Unlocking Landscapes podcast: south London’s ancient woodlands

Daniel Greenwood



In this episode, I am delighted to welcome Chantelle Lindsay and Sam Bentley-Toon. Chantelle and Sam are environmental professionals who worked together on London Wildlife Trust’s Great North Wood project. You can also listen via these podcast providers:

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/unlocking-landscapes/id1551547335

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3fkXaryfdB1g0PVdz6WPMb

Podbean: https://unlockinglandscapes.podbean.com

Chantelle and Sam share their experiences of protecting and managing south London’s ancient woodlands. They talk about their passion for volunteering and some of the challenges that woodland conservation in London involves.

We also discuss rewilding in a London context and whether beavers could possibly be returning to London.

Since recording this podcast, Sam has moved on to work on London’s rivers and Chantelle has become a minor-celebrity with her brilliant appearances on Blue Peter and a Great North Wood-focused segment on BBC’s Springwatch.

People like Sam and Chantelle are lesser known in the conservation world, but they are having big impacts at…

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Unlocking Landscapes #5: Irreplaceable with Julian Hoffman

Here’s episode two with Julian Hoffman!


This audio slideshow contains Julian’s photographs of life in Prespa, including some of the amazing wildlife there (bears, pelicans and butterflies)

This is the second of two episodes with author Julian Hoffman. The first episode was about living with pelicans and bears in northern Greece, where Julian lives. 

Julian has published two books of non-fiction with a strong focus on landscapes, wildlife and heritage. In 2012 Julian’s debut book The Small Heart of Things was published, and in 2019 it was followed by Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places

We pick up right where we left off in episode one, with a question to Julian about his experiences of getting to know local people and telling their stories through his writing.

Swanscombe Marshes in Kent, a threatened ‘brownfield’ home to rare species

We get into some pretty deep topics in this episode including:

  • How the mathematics of life mean you can only connect with a handful of places in a meaningful way
  • The poverty of language around ‘brownfields’
  • Convincing politicians to pretend they’re jumping spiders!
  • Life-altering experiences in the North Kent Marshes
  • Oliver Rackham and the loss of meaning in the landscape
  • The importance of local green spaces in the pandemic and beyond

Massive thank you to Julian for his time and consideration in putting these two episodes together. Please support Julian by purchasing his book and following him on social media. Hope you enjoy!

Links

Julian Hoffman: https://julian-hoffman.com/

Irreplaceable: https://julian-hoffman.com/irreplaceable/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulianHoffman

Save Swanscombe Marshes: https://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns/save-swanscombe-marshes/

Unlocking Landscapes Twitter: https://twitter.com/UnlockLand

Homepage: https://www.unlockinglandscapes.com/ 

Daniel’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/djgwild

Intro music by Daniel Greenwood: https://danieljamesgreenwood.bandcamp.com/track/eva

Unlocking Landscapes #4: Julian Hoffman (part one)

This is part one of two episodes with author Julian Hoffman. This episode focuses on Julian’s life in northern Greece where he encounters European brown bears in his day to day life. We also discuss the local accents of wrens(!), particularly Liverpudlian wrens.

Julian has published two books. In 2012 The Small Heart of Things was published and in 2019 it was followed by Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places

I’m a big fan of both of these books. Julian does that rare thing for a nature writer and centres communities within the landscape. Irreplaceable is a great example of this, with Julian writing about local people the world over battling to save special places, habitats and species. 

Irreplaceable was the Highly Commended Finalist for the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.

Julian details how he came to live in Prespa, how he became a writer there after working with his wife as a market gardener, toiling away in the open fields growing fruit and vegetables, and getting to know the locals.

Thanks so much for bearing with us and I hope you enjoy the episode.

Links

Julian Hoffman: https://julian-hoffman.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulianHoffman

The Wren Boys: https://www.ouririshheritage.org/content/archive/topics/miscellaneous/the-wren-boys

Unlocking Landscapes Twitter: https://twitter.com/UnlockLand

Homepage: https://www.unlockinglandscapes.com/ 

Unlocking Landscapes #3: the octopus beech tree

A couple of weeks ago I decided to try an outdoor recording for Unlocking Landscapes. This walk was 8 miles in total from my front door to visit a nearby area of woodland in the Sussex Weald.

You can listen to the episode (26 mins) here.

Here is the audio slideshow with footage now included!

Please subscribe to the Unlocking Landscapes YouTube here.

You can tell from the podcast that this latest English lockdown has affected my lung capacity, I’m a bit breathy at times! There’s only so much editing you can do though. One to remember for future episodes.

