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 Jhack Whitaker Presents Nick Jeffery 2


  • Nick Jeffery
  • Castle Howard Estate
  • 30 years

Nick Jeffery, 49, from Sheriff Hutton, is the fourth generation of his family to work on the Castle Howard Estate, following in the footsteps of his great grandfather (gardener), grandfather and father (gamekeepers and foresters).

Nick is responsible for all the planting and woodland maintenance on the Estate’s 800 hectares of commercial woodlands which lie within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). He has worked on the estate for 31 years.

Castle Howard Estate Forest Manager Nick Cooke said: “Nick’s intimate knowledge and love of the woods at Castle Howard have made a telling contribution to the long term sustainable management of the woodland on this Estate.”


  • David Milner and Ron Peacock
    Ron Peacock David Milner LSA Dawnay 2013
  • Dawnay Estate
  • 38 and 46 years respectively

David Milner and Ron Peacock have worked on the Dawnay Estate at Scarborough for 38 years and 46 years respectively, and are still working full time on the estate’s mixed coniferous and hardwood woodlands.

Ron, 71, who lives in Scarborough, was born on the estate. His grandfather had the tenancy of one of the estate farms and his father worked on that farm before becoming a cowman for the Estate farm. Ron’s first job on the Estate was in the spring of 1967 when he planted some larch trees which are now being felled.

David, 72, came from a farming background and lives in the village of Snainton. David is a dab hand at machine maintenance and carries out much of the specialist welding for the estate. One of the more interesting recent jobs was welding up the weather vane from the top of the main house, shot through by a previous occupant of Wykeham Abbey!

Forestry Estate Manager Matthew Noble said: “They are an invaluable part of the team. Their experience is hard to get these days and they can turn their hand to anything.”

Presenting the award at the Great Yorkshire Show, RFS President Elect, Sir Jack Whitaker, says: “The skills that are learned, honed and passed down over decades from forester to forester have helped shape our woodlands. As forestry faces increasing challenges from pests and disease this bank of expertise is vital to effective forestry management for the future.

"Such knowledge means that new management techniques and national best practice can be applied at a local scale in a way which is most appropriate for specific woodlands, encouraging those managing woodlands to make use of new and expanding market opportunities.”


  • Ian Fletcher
    Ian Fletcher LSA Cragside 2013
  • Cragside Estate
  • 30 years

A forester who has helped foster and maintain one of the most iconic treescapes in Northumberland has received a Long Service Award from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS). The award was presented to Ian Fletcher, head forester of the National Trust’s Cragside Estate, at a meeting of the RFS North East Division at Middleton Hall, near Wooler

RFS President Elect Sir Jack Whitaker said: “It is a huge privilege to present this award to someone whose career has been dedicated to the wise management of trees and woods.

“Wise management is something which the RFS promotes across the country through the sharing of knowledge. Ian has been sharing his own knowledge as a chainsaw trainer for Lantra, in the north east, helping Northumberland foresters to work more safely, and he has been very involved in reducing the negative impacts of rhododendron, at Cragside.”

Ian, 63, has worked and lived on the National Trust Cragside Estate in Northumberland for 30 years, and has been their head forester since 1991. General Manager John O’Brien says: “Ian has been responsible for looking after the unique treescape at Cragside, which has matured since the Armstrong family’s original planting of 7 million trees and shrubs in the 19th century.

“The Armstrong’s legacy was an amazing achievement, creating a fantasy world of towering trees on what had been a bare and rugged Northumberland hillside. We consider the trees and landscape features as being every bit as important as the paintings and furnishings in the house. It seems rather fitting that we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Ian’s stewardship in the same year as we are observing the 150th anniversary of Cragside’s creation.

“Ian’s knowledge of the estate grounds has also proved invaluable in other ways. When the National Trust was trying to source sandstone cobbles for restoration work in the house courtyard, Ian raided his memory banks to identify the old quarries within the estate’s woodland where years earlier he had come across unfinished and discarded cobbles from the time when the house was being built. No better solution would have been possible to execute so perfect a restoration that visitors could not distinguish between the new and the old.”


  • John White
    John White LSA Wimbourne 2013
  • Shaftsbury Estate
  • 35 years

Wimborne St Giles forester John White received a Long Service Award from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) in recognition of 35 years’ work on the award-winning Shaftesbury Estate woodlands.

John, who retired in March, worked with his father in woods from a very young age and joined the estate’s forestry team in 1978, helping them to become joint winners of the Duke of Cornwall Award for Multipurpose Forestry in 1992.


Shaftesbury Estate’s Stewart Hand said: “John was practically born with a billhook. He has helped us to manage 1000 acres of mixed woodland for timber production, conservation and shooting over the decades and his knowledge and skills have been invaluable.”

RFS President Nick Halsey presented the award to John at the RFS AGM at Forde Abbey, near Chard.

He says: “The skills that are learned, honed and passed down over decades from forester to forester have helped shape our woodlands. The expertise of foresters such as John, combined with new research and practices will be vital in helping the UK to combat the increasing threat of pests and diseases to our woodlands grows. We wish John every success in his retirement and congratulate him on the legacy he has helped create in the woodlands at Shaftesbury Estate.”



  • Roy Clarke and Peter Hooks
    Lexham Hall LSA awards
  • Lexham Hall Estate
  • 51 years and 40 years


Two foresters who between them have clocked up 90 years at the Lexham Hall Estate received awards.

Roy Clarke (66), from East Lexham, Norfolk, joined the estate staff straight from school 51 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father who was a farm worker on the estate. Roy’s first job was as a forestry worker but he has been Head Forester since 1980. Peter Hooks (56) from Lexham Road, Litcham, Norfolk, started work with the estate straight from school 40 years ago and has worked as under-Forester.

