Celebrating forestry excellence: Best of England collect Awards

by | Jul 14, 2014 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

Excellence and passion for forestry and woodland management were praised by some of the country’s leading experts, as the RFS Best of England Awards winners across five different categories gathered to receive their awards. Presenting the awards for the Best Woodlands for Climate Change, Forestry Commission England Director Ian Gambles said: “What I have been impressed with is the passion and positive attitude of woodland owners in the face of challenges that we are seeing across the country. Resilience is where it is for me and we have seen some wonderful examples.”

Liz Parkes, for Environment Agency Climate Ready, which sponsored the Climate Change Award in partnership with the Forestry Commission, said the forestry industry is on a par with large infrastructure projects in needing to ensure that its investment is resilient in the long term. Trees can also play an important role in reducing flood risk, and improving amenity and wellbeing, and she praised the sector for leading the way, showing what can be done now and into the future.

Winners of all categories are listed below with further details available at www.rfs.org.uk/involved/winners-and-judges.

Rob Guest who, together with Tim Sawyer, judged the Best of England Awards for Multipurpose Forestry (Duke of Cornwall Award), Silviculture, Small Woodlands and Community Woodlands from amongst regional winners over the past five years said: “There were some common themes which emerged. The first was often a real vision for forestry on the property; another key attribute which came to the fore at a number of sites was the thorough implementation of management with immense attention to detail.

“We surmised that one of the reasons that all the woodlands were so good in providing a whole range of economic, environmental and social benefits was the general perception that intervention was not a negative thing. There was an obvious willingness to manage the woodlands well, aiming for enhancement.”

Presenting the Sylva Trophy to David Brown and Sir William Worsley to celebrate the contribution to forestry that four generations of the two families have made in creating outstanding woodlands on the Hovingham Estate in Yorkshire, RFS Development Director Simon Lloyd said: “Forestry is about the long term, and the woodlands that have been created at Hovingham are a testament to what continuous woodland management and planning can achieve.”

RFS Schools Awards had been presented at the winning Moulsecoomb Primary School, Brighton, and silver placed Ifield School in Essex the previous week. Judge, RFS Education Manager Phil Tanner recounted how, as he toured the country visiting shortlisted schools, he was inspired by the enthusiasm he encountered, seeing the difference that learning about woodlands was making to children.

He said: “At Mouslecoomb Primary I was shown around by Lewis and Princess, and they were pointing out things which some college students might struggle with – identifying trees and wood used in products, understanding that the hazel nuttery will produce nuts, but only if the squirrels don’t get there first; they were even planting and growing trees, including conifers. It was the way the school involved the families and the community too that made it so very special.”

Best of England Excellence in Forestry Awards go to:

Duke of Cornwall Multipurpose Award (Sponsored by John Clegg & Co)

Winner Hampton Estate, Surrey – Bridget and Bill Biddell

Silver Combe Sydenham Estate, Somerset – William Theed

Silviculture Award (Tubex)

Winner Sotterley Estate, Suffolk – Miles Barne

Silver Whitbourne Estate, Worcestershire – Bill Evans

Small Woodlands Award (Woodmizer)

Winner Alvecote Wood, Staffordshire – Sarah Walters and Stephen Briggs

Silver Rawhaw Wood, Northamptonshire – Carolyn Church and Hugh Ross

Community Woodland Award

Winner Heaton Woods Trust, Yorkshire – Richard Palframan

Silver Clayton le Moors Wood, Lancashire – Paul Worswick

Sylva Cup

Joint award to Sir William Worsley and David Brown, representing four generations of both families who have worked together as owner and manager respectively of Hovingham Estate over the years since 1897 – creating a wonderful woodland resource on the Estate.

Schools Award (PEFC and ECL Howard Watson Smith)

Winner Moulsecoomb Primary School, Brighton

Silver Ifield School, Gravesend

Certificates of Merit Millbrook Primary, Cheshire; Welton Free Rangers Forest School Nursery, Somerset; Pinewood School, Hertfordshire; Heaton Primary and Forest School

Woodlands for Climate Change Award (sponsored by FC England in partnership with  EA Climate Ready)

Winner Thetford Forest – Forestry Commission, East England District

Silver Treworder Barton Farm, Wadebridge, Cornwall – Hugh Davis

Highly Commended Combe Sydenham Country Park, Somerset – William Theed; Norbury Park, Stafford – Prof Jo Bradwell; and Sefton Coast Woodlands, Formby – The Mersey Forest