Award for Forestry Business Builder John

When John Park joined the Witherslack estate team in Cumbria in 1987 as Assistant Woodman, the forestry team was delivering just 100 tons of firewood within the village.

By Wendy Necar · October 2, 2023

Pictured left to right:  John Park, RFS President Ben Herbert and Witherslack Estate owner Nicholas Stanley

Go forward 36 years and it is a very different picture!

Before joining the Witherslack team, John had done a variety of farming, forestry and sawmill jobs since leaving Cartmel School.

When he arrived, the two woodmen had an old farm tractor and trailer, a pick-up that could barely travel on-road, never mind off-road. They delivered about 100 tons of firewood within the village.

Over the next 15 years, the team grew to three, acquired a Land Rover, and a drying shed.

In 2002, John became Head Woodman. The team moved to the former farmyard at Halecat and 20 years of growth, expansion and new machinery began.

John led Witherslack Woodlands to Cumbria Woodlands ‘Best Large Business’ Award in 2011. He devised new ways of air-drying and handling firewood and oversaw growth to five full time foresters and sales of over 1,000 tonnes a year. He became well-known in the South Lakes as the firewood man in his red Land Rover.

John retired in June this year. He was presented with his 36 years Long Service Award by RFS President Ben Herbert at a meeting of the North Western Division at Bryerswood Estate, Ambleside.