FSA National Conference 2023

30 Years of Connection

29th September – 1st October 2023

Danbury, Essex


FSA Members get £35 discount on their booking.

Link to get your discount code here

Logo for the 2023 FSA National Conference at Danbury 29th seprtember - 1st October

Welcome to the 2023 FSA National Conference Page

This year’s event theme is 30 Years of Connection. We are looking forward to connect the voices, people and ethos that make Forest School so special. This year the conference is building on last year’s model and we are supported again by FSA Essex Local Group as well as a national conference team. We look forward to welcoming you to the Essex Outdoor’s Danbury Centre and another weekend of fun and Forest School.  There are lots of ways for you to get involved with the conference, including offering a workshop, sponsoring us, joining our marketplace, advertising in our conference brochure or just coming along and being a part of the event. Whichever way you choose you will find a host of useful information below.

If you are looking to run a conference at the conference, advertise in our conference booklet, book a market stall or sponsor us please see the section marked conference opportunities below.

The Conference Venue

This is our third visit to Danbury.  We had a great time last year and the venue has proved to be a popular one.   Danbury has a nice mixture of accommodation types to suit all needs and a fantastic team that made last year’s conference so special, and allows for easy travel by public transport with the minimal kit as well as travel by car with a bit more luxury.  We are returning this year to build on what we learned by delivering the conference last year before heading northwards in 2024.

For those of you that didn’t come last year, Danbury describes itself as a woodland haven in the heart of Essex. It is located in seventy acres of prime countryside. It is easy to find being just one mile from J.18 of the A12
people at danbury 2022 finding their workshop providers in the Essex Sunshine

Conference Tickets and Accommodation

Tickets and Pricing

All tickets include access to the event, workshops, entertainment and activities for the booking period show on the tickets.  Catered tickets allow access to the dining hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Self Catered tickets are allowed access to refreshments but must provide their own food for the event.  FSA Members get a £35 discount, you can access the discount code here

Twin Room in a cabin


Each of Danbury’s cabins are equipped with separate more private twin rooms for those requiring extra privacy and space. These rooms must be booked for two people in a group booking (by adding a guest) so you can choose who you are sharing with.  These rooms are often used by residential school leaders/teachers so will give you the best night’s sleep.  They allow access to the other facilities and have power and heating to keep you snug.  These tickets are a shared booking for two persons and are fully catered with access to meals and refreshments.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.


Log Cabin - Dormitory

Danbury has 10 recently renovated cabins that provide a great alternative to tented accommodation.

Each cabin has a wet room, porch, toilet and sink, heating and electricity. The toilet and shower block also has a unisex accessible shower/wet room, with shower chairs and toilet support/brace bars, and accessible toilets with support/brace bars.  These tickets are fully catered with access to meals and refreshments.  The cabins sleep between 8 and ten people so be prepared to share the space.  Accommodation is mixed so you may be sharing with members of another sex.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.

A maximum of 90 beds available

Camping Pods

Danbury has 11 cosy camping pods, perfect for those looking for a camping experience with a little more comfort than being under canvas. Each has heating, power and sleep, 2, 3, 4 to 8 in bunk beds.  For our conference, unless you are specifically booking a group with more than four people wanting to stay together we advise 4 adults sharing per pod. Dedicated and accessible toilets and showers are in a separate block, adjacent to camping pods.  These tickets are fully catered with access to meals and refreshments. Accommodation is mixed so you may be sharing with members of another sex. If you are booking a two or three-bedroom pod you will need to book for two or three people in one booking for your booking to be approved.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.

Tent Hire


tents in a rowThese are ideal for delegates looking for a traditional camping experience. Are you worried about travelling on public transport with limited space in your kit bag?  Then this option is just for you. Danbury’s canvas patrol tents sleep. The camping area its own separate shower block and toilets.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, insulating mats, pillows and sleeping bags.  These tickets are fully catered with access to meals and refreshments.


Danbury has plenty of camping space for you to pitch your own tent.  No personal fires are allowed on site but Danbury do allow you to bring a small camping stove for that early morning cuppa in case you need a hot water bottle to keep you warm at night.  With a choice of self-catered or fully catered we hope to give you the options to suit your pocket.

