Ground Work

Ground Work is a new book by Bella Bathurst which has just come out.

I was pleased to receive a proof copy a month or so ago and it is a serious and seriously good account of the realities of farming for many families that the author spends time with.

An extract from an early chapter on the knackering business was published in 'The Guardian' a couple of week ago to give a taste of the book.

The book is a very honest portrayal of the difficulty of farming, and the characters who keep farms operating under a range of conditions, and their relationship with the land they farm.

This is an area that James Rebanks, who wrote a review of the book has also explored, and particularly with respect to the links with a place that develop over the generations.

An Unherd piece from a year go. This explored why Britain doesn't value its farmers, even though their value shone through during the pandemic, and with Brexit disrupting much trade with the EU (despite those people who said that it wouldn't... )

My copy is an uncorrected bound proof, published in 2021.

Check out this related piece in the Byline Times which has some interesting quotes from Bella's book (some of which one might think would refer to teachers as well..)


Everyone has an opinion about farmers. They are like the police, she writes: “Once the kind of profession which the middle classes respected without really understanding, now it became the sort of profession which everyone disrespected without understanding either.”