Print page print this page

2012 Winner


2012 - RFS Sylva Trophy winner

The Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) 2012 Sylva trophy to recognise a person who has made an extraordinary contribution to woodland or forestry management has been presented to John Greenshields, from Park Farm, Wellington, Somerset.

Recognising an extraordinary contribution: Anthony Bosanquet, left, past President of the RFS,Sylvatrophy12 Johngreenshieldsanthonybosanquet Clr 170914 Pt presents John Greenshields with the 2012 Sylva Cup.

John was nominated by the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, by East Devon AONB Partnership and by the Forestry Commission’s Neroche Partnership who said: “John’s passion for woods and wood products makes him an extraordinary ambassador for our native woodlands. He is certainly deserving of wider recognition.”

John is a farmer whose passion for woodlands, their sustainable management and local wood products has led him to involve and inspire others. His most recent project is The Living Tree Bank – tree mapping of standing trees to help increase the value of standing trees for their owners.

He argues that, under the present grant schemes, felling licences are being granted for thinning trees without the trees that might be capable of being used in construction being graded while still standing. This leads to the owner not getting the best price and waste.

John says: “I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the nomination and subsequent award, and I am honoured to receive it for something that I regard as pleasure. I am always pleasantly surprised at the love and enthusiasm of woodland owners which, together with their commitment, keeps our countryside the way it is.”

John has always been keen to lead by example. He has not only increased the woodlands on his own holding to 40 hectares but he set up the Blackdown and East Devon Woodland Association ( which is now a thriving organisation, encouraging woodland owners and contractors to work together and exchange ideas.

He also instigated a pilot project to discover the aspirations of the owners of the many woodlands that exist within the Blackdown AONB and, using the information, embarked on a two-year project with the Silvanus Trust called Working Our Woodlands to encourage woodland owners to manage their woodlands and work together. John has also worked extensively with local schools and community groups. He practises what he preaches, heating three houses with wood fuel harvested on his own farm!