Most city dwellers harbour a not so secret desire to escape to the country and Nick & Bella Ivins’ recently published book, The New Homesteader, is perfect fuel to the fire. The couple left London a decade ago to set up home at Walnuts Farm – a picturesque smallholding on the Sussex Weald that’s a favourite with fashion shoots and has featured in many editorial pages such as the couple’s bucolic serialisation in Country Living magazine. Now Nick, a photographer, and Bella have gathered all their homesteading knowledge together in this book. There are lots of things here that only the very committed might do (raise your own livestock including pigs, lambs and quails, or grow a coppice to create your own woven hazel fencing) but there are plenty of projects most of us would take on: starting a kitchen garden from scratch, planting an orchard, nurturing a wildflower meadow or foraging for wild food for example. The book is beautifully produced and thoroughly readable and it’s likely that even those who own nothing more than a city balcony will be seduced by the Ivins’ self-sufficient existence.
The New Homesteader by Bella & Nick Ivins, photography by Nick Ivins, published by Ryland Peters & Small