In May this year the Woodland Trust appointed a new Chair of Trustees, Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone. Barbara has considerable experience in both the health and environmental sectors. She was Chief Executive of Diabetes UK and involved in the establishment of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which she later chaired. She has also been the Chief Executive of both RSPB and the Environment Agency and has chaired English Nature (now Natural England). This wealth of experience is coupled with a love of trees and a passion for woodland creation and the protection of ancient woodland.
Last week Baroness Young came on a two day exploratory visit to Devon, visiting both Fingle and the Bovey Valley Woods. Barbara was particularly keen to see how the partnership between the National Trust and Woodland Trust is working. A highlight of her Fingle visit therefore was a trip to Wooston Hillfort. As recent blogs have described, the new Fingle Woods Ranger, Fred Hutt, and a team of National Trust Volunteers have been felling trees at the Hillfort over the last couple of weeks. She was able to meet some of the volunteers and was impressed to hear how many of them are trained to use chainsaws and how nearly all (approximately 95%) of the felling at the hillfort has been done by volunteers.
Barbara is also a keen horsewoman, riding a dressage horse, and was therefore delighted to meet the heavy horses, Beano and William, and hear how they are hauling timber from the hillfort to prevent damage to the archaeology.
If you want to come up and see the spectacular difference the volunteers’ tree clearance has made, admire the views, and watch the impressive heavy horses at work, they will be working at Wooston Hillfort from the 17th of October to the 4th of November.