Guided Walk Leader Spotlight: Antony Woodward, North Wales
Around six years ago Antony attended a Woodland Trust guided walk at Plas Power Woods, near Wrexham, by the same time the next year he was leading the walk himself as a volunteer!
As a keen hiker and nature lover, Antony attended the Clywedog Trail walk after seeing an advert in a newspaper. The landscape around Plas Power Woods is rich with history, from the impressive section of the 1,200-year-old Offa’s dyke to the mines and mills from the industrial revolution since overgrown with vegetation. “I’ve always been staggered by the power of nature to recover and engulf human structures,” comments Antony, “and I enjoyed the walk so much I decided to get involved as a volunteer.”
The Clywedog Trail, which is a four-hour linear hike across Woodland Trust and National Trust property, is a genuine achievement for those new to rambling. Everyone that takes part receives a commemorative mug, many people attend year on year and have amassed quite a collection of mugs! “I love sharing the enjoyment of the walk and the woodland with the interesting and varied audiences that attend,” says Antony, “some of whom have never been on such a long walk before to those who are Professors of Conservation. I always learn something new from the people on the walk as well as sharing my knowledge with them.”
“The guided walk leaders, such as Antony, are such an important part of the Coed Cadw Team,” says Rebecca Good, site manager, “they provide a friendly knowledgeable face to represent the Trust at these events.”
As Covid restrictions are lifted, Antony is looking forward to being involved with this year’s Clywedog Trail and planning other walks at our other woodlands. As well as getting to grips with his new volunteer role as a woodland warden for Plas Power, “I really enjoy doing the guided walks but I wanted to find another way to help out which is more hands on.” Whilst litter picking and noting any issues at the woods, Antony also plays an ambassador role as he stops and chats to visitors. This face-to-face contact is so valuable, as we have all been reminded of during periods of lockdown. It is much more natural to share information and passion on a topic in person, “It’s good to talk!”.
Becky comments, “When Antony enquired about another role at Plas Power Woods it was an easy decision to ask him to be the warden, he has built up so much knowledge of the area and is very approachable.”
As we conclude our chat, Antony tells me that he is very happy to be part of the Coed Cadw Team alongside the staff and the other volunteers. He also informs me that he has a weekend of working nights at the hospital to look forward to!
You can find out how to get to Plas Power Woods here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/plas-power-woods/
Written by Martha Boalch, Volunteer Development Officer
With thanks to Antony Woodward and Rebecca Good.