David Saunders is our Chief Executive, leading our small team of staff, overseeing the charity’s operations and collaborating with the Board in developing our vision, strategy and various charitable activities.
My interest in landscape started early. Despite an urban childhood on the outskirts of Manchester, I spent much of my youth outdoors, in search of the woods and hills that still inspire me today. From early exposure to hiking and camping in the Peaks and Lakes, I was stimulated to complete a B.Sc. in Plant Ecology at Sussex and lived in Snowdonia when studying for a Masters in Environmental Forestry at Bangor. I remain constantly fascinated by the multiple layers of history, ecology and culture evidenced in our surroundings. My home and professional practice has since been in Southern England in the chalk downs and broadleaved woodlands of the Weald. Maintaining these human-modified, yet ancient landscapes have been my work, developing strategies and lobbying for policies and incentives to protect and promote the stewardship of rural heritage through contemporary approaches. My specialism is in lowland woodland management, which has included efforts to re-kindle a wood culture relevant to the 21st Century. Having worked for public, private and voluntary organisations I’m fully aware of the benefit of establishing partnerships. Through these professional exchanges, sharing good practice around landscape, culture, and sustainable lifestyles, I have been both informed and inspired which has influenced my approach. I have taught architecture and design students at universities, and on forestry degree courses, and I am keen to extend access for students to discover the wealth of inspiration to be found in landscape-related studies. I will endeavour to help steer the organisation into the next stage of evolution, building on the strong roots already laid down, to establish a sustainable organisation for the future. My personal interests include landscape-inspired art and world folk music, as well as the management of my own small wood for nature conservation and low-impact timber production.