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Excellence in Forestry Winners 2015
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"Outstanding", " inspirational", "needs to be seen to be believed" - say judges of this year's winners of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Excellence in Forestry Awards.

The awards are the premier woodland management competition for England and Wales and in 2015 were held across Wales. The judges, all experts in their field, were faced with strong entries in all woodland categories with winners coming from north, south, west and mid Wales.

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 Judges, Christine Cahalan and Trefor Thompson with Wrexham County Borough Council's Elton Watson at Caia Community Woods, winners of the Excellence in Forestry Woodland Creation Award sponsored by Natural Resources Wales

This year a Woodland Creation category was also held, sponsored by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Ceri Davies, NRW Director Knowledge, Strategy & Planning, said:"We are pleased to recognise the important contribution sustainable woodland management makes to the wider environment.

"Natural Resources Wales are proud to be able to sponsor the Woodland Creation award which highlights this contribution and the way it benefits the community.”

Of the Woodland Creation Award winner, Caia Community Woods owned by Wrexham County Borough Council,  judges were particularly impressed with community involvement.

They described the Duke of Cornwall Multipurpose Woodlands winner Llewesog Estate, Llanrhaeadr, Denbigh, as demonstrating: " ...outstanding examples of quality broadleaves, including oak, ash and cherry, and equally good conifers."

Of Small Woodlands winner Bron Haul, Abergele, they said: "The energy and enthusiasm had to be seen to be believed and they scored highly for quality of management, suitability of species, maintenance and enhancement of wildlife conservation, landscape planning, education (students and school and community groups visit the woods), and provision of access." 

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Mr Bill Williams with a 45-year-old Douglas fir that he planted in his Duke of Cornwall award winning woodlands

For Community Woodland winner, Warren Woods, Denbigh,  judges commented: "This inspirational entry demonstrated what community woodlands should be all about, providing a wide range of resources for all sorts of local groups and individuals, including school pupils, young people and adults with special needs, local long-term unemployed, based on an economically viable model."

And for Silviculture Award winner Glynaeron & Ty Rhyg (part of Coed Preseli), Pembrokeshire, they said  "This two-part entry was a very clear winner, scoring highly on all judging criteria. It was apparent that all aspects affecting the sustainable productivity of the site, for landscape enhancement, wildlife and archaeological conservation, soil and water protection, as well as timber production and income generation, had been addressed ..... It is an excellent example of the benefits to be gained from the practical implementation of continuous cover forestry principles."

Full Results were as follows:

Woodland Creation, sponsored by Natural Resource Wales:

Gold: Caia Community Woods, Wrexham, owned by Wrexham County Borough Council

Joint Silver: Bron Haul in Abergele, Conwy, owned by David Brown and Ruth Pybus; Felin Senni estate near Brecon, owned by Sian and Richard Norgate

Duke of Cornwall's Multipurpose Woodland, sponsored by John Clegg & Co:

Gold: Llewesog Estate, Llanrhaeadr, Denbigh, owned by Mr W.R. Williams

Joint Silver: Coed Nant yr Eira, near Welshpool, owned by Frank, Bechade, McComb Woodlands; Wentwood, near Usk and Chepstow, owned by Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw)

Silviculturesponsored by Tubex

Gold: Glynaeron & Tẏ Rhyg (part of Coed Preseli), Pembrokeshire, owned by Mrs and Mrs Robert and Jill Holding

Joint Silver: Glanusk Estate, Powys, owned by owned by the Hon Dame ESJ Legge Bourke and HR Legge Bourke;  Penrhiwiar, Cefn Gwenffrwd & Cwm Cae'r Odyn ( part of Bryn Arau Duon) Carmarthenshire, Ilchester Estates

Community Woodlands

 Gold:  Warren Woods, Denbigh, owned by Rod Waterfield

Silver: Treborth Botanic Garden at Treborth, Bangor and owned by Bangor University

Small Woodland Award, sponsored by Wood-Mizer UK

Gold: Bron Haul, Abergele, owned by David Brown and Ruth Pybus

Silver: Coed Medvegii, near Tremeirchion, owned by Denis and Heather Fitzgerald


This year's Sylva Trophy is awarded to David Jenkins and Coed Cymru.

More details on each of the winners can be found here.

Judges for the Woodland Creation category were:

Lead judge: Christine Cahalan – who lectures in silviculture and forest management at Bangor University. She has been a member of various forestry advisory committees and boards in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, including one of the working groups of the Welsh Woodland Forum, and is currently Chairman of the North Wales Division of the Royal Forestry Society.

Les Starling  who spent 18 years as a Woodland Officer in North East Wales and retired in 2004 after 42 years with the Forestry Commission. He is on the council of North Wales Wildlife Trust, a director of Cofnod (the North Wales Local Record Centre), Vice Chair of the North East Wales Biodiversity Network ,a committee member of North Wales FWAG Cymru and the North Wales Division of the RFS. He has also been invited to represent the Natural Environment on the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB Partnership.

Trefor Thompson – was Principal Forestry Officer in 1985 for Clwyd County Council and transferred to the new Denbighshire unitary authority as Principal Countryside Officer in 1996, remaining there until he retired in 2008. He was a member of the Board of the Welsh woodlands initiative – Coed Cymru – for many years and also served on the Wales Woodland Forum and its successor the Wales Woodland Strategy Advisory Panel

Judges for the other woodland categories were:

John Good Director of NERC Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (ITE-latterly the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Bangor Research Unit until his retirement in 2000. He is currently chairman of the North Wales Division of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group for Wales.

Philippe Morgan -  a Fellow of the ICF and President of Pro Silva and Vice-president of the Association Futaie Irrégulière (AFI). He is a Director of Sustainable Forest Management Limited and of SelectFor Ltd, specialists in continuous cover forest (CCF) management. He now combines consultancy work in Britain and Ireland with the management of woodlands in Wales.


Winners of the RFS Excellence in Forestry Schools Awards will be announced shortly.The Awards will be presented in July at the RFS's magnificent Coast Redwoods woodlands in Leighton near Welshpool, the Charles Ackers Redwood Grove and Naylor Pinetum.