Camper Vans

Picture of va camper vanLast Year we got feedback that you would like some space to park and stay in your campervans.  So this year, we have secured a parking space for campervans on a school playground neighbouring our conference venue at Danbury.  This is not a full camper van set-up so their is no electricity hook up or waste disposal. You are able to use the toilet and shower facilities which are a few minutes walk away. We have space for 12 medium sixed camper vans (VW T5/t6 sized) or smaller.  These tickets are for one delegate to attend the conference in their own van. With self-catered and fully catered options there is no need to worry where your food is coming from.

Staying off-site

We know that having space to decompress is important and if you live nearby the draw of your own comfy bed is difficult to ignore. This year we have a conference ticket that takes that into account.  So if you need to go home to feed the cat you are not missing out.

Day Ticket

Last year some people struggled attending the whole weekend and so this year we have added a day ticket for Saturday 30th September.  We have a limited number available as they count towards our maximum occupancy and stop other booking full conference tickets.  Unfortunately, we are only able to offer this as a self catered option.

Car Parking and Campervans


The car park is just 400m from Danbury Centre, but it is over some uneven ground. You can book car parking tickets for a small charge at the same time as you book for the conference.  Bring your own trolley if you can, there are limited supplies of trolleys available on site to move your kit to the accommodation.

We are have secured some campervan spaces on the local school grounds so that people with campervans can be closer to the action, please see the accommodation section aboove for more information.  You cannot stay in Camper vans parked in the car park as this will void our agreement with the farmer.

Catering and Food

Food on a table with a couple of wooden spoons

Danbury Outdoors has a dedicated dining hall and permanent professional catering kitchens which will be providing the catering. Danbury Outdoor’s catering team will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for conference delegates, and refreshments throughout the day.

They are happy and experienced in catering for many dietary requirements as specified by culture, religion and medical concerns. The catering team regularly provide meals for a wide variety of needs including vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, diabetic or food allergies. They can also provide a carb count, if required.

Danbury provides a nut-free environment for delegates and request you do not come with any products that contain nuts.

During checkout, you have the opportunity to email the conference team any dietary requirements you may have. This includes food allergies and intolerances, these will be passed to Danbury prior to arrival. Just make sure you let us know when booking if you have any dietary requirements. 

What else is happening at this year’s Conference?


We have a great mix of workshops lining up for you to keep you inspired and entertained during the weekend (watch this space for details).  Feedback from last year’s conference asked for less formal speakers but more chances for large discussions and connection, outside of the formal workshops spaces.  This year we are hoping to build on the stay, play and do skill share area, where you can go and try out a new skill or two, or offer to pass on a skill you have to others.

We are looking to build on last year’s marketplace village, so if you have products or services to sell you could opt for a stall there.  Don’t worry if you don’t have enough stock to fill a stall of your own, wh not team up with a couple of friends and rent a space. We will have another of Matt’s quizzes, Saturday night dancing and lots of time to chat and meet friends or make new ones.


Keynote Speaker - Deborah Benham

Holding a vision of humanity as a helpful species on the planet, I support and facilitate living systems based education and approaches to societal challenges, co-creating and contributing to a thriving future for people and nature.

I support organisations and community groups to understand, reconnect with and learn from nature, to create a future we can be proud to leave for future generations. I’m guided by the core principle of Biomimicry – ‘Life Creates the Conditions for Life to Thrive’. I believe humanity can be a net positive species on the planet, contributing to regeneration and stewardship. The vision I work towards is of thriving human societies, cultures, communities and businesses, designing with and as nature, creating mutual benefit for all life, using tech in life affirming ways, and uplifting justice, kindness and cooperation.

My background and PhD are in wildlife conservation and environmental education. I am an accredited Biomimicry Educator, Gaia Education trainer of trainers, Interpretive Guide trainer and Connection First / 8 Shields deep nature connection practitioner, mentor and facilitator. For many years I’ve worked closely with tracker and naturalist Jon Young , including organising and speaking at nature connection camps and courses in England, Scotland, Spain, the USA and online. I also work part time as the co-Lead Link for Transition Network; the charity which supports the international Transition towns movement. Prior to this, I ran a connection based wildlife watching ecoholiday company and contributed as a consultant on many multi stakeholder projects to help local communities develop sustainable, educational wildlife-watching and nature-based ecotourism.

