Adventurer, writer and TV presenter, Ben Fogle describes himself as ‘very green fingered’ and explains, “I enjoy gardening much more than I get to do it at the moment. I live in central London so don’t have much outdoor space though we (referring to his wife Marina) manage to eek out a few tomatoes and herbs from it. I am very proud of my urban garden with its 10 or 12 plants,” he adds.
Famous for his love of extreme outdoor adventures, Ben’s upbringing was maybe a little surprising. “I was brought up in London and have always lived in an urban area. We didn’t have a garden at all when I was growing up but the school I went to in Dorset was surrounded by fields so I did have both sides of life, the extreme urban and relatively rural.”
“I also used to spend 8 weeks every summer in Canada with my grandparents. My grandfather built a cabin on his lake and we would be outside the whole time. They grew their own veggies and all our meals were of fresh fish which we caught from the lake and home grown potatoes and veggies from the garden. I always considered that to be my true existence,” he adds fondly.
Ben, who has just become a father for the second time, confesses that he has always been fascinated by island living and is always looking for an Island home for the family. “As the family expands, we will need more space and since living on Taransay for 12 months back in 2000, after winning BBC’s Castaway, which began his TV career), I am always trying to find an island of my own to settle on. I just love island living; I’ve written books about islands and I’m filming a series of ‘Islands around the UK’ for The One Show at the moment so have been keeping an eye out for my perfect island. It would have to be in the British Isles as we would want to stay close to our families.”
As the President of the Campaign for National Parks, Ben is also very familiar with the Welsh countryside. “I love the islands off the Welsh coast too,” he adds, “I spend a great deal of time in Wales with friends and love it. They have a super smallholding and once I get mine, I’ll be growing my own veggies, keeping pigs and bees too. I am a huge supporter of the honey bee and saw a wonderful initiative in Uganda where Bees For Development were teaching kids to look after bees and sell the honey.”
“We also use recycled Welsh blankets for our vintage dog beds,” he adds, with reference to Fogle & Pole at www.creatureclothes.com; “It’s a joint venture with a friend, offering vintage dog accessories and was inspired by our five Labradors, Inca, Maggie, Stolli, Vodka and Goose; it has been an adventure of a different kind,” he laughs.
And talking of adventures, the enigmatic adventurer has also just finished writing his memoires for a new book, the Accidental Adventurer which will be out in September. Find out more at www.benfogle.com.