Nature Matters - Local to Global

New Networks For Nature 2021

November 19th to 21st

'New Networks for Nature is an inspiring, astonishing phenomenon' - Helen Macdonald, author H is for Hawk

New Networks for Nature’s meeting - Nature Matters - is an annual three-day creative celebration of nature in words, music, film, art and debate. Our delegates are treated to an inspiring programme of talks, readings, performances and discussions from leading voices and emerging talents, all of whom share tireless dedication to the natural world.

This year we're delighted to be in Bath, bringing New Networks to the south-west for the first time as part of our ambition to take the event around the country and reach new audiences. The venue is Bath Spa University, close to the beautiful historic city of Bath itself. We will also be situated in St Swithin’s Church in the city centre for our Saturday night event.

Our theme for 2021 is Local to Global. This year, as we struggle to leave Covid and its profound effects behind us, we address the ever-increasing awareness and action on environmental issues from both intimately local and vastly global perspectives.

Who’s on the programme?

As always, we have an exciting list of contributors this year.

Walter Baxter / A murmuration of starlings/ CC BY-SA 2.0

On Friday 19th, at the university’s Sion Hill Campus near the middle of the city, we will be holding a number of events. The pre-conference events are:

  • a birdwatching trip to the RSPB Ham Wall reserve with Stephen Moss and Ben Hoare, which will hopefully culminate in a chance to see the famed starling murmuration. Leaving and returning from Sion Hill.
  • At the same time, back at the campus there are three nature writing workshops with Tim Birkhead (popular science writing and nature writing), Richard Kerridge (long-form nature writing), and, jointly, Nicola Chester and Amy-Jane Beer (short-form nature writing).

    Anita Sethi

David Lindo

Our Friday night opening event is Anita Sethi and David Lindo in conversation with Richard Kerridge. It is called Everyone’s Nature?

Over the following two days we switch location to the Newton Park Campus, the Michael Tippett Centre, on the outskirts of Bath. Well-known youth conservationists Bella Lack, Holly Gillibrand and Kabir Kaul discuss how young people have found a voice for themselves in the worlds of conservation and activism. Marine biologist Nina O’Hanlon, poet Jean Sprackland and Telegraph food writer Xanthe Clay discuss plastics in our environments.

BBC's Blue Planet II

Julian Hector, head of the BBC’s Natural History unit explores the role and future of wildlife documentaries. Ways in which a shared love of wildlife gives people connections across the world are discussed by Tim Guilford, Prerna Singh Bindra and Simon Allen. Nicola Chester reads from her new book, On Gallows Down. Rachel Taylor, Sarah Gillespie and Harriet Mead show how different genres of art can show us brilliant new aspects of wild nature and help raise environmental awareness.

Satish Kumar

Nick Acheson and Ian Redmond debate the rights and wrongs of international ecotourism, and Satish Kumar, Jini Reddy and Nick Mayhew-Smith bring different perspectives to nature and spirituality. We also have producer and musician Merlyn Driver introducing his latest RSPB project - musical responses to the endangered Curlew. We also learn about the relationship between mental health and love of nature from Samantha Walton. Please see the programme for all the details.

David Gray Credit Derrick Santini

On Saturday night we are also extremely proud to present internationally renowned singer-songwriter David Gray in conversation Mary Colwell. David has been inspired by the natural world from childhood and it is a strong presence in his latest album, Skellig. In this unique event in the beautiful St Swithin’s Church in the centre of Bath, David will discuss the importance of nature to his music (and even treat us to a song or two!)

Food, drink and networking

Lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea* for Saturday and Sunday are included in ticket prices. These breaks present a wonderful opportunity to mingle and meet speakers and other delegates. There will be a drinks bar available for the Friday night event with Anita Sethi and David Lindo.

*All meals will be vegetarian and nut free, with vegan alternatives available. For other important dietary requirements, please notify us by email, after you receive your booking confirmation.

A note on pricing:

New Networks for Nature is a registered charity, our annual events are not-for-profit, and as always, we aim keep ticket prices down as much as possible. As in 2019, we are offering concession price tickets so that we can make this event as diverse and inclusive as possible. These are available to students, under 25s and unemployed delegates (not including senior citizens, sorry). Important: please bring proof of status to show on entry.

