A comprehensive exploration of the natural history and management of trees and woodlands. A series of illustrated lectures are complemented by field excursions to some of the finest ancient woodlands in Suffolk and Essex along with a visit to Staverton, one of the finest medieval parks in England, plus a visit to the Suffolk Records Office to look at woodland archives.

Within reach of Flatford there is a rich variety of ancient woodland. Much of the time will be spent in the field, discussing woods in terms of their history, the effects of past management, their current and future management. During the week we hope to visit Hatfield Forest, Cressing Temple Barns, Bradfield Woods, Arger Fen, Dunwich Forest, Chalkney Wood, Frithy Wood and Staverton Park. There will be a visit to Suffolk Records Office in Ipswich where estate maps and other documents will be set out.

What topics are covered in this course?

A programme for the week will be available on the first evening.

  • Evening lectures will introduce and complement the field excursion
  • The course will be mailnly directed towards woodland management
  • We will also cover how native woods are managed and perpetuated
  • It will include studies of shade, the reproduction of trees, soils, coppicing
  • Other management practices including tree and woodland health will be included

This course will be of interest to woodland managers, foresters, contractors, historians, biologists, and anyone concerned with the management and conservation of woodlands.

Tutor: Gary Battell

Gary Battell, Simon Leatherdale and Dr Jonathan Spencer MBE have all made significant contributions to British forestry, woodland and ancient tree management, PAWS restoration, rewilding, resilience and recovery. Gary will be running the course with support provided by Simon and Jonathan as well as local experts at the various sites visited by the course.

Tutor: Simon Leatherdale

Simon Leatherdale worked for the Forestry Commission for 37 years where he made a significant contribution to the PAWS restoration of 15 ancient woodlands in East Anglia and was supported by his friend, Professor Oliver Rackham OBE. Simon has been the owner of Tyler’s Wood for 28 years. Simon has a passion for Maritime woodland which he expects to be researching for another 5 years before the book sees the light of day! Simon describes himself as a generalist. Simon was one of the people who delivered the rewilding at Dunwich that was instigated by Jonathan Spencer.

Tutor: Jonathan Spencer

Dr Jonathan Spencer MBE is Head of Planning & Environment Forest Enterprise, England. Over the past twenty years Jonathan's work has included establishing the extent and character of ancient woodland and forest across the UK, especially in England. A wide range of species conservation actions and species reintroductions. The conservation of rare plants, fungi, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals. Directing the management of designated conservation areas within forests and open habitats across England. The establishment of management regimes for large herbivores, both wild and domestic, in conservation programmes on wood pastures, wetlands and heathlands. Addressing and resolving conflicting policy challenges. Integrating economic opportunity and necessity into environmental and wildlife conservation management. All the tutors have made significant contributions to British forestry, woodland and ancient tree management, PAWS restoration, rewilding, resilience that have brought natural capital and ecosystem service benefits and in doing so they have given support to others and generated enthusiasm!
  • Trees at Bishops Wood
  • FSC Flatford Mill in the Sun

Example Timetable

Arrive 4pm
4.30pm – Welcome, introductions, a tribute to Oliver, H&S by Gary Battell
The woods and trees of East Anglia and beyond - Gary Battell
6.30pm dinner is included with your course
7.30pm – 8:15pm - Ancient Woodlands; why are they special, and woodland and tree terminology - Simon Leatherdale
8.15pm – 8.45pm - Ancient and other woodlands and their biodiversity - Jonathan Spencer

8.15am - Breakfast
9.40am - Hatfield Forest (NT) - Henry Bexley – Property Manager
2pm - Cressing Temple Barns – Guide to talk about the timber use and building of the barns.
6.30pm dinner
7.30pm - 8.15pm – Evening talk - Woodland crafts and skills - Sarah Partridge (Orchard Barn CiC)
8.15pm - 8.45pm - PAWS, market supply, interventions, silviculture choices and squirrel management – Jonathan Spencer

8.15am - Breakfast
9.30am - Woodland archives in a county records office - Edward Martin, Private scholar
1pm - Dunwich Forest; Rewilding; the future ancient woods – Rachel Riley, Richard Brooke and Neal Armour-Chelu
Big & Common Wood with Crispin Chalker - Woodland owner and Trevor Wright
6.30pm dinner
7.30pm-8.15pm – Deer Management by David Hooton FC
8.15pm-8.45pm - Rewilding; past and future natural woodlands by Jonathan Spencer

8.15am - Breakfast
9.40am - Bradfield Wood with Giles Cawston or Peter Fordham
1.30pm - Arger Fen and neighbouring natural woodland creation with Giles Cawston or SWT staff member6.30 dinner
7.30pm - 8.00pm - My wood - Simon Leatherdale
8.00pm - 8.30pm - Maritime Woodland with Simon Leatherdale

8.15am - Breakfast
8.15am Breakfast
9.00am - Chalkney Wood with Dougal Urquhart & Simon
2.00pm – 9.00am – GLT & Frithy Wood - Social Forestry with Tom Brown
6.30pm dinner
7.30pm-8.45pm – Local skills and local wood; the art of making and selling hurdles and fencing. Outside and inside with Dominic Edge-Bovair from The Woven Fence.

9.30pm - Staverton - Gary
3.00pm - Final summing-up, Q&A and tea
Departure by 4pm

What's Included

Sorry this course has ended