East District - Thetford East


Santon Downham, Brandon, Suffolk. IP27 0TJ


Do you have the experience and enthusiasm to help shape the future of England’s largest lowland pine forest?

Job Description
Forestry England East District is seeking a motivated forester to join our Land Management team as Thetford East Beat Forester, leading one of four small Beat teams in Thetford forest to deliver large-scale silvicultural and estate maintenance programmes in a complex forest environment.

The successful applicant will play a key role in evolving forest management practices to diversify timber species and sustain production in the future climate, whilst maintaining SSSI/SPA habitat for rare Breckland fauna and flora and providing countryside access for an increasing number of visitors.

About Us
East Forest District, covers an area of 35,000 ha from North Norfolk to Brighton; including Thetford Forest and the outlying beats of Sandlings, Kent, East Sussex, Chilterns and Thames Chase Community Forest. The District has a varied landholding including the largest lowland pine forest in England at Thetford, community woodland on the outskirts of London at Thames Chase, and a range of mixed woodland, many of which are on sites of Ancient Woodland.

There are numerous sites of conservation interest designated across the District, including Special Protection Areas to conserve the breeding habitat for the Woodlark and Nightjar, Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Specific Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland, County Wildlife Sites and Scheduled Monuments.

The District offers outdoor recreation, leisure and wellbeing activities for hundreds of thousands of people each year at its recreation centres. Forestry England’s freehold estate is dedicated for open public access on foot, with numerous small carparks and informal access points.

East Forest District produces around 125,000m3 of timber each year (generating a £7million income) and has an annual planting programme of around 1million trees.

Job Summary
Within their geographic beat, a Beat Forester represents Forestry England and ensures that the nation’s forests demonstrate exemplar standards in the sector.

Through close collaborative working with colleagues across the organisation, Beat Foresters identify local priority actions that meet our commitments to nature, society, and the economy. They draw these into a Beat Delivery Plan, allocating staff time and budgets to achieve work programmes effectively and efficiently, and monitoring progress and outcomes.

In addition to managing planned work, Beat Foresters frequently need to react to unexpected or unusual situations that arise; organising a response that complies with our procedures and achieves the best outcome, for example liaising with emergency services to prevent and control forest fires, dealing with hazardous trees, or clearing up fly-tipped hazardous waste.

This post is based at the Santon Downham Office near Brandon, Suffolk. Meetings and training events may take place in other parts of the country.

The standard working pattern is 44 hours a week 7am Monday to Friday but the operational pay and responsibilities of the role require flexible working to meet the needs of the team and out-of-hours on-call availability at times.

Person specifications

Key Responsibilities

Lead the Beat team

Effective staff and volunteer teams in the Beats are critical in our guardianship of the nation’s forests. The Beat Forester’s role is to:

• line manage a work supervisor and two craftspeople;
• lead their team by example, demonstrating Forestry England’s organisational values and embedding shared goals and mutual understanding;
• follow HR procedures, providing appropriate guidance and support to meet individual needs;
• maintain respectful open and honest communication between team members;
• take responsibility for the team’s performance, ensuring compliance with safety, environmental and financial standards;
• encourage working together to deliver excellent results, cultivating a culture of safe working and high standards of achievement;
• foster continuous improvement, promoting learning and skills development.

Manage Resources

Efficient use of resources is critical to achieving value for money in the nation’s forests. The Beat Forester’s role is to:

• create a Beat Deliver Plan and Business Plan that are affordable and achievable;
• determine the best value resource to deliver each element of the plan (staff, contract, or volunteers);
• make good use of time and resources, controlling spending through the year, reporting on budgets and performance indicators;
• maintain buildings, tools and equipment provided for the Beat;
• liaise with Thetford colleagues to maximise productivity of the tractor and implement fleet and plan for replacements.

Manage Forest Operations

Correct implementation of estate maintenance, harvesting, restocking, underplanting, conservation, recreation and wildlife management operations is necessary to protect and enhance the nation’s forests. The Beat Forester’s role is to:

• write staff job descriptions, contract specifications and volunteer agreements that set clear standards for the work required;
• draw up site plans that take into consideration social, environmental, and financial constraints and opportunities;
• follow correct procedures for procurement and management of contracts;
• prepare and manage standing and roadside timber sales parcels, and coordinate with the DP Harvesting team to achieve their programme within the beat;
• maintain safety, quality and environmental standards during the operations, communicating the importance of managing risk;
• record and report on work progress and outturns in line with district requirements;
• review future plans in light of outcomes to improve the resilience of the forest

Manage External Relationships

Professional communication with local communities, interest groups, contractors, customers, land managers and other stakeholders is important for Forestry England’s reputation. The Beat Forester’s role is to:

• Inspire confidence in our knowledge of forest management and silviculture;
• behave inscrutably, following the Civil Service Code;
• comply with commercial and financial conduct protocols;
• consult internally and externally in line with District policy;
• communicate Forestry England’s views accurately, seeking policy and practice advice from district functional leads when appropriate;
• maintain productive relationships with members of the public and other stakeholders, engaging courteously and constructively in all forms of communication and addressing issues respectfully but without compromising Forestry England’s interests.

Working toward, or willing to work towards membership of the Institute of Chartered Foresters

We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

• Leadership
• Delivering at Pace
• Making Effective Decisions
• Managing a Quality Service

Technical Skills
We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

• A degree or HND in Forestry or significant equivalent experience to satisfy the requirements of the post.
• Silvicultural knowledge.
• Planning and delivery of forest operations that meet environmental and safety standards.
• Use of software packages
• Managing staff
• Working toward or willing to work towards membership of the Institute of Chartered Foresters


Alongside your salary of £32,612, Forestry Commission contributes £8,838 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.

Full benefits information available at, includes:

• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
• 25 days annual leave on entry, increasing to 30 days after 5 years service. This is in addition to 8 public holidays
• 3 paid volunteer days per year
• Continued Professional Development: support for individual learning plans and sponsored membership of professional bodies (such as Institute of Chartered Foresters)
• Free parking at Forestry Commission sites and free entry to forestry arboreta
• Up to 15% discount at Forest Live Events, 5% discount on Forest Holidays, 15% at Go Ape, 10% discount at Forestry England shops, and discounts with selected retailers


This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).

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Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name: East District Reception

Recruitment team

Further information

Our recruitment process is underpinned by the principle of appointment on the basis of fair and open competition and appointment on merit, as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles.If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with these principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should in the first instance contact FCE by email: If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Civil Service Commission, which regulates all Civil Service recruitment.

or for further information, click here

Tel: Not specified | E-mail:
Web: Beat Forester Thetford East - Civil Service Jobs - GOV.UK | Closing Date: Apply before 11.55pm on Monday 12th February 2024

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