Welcome to the debut season of the Woodland Trust podcast, 'Woodland Walks'. We'll be exploring some of the greatest woods, forests and sites in the Woodland Trust estate. Join our host, Adam Shaw, as we discover the stories and characters that make each of our woods so very special. We’ll explore awe-inspiring ancient woodland and get lost together in the rich habitats that support our native wildlife. We'll meet the site managers and the magnificent volunteers who protect woods and plant trees. For wildlife. For people.
Urban parks with Adrian Chiles
We begin our second series by celebrating the benefits and beauty of urban trees with journalist and presenter Adrian Chiles.
In a West London park, he describes how green city spaces and the countryside give him relief from the overstimulation of the capital. We chat too about Adrian's career, and reminisce a little about our good times working together at the BBC in the nineties.
At times both funny and frank, he also touches on his experiences of depression and anxiety, as well as attempting to master tree ID and finally conquering the lofty chestnut tree he feared climbing as a child.
Kensington Gardens with Cressida Cowell
Author and illustrator of How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once, Cressida Cowell is also the current Waterstones Children’s Laureate.
As we get lost in London's Kensington Gardens, she tells us of her passion for trees and nature, reminisces about the wild childhood trips that inspire her stories and praises the power of hope and imagination. She also shares the E.B. White quote she lives her life by and sings an anthem from one of her books!
And don't miss the closing clip of a woodland walk sent in by young India and her dad.
Hampstead Heath with Alastair Campbell
Our guest for this episode, Alastair Campbell, has long recognised the positive impact of the natural world on his mind, body and spirit. While walking on London's Hampstead Heath, the communicator, writer and strategist opens up about his mental health struggles and how green space helps get him through. It's a tough listen at times, but an important topic that many will relate to.
Hear all about his popular 'tree of the day' posts and his sense of nature being a healer, especially since his breakdown in the 1980s. Alastair also shows us the special tree that marked a turning point for his mental health - and the birth of his first son.
Regent's Park with Paddy O'Connell
The idea of glimpsing lions and tigers while walking among trees in the local park may sound fantastical - but that's exactly what lucky Paddy O'Connell does every day. For this episode, the TV and radio presenter takes us along on this exclusive experience, accompanied by Bob the dog.
Paddy enjoys a regular dose of nature thanks to nearby Regent's Park. Home to London Zoo and 'the most special sound in London', the park also has a lake, gardens and about 6,000 trees.
We also discover how Paddy started in broadcasting, his special connection with D-Day veterans and his thoughts on presenting 'Should I be afraid of sausages?'!
More Woodland Trust staff stories
Do you know the difference between a rainforest and a normal forest? Or which moth looks like a fragment of 1970s carpet? Find out in our latest episode as we call on more staff from around the Trust to share their fascinating stories and favourite woods.
We chat to Laura Shewring, Colin Riley, Paul Mosley and volunteer David Mason about Wales' rainforests and a special ancient wood in Lancashire. There's much praise for magical Hackfall in North Yorkshire, and we talk about how lockdown and climate change are drawing more attention to the power of woods and trees.
Lindow Common, Cheshire with Clare Nasir
We meet Clare Nasir, the face of Channel 5 weather and a best-selling author. She shares her views on climate change, weather and being wild about the countryside. She also treats us to a tour of Lindow Common near her home in Cheshire.
It's a special place for Clare. Featuring woods, heathland, peatland and a lake, she admires the small differences in nature every day - something many of us have noticed more during lockdown - as well as the site's important role in capturing carbon and fighting climate change. For Clare, the area is a welcome escape: a place to slow down and relish every moment.
Perfect nature-based escapism
A lovey gentle podcast, perfect for listening to with your eyes closed to whisk you away from city life and transport you in beautiful woodland.
Excellently balanced and insightful series of podcasts that are inviting and humane.
Well done all
I loved this podcast and am looking forward to more in the series. Amazing that the Woodland Trust is creating massive new forests and involving so many volunteers. Thanks for bringing it alive for us Adam. Almost as good as a real visit and definitely more informative. In fact I feel a visit to Heartwood coming on......