Bookings now closed! Whole Society Meeting 2023
This year is kindly hosted by our South Eastern Division, join us for four days of fascinating visits, talks and the RFS Annual Dinner.
Programme for the Whole Society Meeting
Tuesday 09 May – Torry Hill Estate
Torry Hill is a family-owned estate on the North Downs with arable, stone fruit and livestock enterprises. The forestry operation of 1400 acres is principally focused on growing high quality chestnut coppice to supply the estate’s manufacturing business.
AM: We will focus on chestnut coppice; management at different stages of the coppice cycle and see how historically the mixed coppice with standards has been moved towards more intensive production. We will also look at newly established chestnut planted recently to be managed as coppice. Then a brief look at post 87 hardwood planting.
PM: After lunch we will visit the fencing factory to see the different uses of coppice. The day will end with tea and a tour of the Torry Hill gardens.
Wednesday 10 May – Montreal Estate
The Montreal Estate comprises 2500 acres of Kent countryside and contract farms another 1500 acres. It has one of the largest commercial forests in the South-East, with over 1000 acres of diverse woodland. The estate is involved in many rural activities that contribute to the current rural environment such as: arable, livestock forestry and renewable energy enterprises.
AM: We will focus on the biomass operations with a demonstration of thinning processes and the capabilities of the Musmax chipper. We will also look at the newly created fencing using Estate chestnut product and a recently planted small Christmas tree plantation.
PM: After lunch we will have a demonstration of charcoal and chestnut fencing production. Then visit the Forestry school and have a discussion on the management of public encroachment as a consequence of the proximity to London and post the pandemic.
Thursday 11 May – Hole Park Estate
The 2500 acre Hole Park Estate has been owned by the Barham family since 1911 who have maintained a diversified forestry department around the traditional coppice with standards regime that is so typical of the area.
AM: We will start at Lambsland Farm, Rolvenden viewing the highly productive cricket bat willow plantation grown as Agroforestry (silvo-pasture) within Stewardship. We will then go to Stumble Wood, Rolvenden to look at coppice with standard management.
PM: We will move to Beacon Farm, Benenden to see Christmas tree production of Nordman, Norway and other lesser species grown for the local market. Demonstrations of ground preparation planting, tree management and harvesting will be given. We will then walk to Hole Park Gardens to enjoy the 16 acres of garden and their famous visitor attraction the bluebell wood, which will be in flower, before ending with teas in the coach house. Annual dinner in the evening at Dale Hill Hotel.
Friday 12 May – Bedgebury Forest and Pinetum
Bedgebury Forest and Pinetum comprises some 890 hectares within the heart of the High Weald AONB. It is largely designated a mixture of PAWS and ASNW with lesser areas being more newly established woodland first planted in the 1990s. The National Pinetum is home to a world-leading collection of conifers and contains over 12,000 specimen trees.
AM: We will start the tour from the visitor centre being guided through the conifer collection by the tree team. A look around the nursery and conifer species plots will follow to complete a morning focusing on the importance of the conifer conservation work being undertaken by the Pinetum, and the role of conifers in the wider forestry context.
PM: After lunch we will venture into the woodland where a new conifer species trial is being established by Forest Research and we can view a demonstration site focusing on natural flood management in the woodland environment.
To book your day tickets and annual dinner, please download the booking forms below. For hotel information and annual dinner menu, please see the pdf documents below.