Day Conference on the Forests of Essex

This day conference, held in memory of Oliver Rackham, will explore the cultural and natural heritage of the Forests of Essex, and issues of the understanding and future management of trees, woods and forests in the county. The conference will include a keynote session by author and historic landscape specialist, Professor Tom Williamson, who heads up the Landscape Group within the School of History at the UEA, and contributions from Charles Watkins, author and Professor of Rural Geography at the University of Nottingham, as well as a range of national and local experts.

The conference will be held at the fantastic Gilwell Park conference centre, which is set in 108 acres on the edge of Epping Forest, close to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge, and less than 20 mins from central London.

Conference Programme

  • Professor Tom Williamson (UEA) - Keynote talk on Trees, Woods and Forests in Essex
  • Dr Sarah Rutherford (Historic Environment Consultant) Hatfield Forest: medieval management in a later designed framework
  • Dr Nicola Bannister (Freelance Historic Landscape Specialist) - The archaeology and historic landscape of Writtle Forest
  • Dr Jeremy Dagley (City of London) -  The ecology and conservation of Epping Forest
  • Christopher Neilan (Epping Forest District Council)  Veteran Trees in Epping Forest District as survivors of the Forest 
  • Dr James Canton (University of Essex) -  John Clare in (and out) of Epping Forest 
  • Professor Charles Watkins (University of Nottingham)  Essex trees in art: how trees have been represented by artists since 1700 and what we can learn from these images about contemporary management
  • Ade Clarke (National Trust) - Every Step Counts Project - visitor/conservation management in Hatfield Forest 
  • John Meehan (Essex County Council)  - Thames Chase: creation of a 20th century community forest


Images© TfL from the London Transport Museum collection

*We are able to offer a 10% discount to full-time university students. Please email 

Book a place on this course