Meet Ellie Harrison the Countryfile Presenter Who Worked On A Farm In Zimbabwe

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1. Ellie grew up on a smallholding in the Cotswolds, where her family raised veg and kept chickens. She says her father thought he was Tom in The Good Life and even made his own yoghurt. You can read her wild guide to the Cotswolds here.

Stanton, in the Cotswolds
Stanton, in the Cotswolds. Mike Kemp, Getty.

2. Ellie worked on a farm in Zimbabwe when she was younger and went on wildlife trips to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Canada.

3. She won a scholarship from King’s College, London, to study Geography with Ecology and did her thesis in Zimbabwe, on development and animal conservation

4. Ellie’s big dream was to be a country singer, but she took a job as a secretary at Channel 5 and was spotted by a producer, who thought she would make a good kid’s TV presenter. She turned the offer down…

Aerial view of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Aerial view of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. DEA/V. GIANNELLA, Getty.

5. Later the same producer convinced her to cover Michaela Strachan’s maternity leave and she presented Michaela’s Wild Challenge for a year, during which time the show won a BAFTA. She has since fronted natural history shows across several channels in the UK and US.

6. Ellie lived in London for some time but returned to the Cotwolds, where she now lives with her partner and their three children.

7. The couple have been engaged for many years. For their ten year anniversary Ellie got her arm marked with ten small circles using a process known as scarification.

8. In 2014 Ellie was made president of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. She is also a patron of Humanists UK and says, “Being kind, forgiving, and feeling love towards others are not traits that belong to any one religion – they are the traits of humans.”

9. She has a five-acre Cotswolds smallholding and ancient apple orchard, which she tries to manage in a way that’s as beneficial for wildlife as possible.

10. Ellie loves wild swimming but says she finds wearing wetsuits claustrophobic.

11. To relax she enjoys singing, playing the banjo and cycling through the countryside.

12. If Ellie wasn’t a presenter she’d like to run her own wildlife sanctuary.

13. Her favourite country is Namibia and her favourite animal is the killer whale, a mammal occasionally sighted off the coast of the West African country.

15. Ellie believes she suffers from SAD and says nature makes her well.

17. And finally, Ellie’s got a dead badger buried in her back garden – she’s planning to study its skeleton! -Countryfile.com

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