Northern Wilds was founded by Linus Morton MSc and Louise Hepworth MA. Linus and Louise have lived together for years in ‘The Good Life’ style; supplying their own fuel for heating and cooking, making biodiesel for their vehicles, producing their own vegetables, raising pigs and chickens, and gathering a host of provisions from the ‘wild’.
Both Linus and Louise are passionate about environmental issues and sustainable living. Both are committed to putting their philosophies into practise and have been developing a range of knowledge and skills relating to these issues in their everyday lives.
Together they have explored the natural landscape and the produce it has to offer. Gathering wild foods and mushrooms is a passion they share, along with the cultural and culinary possibilities of this lifestyle: both are creative and accomplished cooks, often exploring traditional recipes from different cultures. Linus is particularly interested in wild game and mushrooms. He makes wonderful game pies with his Moroccan inspired pigeon & rabbit pastilla, a signature dish. Louise specialises in wild food preservation techniques and enjoys creating new recipes from wild produce; her garlic leaf and nettle pesto has been described as addictive!
Embracing traditional, sustainable and environmentally friendly methods Northern Wilds is developing a range of products which speak of its ‘wild’ ethos. These will range from wild food produce to bespoke woodcraft creations which will utilise uniquely formed and selected timber to the sale of fur products such as clothing, blankets and rugs made from rabbit and deer.
For Linus and Louise, Northern Wilds represents the culmination of years of work exploring the natural produce the Northumberland landscape has to offer.
Linus has a BSc Hons in Environmental Studies from Northumbria University (2004) and an MSc in Environmental Biogeochemistry from Newcastle University (2010). He has worked for environmental charities and Northumberland County Council managing some of their outdoor facilities. His experience includes working on ecological surveys and he has organised and hosted many events from community consultation to family fun days.
Born and raised in Northumberland Linus has picked wild mushrooms for over 20 years and nearly everything he cooks includes some wild produce, including wild plants, herbs, flowers and fungi, nuts seeds and berries, seaweeds and game. He enjoys taking game from field to table; continually developing delicious meaty foodstuffs from rich gamey pates to succulent spicy chorizo.
Louise is an award winning photographer (Comic Relief Photographer of the Year 2000). She has an MA in Photography from Sunderland University (2005). She won NESTA’s Insight Out Fellowship hosted by the Digital City (2006) for creative business development. For nearly ten years Louise ran her own photography business specialising in documentary and fine art photography. Louise was a ‘city dweller’ living in Newcastle, London and Glasgow. She then met Linus and moved to Northumberland where she experienced a transformative revelation and amused many in the villages as she passed them with her foraging basket declaring with both astonishment and enthusiasm that ‘there’s food outside!’
Louise now enjoys long walks exploring the countryside with both her camera and basket in hand – in search of the many wonders Northumberland has to offer: ecological, cultural, visual and culinary, this landscape provides a seemingly never-ending source of discovery and inspiration. Most of all Louise takes great pleasure in sharing the landscape and her knowledge of its riches and their potential to enrich our lives.