WELCOME TO HAY
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The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June - you can download a PDF of the programme here. We very much look forward to seeing you in May.
Click here to see a list of sold out events
Green-tech tinted glasses: how smarter agriculture can reduce farming’s footprint
Event 7 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Crop drones, precision pesticides, earthworm management, poultry software and GPS- directed tractors are just some of the new technologies that are revolutionising agriculture. The panel discusses agri-tech innovation helping farmers to become more efficient by using fewer resources. Browning is CEO of the Soil Association, Speller is an award-winning poultry farmer, Freestone a Linking Environment and Farming accredited farm manager.
Wonderland: A Year of Britain’s Wildlife, Day by Day
Event 15 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
From blackbirds, beavers and beetles to tawny owls, natterjack toads and lemon slugs, every day of the year, winter or summer, in every corner of the British Isles, there's plenty to see if you know where -- and how -- to look. The Springwatch star’s books include The Bumper Book of Nature and Tweet of the Day.
The Size of Herefordshire
Event 25 • • Venue: Cube
Among the bravest fighters for the Amazon rainforest are the Wampis people from Peru. They’re supported by the Size of Herefordshire, a local group, who are just back from visiting them and join us with photographs, films and stories.
Harmony for Elephants
Event 42 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Elephants are ecosystem shapers. By knocking down trees and opening up bushy areas, they can increase the amount of grass available to other herbivores in the system. They move across vast distances, using distinct pathways that also offer easy travel routes to other species. Elephants can act as seed dispersers, facilitating the growth of many woody species by depositing seeds in their faeces. In this illustrated introduction, the zoologist and founder of the Botswana conservation project Elephants for Africa explores the conservation and study of elephants in their natural eco-systems.
A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess
Event 58 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The best-selling author describes the age-old cycle of a farming year and the constant challenges of life at Ravenseat, the remote Yorkshire hill farm she shares with husband Clive, nine children and 1,000 sheep. Chaired by Oliver Balch, author of Under the Tump.
Staying Rooted – Tree Charter Series 2
Event 119 • • Venue: Cube
A connection with trees and woods helps people find inspiration, inner calm and mental balance. Author and journalist Tobias Jones and poet Zaffar Kunial are both featured in Arboreal, a Common Ground collection of woodland writing. They are joined by the illustrator Jackie Morris to discuss the role of trees and woods in finding inspiration and mental balance in our lives.
Hidden Nature: A Voyage of Discovery
Event 184 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Leaving her garden to the mercy of the slugs, award-winning writer Alys Fowler set out in an inflatable kayak to explore Birmingham’s canal network, full of little-used waterways where huge pike skulk and kingfishers dart. Her memoir is about noticing the wild everywhere and what it means to see beauty where you least expect it. What happens when someone who has learned to observe her external world in such detail decides to examine her internal world with the same care? Chaired by Lucy Cotter.
Gather Cook Feast: Recipes from Land and Water
Event 194 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Seaton, the founder of TOAST, is inspired by the food from our seas, our rivers, our farmland, our gardens and our wild places. Her new cookbook is full of simple, seasonal and nourishing recipes such as braised short ribs with horseradish, courgette fritters with minted yoghurt, mackerel escabeche with wild fennel and kale, and roast vegetable and barley salad with crisped artichokes. She shares her love of food and landscape with Kitty Corrigan.
Mapping Herefordshire’s Landscape
Event 214 • • Venue: Compass
In the 1830s, a number of geologists, who were essentially border squires and clergymen, shared their knowledge of fossils with Roderick Murchison, which led to the eventual designation of the ‘Silurian System’. This appreciation of the landscape and being able to ‘read the land’ was also the inspiration in the county for the Picturesque Movement’. Olver explains the origins of the rock types and the local landscape and discusses the importance of Herefordshire in the formative years of geological science.
Event S5 • • Venue: The Storytelling Nook
Come along to our immersive lantern-lit tented Storytelling Nook to listen to tales from around the world with Veronica Lamond and Auntie Kiko, and experience how solar light is making a difference to millions of families in Africa.
The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers
Event 218 • • Venue: Tata Tent
Modern science has begun to understand sea birds: their epic voyages, their astonishing abilities to navigate for tens of thousands of miles on a featureless sea, their ability to smell their way towards fish and home. Only the poets in the past would have thought of seabirds as creatures riding the ripples and currents of the planet, though that is what the scientists are witnessing now, too. But a global tragedy is unfolding. The number of seabirds is in freefall: a 70% decline, a billion fewer now than there were in 1950.
The Greatest Story Ever Told...So Far
Event 219 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Krauss takes us on a tour of science and the brilliant personalities who shaped it, often against political and religious indoctrination, enduring persecution and ostracism. He explains our current understanding of nature and the struggle to construct, and then to understand the greatest theoretical edifice ever assembled: the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Krauss is the author of the classic A Universe From Nothing and The Physics of Star Trek.
Volcanoes: Encounters Through the Ages
Event 226 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
Whether as signposts to an underworld, beacons to ancient mariners or as extraordinary manifestations of the natural world, volcanoes have intrigued many people, who have left records of their encounters in letters, diaries, sketches and illustrations. The Oxford volcanologist shares contemporary accounts of eruptions – from Pliny’s 79 CE report of Vesuvius to 21st century imaging of Santorini.
