Who are you? I am Ian Dudley, and I have worked for Lockhart Garratt for 16 years. I am a Chartered Forester, a Chartered Environmentalist and a Chartered Landscape Architect.
What do you do? I am a company Director and the Manager of the Landscape and Green Infrastructure Business Unit within Lockhart Garratt. I originally joined the company in 2003 as an Assistant Forestry Consultant, and my career has subsequently developed through green infrastructure into landscape architecture. I am also currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Forestry Society.
What projects are you interested to be involved with? My favourite projects are those in which we can have a ‘cradle to grave’ involvement, from the initial concept through to the ongoing management of the completed landscape. This means that we can bring our environmental principles and creativity to bear through every stage of the project, and ultimately deliver a place that is truly sustainable for those that will use it. All too often, schemes start well on paper but somewhere along the line the vision gets lost. It is about achieving a realistic early vision that is proportional to the scheme and budget, and often a naturalistic solution is the best way to achieve this whilst bringing in a range of other environmental benefits. I believe it’s not just about ‘place making’, but also ‘place keeping’.
As both a forester and landscape architect, my passion is also schemes in which these disciplines can be brought together, particularly in large-scale green infrastructure around new settlements in which the economic benefits of woodland products can assist in the long-term financial sustainability of open space, whilst also delivering against social and environmental needs. Woodland is a hugely versatile resource which holds greater natural capital value than most other land uses, and as a nation we need to reconnect with our lost woodland culture.
Favourite LG moment to date? There have been so many good moments over the last 16 years, although my proudest achievement is the establishment of the Corby Woodland Project in 2010. Through this urban ancient woodland regeneration scheme, we have helped to turn many peoples’ lives around through providing critical work and life skills and mental health benefits, whilst bringing 150 acres of degraded ancient woodland back into active management. I frequently volunteer with this project now that the professional element has largely been completed, and run a weekly ‘green gym’ conservation group for colleagues in the woods.
What are you interests and hobbies? I am a keen musician, particularly guitar and violin. I also enjoy watching live performances, and I am a member of staff at Glastonbury Festival each year, looking after 6,000 performers, crew and guests in the Theatre and Circus fields. Glastonbury is a family affair, and my wife and I have been taking our daughter since she was born!
I am a motorsport fan, particularly Formula E and Formula 1, and I also attend the Silverstone Classic historic motor racing festival each year. At the other end of the scale, I enjoy tinkering with my 1947 Fordson Major tractor!
I enjoy walking, especially long-distance walking in which I can see the character of the landscape changing. A couple of years ago I completed a solo walk from Ledbury to Avebury, starting in the Malvern Hills and crossing the Vale of Gloucester, Cotswolds and Vale of White Horse, before finishing in the huge scale, ancient landscape of the North Wessex Downs. My ultimate ambition is to walk the South West Coast Path, because coastal landscapes fascinate me, and 630 miles is a formidable challenge!