If I get into environment
node I cant get back into nodes for materials. Why is this?
The second lot of icons you circled–click on the cube icon in that group. You have the World icon currently selected.
If I click on the cube nothing is there, then if I click on the node tree it goes back to the environment
That means you haven’t got “Use Nodes” enabled for the material, only the background.
In your screenshots you have the texture work space selected. You need to select the ball on the left and the cube on the right. like so:
My icons are in a different order due to addons but it works the same.
The left icon (the ball) is for shaders and the right icon (the cube) is for object shaders.
In this screenhot the extra icon is for the Animation Nodes’ editor.