Cultural and environmental geography of trees: He is currently writing a book on European forest cultures, histories and conservation for Reaktion Press. Recent books include Rediscovering Lost Landscapes: Topographical Art in north-west Italy, 1800-1920 (2021, with Pietro Piana and Ross Balzaretti, Boydell Press); Trees in Art (2018, Reaktion) and Trees, Woods and Forests (2014, Reaktion). He edited with Keith Kirby (Oxford Forestry Institute) European woods and forests, with 24 commissioned chapters from authors across Europe on the relevance of historical studies to the conservation and management of woods and forests. Europe's Changing Woods and Forests CABI 2015.
Topographical art and landscape history of N W Italy. He directed the Leverhulme Trust Project British topographical art and landscape in NW Italy which ran from 2016-2020. See Rediscovering Lost Landscapes: Topographical Art in north-west Italy, 1800-1920 (2021) (with Pietro Piana and Ross Balzaretti, Boydell Press). Research continues in this area.
Animal geographies: Research includes Daniel Allen, Charles Watkins and David Matless (2016) 'An incredibly vile sport': campaigns against otter hunting in Britain, 1900-1939 Rural History 27, 79-10; Robert Hearn, Ross Balzaretti and Charles Watkins The Wolf in the Landscape: Antonio Cesena and Attitudes to Wolves in Sixteenth-Century Liguria (2015) Rural History 26 1-16 and Robert Hearn, Charles Watkins and Ross Balzaretti The cultural and land use implications of the reappearance of the wild boar in North West Italy: A case study of the Val di Vara (2014) Journal of Rural Studies 36 52-63
I am keen to supervise research students interested in the following topics
1. Cultural and historical geographies of trees and woodlands 2. Topographical art and landscape history 3. Animal geographies 4. Agriculture and forest history, nature conservation and management 5. Rural geography
A cultural geography of tree collections and arboreta funded by the AHRC (with Stephen Daniels and Paul Elliott). The British Arboretum (2011) was published by Pickering and Chatto in 2011. See also the special issue of Garden History 35 Supplement 2 2007 Cultural and Historical Geographies of the Arboretum. The project webpage is at:http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~lgzwww/contacts/staffPages/Arboretums/index.html
The Picturesque and Uvedale Price: The first full biography of Price: Uvedale Price (1747-1829) Decoding the Picturesque (with Ben Cowell) was published in 2012 by Boydell Press. A paperback edition was published in 2015. Uvedale Price: Decoding the Picturesque. A critical edition of his letters was published as Volume 68 by the Walpole Society: http://www.walpolesociety.org.uk/publications/publications.php?searchfield=&recfrom=60