Trees A Crowd


Rebecca Speight: The Overstory and Understory of the Woodland Trust

Season 1, Ep. 12

Rebecca Speight is currently the CEO of the Woodland Trust and will shortly be taking over the reigns of the RSPB. Beccy began her foray into the Natural World to satisfy her “sense of connectivity”. Following years working for the National Trust she was ultimately appointed to her current role in 2014, where she heads up the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK (for which David has proudly become an ambassador.) In this in-depth conversation, she discusses the devastating decline in ancient woodland - which has almost halved in the past 50 years, elaborates on the “Young People’s Forest” project which aims to inspire and engage new generations on environmental concerns, and talks about the landscapes and literature that have come to shape her as an individual working for our beautiful and historic country.

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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: