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New President for the Royal Forestry Society
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Nicholas Halsey in action with a billhook when he presented the Excellence in Forestry Schools Award to Pinewood School in Ware earlier this year

Date Issued: 03 October 2011


The new President of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), Nicholas Halsey, will be a familiar face to many working in forestry and land management. Nicholas, whose family owns the Gaddesden Estate, Hemel Hempstead, took over as President on October 1, succeeding Anthony Bosanquet whose two-year term of office had come to an end.

Nicholas Halsey says: “We are in an exciting time for forestry after so many years in the doldrums. Public interest has been galvanised by the proposals earlier this year over the Public Forest Estate. The problems of tree diseases and pests, carbon sequestration, and renewable energy are to be seen every week in one newspaper or another, along with many other issues about trees and woodland.

“The RFS has lots of work to do contributing to the debates on forestry subjects; it is a challenging time for us all. So it is a great honour to be elected President of the RFS at this particular moment. I am much looking forward to my term of office, visiting divisional meetings throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Nicholas originally trained as a land agent at the Royal Agricultural College and as a student woodman on the Crichel Estate in Dorset before working for Savills in London and Chelmsford and as resident sub-agent on the Hassobury Estate in Essex.

Over the years he has been involved with the Essex Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in delivering forestry refresher days; served on the Forestry Safety and Training Councils, and the FC Regional Advisory Committee for East England; and has been chairman of the local branch of TGO, now ConFor. He is currently a member of the CLA Forestry and Woodland Sub-Committee.

Nicholas has also chaired the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate Management Committee and sat on the National Trust Thames and Chilterns Regional Committee, the Estates Panel and the Land Use and Access Panel, from which he retired on becoming vice President of the RFS two years ago.

He has spent many years with the Territorial Army, first with the Royal Anglian Regiment and then as a Major with the Royal Green Jackets. In 1995 he was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire.

At Gaddesden he has around 100 hectares of woodland managed under a 20-year Forest Plan. Although in the Chilterns, historically known for growing beech for the furniture industry, the deep cap of clay-with-flints over the chalk means that oak, cherry, ash and sweet chestnut are the estate’s main species, with cricket bat willows in the Gade valley.