Bubbly broadcaster Sara Cox admits the thought of moving back north and going back to her roots is one she has thought of.

She said: “I’d love to get a little place, to be out and have a little smallholding, but I don’t know if I can quite persuade my Hampstead-born husband to move up north. That might be a push.”

Despite all her ‘ladette’ partying in the Nineties with her pal Zoe Ball, Cox is never more at home than in the countryside.

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Sara has just released her new book Way Back.

Her first book, Till The Cows Come Home, was a gentle, poignant early autobiography in which she paid homage to her childhood, largely growing up on her father’s cattle farm just outside Bolton, surrounded by dogs, cows, horses and lots of ‘cack’.

Her personality also seeps into Way Back, which centres on a working-class northern woman, Josie, who has lived a largely middle-class life in a leafy part of north London with her wealthy, charming husband, James, who spouts snobbish stereotypes about the North, which she used to find funny.

After 23 years, their marriage has come to its natural end, they both agree. Even their daughter Chloe is fine about it.

The Bolton News: Sara Cox

It’s a thoughtful, witty family drama with complex issues, in which Josie, who is approaching middle age, attempts to come to terms with the premature death of her father, aged 38, in a car crash, and her mother Sandra’s refusal to discuss it – or memories of him – with her daughter.

In the novel, Josie stumbles upon the old family farm in Lancashire where she spent her childhood and decides that to confront her future, she needs to move back.

The notion of moving back to her own roots is one that has been swirling around Cox’s mind for a while, she says, admitting that some of her protagonist’s thoughts mirror her own.

Today, her fix of that world comes in the form of her horse, Nelly, who she rides regularly when she’s not working.

“My teacher, Elaine, is amazing. I say, ‘I need therapy to distract me from my terrible night’s sleep and let me concentrate on trotting over some poles without thinking about anything else’, which she does. It’s brilliant.

“Nelly’s really my escape and I’ve got the dogs (she has three) that take a bit of exercising and looking after – the cats and the tortoises not so much.”

She continues: “I guess the older you get, the further you can feel away from the place where you were raised. And more and more as I get older, I wonder about when I will get around to having a little farm or a little smallholding. That’s been my dream for years.”

Cox came into broadcasting from modelling, with work that took her on assignments to Milan, South Korea and New York. She presented Channel 4’s The Girlie Show in 1996, and had stints on The Big Breakfast, a decade at Radio 1, and now works at Radio 2.

Juggling family – she has three children, Lola, 19, from her first marriage, and Isaac, 16, and 14-year-old Renee with her advertising executive husband, Ben Cyzer – and work, including her Teatime Radio 2 show, which has just celebrated its fifth birthday, another series of the BBC2 book show, Between The Covers, returning in October, horse-riding and a third novel on the cards, it’s a wonder she fits it all in.

“It comes in waves. I’ve had a few quiet weeks and now things are getting busy again – but I love being busy.”

Cox turns 50 later this year, but said she had a massive ‘not 50th’ birthday party last year, so 50 won’t feel like a milestone, and in any case, she’s not worried about ageing, she says.

“I feel like it’s a privilege to age because I’ve lost people who were way too young to go and who have left behind young kids. Thank God for ageing.”

Way Back by Sara Cox is published by Coronet, priced £16.99. Available now