Hatfield Forest Commission: Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals
Hatfield Forest Commission 2024

£15,000 | Deadline: Sunday 10 March 2024 | Interviews: Monday 25 March 2024
Project Timelines: April – September 2024

Image © National Trust Images/Paul Wakefield

Essex Cultural Diversity Project and the National Trust invite proposals that creatively respond to Hatfield Forest National Nature Reserve, a National Trust site on the outskirts of Takeley, Essex.

We are looking for a project that will mark the 100th anniversary of the gifting of Hatfield Forest to the National Trust, that will celebrate this unique and vulnerable ancient site, and help articulate the importance of philanthropy, acts of kindness and calls to action that enthuse and inspire us to all care for the environment and our communities.

Through the commission we seek to raise the profile of Hatfield Forest as a historically significant site that can inspire the people of Essex to champion cultural heritage, people and wildlife.

We are looking for a creative project that will:

• Engage families and adults in the celebration of 100 years since Edward North Buxton gifted Hatfield Forest forever to the National Trust and the nation.
• Raise awareness of the rich biodiversity of Hatfield Forest, pressures which threaten biodiversity loss, and the traditional conservation methods that continue to be practiced to protect the site for future generations.
• Enrich and enhance engagement with new and under-represented audiences around Hatfield Forest, and increase access for diverse communities, working with at least three community or volunteer groups in the area.
• Explore small but mighty approaches to supporting positive behaviours around the environment and Climate Action.

About Hatfield Forest

Hatfield Forest National Nature Reserve is the best surviving example in Britain of an almost complete Royal Hunting Forest. It has seen many owners, from Kings to commoners. No other Forest on earth evokes the atmosphere of a medieval hunting Forest so completely.

In 1923, Hatfield Forest was part of the Hallingbury Estate, which was due to be broken up and sold off at auction. As a result, the Forest was bought by a timber merchant who began to fell the standard oaks for sale. Thankfully, at the 11th hour the Forest was saved from further destruction by the intervention of the pioneering conservationist, Edward North Buxton. He began the purchase of the Forest but died before this was finished.

Following his wishes, his family completed the process and bequeathed the Forest to the National Trust. It was opened to the public in May 1924 and we wish to make the celebration of this a central theme of this commission.

Hatfield Forest is a managed landscape, created by centuries of human intervention. The traditional woodland management techniques of coppicing, pollarding and grazing are continued today. It is home to over 3,500 species of wildlife, some of which are rare and threatened. The ancient trees, some over 1000 years old, provide the perfect habitat for some of the Forest’s rarest insects, lichens and fungi. There are opportunities to create new interpretation and narratives around the nature and historic themes, as well as considering Hatfield Forest’s wider significance to wildlife in its environs, engaging new audiences in the process.

How to Respond to this Opportunity

We accept written, verbal and video proposals for this commission.

To apply, please email your proposal to by midnight on Sunday 10 March and include the following:

– The title of your proposed project
– An outline of the artistic concept and its creative starting points, intended participants and any groups you may like to work with, and your community engagement process (no more than 600 words).
– How your practice and project explores or promotes diversity (no more than 200 words).
– Some info about you and your work. This could be a short biography with examples of previous work / a CV / links to your website and social media.
– A short, estimated budget outline, showing how you would utilise the £15,000 (4-6 lines)
– A short approximate timeline for the work (4-6 lines with key milestones from April – September 2024)

– A completed Commissioning Monitoring Form:

Further Support

It is highly recommended that you visit the ECDP Commissions Frequently Asked Questions which has supporting information and practical advice to support you in putting a proposal together.

We are committed to making our application process accessible, and can be adaptable to your needs. We welcome proposals in various formats, such as a written, video or audio proposals, or via a recorded Zoom call.

If you would like to talk this brief through or need further information about the commission, we’d be very happy to offer support and answer your questions. Please email Jo on to arrange a meeting.

Click here for a PDF TEXT VERSION of this Commission Call For Proposals (121kb)
Hatfield Forest Commission – Call for Proposals

To request an audio / large print version of this brief, contact Jo at

Useful Links

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