[W]oodlands and community projects from Cumbria and Lancashire were among those receiving the Royal Forestry Society’s ( RFS) Excellence in Forestry Awards 2016 at an event in Leeds.
Amongst many very excellent entries, the Excellence in Forestry Award winners 2016 were outstanding, Royal Forestry Society President Sophie Churchill told all those gathered at Lotherton Hall near Leeds for the presentations.
And, as a learned and learning organisation, she said, it is right that the RFS takes a lead in identifying and rewarding those who are managing their woods well and sustainably for the future or who are passing on learning and helping to share best practice.
Taking Gold in the Small and Farm Woodland Award is Sawrey Ground Plantation, near Hawskhead, Cumbria, where horse logging has been used to benefit woodland management.
Judges said: “We were extremely impressed by this example of a genuinely multipurpose woodland…. Short haulage distances to the chip producer and mill mean that operations are viable even with low impact horse logging, which is used throughout the wood. This minimises the damage to ground flora, while conservation measures include natural reserves and thinning to promote veteran trees and wet open habitats.”
Owner Gary Primrose says: “For us a multipurpose woodland is not only a much more interesting and delightful place to visit or work in but at Sawrey Ground Plantation we have tried to show that it can be possible to increase biodiversity, enhance the local landscape within the Lake District National Park, maintain public access and promote forest education as well as having a productive wood that is able to meet its costs. It is also a living testament to the value of using horses for extraction on difficult sites such as ours.”
Taking Gold in the Education and Learning Awards is the remarkable Bill Hogarth (MBE) Memorial Apprenticeship Trust (BHMAT), based in Carnforth, Lancashire, which runs an apprenticeship scheme in coppice skills
Judges said: ” We were very impressed by the way in which the training pathway integrated the fundamental elements of traditional coppice management, sound business management and the development of novel markets. The overall vision for the scheme is being realised through outstanding leadership.”
Kath Morgan, BHMAT Co-ordinator, said :”We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. It’s a wonderful acknowledgement of coppicing and its importance in woodland management, of the apprenticeship scheme which has been thoughtfully developed to be the best it can be, of all the people who work with and support the Trust, and of Bill Hogarth, who dedicated his life to coppicing and sharing his skills and knowledge.”
Taking Silver in the same award was the Full Cycle project, led by Campaign for National Parks in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority and Woodmatters. The project has worked with sixteen disadvantaged young people, helping them develop new skills and self-confidence.
Judges said: “The project has demonstrated significant positive impacts in terms of helping participants learn, develop new skills and gain confidence as young adults; Judges were impressed by the passion and enthusiasm of all involved.”
Woodmatters Director, Gareth Thomas, said: ” Full Cycle has been a special experience for all of those involved. It’s been inspiring watching the participants develop a connection to the woodlands. The majority of the participants had not been in natural woodland before. Through the project their understanding of the woodland year has grown both practically and emotionally.”
Taking silver in the Duke of Cornwall Award for Resilient Woods is Warren and Lalbuss Woods, Ivegil, Cumbria, owned by Orlando Finzi.
Judges said: “Timber production and capital value are important drivers in these woodlands, and there has been significant investment in infrastructure. This has allowed the owner to bring the somewhat neglected stands of pine, larch and spruce into active management…Management is of a very high standard.”
Forestry Manager Dave Robson said “Orlando and I are delighted to receive this award in recognition of the hard work, planning and attention to detail during operational work that we have carried out in the forest; the challenges presented in Warren and Lalbuss were typical of under-managed forest stands where no formal or planned intervention had taken place for many years.”
The full list of winners is:
Duke of Cornwall’s Award for Resilient Woods
Sponsored by Egger Forestry and John Clegg & Co
- Gold: Helmsley Estate, Duncombe Park, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire, owned by the Rt Hon Jake Barnaby Duncombe.
- Silver: Warren and Lalbuss Woods, Ivegil, Cumbria, owned by Orlando Finzi.
- Highly commended: Grimston Wood, near York, owned by Ralph Hoyle.
Award for Excellence in Silviculture
Sponsored by Tilhill Forestry and Tubex
- Gold: Zetland Estates’ Woodland Carbon Code woodland, near Richmond, North Yorkshire, owned by Earl of Ronaldshay.
- Silver: Ford and Etal Estates’ Ford Westfield Woods, near Wooler, Northumberland, owned by Lord and Lady Joicey.
Small and Farm Woodlands Award
Joint RFS/ RASE Award
- Gold: Sawrey Ground Plantation, near Hawskhead, Cumbria, owned by Gary Primrose and Derek Hook.
- Silver: Moss Wood, near Hexham, Northumberland, owned by James Ogilvie.
Urban and Community Forestry Award
- Gold: Churwell Environmental Volunteers for the Clarksprings and Daffil Woods owned by Leeds City Council.
- Silver: Bramhall and Carr Wood, owned by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Education and Learning Award
Sponsored by PEFC
- Gold: Bill Hogarth (MBE) Memorial Apprenticeship Trust (BHMAT), based in Carnforth, Lancashire.
- Silver: the Full Cycle project, led by Campaign for National Parks in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority and Woodmatters.
- Highly commended: 1st Whittingham BP Scout Group, based at the Whittingham Memorial Institute, Alnwick, Northumberland.
Judges were: Duke of Cornwall, Silviculture and Small and Farm Woodlands Awards: Graham Heath and Dr Owen Davies; Urban and Community Woodlands, Les Startling and Trefor Thompson; Education and Learning, Ted Wilson and Chris Starr OBE