Hope Bourne is probably the best-known chronicler of Exmoor living today. Through her many books and television appearances she has established herself as a champion of the Moor – its people, its customs, its landscape and its wildlife – expressed in a language both poetic and direct.
There are few other writers who can encapsulate so memorably the virtues of rural life. First published in 1978 and now being reprinted for the first time, Wild Harvest is described by the author as 'The distillation of many years' practical experience of living comfortably and happily on an incredibly small cash income,' tucked in a corner 'of one of the last remaining patches of wilderness county in this South West region of Britain. I love the wilderness. I love its space, its defiant freedom, its proud unconquered spirit, its wild and primal beauty, its challenge to the human soul.' Wild Harvest is a remarkable book by a remarkable woman.
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Hope Bourne was born in Oxford in 1918 but brought up at Hartland in North Devon. She lived on Exmoor for some 60 years, for two decades in a caravan at Ferny Ball near Withypool. Growing or shooting her own food, she earned her living as a writer, publishing four books in her lifetime as well as pamphlets and a regular newspaper column. In later life three television documentaries about her life brought her to the attention of an even wider public. Hope Bourne died in August 2010 a few days short of her 92nd birthday.