Lexham Hall foresters receive Long Service Awards

Date Issued: 11 October 2012
Foresters clock up 90 years: Peter Hooks (left) and Roy Clarke (right) collect their Long Service Awards from RFS President Nick Halsey (centre)

Two foresters who between them have clocked up 90 years at the Lexham Hall Estate near Swaffham, Norfolk, have been presented with Long Service Awards by the Royal Forestry Society. Roy Clarke (66), from East Lexham, Norfolk, joined the estate staff straight from school 51 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father who was a farm worker on the estate. Roy’s first job was as a forestry worker but he has been Head Forester since 1980. Peter Hooks (56) from Lexham Road, Litcham, Norfolk, started work with the estate straight from school 40 years ago and has worked as under-Forester.

Their task has been to ensure the health and future of woodlands within the estate, including mature woodlands surrounding the Hall and in the listed park, eight miles of shelter belts planted after the Second World War and a number of small farm woodlands.

Lexham Hall’s Neil Foster explained: “Since the Second World War the focus has been on the regeneration of the badly damaged woodlands where no significant planting had been done for 200 years and which had been ravaged by gales and timber requisition for the war effort.”

Presenting the awards at the RFS East Anglia Division event at Houghton Hall, RFS President Nicholas Halsey said: “The work that Roy and Peter have put in over the past 50 and 40 years respectively will ensure that the Estate’s woodlands have been revitalised and will continue to thrive for many generations to come, enhancing the local landscape and biodiversity as well as ensuring a supply of timber and wood fuel.

“Expertise built up over decades and passed from one generation to another is an important aspect of forestry management at a time when we are facing increasing challenges from climate change and new pests and diseases. Such knowledge means that new management techniques and national best practice can be applied at a local scale in a way which is most appropriate for specific woodlands.”