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neroche liberating the landscape

the woodland edge people and nature in our wooded landscapes at a time of change A conference in the forest, 29th – 30th September 2011, near Taunton, Somerset

The woodland edge is always the richest ground, a transition zone where light meets dark. It is a place where things blend, and ecologies are in tension. This conference seeks to harness the energy of the woodland edge. It will explore the interface where people and nature meet, in the context of Britain’s wooded landscapes, at a time of uncertainty, change, and new possibilities.

The Neroche Partnership and the British Association of Nature Conservationists:

the woodland edge people and nature in our wooded landscapes at a time of change A conference in the forest, 29th – 30th September 2011, near Taunton, Somerset

Taking place in a woodland setting the Neroche Forest in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset– this unique event will bring together people who are exploring the ground where woods, wildlife, community and policy overlap.

neroche liberating the landscape

In the heart of the forest

At a formative moment… Our relationship with woodlands and the landscapes they occupy is changing. Questions about the ownership and public status of forests, and their accessibility to people, have generated huge public interest.

But behind the headlines, inspirational projects across the country are showing how woodlands and other natural landscapes can provide settings for learning, recreation, therapy and cultural activity, while conserving their wildlife and enhancing the ecosystem services they provide.

…a chance to inspire, and challenge our assumptions

• How can people and organisations work in partnership to manage landscapes for a diversity of needs? • How can landscape-scale conservation projects embrace whole communities as they evolve?

Conference themes


A partnership event

• F orests and woodlands in public policy

Speakers will span a wide range of backgrounds, and will include members of the local community as well as national figures. The programme will be finalised over the summer but current confirmed speakers include:

The Neroche Landscape Partnership Scheme, led by the Forestry Commission and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and local partners, has explored the rewards and challenges of fully involving people in a forested landscape. It has occupied the boundaries between different perceptions and disciplines, and sought common ground between them, in a woodland setting.

• Community empowerment, governance and resourcing

Against this backdrop, this event offers a chance to reflect on good practice, to challenge conventional wisdoms, and to celebrate what we can achieve together in our woodlands and wider landscapes, both rural and urban: • How are Britain’s forests and woods currently being managed for environmental and social benefits?

This will be a forest gathering, taking place in a tented village on the woodland edge, with some sessions in the open air, amongst the trees (with minimum use of Powerpoint!) Take part, and you will have the chance to experience the forest directly, while sharing in a lively discussion. Especially if you choose to camp on site (see overleaf), you will find that the richest part of any conference – the informal discussion outside of the main programme – will be richer still, in the evening, around the fire, in the setting of an inspiring forest.

• Landscape-scale nature conservation, re-wilding, and ecosystem services • Learning and well-being in woodland settings • How can conservation initiatives cater for the range of experiences people are seeking from wild landscapes, for their social, therapeutic and cultural benefits? • How can local forest and other landscape partnerships best resource new initiatives, in these times of austerity?

• Cultural heritage, access, interpretation and the arts in natural landscapes

Who should attend? The conference is aimed at environmental and community practitioners, both professional and voluntary - landscape managers, community leaders, conservation officers, policy makers, outdoor educators. It will be a participatory event - an opportunity to share experience, learn from others, gain inspiration and refresh the spirit.

Jay Griffiths Author of ‘Wild: An Elemental Journey’ Howard Davies National Association of AONBs Nigel Lowthrop Founder of Hill Holt Wood, Lincolnshire Alison Millward Alison Millward Associates Rick Minter Conference facilitator Gavin Saunders Neroche Scheme Jonathan Spencer Forestry Commission Peter Taylor Author of ‘Beyond Conservation’

The British Association of Nature Conservationists (BANC) publishes the influential journal ECOS, and has provided a forum for challenging debate about nature conservation for nearly 25 years. See

Costs and practicalities Tickets BOOK EARLY - all bookings received before 18 July will be discounted at £125. Tickets from 19th July onwards will cost £150 (£125 for BANC members, volunteers/unwaged), Ticket price is inclusive of main meals but excluding off-site accommodation (see below) Accommodation Delegates can camp on-site at no extra charge (please provide your own tent and overnight equipment) – doing so will offer a great way of experiencing the setting to the full. Alternatively, if camping is not for you, local B&Bs, guest houses or hotels can be booked and paid for separately (average local single-room price per night is £40-60). We will offer assistance with booking local accommodation across a range of budgets, at the time of enrolment.

neroche liberating the landscape

Neroche Scheme, St Ivel House Station Road, Hemyock, Devon EX15 3SJ Telephone: 01823 680846 Email: Web:

Timing and location The location is close to Taunton and in easy reach of the M5. Those coming by train will be offered lifts from Taunton station. Delegates camping on site can arrive to pitch tents and settle in on the afternoon of Wednesday 28th September, and those staying in local accommodation will also be encouraged to come to the site for that evening. The main programme for all delegates will start the following morning, Thursday 29th September, and end with a celebratory event on the evening of Friday 30th September. Delegates will be encouraged to stay until Saturday morning, and will have the option to remain for further local activities in the forest over the weekend, at no extra charge (catering not provided for Saturday/Sunday). Those camping will be able to stay on the site until the afternoon of Sunday 2nd October.

Booking To book a place, phone 01823 680846 or email and a booking form will be emailed or posted to you. To receive updates as the conference programme evolves, please email and we will put you on the conference mailing list. Payment, cancellation and refund policy Payment is required in advance, at the time of booking, and must be received at least 10 working days before the event. Fees are refundable provided places are cancelled in writing more than 15 working days before the conference. No refunds are available for cancellations after this time, though substitutions can be made at any time. Programme To keep up to date with the conference programme as it develops, visit or follow us on Twitter nerochescheme. We reserve the right to vary the published programme of speakers and the timing of the sessions.

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