In this episode I’m joined by my good friend Eddie Chapman as we recount a visit to the Great Hungarian Plain.
Eddie is a devoted rambler and part-time rapper who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. He grew up in the Derbyshire town of Chesterfield and developed a love for the landscape through hiking in the nearby Peak District. Eddie now spends his walking time bagging munros in the Scottish Highlands.
Listen to the audio file here:
Watch the audio slideshow on YouTube here:
This is part one of two episodes covering a trip Eddie and I undertook across Hungary and Romania in 2015. In part one we recount our travels through the Great Hungarian Plain, en route to the Romanian Carpathians.
It’s a light-hearted episode with recollections of unusual experiences, including owl-headed body-builders, fire water and rural sports bars.
We saw some incredible wildlife in one of Europe’s most important landscapes – the Great Hungarian Plain – and would definitely recommend it if you’re into birds. But do listen to what we did wrong if you’re planning a visit!
Julian has published two books of non-fiction with a strong focus on landscapes, wildlife and heritage. In 2012 Julian’s debut book The Small Heart of Things was published, and in 2019 it was followed by Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places.
We pick up right where we left off in episode one, with a question to Julian about his experiences of getting to know local people and telling their stories through his writing.
We get into some pretty deep topics in this episode including:
How the mathematics of life mean you can only connect with a handful of places in a meaningful way
The poverty of language around ‘brownfields’
Convincing politicians to pretend they’re jumping spiders!
Life-altering experiences in the North Kent Marshes
Oliver Rackham and the loss of meaning in the landscape
The importance of local green spaces in the pandemic and beyond
Massive thank you to Julian for his time and consideration in putting these two episodes together. Please support Julian by purchasing his book and following him on social media. Hope you enjoy!
This is part one of two episodes with author Julian Hoffman. This episode focuses on Julian’s life in northern Greece where he encounters European brown bears in his day to day life. We also discuss the local accents of wrens(!), particularly Liverpudlian wrens.
Julian has published two books. In 2012 The Small Heart of Things was published and in 2019 it was followed by Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places.
I’m a big fan of both of these books. Julian does that rare thing for a nature writer and centres communities within the landscape. Irreplaceable is a great example of this, with Julian writing about local people the world over battling to save special places, habitats and species.
Irreplaceable was the Highly Commended Finalist for the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.
Julian details how he came to live in Prespa, how he became a writer there after working with his wife as a market gardener, toiling away in the open fields growing fruit and vegetables, and getting to know the locals.
Thanks so much for bearing with us and I hope you enjoy the episode.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to try an outdoor recording for Unlocking Landscapes. This walk was 8 miles in total from my front door to visit a nearby area of woodland in the Sussex Weald:
Please subscribe to the Unlocking Landscapes YouTube here.
You can tell from the podcast that this latest English lockdown has affected my lung capacity, I’m a bit breathy at times! There’s only so much editing you can do though. One to remember for future episodes.
Anyway, the areas of interest in this episode are:
Woodland streams, known in this area as ‘gills’
Heathlands and plantations
Sphagnum moss bogs
Ancient and veteran trees, especially beech (Fagus sylvatica)
I’d love to know what you think of this episode and if you’d like to hear more in future. You can comment below or email me at email@example.com
Thanks so much for listening and I hope you enjoy.
I’m pleased to publish episode 2 of the Unlocking Landscapes podcast. My guest this month is Raki Nikahetiya.
Raki lives in New Delhi and practices ‘interdisciplinary photography’. His photographic work focuses on documentary, landscape, wildlife and other digital art forms. He is currently working on a project with the University of Barcelona on the subject of… cave paintings and petri dishes!
Raki talks about life in India where agrarian protests are raging and people are coming to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic. He also describes his upbringing in rural Sri Lanka and how that has inspired his work as a photographer and a community conservationist working with indigenous communities in Sri Lanka and Mozambique.
In the YouTube version of the podcast you can enjoy some of Raki’s photographs alongside the audio:
You can follow Raki’s work through the links below:
Raki is a wonderful guy and I really enjoyed speaking to him. Thanks to everyone who has listened, subscribed and provided feedback on the podcast so far. It’s a real pleasure to record the episodes but the preparation and post-production is a lot to fit in alongside a full-time job! Hoping that things will settle a bit now as things get up and running.
This week I’ve stumbled across two of the more charismatic polypores you can find at this time of year. Polypores are bracket fungi that grow like shelves, usually from a tree trunk but sometimes also at the base of from a branch.… Continue reading Fungi 🍄: keeping up with the polypores→
St. Leonard’s Forest, West Sussex, August 2021 Mid-August: the woods sit between seasons. Leaves are not yet turning, the soil is dry and the leaf litter brittle. Even so, mushrooms are pushing through. I turn off the hard track to cross over the ghyll that cuts through the woodland, one of many dammed further down… Continue reading The Sussex Weald: between the seasons→
I’m really pleased to say that I’m in the process of launching a podcast. It’s called Unlocking Landscapes and will, unsurprisingly, be about people and landscapes. Below you can listen to the podcast intro:
I grew up in the historic territory of the Great North Wood in south-east London, so this subject is of big personal interest for me.
It’s pretty daunting starting a podcast and also fairly cringe-worthy listening to your own voice. I’m hopeful of posting the first episode on Monday 8th February. It’s an hour long and I’m still working through the edit. The first one will be the most difficult because of all the work submitting it to podcast channels and getting used to editing audio again.
The podcast is now being accepted to podcast providers so it should be on Google, Apple and Spotify in the next couple of days. Please subscribe!
At the moment this is a labour of love and is totally funded by yours truly.
The episode will be of particular interest to those who live in south London and are keen to understand more about London’s rural and cultural history. It will also be of interest to those who want to learn more about the how human history has impacted woodlands over time.