Forestry Commission officer Valerie Coulton wins Royal Forestry Society's Alec Pyman Award

A 'Beat Forester' for the Forestry Commission has won the Royal Forestry Society's North West Division Alec Pyman Award after being voted the best student on the University of Cumbria's National School of Forestry Foundation Degree Forestry Course.

Forestry Commission officer Valerie Coulton wins Royal Forestry Society's Alec Pyman Award - image: RFS
Forestry Commission officer Valerie Coulton wins Royal Forestry Society's Alec Pyman Award - image: RFS

Valerie Coulton, who lives in Shireoaks, near Worksop, had originally started work with the Forestry Commission 12 years ago in administration roles, before transferring to operations. She is now a Beat Forester for the Forestry Commission’s Sherwood District.

"During the change in roles from admin officer to operational staff, the District supported me in completing the Foundation Degree in Forestry through distance learning at the University of Cumbria's Newton Rigg Campus," said Coulton.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the course, finding it both relevant to my work and enjoyable."

North Western Division Chairman Stuart Palmer said: "We are delighted that Valerie has won the award.  There are many routes into forestry and Valerie’s experiences and learning on the beat are being backed up by a sound academic grounding. We wish her well in her career."

The RFS North West Division includes Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and the Isle of Man.

The Royal Forestry Society has 21 Division across England, Wales and Northern Ireland which between then organise more than 100 woodland and wood supply chain visits a year to promote the wise management of trees and woodlands.

The RFS also offers Randle Travel Bursaries to enable forestry people of all ages to travel independently to enhance their forestry knowledge. Their Yorkshire division together with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society offers a £600 local bursary to allow a younger person to carry out a forestry-related project at home or abroad. For more details visit

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