Archive for August, 2011

Woodland Awakening

A few weeks ago I was invited to a press screening of a documentary called Woodland Awakening. The documentary told the story of Britain’s dwindling ancient woodland (woods which pre-date 1600) and presented some startling facts.

Only 4% of ancient woodland in the UK survives; at the beginning of the last century this figure was 8%. Hectares of ancient woodland were cut down by the Forestry Commission in the 1950s to make way for fast growing conifer trees. These conifer trees soon swamped the ancient woodlands, making life very difficult for native wildlife and wild flowers.

At the present, only 33% of all public forest remains in the UK. Despite the Government referring its plan to sell off this vital public resource to an Independent Forestry Panel, fears about the future of the UK’s public forests remain.

The news isn’t all bad, though. In recent years, the Woodland Trust has bought up areas of ancient woodland and started ambitious conservation efforts. Thankfully, this is paying off. Rare flowers such as orchids and primroses are returning to the ancient forests.

The Government has yet to get away with its devious plan of flogging public forest, so there’s still time to put pressure on them. You can send an email to Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, to voice your concerns (caroline@carolinespelman.com). Click here for tips on what to say.

The short film was produced and directed by Sarah Proudfoot Clinch of Rosylee Productions. As well as talking about ancient woodland from a factual point of view, it also interviewed TV vicar Peter Owen Jones and Bleau-Shanay Hudson, an artist who takes inspiration from the UK’s forests.

To watch a different film by Rosylee Productions which is also about the conservation of ancient woodland, click here.
Photo credit: FatBusinessman

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Wiltshire Magazine August 2011

The latest edition of Wiltshire Magazine includes an interview I did with two famous Wiltshire writers, Lauren Child and Judy Golding. I interviewed them over the telephone and they were both a pleasure to speak with. Lauren Child is well known for the Charlie & Lola book and TV series and Judy Golding has just published a memoir of her father, the Nobel prize winning author William Golding, called The Children of Lovers.

In the interview, Lauren Child talks about growing up in Wiltshire, her struggle to get published and her latest book  based on the character Ruby Redfort, from the popular Clarice Bean series. Judy Golding also speaks about her childhood in Wiltshire (in particular visiting her grandfather in Marlborough), but also gives some fascinating insights into father’s complex and often misunderstood character.

Lauren Child and Judy Golding will both speak at the Marlborough Literature Festival, 22 – 25 September 2011.