Sunday, 20 November 2011

Why Richard Hammond prefers his home hideaway in Herefordshire

Top Gear and Total Wipeout presenter Richard Hammond on house parties, bikes and why he likes living in the mostly celeb-free Herefordshire countryside

You might expect Richard Hammond’s home, Bollitree Castle in Herefordshire, to be stuffed to the rafters with high octane fast cars, but the Top Gear presenter says he generally prefers bikes to bullet-like beasts these days.
Hamelot, as Hammond’s £2.5 million estate is nicknamed, is located in the sleepy village of Weston-under-Penyard, a couple of miles from Ross-on-Wye. He lives on the 20 acre estate, complete with indoor swimming pool, with his wife Mindy and two children Izzy and Willow.
“I think people expect me to have a garage full of supercars, but I prefer my bikes, to be honest,” the 42-year-old presenter, nicknamed the Hamster, told “That was the big reason for moving out here – to be able to get on some clear open roads and breeze along on a bike.
“A few need a service, but I’m trying to get them all out for a last run before the winter closes in.”
Hammond says his Herefordshire home and the quiet country life suit him; he’s pleased not to have too many celebrity neighbours.
“There aren’t too many famous people around here which, to be honest, was a big attraction,” Hammond says. “It’s all gone a bit crazy just over the border around the Cotswolds, but the reason the family love Herefordshire is because it’s genuine, it’s real.
“The housing stock is dense enough for people who are born in Herefordshire to live in Herefordshire. So people can still afford to live here and it’s not entirely populated by celebrities, retired bankers and politicians."
Hammond likes mixing with the community, too.
“Of course, it does mean that when we invite a few locals around for a party, we’re entertaining farmers, stable hands or, at a push, people who work in offices. As you can imagine, I love chatting about arable farming methods...”
Hammond has also discovered a new passion for tearing up the pavements since buying a home in Herefordshire.
“I run around, I run a lot. I live opposite some beautiful hills and woods, and there’s a five-mile run I do round there, as often as I can. And I really enjoy that.”
Top Gear ‘At The Movies’ is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 14.

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