At the core of the Environmental Histories Network are three workshops. The first workshop will be held at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire (Britain’s first nature reserve and island of wetland within one of the world’s most intensively farmed environments, and with a continuing history as a key site for scientific research since the advent of the ecological sciences). The second workshop will take place at Kielder Water and Forest, Northumberland (northern Europe’s largest artificial lake and Europe’s largest planted forest). The third workshop is Quantock Hills, Somerset (a mosaic of upland heath, ancient woodland, conifer plantation and small-scale mixed farming, where many essential ingredients of the romantic perspective on nature were developed by Coleridge and Wordsworth, and which became England’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [1956]). Each site serves as an instructive example of different types of environmental change, anthropogenic and autogenic, long-term and short-term, as well as instances of continuity. At these site-specific workshops, a core team of mainly academic participants will meet with representatives of a local, non-university project partner to critically examine what we mean by ‘the environment’ and ‘environmental change’ in both current and past contexts, and on local and international scales.

In addition to the paper presentations and discussions each workshop will include fieldtrips to familiarise the participants with the different environmental management issues and history of each site.