We will soon launch a “Friends of New Networks” scheme aimed at sponsoring places at the event for students, unwaged, conservation volunteers, etc, to help increase the participation and diversity of our audiences even further. Delegates who feel able to support this scheme, or people who cannot attend but would like others to do so, are invited to join our ‘Friends’ programme, and we’ll have more details later in the year. In the meantime,  you can still help fund the participation of students, etc, through our donations page. Please click here to donate to this scheme and choose ‘Nature Matters Delegate Sponsorship'.

November 19th to 21st


If I buy a three-day ticket, does this include everything?

Carving Fork Lapwing, by Harriet Mead

Our three-day ticket includes all the session in the main programme, lunches, tea/coffee and refreshments and the special brochure of writings and art.

The exceptions are the evening with David Gray on Saturday night and the pre-conference workshops and birdwatch. These need to be purchased separately through the website.  Note, the bar drinks for the Friday night event are not included.

 Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

You will be asked to give your name on arrival. ID is not required, but concession ticket holders need proof of status. There is no minimum age for delegates, but the event is aimed broadly at adult delegates and not suitable for young children.

 What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Public transport:

This year, most sessions are held in a venue outside of the city centre, which does mean a further journey for those not travelling by car. To facilitate this, we have provided links below to bus timetables and fares, as well as local taxi companies and fares.

To further help delegates relying on public transport, we are also putting on coaches from the train station in Bath to Bath Spa University campus. Currently we have one 33-seater coach booked to make return journeys on Saturday and Sunday. The timings are as follows:

Saturday 20th: 08:45, Bath centre station to Bath Spa university

Saturday 20th: 17:45, Bath Spa university to Bath centre station

Sunday 21st: 08:45, Bath centre station to Bath Spa university

Sunday 21st: 16:45, Bath Spa university to Bath centre station

Tickets for this coach service are sold separately and available here on Eventbrite, on a first-come-first-served basis. Tickets are sold as return tickets: they entitle you to travel from the train station in Bath centre to Bath Spa University and back on one day. You can purchase tickets for both days if you wish.

We expect these 33 tickets to sell out quickly, but if there is enough demand for this service we will book more coaches, so please do check back regularly if you did not manage to get tickets the first time around.

By car:

It is possible to arrive on Bath Spa university campus by car, but you will need a permit from the University ahead of arrival. DETAILS HERE

Full directions for finding the venue (postcode BA2 9BN) can be downloaded here.

Where can I stay?

Bath has plenty of visitor accommodation to suit most budgets. See Where to Stay in Bath | Book Bath Accommodation | Visit Bath for a guide. A list of some BnBs in the area is available at The 10 best B&Bs in Bath, UK | There are two Travelodge hotels in Bath which provide accommodation for those looking at the cheaper end of the scale; see Travelodge | Bath Waterside hotel - Bath Waterside hotels and Travelodge | Bath Central hotel - Bath Central hotels. Both are very close to the train station.

Can you cater for my special dietary requirements?

We'll do our best. All food provided at the venue will be vegetarian, with vegan options, and the venue is a nut-free environment. If you have dietary requirements we should be aware of (allergies or severe food intolerances), please email us in advance on with the heading DIETARY REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURE MATTERS 2021

Where can I get dinner?

Being a major city centre, there are plenty of options for eating out on Friday and Saturday evening. See Restaurants and Cafés in Bath | Eating and Drinking in Bath UK | Visit Bath for some suggestions.

 What's the refund policy and how might Covid restrictions affect this?

We can provide a refund up to 30 days before the event.

With uncertainty continuing to surround any largescale event as a result of Covid, we need to reassess the viability of the event frequently in the lead up to November. We reserve the right to cancel the event if it is deemed necessary because of national social distancing restrictions. In this eventuality, full refunds will be provided to delegates. The health and wellbeing of attendees, volunteers and staff is our priority. The event will be held in accordance with the latest Covid-19 guidelines from the government and Bath Spa University.

 Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

We should have a full delegate list to register you against, but a copy of your ticket, either digital or paper, will help if any confusion arises.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferable?

If you wish to transfer your ticket to another delegate, please email us

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please email us using

The 2021 event is co-curated by writer and conservationist Mary Colwell; eco-critic and writer Michael J. Warren; writer and editor Ben Hoare, eco-critic, nature writer and teacher of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, Richard Kerridge.

November 19th to 21st

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