they lost Badger, Kate's first dog.

"For me, part of the joy of having dogs is that they need walks every day. It’s a lovely way of getting my head in order before the chaos of the day.

"I’ve been walking all my life. I grew up in the countryside at a time when there wasn’t much else to do; we didn’t have computers or round the clock television. I didn’t think of it as walking as such, we just went out as a family for walks or I was always mucking about outside."

One of Kate's recent series, Escape to the Farm, allowed us a glimpse into family life, following their day-to-day exploits on the farm.

"I wake up every morning to the most amazing view from my house which gives me huge joy every single morning. We can step outside our door and listen to the birds and be with dogs and animals and I’ve always really appreciated where I live, but my goodness, I really, really appreciate it now!"

For the past ten years, Kate has been aiming for a self-sufficient farm life, growing produce and breeding livestock.

Escape to the Farm also led Kate to her latest passion - cookery, as she'd make a recipe on each show. "I love the process of cooking – I find it creative and therapeutic. It led to me writing a cookery book out this month featuring seasonal food I cook all the time. Some of the recipes are my mum’s and some from friends and I’ve dedicated the book to them."

Is Kate Humble married?

Kate has been married to her husband, Ludo Graham since 1992. The couple don't share any children together after Kate admitted to lacking a "maternal gene" from a young age, despite the stigma around choosing not to have children.

Kate admits her relationship with her husband has improved since moving to the countryside as they both feel happier.

"If you don't feel comfortable and safe and secure in your home, if you don't feel like it is a place of refuge and retreat and sanctuary, then you're always going to feel kind of out of sorts and wrong footed. That's not a good place for anybody to be, whether they're in a relationship or not. I was exactly that person when I was living in London, I just never felt happy. I always felt like I was in the wrong place. I felt like a square peg in a round hole. And since moving here, I know that I'm happier, and that's that's a good basis for any relationship.”

Kate and husband Ludo

Kate's favourite recipes

Kate also has a passion for home cooked meals and also has one cookbook under her belt with another on the way with a particular passion for easy vegetarian recipes to use up all the delicious seasonal vegetables.

“One thing that I have been cooking quite a lot is one of those dishes that involves just roasting vegetables and I tend to use aubergines and courgettes and maybe some red onion and some tomatoes but roasting them in big slices instead of chopped up pieces so they keep their shape. Add a sprinkle of some chili flakes and some olive oil and then serve with some mash of butter beans which you can make into a really smooth puree and I love to put in a bit of smoked water from a local company in Wales and you get this lovely, warm smokiness. It's absolutely delicious and incredibly easy."

Kate Humble cook book

Rrp: $29.99

Price: $19.99

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Lorna White is a Senior Digital Writer at Yours.co.uk. She was previously a writer at Yours Magazine writing features and news stories before joining the digital team. Lorna loves the great British countryside and likes to spend her spare time out and about in her home of Nottinghamshire walking her dog, Pippin.

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