42 episodes

Welcome to 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.

Woodland Walks - The Woodland Trust Podcast Woodland Walks - The Woodland Trust Podcast

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.7 • 3 Ratings

Welcome to 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.

    Frodsham Woods, Cheshire: a new lease of life

    Frodsham Woods, Cheshire: a new lease of life

    Join us for a jam-packed visit to Frodsham Woods, Cheshire, where 80 volunteers were planting thousands of trees to help transform a former golf course into a fantastic new space for wildlife and people. We visit the neighbouring ancient woodland and admire hilltop views with site manager Neil and chat to Tim, supervisor of this army of tree planters, about how the new wood will develop. We also meet Esther, lead designer of the project, hear from comms guru Paul about the Trust's #plantmoretrees climate campaign, and speak to the volunteers about what the day means to them.
    Transcript
    You are listening to Woodland Walks, a podcast for the Woodland Trust presented by Adam Shaw. We protect and plant trees for people to enjoy, to fight climate change and to help wildlife thrive.
    Adam: Well, today's podcast is a bit of an unusual one because I'm off to an abandoned golf course in Cheshire, overlooking Liverpool. Not far away, in fact. And the vision is to create this once golf course into a thriving mosaic of habitats, including lush broadleaved woodland, grassland meadows and wooded glades dotted with wildflowers. Throughout the site, they're creating a network of grassy paths so people can walk through them and get far-reaching views of the Welsh borders, the western Pennines and the Bowland Fells, along with, of course, Liverpool and the Mersey Estuary. And very excitingly, the man actually who's running all the tree planting there is also in a band, and it's his music and his band's music you can hear in the background. More about that a little later. It's called Frodsham Woods, and it's near the Frodsham train station. Guess where? In Frodsham. Well, today we are starting, I'm starting sitting down with Neil Oxley, who's the site manager here. Hi Neil.
    Neil: Good morning, Adam.
    Adam: Good morning. So, just explain where we are because we are, well, I'm not gonna take away your thunder. Explain. It's an unusual location.
    Neil: So, we’re sat on a bench overlooking the River Mersey and Liverpool. We're on the old golf course that was closed about three years ago.
    Adam: Yeah, well that's what I think is unusual – sitting on a golf course. I gotta take, it doesn't look like a golf course. They, the greenkeeper would have had a heart attack seeing the state of this place. But what's amazing is, well, I'm looking over a forest of planted trees. I mean, just within 10 yards, probably a couple of hundred of them, just been planted. So, this has got to be unusual. Take buying a golf course, turning it into a forest?
    Neil: It is, yeah. I think it's probably the first golf course that the Woodland Trust has taken on and it's just a great opportunity, though, that when it became available, it's adjoining some of our existing woodlands, including ancient woodland. And it's given us an opportunity to plant lots of trees and work with local people and engage the community in doing something good for the climate.
    Adam: And we're sitting down, looking over what might be, I don't know. Is that a bunker? Do you think that’s a bunker?
    Neil: It is, yep. So, there there's probably about 40 bunkers on the golf course and we've kept them all, so some of those old features are still here.
    Adam: And I saw one, some gorse growing, just naturally growing in the bunker there.
    Neil: There is. Just in the two or three years since it stopped being maintained. There's gorse, there's silver birch, there's all sorts of trees and plants that are now appearing.
    Adam: I love the gorse. It's bright. It comes out early. Bright yellow. Real splash of colour in early spring. It's really.
    Neil: It is, yeah, it's lovely and colourful.
    Adam: And we're looking over a range of wind turbines. And is that the Mersey ahead?
    Neil: That is, that's the River Mersey.
    Adam: Although there’s not much river, it looks, it looks like it’s out. It's mainly mud.
    Neil: It’s probably low tide at the moment. Yeah, and Liverpool just beyond the other side.

