The FSC is a registered charity in England and Wales, and in Scotland. The Board of Trustees is the governing body, responsible for ensuring that FSC conducts its affairs in accordance with the Articles of Association and the law.

The Board and its principal committees operate to a schedule of quarterly meetings. Once policy and strategy have been agreed, responsibility for implementation lies with the Chief Executive and Management Team.


  • Patron – HRH The Prince of Wales 
  • President – Professor Timothy P Burt FAGU FRGS 
  • Chairman – Professor Peter Higgins PFHEA, FRGS
  • Chief Executive – Mark Castle OBE
  • Vice Patrons:
    Professor Steve Jones FRS
    Joanna Mcvey
    David Streeter MBE FRSB
    Professor Iain Stewart MBE PRSGS FRSE 
  • Vice-Presidents:
    Alastair Lavery OBE
    Rob Lucas FRGS
    Anthony D Thomas OBE
    Professor Desmond B A Thompson FRSE FCIEEM


Prof Tim Burt

Tim first visited an FSC Centre in the mid-1970s (Nettlecombe) when a PhD student at Bristol. He then started taking his own field trips from Huddersfield Polytechnic to Slapton and Rhyd-y-Creuau. At Durham he took students to Blencathra (a course still running 20 years later).  Tim retired in 2017 after 21 years as Master of Hatfield College, Durham, and Professor of Geography. He became an FSC trustee in 1982, Chairman in 1996 and President in 2014. Tim’s academic interests are in physical geography, in particular hydrology, geomorphology and climate change. He is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the British Society for Geomorphology. He was awarded the David Linton Award by the British Society for Geomorphology (2017).​


Mr Peter Anderson

(Chair of Audit and Risk Management Committee) 
Peter became a trustee in 2016 and is also a trustee of FiSH Neighbourhood Care, a charity in south west London where he has lived for over 30 years. Peter was a corporate finance partner for 29 years with a large London law firm, before retiring in 2015. Peter grew up in Northern Ireland and read History and Law at Downing College, Cambridge. He has been a trustee of a grant giving charity and a Director of a medium sized company in the retail sector. 

Mr Malcolm Beatty OBE (Honorary Treasurer)

Malcolm is retired, he sails small boats on Strangford Lough with his wife, and teaches seamanship. Before that, he led the Northern Ireland Forest Service, drawing on his professional skills as a Chartered Forester, Plant Health Professional, and Accountant. Its work depended on insights from field observations and rigorous science to challenge perceptions, manage the complexity of forests, plan harvests, and improve biodiversity; to protect crops and trees; and provide access for people to enjoy the countryside.

Dr Martin Christie

Martin is currently senior advisor at Kumi Consulting supporting policymakers and the private sector in implementing responsible business practices in global supply chains. He has nearly 30 years’ experience in the energy and extractive industries working in Sustainability and External Affairs and, most recently, was the first Executive Director of a global supply chain initiative. Martin is also Chair of a local charity enriching the lives of young people and adults with autism and/or learning disabilities. He is also a novice beekeeper.

Mr Rob Cooke

Rob is a Director at Natural England, the Government’s adviser in the marine and terrestrial environments, including nature conservation, access and landscape. His current role is Director for EU Transition, advising on matters relating to Brexit. Previously Rob has worked on biodiversity policy, environmental legislation, site designation, landscape scale delivery and sustainable development issues. He has worked in the environmental sector for over 30 years in policy implementation and operational roles.  

Ms Amanda Craig

Amanda is Natural England’s Director for People & Nature, having been Operations Director (North) for 5 years. With a background in practical habitat management and ecology, Amanda has held a number of operational roles in Natural England, including leading on the initial set up of the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Programme, Water Company Pricing Reviews and was Area Manager for Shropshire, Staffordshire and Birmingham. Amanda is a licensed bat volunteer.  

Prof Peter Higgins

A love of and care for the natural world, led to Pete’s academic training and early career as an environmental scientist and freshwater biologist, and roles including re-introducing salmon to the Thames. Following teacher-training he taught outdoor and environmental education in residential centres. As Professor of Outdoor Environmental & Sustainability Education (University of Edinburgh), he teaches indoors, on-line, and outdoors on the River Spey, Isle of Rum and locally. His research and writing is primarily in these fields. He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Association, and was recently awarded the University’s highest award for teaching ‘The Chancellor’s Award’. He is Director of the University’s Global Environment & Society Academy, Director of the UN Regional Centre of Expertise in ESD (Scotland), and advises Scottish Government and internationally on related education policy development.

