The RFS at 140!

To mark the 140th anniversary of the Royal Forestry Society we have planted Wild Service trees and a Ginkgo biloba to make our Hockeridge Wood tree trail even more diverse.

By Wendy Necar · October 25, 2022

The Wild Service Trees were donated and planted by the RFS’s first Director, Esmond Harris who helped steer the organisation forward from his appointment in 1975. The Ginkgo was planted by long time member Peter Schweiger who donated it, with help from Kitty Hall, Chair of our Board of Trustees and Sophie Carabine, Past President.

Esmond said:“ Hockeridge is already a fabulous example of a diverse lowland wood. There are more than 50 species here. The Ginkgo and the Wild Service trees will be a fabulous addition to the existing Giant and Coast redwoods, Tulip tree, Southern beech and Red oak. These are all growing well here among the more traditional forestry trees such as Beech, Oak, Scots pine, Norway spruce and European larch.

“With the uncertainties of climate change, it is important our woodlands are genetically diverse and species rich. If any species fails, diversity will allow others to continue to provide canopy cover and the many environmental and economic benefits of woodlands.”

Fittingly, Esmond planted the trees with a ceremonial spade presented by his wife Jeannette to the Society in 1984 during the Whole Society Meeting to the Dukeries. Its twin had been presented the day before to HRH King Charles III, then Prince of Wales and president of the RFS during its centenary. Jeannette’s brother’s firm in Warrington had forged the spade and made two in case of a mistake!

October’s issue of the QJF looks back at 140 years of the RFS and the voices of eight of our current members. In it, Chief Executive Christopher Williams outlines our commitment to engaging enthusing and inspiring people into careers in forestry. He says: “ The achievements of the past 140 years provide plenty of sources of hope and inspiration and as we look forwards and prove that working together for a common cause and interest can bring rich rewards.”