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Previous Years

2019

50 year awards

David Spooner, Walsingham Estate, Norfolk

40 year awards

Mick Dickinson, Abbeystead Estate, Lancashire

Freddy Futter, Holkham Estate, Norfolk

Simon Tremain, West England Forest District, Forestry England 

30 year awards

Clive Hunt, West England Forest District, Forestry England 

Mark Jeffery, West England Forest District, Forestry England 

Andrew Love, Powis Castle Estate, Powys, Wales 


 

Abbeystead Estate Head Forester  

The head forester of the Abbeystead Estate in Lancashire has been rewarded for more than 40 years’ service.

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Celebrating 40 years of great forestry: From left,  Eddie Cruickshank, Chair of RFS North Western Division, RFS Chair Kitty Martin, Abbeystead head forester Mick Dickinson and the Duke of Westminster

Mick Dickinson, of the Abbeystead Estate, situated in the Trough of Bowland, Lancashire, received a medal and certificate for his service to both the estate and woodland management, improving its safety and quality, for conservation of the landscape, timber production and as a habitat. 

Mick, aged 60, began working at Abbeystead in the 1970s under the stewardship of the Earls of Sefton before rising to the role of Head Forester after it was bought by the Trustees of the Grosvenor Estate in 1980.

“There’s no comparison between 40 years ago and now,” said Mick. “The industry is a lot more progressive. At Abbeystead we have a long-term management plan and there is a lot more planting. You can see the positive impact we’re having on the landscape and the environment. It’s very satisfying when you can see the results of your day’s work. In years to come, I’ll be able to show my grandchildren and say I planted those trees and managed that woodland.”

As well as managing the estate’s forestry, firewood and biomass fuel businesses, throughout the years Mick and the team have rescued injured dogs, lost walkers and regularly engage with the public about the importance of woodland management. 

Neil Kilgour, Agent, Abbeystead Estate, said: “Mick is a fantastic ambassador for sustainable woodland management, the forestry industry and for the Abbeystead Estate. He fully deserves this recognition. It is the aim of the estate to contribute to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the communities we are part of, and Mick has personified this throughout his career.”

Abbeystead is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and more than two thirds of the estate is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its rare habitat and the flora and fauna it supports.

The estate brings a sustainable approach to the stewardship of land, property and the environment, increasing biodiversity. It is home to some of the strongest populations in the UK of red listed species such as curlew and lapwing.


 

From Garden Boy to Head Forester

From Garden Boy to Head Forester – a remarkable career spanning more than 50 years with the Walsingham Estate in Norfolk was marked with an award from the Royal Forestry Society at the Royal Norfolk Show for David Spooner.

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David, who lives in Great Walsingham, was presented with the award at the President’s Pavilion LawnDeputy President of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, The Most Honourable the Marquess of Cholmondeley KCVO DL presents the 50 year award to David Spooner. Picture Credit:  J Bass 

Although David joined the Walsingham Estate team as a Garden Boy in 1968 his association with the Estate dates even further back as he recalls delivering flowers from the gardens on a handcart around the village on Saturdays and during school holidays aged only 11!

David became Head Forester in 2002. He says: “I have always loved working in the woods, doing everything from planting to felling.”

David’s son Ben is now following in his father’s footsteps as a forestry contractor.  

John Downing, Resident Land Agent for Walsingham Estate says: “David has been a greatly valued part of our Estate team for over 50 years, starting part time in the gardens and then joining the forestry team. He retires with our thanks and very best wishes. We are pleased that he will continue living on the Estate and helping out from time to time.”

Walsingham Estate has traditional mixed woodlands of around 180 acres.

 


 Surprise Award for Holkham Estate Forester

A forester from the Holkham Estate in Norfolk received a surprise award when members of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) from across the country visited the Sotterley Estate in Suffolk as part of a five-day tour of East Anglia.

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Freddy Futter wth his award for 40 years service

Picture: Taber Photography

Freddy Futter, 68, who lives in Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea, was presented with an Award by RFSPresident Andrew Woods, recognising his 40 years working on the Holkham Estate’s 870 hectares of woodland while on the visit to the Sotterley Estate – work which has included helping to extract fine hardwood timber.