Prof Nicholas Howden

Nicholas is Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Bristol, a Trustee and Director of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and is Chair of CIWEM’s Professional Standards Committee.  His research produces quantitative models that link climate, land-use and land management to the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater, and he teaches Water Resources,  Environmental Management and Environmental Statistics in the Department of Civil Engineering at Bristol.  Nicholas’ recent research projects have included reconstruction of historical records of soil carbon, national-scale hydrological modelling for drought and water scarcity planning, and new techniques to identify groundwater contributions to river flows. Prior to working at Bristol, Nicholas was a Lecturer in the National Soil Resources Institute at Cranfield University, and also worked for International Mining Consultants (IMC) building models and new monitoring networks to help manage the ongoing water quality and Greenhouse Gas emission legacy of the UK’s abandoned coal mines.  

Prof Tom Hutchinson

(Chair of Education Strategy Committee)
Tom is Professor of Environment and Health at the University of Plymouth. He was for many years a senior environmental scientist at AstraZeneca in Sweden and the UK. His commitment to environmental education and research led Tom to senior roles at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Defra’s Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). He continues as an advisor to international agencies, and the UK Government on environmental and health matters. Tom is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, the Linnean Society, and the Royal Society of Biology.  

Mr Chris Lane

Chris’s first encounter with FSC was at Slapton 1971. He has visited FSC centres, in various capacities, at least once every year since then. Almost 40 years as a teacher of geography cemented his view of the value of FSC work to young people in their learning and understanding of their environment. This experience shaped his desire to contribute further to the organisation, where his chief interests are for the users and for the safety and wellbeing of all FSC staff.​  

Prof Rob Marrs

(Vice Chair Education)
Rob is an applied plant ecologist. Now retired, he is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool and has a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship. His research interests include restoration ecology and the conservation of heathland and moorland habitats and their interactions with weed species, especially bracken. During his career he has worked on ecosystems ranging from the sub-tundra to tropical forests. For almost 30 years he taught field work skills to undergraduate and masters students, often using FSC sites.  

Ms Gill Miller

Gill is Senior Lecturer Emerita in the Department of Geography and International Development, University of Chester. Her early career was as teacher and deputy head of a secondary school. She was Chief Examiner of A-level World Development, has many years’ experience examining A-level Geography, is a moderator for non-exam assessment, and revises A-level papers for WJEC. Gill has authored several A-level texts and wrote regularly for Geography Review. She delivers CPD to geography teachers and lectures on geographical and development issues to sixth forms. She is currently President of the Geographical Association (2019-2020), and trustee of other organisations, including Five Talents, a microfinance NGO.

Mr Jeff Sissons

Jeff’s corporate career spans executive and non-executive positions, including CEO of a UK FSA regulated company, Chairman of an Irish IFSRA/CBI regulated company, sales and marketing director and then compliance director of an international life insurance company. In 2012 he decided to focus on academic studies, freelance consultancy and non-executive roles. Jeff combines his commercial experience with an MA in Coaching and Mentoring Practice; an MSc in Psychology; and an MSc in Applied Ecology. He currently serves as a non-executive director of Ramblers Holiday Group Ltd.

Mrs Charlotte Smith

Charlotte works as the Digital, Campaigns and Health Manager and Mental Health Lead for charity Together Active based in Staffordshire. In this role, she works with local authorities, the NHS and local communities to improve access to physical activity in the county. Prior to that, she held the role of Campaigns Manager at YHA (England and Wales) and was involved with supporting school trips and residential visits. She has a deep interest in mental health, particularly for children and young people, and is passionate about the benefits of being active outdoors. She is a mental health first aider and is studying for a BSc in Psychology. 

Mr John Thomson

(Chair of Finance and Administration Committee)
John’s love of the countryside drew him from an early career in the Treasury to the world of conservation and outdoor recreation. Roles there included 5 years as Principal Finance and Establishment Officer at the Countryside Commission and almost 20 years as a Director in Scottish Natural Heritage. Since retiring in 2011 he has remained involved in a variety of voluntary bodies, and runs with his wife a small herd of native Galloway cattle.

Ms Jenifer White

(Vice Chair Centres & Wider Estates)
Jenifer works for Historic England as National Landscape Adviser. She studied Botany and has a Masters in Landscape Ecology, Design and Maintenance. She qualified as a chartered landscape architect and offers expertise in countryside conservation and landscape protection, public access and heritage estates. In her current role, Jenifer is involved in the sustainability of historic urban public parks and green spaces, and the role of these sites in health and well-being, green infrastructure and climate change adaptation.

Mrs Emma Wiid

Emma has always had a passion for the outdoors. From becoming an activity instructor at 19, she went on to complete her degree in Outdoor Studies and has more recently reconnected to the outdoors through taking her own children to woodland learning sessions and has completed her Forest Schools training. She has been a qualified teacher for over a decade, specialising in secondary science (however has always favoured Biology). Her work now sees her supporting educational establishments in getting young people outside of the classroom on educational visits. In her free time she can be found wondering around the woods or splashing in muddy puddles with her family.