    • 36 min
    Sheffield's Tree Story

    Sheffield's Tree Story

    Our setting for this episode, Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park seems like many other popular green spaces, but it has a hidden history: its waterways once helped fuel the Industrial Revolution in the ‘Steel City’. We discover how Sheffield’s past intertwines with trees as local urban forester, Catherine Nuttgens, explains how nature and the city have shaped each other through the centuries, and why people here are so passionate about trees. We also meet Stella Bolam who works with community groups and schools to plant trees, and learn about the nearby Grey to Green project that’s transformed tarmac into a tranquil haven for people and wildlife and tackles climate change too.
    Don't forget to rate us and subscribe! Learn more about the Woodland Trust at woodlandtrust.org.uk
    Transcript
    You are listening to Woodland Walks, a podcast for the Woodland Trust presented by Adam Shaw. We protect and plant trees for people, for wildlife. 

    Adam: Well, today I am in Sheffield, known of course as the Steel City renowned for steel production during the 19th century Industrial Revolution. But despite that historical heritage, woodland and green spaces were, and still are, the lungs of the city and seen as vitally important. In fact, it is now, according to Sheffield University, the UK's greenest city, with 250 public parks and over four and a half million trees. That's more trees per person than any other city in Europe and in 2022, Sheffield was named as a Tree City of the World. And I'm meeting Catherine Nuttgens at Endcliffe Park. That's a 15 hectare open space opened in 1887 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. And interestingly, it isn’t in the middle of the countryside; it is two miles from the city centre, the first in a series of connected green spaces, known collectively as Porter Valley Parks, all of which lie along the course of the Porter Brook. Well, although it really is coming to spring, we've been hit with some rather unseasonable snow, and I thought we were going to start with some snow sound effects, but actually this is a very fast-moving river that I'm standing by and I am meeting Catherine. Hello. So, Catherine, just explain a bit about who you are first of all. 

    Catherine: OK. Yes, I'm Catherine Nuttgens. I used to be the urban lead for the Woodland Trust, but I've just moved into independent work as an urban forester, an independent urban forester. 

    Adam: Fantastic. And you have. We've arranged to meet by this. I was gonna say babbling brook. It's really much more than that, isn't it? So is this the river? The local river. 

    Catherine: This is the River Porter, so this is one of five rivers in Sheffield. And it runs all the way up the Porter Valley, which is where we're going to be walking today. 

    Adam: Let's head off. So I have no idea where I'm going. 

    Catherine: Going that way. OK, yes, let's go. Let's go this way.  

    Adam: OK. You sound already confused. 

    Catherine: I was going to look at that. I was going to look at that tree over there. Cause we planted it. Is it still alive? 

    Adam: We can go have a look at that. It’s still alive. 

    Catherine: Which tree? This tree? Here it's just so a total aside for everything that we're doing. 

    Adam: We're already getting sidetracked. You see, if a tree was planted. 

    Catherine: So yeah, I mean, this was one of... my old role at Sheffield Council was being community forestry manager and our role was to plant trees around the city. So one of the things that we planted were these War Memorial trees and it's very hard if you plant a tree to not go back to it and say, how's it doing? Is it OK? This is it, it's looking OK. 

    Adam: This looks more than OK and also it's still got three poppy wreaths on it from Remembrance Sunday. And a dedication, lest we forget: to all the brave men and women of Sheffield who gave their lives and those who hereafter continue to give in pursuit of freedom a

