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                 Best feet
with Kate
The television presenter Kate Humble was in Suffolk recently to promote a new book, and encourage us to embrace the great outdoors
Technology may be a marvellous thing but it can sometimes take over our lives. These days we can’t even walk down the street
without poring over our smartphones. “Keep them in your pocket - or leave them at home!” urges television presenter Kate Humble.
“We live at such a pace, but take just 15 minutes to look around you, and move a little more slowly.”
There’s much to see even at this time of year, she points out. “It’s the last burst from nature before it shuts down for the winter. All this amazing colour with the leaves turning and the acorns, rosehips and berries coming out. And there’s the lovely smell of bonfires. It makes you feel that it’s good to be alive.”
A popular and familiar face as a TV presenter, known best for Springwatch, Lambing Live and Back to the Land, Kate is also a smallholder, campaigner and a writer. She visited Suffolk earlier this autumn to promote her new book, all about the benefits of walking.
Called Thinking on My Feet, it is written as a journal and gives an account of Kate’s daily life, with the weather and landscapes she’s enjoyed during the year, as well as stories of some inspiring individuals she’s met. There are also anecdotes, quotations, research findings and comments about the benefits of
walking – all beautifully presented in a book which readers are likely to turn to time and again.
“There’s such a joy in seeing the world at walking pace,” she says and acknowledges that, for her, the activity is an essential part of her day. “I wake up very early and I’m not good at sitting still. I also have very demanding dogs. But a couple of years ago it seemed to me that walking was more than putting one foot in front of another.”
She found that, as she juggled the various demands on her time, walking helped her to work out problems, prompted new ideas and lifted her mood.
“I had this growing awareness why walking was so important to me,” she says. “And I’m just an ordinary girl, so I thought others might experience it too.
“But I didn’t want to give the impression that I had stumbled across some unique discovery. It’s extraordinary that I could find a quote from a Roman senator in the first century saying that walking is quite good for us. This book is reminding us what we’ve known for hundreds of years.”
She collated material uncovering stories of people who were walking for very different reasons. There was the soldier returning from Afghanistan, a woman with cancer, and a therapist in New York who counselled clients as they walked through Central Park.
Making tracks . . . Kate and friend
image Clare Richardson
“I wanted to encourage other people to do the same, to explore this very simple way of dealing with life when things sometimes get on top of us.”
In writing the book, Kate kept a diary for the first time in her life. “I love

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