Their task has been to ensure the health and future of woodlands within the estate, including mature woodlands surrounding the Hall and in the listed park, eight miles of shelter belts planted after the Second World War and a number of small farm woodlands.

Lexham Hall’s Neil Foster explained: “Since the Second World War the focus has been on the regeneration of the badly damaged woodlands where no significant planting had been done for 200 years and which had been ravaged by gales and timber requisition for the war effort.”

Presenting the awards at the RFS East Anglia Division event at Houghton Hall, RFS President Nicholas Halsey said: “The work that Roy and Peter have put in over the past 50 and 40 years respectively will ensure that the Estate’s woodlands have been revitalised and will continue to thrive for many generations to come, enhancing the local landscape and biodiversity as well as ensuring a supply of timber and wood fuel.

“Expertise built up over decades and passed from one generation to another is an important aspect of forestry management at a time when we are facing increasing challenges from climate change and new pests and diseases. Such knowledge means that new management techniques and national best practice can be applied at a local scale in a way which is most appropriate for specific woodlands.”


  • Brian Davies
    Brian Davies LSA award
  • Cottesbrooke Estate
  • 36 years


  • Keith Hollinshead
  • Buckminster Estate
  • 34 years

Two foresters who between them have more than 66 years of experience working on estates in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire received awards from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS).

The long service awards to Brian Davies of the Cottesbrooke Estate in Northamptonshire and to Keith Hollinshead of the Buckminster Estate in Leicestershire recognise the skill and knowledge these RFS members have acquired in developing estate woodlands over more than three decades, and their on-going work.

Presenting the awards at a Spring meeting of the RFS Midlands Division at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire, RFS President Nicholas Halsey said: “The work of lifetime foresters like Brian and Keith is at the heart of successful forestry. Their dedication, skills and knowledge have helped shape woodlands for our own and future generations, and their enthusiasm helps inspire the future foresters who are so vital to our industry.”

At the Cottesbrooke Estate, forester Brian Davies’ work has not only benefited the Estate woodlands, but it has added value to the village environment.

Brian began work on the Estate in 1977. In the late 1970s and early 80s he transplanted the flowering cherry trees that now line the roadsides running though the village of Cottesbrooke. He also helped to plant the lime avenue which forms one of the main vistas from Cottesbrooke Hall looking east towards Brixworth church.

The Cottesbrooke Estate has always aimed to rejuvenate its woodland and over the past five years more than 11 hectares of new woodland has been planted. The 153 hectares of woodland on the Estate is principally small amenity blocks. Many were laid out as fox coverts in the 19th century, and consist mainly of mixed broadleaves, although more recently small amounts of conifers have been planted alongside.

Recently, the Estate completed a 20-year management plan and will continue to undertake an ambitious work programme, building on Brian’s work.

Cottesbrooke Estate owner, Alastair Macdonald-Buchanan said: “Brian has always been an extremely conscientious worker and everything he undertakes is always carried out to a very high standard.

“Although he has reached 65 years of age, he has chosen to carry on working; a decision I am delighted he has taken, as I know the care of the woodland at Cottesbrooke will be in good hands for the foreseeable future.”

At the Buckminster Estate, forestry foreman Keith Hollinshead joined the Estate the day after Boxing Day 1979 as a general estate and forestry worker, and rose to become the forestry foreman in 1988.

The estate’s 303 hectares of woodland range from semi-natural woodland through to modern day plantations. In his early years at the estate, Keith’s main projects included planting shelter belts and woods for shooting purposes, and these days he is now carrying out the subsequent thinning works!

Working on the Estate has become a family affair. Among Keith’s team of three foresters is his son Paul, while daughter Caroline works in the farm office and his wife Joan works at Buckminster Park.

The Estate’s resident agent, Roger Stafford, says: “Keith has always been on hand to advise and assist on any estate matters. His knowledge of the Estate is immense and he is a vital cog in the estate machine.”



  • John Lanham
  • Dalton Estate Woods
     forestry duo win award 07 11
  • 37 years
  • Jim Mortlock
  • Mulgrave Estate
  • 40 years

Foresters from two of Yorkshire’s best known estates received Long Service Awards from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) at the Great Yorkshire Show.

John Lanham, 62, from South Dalton started work in the Dalton Estate Woods department in South Dalton, East Yorkshire, in 1975, having previously worked in a joinery shop making coffins. He is now Dalton Estate’s Head Woodsman. Jim Mortlock, 56, from Sandsend, left school aged 16 to work at the Mulgrave Estate near Whitby as a Woodsman 40 years ago. He is now their Head Forester.

Presenting the awards, RFS President Anthony Bosanquet said: “Between them John and Jim have a lifetime of experience and skills which they are using to ensure that the woods on both estates continue to flourish for future generations.

Of John, Simon Fairbank, Dalton Estate Agent, said: “He is particularly skilful at felling large hardwood trees in difficult locations, and is always prepared to turn out in an emergency and turn his hand to whatever is required. John has established and maintained successfully, many acres of trees on the Dalton Estate, which will be a legacy to his work on the Estate.”

Jim Mortlock, 56, whose father was a policeman turned publican who kept the Fishermen’s Tavern in Whitby, joined the Mulgrave Estate from Caedmaon School and went on block releases to Newton Rigg Agricultural College in Penrith to train as a professional forester followed by two years of day release at York Technical College studying Business Studies.

He has recently been instrumental in developing the woods department of the Mulgrave Estate into a stand-alone commercial operation.