Escape to the Farm

We’re back with Kate Humble on her farm in Monmouthshire. She bought this little part of Wales 10 years ago. Now, a decade on, the farm is packed with pigs, cows, sheep and goats – but for Kate, this is a working farm which means 24/7 hard graft.

We’ll join Kate and friend Farmer Tim as they cope with a deluge of cute baby animals, the worst of the weather and all the day-to-day drama of a working farm.

We’ll also be with Kate as she indulges her passion for cooking, and on her favourite walks, immersing herself in nature.


Episode 8
My5

This week, Kate looks to secure the future of the farm, not just for the farm animals, but for wildlife as well. Kate and Farmer Tim are hopping to create the perfect habitat for curlews, whose numbers have been in serious decline for many years. Kate explores the slimy wildlife at the bottom of a large pond on the farm, and with the help of David Dewsbury tracks down one of the rarest and most protected creatures in the UK – the Great Crested Newt. Kate meets bird expert Andy Karren from the Gwent Wildlife Trust, who’s full of useful tips about how best to set up and look after nest boxes, in the hope of attracting plenty of feathered wildlife in the spring.

Liz Knight and Kate go looking for hawthorn hedges and a fresh new ingredient. Back in the kitchen Kate makes her favourite holiday dish – crab and chilli linguine, a deliciously simple veggie traybake with pan grattata, as well as a super nutritious raw energy bar. And with the help of expert pastry cook Penny Johnstone tackles one of her most feared dishes – the simple home-made jam tart.

There’s a new arrival – a rescue pony from the Redwings charity called Gilbert, complete with a splendid moustache. He’ll be a companion horse for Rags, the farm horse, who has been feeling a bit lonely since his old friend Champ died a year ago.

And to celebrate the end of a long cold winter, it’s finally time for the cattle to be let out of their shed and onto the fresh green grass – you’ve never seen scampering cows look so happy!

Find out about Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Find out about WWT and visiting your nearest wetlands centre

Find out about Gwent Wildlife Trust

 

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Episode 7
My5

This week, Kate’s looking forward to warmer days, and celebrates by kayaking down the River Wye with her friend and river expert, Graham Symmonds. Along the way they check out the wildlife, beautiful disused bridges and unusual glacial boulders.

Back at the farm, it’s a nerve-racking day for Farmer Tim as he faces a TB test for his cattle. If his young cows test positive for the contagious disease, he won’t be able to sell them and they may face slaughter. Everything hinges on Hilary the vet and the results she gets on the day.
 
TB tests done, it’s time for the Sarah’s horse Rags to get some new shoes, and expert farrier Tim Kedward is on hand to craft some fancy handmade ones. After a recent fox attack on the poultry, Kate’s incubating some hen eggs, hoping for a fresh new batch of laying birds to refresh the flock.

Wild forager Liz Knight takes Kate out to collect a sugary treat direct from the woods – by tapping the rising sap from some silver birch trees. In the kitchen, Kate rustles up the local delicacy – Welsh cakes – cooked straight on the hot plate. And Kate gets a butchery masterclass from local butcher Ben Morton, who lets her into a few secrets of his favourite cuts of hogget – a lamb that’s just over a year old – to make sure every ounce of the precious meat is used.

Kate also catches up with local producer Ben Ford, from Parva Spices, who brings a taste of exotic sunshine to the Wye Valley.

Find out more about Parva Spices

Come foraging with Liz at Humble by Nature

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Episode 6
My5

This week Kate goes for a pre-dawn walk with ornithologist Dr Steph Tyler, to catch the magical early morning birdsong before anyone else has woken up. And in a hidden patch of woodland, hunts down a spring favourite – wild garlic – with foraging expert Liz Knight.

It’s too early for Kate’s own rhubarb to be edible, but a few miles up the Wye Valley, grower Chris Chinn is producing the most beautiful sweet rhubarb – which Kate takes back to the kitchen making a roasted accompaniment to grilled mackerel fillets.

And with the foraged wild garlic she’s producing not only a wild pesto sauce, but also a tempting chicken thigh roast with new potatoes. For red meat lovers, Kate’s using an unusual cut of hogget – which is lamb that’s just over a year old – to make the ultimate Welsh stew, a classic Lamb Cawl.

Kate’s elderly and blind Border Terrier cross, Bella, is also getting some special treatment for her creaky joints. Canine Osteopath Sam Smith is an expert in the McTimoney method, and will help adjust Bella’s vertebrae and muscles with the subtlest of flicks and clicks.

In a hidden corner of the farm, traditional woodworking expert Michelle Matteo uses a hand-built lathe to turn a chunk of wild cherry timber into a beautiful wooden bowl.

And for Kate’s favourite pig, Dahlia, an Oxford Sandy and Black sow, the time has come to see if Ted the boar has worked his magic – it’s farrowing time in the pig shed!

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Episode 5
My5

Kate’s joining friend Rob Penn in his quest to plant a million trees on the hillsides of the Brecon Beacons. Rob is passionate about preserving our all-too-rare existing ancient woodlands – and creating the ancient woodlands of the future – in his Stump Up For Trees project. Kate walks with Rob around old and new woods and has a plan to add to the thousand trees she has already planted at her little farm, using brand new tree guards made almost entirely of sheep’s wool!

