The APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry, woodland, arboriculture, fencing and biomass show. Following the cancellation of this year’s show due to COVID-19, exhibition secretary Ian Millward offers an insight into how organisers are forging ahead for 2021.

DESPITE the postponement of this year’s show until September next year, work is still going on. We want to keep the momentum going towards APF 2021 and use the extra year to plan new events and features for you to enjoy.

Altering the date of the show until next year means that contracts we have signed for the hire of the venue at Ragley, our insurance for the event and so on all need re-negotiating. COVID-19 has obviously caught a lot of companies out as they find that contracts or insurance policies excluded cover for pandemics or didn’t have clauses for repayments of deposits. We at the APF have always sought to keep our contracts simple with suppliers and sponsors to avoid paying any more to solicitors than we absolutely have to, but I suspect we are entering a new world where there will be a need for even more small print as companies try to avoid getting caught out again. We have now been granted an extension on our insurance cover for next year, but the cost is quite scary. Unlike car insurance, where you can get a quote from a myriad of companies, event insurance is highly specialised and the hit insurance companies have taken from cancelled events means few are interested in any new business. We have always got on well with our longstanding insurer Inevexco, which understands the APF Demo, so it is a cost we will just have to swallow. You will be pleased to hear that we will not be seeking to recoup these extra costs by raising ticket prices or exhibitor site fees from what they would have been this year.

I remember a few years ago when we decided to test the insurance market and get some competitive quotes. It is funny when you start mentioning £60 million of working machinery, pole climbing, chainsaw carving, Timbersports and axe throwing and say it is a public event how few companies are interested! Only one other insurer expressed an interest and wanted to come along to one of our exhibitor site meetings to learn a bit more about who we were and what the event was all about. Afterwards, they told us our safety briefing to exhibitors was the best they had come across and were very impressed by our general organisation and set-up. This was reassuring right up to the point where they wanted 50 per cent more for the insurance premium than our existing insurer!

Forestry Journal:

One of the new plans for APF 2021 is a ‘fencing village’ – a show within a show, if you like. Fencing obviously has close links with forestry with the need for rabbit and deer fencing, and the fencing industry has not got a show of its own. We are seeking to work with all the players in the fencing industry from small to large – whether they are machinery, equipment, wire or timber manufacturers – and gather them together in one area. Not only will they be able to demonstrate their products in action on their stands, but they will also have the opportunity to stage demonstrations in an arena at the heart of the village and showcase the latest equipment and techniques available. We are also hoping this can include short courses on particular fencing skills that visitors can book and attend. The fencing village will also be the location for the UK Open Fencing Championship, to be held on Friday, 24 September 2021, sponsored by McVeigh Parker.

The APF show has always been a great place to come, buy new kit and meet old friends, but we would like to offer more to our visitors and make it an opportunity to update their skills and knowledge and get refresher training. We are always keen promote training and skills competence and the APF Demo offers a great location for this. To this end, we are talking to Lantra and NPTC City and Guilds to see if we can hold short one-day training and refresher courses on a range of skills and host these courses at the event. Courses will not be restricted to such things as chainsaws, brushcutters or pesticides, but will also include rarer greenwood skills such as hay-rake making, charcoal burning, willow weaving and more. Keep reading updates in Forestry Journal and visit the website as we put more flesh on these bones. If you have any ideas about a course we can stage or would like to offer to run a course please get in touch.

Forestry Journal:

If you have ever thought of becoming a Lantra instructor or an NPTC assessor, we also hope to have technical verification demos so you can see what level of skill is required and talk to them about the whole process.

You will also be able to gain further knowledge and update skills at the forest worker and tree worker zones, where a wide range of topics will be covered.

Thank you to everyone who continues to follow us on social media and enter our competitions. Our last competition reached over 17,000 people and our Sunday carvery post featuring one chainsaw carver a week has been very popular. We hope to follow on from this with profiles of greenwood craft workers and their skills. Watch out for some fantastic competitions and prizes in the coming weeks featuring Husqvarna, Air-Seal, F R Jones, Brampton Valley Training and Komatsu, with prizes as varied as a battery-powered chainsaw, money-off vouchers, Air-Seal products for your tyres and a chainsaw maintenance and crosscutting course.

We remain open for bookings from exhibitors for APF 2021 on 23–25 September 2021.  Booking forms and maps are on the exhibitor section of the website and better still if you book now there is nothing to pay until January 2021.

Keep safe and see you again soon.

If you have any queries about the APF please contact 01428 723545 or email

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Thanks – and stay safe.