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.

IT hardly seems five minutes since the huge success of APF 2022, so long anticipated after the cancellation of APF 2020 because of the pandemic. I know we are all hoping for a smoother run in for APF 2024.

I would like to offer the team’s thanks to Forestry Journal and essentialARB for agreeing to be our media partner again for 2024. They do a fantastic job helping to promote the event, with their graphic design team producing our adverts and the show catalogue.

We are back at Ragley again on 19–21 September. The APF team has looked at (and continues to look at) possible alternative sites, but none yet have managed to meet the fairly unique criteria we have for our show. Ragley has proved be very popular. Both visitor and exhibitor surveys after APF 2022 showed strong support for a Midlands-based event as the access from all parts of the UK is reasonably easy.


We still get a few calls for a return to Scotland or to go to west Wales and for us to have large felling demos. Scotland is a fabulous place (I have just returned from a fortnight’s holiday there).

However, from a commercial perspective, it is a non-starter. We have twice been to Scotland and in both cases we lost money on the event. I am afraid many exhibitors and visitors do just not want to travel that far north. Losing money and going bust will not do us or the industry any good in the long run. We have only just recovered from the costs of the cancellation of APF 2020.

Forestry Journal: APF is frequently the place for machinery launches APF is frequently the place for machinery launches (Image: FJ)

‘A forestry show without a forest’ is a recurring complaint on our social media. We had a block of woodland in 2018, but unfortunately it became unavailable to us after the show for reasons beyond our control and we cannot get it back. We still have a small block of woodland on the circuit which we will ensure is fully incorporated for APF 2024. But we are led by our exhibitors and the vast majority of them prefer the flat grass areas. They are easy to set up on, require little if any site preparation beforehand and offer good access and visibility of their machines to visitors.

The lack of tree-felling demos is another complaint often heard. However, once again, this is dictated by our exhibitors. In the past we have offered felling areas and offered to provide a short bus shuttle from the APF show site to a felling site a couple of miles up the road still on Ragley Estate. The resounding answer from all the big harvester and forwarder manufacturers was a polite ‘no thanks’ and ‘we prefer a large static site’. The thinking is that no-one is going to buy a £400,000 harvester on the basis of seeing it work for 10 minutes. If you want to buy one, the manufacturers will happily invite you to a large work site. So please don’t blame the organisers. We only seek to provide what our exhibitors want!

With all that said, we try never to be complacent and are always looking at ways to improve the show to make it more attractive to visitors and exhibitors. For APF 2024 we hope to welcome back the UK Forwarder Driving Competition, so at least we should have some big machinery working.

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We will also look at the possibility of having some felling demos using poles rather than trees in the same arena. Of course, danger zones, risk of chain shot, etc have all got to be factored into these things, but watch this space!

We are also hoping for the return of the UK Lumberjacks and the UK Loggers. We staged the World Logging Championships at Lockerbie in 2002 and are looking to run a demonstration event at APF 2024. It is a little easier now as they no longer fell trees! The felling element is now done using 20 m poles set into sockets and replaced after each competitor. It is a very fast and exciting event. Check out the recent 2023 competition in Estonia on YouTube. Can you change your bar and chain in 8.4 seconds? No, me neither!

Cannock in 2010 saw the first appearance of Stihl Timbersports in the UK. For APF 2024 The UK Lumberjacks will be back with their highly skilled five-discipline competition including the two-board climb and the single buck events as well as the incredible (and noisy!) hot saw competition.

We are hoping to stage the British Tree Climbing Competition again. However, these events are costly to put on and we cannot do it without the support of sponsors. I am delighted to report that our fantastic 2022 sponsors A W Jenkinson, Euroforest, Husqvarna and Tilhill have all agreed to sponsor events again for APF 2024, so we will see the return of the World 25 m Pole Climbing Competition and the European Chainsaw Carving Championships. 

We need sponsorship to run the UK Lumberjacks, UK Loggers, Forwarder Driving, the British Tree Climbing Competition and the Arb Worker Zone. This can be in cash or kind. Anyone got 25 6 m machine-rounded poles CNC’d with 30 or so 50 mm holes for the limbing competition or a couple of 2 m-long, 50 mm diameter x 10 mm thick steel tubes for the felling? Fancy running an exciting high-profile tree-climbing competition that can be seen from the whole show ground? If yes to any of the above, please get in touch. We cannot run these events without support. Half of our visitors are arborists, so running a tree-climbing competition or the Arb Worker Zone gives you a very targeted audience. If you can help with any element of sponsorship, it can be as a co-sponsor not just a sole one. Please get in touch and I can send you full details of all the opportunities that we can offer.

That’s enough from me with my begging bowl for now! Our new website is now live and you can already buy tickets and book camping. We launched APF 2024 back in July and have had a fantastic response from exhibitors. Already over 130 have booked for next year.

I will bring you a further update next month.

For more information on APF 2024 visit or email Ian at