We can announce some details of the opening day of Evolving the Forest.

The event begins at 15.45 on June 19 with welcomes from Sir Harry Studholme (Forestry Commission), Andrew Woods (Chair of the Royal Forestry Society) and the Dartington Hall Trust.

This is followed by our opening keynote speaker, Prof. Kathy Willis, Principal of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.

In the evening we mark the centenary of the Forestry Act of 1919 which created the Forestry Commission. The first trees planted by the Forestry Commission were at Eggesford in Devon, in December 1919, and Dartington has numerous links with early modern forestry in England. Leonard K. Elmhirst (who with wife Dorothy founded the modern Dartington in the 1920s) and Wilfred Hiley were both intimately involved in the The Royal Forestry Society and in the development of 20thC forestry. Hiley was editor of the RFS from 1923 to 1946 and became President in 1950. Hiley was appointed the first manager of Dartington Hall woodlands by Leonard Elmhirst in 1931, remaining in the post for the next thirty years. Together they created Dartington Woodlands Ltd. proposing what would become a highly influential business model for contemporary forestry allowing a symbiotic relationship between the research arm and the more commercial arm of forestry on the estate.

The Tihill Forestry Gala Dinner in Dartington’s Great Hall is followed by a conversation between Foresty Commission Chair Sir Harry Studholme, Beccy Speight (CEO, Woodland Trust), and Piers Taylor (architect, writer, broadcaster).