Head forester Harry Wakefield said: “Freddy has been an asset to the Holkham forestry department over the last 40 years. His experience, pride and knowledge of the woodland has been invaluable.”

Freddy said: “The day was very enjoyable and informative. I have to say that I was overwhelmed and very much surprised to be given the award and I would like to thank Harry and the Holkham forestry team for their support.”

Approximately 500 hectares of woodland is contained within Holkham Park. A further 145 hectares is within Holkham National Nature Reserve and the balance is dispersed across the estate. The forestry team focuses on delivering the best hardwoods and softwoods wherever they occur while manging woodland to preserve and enhance the historic landscape.


Powis Castle woodsman in the spotlight

The work of a woodsman at Powis Castle Estate for more than three decades was recognised with a Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Award at the Royal Welsh Show.

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Andrew Love at Powis Castle Estate Receiving his award

Among Andrew Love’s many achievements on the estate was the felling of trees to help replace the timbers lost in the fire at York Minster.

Andrew, 57, who lives in Montgomery, was presented with the award by outgoing Chair of the RFS North Wales Division Robert Jones-Perrott.

Andrew's work on the estate had begun with thinning mature oak trees 34 years ago and Estate Manager Jack Tavernor says: “ Andy has shown great dedication to the Estate, his work is first class and he is a real asset to the team. He has seen the end result from clear falls and replanting, regrown to thinning.”

Powis Castle Estate has approximately 607ha (1,500ac) of mixed woodland. It has a strong reputation for pro-active management and is renowned for producing some great specimen oak.


Devon's 'legendary' trio

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Devon’s ‘legendary’ forestry trio: From the left, Clive Hunt, Mark Jeffery and Simon Tremain with Lord Clinton, past President of the Royal Forestry Society, who presented the awards

Three forestry “legends” have received prestigious awards when the Royal Forestry Society’s South Western Division met at Eggesford Forest, near Chawleigh, Devon.

Between them, Clive Hunt from Dalton, Mark Jeffery from Tavistock and Simon Tremain from Okehampton have more than 117 years of service with Forestry England (an agency of the Forestry Commission) across woodland in North and South Devon.

Simon Tremain, who has clocked up 46 years, joined the Forestry Commission in October 1973. He was the last Forestry Commission machine operator in the South West and took part in a 1989 Challenge Anneka to transform a derelict barn into a boat house. He also helped to create the commemorative planting at Eggesford to mark the 75th anniversary of the Commission.

Clive Hunt has worked on the Eggesford Forest blocks for almost 40 years under 11 successive foresters. He also took part in Challenge Anneka and was later instrumental in helping to establish a successful Forest Craftsperson Apprenticeship scheme to mould the next generation of forestry professionals.

Mark Jeffery has 32 years’ service on Dartmoor and in Tavistock Woodlands, and received a Civil Service Award for the work he carried out supervising a Dartmoor Prison rehabilitation project for 12 years. He has twice been a runner up in Devon’s felling championships.

Lord Clinton of Clinton Devon Estates and a past president of the Royal Forestry Society made the awards.

Kay Greenwell, North Devon Beat Forester & Ben Philipps, South Devon Beat Forester said: “Clive, Mark and Simon have made an outstanding contribution to woodlands across Devon.  They are very capable and take immense pride in the work that that they do, setting high standards for themselves and those around them. We cannot do justice to their contributions over the years.’’

‘’Signs of Mark’s contributions can be seen throughout Dartmoor and Plym and his work rate is legendary. Clive and Simon have helped to shape Eggesford and the wider North Devon beat, showing dedication throughout their careers and taking particular pride in mentoring and developing apprentices.’’

“They all have a wealth of knowledge and passion for forestry, particularly timber production, and continue to look for ways of improving the quality of the timber in the area.”

 

2018

Bar

Daniel Trevarthen, Duchy of Cornwall Restormel Estate

Ernie Fry, Balcombe Estate

 

50 years

Nigel Kendell, Duchy of Cornwall Restormel Estate

 

40 years

Clive Boniface, Balcombe Estate

Sandy Lewis, Balcombe Estate

Nicholas Martin, Balcombe Estate 

Mark Napper, Balcombe Estate

 

30 years 

Russell Law, Balcombe Estate

Keith Pike, Clifford Estate, Devon

Daniel Roy Trevarthen, Duchy of Cornwall Restormel Estate 

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Pictured from the left, Balcombe Estate’s woodsmen: Sandy Lewis, Nicholas Martin, RFS Past President Sophie Churchill OBE, owner Mrs Greenwood, Mark Napper, Ernie Fry, owner Mr Greenwood, Russell Law and Clive Boniface. See details below

 


 248 years and counting - the Balcombe six 

Six woodsmen from the Balcombe Estate, Haywards Heath have received Royal Forestry Society awards in recognition of their astonishing 248 years of experience and knowledge managing and improving the estate’s 500ha of woodland.

The awards were presented by RFS Immediate Past President Sophie Churchill OBE when the RFS  South Eastern Division visited the estate’ to see its growing and processing of timber. Awards went to:

Clive Boniface, 63, a great all rounder particularly known for his coppicing of sweet chestnut and thinning plantations. Over the last 44 years he has improved no end of the estate’s woodlands with his work is second to none.

Ernie Fry, 73, who has worked in both the woods and the sawmill over the past 40 years. With his ready smile he has mastered the controls of a timber crane and continues to extract timber from the woodlands.

Russell Law, 53, is the main tractor driver for the forestry department, hauling timber on the MB TRAC, hedgecutting and running the wood chip enterprise.  He joined the estate straight from school as a YTS worker 37 years ago.

Sandy Lewis, 75, has worked for the estate for 43 years. He drove the Volvo forwarder in the post 1987 storm clearance operations and controlled grey squirrels until Warfarin was removed from forest use. These days he prunes Christmas trees and maintains footpaths on the estate. Sandy was the son of the estate’s former head gamekeeper Jack Lewis and his brother Kendrick was the head forester for 50+ years.

Nicholas Martin, 65, received his medal for 43 years’ service. He operated a Hymac/Tapio harvester throughout the clear-up operations after the 1987 storm and is particularly noted for his large hardwood tree felling abilities. A great woodsman, Nick ‘encouraged’ natural regeneration in many a woodland area by spreading acorns around during his lunch breaks!

Mark Napper, 56, is an all rounder whose ability with a brushcutter is second to none, the only thing that slows him down is the machine itself! Phenomenally strong, Mark is your man if you need something pushed, pulled or lifted out of the way! He has worked on the estate for 41 years

Owned by the Greenwood family, the Balcombe Estate woodland has a long history of management with an emphasis on managing for both country sports and timber production. Situated in the high weald the estate also aims to maintain the landscape characteristics of this AONB.


Clifford Estate Head Forester: 36 years' service 

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Keith Pike, centre, receives his award from RFS President Andrew Woods, left, and The Honourable Alexander Cliffor Keith Pike at work! 

Head of Forestry at the Clifford Estate’s Ugbrooke Park, Chudleigh, Devon, Keith Pike, from Newton Abbot, was presented with a medal for 36 years’ service when the RFS Whole Society Meeting visited the Clinton Devon Estate.

He had joined the estate when he was 16 and now runs a team of three. During his time on the estate he has dealt with the after effects of the great storms of 1987 and implemented the Parkland Restoration Plan drawn up in 1993 to restore the landscape of Ugbrooke Park to the form and extent shown in the historic Capability Brown plans.

Keith has worked closely with both the 14th Lord Clifford and in the last three years with his son, The Honourable Alexander Clifford, who said: “Keith is incredibly dedicated and it is obvious that he lives and breathes his job and the wellbeing of the estate.”


Duchy trio receive awards 

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Awards presentation, from left: RFS President Andrew Woods, Nigel Kendell, Daniel and Daniel Roy Trevarthen and Duchy of Cornwall Head Forester Geraint Richards  At work: From left, son and father Daniel Roy and Daniel Trevarthen  Relaxing away from work: Nigel Kendell 

When the RFS Whole Society Meerting visited the Duchy of Cornwall Restormel Estate, a three-strong team received recognition: Nigel Kendell from Truro, a Forestry Contractor who has worked for the Duchy in various capacities for nearly 55 years received a medal; Daniel Trevarthen of St Austell, (48 years' service) added a bar to an existing RFS medal, while his son Daniel Roy also from St Austell (34 years' service) received a medal.

For Nigel, there is immense pride looking back over half a century at seeing small conifer plants he had put into bare ground now mature and standing tall at Arrallas Drive.

He says: “I came to join the forestry team after helping my father who was a firewood contractor felling firewood for the Duchy. I was at Ladock Wood with my father when the then head forester, Mr Jim Duguid, asked if I would like to join the Duchy team on a month’s trial and here I am 55 years later

“For the last few years my daughter Kate has been helping me with the planting and weeding.

“I have enjoyed many aspects of the job, one of the highlights is having the honour of meeting Prince Charles.”

 

2017

 

40 years

Clive Quinnell, Cowdray Estate, West Sussex

30 years

Stewart Craig, Knightshayes Estate, Devon

Shaun Hyde, Cowdray Estate, West Sussex


 

Douglas Fir - Stewart's pride! 

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Stewart Craig of Tiverton, Devon who has retired after 34 years managing the woodlands on the Knightshayes Estate in Devon, has recieved a 30 years Long Service Award. 

Stewart initially trained in Scotland and then worked on an Estate in Hampshire before joining the Woodland team at Knightshayes in 1982.  Since 1990 he was in sole charge of the 241 hectares (596 acres) of woods.

Stewart was presented with his RFS Long Service Medal and Certificate by Sir Ian Heathcoat Amory, who commented, “The woods at the time of Stewart’s retirement were looking the best that they have ever been”.  Stewart felt his main achievement was “producing some superb Douglas Fir plantations having seen them through from the young plantations he inherited to now starting to be felled.”

 


 

 Awards for Cowdray foresters

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RFS President Sophie Churchill OBE presents awards to Clive Quinnell (top) and Shaun Hyde 

Two foresters who have helped develop the Cowdray Estate's magnificent mixed woodlands in West Sussex over many decades have received long service awards.

Clive Quinnell has worked on the estate for more than 40 years and Shaun Hyde for more than 30 years.

Clive was recruited into the Woods Department at the age of 16 by the then Head Forester, John Hulme. He has worked on the Forest Maintenance team throughout his career and is immensely proud of his part in establishing the high quality plantations that are maturing today

Richard Everett, Forest Manager, says: "Clive has been and continues to be a valuable member of the Woods Department team. His commitment to his work over such a long period has helped ensure that future generations can enjoy productive well managed woodlands at Cowdray for years to come."

Shaun Hyde arrived on the Estate in 1987, a few months before the great storm. He started on establishment duties but after the storm was moved onto harvesting where he stayed for 17 years, undertaking motor manual harvesting. Thirteen years ago Shaun moved onto the new mobile sawbench and has been the lead sawyer on the Estate ever since.

Richard Everett says: "Shaun is a valued member of the Woods team. In his current role he is helping to add value to the Estate's timber and looking to diversify the range of products that we produce."

Cowdray Estate is a mixed rural Estate in West Sussex covering 16,500 acres of which a third is woodland. The woods are a diverse mix of conifers and broadleaves and are managed primarily for the production of high quality timber as well as environmental and social benefits.

Both men are following in well trodden family footsteps. Clive is a 4th generation Quinnell on the Estate. His Great Grandfather worked on the Estate, his Grandfather was a lorry driver on the Works department and his Father was a Mechanic in the Works Department.

Shaun's parents worked for Charles Pearson, Lord Cowdray's brother, as gardener and housekeeper, one of Shaun's  brothers is Lord Cowdray's chauffeur,  his wife works in the Estate Office and his nephew works with the Cowdray Works Department.

 

2016

40 years

Peter Archer, Raby Estate

Roger Fitter MBE, Hascombe Estate

Malcolm Whittle, Ford and Etal Estates

 

30 years  

Nick Baimbridge, Belnheim Palace Estates

John Docherty, Ford and Etal Estates

Hywel Gethin Evans, Lydney Park

Stephen Fairnington, Ford and Etal Estates

 


Three great foresters have been recognised for their work with the Ford & Etal Estates' Forestry department in Northumberland. They received their RFS Long Service Awards presented by the Duke of Roxburghe at a Border Union Agricultural Society event at Kelso.

John Docherty, 36 years of service

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Receiving RFS Long Service Awards, from left: Stephen Fairnington, Malcolm Whittle, and John Docherty from the Ford and Etal Estates. Picture copyright Hector Innes Photography

Stephen Fairnington, 32 years of service

Malcolm Whittle, 41 years of service

Ford and Etal Estates, Northumberland

On the Ford and Etal Estates, around 650 hectares is given over to commercial forestry and amenity woodland.The forestry department is responsible for the planting, thinning and felling of trees and the maintenance of fences, gates and stiles around the estate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hywel Gethin Evans

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Hywel Gethin Evans, left, receives his RFS LSA from Viscount Bledisloe

Lydney Park

38 years 

Born in Carmarthenshire, Gethin had started his career in the army with the Royal Engineers. With his engineering background, Gethin was drawn towards operating forest tractors and machinery early in his career on the Estate.  With Crawler Bulldozers, County Tractors, and now his Valtra, Gethin has hauled or winched out almost every piece of timber felled on the Estate in the last 38 years, and is a highly skilled operator of timber cranes. He remains an active and highly valued member of the Forestry Team and can be found daily "Tidying Up" after the chainsaw cutters.

Viscount Bledisloe presented the award during a visit by the RFS Gloucestershire Division to Lydney Park. He also gave a personal tribute to Gethin on behalf of both himself and his late father, the 3rd Viscount, thanking him for his service and efforts on the estate. This was echoed by the words of appreciation of current Head Forester, Chris Waskett.

In keeping with his industrious nature, Gethin spent most of his special day, driving the visitors round on their tour of the extensive woodlands


Roger Fitter MBE

Hascombe Estate, Surrey

44 years

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Roger Fitter, left, receives his award at an RFS South Eastern Division event

Roger has spent 44 years managing Hascombe Estate woodlands and has put a huge amount of effort in to restocking the woodland after it was windblown in 1987. He has also been actively encouraging the chestnut coppice industry in terms of traditional management and also for biomass

His career began after leaving school in August 1952 working for the Woodland Management Association. After National Service in the RAF and time spent working for the newly formed Wealden Woodlands he went to the Forestry Commission Forestry School in the Forest of Dean where he obtained a Foresters Certificate. Roger returned to Wealden Woodlands, which later became English Woodlands, as an Area Manager and later a Director, managing many woodland estates in West Sussex, including the Barlavington Estate owned by Sir Ian Anstruther.

When Sir Ian purchased the Hascombe Estate in 1972, Roger was asked to manage it. The first job was to improve the internal access, bulldozing a number of new rides to allow a major thinning programme to begin.  

The storm in 1987 caused major damage which took nearly three years to clear up. There followed several years of restocking, which has just been thinned for the first time.

Roger officially retired in 1996, but continued to act as a forestry consultant for English Woodlands and for a short time for Tilhill who took over English Woodland's forestry business. Since 2010 he has been an independent consultant, still managing many of the woodlands he looked after in the English Woodlands days, including Hascombe where he organises all the forestry operations and helps out from time to time with a bit of manual labour.

Roger says: " Although I am now 81 years old, I have no intention of retiring as I get enormous pleasure from what I do, having many clients who seem to appreciate my efforts."

 


Peter Archer

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Peter Archer, right, receives his award at the Great Yorkshire Show from David Carter, chairman of the RFS Yorkshire Division. Picture: Yorkshire Agricutlural Society

Raby Estate, County Durham

40 years

Peter, who lives on the Raby Estate, Staindrop, County Durham, first went to Raby on a work experience scheme in 1976. A year later, when he left school, he was taken on as a trainee woodman, progressing to working a supervisor. These days an increasing amount of his time is spent working in the Estate’s developing firewood business which produces and delivers hardwood and softwood logs from timber harvested from the Estate's plantations.

