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Film work for Grown in Britain and the National Trust

Shared beliefs means strong collaborations. We have long shared a focus and a passion for sustainable forestry with the team at Grown in Britain. Recently we have had the much overdue opportunity to work together on something pretty exciting. Beyond the certification schemes that Grown in Britain offer, they have a research and development programme. This R&D focusses specifically on increasing markets for British timber, bringing more woodlands into management, and investing in supply chains.

One such project is a collaboration with the National Trust funded by the Forestry Commission’s Innovation Fund. The project investigates how the Trust can use the timber from its extensive woodlands and its High Nature management better. Like so much of our work, and the projects that we thrive in, this project mixes up trees, people and habitats in compelling developments.

Our role

Our role in the collaboration has been one of helping the Trust understand and internally communicate the opportunities. To take exemplar work already happening in small pockets at individual properties and share the stories throughout the Trust.

NT forests and woodlands

The National Trust has a uniquely varied forest resource. A lot of what stands today was originally planted to provide for the properties within the grounds the woodlands sit. Many of these forests also possess semi-natural elements of the landscape. Ecologically focussed management of both woodland types still requires the removal of some trees to vary light conditions to the forest floor. The timber from these operations can be reinvested back into the properties it was grown on. And can be seen in the form of buildings, repair timber, information boards, outdoor furniture, and so much more.

You can find out more about the project, the sites we visited, and the examples we found at Grown in Britain’s website here…

Bringing examples to life

From Cumbria to Shropshire & Herefordshire we found pockets of people already carrying out small scale circular approaches to their timber arisings. These examples are the catalyst for the Trust to internally roll out a more considered use of their timber across their varied estates within the umbrella of enhanced woodland management.

To do this we use film to help communicate the message. Rather than focus on the technicalities of turning a tree into a footbridge. We focus on the passionate people making this happen. Sharing their stories and demonstrating that using wood grown on site for their timber needs makes logical sense.

The film had to be short, no more than a ‘cup of tea’ length for internal audiences. It had to appeal to estate rangers, internal architects, timber users and policy makers. Those with boots in the mud and those with eyes on a screen. It had to inspire in a way that made it clear this was a realistic opportunity throughout the organisation, not just in islands of action.

We completed filming in a week at properties from Keswick down to Hereford and edited succinctly for immediate distribution. We used our own and sub-contracted filmmakers in unison. Whilst ensuring stylistic cohesion across the team, sites, and interviewees. Our filming ethos of using small crews of one filmmaker and one woodland/timber expert means we can gain the confidence of those we are filming. It also means we can provide a welcoming relaxed atmosphere. One that allows people to tell their story to camera whilst making sure we get the content we need efficiently.

The result

We were able to bring our forest, timber, and media expertise to support National Trust staff closely aligned to the Grown in Britain values. People intimately connected to both the forest and the timber value-chain. We provided a space to share the stories of how timber from ecologically-focussed management is being converted into sustainable products within the Trust and locally. By shining a light on existing closed timber supply loops we are inspiring and nurturing discussions across the other woodlands and estates in the National Trust’s care. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to communicate the compelling possibilities of localised timber supply on a property and a regional level.

You can find more examples of our film work at the following links: community forestry documentary, Somerset Tree Strategy, live streaming

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