Talks & Spoken word at Between The Trees


Vaughn Matthews – Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC)

Nature & Science
Talk “Marvellous Moths” A brief introduction to the fascinating world of moths, the amazingly diverse creatures that are all around us but rarely seen or appreciated.
Bio – Vaughn has worked in the conservation sector for 13 years and is currently Species Officer for INCC. The Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC) was founded in 2018. Our vision is of
a Wales with more wildlife in more places, created by a society that intrinsically values the natural world.

Dot Williams (Natur Am Byth)

Nature & Science

Talk “Saving the High Brown Fritillary butterfly in the Alun Valley” The High Brown Fritillary butterfly is one of the UK’s most endangered species and found only one place in Wales. Under the umbrella of the Natur Am Byth! programme funded by the National Heritage Lottery, work is being done to protect the butterfly.

Bio – Dot’s background is mainly in social work but has always had a passion for nature and the environment.  She has a masters degree in coastal conservation and management.  Starting as a volunteer with Butterfly Conservation 6 years ago she is now working to save this endangered butterfly.

Andrew Mason (RSPB)

Nature & Science

Talk “The RSPB – Our Jouney” Most people know of the RSPB’s work in the UK and around the world to save nature and provide a greener future for people and nature. But, not many understand their origins, with 3 ladies standing up to the establishment and in time, forming the RSPB. 

Bio – Andrew is a keen naturalist and bird tour guide. He first joined the RSPB as a member in 1982, volunteered in 1990 and in 2017 became a paid employee covering South Wales and South West England as the Face to Face Manager.

Dr Eleanor Kean

Nature & Science

Talk “What do we know about otters?” What is known about the status of otters in the UK? Is pollution still a threat? Join one of the UK’s otter specialists to discuss highlights of otter ecology, recent population trends and looking to the future what otters need to thrive in the UK.

Bio – Eleanor is an independent researcher focusing on mammal ecology and freshwaters. She has been researching otters for 16 years, and has published research on aquatic pollution, otter communication, 


Spoken Word


Catherine Fisher reads from her prize-winning Clockwork Crow series, a fantasy of Welsh magic and mystery.

Catherine Fisher is a poet and novelist from Wales. She has written over thirty novels for children. Her YA fantasy Incarceron was a New York Times Bestseller. She has twice won the Tir na n’Og prize and her novel The Clockwork Crow was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Prize.


Spoken Word

Why does the Welsh flag have a dragon on it? What happens when you ask a witch too many questions? Should you ever trust the magical Tylwyth Teg? Come and find out as Claire Fayers tells stories from her best-selling collection of Welsh Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends.

Claire lives in the Welsh mountains and writes stories of magic and adventure for young people. She won the Tir na n-Og award for Storm Hound in 2020, and her new collection of Welsh myths and legends was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Tir na n-Og.

Robert Minhinnick

Spoken Word

Talk: Delirium is a book of short prose, global in scope, but lots of reference to Merthyr Mawr dunes.

Gorwelion/Shared Horizons is global in scope about climate change. Contributors to the volume will read, i.e. Laura Wainwright. Writers from Wales, Scotland, India.

Bio: Robert Minhinnick is advisor and co-founder of the charity, Sustainable Wales/Cymru Gynaliadwy. He is a writer and editor of Gorwelion/Shared Horizons.


Spoken Word

The folk duo ‘Songfisher’ will perform and talk of the legends behind their original songs based on Candleston Castle, Ogmore Castle, Ewenny Priory, Sanford’s Well and others.

Songfisher is an eclectic, quirky folk duo from South Wales. Featuring Gareth Davies on sitar, guitar and vocals, and Sarah Dickson on vocals, guitar and Shruti. Performing a variety of original, traditional and folk covers with a Songfisher twist.

Phil Cope

Spoken Word

Phil Cope is a photographer, writer, teacher, and cultural exhibition designer whose subjects have included the footballer John Charles, Paul Robeson and Wales and the Spanish Civil War. He was Head of Drama and Deputy Head of English in the Welsh Joint Education Committee. He has published Borderlands (2013) and the Holy Wells series which includes: Holy Wells: Wales (2008), Holy Wells: Cornwall (2010), Holy Wells: Scotland (2015), The Living Wells of Wales (2019) and he will be completing Holy Wells, Ireland soon.

His most recent publication is about the recent archaeological digs at Margam Abbey and more specifically,y the older settlement of Capel Mair. In his book “I Dig Margam” he writes about the significance of these findings at the Chapel and the surrounding Iron Age Hill Fort which is “a rare discovery in upland Wales”. Phil has also made this information accessible to children and he will be holding a workshop called “I Dig Margam” for young budding archaeologists and historians on Sunday afternoon.


