A Walk In The Woods

woods08:54 Thursday 15th August 2013
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: The Woodland Trust is encouraging people in Cambridgeshire to explore their nearest undiscovered wood. But where in Cambridgeshire should you go? Well Chris Hickman is from the Trust, and can tell us more. Chris, morning.
CHRIS HICKMAN: Morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: What do you mean, “undiscovered wood”?
CHRIS HICKMAN: Well we think obviously it’s great for people to get out and visit woods. There are plenty of woods in Cambridgeshire and surrounding areas that people know which are the main ones. So everyone knows about Thetford Forest,or the larger ones. But we have a website called Visit Woods, which is essentially an online databse of woods. And it’s really simple. You can literally type in a postcode or a placename and it will bring up a list of woods in a certain radius. But there may be these smaller woods which we’re calling the undiscovered woods, which perhaps you don’t know about. So it’s the woods that you drive past on the way to work, or you walk past on the way to the shops. And you’re perhaps not sure if it’s open to the public, if it’s got a car park, if you can take a pushchair round it. So what we want people to do is go on the Visit Woods website, have a look at the woods in the area, and go out and find out some information for us. Because the great thing about it is you can go on, you can take photos, you can add comments. Then it helps everyone else who might want to go and explore them at a later date find out more too.
PAUL STAINTON:┬áBecause as you drive around Cambridgeshire you think that looks like a huge expanse of trees, but that might be somebody’s private land. Because there are a lot of private landowners, aren’t there? You can’t just start wandering through somewhere you like the look of.
CHRIS HICKMAN: That’s right. Yes. We don’t want to encourage people to be trespassing. But that’s the great thing about the Visit Woods website as well, which is that all the woods listed , they’re publicly accessible. So we’ve spoken to the landowners involved. And there’s various different landowners who have supplied woods. So it might be Cambridgeshire Council, or it’s the Woodland Trust’s woods, or other charities’ woods. But you can also look on a map layer as well, so you can actually see visually where they are. So if you know it’s on the A428 or the A11, you can zoom in and you can see where the woods are. And then you can click on the individual woods. You can go to that wood’s information page. You can see what information there is. And there’ll be certain woods where we don’t have any information yet, because people haven’t helped us by adding photos or blogs or information. And so people can go out .. obviously the great thing is that 99% of them will be free as well. And like you were saying, people are going to be running out of ideas now, halfway through the summer holidays. And visiting a wood is a great thing to do. It keeps you healthy. It’s great for your mental health. And you can see lots of interesting things. You’ll see birds or butterflies, or you might see deer. So it’s probably an obvious thing. People might think, oh, visiting a wood, but actually it’s a really great thing to do, especially in the summer, when there’s so much wildlife and activity, and when it’s nice and sunny too.
PAUL STAINTON: Of course Cambridgeshire is the least wooded county in the UK. have we got plenty of woods?
CHRIS HICKMAN: Yes, there’s nearly a hundred listed on the Visit Woods website in Cambridgeshire, which again people might be surprised that there’s that many. But a lot of them may be these really small hidden gems that are just a couple of hectares in size. But if they’re off the beaten track and you go and discover them, then you’re likely to be the only person there. So it’s like your own private hidden wood. So it’s a great way for people to go and explore these hidden gems across the region.
PAUL STAINTON: What’s your favourite one? What’s your favourite wood? Go on. Where would you go today? If I said to you right, I want to go and see everything I could possibly see in a wood, where’s the best place to go?
CHRIS HICKMAN: That’s a good one. Well, I’m slightly biased. Obviously there’s a few woods where we’re based, up here in Lincolnshire. But certainly .. you went to one yourself on Monday, Cow Hollow Wood, which is one of our woods. So we’ve got the living bridge there. And it’s a great example of a wood. We only planted it twenty years ago, but already you would really say it looks like a wood, and there’s lots of interesting features. And again, it’s a great place to visit, easy access, and yes, it’s very interesting.
PAUL STAINTON: And you have a website people can go to you say?
CHRIS HICKMAN: That’s right. It’s visitwoods.org.uk , as simple as that. Type in your postcode or a placename and you’ll see all the woods we’ve got listed.
PAUL STAINTON: Chris, thank you. Chris Hickman from the Woodland Trust.