Professional Profiles

Julian Briggs, Director

A professional tree surgeon, Julian has a detailed knowledge of trees and a passion for sustainable woodland management. Along with Andrew, he organises and leads the community tree planting days and takes care of the Tree Nursery in Blackhall Mill. He is presently undertaking a diploma in Permaculture – an ethical approach to ecological design which is at the core of Living Woods North East.


Andy Gray, Director

Andy is a passionate conservationist, born and nurtured in the North East of England. He works as a professional tree planter in Northumberland, and in addition to leading our community tree planting days, he also organises and runs our Dwarf Birch Propagation project.


Ben Holden, Director

Ben is a social entrepreneur and filmmaker with a long standing involvement with environmental movements, having co-founded Transition Towns Newcastle as well as the Sentient Cities project which explored creative ways of engaging urban populations in the shift to an ecologically sustainable culture. He is a co-founder of Co-Hydro – a commercially successful micro-hydro design and installation company, and has a Masters degree in Film and Digital Media.


Mark Shipperlee, Director

Mark has been in the North East for 15 years now, having been based in various parts of UK, and spending a lot of time on overseas projects. He comes from a background in countryside management. He now divides his time between working on small-scale woodland and forestry working, food growing projects for clients, and looking after his own small-holding where he grows food and also produces various fruit bushes and trees. He helps to teach permaculture design in the North East and has also taught it in Romania. He is passionate about local, regional and global sustainability, and also about bringing woodlands back into sustainable management in our own region.