Spoken Word

Between the trees, under the hills and in the lakes, the Tylwyth Teg or Fair Folk live all over Wales. But who will you find where? Find out how fairies, elves and goblins are bound to the land

Dan Mitchell is a storyteller, stand up and writer. He loves forests, foraging and folklore, from weird creatures to real people. His aim is to find folk tales from all over Wales.


Dr Leanne Cullen Unsworth (Project Sea Grass)

Nature & Science

Talk – “Secret Gardens under the sea” Seagrass meadows are critical to the survival of every living thing on Earth. Seagrasses produce oxygen, clean our coastal water, absorb greenhouse gas emissions, and help to keep our ocean healthy which stabilises the climate —both global and local. Not to mention, seagrass supports or provides habitat for 1000’s of species of fish, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and mammals and supports the livelihoods for millions of people

Bio – Leanne is an interdisciplinary marine scientist with over 20 year’s experience working collaboratively with people and communities to help conserve and restore nature. She plays a pivotal role within Project Seagrass leading programmes that help to understand the connections between people and the environment.

Speckled Wood Wildlife

Nature & Science

TalkCoastal wildlife, Butterfish to Butterflies” Standing on the beach at Merthyr Mawr and looking out to sea; most people are relatively unconnected with what is living out there, however we get a glimpse of this diverse world at low tide when we can explore the rocky shores, estuaries and sandy beaches. This talk will focus on our connections with wildlife, habitat connectivity and why we need to conserve all habitats, not just the ones we can see.

BIo – Speckled Wood Wildlife is a family-run and family-friendly business that aims to inspire a greater awareness and understanding of the wildlife around us.  We specialise in butterflies, birds, coastal wildlife and more.  Run by Roo & Nicky Perkins based in Pontypool, we share a plethora of local South Wales sites to help foster connections with the nature on the doorstep. 

Gill Heritage & Iain Harrison

Nature & Science

Talk ” Honeybees and our part in their world”   Gill Heritage and Ian Harrison, the bee custodians talk about their approach to natural beekeeping: why, where and how. Almost a decade ago they decided to have a beehive in the garden. Since then they have learned a lot about bees and beekeeping and are still learning more. 

Dr Rob Thomas (Cardiff University)

Nature & Science

Talk “Seabirds in Wales: the jewels in Cymru’s Crown”

Bio – Rob is a Senior Lecturer in Zoology, Ecology & Data Analysis at Cardiff University School of Biosciences. Committed latte-drinker, counter of birds and maker of graphs.

Stefan Cartwright

Spoken Word

Wales imports over 90% of its apples and yet it has a rich history of orchards and apple varieties. In 2016 we purchased an agricultural field in Ceredigion which we are turning into a bountiful orchard. This talk is about our quest to produce nutritious, healthy and delicious table fruit.

I live with my family on an OPD (One Planet Development) smallholding in rural Ceredigion. For the past decade, we have been working towards a more sustainable life. We live in a self-built, off-grid, low-impact home powered by the sun and grow much of our food onsite.

(Photo Credits to Hayley Thomas)

Andrew Sowerby

Spoken Word

“Owning a woodland, what’s involved and why should you do it?”

Creating and owning woodlands is a prominent subject in current affairs.  Never have political parties been so in favour of creating new woodlands.  Creating a target is easy, but is it just as easy to look after a woodland?  What does it take to look after a woodland in such a way that it is environmentally positive and financially viable?  Why should we own woodlands and how should we go about owning woodlands?  Andrew offers practical insights into how we better look after our trees and woodlands based on his 21 years of experience in the public and private sector as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and the chair of the Confor committee in Wales.

Adele Nozader

Spoken Word

Talk: “How to talk to trees”
Can trees speak? And what do they say? How can we listen to them? Join Adele Nozedar, Forest Bathing practitioner, forager, author of The Tree Forager and one of the Brecon Beacons National Park Veteran Tree Wardens in a walk like no other!

Bio: Adele has written several books, 4 of them about foraging. She has foraged the length and breadth of the UK as well as in parts of mainland Europe and India. She has foraged with Rosie Jones as well as Gareth Edwards and the ambassador of Panama.


Spoken Word

Peter Britton is a professional photographer, videographer and award-winning lecturer. After a 15 year career in commercial photography, his practice is now more arts based. His work explores the relationships that people have to a place, and his projects visually investigate connections to memory, wellbeing and history.

S A N D a visual exploration of Newton and Merthyr Mawr sand dunes. Situated in South Wales, this unique ecosystem covers nearly 1000 acres and is incredibly diverse in terms of landscape and human history. Sand has settled on top of the ancient limestone cliffs creating a special habitat for insects, fungi and plants. There are areas of grasslands, saltmarsh, beach and woods within the reserve. Historical remnants from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman times have all been discovered there.

The entire ecosystem is based and built on sand. This visual investigation demonstrates the collaboration between humans and the natural world. To photograph and record this dunes environment means capturing the diverse history, landscape and stories of the dunes, via different photographic formats and processes.