Kate humble web

Kate Humble. Photo: BBC

Quitting the rat race to escape to the country and live off the land sounds rather romantic - all log fires and picturesque views. But the reality of carving a business out of the great British countryside is rather different. In fact, as Back to the Land with Kate Humble (BBC2, 23 May, 7pm) showed, it takes guts.

Luckily entrepreneurs Simon Kennedy and Carole Brown had that in spades. Five years ago the couple left lucrative city jobs to tap into the rapidly growing high protein market with their own take on South African-style biltong. Without a background in food manufacturing, farming or butchery they invested £40k in a herd of cattle and began doing it all themselves, Carole learning the basics of curing from books and their daughter dragged in after school to help. The gamble paid off, with the family now processing 200kg of beef per week and supplying high-profile sports teams.

Even 40 years into a similar journey, cheesemaker Charles Martell, who quit his job as a lorry driver to revive interest in Gloucestershire produce, insists he’s “just a smallholder trying to earn a quid” from the land. Officially the longest-serving specialist cheesemaker in the UK, Martell has now turned his attention to craft spirits, taking the business virtually back to square one.

But Martell - as with all the other founders featured - appears to thrive off the risk of chucking in the security of a nine to five. It might not be romantic, but there’s undoubtedly something alluring about this steadily growing area of entrepreneurship.