Royal Forestry Society Excellence award-winners announced

Award winning woodlands across the South West are torch bearers for woodlands everywhere, say judges in the Royal Forestry Society's Excellence Awards.

Royal Forestry Society Excellence Award winners 2012 - image: RFS
Royal Forestry Society Excellence Award winners 2012 - image: RFS

They recorded some "outstanding examples" of good management with category winners  ranging from traditional large estates and  individual owners a town council and a friends group, across Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

The Royal Forestry Society Excellence Awards, supported by the Forestry Commission, move around the country on a seven year rotation.

There are four woodland categories and an additional challenge trophy -  the Sylva Cup – to recognise an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to woodlands or the understanding of woodlands.

This year’s winners were presented with their awards at an event at the Forestry Commission national arboretum at Westonbirt.

They are:

Duke of Cornwall Award for Multipurpose Woodlands
Sponsors: John Clegg & Co
1st:Combe Sydenham Country Park, Monksilver Taunton.
2nd The Clinton Devon Estates, Heanton Woods Devon

The RFS Silviculture Award
Sponsors: Tubex
1st Duchy of Cornwall woodlands, Liskeard, Cornwall
2nd Miserden Estate, Stroud, Gloucestershire

Small Woodlands Awards:
1st Coombeshead Farm, Launceston, Cornwall
2nd Classic Canes, Warren House, Crewkerne, Somerset
Commended: Russells Farm, Cullompton, Devon
Commended: Horry Mill, Hollocombe, Devon

Community Woodlands Awards
1st The Friends of Oakfrith Wood, Devizes, Wilshire
2nd Neroche Partnership, Taunton, Somerset
Commended: Broadford  Arboretum, Newent Town Council, Gloucestershire

Sylva Cup
John Greenshields, Park Farm, Wellington, Somerset, for his passion and inspiration to others in the Blackdown Hills and East Devon.

Former Forestry Commission operatiosn manager South and South West Tim Sawyer said:

"There was strong competition across all categories, and particularly amongst Community Woodlands, which perhaps underlines the importance of woodlands in our society today.

"The forestry industry faces a tough challenge persuading the public that management practices such as coppicing, thinning and cutting down trees, and managing squirrels and deer, can be  good for woodlands, but our winners demonstrate just how much can be achieved when  appropriate techniques are used well."

Chris Marrow, former FC Peninsula Forest district manager and Sawyer formed the judging team,

RFS president Nick Halsey said:

"After many years in the doldrums, our industry has revived with great enthusiasm, embracing the new challenges of biodiversity and enhancement of natural habitats, community and schools’ involvement, carbon capture and climate change.

" Of crucial importance to profitable timber production has been the growth of the firewood and biomass markets, which is helping to encourage new entrants into woodland management.

"Our winners give everyone a target to aspire to and I hope their success will prove an inspiration. My hearty congratulations to them  and thanks to everybody who entered, which in itself involves a good deal of extra time and energy. I would like, too, to offer my special thanks to the organisers and judges."

The RFS Excellence Awards include a schools category. This year’s winners re : 1st – Free Rangers, Midsomer Norton;2nd – Okehampton Primary; Special Commendation – John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge. Presentations are being made at the schools.

In 2013 the competition will visit the North West and the West Midlands, covering Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Herefordshire, Isle of Man, Lancashire, Merseyside, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and the West Midlands. There are prizes of £1,000 and £500 in each category.

Details of how to take part and entry forms are available by following the Get involved/ competition links at 

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