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RFS award for Boughton Estate’s ‘Planter John’
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A woodsman whose prolific planting of trees on the Boughton Estate in Northamptonshire has earned him the nickname ‘Planter John’ has received an award from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS).

Over the past 46 years, John Litman, 64, from Geddington, has helped to restock and plant hundreds of hectares of woodlands on the estate, after initially joining the estate as an assistant on a pole wagon hauling timber into the estate sawmill.


John Litman in the Boughton Estate timber yard


A Long Service Award was presented to John by Royal Forestry Society Vice President Sophie Churchill at an event at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.

Sophie said: “Talking with John he impressed me very much with his adaptability and ability to embrace change. He said he started with an axe but now really enjoys the automation of the woodfuel world. He was a pleasure to meet and I was sorry I couldn’t say yes to his invitation to listen to the gig he was off to play in Kettering at the end of the evening, as he does regularly.”

Boughton Estate Forestry manager Jonathan Plowe said: “John has a good steady character that means he has a commitment to getting the job done at a high standard. For the last couple of years John has concentrated on the production and delivery of firewood and this invaluable contribution has allowed the business to double in size while keeping up the high standard the markets demand.”

Boughton Estate incorporates 950ha of mainly broadleaved woodland with large areas of ancient semi-natural woodlands producing first quality hardwood saw logs and selling over 1200 cubic metres of seasoned logs annually into the local markets, as well as supplying woodchip to several commercial heating systems.