Machynlleth’s award-winning ‘Wildlife Hero’ says gardening keeps her young as she calls for others to join her.

Sally Woof was in June crowned 2024’s Wildlife Hero by BBC’s SpringWatch at the ripe age of 80, out of 32 finalists.

Sally has ‘worked a five-day week for wildlife’ on varying projects for over 10 years.

Shrugging off the trophy, Sally says the award can draw focus to Machynlleth’s Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens which she has been dedicating her time to for 16 years.

The retiree said: “On one hand I’m flattered, of course, though I still don’t understand why [I won].

“But it promotes the garden, it’s not about me.

“It’s about trying to encourage people to get more physically in contact with the natural world - it’s so important.

“People go on about their mental health and everything, it’s not just that, it’s the actual doing, the physical doing - you see so much, you learn so much more.

“We should all get out there- who needs a gym when you can be doing this?”

Fern Towers, manager of Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens, nominated Sally for the award: “She’s our longest-serving volunteer.

“She’s the real boss of the garden.

The way she gardens is interesting - she cultivates wild habitats by seeing what arrives naturally.

“Rather than buying in non-native species, she doesn’t buy fancy showy varieties but sees what nature sows and curates that.

“I think that’s why she’s won.

“Nothing is wasted, materials we cut are saved to create another interesting habitat feature- she’s very resourceful.

“Because it’s the small stuff, I think she doesn’t think she makes a difference.

“She hates the attention so was daunted when she first found out she got the award, but got into it after meeting Chris Packham and the like!

“No one can believe she’s 80, she’s got so much energy.

“That must be connected to the outdoor time, she’s so physically fit.”

The therapeutic community space is an open garden tucked away on Y Plas grounds.

Volunteers at their Tuesday sessions 10.30am-4pm, with hot drinks, snacks and equipment provided.