BBC4 – Tales from the WildWood & myForest – 17th October – 8.30pm

posted on October 2, 2012


Presenter – Robert Penn

Tales from the Wild Wood is a new six-part series about British woodlands broadcast on BBC4 this autumn. Presented by writer and wannabe woodsman Rob Penn, the series explores the great British love affair with trees.

A year ago, Rob took over the management of Strawberry Cottage Wood, 50 acres of abandoned broadleaf woodland at the entrance to the Llanthony Valley, in the beautiful Black Mountains, south east Wales.

Through managing the wood, the series explores the issues affecting British woodlands today: is man good for woods? Can woodlands pay? How can we value them in non-economic ways? Will our woods survive into the future?

Each episode looks at the day to day management of a woodland – keeping pigs, trapping squirrels, coppicing, horse logging, the economics of our native timber industry, planting trees, future proofing woods, making and selling charcoal, improving biodiversity and encouraging public access. Using fascinating archive, the series also examines our historical relationship with woodlands, recalling the time when the woods employed thousands of people and provided the backbone of rural industries, industries that sustained the countryside over centuries.

Alistair from Sylva demonstrates how myForest can help Robert market woodland products to local forestry businesses.

Rob was an amateur when he took over Strawberry Cottage Wood. To help him, he called upon a delightful army of expert woodsmen and eccentric foresters – Wyndham Morgan helped Rob make the wood safe, Iliff Simey explained the virtues of ‘natural forest practice’, Pablo Sanchez helped fell the big ash trees, Kate Morgan brought an 850-kilo Ardennes horse in to extract timber and Pooran Desai OBE advised on the nuances of making and selling British charcoal.

To understand some of the issues affecting our woodlands, Rob periodically left Strawberry Cottage Wood and journeyed round Britain, to Westonbirt to see a successful coppice restoration project, to Carmarthenshire to scrutinize a new type of wood fuel, to Whitney

Robert will be speaking at the British Woodlands 2012 Conference at the University of Oxford on the 11th December

Sawmill and even to a cricket stadium, to see ash stumps from his wood used in an international match. The British people have an innate affinity with trees: they touch us deeply in ways we don’t completely understand.

Our woodlands are the least valued, sustainable resource we have left – yet we have abandoned over 500,000 acres of them. Tales from the Wild Wood is a gentle call to arms – to manage more of our woods, and manage them better. Above all, it is a celebration of a fundamental and very beautiful part of the British landscape.

Tales from the Wild Wood is directed and produced by Will Lorimer for Indus Films (The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls, Arctic with Bruce Parry, Amazon).


  1. The problem with some people is they don’t realise the benefits of trees. It takes forever to see trees grow and takes no time to destroy them!
    Tis is what im up against with trying to get through to them, especially the kids who are the main a abusers of the trees where I live.
    Never in their life time will they see a might oak or anything like it, if they don’t let them have chance to mature!
    The human race chopped most of the trees down for a reason in the past, now people abuse them out of ignorance!
    I have an escape plan to work for the YHA it can’t come soon enough of me at this present time. But my old springer spaniel of 15 is in charge of my career change. So I’ll have to grin and bare it for the time being!
    Enjoying your brilliant programme!

    Comment by Caroline — October 19, 2012 @ 12:23 am

  2. rob penn sold the charcoal he made to a pub called the peach near oxford but I cannot find the public house anywhere in or near oxford

    Comment by M r j w kinch — June 13, 2013 @ 11:50 am

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