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Whole Society Meeting 2021 - North West Midlands Division


Dates - 13, 14 and 15 July 2021

Base hotel - Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, Telford TF7 4DT

Hosted by - North West Midlands Division


This year, the RFS has taken a fresh approach to the Whole Society Meeting with the aim of delivering an engaging and informative event while keeping our members, volunteers and hosts safe.  We are delighted to offer three wonderful days of forestry in mid-July but scaled back in anticipation of returning to a full-scale WSM in 2022.  We would like to give sincere thanks to the North West Midlands Divisional Committee and hosts for planning with such optimism in difficult circumstances, and who are kindly hosting again with their full original programme in 2022.


Prees Heath Wsm 2021 Aqualate Wsm
Prees Heath Forest Nurseries Aqualate Estate


Tuesday 13 July – Leaton Knolls Estate

The 1500-acre Leaton Knolls Estate, 250 acres of which is woodland, was purchased by the late 6th Earl of Bradford in 1947.  His son, Charles Bridgeman, is hosting what promised to be a very interesting day.   A programme of felling and restocking using intimate mixtures, led by noted Head Forester Phillip Hutt, was undertaken, retaining many original mature conifers planted from the 1840s onwards.  A move to CCF is currently proposed following instances of landslip on steep slopes.  Species stock is broad with a focus on Douglas fir and oak, and the estate also sells 2000 Christmas trees every year and grows cricket bat willow on suitable sites.

Wednesday 14 July – Prees Heath Forest Nurseries and Aqualate Estate

AM- Prees Heath Forest Nurseries. Started by David Gwillam in 1979 on a 6-acre site growing conifers for the forestry market, the nurseries soon expanded to include broadleaves and hedging shrubs, and at their height were growing an incredible 10 million trees per annum across 72 acres.  With the benefit of excellent heathland soils producing good fibrous roots, the nurseries have developed a nationwide customer base of foresters, farmers, landowners and conservation groups.  We will enjoy a comprehensive tour of their range of trees, hedging plants, feathered whips, and pot- and cell-grown trees and shrubs.

PM – Aqualate Estate.  We start the tour with a short walk to the mere to discuss wetland habitats hosted by Natural England who manage this part of the estate. From there we will move on to some recently thinned mixed woodlands to discuss recent operations, future work, new planting and general management issues, hosted by the owners and the agent.  To finish, we walk up to the house where the owner will give an informative chat about the history of the estate, the house and gardens, the ancient parkland and the deer herd.  

Thursday 15 July – Raby Estate

Owned and managed by Lord Barnard’s family for several generations, the Shropshire Raby Estate comprises a rich mixture of broadleaf and lowland conifer woodland, tenanted properties and in-hand farming operation. The focus for the day at Raby will be the Wrekin woodlands, a 240ha block which occupies a prominent position in the north Shropshire landscape. Topics for discussion will include public access and recreation along side long term management for sustainable timber production, forest health, landscape and conservation.


How will we keep members safe?

  • Group sizes restricted to 30 per day.
  • No use of coaches - guests will drive to each venue using their own vehicles (venues between 30 mins and 1 hour from the hotel have been selected).
  • AGM to take place by Zoom on 10 May.  Details of the Society’s online AGM and talk on grey squirrel fertility control on Monday 10 May, and how you can get involved, can be found on the Conferences and Seminars page here
  • No Annual Dinner.
  • COVID safety measures to be implemented at each venue as needed. 


How do I book?


  • To book over the phone please contact RFS HQ on 01295 678588 and make payment by debit card, credit card or BACS.   Please give details of any food allergies/dietary restrictions when you book.
  • Alternatively, please complete the booking form in the green "Resources" box in the top right hand corner of this page and email it to us at and we will contact you for payment. 
  • Please book early to avoid disappointment as numbers are strictly limited. 
  • If you plan to stay at the base hotel please book your room as soon as you have booked your WSM tickets.  Information on the hotel can be found in the green "Resources" box below the booking form.
  • Closing date for bookings is 15 May 2021.   
  • Please note the above programme may be subject to change, and ticket holders will be refunded in full if COVID guidelines prevent the WSM from going ahead. 
Get in touch
Tel:01295 678588
Fax:01295 670798