The British Oak Conference,

The past, present and future for this iconic tree


Weald & Downland Open Air Museum_oak conference


The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum will be hosting a one-day conference on Friday 19th June, in celebration of the British oak – arguably the most noble of trees. The conference, chaired by Archie Miles, author of The British Oak, features contributions from experts in their fields, plus organisations including TRADA, Sussex Wildlife Trust and English Woodlands Timber.

The conference will focus on four key themes: science, commerce, archaeology and environment. Speakers will examine stories surrounding the oak tree – presenting the facts and latest practices, whilst dispelling the myths.


weald museum gridshell


Conference sessions include:

  • The Botany of Oak
  • Dendrochronology & Provenancing
  • Oak Trees Before 1200 AD
  • The Importance of Oak as a Habitat
  • Threats to the Oak


Delegates are encouraged to peruse a selection of related displays and exhibits during the breaks.

“The Museum is proud to hold this fascinating conference dedicated to Britain’s most iconic tree,” said Diana Rowsell, Head of Learning at the Museum. “Lifelong learning has been at the heart of the Museum’s aims since its founding over 40 years ago. We strive to promote the preservation of buildings of architectural or historic interest, as well as the ancient crafts, trades and manufactures of the Weald & Downland region. The British Oak Conference will celebrate the journey that this marvellous timber has taken through history and examine its future.”


Weald & Downland Open Air Museum_british oak conference


The conference takes place ahead of the Museum’s Wood Show (20-21 June), which celebrates the British woodland, timber extraction, woodworking and timber products. Conference delegates receive complimentary access to the Museum’s Wood Show as part of their delegate fee.


The conference will feature talks on:
The Botany of Oak
John Stokes, Tree Council

Material properties of Oak
Andy Pitman, The Timber Research and Development Association

Dendrochronology and provenancing
Ian Tyers, Dendrochronologist

Growing Oak trees
Neil Humphries, Leconfield Estate

Selling Oak timbers
Tom Compton, English Woodlands

Oak trees before 1200 AD
Damian Goodburn, Archaeologist

How many Oak trees to build Bayleaf?
Joe Thompson, Museum Carpenter-in-residence

The importance of Oak as a habitat
Tony Whitbread, Sussex Wildlife Trust

Threats to the Oak
Dr Sandra Denman, Forest Research

For more details visit: The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum