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Managing ash dieback: Practical steps for woodland owners - RFS one day training course


Date: Thursday 23 April 2020

Instructors: Rob Coventry and Kevin Penfold


Location:  South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DH


This course is aimed at woodland owners and tree professionals who want to develop their understanding of ash dieback and how to manage woodlands containing ash in light of the disease.

The course will provide delegates with:

  • An ability to identify the symptoms of ash dieback and a thorough grounding in the ecology and epidemiology of the disease
  • Information on its currently and likely future spread and severity
  • An understanding of the safety and timber quality implications of the disease
  • An understanding of the silvicultural options (including species choice) to achieve different management objectives on different site types containing ash
  • Information and discussion on the operational issues in managing the disease including machinery, working with contractors, roadside working, European Protected Species, timber markets
  • Information on grant aid to assist restocking

The day will be split into two sessions; the morning covering the science and theoretical aspects and the afternoon out on site discussing the implications of these and delving further into the operational aspects.

Duration: 9.30am to 4.00pm (timings approximate and to be confirmed)

Price: £75.00 for RFS members / £85.00 for non RFS members

Note: Course attendees are advised to bring a packed lunch as lunch is not provided.  Tea, coffee, water and biscuits will be provided on arrival and at suitable breaks in the classroom sessions.  

About the tutors:

Rob Coventry works as a Resilience Officer for the Forestry Commission in the southeast of England. His remit is to improve the response to ash dieback across the region and ensure the lessons learnt are integrated into national guidance to support the rest of the country. He is particularly interested in the recovery of ash woodlands and using the impetus provided by ash dieback to restore active management and increase their diversity and resilience.  He previously worked as a silviculturist at Forest Research. Prior to that he completed an MSc in Forestry and climate change at Goettingen and Copenhagen universities where he specialized in the climate-growth response of beech trees in Slovakia. He was joint author of the FC Managing Ash Dieback in England guidance and the RFS & FC Managing Ash Dieback Case Studies.

Kevin Penfold MicFor has over 35 years’ experience working with and managing woodlands. He spent 25 years of his career with the Forestry Commission in roles such as Forest District Manager, Operations Manager (for 11 years), Planning Forester, Technical Trainer, and Forester.  In 2012 Kevin established his own business and now manages a wide range of woodland types with differing objectives, undertaking the marketing and supply of timber, contract management, health and safety management, woodland establishment, and woodland regeneration for private woodland owners.  A past approved forestry technical trainer, assessor, and examiner, he has a high level of technical competence having represented forest industry interests at a national level with the HSE.

Rob Coventry Photo Kevin Penfold Photo
Rob Coventry Kevin Penfold


About the South Downs National Park Authority:

This course is delivered by the RFS in partnership with the SDNPA who are generously hosting the course at the South Downs Centre, Midhurst.  The South Downs National Park is the third largest National Park in England and has the largest National Park population, with 117,000 residents. From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of breathtaking views, including 18 distinctive landscapes, 13 European wildlife sites and more woodland than any other National Park in England or Wales. The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is responsible for keeping the South Downs a special place, including conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. It is also the planning authority for the National Park. The Authority is a public body, funded by government, and run by a Board of 27 Members.  For more information visit their website here 

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