The APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry, woodland, arboriculture, firewood, fencing, trees and timber trade show. As organisation gets underway for APF 2024, its exhibition secretary offers Forestry Journal readers an exclusive insight into how preparations are coming along.

THE APF Demo has so many facets to it that one event is never the same as the next.

It would be lovely to just cut and paste APF 2022 onto APF 2024. Unfortunately, the world is not like this and things evolve. Our event insurance is a perfect example of this.

Insurance for a large event of working machinery, 23,000 visitors and competitions involving chainsaws and running up 100-ft poles on the end of a piece of rope is never going to be straightforward and you cannot just type your details into a comparison website and get quotes.

Factor in that many event insurers took a hammering due to the number of cancellations caused by the pandemic, there are fewer now in the marketplace and they are less keen to take on risk – which is reflected in the premiums.

Many venues are also asking for increased levels of public liability cover. Once upon a time, £5 million was the norm. Now £10 m, £20 m and even £40 m are being requested. When I have asked why these increased levels of cover are required, the answer is usually ‘just in case’. A typical insurance answer and one that is not, apparently, based on any science.

Insurance is one of life’s necessary evils, so we have to play along or we have no show. I won’t tell you exactly what our premium is for APF 2024, but it is eyewatering and about 400 per cent more than it was in 2018.

In addition we have to supply a detailed list of every bit of kit we have on site and hire in. Okay, so you do that for your car, no problem, it’s one item. We used to be able just to quote an overall value, but no longer. Every bit of kit and equipment has to be itemised – all our machinery, tracking, cabins, tents, toilets, etc. It takes ages and each company has to be contacted and asked for values. This has taken up an inordinate amount of time for our chief co-ordinator, Jemma.

The chances of all our kit being damaged or stolen in one go are infinitesimal, but we have to do it. Anyway, I’d better get off my soapbox now before I rattle on further.

Our tendering exercises are bearing fruit. The tenders for supplying us with phones, IT and Wi-Fi on site have come in and the most expensive was four times higher than the cheapest!

Forestry Journal: APF enjoyed a record number of visitors to its last show

Tenders for the catering concession were much closer and we are delighted to be working with Streamline catering for APF 2024. They have promised to offer a wide variety of food and you will be able to access an app pre-event to see what’s on offer and plan your lunch.

Entries have opened for a place in our European Chainsaw Carving Competition, sponsored by A W Jenkinson and Tilhill. We are always oversubscribed by carvers wanting one of the 25 places on offer and it is always difficult to select the final group. Entries are flooding in and we are delighted that Sylvia Itzen from Germany, who came third in the recent A Cut Above television carving competition on Discovery, will be competing with us in 2024. We hope this will see a renewed battle with Sam Bowsher, who won that competition and took the Carvers’ Choice award at APF 2022.

The standard really has got higher each year. Entries remain open for a couple of months and entry forms can be found on the Competition and Events page of the website.

Exhibitor bookings continue to come in and it is always pleasing to welcome new exhibitors to the show, often by recommendation from others. Although we have many of the big players in the industry, we have always sought to encourage and welcome smaller businesses and start-ups.


We have a number of companies that exhibited with us previously with just a clever idea they had yet to bring to market. Being at the APF demonstration turned out to be the turning point that saw their future success. Exhibiting is not as expensive as you might think, and certainly nowhere near the stratospheric costs of being at the NEC or similar venues. A 5 m frontage x 12 m site costs just £920 plus VAT for the three days. Given that you will have a very targeted audience of around 23,000 trade professionals, that is a bargain!

If you are north of the border then have a great Burns Night and enjoy a dram. I can heartily recommend you try the Hearach from the Isle Of Harris distillery, if you can find a bottle. Their very first whisky was released in September after seven years of patient waiting. The first release, of about 8,000 bottles, sold out in about an hour. I was lucky enough to get a couple of bottles and it is well worth hunting around for.

For more information on APF 2024 visit or email Ian at