Wild Pyrford

January 4, 2021

A key objective of the Planet Woking programme is to inspire and involve the local community to make, or continue to make, changes to live a greener, more sustainable life. We would love to hear from individuals, community groups and businesses willing to share their own eco experiences.

We caught up with Tim Matthews (pictured above), who lives in Pyrford, Woking. Tim retired from the BBC more than 10 years ago and since then has spent much of his time writing and producing videos on a variety of subjects including the environment and conservation. He is the founder of Wild Pyrford.

Where it all started

“The idea for a regular programme about Pyrford’s ‘green’ credentials sprang from a heritage video I had just completed for the Pyrford Neighbourhood Forum in 2019. The film dealt with the history of the village, its changing environment and conservation. While it’s easy to accept that we all need to take positive steps towards preserving and conserving our ‘natural’ world, it’s quite another thing to do something about it. At first glance, Pyrford would appear to be a neighbourhood well stocked with pretty hedges and manicured lawns. Hardly a day goes by, it seems, without at least half a dozen gardening companies driving along our roads. But there’s another Pyrford, hidden from view, where climate change and conservation are uppermost in people’s minds. It is this world that we’ve set out to explore – it’s a disorganised, sometimes unruly and occasionally outrageous landscape. This is the world of Wild Pyrford.

During the first lockdown I was joined (virtually!) by a number of people who shared the same idea – to spotlight this wilder side of the village and to make regular videos of local conservation projects. I was lucky to have the help and support of another ex-BBC resident, Carole Mitchell (who now works for WWF in Woking, pictured below), along with various local professionals who were keen to lend a hand. By talking to neighbours, quizzing fellow dog-walkers, tapping into social networks we soon had a wealth of knowledge that would make the basis of a regular, monthly programme on YouTube. There would be no hard and fast rules, we decided, we simply wanted to let people tell their own story, to chart their steps as they make a difference and green-up our neighbourhood.”

How it began

“We started filming in July 2020, with a plan to upload to the Wild Pyrford website and YouTube by September. Amazingly this is what we did. Of course, the weather was spectacular during those summer months but as autumn replaced our sunny filming days, rain and wind were the orders of the day. I was used to bad weather during my BBC days, but at least I was getting paid to stand in the rain. The production team at Wild Pyrford is a collection of volunteers. We have no such compensations!”

Looking ahead

“Our plans for the future of Wild Pyrford are to continue highlighting conservation projects, large or small, in our neighbourhood certainly, but we hope to branch out and develop stories in bordering villages too. In this way we want to broaden the appeal of the programme and generate more interest in projects that encourage the flora and fauna to return, allowing Nature to do her bit. Grandiose ambitions perhaps, but important nevertheless.

Did I mention that we are always looking out for volunteers to help our over-stretched production team? And conservation stories are welcome too, no matter how small or large.

Small steps can make a big difference ‘collectively’.”

To find out more about Wild Pyrford email wildpyrford@gmail.com or check out their monthly YouTube programme, simply search “Wild Pyrford”.   

Bob Holmes and Jimmie Walker, Wild Pyrford Crew Volunteers

Planet Woking would like to thank Tim for getting in touch. If you have any questions, or would like to share information on your local environmental initiatives, please contact us via the Planet Woking email address: hello@planetwoking.co.uk


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