The APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry, woodland, arboriculture, fencing and biomass show. Here, exhibition secretary Ian Millward offers an insight into how preparations are coming along for APF 2022.

THE big news this month, as I hope many of you have seen on our social media, is the announcement that APF 2022 and the ARB Show have joined forces.

The coming together of the industry’s two largest trade shows will make this the largest forest, arb, woodland, fencing, trees and timber event ever held in the UK. It’s a prospect we are all very excited about.

We are delighted to be working with the Arboricultural Association. From our discussions it was soon evident we both had the same ideas and values and the desire to put on a fantastic event for the industry. Staging an event is a very expensive proposition and being able to share resources means we can put more into the show for our visitors.

READ MORE: Arb Show 2022 to take place during APF making it largest ever UK forestry event

Exhibitors, sponsors and visitors are now going to get two shows for the price of one. For the visitor it means the show will be bigger, with more exhibitors to look at, and more features to see and competitions to enter. We will be staging the UK Open Tree Climbing competition, the largest event of its kind in the UK. It is great to have the AA on board to run this with their long experience of hosting it at the ARB Show. We are planning to make it bigger than ever. There will be the usual expert class as well as classes for those with less experience. We also hope to run other competitions such as speed climbing and line throwing. We are anticipating a big demand for places and these will need to be booked in advance. Please keep an eye on our social media for news of when entries open as you will need to act fast.

Forestry Journal: APF and the Arb Show will join forces APF and the Arb Show will join forces

The team at the AA will also be organising the programme in our new Arb Worker Zone. We have got some great ideas for this, from climbing demos showing the latest techniques and equipment to technical areas where visitors can ask the experts about why their saw isn’t working correctly and how to fix it. Worried about the latest tree disease? We will have short, walk-in seminars on a wide range of topical issues. The programme will be available on the visitor section of the website, but don’t rush there just yet, we have just started working on it. If there is anything you would like to see, let us know and we will try to cover it.

Since we announced the news, the reaction has been 100-per-cent positive. It is clearly going to be popular and I am delighted with the response from potential sponsors, eager to get involved, and new exhibitors. We have taken a lot of bookings in the last week and I can foresee us being in the happy situation of selling out stand space well before the event. Don’t leave it too late to book and miss out to all your competitors! Maps showing remaining space and booking forms are all in the ‘Useful Documents’ area in the ‘Exhibitor’ section on the website.

Another area we have always been committed to at the APF Show is education with our school visits.

We are delighted to have teamed up with the Royal Forestry Society, which is organising this for us at APF 2022. Becky and her team have wide experience of delivering forestry education to schools. They also have a great young forester award. We are very keen to help educate youngsters on what happens in a modern working woodland; the value of woodland, trees and timber to our daily lives; how we grow and look after them; and the wide variety of possible careers that the forestry, arb and fencing industries can offer.

The RFS will be designing a guided tour of the show so the youngsters can see as many elements of our industry as possible, from the latest hi-tech harvester, woodchipper or firewood processor to greenwood woodworking, nursery production, tree planting and horse logging. Our school visits will be available to all ages of schoolchildren. Cost can be an issue for a school wanting to attend with budgets so tight and not having the money to pay for a coach. We have addressed this by offering any school a bursary of up to £300 to cover their travel costs. In the past, our exhibitors have also been extremely generous in providing small gifts for the children to take away with them, such as mugs, baseball caps, pens, keyrings, etc. If you can offer anything for our school visits at APF 2022 to make the kids’ day even more memorable, please get in touch. 

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I personally feel we all have a duty to do what we can to educate people in the UK about trees and timber. We often find the teachers learn as much as the children, as they too are from urban areas with no connection to woodlands. If you go to Europe you find that people are much more in tune with forests and woodlands and what a resource they are, providing employment and wealth to an area as well as the recreational benefits from walking, cycling, hunting, skiing and more. This is probably because the average forest area in Europe is 30 per cent.

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However, it is hard to avoid the current push to encourage more tree planting in the UK. Promises made at COP 26, new agricultural schemes and announcements by large companies of land acquisition to plant more trees to offset their carbon footprint mean tree planting is now fashionable and people and companies want to be seen to be green. Hopefully that means we will need more people to work in our forests in the future and we need to start building this workforce now. Educating children and their teachers about the opportunities that woodlands and trees provide for a career should be a priority.

If you can help our schools visits or get involved in any way, please let me know by emailing