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7th August 2017

Epping Forest: insights and inspiration

Hannah Solloway

Epping Forest

Tim Hill, ATF trustee, writes about the charity’s 2017 conference, held at Epping Forest in July, and attended by around 240 people each day.

This year’s conference was a refreshing blend of talks, walks, insights and inspiration.  As Jeremy Dagley, the event organiser and Head of Conservation at Epping Forest succinctly put it: “There’s a real buzz of excitement in the room”.

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15th November 2016

El Sueño de la Razón

By Tim Hill

Cattle grid at Thoresby

Tim Hill returns to Thoresby, part of the former Royal Forest of Sherwood, to see the oak featured in his last two blogs Mal sueño and the veteran oak and Sueño en la floresta.

Welcome back to my bosky corner. We parted last time to the mellifluous strains of Agustín Barrios dreaming in the forest.  Dreams, reality and the distance between the two is an apt description of the challenges facing the Estate in reintroducing wood pasture and recruiting fresh cohorts of trees – to become the veterans of tomorrow –  within a grazing regime.

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12th May 2016

Sueño en la floresta

Tim Hill returns to Thoresby, part of the former Royal Forest of Sherwood, to see the oak featured in his last blog Mal sueño and the veteran oak.

What a difference a week makes! Seven days ago the buds on our grizzled veteran hadn’t yet opened, whilst today….


Combined Mal Sueno pics


Quite a transformation from the winter image.  The haloing around the oak has allowed more light into the canopy.  It is however still sheltered from strong gusts funnelled down the rides and shaded from too much direct sunlight that might contribute to drying-out of the trunk.

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18th February 2016

Mal Sueño and the veteran oak

oaks in Sherwood by Tim Hill cropped

Major Hayman Rooke, something of an expert in describing and sketching ‘remarkable oaks’ in the park at Welbeck and the wider Sherwood area, set the scene nicely at the end of the 18th Century: ‘Were we even now to enter a grove of stately oaks, seven or eight hundred years old, whose spreading branches form a solemn and gloomy umbrage, I think we could not behold them without some degree of veneration.’

About a mile from the iconic oak that now bears Major Rooke’s name, and within the former Royal Forest of Sherwood, can be found the greatest density of veteran oaks in Europe.  Not surprisingly, it is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).  Beyond, there is a scattering of solitary veterans, hiding in plain sight within pine plantations and 19th Century beech and oak woods.  Each of them has a story to tell but one in particular caught my attention, when walking through the woods this Winter.

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