Milner, who since graduating has worked at Cotswold Seeds, a specialist grass and forage merchant, and is working part time at Barrington Park Estate, said: "Having been brought up on my grandfather’s farm near Fordingbridge, Hampshire, my interest was sparked from a young age. In the early 1950s my grandfather planted over 250,000 beech trees to add shelter to the windswept chalk downland, using Corsican Pines as a nurse crop. When I was young we helped out with belt clearance and deer protection, and I have watched the trees mature throughout my life.
"As my sister and I are now the custodians of the trees, the woodland and environmental management course at the RAC was extremely helpful, giving me a better understanding of ongoing woodland management, very relevant on our farm. The woodland on the farm in Hampshire is being managed by Andrew Starr of Canopy Land Use.
"Working with him, our priority has been ongoing management of the trees to ensure that thinning is up to date and that new planting is beneficial to the farm and the surroundings. We are doing this with help from the appropriate grants. Our aim is to ensure the trees continue to enhance the farm and the local landscape, concentrating on replanting the correct native species for the area and soil.
"We are also in an Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) target area, so the long term aim will be to try and enter the scheme to do as much as we can to protect and enhance the chalkland landscape and wildlife."
Lewis added: "The woodland management modules give students an awareness of different woodland objectives and how this impacts on future management strategy, as well as the understanding and knowledge to appraise the woodland resource, be it for the timber, habitat or sporting values, and to prepare and implement future management prescriptions for these woodlands."