Author Anna Jones gave a talk in Totnes last week to promote her new book, Divide: The Relationship Crisis Between Town & Country.

The former presenter of the BBC One programme, Countryfile, signed copies of her work and talked about growing up in the Shropshire countryside “as a child of the Blair generation”.

She described how going to university and sharing digs with left-wing students forced her to re-evaluate her perception of the world, despite not having any allegiance to a particular cause.

“I was a blank canvas politically,” she said, revealing that she found it hard at first to fit in with her peers at university.

She stressed the need to shed preconceptions in order to reach a closer understanding between rural and urban communities, noting how “both cared about climate action”.

“Give people confidence and courage so that we can all learn about their world and bridge the divide,” she told the gathering.

She also discussed farming methods, citing how one farmer, George Ford, kept his family-run Turkey farm going by radically changing his approach.

Instead of keeping turkeys inside sheds, they spend five months of the year roaming freely outside with two large sheepdogs guarding over them, keeping foxes and other predators at bay.

In answer to a question from the public, she trod carefully around the rewilding debate.

“There’s huge reconciliation as long as you don’t use the term ‘rewilding’, because the word is political,” she said.

She was more forthcoming about right-to-roam and the problem of litter, saying there was a need to educate the public about these issues, noting how despite farmers’ best intentions many people still acted irresponsibly.

“A hundred people are fine but it only takes one to ruin it for everybody else.”