Thursday 13th July to Friday 14th July 2017
ATF Summer conference 2017 at Epping Forest
Location: Epping Forest
The Ancient Tree Forum’s summer conference in 2017 will be held at Epping Forest, London’s largest open space, and a European Special Area of Conservation as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The venue for the indoor morning sessions will be Gilwell Park Training and Event Centre, which is set in 108 acres, and situated on the western edge of Epping Forest.
The main conference themes will be:
- Ancient tree landscapes
- Conserving wood-pastures and pollarding veteran trees
- Crown retrenchments
- ‘Minding the gap’ – creating decaying wood habitats and ‘successor’ old trees
- The hollowing of trees by fungi
- Soil and root health
- Tree diseases
In the afternoons, Jeremy Dagley, Epping Forest’s Head of Conservation, and his colleagues, will be leading us on guided visits to view some of the 55,000 veteran pollards set amongst 5,000 acres of ancient wood pasture.
During the mornings, at Gilwell Park, there will be presentations from specialists on a wide range of topics. On the first morning the broad theme will be recording, understanding and celebrating ancient tree landscapes. On the Friday morning the focus will move closer in to look at the impact of soils and fungi on the health and habitat value of old trees. There will also be talks on arboricultural techniques. Speakers so far, include Brian Douglas (RBG Kew), David Lovelace (mapping specialist), Jaroslav Kolarik (Czech Republic), Emma Gilmartin (Cardiff University), Geoff Monck (Guildford Tree Officer), Jill Butler (Woodland Trust), Rob McBride (the ‘Tree-Hunter’) and Vikki Bengtsson (VETree and Pro-Natura, Sweden). The draft programme and speaker biographies will be available here shortly.
You’ll also have a chance to hear about the ATF’s current work and there will be opportunities during extended refreshment breaks and lunch-times for discussions with other ancient tree owners, managers and professionals.
Afternoon site visits
The afternoon site visits provide an opportunity to hear more from the specialists and to discuss many management issues. There will be full briefings before the afternoon visits to the Forest. Maps and notes for these will also be provided in the conference ‘welcome packs’. On both days the walks will be several kilometres in length – but there will be interim meeting points for those who wish to walk less far. The aim on Thursday will be to make the visit without the use of cars but there will be the option to shorten the walk and drive to a car park from where a walk leader will take everyone to all the main locations. Along the walks there will be specific stopping points where there will be specialist speakers. These stopping points will be mapped with approximate meeting times for each stop.
On the Thursday afternoon, the broad theme is about ancient trees and wood-pasture restoration. We will walk from Gilwell to Bury Wood where two cycles of Hornbeam pollarding have been completed over the last 30 years, hundreds of oaks are being ‘haloed’ and naturalistic grazing is being re-established. Themes will include techniques for pollarding veterans, creation of new pollards, haloing, wood-pasture habitat management and grazing around veteran trees.
There will be an optional visit on Thursday early evening to view a photographic exhibition of Epping Forest’s ancient trees at the Epping Forest Visitor Centre, ‘The View’, Chingford.
On the Friday afternoon, we will drive a few kilometres to High Beach from where we will visit some of the amazing ancient Beech pollards in the northern part of the Forest starting out near the FSC Field Centre. The walk themes will include the Forest’s Keystone Tree Strategy, crown retrenchment work (including a possible demonstration), fungal hollowing of trees, tree diseases, pollution, soil and root health.
After the afternoon walk on Thursday 13th July, there will be an opportunity to view a specially-commissioned exhibition of photographs of Epping’s Forest’s ancient trees. Then, later that evening, the Ancient Tree Forum will be hosting a hot buffet barbeque supper (in the orchard outside the conference centre, weather permitting) at Gilwell Park. There will also be a bar open at the centre. This will be a great opportunity to network informally and catch up with old acquaintances, whilst enjoying some good food and drinks. The hot buffet menu will include both meat and vegetarian options with salads. There will also be an evening quiz competition at the bar.
Packed lunches are available from Gilwell if ordered in advance (when you book your conference place), or you can choose to make your own arrangements for lunch. However, please note that the nearest shops are 2km away from the conference centre at Chingford. There is a Costa coffee outlet at Gilwell which serves hot beverages and snacks (but not meals).
Accommodation and transport
Delegates will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation, but a number of rooms at Gilwell Park have been set aside which can be booked independently. The conference centre is only 2km from a Transport for London hub at Chingford. We would encourage delegates to come by public transport if possible, and we hope to be able to arrange lifts for those arriving by London bus or overground train at Chingford. We will also try to link up people prepared to car share, with those requesting lifts. No cars will be required for the field visit on the first day as we can walk there and back. On the second day, a short drive is required but we will encourage car sharing for the site visit, so it is not essential to have your own car. If you can, please let us know how you intend to travel to the conference so that we can consider lifts and car availability for day two.
To book your place for each day of the conference, please click the ‘Book now’ button below. You will also be able to book packed lunches here, and a place at the hot buffet meal.
The cost of the conference is £25 per person, per day. Lunches, if required, are £5 and the optional evening meal is £15.
You will have the option to pay either with your PayPal account, or via debit or credit card (you can do this by clicking on the grey button under the login, which says `Check out as a guest’). You can also complete this form if you are unable to book this way and need us to send you an invoice with details of how to pay by cheque or Bacs transfer.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries about booking, but please note that there may be a slight delay in responding.