RICHARD Hammond has revealed the reasons why he loves living in Herefordshire as TV crews follow his journey of opening a car restoration business.
The former star of BBC Top Gear has lived in Weston-under-Penyard, near Ross-on-Wye, for more than 10 years.
Hammond said it was not a coincidence he lived here, as he and wife Mindy moved her for their two daughters – now aged 21 and 18.
The presenter, who’s now most well-known for working alongside James May and Jeremy Clarkson for Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour, said the county and the people who live there are genuine.
“It’s a proper working county, I’ve lived in a lot of places in the UK,” Hammond, 51, said.
“Of all the counties, this is one that’s not big, flashy or noisy and it’s not very heavily populated.
“But people here are genuine and work.”
Speaking at the launch of his new car restoration business ‘The Smallest Cog’ in Rotherwas, Hereford, Hammond added: “I have parties at my house and my friends are not all of one type.
“Maybe if you go closer to London in other counties they empty out on a Monday morning. I’ve lived in those places and come Monday morning everyone’s gone.
“You think ‘where are they all?’. If you’re born to a farmer, or someone with just a job, you’re not going to be able to afford to buy anything there.
“Whereas Herefordshire is a genuine place. We very deliberately put down roots here when my daughters were born because I wanted them to be from somewhere.
“Wherever they go, wherever life takes them and if they end up living in London, Singapore or Scotland it doesn’t matter – they will be from here.
“Every corner of every road, every little bit of it, will have a memory and association with it. For me, that’s a really great gift to them to say ‘right, you’re from somewhere’.
Hammond, who left his role at Top Gear in 2015 after 13 years, said his daughters will now have friends for life because of where they’re from – and for him, that was important.
“They’ll have friends, they have friends already, they’re 21 and 18, they’ve got friends they grew up with from babies, and they will always be friends wherever they go,” Hammond, who lives in a mock castle, said.
“That’s the most important thing.
“I think Herefordshire is a natural place to do that, it lends itself really nicely to that.”
TV crews are documenting Hammond’s attempts at opening the business at HMS Engineering in Rotherwas, which Hereford mayor Paul Stevens officially opened last weekend.
The new show, for Discovery+ UK, will be called Richard Hammond’s Workshop and should air before the end of the year.
He started the project with father and son Neil and Anthony Greenhouse from Tram Inn, near Allensmore.
Neil has been fixing cars for 30 years, with the Tram Inn garage servicing cars and car body repairs for 17 years.
The pair has already worked on restoring and repairing some of Hammond’s cars, including Jaguar E-type and XK150, as well as his Bentley.
To fund the business, the presenter sold off some of his own cars and motorbikes.