Trees A Crowd


Harry Barton: Balancing Wildlife in Devon and a Vision of Natural Justice

Season 1, Ep. 18

Harry Barton is the chief executive of the Devon Wildlife Trust. He has worked for nearly 25 years in the environmental sector, including spells at the Earth Trust, the Council for National Parks, Kew Gardens, CPRE and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Amidst extolling the virtues of Devon and it’s newfound beaver population, Harry explains the Trust's mission to preserve, protect and enhance the county's areas of natural wildlife. This conversation addresses the differing roles of the wildlife trusts, environmental groups like Extinction Rebellion and individuals like Greta Thunberg in solving the crisis of climate change, but takes numerous gear changes along the way – from musings over childhood memories of cars being swept away by the river at Richmond, to the threats to our marine environment hidden beneath the waves. Harry also talks about one of the issues closest to his heart, that of the importance of the outdoors for young children, particularly for his son, who has autism.

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Dr Helen Pheby: Sculpture for sheep, and rhubarb trains; the place ‘Extraordinary’ can happen

Season 2, Ep. 7
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, South Africa, India, and even Barnsley! Born in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’, Helen reminisces over “the rhubarb express”, a train which ran from her village in Yorkshire to London, and muses over how magical it was being able to see the contrast between rural and urban environments. In this insightful conversation, Helen explains how she believes creativity and art is a human right, how the YSP was visited by Henry VIII, and how another Henry, Henry Moore, believed it was the job of artists to show people the natural world and subsequently designed artwork for sheep. She explains how the Sculpture Park aims to be inclusive, free from the barriers of social standing, wealth and a gender imbalance that art is often associated with. Subsequently, the YSP is now home to brain-controlled helicopters, women on horseback steeplechasing through the landscapes of the First World War, and all of this second to the migratory routes of the Great Crested Newt. In her own words: “We are places the extraordinary can happen.” For more information on this podcast, including David's thoughts following this interview, head to: