Popular and much-travelled broadcaster Kate Humble appeared at the Swindon Festival of Literature on Wednesday 8 May in association with Swindon Link.
Kate is best known for her appearances on BBC TV’s Springwatch, the ‘Wild In’ series, presenting live lambing on a farm in Wales as well as natural science documentaries from around the world.
At Swindon Arts Centre six newly hatched ducklings set the stage for an interview with festival director Matt Holland, right, which ranged across her early years growing up in a happy family in Berkshire, feeling oppressed by an exam dominated school, and living in apartheid era South Africa where she said she learnt so much about the human spirit and the natural world.
She went onto talk about the journey that took her and husband Ludo from living at the centre of media land in London to a small holding in Monmouthshire.
In 2010 they helped run a community campaign to save a council owned farm in the beautiful Wye Valley from being broken up. They persuaded the local council to let them take on the lease for the farm which continues to be tenanted and run to support other rural businesses.
In the question and answer session she talked about the problems of growing populations of wild animals where there are no longer top level predators to keep them in check – other than humans – whether badger culling is effective, and revealing that barnacles have the longest penis of any creature in relation to their size.
Humble by Nature
Under the banner of Humble by Nature the farm is a centre for rearing sheep and cattle and also for courses on food and cookery, rural skills and crafts, and working with animals.
Swindon Link publisher Roger Ogle, who sponsored Kate’s talk, said her experiences resonates with many themes reported in the magazine. “Kate described how she has taken practical steps to emphasise the importance of looking after the British countryside and keeping traditional skills alive, which we also believe is important in a fast changing world.
“Over the years we’ve reported community campaigns to prevent the loss of green space to the west and north of the town, keeping people in touch with the plans to build more and more houses, and have been keen supporters of Lower Shaw Farm in its educational and environmental work.”
Right, Kate discovers more about community life in Swindon with Link magazine publisher Roger Ogle
All photos: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com
Find out about courses that take you back to nature at Humble by Nature
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