    • 30 min
    Tring Park, Hertfordshire

    Tring Park, Hertfordshire

    This was certainly an episode with a difference - we begin in a Natural History Museum packed with 4,000 taxidermy animals! The Woodland Trust site and museum now share space once owned by the famous Rothschild family who collected stuffed species, as well as live exotic animals that roamed the park. We tour Tring Park’s fascinating historic features, from the avenue named after visitor Charles II to the huge stone monument rumoured to be for his famous mistress. Beneath autumn-coloured boughs, we also learn how young lime trees grown from the centuries-old lime avenue will continue the site’s history, how cows help manage important chalk grassland and the vital role of veteran trees and deadwood in the healthy ecosystem.
    Don't forget to rate us and subscribe! Learn more about the Woodland Trust at woodlandtrust.org.uk
    Transcript
    You are listening to Woodland Walks, a podcast for the Woodland Trust presented by Adam Shaw. We protect and plant trees for people, for wildlife.
    Adam: Today I'm heading off to Tring Park, one of Hertfordshire's most important ecological areas. It's filled, I'm told, with wildflowers and some really interesting historic features, as well as some stunning views. But first but first, I was told to stop off at the Natural History Museum at Tring, which is really a very, very short walk from the woodland itself. I was told to do that because they said it might surprise you what you find. It definitely did that. Because here are rows and rows of what I'm told are historically important stuffed animals. So I'm at the the top bit of the the galleries here at the Natural History Museum at Tring and well, bonkers I think is a probably good word to describe this place and I mean, I feel very mixed about it. So we're, I'm passing some very weird fish, that's a louvar, never heard of that. But there's a a rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, a Sumatran rhinoceros. There's a dromedary, a camel. There is a rather small giraffe. There is a head of a giraffe. Coming round over here, there is an Indian swordfish from the Indian Ocean. Goodness gracious, it looks like something from Harry Potter. That's an eel, very scary looking eel. And then there is a giant armadillo and it really properly is giant, an extinct relative of the living armadillos, known from the Pleistocene era and that's the period of the Ice Age, from North and South America, that is absolutely extraordinary. And there are some very, very weird things around here. Anyway, that's certainly not something you'd expect to see in Tring. Goodness knows what the locals made of it back in the Victorian ages, of course this would have been their only experience of these kind of animals. No Internet, no television, so this really was an amazing insight into the world, beyond Britain, beyond Tring. There is something here, a deep sea anglerfish which looks like it's got coral out of its chin. I mean, it's properly something from a horror movie that is, that is extraordinary.
    Claire: My name is Claire Walsh and I'm the exhibitions and interpretation manager here at the Natural History Museum at Tring, and my job involves looking after all of the exhibitions that you see on display and any temporary exhibitions such as Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
    Adam: So this is a rather unusual place. I have only just had a very brief look and I've never seen anything quite like it. So just explain to our listeners what it is that we're seeing, what what is this place?
    Claire: So the Natural History Museum at Tring is the brainchild of Lionel Walter Rothschild, who was a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty. Walter Rothschild, as as we call him, was gifted the museum by his parents as a 21st birthday present.
    Adam: That's quite a birthday, who gets a museum for their 21st? That's quite something.
    Claire: Yes, yeah, so, so the family were a hugely wealthy family and Walter's parents owned Tring Park Mansion, which is the the the the big house next door to

    • 37 min
    Day 79 with 'Tree Pilgrim' Martin Hügi

    Day 79 with 'Tree Pilgrim' Martin Hügi

    Sheltering from the rain under a yew tree in a Shrewsbury churchyard, we chat to 'Tree Pilgrim' Martin Hügi, the Trust's outreach manager in the South East. He’s taken a four-month sabbatical to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats and visit thousands of incredible trees along the way. Hear Martin on awe-inspiring trees that have rendered him speechless, the vital Ancient Tree Inventory that helped plan the route, the value of ‘plugging in’ to nature and what's in his kit bag! We also hear from Adele, who explains that old trees like those on Martin’s pilgrimage are not protected or prioritised like our built heritage. Find out what you can do to help.
    Don't forget to rate us and subscribe! Learn more about the Woodland Trust at woodlandtrust.org.uk
    Transcript
    You are listening to Woodland Walks, a podcast for the Woodland Trust presented by Adam Shaw. We protect and plant trees for people, for wildlife. 
    Adam: Today I am off to meet the Tree Pilgrim, which is the moniker of Martin Hugi, who is doing a proper marathon pilgrimage from Land's End to John O'Groats using the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Inventory, so you're gonna visit a huge number of ancient and veteran trees, something like 6,500 of them he's expecting along his walk and I caught up with him in Shrewsbury in Shropshire, which is just on the River Severn about 150 miles or thereabouts, north, north west of London, and I caught up with him at a rather rainy churchyard. This is very unusual because normally I join people on walks, but actually you've been walking for what, what day is it? 
    Martin: I’m on day... 79 today  
    Adam: You had to think about that! 
    Martin: I had to think about that. 
    Adam: Yeah. So this is so you've actually taken a break and you've come into Shrewsbury and we're, we're we are in a green space in a churchyard where, now we're we're here for a special reason. Why? 
    Martin: So last night I was giving a talk, talking about ancient trees and the the need for greater protection and just telling my story of what I've been up to. 
    Adam: Right, well, first of all tell me a bit about this pilgrimage you're going on. 
    Martin: Yeah. So I'm calling it an ancient tree pilgrimage and it is a walk from Land's End to John O'Groats and I spent 12 months planning meticulously a route between some of the most amazing trees that I could fit into a north-south route and working out the detail of how I wassgoing to get to those trees via other trees on the Ancient Tree Inventory. 
    Adam: So the Land's End to John O'Groats, which that walk, famous sort of trip which is called LEGO for short, is it? 
    Martin: LEJOG, or JOGLE if you go the other way. 
    Adam: LEJOG, right OK, LEJOG. 
    Martin: Land’s End to John O’Groats. 
    Adam: OK. It’s long if you do it straight, but you've gone, gone a sort of wiggly woggly way, haven't you? Because you're going actually via interesting trees. So how many miles is that gonna be? 
    Martin: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Well, it's if you're going to go a sort of more classic route, it would be something like 1,080 or 1,100 sort of miles. The route that I've planned is 2,077 miles. 
    Adam: Wow. 
    Martin: So it’s double. 
    Adam: 2,077 mile walk. 
    Martin: Yeah, I had estimated doing 18 miles a day. That would be, that was my average. I'd sort of planned rough stops where I thought I might be able to get to. I'm more doing about 13 miles a day, which is not a lot less, but it's, I'm spending more time with the trees. And I, we also we lost our our dog on the day that I was setting off. We went down to Penzance to start and we took our our old family dog with us and he was very old and and elderly and he actually died on the morning that I was going to set off. So we just drove back home and didn't fancy starting again for another couple of weeks. So if you can be behind on a pilgrimage, I was already 2 weeks behind, but actually, I'm on a pilgrimage, so it's it's it's about the

