2014 RFS - Sylva Trophy Winner
- Hovingham Estate, North Yorkshire
The Sylva Trophy is awarded annually to a person, group or organisation that has, in the opinion of the RFS, made an outstanding contribution to forestry in its broadest sense. This year it was presented to Sir William Worsley, current owner of the Hovingham estate, and Forest Manager David Brown, the current holder of the role that has been in the Brown family for four generations.
The Worsleys and the Browns have been working together for more than 100 years. Five years ago the Hovingham estate also won the RFS Duke of Cornwall Award for Multipurpose Forestry after judges described them as: “Simply beautiful woods to be in; thoughtful and decisive management obvious at every turn in the meandering rides.”
Hovingham’s woodlands revival began in 1897 when the then agent, Bingley Day, persuaded Sir William H A Worsley to start plantation forestry. At that time, the woodlands had been in decline since the mid-1850s when, with the invention of iron ships, the value of timber had declined. Before that, in the mid-eighteenth century, a quarter of the estate’s income had come from its woods.
David Brown (left) and Sir William Worsley (right) receive the award from Simon Lloyd (centre)
In 1913 a young forester called Robert Brown, who had been trained at Chatsworth, was appointed Head Forester. He was the first of four generations of his family to hold that position. He was succeeded by his son John, then his grandson Alec and then by his great-grandson, the current Forest Manager, David. The Brown family has worked closely with four generations of the Worsley family: Sir William H A Worsley, Sir William A Worsley, Sir Marcus Worsley and the current Sir William Worsley.
Sir William said: “The woods at Hovingham have always been an important part of the estate and as they stand today are a tribute to the partnership between the Browns and the Worsleys who have worked closely for over one hundred years.”