The Best Bar-None

This year the bar will be supplied by the Best Bar-None. A brewery local to Danbury. Every year we look to support local firms and reduce carbon footprints. You can find more about them and find their price list at https://www.thebestbar-none.com/

The Metre Market

The Metre Market

A new and exciting addition to this year’s conference is The Metre Market. The market will take place in the History Marquee near the marketplace.  This is a fast-paced market where haggling and barter are the name of the game. Bring cash or barter items to swap for any bargains you see.

Selling at The Metre Market

The Metre Market is a temporary space provided for delegates to buy and sell a few chosen items. It is designed with Forest School hoarders and crafters in mind, rather than large stalls with commercial produce.

Metre Market Rules

Each stall is to be self-sufficient so bring a pocketful of change so you can take advantage of the trades.  Don’t forget to look for a bargain barter with other Metre Market stallholders.

  • You can trade any item that is either ‘handcrafted or made by you’, ‘second-hand tools or equipment’ or ‘natural and found items’ in the Metre Market.
  • No trolleys or boxes are permitted in the market to keep the area clear and safe
  • You must carry your items into the market in one trip.
  • You must bring a cloth up to 1m in length and no more than 1m in width – a pillowcase is ideal for carrying items and displaying them. This cloth denotes your sales area and all goods must fit onto your cloth.
  • All sales/exchanges are final and all items are sold as seen!


The Famous Potatoes

We are awaiting confirmation but our Saturday Evening entertainment should be The Famous Potatoes.  But, what is the Famous Potatoes style? Well it’s an earthy mix made up of folk, celtic, cajun, hillbilly, bluegrass, country, rockabilly, skiffle… and anything that brings that ‘old time, good time’ feeling. Sounds like fun to me!

As well as appearances at festivals and venues both large and small the Famous Potatoes have made several appearances on national TV.

New delegate and lone traveller meet up

Last year we had a special event for new delegates, to help welcome them to our conference.  Conferences can be a bit daunting for some and can feel a bit lonely at times.  This event has been created and expanded to cater for lone travellers and people new to our community.  Come and meet the lovely Matt, Trustee of the FSA and other lone travellers to get your bearings and find some like minded souls to  hang out with.

This Year’s Conference workshops

Conference opportunities

Workshop Leaders wanted

Are you interested in offering a workshop at the FSA National Conference?  Can you inspire new generations of Forest School Leaders? Select the button below to find out more…

Event Sponsorship

Would you like to sponsor our Conference in 2023 or 2024. Can you support Forest School all over the UK by helping us sustainably run our annual event?  Four packages to choose from with some great incentives…

Stallholders wanted

Do you have a service or product that our delegates would love but struggle to build a rapport virtually?  Get your product in front of 350 delegates from schools and businesses all over the UK….


Would you like to place your product or service in front of our conference delegates in our conference brochure? With a choice of three sizes of advert, we have options to suit all products and budgets…

Comments from previous FSA conferences

‘Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of your conference. It was one of the warmest and most cohesive conferences I’ve been to in years’

Alison Kriel


‘What an amazing weekend! with some incredible and thought-provoking speakers. 

Well organised, great food and absolutely loved last night’s ceilidh! have come home shattered but buzzing!’


2021 Delegate

Please pass my thanks on to everyone involved with the wonderful event that was the FSA conference at the weekend. It was simultaneously challenging and uplifting, and felt like a huge covid safe hug! Just what I needed after the last 18 months.
I can’t wait for next year

2021 Delegate

2023 Conference Sponsors

We are grateful to the following sponsors of the 2023 Conference for their support, without their help the conference would not be possible :

Aim Qualifications and assessment Group Logo
ITC First logo
“What a great weekend, meeting Forest Schoolers and building on friendships from the last Conference. I learnt so many new ideas too, thanks FSA!”
“As a Forest School Leader I feel energised in my practice, and proud to be part of such a visionary movement! Everyone I spoke to had an inspirational story to tell.”
“A fantastic weekend. Lots of new friends made. Lots of lovely food. The weather was fantastic. Thank you Essex and the FSA. I definitely want to be there next year”

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