    • 32 min
    Coppicing at Priory Grove, Monmouth

    Coppicing at Priory Grove, Monmouth

    Discover the fascinating ancient art of coppicing as we visit Priory Grove in Wales' Wye Valley, where the technique is still practised on a small scale to benefit both people and wildlife. We meet site manager Rob and contractor Joe to learn more about the coppicing carried out here, and how this interaction between people and nature has enabled the two to develop and evolve in tandem. Also in this episode, find out how an unfortunate end for ash trees resulted in a fantastic sea of wild garlic, the team’s efforts to encourage dormice, bats, pine martens and other wildlife and which tree to identify by likening the trunk to elephants’ feet! 
    Don't forget to rate us and subscribe! Learn more about the Woodland Trust at woodlandtrust.org.uk
    Transcript
    You are listening to Woodland Walks, a podcast for the Woodland Trust presented by Adam Shaw. We protect and plant trees for people, for wildlife. 

    Adam: Well, today I am off to Priory Grove, which is next door really to the River Wye near Monmouth in Wales to meet the site manager Rob there who's gonna give me a bit of a tour. It's predominantly made up of ancient woodland and provides a wide range of habitats for wildlife. Things like roe, fallow deer, they're known to forage throughout the area, and a wide variety of bird species, including the tawny owl, sparrowhawk, and the great spotted woodpecker, which can all be seen on the wing here. All very exciting and I’ve just got to find it and find Rob. 

    Rob: Hello, I'm Rob Davies, site manager, South East Wales. 

    Adam: So tell me a little bit about where we are and why this is significant. 

    Rob: This is Priory Grove woodland. It's quite a large site on the outskirts of Monmouth, but nobody really knows what its history is. It's it's called Priory Grove, presumably because it was attached to one of the monastic estates round here. And that probably accounts for its survival as one of the one of the largest ancient woodlands next to Monmouth. And it did retain a lot of its coppice woodland, which is quite important for biodiversity. 

    Adam: Right. And what we're, I mean, we're standing by some felled, are these oak? 

    Rob: These are oak. Yes, oak, oak in length. 

    Adam: So why why have these been felled? 

