SECRET SPACES: ANNA RYDER-RICHARDSON
Anna Ryder-Richardson has had a varied career to say the least, from interior designer to zookeeper. Having just started her Sunday morning show for BBC Radio Wales, she chats to Daisy Gaunt about her love of animals, music and the Pembrokeshire coast.
You’ve recently started hosting your new show for BBC Radio Wales. What do you think you can bring to Sunday morning listeners that’s different to those before you?
The way I am looking at it is to just be me and loosely base the shows around being a woman of a certain age (50+), who has been living in a zoo for the past decade with teenage children. I hope that I can bring a chatty, friendly feel to the show, where we can discuss anything from animals to DIY and beyond!
Your career has ranged from interior design to animal conservation. Are these subjects set to be part of your new show? Or are you looking to explore any new avenues for discussion?
I am definitely keen to chat about conservation and everything to do with animals and already have the lovely Gordon Whistance coming on (fellow designer on Changing Rooms) and possibly! With Christmas in the middle of my run, it means we can have panto, singing and dancing as well!
You’re a passionate animal welfare campaigner. What changes have you made to your life to conserve the wellbeing of animals? How can we do the same?
My zoo, Manor Wildlife Park in Tenby, is conservation-led – and I honestly believe, once you truly know the critical situation most of our planet’s species are in, you really can’t walk away. I can cry when I see a fox or badger killed at the side of the road. I couldn’t exist without animals. The cruelty that goes on with animals in this country alone is tragic.
What is your go-to song/performer that always makes you smile, and why?
There are many. Music really motivates me and keeps me ‘in the moment’ which is harder to do than you think! But David Gray and his White Ladder album will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Coldplay’s Yellow which was playing when I got married.
Though you’ve had stints away, what do you think it is about Wales that always draws you back?
I have been here in Wales now for nearly 12 years. My girls have grown up here, and I’m not sure there is anywhere else quite like Pembrokeshire in the UK – beaches, countryside and hidden gems of quaint villages with delicious local food. Why would you ever leave?
If you could recommend one place in Wales to a first-time visitor that’s off the beaten track, where would it be and why?
One of the first places I went to when we were buying the zoo was Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire, which definitely clinched the deal for me! However, since I have lived here, I have also discovered Swanlake Bay, near Manorbier. Like Barafundle, you have to park up, walk and make your way down the cliff. But when you get there, if the sun is shining, you’re on the most beautiful, sandy beach which very often you can have on your own. To be honest, if we had the weather, you would never holiday anywhere else ever again!
Sunday Morning with Anna Ryder-Richardson airs every Sunday, 9.30-11am, on BBC Radio Wales.