Anyway, the areas of interest in this episode are:

  • Woodland streams, known in this area as ‘gills’
  • Heathlands and plantations
  • Wood ants
  • Sphagnum moss bogs
  • Ancient and veteran trees, especially beech (Fagus sylvatica)

I’d love to know what you think of this episode and if you’d like to hear more in future. You can comment below or email me at unlockinglandscapes@gmail.com

Thanks so much for listening and I hope you enjoy.

In April I have a podcast with the writer Julian Hoffman. It went so well it’s in two fascinating parts. You can see more about Julian here.

I have some other great guests and episodes lined up, can’t wait to share all that.

Cheers,
Daniel

Episode recorded and edited by Daniel Greenwood in the West Sussex High Weald

High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: http://www.highweald.org/

Unlocking Landscapes website

Unlocking Landscapes Twitter

Unlocking Landscapes #2: Raki Nikahetiya

I’m pleased to publish episode 2 of the Unlocking Landscapes podcast. My guest this month is Raki Nikahetiya:

Raki lives in New Delhi and practices ‘interdisciplinary photography’. His photographic work focuses on documentary, landscape, wildlife and other digital art forms. He is currently working on a project with the University of Barcelona on the subject of… cave paintings and petri dishes!

Raki talks about life in India where agrarian protests are raging and people are coming to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic. He also describes his upbringing in rural Sri Lanka and how that has inspired his work as a photographer and a community conservationist working with indigenous communities in Sri Lanka and Mozambique.

In the YouTube version of the podcast you can enjoy some of Raki’s photographs alongside the audio:

You can follow Raki’s work through the links below:

Website: https://www.rakiography.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rakiography/

Raki is a wonderful guy and I really enjoyed speaking to him. Thanks to everyone who has listened, subscribed and provided feedback on the podcast so far. It’s a real pleasure to record the episodes but the preparation and post-production is a lot to fit in alongside a full-time job! Hoping that things will settle a bit now as things get up and running.

Next month I am joined by writer Julian Hoffman.

Thanks for listening and wishing you well.

Unlocking Landscapes #1: London’s historic Great North Wood with Chris Schüler

I’m delighted to be able to post the first episode of the Unlocking Landscapes podcast:

You can also listen on YouTube:

This episode is with author Chris Schüler about his upcoming book The Wood that Built London. It’s about London’s historic Great North Wood.

It’s a long episode, but that’s because it’s local interest, with a lot of detail to fit in. I hope it’s useful to people with an interest in London’s history, city woodlands, and nature in general.

You can subscribe to the podcast via the links below:

In this episode we talk about the following things:

  • What inspired Chris to write the book and how he went about it
  • How the Great North Wood (GNW) was managed
  • How the GNW differs from other southern English wooded landscapes such as the Sussex Weald
  • The violent history of the GNW
  • How the plague impacted people living in the GNW
  • The GNW’s celebrities
  • Some of the now rare species recorded in the GNW centuries ago
  • The concerns about invasive species are not as new as we think
  • The attempts to eradicate hedgehogs and polecats
  • How the GNW will be viewed in 100 years

Links to references:

Thanks for reading/listening and your feedback is very welcome!

Introductory episode

You can now listen to the Unlocking Landscapes podcast’s introductory episode. This short intro outlines what to expect from the podcast.

Episode 1 was recorded on Friday 29th January 2021 and should be available on Monday 8th February. The first episode is a conversation with writer and editor Chris Schuler on the subject of London’s historic Great North Wood and his upcoming book, The Wood that Built London.

The podcast is now available on Apple, Google and Spotify so please subscribe!

Thanks for listening.

Daniel

Unlocking Landscapes

Hello!

I’m delighted to launch the Unlocking Landscapes podcast. The aim of the pod is to promote conversations about human relationships with the landscape. Those relationships include people who work and volunteer in/on the landscape, photographers, artists, writers, scientists, community organisers and more.

Access to the land is an issue of great importance and I hope we can uncover some interesting perspectives in this first series.

The first series of the pod will launch in February 2021 with the aim of one episode each month through the year.

I can’t wait to share some of the stories people have to tell about their relationships with landscape. There will be a mix of focus: history, ecology, community, agriculture, art and literature. There will be a strong UK and European element, but with stories from as far away as India.

The need for a diverse range of voices is important and that will drive the pod in its early stages.

The pod will be available here via SoundCloud to start with as well as Podbean. Over time I hope to get it accepted onto all the other platforms that will take it.

Here we go!

Daniel Greenwood, January 2021