E-I-E-I-O: Jeremy Clarkson has a farm and loves birds
Jeremy Clarkson has confirmed that there will be another season of the Grand Tour and that it will be all specials and not have an audience in a tent.
Most of us knew that already of course.
What many of us might not have known is that thanks in large part to the extra time he will now have between filming road-trip specials and without the pressure of studio-based car shows Clarkson can turn his attention to something he loves: farming and conservation.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times Magazine published, well, Sunday, Clarkson talked about being an enthusiastic ornithologist and country gentleman when at home on his 1,000-acre farm in Oxfordshire, complete with the essential flat cap, Barbour jacket and wellington boots.
He moved to the property in 2009 and despite being informed by an expert that it was “the shittiest land he’d ever seen,” Clarkson worked on the biodiversity by planting maize, sunflowers and mustard. He also added landscaping though a plan of tree and hedgerow planting and cleared streams and ponds to create new habitats.
“When I first came here the skies were empty,” Clarkson told the paper. “It took a while to establish the right vegetation and feed crop. The yellowhammer is listed as endangered, but there must be a hundred living in the hedge just 200 yards up from here.
“I’ve seen bullfinches, chaffinches, goldcrests. I’ve got owl boxes around the place, and lots of fieldfares come swarming by. In the space of five years it’s started to look like Slimbridge [wildfowl reserve] without the geese.”
Starting with the next season the Grand Tour hosts will have more time to spend with families and less on filming the popular show. For Clarkson, that means switching from 200mph supercars to slow-and-steady tractors.
“Nothing fills me with more pleasure, as I head towards 60, than stomping about here on a winter’s day, or even a summer’s day. Any day, in fact,” he said. “It’s just, honestly, the nicest thing you can do. Even pulling a fallen horse-chestnut tree out from the pond is just deep joy.”
He won’t stray from controversy however as he said he has plans for the “pompous” fox hunters, who not only ride through his land disturbing the wild birds but also stop traffic by blocking roads.
He joked: “What I thought would be fun is to one year invite the hunt and the antis and watch them have a massive battle.”
Read the entire Times article here.