Results of the Royal Forestry Society Excellence in Forestry Awards held in Wales, Isle of Man and for the first time, in Northern Ireland, have finally been revealed after the pandemic pressed pause on judging for a year.
Judges praised the quality, quantity and variety of entries and shortlisted 21 sites. They said: “We finished judging confident that the forest industry has a great deal to offer the people in each country. We saw employment created, landscapes protected and the environment improved. We saw people eager to learn and set something valuable aside for their children and grandchildren, and real benefits provided for local communities.”
The results are as follows:
Duke of Cornwall Award for Resilient Multipurpose Forestry
1 Coed Caeaugwynedd, Llanfyllin, Powys, Coed Caeaugwynedd, Llanfyllin, Powys, owned and managed by Keith and Decia Blacker/ Edistone Limited
2 Llanover Estate, Monmouthshire, managed by Andrew Bronwin on behalf of Trustees of Llanover
Certificates of Merit: Powis Castle Estate, Welshpool, Powys managed by Andrew Bronwin on behalf of Trustees of Powis Castle Estate; Shane’s Castle Estate, Co. Antrim, owned by Shane O’Neill and managed by William Magowan/ Shane O’Neil.
RFS Award for Excellence in Silviculture
1= Llangoed Estate, Builth Wells, Powys, owned by Gerard and Jane Chichester and managed by Andrew Bronwin
2 = The Myarth, Glanusk Estates, Brecon managed by Andrew Sowerby
Certificate of Merit: Largybeg Wood, Baronscourt Estate, Co. Tyrone, owned and managed by Abercorn Estates
Community Woodland Award
1= Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Meigh Co. Armagh. Owned and managed by DAERA Forest Service
2 = Llyn Parc Mawr, Anglesey, managed by Tim Peters on Welsh Government land managed by NRW
Small and Farm Woodland Award
1= Bron Haul near Abergele, Conwy, owned and managed by David Brown and Ruth Pybus;
1= Portloughan Farm, Strangford, Co. Down, owned and managed by David and Alison Sandford
Certificate of Merit: Wurthymp Wood near Wrexham owned and managed by Daniel Ackerley
Education and Learning Award
1 = Coleg Glynllifon Further Education College, Gwnedd
2 = School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University.
Certificate of Merit: Nature’s Classroom, Creggan Country Park, Derry
Delighted to have been awarded, the winners expressed their joy.
Receiving the Community Woodland Excellence Award on behalf of DAERA, Forest Service CEO Mr John Joe O’Boyle said: “Slieve Gullion Forest Park is an exemplar of partnership working to maintain and improve facilities and visitor services with local councils and others. The award is great recognition for investment and development that has taken place over recent years and the use and enjoyment local communities and others get from this wonderful resource.”
Winning the Duke of Cornwall award, Keith Blacker said: “We have gained considerable knowledge from RFS meetings over our 50 years’ membership. Combining that with the experience of a career in industry has helped us to create an exciting forestry business focused on satisfying customers and their needs.”
On receiving the RFS Silviculture Award, Gerard and Jane Chichester said: “We are delighted to be honoured with this award. We have always taken great pride in our woods which are a crucial part of the estate and give us immense pleasure.”
For Coleg Glynllifon, Jeff Jones said: “Students are given as wide a range of practical activities as possible from using our static Mebor sawmill to process timber on the estate to using new technology such as Haglof mensuration equipment.Working with industry is an important part of the student experience, we appreciate the support we receive from local companies for providing valuable work experience placements and allowing student visits to learn about the forestry and countryside sector.”
Receiving the joint Farm and Small Woodland Award, David Brown and Ruth Pybus , Bron Haul said: “We are delighted to win this award for the second time. The more we manage the woodland, the faster it is developing from a young mixed broadleaf plantation to a continuous cover woodland yielding increasingly valuable products. We hope other woodland owners will be inspired by this as our climate and biodiversity emergencies demand that we create diverse, resilient woodlands for the well-being of future generations.”
Also receiving the award, David Sandford Portloughan Farm, previously the NI Chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN). said: “We wanted a warm wood, well-populated with shrubs and undergrowth, that would be haven for wildlife. We also wanted a wood that could grow good timber with an eye to having firewood from thinnings.
“We are delighted to win this award and to be acknowledged for the hard work that went into establishing this woodland on our farm. Being a RFS member for 15 years, the Society has been a great source of information and advice. It has furthered my knowledge at every step and made this woodland possible.”
Entries had been invited during late 2019 and early 2020. Due to the pandemic, judging was delayed until earlier this year. To remain COVID-19 secure, presentations are being made at three venues in Northern Ireland, North Wales and South Wales during September and October.