Print page print this page

RFS - Morley Penistan Award

The Award is named after the late Morley James Penistan, a well known and highly respected forester.

Morley was a graduate of the University of Oxford where he developed his interest in silvicultural systems. During his time at Oxford, he was President of the University Forestry Society. His first post after University was working for the Forestry Commission, an opportunity that enabled him to gain valuable practical experience. After the war he volunteered to work with the North German Timber Control, and then returned to the UK to continue his career with the Forestry Commission.

Morely Penistan was an enthusiastic supporter of the Royal Forestry Society, and served for a time as chariman of the Gloucestershire Division. He was also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Belgian Forestry Society, who awarded him with their Gold Medal and Diploma of Honour for his services to silviculture.

Morley Penistan was an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and witty addition at all RFS fixtures he attended. His contributions on silvicultural systems within broadleaved woodlands were always much valued and well respected.

The award in his memory is presented annually by the RFS's Gloucestershire Division to the most outstanding student in the Forestry and Woodland Management module at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.



  • Name: James Harding
  • Course: Forestry and Woodland Management module
  • University: Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester


Morleypenistan2016 Eloise 211116 Wn Dscf7594
Mike Hartnell ,Glocestershire Division Committee (left), Eloise Balcombe (centre) and Charlotte Colton, Buckminster Estate (right)
  • Name: Eloise Balcombe
  • Course: BSc (Hons) Land Management
  • University: Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester

Congratulations to Eloise Balcombe, winner of the 2016 Morley Penistan Award, after being named top student in the Forestry and Woodland Management Elective Module at the Royal Agricultural University.

Eloise is pictured above, centre, with Mike Hartnell ,Glocestershire Division Committee and Charlotte Colton BSc (Hons) MRICS, resident agent at Buckminster Estate in Leicestershire where Eloise is working as a Graduate Land Agent.

Eloise says: "Studying the Woodland and Forestry Management elective in my third year allowed me to enhance my woodland and forestry understanding, therefore providing me with a good knowledge base on which to build during my career as a Rural Land Agent." 

She is now working towards APC and CAAV exams and says: "I have regular involvement with the Estates woodlands on matters ranging from roadside tree surveys to our obligations under The English Woodland Grant Scheme as well as selecting suitable Christmas trees to be harvested in December.




Morleypenison Aliparsaalistairfalconerhallalanjones Crfs 311014 Pt
Alistair Hall receives the 
Morley Penistan Award 2014. 
  • Name: Alistair Falconer Hall
  • Course: BSc (Hons) Land Management
  • University: Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester

Alistair Falconer Hall, middle, receives the Morley Penistan Award from the Royal Forestry Society's Alan Jones (right) and Professor Ali Parsa (Dean: School of Real Estate (left)

A graduate surveyor with Fisher German in Banbury has won this year's Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Morley Penistan Award as top student on the Forestry and Woodland Management module at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.

The award is made annually by the RFS's Gloucestershire Division in memory of the much admired forester Morley Penistan.

Alistair Falconer Hall, age 22, who lives near Banbury, was inspired to take the Forestry and Woodland module on the BSc (Hons) Rural Land Management course after work experience with a rural chartered surveyor introduced him to estate management across a number of sites with woodlands.

He has since graduated with a First Class Honours Degree and is working in the Fisher German Rural Consultancy sector, based in Banbury, where he hopes to become more involved in forestry and woodland estate management work as his career develops.

Over the next two years he will be preparing for his Assessment of Professional Competence to become a chartered surveyor, and the professional exams for the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.


  • Name: Matthew Bennison
  • Course: BSc (Hons) Land Management
  • Univesity: Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester


Matthew Bennison (centre), receives the Award together with RFS Gloucester Division Chairman and Council member Torill Freeman (left) and RAU Dean for the School of Real Estate and Land Management, Professor Ali Parsa (right)

Tutor and RFS member David Lewis said: “Not only did Matthew contribute fully to class discussions and field trips, which helped benefit his fellow students, but also he was receptive to new ideas and approaches. He was also highly motivated and conscientious – an ideal student!”



  • Name: Steve Russell
  • Course: BSc (Hons) Countryside Management
  • College: Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester


The winner of 2012 Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Gloucestershire Division Morley Penistan Award, Steve Russell, is a familiar face to many involved in woodland and tree management. He has won the award after returning to education 25 years after gaining his first forestry qualifications.

An active member of the RFS, Steve has served on the national committee and has been Southern Division Secretary since 2006. He is also a member and former secretary of the Wessex Silvicultural Group (formed in 1963 by a group of foresters including the noted Gloucestershire forester Morley Penistan).

The Award is presented annually in memory of Morley Penistan by the RFS’s Gloucestershire Division to the most outstanding student in the Forest and Woodland Management elective module at the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester.

Steve, who lives in Westbury, Wiltshire, said: “I have started part-time lecturing to encourage new students to engage with forestry, which is a constantly changing environment, with new ideas and skills being introduced and increasing challenges to be faced from climate change and the risk of new diseases and pests. Returning to study later in life means I have the benefit of the latest thinking to add to my many years’ experience, all of which enables me to offer clients a range of woodland management and creation services.”

Tutor and fellow RFS member David Lewis said: “Steve’s prior knowledge and experience undoubtedly gave him a big head start, but one which he used very positively. Not only did he contribute fully to class discussions and field trips which helped benefit his fellow students, but also he was receptive to new ideas and approaches – an ideal student!”



  • Name: John Hunt
  • Course: BSc (Hons) Countryside Management
  • College: Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester


John Hunt won the 2010 Morley Penistan Award, presented every year by the RFS Gloucestershire Division to a student at the RAC in memory of another much admired forester.

John Hunt won the Morley Penistan Award for outstanding work in the Environmental and Woodland Management module of the BSc (Hons) in Countryside Management at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.

John grew up on his parents’ farm in Budleigh Salterton where fruit trees, tree health, and general agriculture formed a strong backdrop. He said: “The module has given me a much greater understanding of woodland management and the need to balance different, and sometimes competing, management objectives. My future plans are to continue in education and complete an MSc in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Exeter, working towards my long term career goal working as an advisor within agri-environment schemes.”