6 woodcutters from the Balcombe Estate, Haywards Heath have been granted Royal Forestry Society awards in recognition of their astonishing combined 248 years of experience and knowledge managing and improving the estate’s 500 hectares of woodland and forestry.
The awards were given by RFS’s Immediate Past President Sophie Churchill OBE when the RFS South Eastern Division visited Balcombe Estate & Sawmill to see its growing and processing of timber. Awards went to:
Clive Boniface, 63, is a great all-rounder mainly known for his coppicing of sweet chestnut and thinning plantations. Over the last 44 years, Clive has improved no end of Balcombe estate’s woodlands with his work and efforts, his knowledge is second to none.
Ernie Fry, 73, has held positions in the woods and the sawmill over the past 40 years. With his ever-ready smile, he has conquered the controls of a timber crane and continues to extract timber from the woodland.
Russell Law, 53, is the main tractor driver for the forestry department, carting timber on the MB TRAC, hedge cutting and running the wood chip enterprise. He joined the estate straight from school as a Youth Training Scheme worker 37 years ago.
Sandy Lewis, 75, has worked for the estate for 43 years. He drove the Volvo forwarder in the post-1987 storm clearance and controlled grey squirrels until Warfarin was removed from forest use. These days he trims Christmas trees and maintains footpaths on the estate. Sandy was the son of the estate’s former head gamekeeper Jack Lewis and his brother Kendrick was the head forester for 50+ years.
Nicholas Martin, 65, was awarded his medal for 43 years of service. He operated a Hymac/Tapio harvester throughout the clear-up operations after the 1987 storm and is particularly noted for his large hardwood tree felling skill set. A great woodsman, Nick ‘encouraged’ natural regeneration in many a woodland area spreading acorns by hand, around during his lunch breaks!
Mark Napper, 56, is an all-rounder whose ability with a brushcutter is second to none, the only thing that slows him down is the machine itself! Phenomenally strong, Mark is your man if you need something pushed, pulled or lifted out of the way! He has worked on the Balcombe Estate for 41 years
Owned by the Greenwood family, the Balcombe Estate woodland has a long history of management with an emphasis on managing both country sports and timber production. Click here to get in contact with one of our friendly team or Call 01444 811 446