The Estate, owned by Lord Barnard’s family since 1629, has a long history of active forest management. The woodlands cover an extensive area in Teesdale, with a diverse mixture of broadleaf and coniferous plantations.

The Raby Estate is proud of its production of high quality timber, conservation and maintenance of the landscape which are all key aspects in the day to day working in the woodlands. In recent years the Estate receiving RFS and RASE silviculture awards and 2nd place in the RFS Duke of Cornwall Award.

Lord Barnard of Raby Estates says: " Peter has worked loyally for the Estate for the past 40 years over which he has seen considerable change in the forest industry and working practices on the Estate. During this time he has developed his skills as a woodman, taking on an increasing range of tasks in the Estate’s forestry business."


 

Nick Baimbridge

Blenheim Palace Estates, Oxfordshire

30 years

The magnificent woodlands and parkland around the Blenheim Palace estate have been created over hundreds of years, and, during CountryfileLive, the RFS presented a Long Service Award to forestry foreman Nick Baimbridge whose work over the past 30 years means visitors for many more generations will be able to enjoy the landscape.

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Above: From left: Charlotte Smith, John Craven ,RFS President Sophie Churchill OBE, Nick Baimbridge, and His Grace, the Duke of Marlborough.

Below, waiting to go in to the green room, from left: His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, RFS Oxon and Bucks Div Chairman Nick Mottram, John Craven, Nick Baimbridge, Sophie Churchill and RFS Oxon and Bucks Secretary Tim Shardlow  

The presentation was made to a packed audience in the National Trust Theatre, with BBC presenter John Craven talking to Nick Baimbridge and His Grace The Duke of Marlborough praising Nick as the "quintessential carer" of the estate's woodlands and landscape.

Nick started work at Blenheim Palace at the age of 16 as a student and is now the forestry foreman leading a team of four. Everyone who visits Blenheim Palace Estate benefits from his hard work within the park which is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the renowned Capability Brown's finest landscapes.

Nick and his team look after over 2,000 acres of woods at the Palace which is visited by 900,000 people a year. Under his care is one of Europe’s most important SSSI veteran oak woodlands. Some of the trees in those woodlands, including the mighty ‘King Oak’ date back over 1,000 years. Alongside the woodland and parkland management Nick’s team also grow and sell over 1,500 Christmas trees on the estate each year.

The Royal Forestry, through its Future Foresters programme, is actively encouraging more people to consider forestry as a career. RFS President Sophie Churchill who presented the award to Nick says: "Everyone who comes here sees and wonders at the landscape, but it is the unseen work of people like Nick and his team that make it possible and viable. The knowledge and skills which Nick has built up over the years are invaluable and the evidence of his great work is something we can all enjoy.

"Forestry needs people like Nick and many others to ensure that our woodlands remain resilient and flourish into the future. Most foresters will also agree, that this is one of the most enjoyable, and rewarding careers you can opt for."

John Hoy, Chief Executive of Blenheim Palace, said: “Nick has been a wonderful asset for the Estate since he first started here on a 2-year YTS Forestry Scheme back in 1986. It was a very easy decision to offer him a full time role and he has been an integral part of the forestry team since that time. Nick has proven to be a wonderful role model for his profession and he has given fantastic service to the Estate across the last three decades. It is vital that the woodlands across the estate are managed with care – not least because of the world heritage status and the Capability Brown influences – and Nick and his colleagues have overseen that work and will continue to do into the future. We are very proud of Nick’s long service here at Blenheim Palace and we thank him for his huge contribution to the Estate.”

Looking back over his 30 years Nick says: “The reason I took up forestry was that I was an outdoor lad, interested in nature and I didn't want to be stuck inside working in an office. What I enjoy the most is the variety of work we do - never enough time to get bored but the proudest moment that sticks out is being involved in the One Oak project starting in 2012, which at the time was the most studied oak tree in Britain. I would encourage people to take up forestry, it is a great way of life and woodlands always need managing.