2018 ICF South West England: Forestry on Ecologically Sensitive Sites; Savernake

The ICF South West England Regional Group and the Ancient Tree Forum invite you to a joint event investigating forestry on ecologically sensitive sites. Savernake, a former medieval hunting forest, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, contains a large number of veteran oak and beech trees, and supports numerous European Protected Species.

The day will focus on the challenges faced by commercial forestry on such sites, working practices adopted to protect the sensitive features, and the wood pasture restoration work currently in progress.

Provisional Programme

  • 9:15 Registration with tea and coffee
  • 9:45 Introduction – Dr Rob Hawkins, Institute of Chartered Foresters
  • 9:55 The Value of Veteran Trees – Jim Mulholland, Ancient Tree Forum
  • 10:25: Introduction to Savernake – Tom Blythe, Forestry Commission England
  • 10:55 Tea and coffee
  • 11:10 Working with SSSIs and EPS consider – Suzanne Perry, Natural England
  • 11:30 Plantlife – Paul Rutter
  • 12:00 SWRG AGM – ICF members only
  • 12:30 Lunch and travel to Savernake Forest (Delegates to bring their own packed lunch)
  • 13:15 Savernake Forest site visit
  • 15:45 Conclude and depart

Presentation overviews and speaker profiles

Jim Mulholland, Ancient Tree Forum

Jim Mullholland is the Training and Technical Officer for the Ancient Tree Forum, and is responsible for delivering training on valuing and managing veteran trees. Jim has a background in ecology and arboriculture and will cover the following topics:
• An introduction to the Ancient Tree Forum.
• The wildlife value of veteran trees.
• The veteran tree management resources the Ancient Tree Forum has produced.

Tom Blythe, Forestry Commission England

Tom Blythe of the Forestry Commission is Beat Forester for the Bristol, Mendips and Savernake area. He trained as a forester at Newton Rigg and also completed an apprenticeship with the Forestry Commission. His career has seen him work in Scotland, Wales and England; – predominately associated with harvesting and marketing, but now increasingly focussed on ancient woodland restoration, broadleaf plantation management and community engagement objectives. Today Tom will talk on the following:
• introduction to Savernake.
• the challenges faced with so many veteran trees, designations, EPS etc.
• an overview of the wood pasture restoration work we are currently undertaking.

Suzanne Perry, Natural England

Suzanne will discuss the SSSI implications and EPS considerations for the site and the process of getting the Countryside Stewardship Scheme set up

Paul Rutter, Ancients of the Future Project Officer, Plantlife.

Paul has always had a great interest and fascination in trees. Seeing the loss of elms strengthened his resolve to pursue a career in countryside management and conservation. After working around the country with the National Trust for 20 years managing nationally important open spaces, Paul joined Plantlife 5 years ago. His work at Plantlife includes promoting best practice in woodland and tree management and to enhance biodiversity and to help advise on the conservation of woodlands for wild plants, fungi and for lichens. Paul has surveyed over 4500 ancient and veteran trees in Savernake Forest for the Forestry Commission. He is now working on the Back from the Brink Ancients of the Future project that will secure the conservation of threatened ancient tree wildlife.

Contact us

For more information about this event email Rob Hawkins, ICF Technical Officer.


We will have copies of Ancient Tree Forum’s management handbook, Ancient and other Veteran Trees; Further Guidance on Management, for sale at a discount rate of £25 (usually £30) for purchase on the day (cash only).


No catering will be provided for this event so all delegates will need to provide their own packed lunch

May 23, 2018
09:00 - 16:00

Marlborough Golf Club

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