I spent an idyllic childhood based around a sixteenth century farmhouse in the heart of rural Suffolk. This had a profound impact on my interest in wildlife conservation, historic architecture, gardening and open country pursuits. In 1983, at the age of 12, I won a national competition by compiling a report on the disappearing habitats of British butterflies. My prize was to travel out to the Luangwa valley in Zambia for a safari with naturalist David Bellamy and Sunday Times wildlife journalist and photographer Brian Jackman. Ironically, this was where my father had spent his early working life and where my two sisters were born. My father’s work took him all around the globe and as a result I have experienced a wide variety of different people and cultures throughout my childhood, but particularly from Kenya, Thailand and Poland where he had extended stays. During my twenties, I further developed my passion for travel and exploration by making three major trips through South America, Eastern Africa and the Far East. I have two wonderful sons to share life with and they give me inspiration, purpose and laughter.

In addition to Suffolk, I have also lived in Sussex, Cumbria, London, Kent and Norfolk, but now reside in north Essex within sight of the Stour estuary. This has been a home-coming of sorts for me where I can enjoy the beauty of the arable countryside just as I did when I was younger. I like to run, cycle and play tennis regularly but through a healthy respect for self-preservation, I now only watch football, rugby and cricket as a passionate armchair supporter. In my mind there is nothing better than getting some fresh air during a brisk walk in the countryside but this should be rewarded by a pint of real ale in an authentic public house.

I have a passion for gardening and have experience of designing and planting formal herbaceous borders, a kitchen garden, an orchard with flower meadows and a gravel garden. I like to plant specimen trees for future generations to admire including Giant and Coastal Redwoods, Magnolias and Gingkos. I have lifetime membership of the National Trust.