Back at the farm, Kate’s up at the crack of dawn to help with the milking of a neighbour’s flock of goats, producing delicious rich milk for the local creamery in Abergavenny, where they make a delicious soft goat’s cheese – and despite some hi-tech methods, it’s still a surprisingly hands-on process.

We also catch up with Farmer Tim’s enthusiastic young sheepdog Connie, who’s coming on in leaps and bounds – most of the time! Kate takes a trip into the pine woods with Liz Knight, gathering fresh pine needles to add a special flavour to a lemon and polenta cake. In the kitchen, Kate’s producing slow-roast shoulder of goat, accompanied by a Middle Eastern-inspired harissa slaw.

And having planted a crop of new trees on the farm, Kate has to wave a sad farewell to a mighty ash tree, as her friend Paul Carter and his team of tree surgeons fell a 50-foot high victim of ash dieback. It’s a dramatic and wistful end.

Find out more about Stump up for Trees

Find out more about NexGen wool tree shelters

Get some goat meat from Just Kidding

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Episode 4
My5

Soon after Kate bought her little farm in Monmouthshire, she planted a thousand trees around the land. Now, nearly 10 years on, it’s time to thin the young trees, leaving the best ones to grow big and strong. But using heavy machinery on wet and boggy land would make a terrible mess – so Kate’s brought her friend Kate Mobbs-Morgan and her powerful Ardennes horse Kip to clear the trees in a more traditional and forgiving way.

In the kitchen, Kate starts the day with a poached duck egg with fresh green chillies on a toasted crumpet, then cooks up a hearty Italian-style woodsman’s pasta with porcini mushrooms and pancetta. A colourful and delicious vegetarian ratatouille rounds up the day’s recipes.

The farm goats have had several litters of kids, but they’re so secretive that Kate’s never seen them actually kidding, so she’s set up a cunning camera system to try to film them, and witness that special moment for the first time. Will it be 6th time lucky?

Farmer Tim heads out to the local blacksmith to get himself a bespoke, super sharp billhook for his hedge-laying jobs. The furnace rages, the hammers pound… and sparks most definitely fly. And Kate tackles a long historical walk – from mighty Chepstow Castle, via Piercefield House and its surprising 19th century owner, to the Eagle’s Nest – with magnificent views out over the rivers and surrounding Wye Valley countryside.

Find out more about Rowan Working Horses

Find out more about James Silverthorne Blacksmith

Find out more about The Wye Valley Walk

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Episode 3
My5

It’s lambing season so it’s all go on the farm. There’s a middle of the night emergency, Kate does her best but will it be enough to save the lamb? While Kate is on night shifts, Farmer Tim is on day times so Kate makes him a warming lentil and tomato soup to keep him going.

Kate and Liz Knight brave the cold and go foraging in search of the taste of sunshine. The result is a delicious taste of coconut with a foraged pina colada and gorse flavoured chocolate mousse.

Closer to home, Kate and Teg go for a walk up Devil’s Pulpit with stunning views across the Wye Valley and Tintern Abbey. Kate stops in to see Ed and Tori who run Kingstone Brewery in Tintern and make some delicious beer bread. Back on the farm Kate uses a bottle of their pale ale in her Asian inspired mussel recipe.

Find out more about Kingstone Brewery

Come foraging with Liz at Humble by Nature

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Episode 2
My5

It’s Farmer Tim’s birthday and he celebrates with a walk with Kate in the hills where he grew up.

Kate accompanies Tim on a shopping trip as he goes to look for a suitable Piétrain boar to, ahem, service her sows. The breed is renowned for its “big bums and wide shoulders” and the chosen one is certainly impressive in another, particularly important, aspect.

Back in the farm kitchen, Kate’s cooking a vegetarian twist on a meaty classic – beet bourguignon, made with beetroot and plenty of red Burgundy wine.

There’s always plenty to do on the farm and it’s time for Kate to help Farmer Tim get the lambing shed ready. But will the sheep come in with her simple trick?

Kate visits local gin makers Silver Circle Distillery and creates a smoky gin, that also inspires a scandi-feast.

Find out more about Silver Circle Distillery

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Episode 1
My5

On the farm it’s scanning time – to find out how many lambs each ewe is carrying. It’s a tense time for Kate and Farmer Tim and the results will lead plans for looking after the pregnant ewes. Farmer Tim has an ideal number of lambs in mind, but will he get his wish?

It’s not just the sheep getting ready to produce the next generation. Ted the Boar is back to spend some quality time with the farm’s breeding sows. Kate’s anxious as it’s the first time for Dahlia, and, after her tricky labour and small litter last year, how will Sausage get on?

With spring on its way, Kate’s off foraging with Liz Knight, proving that even at this time of year, there are delicious, nutritious goodies all around us. 

Kate joins old friend and producer Angharad Underwood to make marmalade the easy way, and shares a simple one-pan Chocolate and Marmalade cake. A perfect treat after a hard day of farming.

Lastly, Kate’s cooking up a treat for Ludo; Toad in the Hole. It’s a dish she’s never taken to, but that’s love for you. Can Kate convert herself to this hearty, warming classic?

Find out more about:

Join a foraging course with Liz at Humble by Nature

Forage Fine Foods

The Preservation Society

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for more about Humble By Nature
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