Introducing Carmarthenshire's new Activity Leaders!

Written by Tir Coed / Tuesday 19 November 2019

Ben Burrage:

Tell us a little bit about you...

I grew up in the city, exploring the hills on a mountain bike. I studied fine art and home educated my children while learning skills of self-reliance and ecologically oriented rural co-operative living. I developed my career as a woodsman, tree surgeon and woodcraft maker.

What are your favourite hobbies?

Wild swimming, animal tracking, hill walking, drumming, bio-char, permaculture, wood crafts, primitive skills, singing.

What excites you most about your new role?

Being able to bring together my diversity of skills to guide people to deeper nature connection.

What do you enjoy most about working in the outdoors / woodlands?

Being in contact with the diverse natural mysteries of tracks, signs and songs.

What's your favourite quote?

"You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk across the desert for a hundred miles repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." - From Mary Oliver's poem, Wild Geese.

What's your favourite season of the year and why?

Spring, because of beech leaves and the smell of bluebells and hawthorn blossom.

If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?

Mountain Ash (Rowan), as long as I'd be one of those along a mountain stream so I could hear the water and be the feast of songbirds.

Peter Lee-Thompson:  

Tell us a little something about yourself...

Having grown up roaming the outdoors, I moved to the city and quickly realised I was not suited to urban life. I managed to secure an apprenticeship working with the local planning department, where I helped manage nature reserves and footpaths. I then moved into tree surgery before studying countryside and tourism management at university as a mature student. I spent time as a horticultural supervisor for individuals serving parole and then managing an estate and golf course before returning to Wales.

Back home again, I found a seasonal job at the National Botanic Garden of Wales from where I moved into the Regency Project, where I currently work with volunteers to restore the historic lakes and parkland.

What are your hobbies?

Photography, gaming, gardening and reading.

What excites you most about your new role?

Working with a new group of people in new places, sharing my passion for the natural world and heritage skills.

What do you enjoy most about working the outdoors / woodlands?

I find it a great escape from the pressure of daily life, either burning off some energy or just relaxing and taking it all in. There is always something fresh to experience and it feels important to maintain a connection to skills which we have relied upon for a millennium. 

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by challenges; I love a problem to solve or to think about things from different perspectives.

What's your favourite season of the year and why?

I love the spring, after struggling through the winter it's great to see the cow parsley brightening up the roadsides, although I also love the autumn colours and gnarled trunks silhouetted in winter.

If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?

I think I’d probably be a lime tree, able to take a pollard, easy to work with and attractive to bees, which I regularly get stung by it seems.