THe Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Excellence in Forestry Awards 2019 were presented at the York Club, Windsor Great Park, last month.

14 woods and woodlands projects from across London, southern and south-east England were recognised at the ceremony – placing gold, silver, or receiving a certificate of merit in each of the five categories.

Bramshill Plantation, managed by South England Forest District, Forestry England at Yateley, Hampshire, was named the gold winner in the Duke of Cornwall’s Award for Resilient Multi-purpose Forestry category, with Bagley Wood, St John’s College, Kennington, Oxford, taking silver.

The Silviculture Award was won by Shere Manor Estate, Bray Family, Shere, Surrey. Silver went to Heathlands Copse, Cowdray Estate, Midhurst, West Sussex, while Hole Park Estate, Edward Barham, Rolvenden, Kent received the certificate of merit.

Lot 3 Wood, Riki Therivel, Hinksey Hill, Oxford received the gold award in the Small and Farm Woodland Award category. Great Groves Wood, Great Groves Settlement, Brickendon, Ware, Hertfordshire was the recipient of the silver award, while Beatons Wood, John McCutchan, Arlington, East Sussex was recognised with the certificate of merit.

The winners in the Community Award were Pondhead Inclosure, managed by Pondhead Conservation Trust in partnership with Forestry England, New Forest, Hampshire (gold); Jeskyns Community Woodland, Forestry England, Cobham, Kent (silver); and Vert Woods Community Woodland CBS, Laughton, East Sussex (certificate of merit).

Gold in the Education and Learning Award category (co-sponsored by Forestry Journal) went to Little Birds Forest Nursery, Bury CE School, West Sussex, and joint silver was awarded to Little Gate Project, Beckley, East Sussex and Mottingham Hall for Children, Nursery Farm & Forest School, south-east London.

Excellence in Forestry coordinator Rachel Thomas said: “A huge thanks to all who entered and to all our judges. We had a record entry and the standards were extremely high. Our thanks also to all our sponsors without whom the awards would not be possible and to our judges for their wisdom, enthusiasm and generosity in the time they have spent assessing some of the best woodland and woodland projects in the country.”

The annual Sylva Trophy for outstanding contributions to forestry was awarded to forest scientist, author and woodland owner, Professor Julian Evans. Formerly professor of forestry at Imperial College, and before that the Forestry Commission’s chief research officer at Alice Holt Research Station, Professor Evans is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and a past president. He has written, or was a principal editor of, many technical books on forestry and tree-related subjects, and was one of the principal editors of the Encyclopaedia of Forest Science (Elsevier, 2004). He has chaired UN intersessional conferences on the future of planted forests, Chile and New Zealand, and in 1997 he was appointed OBE for services to forestry and the developing world.

On receiving the award, he said: “‘I am humbled, delighted but above all surprised to receive this great honour. I am doubly blessed to receive it from Patrick Evelyn, a direct descendant of the great John Evelyn, as a part of my own woodland was once owned by the great man’s sister-in-law. Also, when lecturing on trees in the Bible, my final quote is always from Evelyn’s Sylva: ‘In a word, and speak a bold and noble truth, trees and woods have twice saved the whole world, first by the ark and then by the cross; making full amends for evil fruit of the tree in paradise by that which was born on the tree in Golgotha.’”