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Bringing woodlands to life



John Blessington

John Blessington (Chair)

First elected 2005, re-elected 2008. From Shropshire Woodland Officer with Shropshire County Council, now Arboricultural Officer with the unitary Shropshire Council. Former Board member of the Heartwoods subsidiary company. Member of Personnel sub committee.

Gary Battell   From Suffolk (Vice Chair)

Gary Battell is the Woodland Advisor for Suffolk County Council. He is also resident conservation advisor at Staverton Park, and manages the National Ancient Tree Nursery.   He has worked in forestry woodland and park management for 30 years, including posts with the National trust and the Forestry Commission. Gary is a director and trustee of the Small Woods Association, The Ancient Tree Forum, the Green Light Trust and Heartwoods.

Graeme McVittie (former chair)  First elected 1988 (due for re-election in 2014). From Devon.

Graeme is a Chartered Forester and Woodlands officer for Exmoor National Park Authority and has worked in Forestry Arboriculture and Countryside Management since 1977. After travelling and working abroad he has been involved with urban and community forest projects and has managed an EU funded woodland project on Exmoor. He has had extensive involvement with owners of all types of woodland, and has provided help, support and advice on topics such as access management to timber marketing. Graeme has served on the Board since 1998, and has supported several sub-groups of SWA, including Personnel sub-committee and Editorial sub-committee.

Phil Burton re-elected 2010. From Herefordshire

Works with the Herefordshire Nature Trust and makes a vital link with the Wildlife Trusts nationally.

 Rod Pomery (First Elected 2010). From Worcestershire

Formerly worked with the National Trust at Dudmaston as Woodland Officer, now dedicates his time to teaching and supporting woodland related organisations. Makes a vital link with the National Trust.

Board member Paul

 Paul Phillips

Elected in 2014, from Herefordshire. Paul has over 30 years’ experience in leadership, sales management and sales, with a successful track record across multiple industry sectors that include Retail, IT/Telecoms and Agriculture.

Board member Jerry

Jerry Langford

Living in glorious West Wales I steer the Trust’s work in Wales and manage the staff team, currently 16 people.  Our team includes people responsible for looking after all our woods in Wales, others who work with other landowners to restore ancient woods and create new native woodland, and those who are involved in engaging with the public and policy makers.

I started with the Trust more than 20 years ago as its first woodland manager in Wales.  This was in days before computers and the internet and the Woodland Trust was a small organisation that purchased woods to stop them being cleared for development or farming.     These days agreeing collaborations with other organisations is a major part of my work , as is trying to establish a more resilient  future for trees and woodland through more sustainable economic and agricultural policies. You can follow me on Twitter @jerrylangford1.

Board member George Smith

George Smith



board member Chris Duncan

Chris Duncan



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