    Rob: This is part of the coppice restoration programme, so coppicing on this site has been a management tool that's been used for hundreds if not thousands of years in this area and it's used to produce products like this, this oak that will go into timber framing and furniture and all those good things. And also, firewood is part of the underwood and the the the hazel and the the the understory coppice. So products for people and in the past it was used for all kinds of things before we had plastic. But it's still very useful, and so because it didn't cease until recently on this site, the animals and plants and the fauna that relies upon this method that have evolved with it essentially in the last 10,000 years or so since we've been managing woods in this way, still are present here on this site or in the local area. So if you continue the cycle you continue this interaction with the wildlife and you can help to reverse the biodiversity declines. So it's very holistic, really this management technique. But it does mean that to make space for the coppice regrowth, because trees don't grow under trees, you know it needs the light. The light needs to be there for the coppice to come up again. You have to take out some of these mature oaks that were planted 150, 200 years ago, with the intention of being used in the future. So we're planting things and we're carrying out the plans, we're bringing them to fruition, what people enacted a couple of hundred years ago. 

    Adam: It it's interesting, isn't it, because it it it is an ancient woodland, but that doesn't mean it's an untouched woodland, because for hundreds of years it's it's been managed. Man has had a hand

    • 31 min
    Wye Valley ancient woods with Kate Humble

    Wye Valley ancient woods with Kate Humble

    Join us as presenter, author and farmer Kate Humble guides us through magical ancient woodland near her remote Wales home in the Wye Valley. With infectious enthusiasm and occasional impressions, she tells us about the plants and animals along our route as well as the story of her accidental career, becoming host of nation’s favourite Springwatch having never wanted to be a TV presenter! Kate also talks worldwide travels, access to nature and planting trees with the Woodland Trust on her smallholding.
    Don't forget to rate us and subscribe! Learn more about the Woodland Trust at woodlandtrust.org.uk
    Transcript
    You are listening to Woodland Walks, a podcast for the Woodland Trust presented by Adam Shaw. We protect and plant trees for people, for wildlife. 
    Adam: Well, in early spring I went on a woodland walk in Wales with presenter, author and farmer Kate Humble, who was taking me around what promised to be some amazing woodland with her dogs. But as is increasingly common in these podcasts we of course had to begin with me getting absolutely and entirely lost.  
    This is an absolute disaster. Although I am bad at directions, this is not my fault *laughs* So Kate sent me a pin, she said look this is going to be hard to find my place, she sent me a map pin. I followed the map pin. Look I’m here I don't know if you can hear this you probably can’t hear this. This is the gate that's locked, which is across some woodland path. So I can't get there. And of course there is no phone signal, so I'm going to have to drive all the way back to some town to find a phone signal. And I'm already late.  
    OK. I have managed to find a village where there is a phone signal. I've managed to call Kate and Kate *laughs* Kate has clearly got the measure of me and told me to give up and she is now going to get in her car and find me in this village and I will follow her back. In the meantime, we have passed Google map pins back and forwards, which apparently tell her that I'm sitting outside her house. But I really am nowhere near her house, so I seem to have broken Google which well, that's a first. Anyway I've got a banana here, so if she's a long time, I have dinner and I'll just wait. This will never happen. This will actually never happen.  
    Well we’ve found Kate. We’ve found a whirly country drive lane. Feels a bit like rally driving. It's like, I mean, I don't understand why my map wouldn't find it, but this is certainly a bit of rally driving we're doing here getting to her house. My goodness. We found her house.  
    OK. Well, we're here. Which I never thought I I really thought it was really lovely. The idea was nice, and next time I'm in Wales, I'll give you a call so really, it's it's better than I thought better than I thought. Anyway, so you're leading me off with your two dogs. 
    Kate: I am. I am. I'm leading you off into one of the most beautiful I think I mean, obviously I'm a little bit biased but it is one of the most important areas of ancient woodland in Britain. This is the Wye Valley. We're the lower Wye valley, so we are the the the the bit really where the River Wye is in its sort of last bit of its journey. It's risen in mid Wales, about 136 miles from here. I know that cause I’ve walked the whole route. 
    Adam: Really, we're not doing that today, are we? 
    Kate: No we’re not no I promise. I promise Adam. So yes and we are basically about 5 or 6 miles from where it flows into the River Severn and then out into the Bristol Channel and the woods around here are a lovely mix of broadleaf, so we're walking through broadleaf woodland now and this is literally this is what I walk out of my front door. Aren't I lucky? 
    Adam: You are lucky. 
    Kate: I'm so lucky. So we've got a lovely mix of broadleaf woodland now and we're just coming into that time of year. Which is the time of year that makes everybody's spirits lift, because we are coming into spring, and if we actually just stop just for a second

    • 59 min

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