Creature comfort
Hampshire Life|November 2020
From growing up with Hampshire racehorses to caring for dogs and cats at home, Clare Balding’s love of animals has seen her through good times and bad
Eleanore Kelly
When Clare Balding insists that our interview takes place at an animal sanctuary in Hampshire, you don’t argue with a national treasure. “I want to stress the importance of animals in our lives and how they have shaped history,” she says. A testament to her devotion to animals is her latest and sixth book; Heroic Animals: 100 Amazing Creatures Great and Small.

Within minutes of her arrival at St Francis Animal Welfare Centre in Fair Oak, the BAFTA-winning presenter and award-winning author is holding tiny kittens, hugging rescue dogs and rubbing the nose of Muffin the ageing donkey – who was saved from the meat trade. Next she has Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4’s presenter for Woman’s Hour on the phone to centre manager Helen about adopting cats, before offering a book signing with all the proceeds going to the charity. Aside from being one of the most popular faces on TV – from major sport to Ramblings, Crufts and BBC Sports Personality of the Year, one is immediately struck by her dynamism, compassion and desire to make the world a better place. Especially where animals are involved.

It all started in Hampshire, where she grew up in Kingsclere surrounded by dogs and hundreds of horses. Her father Ian was a champion racehorse trainer – who trained horses for the Queen and more than 2,000 winners, including the great Mill Reef. Her brother Andrew is also a prolific trainer and is still based at the Balding family home of Park House Stables.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM HAMPSHIRE LIFEView All

Southampton's first Michelin star?

Newly opened southeast Asian restaurant, Blue Jasmine, could have all the right ingredients to claim the coveted title

2 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

This GIRL CAN

Tracy Edwards MBE paved the way for women in sport with her boat Maiden. Now, 30 years on, she’s showing women around the world that they can do something amazing too

5 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

The good ship LIBERTY

A call out on Instagram saw this Overton artist being included in the iconic Liberty Book

4 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

For KING & country

Can someone be born into greatness? We share the story of one of Britain’s most underrated monarchs, Henry III

4 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

Doing it for THEMSELVES

Multi-tasking sisters Iman and Yasmine El Sheik have just launched their new haircare brand Divinely Made, set to transform curly locks across the country

3 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

The Bear Ladies

Julie Tatchel and Amanda Middleditch from Bear It In Mind in Hythe regularly have viewers in tears with their bear restorations on the BBC hit show, The Repair Shop

4 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

A walk in Wonderland

A New Forest walk in the footsteps of Alice Hargreaves, the inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

4 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

Creature comfort

From growing up with Hampshire racehorses to caring for dogs and cats at home, Clare Balding’s love of animals has seen her through good times and bad

4 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

A rare find

Hampshire’s diverse habitats attract all of Britain’s six native species of reptiles

2 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020

A friend in need

Margot has met a kindred spirit to share her renovation horror stories

3 mins read
Hampshire Life
November 2020
RELATED STORIES

Going on a boar hunt

When a young sow pulls off a Houdini act, it falls to Peter Carne to track her down before she does too much damage to Hampshire

5 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
May 26, 2021

Cheaper Hamble moorings saved for now

Council mooring holders on the River Hamble say they’re relieved the Crown Estate has rejected plans by Universal Marina to extend its finger pontoons and take over the lease of the J Pontoon run.

1 min read
Yachting Monthly
June 2021

You see, wishes do come true

The garden-raiding muntjac are back, to his mother’s dismay, but Ed Wills is delighted

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
May 05, 2021

Say it with flowers!

Flower photographer Andy Small shows you how to get bloomin’ great floral shots in your home, garden and wildflower fields

10+ mins read
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine
June 2021

Grand prix pix

Danniella Edginton was hooked on motorsport photography the moment she captured her first marvellous MotoGP image from the stands

3 mins read
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine
June 2021

‘It had to be full OF COLOUR'

Keen to introduce bold, modern shades into her new bathroom, Carla worked magic with a blush pink and green scheme

2 mins read
Style at Home
June 2021

Scaling New Heights

Jeremy Ellwood visits Liphook in Hampshire, where a major upgrade has seen this stunning course move to the next level

7 mins read
Golf Monthly
April 2021

Back to nature!

Alan Titchmarsh returns to celebrate the great British countryside

1 min read
What's on TV
January 02, 2021

Subaru XV

It once occupied the gap between the Forester and the Impreza, but does it still? The key, finds Charlie Flindt, is in the suspension

3 mins read
The Field
January 2021

STAY AT HOME ISLE OF WIGHT

With vintage theme parks, beaches galore and idyllic countryside, there’s no better place to head to for a classic English break

2 mins read
National Geographic Traveller (UK)
January/February 2021