Natural Selection: a Year in the Garden
Event 235 • • Venue: Tata Tent
Pearson draws on ten years of his Observer columns to explore the rhythms and pleasures of a year in the garden. Travelling between his city-bound plot in Peckham and 20 acres of verdant hillside in Somerset, he celebrates the beautiful skeletons of the winter garden, the joyous passage into spring, the heady smell of summer’s bud break and the flaring of colour in autumn.
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate–Discoveries from a Secret World
Event 240 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. Trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group. Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities. Chaired by Georgina Godwin.
The Royal Society Platform: We Need To Talk About Gene Tech
Event 248 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Why does public debate and policy treat the application of genetic technology differently when we are discussing medicine and food? Why is our concept of what is ‘natural’ so controversial and the idea of GM food so alarming? Scientists and sociologists come together with Daniel Davis to discuss what’s being ventured and how it is perceived.
The Apple Orchard: The Story of Our Most English Fruit
Event 267 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Taking us through the seasons in England’s apple-growing heartlands, Brown uncovers the stories and folklore of our most familiar fruit. An orchard is not a field. It’s not a forest or a copse. It couldn’t occur naturally but it demonstrates that man and nature together can create something beautiful.
The State of Nature Report
Event 272 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
In 2016 over 50 organisations came together across the UK to produce and publish the second State of Nature report. It shows that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. The long-term future of farming is at stake if the natural systems on which it is based are depleted. Our panel looks at what the next 30 years could look like if the natural environment was placed at the centre of farming policies post-Brexit. Poet Martin Daws will open and close this event.
Tree Charter Series 3: Towards a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People
Event 290 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The Tree Charter launches this year, built from more than 50,000 public stories about the value of trees and woods. How have the issues of rights and responsibilities shaped the relationship between people and trees over the 800 years since the 1217 Charter of the Forest? Germaine Greer, author of White Beech: The Rainforest Years and community woods enthusiast Rob Penn talk with Woodland Trust CEO Beccy Speight about the role of trees in our lives; and about the role of a Tree Charter in protecting this for the future.
Event 294 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
A hunt for the world’s most elusive bees leads Goulson from Salisbury plain to Sussex hedgerows, from Poland to Patagonia. Whether he is tracking great yellow bumblebees in the Hebrides or chasing orchid bees through the Ecuadorian jungle, the biologist’s wit, humour and deep love of nature make him the ideal travelling companion.
The Ankerwyke Tree and the Ancient Trees that Shaped our History
Event 311 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
The tree experts introduce the ancient yew at Runnymede, which may have been 1,700 years old when King John signed the Magna Carta under its branches in 1215; the existing Isaac Newton apple tree and other wonderful ancient trees from around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Power is head gardener at Stourhead. Muelaner is co-author of Ancient Trees of the National Trust.
Do you have a tree you need identifying? Bring us a leaf or a photo and we’ll ask our experts Brian and Alan and The Woodland Trust’s tree guru Jill Butler. They’ll be at the Woodland Trust stall onsite during the day.
The River Wye as a psychological and physical barrier
Event 318 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
The Wye’s natural beauty has long been part of the river’s heritage, but many aspects of its history have been forgotten. Having both a Welsh and an English heritage, the Wye has a special unifying role in British culture, as well as exhibiting some of the classic features of a border. The river has been a psychological barrier separating cultures by language, religion and politics, and a physical barrier separating hostile rivals. By tradition the Wye was the last refuge of Vortigern and of Owain Glyndwr. In the 18th century, timber that was floated down the river from the Golden Valley built the British fleet that took on the French at Trafalgar.
Linescapes: Remapping and Reconnecting Britain’s Fragmented Wildlife
Event 335 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
It is rare to find a landscape untouched by our lines – the hedges, walls, ditches and dykes built to enclose and separate; and the green lanes, roads, canals, railways and power lines, designed to connect. This vast network of lines has transformed our landscape.
In Linescapes, Hugh Warwick unravels the far-reaching ecological consequences of the lines we have drawn. As our lives and our land have been fenced in and threaded together, so wildlife habitats have been cut into ever smaller, and increasingly unviable, fragments. He talks to Oliver Balch author of Under the Tump.
Like Farmer, Like Son
Event 338 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The Countryfile star and visionary farmer explores his bond with his life-long hero: his father, Joe. In the 1940s and ’50s Joe, the son of stage and film star Leslie Henson, chose a completely different path and decided to pursue a career as a farmer. Joe overcame a serious stammer to become a regular broadcaster on Country Matters. He became the saviour of Britain’s rare breeds and opened the world’s first Farm Park.
Starling Song: Murmurations of Meaning
Event 346 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The 2017 INSPIRE/ASLE-UKI Lecture
Often overlooked, taken for granted and sometimes even shooed away from our bird tables, the common starling is, as Rachel Dowse shows in this illustrated talk, a beautiful and inspiring bird with a long cultural and linguistic heritage. From Aristotle and Pliny, to Mozart and the Mabinogion and Peter Coates and Robert Macfarlane, the starling has inspired writers, musicians, and scientists.